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Home > All's Well That Ends Well > ACT IV - SCENE III. The Florentine camp.

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ACT IV - SCENE III. The Florentine camp.
Enter the two French Lords and some two or three Soldiers

First Lord
1    You have not given him his mother's letter?
Second Lord
2    I have delivered it an hour since: there is
3    something in't that stings his nature; for on the
4    reading it he changed almost into another man.
First Lord
5    He has much worthy blame laid upon him for shaking
6    off so good a wife and so sweet a lady.
Second Lord
7    Especially he hath incurred the everlasting
8    displeasure of the king, who had even tuned his
9    bounty to sing happiness to him. I will tell you a
10   thing, but you shall let it dwell darkly with you.
First Lord
11   When you have spoken it, 'tis dead, and I am the
12   grave of it.
Second Lord
13   He hath perverted a young gentlewoman here in
14   Florence, of a most chaste renown; and this night he
15   fleshes his will in the spoil of her honour: he hath
16   given her his monumental ring, and thinks himself
17   made in the unchaste composition.
First Lord
18   Now, God delay our rebellion! as we are ourselves,
19   what things are we!
Second Lord
20   Merely our own traitors. And as in the common course
21   of all treasons, we still see them reveal
22   themselves, till they attain to their abhorred ends,
23   so he that in this action contrives against his own
24   nobility, in his proper stream o'erflows himself.
First Lord
25   Is it not meant damnable in us, to be trumpeters of
26   our unlawful intents? We shall not then have his
27   company to-night?
Second Lord
28   Not till after midnight; for he is dieted to his hour.
First Lord
29   That approaches apace; I would gladly have him see
30   his company anatomized, that he might take a measure
31   of his own judgments, wherein so curiously he had
32   set this counterfeit.
Second Lord
33   We will not meddle with him till he come; for his
34   presence must be the whip of the other.
First Lord
35   In the mean time, what hear you of these wars?
Second Lord
36   I hear there is an overture of peace.
First Lord
37   Nay, I assure you, a peace concluded.
Second Lord
38   What will Count Rousillon do then? will he travel
39   higher, or return again into France?
First Lord
40   I perceive, by this demand, you are not altogether
41   of his council.
Second Lord
42   Let it be forbid, sir; so should I be a great deal
43   of his act.
First Lord
44   Sir, his wife some two months since fled from his
45   house: her pretence is a pilgrimage to Saint Jaques
46   le Grand; which holy undertaking with most austere
47   sanctimony she accomplished; and, there residing the
48   tenderness of her nature became as a prey to her
49   grief; in fine, made a groan of her last breath, and
50   now she sings in heaven.
Second Lord
51   How is this justified?
First Lord
52   The stronger part of it by her own letters, which
53   makes her story true, even to the point of her
54   death: her death itself, which could not be her
55   office to say is come, was faithfully confirmed by
56   the rector of the place.
Second Lord
57   Hath the count all this intelligence?
First Lord
58   Ay, and the particular confirmations, point from
59   point, so to the full arming of the verity.
Second Lord
60   I am heartily sorry that he'll be glad of this.
First Lord
61   How mightily sometimes we make us comforts of our losses!
Second Lord
62   And how mightily some other times we drown our gain
63   in tears! The great dignity that his valour hath
64   here acquired for him shall at home be encountered
65   with a shame as ample.
First Lord
66   The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and
67   ill together: our virtues would be proud, if our
68   faults whipped them not; and our crimes would
69   despair, if they were not cherished by our virtues.
Enter a Messenger
70   How now! where's your master?
71   He met the duke in the street, sir, of whom he hath
72   taken a solemn leave: his lordship will next
73   morning for France. The duke hath offered him
74   letters of commendations to the king.
Second Lord
75   They shall be no more than needful there, if they
76   were more than they can commend.
