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Wid. He does, indeed; And brokes* with all that can in such a suit Corrupt the tender honour of a maid : But she is arm’d for him, and keeps her guard In honestest defence. Enter with drum and colours, a party of the Florentine army,
BERTRAM and PAROLLES.
Wid. So, now they come:-.
Hél. Which is the Frenchman ?
Hel. I like him well.
[Exeunt BERTRAM, PAROLLES, Officers, and Soldiers.
Hel. I humbly thank you:
[Exeunt. SCENE VI.-Camp before Florence.
Enter BERTRAM, and the two French LORDS. 1 Lord. Nay, good my lord, put him to't; let him have his way.
2 Lord. If your lordship find him not a hilding,t hold me no more in your respect.
1 Lord. On my life, my lord, a bubble.
* Deals with panders.
+ A paltry fellow.
1 Lord. Believe it, my lord, in mine own direct knowledge, 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 fordship’s entertainment.
2 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.
Ber. I would, I knew in what particular action to try him.
2 Lord. None better than to let him fetch off his drum, which you hear him so confidently undertake to do.
1 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 hood-wink him so, that he shall suppose no other but that he is carried into the leaguer* of the adversaries, when we bring him to our 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 intelligence in his power against you, and that with the divine forfeit of his soul upon oath, never trust my judgment in anything.
2 Lord. O, for the love of laughter, let him fetch his drum; he says, he has a stratagem for’t: when your 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,t your inclining cannot be removed. Here he comes.
Enter PAROLLES. 1 Lord. O, for the love of laughter, hinder not the humour of his design; let him fetch off his drum in any hand.
Ber. How now, monsieur? this drum sticks sorely in your disposition.
2 Lord. A pox on't, let it go; 'tis but a drum.
Par. But a drum ! Is't but a drum ? A drum so lost!-There was an excellent command: to charge in with our horse upon our own wings, and to rend our own soldiers.
2 Lord. That was not to be blamed in the command of the service: it was a disaster of war that Cæsar himself could not have prevented, if he had been there to command.
Ber. Well, we cannot greatly condemn our success : some dishonour we had in the loss of that drum; but it is not to be recovered.
Par. It might have been recovered.
Par. It is to be recovered: but that the merit of service is seldom attributed to the true and exact performer, I would have that drum, or another, or hic jacet. I
Ber. Why, if you have a stomach to’t, monsieur, if you think your mystery in stratagem can bring this 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 * The camp. † Drum him out.
# Or die.
speed well in it, the duke shall both speak of it, and extend to you what further becomes his greatness, even to the utmost syllable of your worthiness.
Par. By the hand of a soldier, I will undertake it.
Par. I'll about it this evening: and I will presently pen down my dilemmas, * encourage myself in my certainty, put myself into my mortal preparation, and, by midnight, look to hear further from me.
Ber. May I be bold to acquaint his grace, you are gone about it?
Par. I know not what the success may be, my lord; but the attempt I vow.
Ber. I know, thou art valiant; and, to the possibility of thy soldiership, will subscribe for thee. Farewell. Par. I love not many words.
[Exit. 1 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.
2 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.
Ber. Why, do you think he will make no deed at all of this, that so seriously he does address himself unto ?
1 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 ;t you shall see his fall to-night; for, indeed, he is not for your lordship's respect.
2 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.
1 Lord. I must go look my twigs; he shall be caught. Ber. Your brother, he shall go along with me. i Lord. As't please your lordship: I'll leave you. [Exit. Ber. Now will I lead you to the house, and show you The lass I spoke of.
2 Lord. But, you say, she's honest.
Ber. That's all the fault: I spoke with her but once,
you go see her?
[Exeunt. SCENE VII.-Florence, A Room in the WIDOW's House.
* Probable obstructions. + Enclosed him in a wood.
Enter HELENA and WIDOW,
Wid. Though my estate be fallen, I was well born,
Hei. Nor would I wish you.
Wid. I should believe you;
great in fortune.
Wid. Now I see
Hel. You see it lawful, then: It is no more
Wid. I have yielded :
Hel. Why then, to-night
SCENE 1.-Without the Florentine Camp. Enter first LORD, with five or six Soldiers in ambush. 1 Lord. He can come no other way but by this hedge corner : When you sally upon him, speak what terrible language you will; though you understand it not yourselves, no matter: for we must not seem to understand him; unless some one among us, whom we must produce for an interpreter.
í Sold. Good captain, let me be the interpreter.
1 Lord. Art not acquainted with him ? knows he not thy voice ?
1 Sold. No, Sir, I warrant you. 1 Lord. But what linsy-woolsy hast thou to speak to us again ? 1 Sold. Even such as you speak to me.
1 Lord. He must think us some band of strangers i’the adversary's entertainment.* Now he hath a smack of all neighbouring languages; therefore we must every one be a man of his own fancy, not to know what we speak one to another; so we seem to know, is to know straight our purpose: chough's language, gabble enough, and good enough. As for you, interpreter, you must seem very politic. But couch, ho! here he comes; to beguile two hours in a sleep, and then to return and swear the lies he forges.
Enter PAROLLES. Par. Ten o'clock: within these three hours 'twill be time enough to go home. What shall I say I have done? It must be a very plausive invention that carries it: They begin to smoke me; and disgraces have of late knocked too often at my door. I find my tongue is too fool-hardy; but my heart bath the fear of Mars before it, and of his creatures, not daring the reports of my tongue.
i Lord. This is the first truth that e'er thine own tongue was guilty of.
[Aside. Par. What the devil should move me to undertake the recovery of this drum; being not ignorant of the impossibility, and knowing I had no such purpose ? I must give myself some hurts, and say I got them in exploit : Yet slight ones will not carry it: They will say, Came you off with so little ? and great ones I dare not give. Wherefore ? what's the instance ?+
+ The proof.