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All's Well That Ends Well

All's Well That Ends Well Translation Act 3, Scene 2

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Enter COUNTESS and Clown

COUNTESS

It hath happened all as I would have had it, savethat he comes not along with her.

COUNTESS

It's all happened just as I wanted it to, except that he doesn't come along with her. 

CLOWN

By my troth, I take my young lord to be a verymelancholy man.

CLOWN

Truthfully, I think my young lord is a very melancholy man. 

COUNTESS

By what observance, I pray you?

COUNTESS

Based on what, may I ask?

CLOWN

Why, he will look upon his boot and sing; mend the ruff and sing; ask questions and sing; pick his teeth and sing. I know a man that had this trick of melancholy sold a goodly manor for a song.

CLOWN

Why, he tends to look at his boot and sing, mend his ruff and sing, ask questions and sing, pick his teeth and sing. I know a man that had this melancholic trait and sold a vast manor in exchange for a song. 

COUNTESS

Let me see what he writes, and when he means to come.

COUNTESS

Let me see what he writes and when he means to come home. 

Opening a letter

CLOWN

I have no mind to Isbel since I was at court: our old lings and our Isbels o' the country are nothing like your old ling and your Isbels o' the court: the brains of my Cupid's knocked out, and I begin to love, as an old man loves money, with no stomach.

CLOWN

I haven't been very interested in Isbel since I was at court. Our old fish and our Isbels in the country are nothing compared to your old fish and your Isbels at the court. The brains of my heart's been knocked out, and I've started to love her, as an old man loves his money, with no appetite. 

COUNTESS

What have we here?

COUNTESS

What have we here?

CLOWN

E'en that you have there.

CLOWN

Whatever it is that you have there. 

Exit

COUNTESS

[Reads] I have sent you a daughter-in-law: she hath recovered the king, and undone me. I have wedded her, not bedded her; and sworn to make the 'not' eternal. You shall hear I am run away: know it before the report come. If there be breadth enough in the world, I will hold a long distance. My duty to you. Your unfortunate son, BERTRAM. This is not well, rash and unbridled boy. To fly the favours of so good a king; To pluck his indignation on thy head By the misprising of a maid too virtuous For the contempt of empire.

COUNTESS

[Reading] "I have sent you a daughter-in-law. She has healed the king and ruined me. I have married her but not slept with her, and I've sworn to make that 'not' last forever. You shall hear that I've run away. I want you to know it before you hear the report. As long as there are more miles in the world, I will stay far away. I pledge my duty to you. Your unfortunate son, Bertram." 

This is not good, hasty and wild boy. To lose the favor of such a good king, to bring down his anger on you by discarding a maid too virtuous for even an emperor to despise. 

Re-enter Clown

CLOWN

O madam, yonder is heavy news within between twosoldiers and my young lady!

CLOWN

Oh madam, over there comes heavy news shared between two soldiers and the young lady! 

COUNTESS

What is the matter?

COUNTESS

What's the matter?

CLOWN

Nay, there is some comfort in the news, somecomfort; your son will not be killed so soon as Ithought he would.

CLOWN

No, there is some comfort in the news, some comfort. Your son won't be killed as soon as I expected he would. 

COUNTESS

Why should he be killed?

COUNTESS

Why should he be killed?

CLOWN

So say I, madam, if he run away, as I hear he does: the danger is in standing to't; that's the loss of men, though it be the getting of children. Here they come will tell you more: for my part, I only hear your son was run away.

CLOWN

Well, that's what I say, madam, if he runs away as I hear he does. The danger is in standing erect and fighting. That's how men die, although standing erect can also lead to fathering children. They're coming now and they'll tell you more. For my part, I only heard your son had run away. 

Exit

Enter HELENA, and two Gentlemen

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Save you, good madam.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

I hope you're well, good madam. 

HELENA

Madam, my lord is gone, for ever gone.

HELENA

Madam, my lord is gone, forever gone. 

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Do not say so.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Don't say so. 

COUNTESS

Think upon patience. Pray you, gentlemen, I have felt so many quirks of joy and grief, That the first face of neither, on the start, Can woman me unto't: where is my son, I pray you?

COUNTESS

Be patient. Please, gentlemen, I have been pushed back and forth between joy and grief in such fits and stars, that I can barely take in the sudden announcement of either one of them and react like a woman. Where is my son, pray tell?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Madam, he's gone to serve the duke of Florence: We met him thitherward; for thence we came, And, after some dispatch in hand at court, Thither we bend again.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Madam, he's gone to serve the Duke of Florence. We met him on his way there. From there we came, and, now that we've taken care of some necessary things at court, we go back there again. 

HELENA

Look on his letter, madam; here's my passport.

HELENA

Look at his letter, madam. Here's my dismissal

Reads

HELENA

When thou canst get the ring upon my finger which never shall come off, and show me a child begotten of thy body that I am father to, then call me husband: but in such a 'then' I write a 'never.' This is a dreadful sentence.

HELENA

"When you can get the ring off my finger which will never come off, and when you can show me a child born from your body that I am the father to, then you can call me husband. But I write a 'never' on top of this 'then.'" This is a terrible sentence. 

COUNTESS

Brought you this letter, gentlemen?

COUNTESS

You brought this letter, gentlemen?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Ay, madam;And for the contents' sake are sorry for our pain.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Yes, madam. And we're very sorry to have done so given the contents. 