First Lord
77   They cannot be too sweet for the king's tartness.
78   Here's his lordship now.
79   How now, my lord! is't not after midnight?
80   I have to-night dispatched sixteen businesses, a
81   month's length a-piece, by an abstract of success:
82   I have congied with the duke, done my adieu with his
83   nearest; buried a wife, mourned for her; writ to my
84   lady mother I am returning; entertained my convoy;
85   and between these main parcels of dispatch effected
86   many nicer needs; the last was the greatest, but
87   that I have not ended yet.
Second Lord
88   If the business be of any difficulty, and this
89   morning your departure hence, it requires haste of
90   your lordship.
91   I mean, the business is not ended, as fearing to
92   hear of it hereafter. But shall we have this
93   dialogue between the fool and the soldier? Come,
94   bring forth this counterfeit module, he has deceived
95   me, like a double-meaning prophesier.
Second Lord
96   Bring him forth: has sat i' the stocks all night,
97   poor gallant knave.
98   No matter: his heels have deserved it, in usurping
99   his spurs so long. How does he carry himself?
Second Lord
100  I have told your lordship already, the stocks carry
101  him. But to answer you as you would be understood;
102  he weeps like a wench that had shed her milk: he
103  hath confessed himself to Morgan, whom he supposes
104  to be a friar, from the time of his remembrance to
105  this very instant disaster of his setting i' the
106  stocks: and what think you he hath confessed?
107  Nothing of me, has a'?
Second Lord
108  His confession is taken, and it shall be read to his
109  face: if your lordship be in't, as I believe you
110  are, you must have the patience to hear it.
Enter PAROLLES guarded, and First Soldier

111  A plague upon him! muffled! he can say nothing of
112  me: hush, hush!
First Lord
113  Hoodman comes! Portotartarosa
First Soldier
114  He calls for the tortures: what will you say
115  without 'em?
116  I will confess what I know without constraint: if
117  ye pinch me like a pasty, I can say no more.
First Soldier
118  Bosko chimurcho.
First Lord
119  Boblibindo chicurmurco.
First Soldier
120  You are a merciful general. Our general bids you
121  answer to what I shall ask you out of a note.
122  And truly, as I hope to live.
First Soldier
123   'First demand of him how many horse the
124  duke is strong.' What say you to that?
125  Five or six thousand; but very weak and
126  unserviceable: the troops are all scattered, and
127  the commanders very poor rogues, upon my reputation
128  and credit and as I hope to live.
First Soldier
129  Shall I set down your answer so?
130  Do: I'll take the sacrament on't, how and which way you will.
131  All's one to him. What a past-saving slave is this!
First Lord
132  You're deceived, my lord: this is Monsieur
133  Parolles, the gallant militarist,--that was his own
134  phrase,--that had the whole theoric of war in the
135  knot of his scarf, and the practise in the chape of
136  his dagger.
Second Lord
137  I will never trust a man again for keeping his sword
138  clean. nor believe he can have every thing in him
139  by wearing his apparel neatly.
First Soldier
140  Well, that's set down.
141  Five or six thousand horse, I said,-- I will say
142  true,--or thereabouts, set down, for I'll speak truth.
First Lord
143  He's very near the truth in this.
144  But I con him no thanks for't, in the nature he
145  delivers it.
146  Poor rogues, I pray you, say.
First Soldier
147  Well, that's set down.
148  I humbly thank you, sir: a truth's a truth, the
149  rogues are marvellous poor.
First Soldier
150   'Demand of him, of what strength they are
151  a-foot.' What say you to that?
152  By my troth, sir, if I were to live this present
153  hour, I will tell true. Let me see: Spurio, a
154  hundred and fifty; Sebastian, so many; Corambus, so
155  many; Jaques, so many; Guiltian, Cosmo, Lodowick,
156  and Gratii, two hundred and fifty each; mine own
157  company, Chitopher, Vaumond, Bentii, two hundred and
158  fifty each: so that the muster-file, rotten and
159  sound, upon my life, amounts not to fifteen thousand
160  poll; half of the which dare not shake snow from off
161  their cassocks, lest they shake themselves to pieces.
