From All’s Well That Ends Well (2.2):
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
Marry, that’s a bountiful answer that fits all
It is like a barber’s chair that fits all buttocks,
the pin-buttock, the quatch-buttock, the brawn
buttock, or any buttock.
Will your answer serve fit to all questions?
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.
Have you, I say, an answer of such fitness for all
From below your duke to beneath your constable, it
will fit any question.
It must be an answer of most monstrous size that
must fit all demands.
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.
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?
O Lord, sir! There’s a simple putting off. More,
more, a hundred of them.
Sir, I am a poor friend of yours, that loves you.
O Lord, sir! Thick, thick, spare not me.
I think, sir, you can eat none of this homely meat.
O Lord, sir! Nay, put me to’t, I warrant you.
You were lately whipped, sir, as I think.
O Lord, sir! spare not me.
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.
I ne’er had worse luck in my life in my ‘O Lord,
sir!’ I see things may serve long, but not serve ever.
I play the noble housewife with the time
To entertain’t so merrily with a fool.
O Lord, sir! why, there’t serves well again.
An end, sir; to your business.