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SCENE VI

Camp before Florence.
Enter BERTRAM and the two French Lords.

Sec. Lord.
Nay, good my lord, put him
to't; let him have his way.

First Lord.
If your lordship find him not a
hilding, hold me no more in your respect.

Sec. Lord.
On my life, my lord, a bubble.

Ber.
Do you think I am so far deceived in him?

Sec. Lord.
Believe it, my lord, in mine own
direct knowledge, without any malice, but to
speak of him as my kinsman, he's a most notable
coward, an infinite and endless liar, an
hourly promise-breaker, the owner of no one
good quality worthy your lordship's
entertainment.

First Lord.
It were fit you knew him; lest,
reposing too far in his virtue, which he hath
not, he might at some great and trusty business
in a main danger fail you.

Ber.
I would I knew in what particular action (19)
to try him.

First Lord.
None better than to let him
fetch off his drum, which you hear him so
confidently undertake to do.

Sec. Lord.
I, with a troop of Florentines,
will suddenly surprise him; such I will have,
whom I am sure he knows not from the enemy:
we will bind and hoodwink him so, that
he shall suppose no other but that he is carried
into the leaguer of the adversaries, when
we bring him to our own tents. Be but your
lordship present at his examination: if he do
not, for the promise of his life and in the highest
compulsion of base fear, offer to betray
you and deliver all the intelligence in his power
against you, and that with the divine forfeit
of his soul upon oath, never trust my judgement
in any thing.

First Lord.
O, for the love of laughter, let
him fetch his drum; he says he has a stratagem
for't: when your lordship sees the bottom
of his success in't, and to what metal this
counterfeit lump of ore will be melted, if you
give him not John Drum's entertainment, your
inclining cannot be removed. Here he comes. Enter PAROLLES.

Sec. Lord.
[Aside to Ber.]
O, for the love
of laughter, hinder not the honour of his design:
let him fetch off his drum in any hand.

Ber.
How now, monsieur! this drum sticks
sorely in your disposition.

First Lord.
A pox on't, let it go; 'tis but a (49)
drum.

Par.
'But a drum'! is't 'but a drum'? A
drum so lost! There was excellent command,
--to charge in with our horse upon our own
wings, and to rend our own soldiers!

First Lord.
That was not to be blamed in
the command of the service: it was a disaster
of war that Caesar himself could not have prevented,
if he had been there to command.

Ber.
Well, we cannot greatly condemn our
success: some dishonour we had in the loss of (60)
that drum; but it is not to be recovered.

Par.
It might have been recovered.

Ber.
It might; but it is not now.

Par.
It is to be recovered: but that the
merit of service is seldom attributed to the true
and exact performer, I would have that drum
or another, or 'hic jacet.'

Ber.
Why, if you have a stomach, to't,
monsieur: if you think your mystery in stratagem
can bring this instrument of honour again
into his native quarter, be magnanimous in the
enterprise and go on; I will grace the attempt
for a worthy exploit: if you speed well in it,
the duke shall both speak of it, and extend to
you what further becomes his greatness, even
to the utmost syllable of your worthiness.

Par.
By the hand of a soldier, I will undertake
it.

Ber.
But you must not now slumber in it.

Par.
I'll about it this evening: and I will
presently pen down my dilemmas, encourage
myself in my certainty, put myself into my
mortal preparation; and by midnight look to
hear further from me.

Ber.
May I be bold to acquaint his grace
you are gone about it?

Par.
I know not what the success will be,
my lord; but the attempt I vow.

Ber.
I know thou'rt valiant: and, to the
possibility of thy soldiership, will subscribe for (90)
thee. Farewell.

Par.
I love not many words. [Exit.

Sec. Lord.
No more than a fish loves water.
Is not this a strange fellow, my lord, that
so confidently seems to undertake this business,
which he knows is not to be done; damns himself
to do and dares better be damned than to
do't?

First Lord.
You do not know him, my
lord, as we do: certain it is, that he will steal
himself into a man's favour and for a week escape
a great deal of discoveries; but when (101)
you find him out, you have him ever after.

Ber.
Why, do you think he will make no
deed at all of this that so seriously he does address
himself unto?

Sec. Lord.
None in the world; but return
with an invention and clap upon you two or
three probable lies: but we have almost embossed
him: you shall see his fall to-night;
for indeed he is not for your lordship's
respect.

First Lord.
We'll make you some sport
with the fox ere we case him. He was first
smoked by the old lord Lafeu: when his disguise
and he is parted, tell me what a sprat
you shall find him; which you shall see this
very night.

Sec. Lord.
I must go look my twigs: he
shall be caught.

Ber.
Your brother he shall go along with me.

Sec. Lord.
As't please your lordship; I'll
leave you. [Exit.

Ber.
Now will I lead you to the house, and show you
The lass I spoke of.

First Lord.
But you say she's honest.

Ber.
That's all the fault: I spoke with her but once
And found her wondrous cold; but I sent to her,
By this same coxcomb that we have i' the wind,
Tokens and letters which she did re-send;
And this is all I have done. She's a fair creature:
Will you go see her?

First Lord.
With all my heart, my lord. [Exeunt.

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