162  What shall be done to him?
First Lord
163  Nothing, but let him have thanks. Demand of him my
164  condition, and what credit I have with the duke.
First Soldier
165  Well, that's set down.
166  'You shall demand of him, whether one Captain Dumain
167  be i' the camp, a Frenchman; what his reputation is
168  with the duke; what his valour, honesty, and
169  expertness in wars; or whether he thinks it were not
170  possible, with well-weighing sums of gold, to
171  corrupt him to revolt.' What say you to this? what
172  do you know of it?
173  I beseech you, let me answer to the particular of
174  the inter'gatories: demand them singly.
First Soldier
175  Do you know this Captain Dumain?
176  I know him: a' was a botcher's 'prentice in Paris,
177  from whence he was whipped for getting the shrieve's
178  fool with child,--a dumb innocent, that could not
179  say him nay.
180  Nay, by your leave, hold your hands; though I know
181  his brains are forfeit to the next tile that falls.
First Soldier
182  Well, is this captain in the duke of Florence's camp?
183  Upon my knowledge, he is, and lousy.
First Lord
184  Nay look not so upon me; we shall hear of your
185  lordship anon.
First Soldier
186  What is his reputation with the duke?
187  The duke knows him for no other but a poor officer
188  of mine; and writ to me this other day to turn him
189  out o' the band: I think I have his letter in my pocket.
First Soldier
190  Marry, we'll search.
191  In good sadness, I do not know; either it is there,
192  or it is upon a file with the duke's other letters
193  in my tent.
First Soldier
194  Here 'tis; here's a paper: shall I read it to you?
195  I do not know if it be it or no.
196  Our interpreter does it well.
First Lord
197  Excellently.
First Soldier
198   'Dian, the count's a fool, and full of gold,'--
199  That is not the duke's letter, sir; that is an
200  advertisement to a proper maid in Florence, one
201  Diana, to take heed of the allurement of one Count
202  Rousillon, a foolish idle boy, but for all that very
203  ruttish: I pray you, sir, put it up again.
First Soldier
204  Nay, I'll read it first, by your favour.
205  My meaning in't, I protest, was very honest in the
206  behalf of the maid; for I knew the young count to be
207  a dangerous and lascivious boy, who is a whale to
208  virginity and devours up all the fry it finds.
209  Damnable both-sides rogue!
First Soldier
210   'When he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and take it;
211  After he scores, he never pays the score:
212  Half won is match well made; match, and well make it;
213  He ne'er pays after-debts, take it before;
214  And say a soldier, Dian, told thee this,
215  Men are to mell with, boys are not to kiss:
216  For count of this, the count's a fool, I know it,
217  Who pays before, but not when he does owe it.
218  Thine, as he vowed to thee in thine ear,
220  He shall be whipped through the army with this rhyme
221  in's forehead.
Second Lord
222  This is your devoted friend, sir, the manifold
223  linguist and the armipotent soldier.
224  I could endure any thing before but a cat, and now
225  he's a cat to me.
First Soldier
226  I perceive, sir, by the general's looks, we shall be
227  fain to hang you.
228  My life, sir, in any case: not that I am afraid to
229  die; but that, my offences being many, I would
230  repent out the remainder of nature: let me live,
231  sir, in a dungeon, i' the stocks, or any where, so I may live.
First Soldier
232  We'll see what may be done, so you confess freely;
233  therefore, once more to this Captain Dumain: you
234  have answered to his reputation with the duke and to
235  his valour: what is his honesty?
