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  • Title: All's Well That Ends Well (Modern)
  • Editors: Andrew Griffin, Helen Ostovich
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-432-5

    Copyright Helen Ostovich and Andrew Griffin. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editors: Andrew Griffin, Helen Ostovich
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    All's Well That Ends Well (Modern)

    Enter the two French Lords, [1 Lord and 2 Lord,] and some two or three Soldiers.
    1 Lord You have not given him his mother's letter?
    2 Lord I have delivered it an hour since. There is 2110something in't that stings his nature, for on the reading it he changed almost into another man.
    1 Lord He has much worthy blame laid upon him for shaking off so good a wife and so sweet a lady.
    2 Lord Especially he hath incurred the everlasting 2115displeasure of the king, who had even tuned his bounty to sing happiness to him. I will tell you a thing, but you shall let it dwell darkly with you.
    1 Lord When you have spoken it, 'tis dead, and I am the grave of it.
    21202 Lord He hath perverted a young gentlewoman here in Florence, of a most chaste renown, and this night he fleshes his will in the spoil of her honor. He hath given her his monumental ring, and thinks himself made in the unchaste composition.
    21251 Lord Now God delay our rebellion! As we are ourselves, what things are we?
    2 Lord Merely our own traitors. And, as in the common course of all treasons, we still see them reveal themselves till they attain to their abhorred ends, so 2130he that in this action contrives against his own nobility, in his proper stream o'erflows himself.
    1 Lord Is it not meant damnable in us to be trumpeters of our unlawful intents? We shall not then have his company tonight?
    21352 Lord Not till after midnight, for he is dieted to his hour.
    1 Lord That approaches apace. I would gladly have him see his company anatomized, that he might take a measure of his own judgments, wherein so curiously 2140he had set this counterfeit.
    2 Lord We will not meddle with him till he come, for his presence must be the whip of the other.
    1 Lord In the meantime, what hear you of these wars?
    21452 Lord I hear there is an overture of peace.
    1 Lord Nay, I assure you a peace concluded.
    2 Lord What will Count Roussillon do then? Will he travel higher, or return again into France?
    1 Lord I perceive by this demand, you are not 2150altogether of his counsel.
    2 Lord Let it be forbid, sir. So should I be a great deal of his act.
    1 Lord Sir, his wife some two months since fled from his house. Her pretence is a pilgrimage to Saint 2155Jaques le Grand, which holy undertaking, with most austere sanctimony, she accomplished; and there residing, the tenderness of her nature became as a prey to her grief; in fine, made a groan of her last breath, and now she sings in heaven.
    21602 Lord How is this justified?
    1 Lord The stronger part of it by her own letters, which makes her story true, even to the point of her death. Her death itself, which could not be her office to say is come, was faithfully confirmed by the rector 2165of the place.
    2 Lord Hath the count all this intelligence?
    1 Lord Ay, and the particular confirmations, point from point, to the full arming of the verity.
    2 Lord I am heartily sorry that he'll be glad of 2170this.
    1 Lord How mightily sometimes we make us comforts of our losses.
    2 Lord And how mightily some other times we drown our gain in tears. The great dignity that his 2175valor hath here acquired for him shall at home be encountered with a shame as ample.
    1 Lord The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together. Our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not, and our crimes would 2180despair if they were not cherished by our virtues.
    Enter a Messenger.
    How now? Where's your master?
    Messenger He met the duke in the street sir, of whom he hath taken a solemn leave. His lordship will next 2185morning for France. The duke hath offered him letters of commendations to the king.
    2 Lord They shall be no more than needful there, if they were more than they can commend.
    Enter Bertram, Count Roussillon.
    21901 Lord They cannot be too sweet for the king's tartness. Here's his lordship now. --How now, my lord, is't not after midnight?
