A line-by-line translation

All's Well That Ends Well

All's Well That Ends Well Translation Act 4, Scene 5

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Enter COUNTESS, LAFEU, and Clown

LAFEU

No, no, no, your son was misled with a snipt-taffeta fellow there, whose villanous saffron would have made all the unbaked and doughy youth of a nation in his colour: your daughter-in-law had been alive at this hour, and your son here at home, more advanced by the king than by that red-tailed humble-bee I speak of.

LAFEU

No, no, no, your son was misled by a fellow with his silk slashed there, who would have, in his villainy, made all the young and impressionable youth of a nation believe him and wear his same orange color. Your daughter-in-law could have been alive right now, and your son here at home, with greater honors from the king than from that red-tailed bumble-bee I speak of. 

COUNTESS

I would I had not known him; it was the death of the most virtuous gentlewoman that ever nature had praise for creating. If she had partaken of my flesh, and cost me the dearest groans of a mother, I could not have owed her a more rooted love.

COUNTESS

I wish I had never known him. This caused the death of the most virtuous lady that nature ever created. If she had been my own daughter, and made me groan in labor, I could not have loved her more deeply. 

LAFEU

'Twas a good lady, 'twas a good lady: we may pick athousand salads ere we light on such another herb.

LAFEU

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CLOWN

Indeed, sir, she was the sweet marjoram of thesalad, or rather, the herb of grace.

CLOWN

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LAFEU

They are not herbs, you knave; they are nose-herbs.

LAFEU

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CLOWN

I am no great Nebuchadnezzar, sir; I have not muchskill in grass.

CLOWN

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LAFEU

Whether dost thou profess thyself, a knave or a fool?

LAFEU

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CLOWN

A fool, sir, at a woman's service, and a knave at a man's.

CLOWN

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LAFEU

Your distinction?

LAFEU

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CLOWN

I would cozen the man of his wife and do his service.

CLOWN

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LAFEU

So you were a knave at his service, indeed.

LAFEU

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CLOWN

And I would give his wife my bauble, sir, to do her service.

CLOWN

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LAFEU

I will subscribe for thee, thou art both knave and fool.

LAFEU

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CLOWN

At your service.

CLOWN

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LAFEU

No, no, no.

LAFEU

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CLOWN

Why, sir, if I cannot serve you, I can serve asgreat a prince as you are.

CLOWN

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LAFEU

Who's that? a Frenchman?

LAFEU

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CLOWN

Faith, sir, a' has an English name; but his fisnomyis more hotter in France than there.

CLOWN

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LAFEU

What prince is that?

LAFEU

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CLOWN

The black prince, sir; alias, the prince ofdarkness; alias, the devil.

CLOWN

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LAFEU

Hold thee, there's my purse: I give thee not thisto suggest thee from thy master thou talkest of;serve him still.

LAFEU

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CLOWN

I am a woodland fellow, sir, that always loved a great fire; and the master I speak of ever keeps a good fire. But, sure, he is the prince of the world; let his nobility remain in's court. I am for the house with the narrow gate, which I take to be too little for pomp to enter: some that humble themselves may; but the many will be too chill and tender, and they'll be for the flowery way that leads to the broad gate and the great fire.

CLOWN

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LAFEU

Go thy ways, I begin to be aweary of thee; and I tell thee so before, because I would not fall out with thee. Go thy ways: let my horses be well looked to, without any tricks.

LAFEU

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CLOWN

If I put any tricks upon 'em, sir, they shall bejades' tricks; which are their own right by the law of nature.

CLOWN

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Exit

LAFEU

A shrewd knave and an unhappy.

LAFEU

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COUNTESS

So he is. My lord that's gone made himself much sport out of him : by his authority he remains here, which he thinks is a patent for his sauciness; and, indeed, he has no pace, but runs where he will.

COUNTESS

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LAFEU

I like him well; 'tis not amiss. And I was about to tell you, since I heard of the good lady's death and that my lord your son was upon his return home, I moved the king my master to speak in the behalf of my daughter; which, in the minority of them both, his majesty, out of a self-gracious remembrance, did first propose: his highness hath promised me to do it: and, to stop up the displeasure he hath conceived against your son, there is no fitter matter. How does your ladyship like it?

LAFEU

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COUNTESS

With very much content, my lord; and I wish ithappily effected.

COUNTESS

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LAFEU

His highness comes post from Marseilles, of as able body as when he numbered thirty: he will be here to-morrow, or I am deceived by him that in such intelligence hath seldom failed.

LAFEU

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COUNTESS

It rejoices me, that I hope I shall see him ere I die. I have letters that my son will be here to-night: I shall beseech your lordship to remain with me till they meet together.

COUNTESS

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LAFEU

Madam, I was thinking with what manners I mightsafely be admitted.

LAFEU

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COUNTESS

You need but plead your honourable privilege.

COUNTESS

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LAFEU

Lady, of that I have made a bold charter; but Ithank my God it holds yet.

LAFEU

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Re-enter Clown

CLOWN

O madam, yonder's my lord your son with a patch of velvet on's face: whether there be a scar under't or no, the velvet knows; but 'tis a goodly patch of velvet: his left cheek is a cheek of two pile and a half, but his right cheek is worn bare.

CLOWN

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LAFEU

A scar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good liveryof honour; so belike is that.

LAFEU

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CLOWN

But it is your carbonadoed face.

CLOWN

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LAFEU

Let us go see your son, I pray you: I long to talkwith the young noble soldier.

LAFEU

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CLOWN

Faith there's a dozen of 'em, with delicate finehats and most courteous feathers, which bow the headand nod at every man.

CLOWN

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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).