236  He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister: for
237  rapes and ravishments he parallels Nessus: he
238  professes not keeping of oaths; in breaking 'em he
239  is stronger than Hercules: he will lie, sir, with
240  such volubility, that you would think truth were a
241  fool: drunkenness is his best virtue, for he will
242  be swine-drunk; and in his sleep he does little
243  harm, save to his bed-clothes about him; but they
244  know his conditions and lay him in straw. I have but
245  little more to say, sir, of his honesty: he has
246  every thing that an honest man should not have; what
247  an honest man should have, he has nothing.
First Lord
248  I begin to love him for this.
249  For this description of thine honesty? A pox upon
250  him for me, he's more and more a cat.
First Soldier
251  What say you to his expertness in war?
252  Faith, sir, he has led the drum before the English
253  tragedians; to belie him, I will not, and more of
254  his soldiership I know not; except, in that country
255  he had the honour to be the officer at a place there
256  called Mile-end, to instruct for the doubling of
257  files: I would do the man what honour I can, but of
258  this I am not certain.
First Lord
259  He hath out-villained villany so far, that the
260  rarity redeems him.
261  A pox on him, he's a cat still.
First Soldier
262  His qualities being at this poor price, I need not
263  to ask you if gold will corrupt him to revolt.
264  Sir, for a quart d'ecu he will sell the fee-simple
265  of his salvation, the inheritance of it; and cut the
266  entail from all remainders, and a perpetual
267  succession for it perpetually.
First Soldier
268  What's his brother, the other Captain Dumain?
Second Lord
269  Why does be ask him of me?
First Soldier
270  What's he?
271  E'en a crow o' the same nest; not altogether so
272  great as the first in goodness, but greater a great
273  deal in evil: he excels his brother for a coward,
274  yet his brother is reputed one of the best that is:
275  in a retreat he outruns any lackey; marry, in coming
276  on he has the cramp.
First Soldier
277  If your life be saved, will you undertake to betray
278  the Florentine?
279  Ay, and the captain of his horse, Count Rousillon.
First Soldier
280  I'll whisper with the general, and know his pleasure.
281   I'll no more drumming; a plague of all
282  drums! Only to seem to deserve well, and to
283  beguile the supposition of that lascivious young boy
284  the count, have I run into this danger. Yet who
285  would have suspected an ambush where I was taken?
First Soldier
286  There is no remedy, sir, but you must die: the
287  general says, you that have so traitorously
288  discovered the secrets of your army and made such
289  pestiferous reports of men very nobly held, can
290  serve the world for no honest use; therefore you
291  must die. Come, headsman, off with his head.
292  O Lord, sir, let me live, or let me see my death!
First Lord
293  That shall you, and take your leave of all your friends.
Unblinding him
294  So, look about you: know you any here?
295  Good morrow, noble captain.
Second Lord
296  God bless you, Captain Parolles.
First Lord
297  God save you, noble captain.
Second Lord
298  Captain, what greeting will you to my Lord Lafeu?
299  I am for France.
First Lord
300  Good captain, will you give me a copy of the sonnet
301  you writ to Diana in behalf of the Count Rousillon?
302  an I were not a very coward, I'ld compel it of you:
303  but fare you well.
Exeunt BERTRAM and Lords

First Soldier
304  You are undone, captain, all but your scarf; that
305  has a knot on't yet
306  Who cannot be crushed with a plot?
First Soldier
307  If you could find out a country where but women were
308  that had received so much shame, you might begin an
309  impudent nation. Fare ye well, sir; I am for France
310  too: we shall speak of you there.
Exit with Soldiers

311  Yet am I thankful: if my heart were great,
312  'Twould burst at this. Captain I'll be no more;
313  But I will eat and drink, and sleep as soft
314  As captain shall: simply the thing I am
315  Shall make me live. Who knows himself a braggart,
316  Let him fear this, for it will come to pass
317  that every braggart shall be found an ass.
318  Rust, sword? cool, blushes! and, Parolles, live
319  Safest in shame! being fool'd, by foolery thrive!
320  There's place and means for every man alive.
321  I'll after them.

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