A line-by-line translation

All's Well That Ends Well

All's Well That Ends Well Translation Act 4, Scene 1

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Enter Second French Lord, with five or six other Soldiers in ambush

SECOND LORD

He can come no other way but by this hedge-corner. When you sally upon him, speak what terrible language you will: though you understand it not yourselves, no matter; for we must not seem to understand him, unless some one among us whom we must produce for an interpreter.

SECOND LORD

There's no other way that he can come except by these bushes. When you ambush him, speak whatever terrible language you can. If you don't even understand the language you're speaking, it doesn't matter. We must not seem to be able to understand him except for one among us whom we put forward as our interpreter.

FIRST SOLDIER

Good captain, let me be the interpreter.

FIRST SOLDIER

Good captain, let me be the interpreter.

SECOND LORD

Art not acquainted with him? knows he not thy voice?

SECOND LORD

Don't you know him? Doesn't he know your voice?

FIRST SOLDIER

No, sir, I warrant you.

FIRST SOLDIER

No, sir, I promise you.

SECOND LORD

But what linsey-woolsey hast thou to speak to us again?

SECOND LORD

But what nonsense language do you have to speak back to us?

FIRST SOLDIER

E'en such as you speak to me.

FIRST SOLDIER

Whatever nonsense language you speak to me.

SECOND LORD

He must think us some band of strangers i' the adversary's entertainment. Now he hath a smack of all neighbouring languages; therefore we must every one be a man of his own fancy, not to know what we speak one to another; so we seem to know, is to know straight our purpose: choughs' language, gabble enough, and good enough. As for you, interpreter, you must seem very politic. But couch, ho! here he comes, to beguile two hours in a sleep, and then to return and swear the lies he forges.

SECOND LORD

He must be convinced that we're some group of strangers connected to our enemy. He knows a little bit of the neighboring language. Therefore we all must each speak whatever random language we know and not know what we're saying to each other. As long as we pretend to understand each other, our purpose will be served. Chatter like a crow, gabble like a goose, and that's good enough. As for you, interpreter, you must seem very wise. But hold, hey! Here he comes, to sleep for two hours and then to return and swear to the lies he makes up.

Enter PAROLLES

PAROLLES

Ten o'clock: within these three hours 'twill be time enough to go home. What shall I say I have done? It must be a very plausive invention that carries it: they begin to smoke me; and disgraces have of late knocked too often at my door. I find my tongue is too foolhardy; but my heart hath the fear of Mars before it and of his creatures, not daring the reports of my tongue.

PAROLLES

Ten o'clock. Within three hours I'll have stayed away long enough to go home. What shall I say I have done? It must be a very plausible story that I tell. They're beginning to suspect me, and I've lately had too many disgraces. I find that my tongue says whatever it wants, but my heart is afraid of Mars, the god of war, and all his soldiers, regardless of the stories my tongue tells.

SECOND LORD

This is the first truth that e'er thine own tonguewas guilty of.

SECOND LORD

[To himself] This is the first truth that your tongue has ever been guilty of.

PAROLLES

What the devil should move me to undertake the recovery of this drum, being not ignorant of the impossibility, and knowing I had no such purpose? I must give myself some hurts, and say I got them in exploit: yet slight ones will not carry it; they will say, 'Came you off with so little?' and great ones I dare not give. Wherefore, what's the instance? Tongue, I must put you into a butter-woman's mouth and buy myself another of Bajazeth's mule, if you prattle me into these perils.

PAROLLES

What the devil would make me attempt to get back this drum since I know it's impossible and I have no reason to go after it? I must inflict some wounds on myself and say I got them in the attempt. Minor wounds won't be convincing; they would say, "You escaped with just a little scratch?" and I don't dare to give myself serious wounds. Why, what's the evidence? Tongue, I must put you into the mouth of a dairy-woman and buy myself another one of Bajazeth's mules, if you keep talking me into these dangerous situations.

SECOND LORD

Is it possible he should know what he is, and bethat he is?

SECOND LORD

[To himself] Is it possible he should know what he's like and still behave the way that he does?

PAROLLES

I would the cutting of my garments would serve theturn, or the breaking of my Spanish sword.

PAROLLES

I'm thinking maybe cutting my garments would do the trick, or breaking my Spanish sword.

SECOND LORD

We cannot afford you so.

SECOND LORD

[To himself] The army can't afford that.

PAROLLES

Or the baring of my beard; and to say it was instratagem.

PAROLLES

Or cutting off my beard and saying I lost it in a fight.

SECOND LORD

'Twould not do.

SECOND LORD

[To himself] That wouldn't do.

