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Mar. And your courtesy, for a ring-carrier! [Exeunt BERTRAM, PAROLLES, Officers,
and Soldiers. Wid. The troop is past. Come, pilgrim, I will
I humbly thank you.
Both. We'll take your offer kindly. [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, hold me no more in your respect.
1 Lord. On my life, my lord, a bubble. .
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 lordship'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,
Ber. I would I knew in what particular action to Be but your
1 A hilding is a paltry fellow, a coward.
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 hoodwink 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. 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 witla the divine forfeit of his soul upon oath, never trust my judgment in any thing.
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, your inclining cannot be removed. Here he
1 Lord. O, for the love of laughter, hinder not the humor 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 com
1 The camp.
It seems to have been a new-fangled term at this time introduced from the Low Countries. 2 The old copy reads ours.
The emendation is Theobald's. 3 This was a common phrase for ill treatment. 4 A phrase for at any rate-sometimes, “ at any hand.”
mand 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 dishonor 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.
Ber. Why, if you have a stomach to’t, monsieur, if you think your mystery in stratagem can bring this instrument of honor 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 greatness, even to the utmost syllable of your worthiness.
Par. By the hand of a soldier, I will undertake it. Ber. But you must not now slumber in 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
Par. I know not what the success will 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.3 Farewell. Par. I love not many words.
gone about it?
1 The usual commencement of an epitaph. 2 The dilemmas of Parolles are the difficulties he was to encounter. Mr. Boswell argues that the penning down of these could not well encourage him in his certainty; but why are those distinct actions necessarily connected ?
3 Bertram's meaning is, that he will vouch for his doing all that it is possible for soldiership to effect.
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 favor, 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;' you shall see his fall to-night; for, indeed, he is not for your lordship’s respect.
2 Lord. We will 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. 1 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, And found her wondrous cold; but I sent to her, By this same coxcomb that we have i’the wind, Tokens and letters which she did resend;
1 That is, almost run him down. An embossed stag is one so hard chased that it foams at the mouth.
2 Before we strip him naked, or unmask him.
3. This proverbial phrase is noted by Ray, p. 216, ed. 1737. It is thus explained by old Cotgrave:—“Estre sur vent, to be in the wind, or to have the wind of—to get the wind, advantage, upper hand of; to have a man under his lee."
And this is all I have done. She's a fair creature:
With all my heart, my lord.
SCENE VII. Florence. A Room in the Widow's
Enter HELENA and Widow.
misdoubt me that I am not she, I know not how I shall assure you further, But I shall lose the grounds I work upon.
Wid. Though my estate be fallen, I was well born, Nothing acquainted with these businesses; And would not put my reputation now In any staining act. Hel.
Nor would I wish you. First, give me trust, the count he is
I should believe you;
Take this purse of gold,
daughter, Lays down his wanton siege before her beauty, Resolves to carry her ; let her, in fine, consent, As we'll direct her how 'tis best to bear it, Now his important? blood will nought deny That she'll demand. A ring the county wears That downward hath succeeded in his house,
1 i. e. by discovering herself to the count. 2 j. e. importunate.
3 i. e. the count.