    Bertram I have tonight dispatched sixteen businesses, a month's length apiece. By an abstract of success: I 2195have congied with the duke, done my adieu with his nearest, buried a wife, mourned for her, writ to my lady mother I am returning, entertained my convoy, and, between these main parcels of dispatch, affected many nicer needs. The last was the greatest, but that I have 2200not ended yet.
    2 Lord If the business be of any difficulty, and this morning your departure hence, it requires haste of your lordship.
    Bertram I mean the business is not ended, as fearing 2205to hear of it hereafter. But shall we have this dialogue between the fool and the soldier? Come, bring forth this counterfeit module; he's deceived me like a double-meaning prophesier.
    2 Lord [To soldiers] Bring him forth.
    [Exeunt some soldiers.]
    He's sat i'th'stocks all night, 2210poor gallant knave.
    Bertram No matter: his heels have deserved it in usurping his spurs so long. How does he carry himself?
    2 Lord I have told your lordship already: the stocks carry him. But to answer you as you would be 2215understood, he weeps like a wench that had shed her milk. He hath confessed himself to Morgan, whom he supposes to be a friar, from the time of his remembrance to this very instant disaster of his setting i'th'stocks. And what think you he hath confessed?
    2220Bertram Nothing of me, has'a?
    2 Lord His confession is taken, and it shall be read to his face; if your lordship be in't, as I believe you are, you must have the patience to hear it.
    Enter Paroles[, blindfolded and guarded,] with his Interpreter[, 1 Soldier]
    2225Bertram [Aside] A plague upon him! Muffled! He can say nothing of me. -- Hush, hush!
    1 Lord [Aside to the others] Hoodman comes. [Aloud] Portotartarossa.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"[To Paroles] He calls for the tortures. What will you say without 'em?
    2230Paroles I will confess what I know without constraint. If ye pinch me like a pasty, I can say no more.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"Bosko Chimurcho.
    1 Lord Boblibindo chicurmurco.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"You are a merciful general. -- Our general 2235bids you answer to what I shall ask you out of a note.
    Paroles And truly, as I hope to live.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"[Pretends to read] "First, demand of him how many horse the duke is strong." What say you to that?
    Paroles Five or six thousand, but very weak and 2240unserviceable: the troops are all scattered, and the commanders very poor rogues, upon my reputation and credit, and as I hope to live.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"Shall I set down your answer so?
    Paroles Do; I'll take the sacrament on't, how and which 2245way you will.
    Bertram [Aside to the Lords] All's one to him. What a past-saving slave is this!
    1 Lord [Aside to Bertram and 2 Lord] You're deceived, my lord, this is Monsieur Paroles, the gallant militarist -- that was his own phrase -- that had the whole theoric of war in the knot of his 2250scarf, and the practice in the chape of his dagger.
    2 Lord [Aside to Bertram and 1 Lord] I will never trust a man again for keeping his sword clean, nor believe he can have everything in him by wearing his apparel neatly.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"Well, that's set down.
    2255Paroles 'Five or six thousand horse,' I said -- I will say true -- 'or thereabouts,' set down, for I'll speak truth.
    1 Lord [Aside to Bertram and 2 Lord] He's very near the truth in this.
    Bertram [Aside to the Lords] But I con him no thanks for't, in the nature he delivers it.
    2260Paroles "Poor rogues," I pray you say.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"Well, that's set down.
    Paroles I humbly thank you, sir. A truth's a truth: the rogues are marvelous poor.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter"[Pretends to read] "Demand of him of what strength they are 2265afoot." What say you to that?
    Paroles By my troth, sir, if I were to live this present hour, I will tell true. Let me see: Spurio, a hundred and fifty; Sebastian, so many; Corambus, so many; Jaques, so many; Guiltian, Cosmo, Lodowick and Gratii, two 2270hundred fifty each; mine own company, Chitopher, Vaumond, Bentii, two hundred fifty each. So that the muster file, rotten and sound, upon my life, amounts not to fifteen thousand poll, half of the which dare not shake the snow from off their cassocks least they shake 2275themselves to pieces.
