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All's Well That Ends Well

All's Well That Ends Well Translation Act 1, Scene 2

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Flourish of cornets. Enter the KING of France, with letters, and divers Attendants

KING

The Florentines and Senoys are by the ears;Have fought with equal fortune and continueA braving war.

KING

The Florentines and the Sienese are fighting each other. They've each had equal success and the war goes on. 

FIRST LORD

So 'tis reported, sir.

FIRST LORD

That's what's been reported, sir. 

KING

Nay, 'tis most credible; we here received it A certainty, vouch'd from our cousin Austria, With caution that the Florentine will move us For speedy aid; wherein our dearest friend Prejudicates the business and would seem To have us make denial.

KING

No, it's definitely true. We received confirmation from it from our friend the King of Austria, with a warning that the Duke of Florence will be asking us for immediate assistance. Our dearest friend, the King of Austria, doesn't support that request and urges us to deny it. 

FIRST LORD

His love and wisdom,Approved so to your majesty, may pleadFor amplest credence.

FIRST LORD

If your majesty thinks so highly of his love and wisdom, that should serve as sufficient guidance. 

KING

He hath arm'd our answer, And Florence is denied before he comes: Yet, for our gentlemen that mean to see The Tuscan service, freely have they leave To stand on either part.

KING

He's convinced me of my answer. Before he even arrives, I've decided the Duke of Florence will be denied. Yet, if any of our gentlemen are planning to go fight in this war in Tuscany, they're welcome to fight for either side. 

SECOND LORD

It well may serveA nursery to our gentry, who are sickFor breathing and exploit.

SECOND LORD

That should be good news for our soldiers, who are dying to actually get to fight. 

KING

What's he comes here?

KING

Who's he who's just come here?

Enter BERTRAM, LAFEU, and PAROLLES

FIRST LORD

It is the Count Rousillon, my good lord,Young Bertram.

FIRST LORD

It is the Count Rousillon, my good lord, young Bertram. 

KING

Youth, thou bear'st thy father's face; Frank nature, rather curious than in haste, Hath well composed thee. Thy father's moral parts Mayst thou inherit too! Welcome to Paris.

KING

Young man, you have your father's face. Nature being generous, and meticulous rather than hasty, has made you handsome. I hope you have your father's morality too! Welcome to Paris.  

BERTRAM

My thanks and duty are your majesty's.

BERTRAM

I give my thanks and pledge my service to your majesty. 

KING

I would I had that corporal soundness now, As when thy father and myself in friendship First tried our soldiership! He did look far Into the service of the time and was Discipled of the bravest: he lasted long; But on us both did haggish age steal on And wore us out of act. It much repairs me To talk of your good father. In his youth He had the wit which I can well observe To-day in our young lords; but they may jest Till their own scorn return to them unnoted Ere they can hide their levity in honour; So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness Were in his pride or sharpness; if they were, His equal had awaked them, and his honour, Clock to itself, knew the true minute when Exception bid him speak, and at this time His tongue obey'd his hand: who were below him He used as creatures of another place And bow'd his eminent top to their low ranks, Making them proud of his humility, In their poor praise he humbled. Such a man Might be a copy to these younger times; Which, follow'd well, would demonstrate them now But goers backward.

KING

I wish I was as physically healthy now as when my friend—your father—and I first became soldiers! He wanted to rise up in the military service then and had a reputation for being one of the bravest. He stuck around a long time. But horrid age stole up on both of us and wore us out. It makes me feel much better to talk of your good father. In his youth, he had the same wit which I now see today in our young lords. But these young folks today can joke until people start ignoring them before they'd ever swap their quick-wittedness for honorable deeds. Like a real nobleman, your father had neither contempt nor bitterness in his pride, nor sharpness. If he did ever speak sharply, it was to an equal, and his honor, which he always maintained, knew exactly when it was appropriate for him to speak out, only if he could back up his words with action. He'd treat men who were below him like they were better than they were and bowed down, despite his greatness, to those low soldiers. That would put them in awe of his humility and he'd humble himself to praise them, even low as they were. Such a man should be a role model to these young folks. If they followed his example, but young people now are going backwards in their manners. 

BERTRAM

His good remembrance, sir, Lies richer in your thoughts than on his tomb; So in approof lives not his epitaph As in your royal speech.

BERTRAM

Your thoughts honor his memory, sir, more richly than the words on his tomb do. His legacy lives on not in his epitaph but in your royal speech. 

KING

Would I were with him! He would always say— Methinks I hear him now; his plausive words He scatter'd not in ears, but grafted them, To grow there and to bear, —'Let me not live,'— This his good melancholy oft began, On the catastrophe and heel of pastime, When it was out, —'Let me not live,' quoth he, 'After my flame lacks oil, to be the snuff Of younger spirits, whose apprehensive senses All but new things disdain; whose judgments are Mere fathers of their garments; whose constancies Expire before their fashions.' This he wish'd; I after him do after him wish too, Since I nor wax nor honey can bring home, I quickly were dissolved from my hive, To give some labourers room.

KING

If only I were with him! He would always say—I think I hear him now; his pleasing words he wouldn't tell many people but planted them carefully to grow and bear fruit—"Let me not live,"—that's how his good melancholy speeches would often begin, when a fun event of leisure had come to an end,—"Let me not live," he'd say, "after my spirit has lost its fire, to stick around stifling younger folks, whose quick sense hate anything that is not new. All their thinking only leads to getting new clothes. Their loyalties fade out before their new fashions do." This is what he wished, and, now, I wish the same thing too. Since I can no longer bring the wax or honey home, I'd quickly be tossed out of my hive, so the laboring bees have room to take over. 

SECOND LORD

You are loved, sir:They that least lend it you shall lack you first.

SECOND LORD

You are loved, sir. Those that least show their love will miss you most. 

KING

I fill a place, I know't. How long is't, count,Since the physician at your father's died?He was much famed.

KING

I hold an important place, I know it. How long is it, count, since the physician at your father's died? He was very famous. 

BERTRAM

Some six months since, my lord.

BERTRAM

Six months ago, my lord. 

KING

If he were living, I would try him yet. Lend me an arm; the rest have worn me out With several applications; nature and sickness Debate it at their leisure. Welcome, count; My son's no dearer.

KING

If he were living, I'd still try him. Give me a hand. The rest of the doctors have worn me out with their many cures. Nature and sickness are fighting over me. Welcome, count. You are as dear to me as my own son.

BERTRAM

Thank your majesty.

BERTRAM

I thank your majesty. 

Exeunt. Flourish

All s well that ends well
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Dan rubins
About the Translator: Dan Rubins

Dan Rubins is currently completing his MA in Shakespeare Studies from King's College London/Shakespeare's Globe and will be pursuing an MA in Elementary Inclusive Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. He holds a BA in English from Yale University. His Masters dissertation focuses on announcements of death in early modern drama, and other research areas of interest include Shakespeare in transformative contexts (prisons, schools, etc.) and rhyme in Shakespeare's dramatic texts. In addition to teaching and learning, he also writes theatre reviews (often of Shakespeare productions), composes musical theatre (frequently with Shakespearean inspirations), and sings in choirs (occasionally in Shakespearean choral settings).