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Act 2, Scene II

SCENE II. Rousillon. The COUNT's palace.

Enter COUNTESS and Clown
COUNTESS
Come on, sir; I shall now put you to the height of
your breeding.

Clown
I will show myself highly fed and lowly taught: I
know my business is but to the court.

COUNTESS
To the court! why, what place make you special,
when you put off that with such contempt? But to the court!

Clown
Truly, madam, if God have lent a man any manners, he
may easily put it off at court: he that cannot make
a leg, put off's cap, kiss his hand and say nothing,
has neither leg, hands, lip, nor cap; and indeed
such a fellow, to say precisely, were not for the
court; but for me, I have an answer will serve all
men.

COUNTESS
Marry, that's a bountiful answer that fits all
questions.

Clown
It is like a barber's chair that fits all buttocks,
the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn
buttock, or any buttock.

COUNTESS
Will your answer serve fit to all questions?

Clown
As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney,
as your French crown for your taffeta punk, as Tib's
rush for Tom's forefinger, as a pancake for Shrove
Tuesday, a morris for May-day, as the nail to his
hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a scolding queen
to a wrangling knave, as the nun's lip to the
friar's mouth, nay, as the pudding to his skin.

COUNTESS
Have you, I say, an answer of such fitness for all
questions?

Clown
From below your duke to beneath your constable, it
will fit any question.

COUNTESS
It must be an answer of most monstrous size that
must fit all demands.

Clown
But a trifle neither, in good faith, if the learned
should speak truth of it: here it is, and all that
belongs to't. Ask me if I am a courtier: it shall
do you no harm to learn.

COUNTESS
To be young again, if we could: I will be a fool in
question, hoping to be the wiser by your answer. I
pray you, sir, are you a courtier?

Clown
O Lord, sir! There's a simple putting off. More,
more, a hundred of them.

COUNTESS
Sir, I am a poor friend of yours, that loves you.

Clown
O Lord, sir! Thick, thick, spare not me.

COUNTESS
I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely meat.

Clown
O Lord, sir! Nay, put me to't, I warrant you.

COUNTESS
You were lately whipped, sir, as I think.

Clown
O Lord, sir! spare not me.

COUNTESS
Do you cry, 'O Lord, sir!' at your whipping, and
'spare not me?' Indeed your 'O Lord, sir!' is very
sequent to your whipping: you would answer very well
to a whipping, if you were but bound to't.

Clown
I ne'er had worse luck in my life in my 'O Lord,
sir!' I see things may serve long, but not serve ever.

COUNTESS
I play the noble housewife with the time
To entertain't so merrily with a fool.

Clown
O Lord, sir! why, there't serves well again.

COUNTESS
An end, sir; to your business. Give Helen this,
And urge her to a present answer back:
Commend me to my kinsmen and my son:
This is not much.

Clown
Not much commendation to them.

COUNTESS
Not much employment for you: you understand me?

Clown
Most fruitfully: I am there before my legs.

COUNTESS
Haste you again.

Exeunt severally

William Shakespeare