COUNTESS

I prithee, lady, have a better cheer; If thou engrossest all the griefs are thine, Thou robb'st me of a moiety: he was my son; But I do wash his name out of my blood, And thou art all my child. Towards Florence is he?

COUNTESS

I plead with you, lady, cheer up. If you claim that the only griefs are yours, you steal a right from me too. He was my son, but I wash his name out of my blood, and you are my only child. He's gone to Florence?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Ay, madam.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Yes, madam. 

COUNTESS

And to be a soldier?

COUNTESS

And to become a soldier?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Such is his noble purpose; and believe 't,The duke will lay upon him all the honourThat good convenience claims.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

That's his noble purpose, and you can believe that the duke will bestow him with all the honors that the moment makes suitable. 

COUNTESS

Return you thither?

COUNTESS

You're returning there?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Ay, madam, with the swiftest wing of speed.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Yes, madam, as fast as we can. 

HELENA

[Reads] Till I have no wife I have nothing in France.'Tis bitter.

HELENA

[Reading] "Until I have no wife, I have nothing in France." It's bitter. 

COUNTESS

Find you that there?

COUNTESS

Was that written in the letter?

HELENA

Ay, madam.

HELENA

Yes, madam. 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

'Tis but the boldness of his hand, haply, which hisheart was not consenting to.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

It's but the rashness of his hand, maybe, and his heart doesn't go along with it. 

COUNTESS

Nothing in France, until he have no wife! There's nothing here that is too good for him But only she; and she deserves a lord That twenty such rude boys might tend upon And call her hourly mistress. Who was with him?

COUNTESS

Nothing in France until he has no wife! There's nothing in France that is too good for him except her. She deserves a lord that would have more than twenty servant boys waiting upon her and calling her "mistress" every hour. Who was with him?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

A servant only, and a gentlemanWhich I have sometime known.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Just a servant, and a gentleman who I've met a few times.

COUNTESS

Parolles, was it not?

COUNTESS

Parolles, wasn't it?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Ay, my good lady, he.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Yes, my good lady, it was him. 

COUNTESS

A very tainted fellow, and full of wickedness.My son corrupts a well-derived natureWith his inducement.

COUNTESS

A very foul fellow, and full of wickedness. My son corrupts his formerly moral nature by spending time with Parolles. 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Indeed, good lady,The fellow has a deal of that too much,Which holds him much to have.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Indeed, good lady. The fellow has a very persuasive power that leads men to corrupt themselves. 

COUNTESS

You're welcome, gentlemen. I will entreat you, when you see my son, To tell him that his sword can never win The honour that he loses: more I'll entreat you Written to bear along.

COUNTESS

You're welcome, gentlemen. I will ask you that, when you see my son, to tell him that his sword can never earn him the honor that he's given up. I'll also ask you to bring along a letter. 

SECOND GENTLEMAN

We serve you, madam,In that and all your worthiest affairs.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

We serve you, madam, in that and all your affairs where we can be of service. 

COUNTESS

Not so, but as we change our courtesies.Will you draw near!

COUNTESS

Not really, only in exchanging courtesies. Will you come along with me?

Exeunt COUNTESS and Gentlemen

HELENA

'Till I have no wife, I have nothing in France.' Nothing in France, until he has no wife! Thou shalt have none, Rousillon, none in France; Then hast thou all again. Poor lord! is't I That chase thee from thy country and expose Those tender limbs of thine to the event Of the none-sparing war? and is it I That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou Wast shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark Of smoky muskets? O you leaden messengers, That ride upon the violent speed of fire, Fly with false aim; move the still-peering air, That sings with piercing; do not touch my lord. Whoever shoots at him, I set him there; Whoever charges on his forward breast, I am the caitiff that do hold him to't; And, though I kill him not, I am the cause His death was so effected: better 'twere I met the ravin lion when he roar'd With sharp constraint of hunger; better 'twere That all the miseries which nature owes Were mine at once. No, come thou home, Rousillon, Whence honour but of danger wins a scar, As oft it loses all: I will be gone; My being here it is that holds thee hence: Shall I stay here to do't? no, no, although The air of paradise did fan the house And angels officed all: I will be gone, That pitiful rumour may report my flight, To consolate thine ear. Come, night; end, day! For with the dark, poor thief, I'll steal away.

HELENA

"Until I have no wife, I have nothing in France." Nothing in France until he has no wife! You will have no wife, Rousillon, none in France. Then you'll have everything back again. Poor lord! Is it I that makes you flee from your country and expose your tender limbs to the violence of this destructive war? And is it I that drives you out of the leisurely court, where you were only shot at by the eyes of fair ladies, now to be the target of smoky muskets? Oh, you bullets, that violently speed from weapons, miss your targets. Move the torn air that sings from being pierced by bullets again and again. Do not touch my lord. Whoever shoots at him, it's my fault that he's there. Whoever charges towards him, I am the wretch that keeps him on the battlefield. And even though I won't be the one to kill him, I'll be the reason for his death. I'd rather meet a ravenous lion when he was roaring with violent hunger. I'd rather all the miseries that nature can deliver were rained down on me all at once. No, come home, Rousillon, where danger only leaves the honorable men with scars, and never takes their lives. I will be gone. My staying here is what keeps you in the war. Shall I stay here to let you die? No, no, not even if the air from paradise filled the house and angels flocked into it. I will be gone so that a rumor can spread that I have fled and that will reach your ear. Come, night. End, day! With the dark, that poor thief of daylight, I'll steal away. 

Exit

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).