All's Well That Ends Well

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Act III, Scene 6

Camp before Florence.

       
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[Enter BERTRAM and the two French Lords]

  • Second Lord. Nay, good my lord, put him to't; let him have his
    way. 1730
  • First Lord. If your lordship find him not a hilding, hold me no
    more in your respect.
  • Bertram. Do you think I am so far deceived in him?
  • Second Lord. Believe it, my lord, in mine own direct knowledge, 1735
    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. 1740
  • 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.
  • Bertram. I would I knew in what particular action to try him.
  • First Lord. None better than to let him fetch off his drum, 1745
    which you hear him so confidently undertake to do.
  • Second 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 1750
    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 1755
    intelligence in his power against you, and that with
    the divine forfeit of his soul upon oath, never
    trust my judgment 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 1760
    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. 1765

[Enter PAROLLES]

  • Second Lord. [Aside to BERTRAM] O, for the love of laughter,
    hinder not the honour of his design: let him fetch
    off his drum in any hand.
  • Bertram. How now, monsieur! this drum sticks sorely in your 1770
    disposition.
  • First Lord. A pox on't, let it go; 'tis but a drum.
  • Parolles. '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! 1775
  • 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.
  • Bertram. Well, we cannot greatly condemn our success: some 1780
    dishonour we had in the loss of that drum; but it is
    not to be recovered.
  • Parolles. It might have been recovered.
  • Bertram. It might; but it is not now.
  • Parolles. It is to be recovered: but that the merit of 1785
    service is seldom attributed to the true and exact
    performer, I would have that drum or another, or
    'hic jacet.'
  • Bertram. Why, if you have a stomach, to't, monsieur: if you
    think your mystery in stratagem can bring this 1790
    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 1795
    greatness, even to the utmost syllable of your
    worthiness.
  • Parolles. By the hand of a soldier, I will undertake it.
  • Bertram. But you must not now slumber in it.
  • Parolles. I'll about it this evening: and I will presently 1800
    pen down my dilemmas, encourage myself in my
    certainty, put myself into my mortal preparation;
    and by midnight look to hear further from me.
  • Bertram. May I be bold to acquaint his grace you are gone about it?
  • Parolles. I know not what the success will be, my lord; but 1805
    the attempt I vow.
  • Bertram. I know thou'rt valiant; and, to the possibility of
    thy soldiership, will subscribe for thee. Farewell.

[Exit]

  • Second 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? 1815
  • 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 you find him out, you have him ever after.
  • Bertram. Why, do you think he will make no deed at all of 1820
    this that so seriously he does address himself unto?
  • Second 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. 1825
  • 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. 1830
  • Second Lord. I must go look my twigs: he shall be caught.
  • Bertram. Your brother he shall go along with me.
  • Second Lord. As't please your lordship: I'll leave you.

[Exit]

  • Bertram. Now will I lead you to the house, and show you 1835
    The lass I spoke of.
  • Bertram. 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, 1840
    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?

[Exeunt]

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