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All's Well That Ends Well

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Act IV, Scene 1

Without the Florentine camp.


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

  • Second Lord. He can come no other way but by this hedge-corner.
    When you sally upon him, speak what terrible 1905
    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. Art not acquainted with him? knows he not thy voice?
  • Second Lord. But what linsey-woolsey hast thou to speak to us again?
  • Second Lord. He must think us some band of strangers i' the 1915
    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, 1920
    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.


  • 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 1930
    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.
  • Second Lord. This is the first truth that e'er thine own tongue
    was guilty of. 1935
  • 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 1940
    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
    Bajazet's mule, if you prattle me into these perils. 1945
  • Second Lord. Is it possible he should know what he is, and be
    that he is?
  • Parolles. I would the cutting of my garments would serve the
    turn, or the breaking of my Spanish sword.
  • Parolles. Or the baring of my beard; and to say it was in
  • Parolles. Or to drown my clothes, and say I was stripped.
  • Parolles. Though I swore I leaped from the window of the citadel.
  • Second Lord. Three great oaths would scarce make that be believed.
  • Parolles. I would I had any drum of the enemy's: I would swear 1960
    I recovered it.
  • Parolles. A drum now of the enemy's,—

[Alarum within]

  • Second Lord. Throca movousus, cargo, cargo, cargo. 1965
  • All. Cargo, cargo, cargo, villiando par corbo, cargo.
  • Parolles. O, ransom, ransom! do not hide mine eyes.

[They seize and blindfold him]

  • Parolles. I know you are the Muskos' regiment: 1970
    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.
  • First Soldier. Boskos vauvado: I understand thee, and can speak 1975
    thy tongue. Kerely bonto, sir, betake thee to thy
    faith, for seventeen poniards are at thy bosom.
  • 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.
  • Parolles. O, let me live! 1985
    And all the secrets of our camp I'll show,
    Their force, their purposes; nay, I'll speak that
    Which you will wonder at.

[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 muffled 1995
    Till we do hear from them.
  • Second Lord. A' will betray us all unto ourselves:
    Inform on that.
  • Second Lord. Till then I'll keep him dark and safely lock'd.