    Bertram What shall be done to him?
    1 Lord Nothing but let him have thanks. -- [To 1 Soldier] Demand of him my condition, and what credit I have with the duke.
    22801 Soldier OR "Interpreter" Well, that's set down. [Pretends to read] 'You shall demand of him whether one Captain Dumaine be i'th'camp, a Frenchman, what his reputation is with the duke, what his valor, honesty, and expertness in wars, or whether he thinks it were not possible with well-weighing 2285sums of gold to corrupt him to a revolt.' What say you to this? What do you know of it?
    Paroles I beseech you let me answer to the particular of the inter'gatories. Demand them singly.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter" Do you know this Captain Dumaine?
    2290Paroles I know him; a was a botcher's prentice in Paris, from whence he was whipped for getting the sheriff's fool with child, a dumb innocent that could not say him nay.
    [1 Lord moves to strike Paroles]
    Bertram [Aside to 1 Lord] Nay, by your leave, hold your hands, though I 2295know his brains are forfeit to the next tile that falls.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter" Well, is this captain in the Duke of Florence's camp?
    Paroles Upon my knowledge he is, and lousy.
    1 Lord [To Bertram] Nay, look not so upon me. We shall hear of 2300your lordship anon.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter" What is his reputation with the duke?
    Paroles The duke knows him for no other but a poor officer of mine, and writ to me this other day to turn him out o'th'band. I think I have his letter in my 2305pocket.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter" Marry, we'll search.
    Paroles In good sadness, I do not know; either it is there or it is upon a file with the duke's other letters in my tent.
    23101 Soldier as "Interpreter" Here 'tis, here's a paper. Shall I read it to you?
    Paroles I do not know if it be it or no.
    Bertram [Aside to the Lords] Our interpreter does it well.
    1 Lord [Aside to Bertram] Excellently.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter" [Reads] Dian, the count's a fool, and full of gold.
    2315Paroles That is not the duke's letter, sir; that is an advertisement to a proper maid in Florence, one Diana, to take heed of the allurement of one Count Roussillon, a foolish idle boy, but for all that very ruttish. I pray you, sir, put it up again.
    23201 Soldier as "Interpreter" Nay, I'll read it first, by your favor.
    Paroles My meaning in't, I protest, was very honest in the behalf of the maid, for I knew the young count to be a dangerous and lascivious boy who is a whale to virginity, and devours up all the fry it finds.
    2325Bertram [Aside] Damnable both-sides rogue!
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter" [Reads the letter.] "When he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and take it;
    After he scores, he never pays the score.
    Half won is match well made; match, and well make it.
    2330He ne'er pays after-debts, take it before,
    And say a soldier, Dian, told thee this:
    Men are to mell with, boys are not to kiss.
    For count of this, the count's a fool, I know it,
    Who pays before, but not when he does owe it.
    2335Thine, as he vowed to thee in thine ear,
    Bertram [Aside] He shall be whipped through the army with this rhyme in's forehead.
    2 Lord [Aside to Bertram] This is your devoted friend, sir, the manifold 2340linguist, and the armipotent soldier.
    Bertram [Aside] I could endure anything before but a cat, and now he's a cat to me.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter" I perceive, sir, by your general's looks, we shall be fain to hang you.
    2345Paroles My life, sir, in any case! Not that I am afraid to die, but, that my offences being many, I would repent out the remainder of nature. Let me live, sir, in a dungeon, i'th'stocks, or anywhere, so I may live.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter" We'll see what may be done, so you confess 2350freely; therefore, once more to this Captain Dumaine. You have answered to his reputation with the duke, and to his valor. What is his honesty?