PAROLLES

Or to drown my clothes, and say I was stripped.

PAROLLES

Or to drown my clothes and say they were stripped off me.

SECOND LORD

Hardly serve.

SECOND LORD

[To himself] That would hardly serve.

PAROLLES

Though I swore I leaped from the window of the citadel.

PAROLLES

And I'd swear that I leapt from the window of the fortress.

SECOND LORD

How deep?

SECOND LORD

[To himself] How deep?

PAROLLES

Thirty fathom.

PAROLLES

Thirty fathoms.

SECOND LORD

Three great oaths would scarce make that be believed.

SECOND LORD

[To himself] Even if you swore three great oaths, that would hardly be believable.

PAROLLES

I would I had any drum of the enemy's: I would swearI recovered it.

PAROLLES

I wish I had any drum belonging to the enemy. I would swear I had stolen it back.

SECOND LORD

You shall hear one anon.

SECOND LORD

[To himself] You'll hear one soon.

PAROLLES

A drum now of the enemy's,—

PAROLLES

A drum now of the enemy's—

Alarum within

SECOND LORD

Throca movousus, cargo, cargo, cargo.

SECOND LORD

Throca movousus, cargo, cargo, cargo.

ALL

Cargo, cargo, cargo, villiando par corbo, cargo.

ALL

Cargo, cargo, cargo, villiando par corbo, cargo.

PAROLLES

O, ransom, ransom! do not hide mine eyes.

PAROLLES

Oh, I'll pay ransom, I'll pay ransom! Don't cover my eyes!

They seize and blindfold him

FIRST SOLDIER

Boskos thromuldo boskos.

FIRST SOLDIER

Boskos thromuldo boskos.

PAROLLES

I know you are the Muskos' regiment: And I shall lose my life for want of language; If there be here German, or Dane, low Dutch, Italian, or French, let him speak to me; I'll Discover that which shall undo the Florentine.

PAROLLES

I know you are the Muscovite regiment. And I shall lose my life since I don't speak the language. If anyone here is German or Danish, Dutch, Italian, or French, let him speak to me. I'll reveal a secret that will destroy the Florentine.

FIRST SOLDIER

Boskos vauvado: I understand thee, and can speakthy tongue. Kerely bonto, sir, betake thee to thyfaith, for seventeen poniards are at thy bosom.

FIRST SOLDIER

Boskos vauvado. I understand you and I can speak your language. Kerely bonto, sir, you'd better pay for seventeen swords are pointed at your chest.

PAROLLES

O!

PAROLLES

Oh!

FIRST SOLDIER

O, pray, pray, pray! Manka revania dulche.

FIRST SOLDIER

Oh, pray, pray, pray! Manka revania dulche.

SECOND LORD

Oscorbidulchos volivorco.

SECOND LORD

Oscorbidulchos volivorco.

FIRST SOLDIER

The general is content to spare thee yet; And, hoodwink'd as thou art, will lead thee on To gather from thee: haply thou mayst inform Something to save thy life.

FIRST SOLDIER

The general is still content to spare you. And, blindfolded as you are, will lead you on to get information from you. Maybe you can share information that will save your life.

PAROLLES

O, let me live! And all the secrets of our camp I'll show, Their force, their purposes; nay, I'll speak that Which you will wonder at.

PAROLLES

Oh, let me live! And I'll reveal all the secrets of our army. How many men there are, what our plans are. No, I'll speak things that you will wonder at.

FIRST SOLDIER

But wilt thou faithfully?

FIRST SOLDIER

But will you do so honestly?

PAROLLES

If I do not, damn me.

PAROLLES

If I don't, damn me.

FIRST SOLDIER

Acordo linta.Come on; thou art granted space.

FIRST SOLDIER

Acordo linta. Come on. You are granted an audience.

Exit, with PAROLLES guarded. A short alarum within

SECOND LORD

Go, tell the Count Rousillon, and my brother,We have caught the woodcock, and will keep him muffledTill we do hear from them.

SECOND LORD

Go, tell the Count Rousillon, and my brother, we have caught the fool, and will keep him tied up until we hear from them.

SECOND SOLDIER

Captain, I will.

SECOND SOLDIER

Captain, I will.

SECOND LORD

A' will betray us all unto ourselves:Inform on that.

SECOND LORD

He will betray us all to ourselves. Let them know that.

SECOND SOLDIER

So I will, sir.

SECOND SOLDIER

So I will, sir.

SECOND LORD

Till then I'll keep him dark and safely lock'd.

SECOND LORD

Till then I'll keep him blindfolded and securely imprisoned.

Exeunt

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).