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    Act 4, Scene III

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    Chapter 18
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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?

    Second 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 and so sweet a lady.

    Second 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.

    Second 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!

    Second 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 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?

    Second 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 own judgments, wherein so curiously he had
    set this counterfeit.

    Second 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?

    Second Lord
    I hear there is an overture of peace.

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

    Second Lord
    What will Count Rousillon do then? will he travel
    higher, or return again into France?

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

    Second 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.

    Second 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 the place.

    Second Lord
    Hath the count all this intelligence?

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

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

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

    Second 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?

    Servant
    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.

    Second 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?

    BERTRAM
    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.

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

    BERTRAM
    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, he has deceived
    me, like a double-meaning prophesier.

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

    BERTRAM
    No matter: his heels have deserved it, in usurping
    his spurs so long. How does he carry himself?

    Second 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?

    BERTRAM
    Nothing of me, has a'?

    Second 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

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

    First Lord
    Hoodman comes! Portotartarosa

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

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

    First Soldier
    Bosko chimurcho.

    First Lord
    Boblibindo chicurmurco.

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

    PAROLLES
    And truly, as I hope to live.

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

    PAROLLES
    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 Soldier
    Shall I set down your answer so?

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

    BERTRAM
    All's one to him. What a past-saving 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 practise in the chape of
    his dagger.

    Second 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.

    First Soldier
    Well, that's set down.

    PAROLLES
    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.

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

    PAROLLES
    Poor rogues, I pray you, say.

    First Soldier
    Well, that's set down.

    PAROLLES
    I humbly thank you, sir: a truth's a truth, the
    rogues are marvellous poor.

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

    PAROLLES
    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 snow from off
    their cassocks, lest they shake themselves to pieces.

    BERTRAM
    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 Soldier
    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 revolt.' What say you to this? what
    do you know of it?

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

    First Soldier
    Do you know this Captain Dumain?

    PAROLLES
    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.

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

    First Soldier
    Well, is this captain in the duke of Florence's camp?

    PAROLLES
    Upon my knowledge, he is, and lousy.

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

    First Soldier
    What is his reputation with the duke?

    PAROLLES
    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.

    First Soldier
    Marry, we'll search.

    PAROLLES
    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 Soldier
    Here 'tis; here's a paper: shall I read it to you?

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

    BERTRAM
    Our interpreter does it well.

    First Lord
    Excellently.

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

    PAROLLES
    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 Soldier
    Nay, I'll read it first, by your favour.

    PAROLLES
    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 devours up all the fry it finds.

    BERTRAM
    Damnable both-sides rogue!

    First Soldier
    [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.'

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

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

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

    First Soldier
    I perceive, sir, by the general's looks, we shall be
    fain to hang you.

    PAROLLES
    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 Soldier
    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 valour: what is his honesty?

    PAROLLES
    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.

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

    First Soldier
    What say you to his expertness in war?

    PAROLLES
    Faith, sir, he 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.

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

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

    PAROLLES
    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 Soldier
    What's his brother, the other Captain Dumain?

    Second Lord
    Why does be ask him of me?

    First Soldier
    What's he?

    PAROLLES
    E'en a crow o' the same nest; not 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 Soldier
    If your life be saved, will you undertake to betray
    the Florentine?

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

    First Soldier
    I'll whisper with the general, and know his pleasure.

    PAROLLES
    [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 Soldier
    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.

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

    First Lord
    That shall you, and take your leave of all your friends.

    Unblinding him

    So, look about you: know you any here?

    BERTRAM
    Good morrow, noble captain.

    Second Lord
    God bless you, Captain Parolles.

    First Lord
    God save you, noble captain.

    Second 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 Soldier
    You are undone, captain, all but your scarf; that
    has a knot on't yet

    PAROLLES
    Who cannot be crushed with a plot?

    First Soldier
    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

    PAROLLES
    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
    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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