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SCENE III

The Florentine camp.
Enter the two French Lords and some two or three Soldiers.

First Lord.
You have not given him his
mother's letter?

Sec. Lord.
I have delivered it an hour
since: there is something in't that stings his
nature; for on the reading it he changed almost
into another man.

First Lord.
He has much worthy blame
laid upon him for shaking off so good a wife (9)
and so sweet a lady.

Sec. Lord.
Especially he hath incurred the
everlasting displeasure 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.

First Lord.
When you have spoken it, 'tis
dead, and I am the grave of it.

Sec. 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 honour: he hath given her his
monumental ring, and thinks himself made in
the unchaste composition.

First Lord.
Now, God delay our rebellion!
as we are ourselves. what things are we!

Sec. 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 he that in this action
contrives against his own nobility, in his (30)
proper stream o'erflows himself.

First Lord.
Is it not meant damnable in
us, to be trumpeters of our unlawful intents?
We shall not then have his company to-night?

Sec. Lord.
Not till after midnight; for he
is dieted to his hour.

First Lord.
That approaches apace; I
would gladly have him see his company anatomized,
that he might take a measure of his
his own judgements, wherein so curiously he had (40)
set this counterfeit.

Sec. Lord.
We will not meddle with him
till he come; for his presence must be the
whip of the other.

First Lord.
In the mean time, what hear
you of these wars?

Sec. Lord.
I hear there is an overture of
peace.

First Lord.
Nay, I assure you, a peace
concluded.

Sec. Lord.
What will Count Rousillon do
then? will he travel higher, or return again (51)
into France?

First Lord.
I perceive, by this demand,
you are not altogether of his council.

Sec. Lord.
Let it be forbid, sir; so should
I be a great deal of his act.

First Lord.
Sir, his wife some two months
since fled from his house: her pretence is a
pilgrimage to Saint Jaques 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.

Sec. Lord.
How is this justified?

First 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 of (60)
the place. (70)

Sec. Lord.
Hath the count all this intelligence?

First Lord.
Ay, and the particular confirmations,
point from point, to the full arming
of the verity.

Sec. Lord.
I am heartily sorry that he'll
be glad of this.

First Lord.
How mightily sometimes we
make us comforts of our losses!

Sec. Lord.
And how mightily some other
times we drown our gain in tears! The great
dignity that his valour hath here acquired for
him shall at home be encountered with a
shame as ample.

First 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 despair, if
they were not cherished by our virtues. Enter a Messenger.
How now! where's your master?

Serv.
He met the duke in the street, sir,
of whom he hath taken a solemn leave: his lordship
will next morning for France. The duke
hath offered him letters of commendations to
the king.

Sec. Lord.
They shall be no more than
needful there, if they were more than they can commend.

First Lord.
They cannot be too sweet for
the king's tartness. Here's his lordship now. Enter BERTRAM.
How now, my lord! is't not after midnight?

Ber.
I have to-night dispatched sixteen
businesses a month's length a-piece, by an abstract
of success: I have 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
effected many nicer needs: the last was
the greatest, but that I have not ended yet.

Sec. Lord.
If the business be of any difficulty,
and this morning your departure hence, (109)
it requires haste of your lordship.

Ber.
I mean, the business is not ended, as
fearing to hear of it hereafter. But shall we
have this dialogue between the fool and the
soldier? Come, bring forth this counterfeit
module, has deceived me, like a double-meaning
prophesier.

Sec. Lord.
Bring him forth: has sat i' the
stocks all night, poor gallant knave.

Ber.
No matter; his heels have deserved
it, in usurping his spurs so long. How does he (120)
carry himself?

Sec. Lord.
I have told your lordship already
the stocks carry him. But to answer you
as you would be understood; 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' the stocks: and what think you he hath
confessed? (129)

Ber.
Nothing of me, has a'?

Sec. 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 PAROLLES guarded, and First Soldier.

Ber.
A plague upon him! muffled! he can
say nothing of me: hush, hush!

First Lord.
Hoodman comes!
Portotartarosa.

First Sold.
He calls for the tortures: what
will you say without 'em?

Par.
I will confess what I know without
constraint: if ye pinch me like a pasty, I can (141)
say no more.

First Sold.
Bosko chimurcho.

First Lord.
Boblibindo chicurmurco.

First Sold.
You are a merciful general.
Our general bids you answer to what I shall
ask you out of a note.

Par.
And truly, as I hope to live.

First Sold.
[Reads]
'First demand of him
how many horse the duke is strong.' What (150)
say you to that?

Par.
Five or six thousand; but very weak
and unserviceable: the troops are all scattered,
and the commanders very poor rogues,
upon my reputation and credit and as I hope
to live.

First Sold.
Shall I set down your answer
so?

Par.
Do: I'll take the sacrament on't, how
and which way you will.

Ber.
All's one to him. What a past-saving (159)
slave is this!

First Lord.
You're deceived, my lord: this
is Monsieur Parolles, the gallant militarist,--
that was his own phrase,--that had the whole
theoric of war in the knot of his scarf, and the
practice in the chape of his dagger.

Sec. Lord.
I will never trust a man again
for keeping his sword clean, nor believe he
can have every thing in him by wearing his
apparel neatly. (169)

First Sold.
Well, that's set down.

Par.
Five or six thousand horse, I said,--
I will say true,--or thereabouts, set down, for
I'll speak truth.

First Lord.
He's very near the truth in
this.

Ber.
But I con him no thanks for't, in the
nature he delivers it.

Par.
Poor rogues, I pray you, say.

First Sold.
Well, that's set down.

Par.
I humbly thank you, sir: a truth's a (179)
truth, the rogues are marvellous poor.

