List iconAll’s Well That Ends WellList icon

All’s Well That Ends Well
Act 4, scene 1

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Characters in the Play

Entire Play

In All’s Well That Ends Well, a woman is given in marriage to the man she longs for, but, because she…

Act 1, scene 1

Bertram, having become a ward of the court upon his father’s death, departs from Rossillion. Helen, whose own physician-father has…

Act 1, scene 2

The King of France refuses to take sides in the war between Siena and Florence, giving his courtiers permission to…

Act 1, scene 3

Bertram’s mother, the Countess of Rossillion, learns of Helen’s love for Bertram and forces Helen to confess this secret. When…

Act 2, scene 1

The King bids farewell to the French courtiers going off to war, having commanded Bertram to remain behind. Helen arrives…

Act 2, scene 2

The Countess sends the Fool to the court with a letter for Helen.

Act 2, scene 3

Having cured the King, Helen is given several courtiers from whom to choose a husband as her reward. When she…

Act 2, scene 4

Parolles brings Helen word that Bertram is leaving for Tuscany and that she is to get permission from the King…

Act 2, scene 5

Bertram is warned that Parolles is an untrustworthy coward. Bertram gives Helen a letter and instructs her to go immediately…

Act 3, scene 1

The Duke of Florence greets French courtiers who have come to fight on his side.

Act 3, scene 2

The Fool returns to Rossillion with a letter from Bertram that tells the Countess of his plan to run away…

Act 3, scene 3

Bertram is put in command of the Duke of Florence’s cavalry.

Act 3, scene 4

The Countess is given the letter left for her by Helen, in which Helen sets out her intention to make…

Act 3, scene 5

Helen, on her pilgrimage, meets Diana, whom Bertram has been attempting to seduce.

Act 3, scene 6

The French lords in Florence decide that Parolles’ unhappiness about the loss of the troop’s drum can be used as…

Act 3, scene 7

Helen enlists Diana’s mother in contriving to meet Bertram’s conditions. Diana will agree to sleep with Bertram on the condition…

Act 4, scene 1

Parolles is captured and blindfolded by a French lord and soldiers pretending to be the enemy who can speak to…

Act 4, scene 2

Diana agrees to lie with Bertram after he reluctantly gives her his ancestral ring.

Act 4, scene 3

News comes to the Duke of Florence’s court that Bertram’s wife has died while on pilgrimage. When Bertram enters, he…

Act 4, scene 4

Helen sets out with Diana and Diana’s mother to seek the King of France in Marseilles.

Act 4, scene 5

The Countess, who has learned of Helen’s death, receives word that the King of France is approaching Rossillion and then…

Act 5, scene 1

Helen finds herself unable to petition the King because he has already departed for Rossillion.

Act 5, scene 2

Parolles arrives at Rossillion and persuades Lafew to take him into his service.

Act 5, scene 3

The King forgives Bertram and agrees to a marriage between Bertram and Lafew’s daughter. Bertram gives Lafew a ring, which…

Act 5, epilogue

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Scene 1
Enter one of the French Lords, with five or six other
Soldiers in ambush.


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
5 understand him, unless some one among us whom
 we must produce for an interpreter.
FIRST SOLDIER Good captain, let me be th’ interpreter.
LORD Art not acquainted with him? Knows he not thy
 voice?
FIRST SOLDIER 10No, sir, I warrant you.
LORD But what linsey-woolsey hast thou to speak to
 us again?
FIRST SOLDIER E’en such as you speak to me.
LORD He must think us some band of strangers i’ th’
15 adversary’s entertainment. Now, he hath a smack
 of all neighboring 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,
20 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
139

141
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 4. SC. 1

 a sleep and then to return and swear the lies he
 forges.They move aside.

Enter Parolles.

PAROLLES 25Ten 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
30 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.
LORD, aside This is the first truth that e’er thine own
 tongue was guilty of.
PAROLLES 35What 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.
40 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.
LORD, aside 45Is 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.
LORD, aside 50We cannot afford you so.
PAROLLES Or the baring of my beard, and to say it was
 in stratagem.
LORD, aside ’Twould not do.
PAROLLES Or to drown my clothes and say I was
55 stripped.
LORD, aside Hardly serve.

143
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 4. SC. 1

PAROLLES Though I swore I leapt from the window of
 the citadel—
LORD, aside How deep?
PAROLLES 60Thirty fathom.
LORD, aside 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.
LORD, aside 65You shall hear one anon.
PAROLLES A drum, now, of the enemy’s—
Alarum within.
LORD, advancing Throca movousus, cargo, cargo,
 cargo.

ALL Cargo, cargo, cargo, villianda par corbo, cargo.
They seize him.
PAROLLES 70O ransom, ransom! Do not hide mine eyes.
They 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,
75 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. Kerelybonto, sir, betake thee
 to thy faith, for seventeen poniards are at thy
80 bosom.
PAROLLES O!
FIRST SOLDIER O, pray, pray, pray! Manka reuania
 dulche.

LORD Oscorbidulchos voliuorco.
FIRST SOLDIER 
85 The General is content to spare thee yet
 And, hoodwinked as thou art, will lead thee on
 To gather from thee. Haply thou mayst inform
 Something to save thy life.

145
All’s Well That Ends Well
ACT 4. SC. 2

PAROLLES  O, let me live,
90 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 95Acordo linta. Come on, thou art
 granted space.
He exits with Parolles under guard.
A short alarum within.
LORD 
 Go tell the Count Rossillion and my brother
 We have caught the woodcock and will keep him
 muffled
100 Till we do hear from them.
SECOND SOLDIER  Captain, I will.
LORD 
 He will betray us all unto ourselves.
 Inform on that.
SECOND SOLDIER So I will, sir.
LORD 
105 Till then I’ll keep him dark and safely locked.
They exit.