    Paroles He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister. For rapes and ravishments, he parallels Nessus. He professes 2355not keeping of oaths -- in breaking 'em he is stronger than Hercules. He will lie, sir, with such volubility, that you would think truth were a fool. Drunkenness is his best virtue, for he will be swine-drunk, and in his sleep he does little harm, save to his bedclothes about him; 2360but they know his conditions, and lay him in straw. I have but little more to say, sir, of his honesty. He has every thing that an honest man should not have; what an honest man should have, he has nothing.
    1 Lord [Aside tp Bertram] I begin to love him for this.
    2365Bertram [Aside to 1 Lord] For this description of thine honesty? A pox upon him for me; he's more and more a cat.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter" What say you to his expertness in war?
    Paroles Faith, sir, he's led the drum before the English tragedians. To belie him I will not, and more of his 2370soldiership I know not, except in that country, he had the honor to be the officer at a place there called Mile End, to instruct for the doubling of files. I would do the man what honor I can, but of this I am not certain.
    1 Lord [Aside] He hath out-villained villainy so far that the 2375rarity redeems him.
    Bertram [Aside] A pox on him; he's a cat still.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter" His qualities being at this poor price, I need not to ask you if gold will corrupt him to revolt.
    Paroles Sir, for a cardecu he will sell the fee-simple of 2380his salvation, the inheritance of it, and cut th'entail from all remainders, and a perpetual succession for it perpetually.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter" What's his brother, the other Captain Dumaine?
    2 Lord [Aside to 1 Lord] Why does he ask him of me?
    23851 Soldier as "Interpreter" What's he?
    Paroles E'en a crow a'th'same nest: not altogether so great as the first in goodness, but greater a great deal in evil. He excels his brother for a coward, yet his brother is reputed one of the best that is. In a retreat, he 2390outruns any lackey. Marry, in coming on, he has the cramp.
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter" If your life be saved, will you undertake to betray the Florentine?
    Paroles Ay, and the captain of his horse, Count Roussillon.
    23951 Soldier as "Interpreter" I'll whisper with the general and know his pleasure.
    Paroles I'll no more drumming; a plague of all drums! Only to seem to deserve well, and to beguile the supposition of that lascivious young boy the count, have I run 2400into this danger. Yet who would have suspected an ambush where I was taken?
    1 Soldier as "Interpreter" There is no remedy, sir, but you must die. The general says you that have so traitorously discovered the secrets of your army, and made such pestiferous 2405reports of men very nobly held, can serve the world for no honest use. Therefore you must die. -- Come headsman, off with his head.
    Paroles Oh Lord, sir! Let me live, or let me see my death.
    1 Soldier That shall you, and take your leave of all your 2410friends.
    [He removes Paroles' blindfold.]
    So, look about you. Know you any here?
    Bertram Good morrow, noble captain.
    2 Lord God bless you, Captain Paroles.
    1 Lord God save you, noble captain.
    24152 Lord Captain, what greeting will you to my Lord Lafeu? I am for France.
    1 Lord Good captain, will you give me a copy of the sonnet you writ to Diana in behalf of the Count Roussillon? And I were not a very coward, I'd compel 2420it of you, but fare you well.
    Exeunt [Bertram, 1 Lord, and 2 Lord].
    1 Soldier You are undone, captain, all but your scarf that has a knot on't yet.
    Paroles Who cannot be crushed with a plot?
    1 Soldier If you could find out a country where but 2425women were that had received so much shame, you might begin an impudent nation. Fare ye well, sir, I am for France too. We shall speak of you there.
    Exit [with other soldiers].
    Paroles Yet am I thankful. If my heart were great
    'Twould burst at this. Captain I'll be no more,
    2430But I will eat, and drink, and sleep as soft
    As captain shall. Simply the thing I am
    Shall make me live. Who knows himself a braggart,
    Let him fear this, for it will come to pass,
    That every braggart shall be found an ass.
    2435Rust, sword; cool, blushes; and Paroles live
    Safest in shame. Being fooled, by fool'ry thrive;
    There's place and means for every man alive.
    I'll after them.