First Sold.
[Reads]
'Demand of him, of
what strength they are a-foot.' What say you
to that?

Par.
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
hundred and fifty each; mine own company,
Chitopher, Vaumond, Bentii, two hundred and
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, lest
they shake themselves to pieces.

Ber.
What shall be done to him?

First Lord.
Nothing, but let him have
thanks. Demand of him my condition, and
what credit I have with the duke.

First Sold.
Well, that's set down. [Reads]
'You shall demand of him, whether one Captain
Dumain be i' the camp, a Frenchman;
what his reputation is with the duke; what
his valour, honesty, and expertness in wars; or
whether he thinks it were not possible, with
well-weighing sums of gold, to corrupt him to
a revolt.' What say you to this? what do you
know of it?

Par.
I beseech you, let me answer to the
particular of the inter'gatories: demand them
singly.

First Sold.
Do you know this Captain (210)
Dumain?

Par.
I know him: a' was a botcher's 'prentice
in Paris, from whence he was whipped for
getting the shrieve's fool with child,--a dumb
innocent, that could not say him nay.

Ber.
Nay, by your leave, hold your hands;
though I know his brains are forfeit to the
next tile that falls.

First Sold.
Well, is the captain in the (219)
duke of Florence's camp?

Par.
Upon my knowledge, he is, and lousy.

First Lord.
Nay, look not so upon me; we
shall hear of your lordship anon.

First Sold.
What is his reputation with the
duke?

Par.
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' the band: I think
I have his letter in my pocket. (229)

First Sold.
Marry, we'll search.

Par.
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.

First Sold.
Here 'tis; here's a paper: shall
I read it to you?

Par.
I do not know if it be it or no.

Ber.
Our interpreter does it well.

First Lord.
Excellently.

First Sold.
[Reads]
'Dian, the count's a
fool, and full of gold,'--

Par.
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 Rousillon, a foolish idle
boy, but for all that very ruttish: I pray you,
sir, put it up again.

First Sold.
Nay, I'll read it first, by your
favour.

Par.
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 (250)
devours up all the fry it finds.

Ber.
Damnable both-sides rogue!

First Sold.
[Reads.] '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;
He 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.
Thine, as he vowed to thee in thine ear,
PAROLLES.'

Ber.
He shall be whipped through the army
with this rhyme in's forehead.

Sec. Lord.
This is your devoted friend, sir,
the manifold linguist and the armipotent
soldier.

Ber.
I could endure any thing before but
a cat, and now he's a cat to me.

First Sold.
I perceive, sir, by the general's (269)
looks, we shall be fain to hang you.

Par.
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' the
stocks, or any where, so I may live.

First Sold.
We'll see what may be done,
so you confess freely; therefore, once more to
this Captain Dumain: you have answered to
his reputation with the duke and to his valor: (279)
what is his honesty?

Par.
He will steal, sir, an egg out of a
cloister: for rapes and ravishments he parallels
Nessus: he professes not 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 bed-clothes about him; but
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.

First Lord.
I begin to love him for this.

Ber.
For this description of thine honesty?
A pox upon him for me, he's more and more
a cat.

First Sold.
What say you to his expertness
in war?

Par.
Faith, sir, has led the drum before
the English tragedians; to belie him, I will not,
and more of his soldiership I know not; except,
in that country he had the honour to be
the officer at a place there called Mile-end, to
instruct for the doubling of files: I would do
the man what honour I can, but of this I am
not certain.

First Lord.
He hath out-villained villany so
far, that the rarity redeems him.

Ber.
A pox on him, he's a cat still.

First Sold.
His qualities being at this poor
price, I need not to ask you if gold will corrupt (310)
him to revolt.

Par.
Sir, for a quart d'ecu he will sell the
fee-simple of his salvation, the inheritance of
it; and cut the entail from all remainders, and
a perpetual succession for it perpetually.

First Sold.
What's his brother, the other
Captain Dumain?

Sec. Lord.
Why does he ask him of me?

First Sold.
What's he?

Par.
E'en a crow o' the same nest; 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
outruns any lackey; marry, in coming on he
has the cramp.

First Sold.
If your life be saved, will you
undertake to betray the Florentine?

Par.
Ay, and the captain of his horse,
Count Rousillon.

First Sold.
I'll whisper with the general, (330)
and know his pleasure.

Par.
[Aside]
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
into this danger. Yet who would have suspected
an ambush where I was taken?

First Sold.
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 reports of
men very nobly held, can serve the world for
no honest use; therefore you must die. Come,
headsman, off with his head.

Par.
O Lord, sir, let me live, or let me see
my death!

First Sold.
That shall you, and take your
leave of all your friends. [Unblinding him.
So, look about you: know you any here? (349)

Ber.
Good morrow, noble captain.

Sec. Lord.
God bless you, Captain Parolles.

First Lord.
God save you, noble captain.

Sec. Lord.
Captain, what greeting will you
to my Lord Lafeu? I am for France.

First Lord.
Good captain, will you give me
a copy of the sonnet you writ to Diana in behalf
of the Count Rousillon? an I were not a
very coward, I'ld compel it of you: but fare
you well. [Exeunt Bertram and Lords.

First Sold.
You are undone, captain, all (359)
but your scarf; that has a knot on't yet.

Par.
Who cannot be crushed with a plot?

First Sold.
If you could find out a country
where but women 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 Soldiers.

Par.
Yet am I thankful: if my heart were great,
'Twould burst at this. Captain I'll be no more;
But I will eat and drink, and sleep as soft
As captain shall: simply the thing I am (370)
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.
Rust, sword! cool, blushes! and, Parolles, live
Safest in shame! being fool'd, by foolery thrive!
There's place and means for every man alive.
I'll after them. [Exit.

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