Document: All > Shakespeare > Comedies > All's Well That Ends Well > Act IV, scene I
[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.
First Soldier: Good captain, let me be the interpreter.
Second Lord: Art not acquainted with him? knows he not thy voice?
First Soldier: No, sir, I warrant you.
Second Lord: But what linsey-woolsey hast thou to speak to us again?
First Soldier: E'en such as 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.
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.
Second Lord: This is the first truth that e'er thine own tongue
was 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
Bajazet's mule, if you prattle me into these perils.
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.
Second Lord: We cannot afford you so.
PAROLLES: Or the baring of my beard; and to say it was in
Second Lord: 'Twould not do.
PAROLLES: Or to drown my clothes, and say I was stripped.
Second Lord: Hardly serve.
PAROLLES: Though I swore I leaped from the window of the citadel.
Second Lord: How deep?
PAROLLES: Thirty fathom.
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
I recovered it.
Second Lord: You shall hear one anon.
PAROLLES: A drum now of the enemy's,--
Second Lord: Throca movousus, cargo, cargo, cargo.
All: Cargo, cargo, cargo, villiando par corbo, cargo.
PAROLLES: O, ransom, ransom! do not hide mine eyes.
[They seize and blindfold him]
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.
First Soldier: Boskos vauvado: I understand thee, and can speak
thy tongue. Kerely bonto, sir, betake thee to thy
faith, for seventeen poniards are at thy bosom.
First Soldier: O, pray, pray, pray! Manka revania dulche.
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.
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.
First Soldier: But wilt thou faithfully?
PAROLLES: If I do not, damn me.
First Soldier: Acordo linta.
Come on; thou art granted space.
[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
Till we do hear from them.
Second Soldier: Captain, I will.
Second Lord: A' will betray us all unto ourselves:
Inform on that.
Second Soldier: So I will, sir.
Second Lord: Till then I'll keep him dark and safely lock'd.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL