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SCENE III.—The Florentine Camp. Enter the two French LORDS, and two or three Soldiers. 1 Lord. You have not given him his mother's letter ?
2 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.
1 Lord. He has much worthy blame laid upon him, for off so good a wife, and so sweet a lady.
2 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.
i Lord. When you have spoken it, 'tis dead, and I am the grave of it. _2 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.
1 Lord. Now, God delay our rebellion: as we are ourselves, what things are we!
2 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.
1 Lord. Is it not meant damnable in us, to be trumpeters of our unlawful intents? We shall not then have his company tonight?
2 Lord. Not till after midnight; for he is dieted to his hour.
i 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.
2 Lord. We will not meddle with him till he come; for his presence must be the whip of the other.
1 Lord. In the mean time, what hear you of these wars ?
2 Lord. What will count Rousillon do then? will he travel higher, or return again into France ?
i Lord. I perceive, by this demand, you are not altogether of his council..
2 Lord. Let it be forbid, Sir! so should I be a great deal of his act.
1 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 sbe sings in heaven.
2 Lord. How is this justified ?
1 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.
2 Lord. Hath the count all this intelligence ?
1 Lord. Ay, and the particular confirmations, point from point, to the full arming of the verity.
2 Lord. I am heartily sorry, that he'll be glad of this. . 1 Lord. How mightily, sometimes, we make us comforts of our losses !
? 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.
1 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 cherish'd by our virtues.
Enter a SERVANT. 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.
2 Lord. They shall be no more than needful there, if they were more than they can commend.
Enter BERTRAM. 1 Lord. They cannot be too sweet for the king's tartness. Here's his lordship now. How now my lord, is't not after midnight?
Ber. I have to-night despatched sixteen businesses, a month's length apiece, by an abstract of success: I have conge'd 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 despatch, effected many nicer needs; the last was the greatest, but that I have not ended yet.
2 Lord. If the business be of any difficulty, and this morning your departure hence, 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 ;* he has deceived me, like a double-meaning prophesier.
2 Lord. Bring him forth Exeunt SOLDIERS]: he has sat in the stocks all night, poor gallant knave.
Ber. No matter; his heels have deserved it, in usurping his spurst so long. How does he carry himself ?
*1 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 * Model, pattern.
+ (As a knight.)
remembrance, to this very instant disaster of his setting i' the stocks: And what think you he hath confessed ?
Ber. Nothing of me, has he?
2 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.
Re-enter SOLDIERS, with PAROLLES. Ber. A plague upon him! muffled! he can say nothing of me; hush! hush!
1 Lord. Hoodman comes !-Porto tartarossa.
1 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 say no more.
1 Sold. Bosko Chimurcho.
1 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.
1 Sold. First demand of him how many horse the duke is strong. What 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.
1 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 slave is this !
1 Lord. You are 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. ,2 Lord. I will never trust a man again, for keeping his sword clean; nor believe he can have everything in him, by wearing 1 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.
1 Lord. He's very near the truth in this. , Ber. But I cont him no thanks fort, in the nature he delivers
Par. Poor rogues, I pray you, say. 1 Sold. Well, that's set down.
Par. I humbly thank you, Sir: a truth's truth, the rogues are marvellous poor.
1 Sold. 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
* The hook-end of the scabbard. 1 I. e. know no thanks due to him,
so many, Corambus so many, Jaques so many; Guiltian, Cosmo, Lodowick, and Gratii, two hundred 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 which dare not shake the snow from off their cassocks, lest they shake themselves to pieces.
Ber. What shall be done to him ?
1 Lord. Nothing, but let him have thanks. Demand of him my conditions,* and what credit I have with the duke.
1 Sold. Well that's set down. You shall_demand of him, whether one Captain Dumain be r 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 intergatories: Demand them singly.
1 Sold. Do you know this captain Dumain ?
Par. I know him: he was a botcher's prentice in Paris, from whence he was whipped for getting the sheriff's foolt with child; a dumb innocent, that could not say him, nay.
[DUMAIN lifts up his hand in anger. Ber. Nay, by your leave, hold your hands; though I know, his brains are forfeit to the next tile that falls.
1 Sold. Well, is this captain in the duke of Florence's camp? Par. Upon my knowledge, he is, and lousy.
1 Lord. Nay, look not só upon me; we shall hear of your lordship anon.
1 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.
1 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.
1 Sold. Here'tis; here's a paper? Shall I read it to you?
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.
1 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 devours up ail the fry it finds.
+ I. e. idiot ward.
Ber. Damnable, both sides rogue !
After he scores, he never pays the score :
He ne'er pays after-debts, take it before ;
PAROLLES. Ber. He shall be whipped through the army, with this rhyme in his forehead.
2 Lord. This is your devoted friend, Sir, the manifold linguist, and the armipotent soldier.
Ber. I could endure anything before but a cat, and now he's a cat to me.
1 Sold. I perceive, Sir, by the generals 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 anywhere, so I may live.
1 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 valour: 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 them, 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 everything that an honest man should not have ; what an honest man should have, he has nothing.
i Lord. I begin to love him for this.
Ber. For this description of thine honesty ? A pox upon him for me, he is more and more a cat.
1 Sold. What say you to his expertness in war ?
Par. 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 call’d 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..
1 Lord. He hath out-villained villainy so far, that the rarity redeems him.
Ber. A pox on him! he's a cat still.
1 Sold. His qualities being at this poor price, I need not ask you, if gold will corrupt him to revolt.