A line-by-line translation

All's Well That Ends Well

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

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

Enter COUNTESS and Clown

COUNTESS

Come on, sir; I shall now put you to the height ofyour breeding.

COUNTESS

Come on, sir. I will now make you demonstrate the extent of your breeding. 

CLOWN

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

CLOWN

I will show myself to be well fed but poorly educated. I know I will be only sent 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!

COUNTESS

To the court! Why, what place do you think of as special if you can talk of the court in such a contemptuous tone? Only sent 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.

CLOWN

Truly, madam, if God has bestowed a man with any manners, he can discard them all at court. If a man can't bow, doff his cap, kiss his hand and say nothing, or has neither leg, hands, lip, nor cap, then such a fellow, to say precisely, is not made for court. For me, though, I have an answer that will respond to all men. 

COUNTESS

Marry, that's a bountiful answer that fits allquestions.

COUNTESS

Well, that's quite an answer that can respond to all questions. 

CLOWN

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

CLOWN

It's like a barber's chair that fits all types of buttocks: the narrow buttock, the fat buttock, the brawny buttock, or any buttock. 

COUNTESS

Will your answer serve fit to all questions?

COUNTESS

Will you answer be fit to respond 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 quean to a wrangling knave, as the nun's lip to the friar's mouth, nay, as the pudding to his skin.

CLOWN

It will be as fit as four pence is fit for the hand of an attorney, as fit as a French crown is fit for the hand of a scantily clad prostitute, or as fit as a lady's ring is fit for a man's finger, or as fit as a pancake on Shrove Tuesday or a morris dance on May-day or as a nail to a hole or as a cuckold to his horn or as a scolding woman to a wayward rogue. Or as fit as the nun's lip to the friar's mouth, no, sorry, that should be as fit as the sausage to the sausage skin. 

COUNTESS

Have you, I say, an answer of such fitness for allquestions?

COUNTESS

Have you, I say, an answer that can respond to all questions?

CLOWN

From below your duke to beneath your constable, itwill fit any question.

CLOWN

From a duke to a constable, it will be good for any question. 

COUNTESS

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

COUNTESS

It must be an answer of a gigantic size that would fit any question. 

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.

CLOWN

But a little one, actually, to speak the truth: here it is and everything attached to it. Ask me if I am a nobleman: it won't hurt you to learn. 

COUNTESS

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

COUNTESS

Oh, to be young again, if we could. I will play the fool in asking you a question, hoping to become wiser from your answer. Please, sir, are you a nobleman?

CLOWN

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

CLOWN

"Oh Lord, sir!" That's a phrase used to evade answering the question. More, more questions, ask a hundred of them. 

COUNTESS

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

COUNTESS

Sir, I am a poor friend of yours, that cares for you. 

CLOWN

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

CLOWN

"Oh Lord, sir!" More, more, don't spare me with your questions. 

COUNTESS

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

COUNTESS

I think, sir, you can't eat more of this plain meat. 

CLOWN

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

CLOWN

"Oh Lord, sir!" No, ask me more of these, I beg you. 

COUNTESS

You were lately whipped, sir, as I think.

COUNTESS

You were recently whipped, sir, I think. 

CLOWN

O Lord, sir! spare not me.

CLOWN

"Oh Lord, sir!" Don't spare 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.

COUNTESS

Do you cry, "Oh Lord, sir?" about your whipping, and "Don't spare me?" Indeed, your "Oh Lord, sir!" is an appropriate thing to cry out during a whipping. You would answer very well during a whipping if you were only sentenced to such a punishment. 

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.

CLOWN

I never had worse luck in my life in my "Oh Lord, sir!" than the threat of whipping. I see some phrases may serve me for a while but not serve me forever. 

COUNTESS

I play the noble housewife with the timeTo entertain't so merrily with a fool.

COUNTESS

I act like a noble household manager entertaining the time with a fool like this. 

CLOWN

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

CLOWN

"Oh Lord, sir!" Why, there, now, the phrase is serving me 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.

COUNTESS

Let's wrap this up, sir. To your task. Give Helena this, and tell her to send me back an answer quickly. Send my best wishes to my family and my son. That's not very much. 

CLOWN

Not much commendation to them.

CLOWN

Not much best wishes to them. 

COUNTESS

Not much employment for you: you understand me?

COUNTESS

Not much of a task for you: you understand me?

CLOWN

Most fruitfully: I am there before my legs.

CLOWN

Most heartily. I am there ahead of my legs. 

COUNTESS

Haste you again.

COUNTESS

Go quickly again. 

Exeunt severally

All s well that ends well
Join LitCharts A+ and get the entire All's Well Translation as a printable PDF.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
  • Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
  • Downloads of 1173 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 25,867 quotes covering 1173 books
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms
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).