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The rather, for, I think, I know your hostess
Is it yourself?
Hel. I thank you, and will stay upon your leisure.
I did so.
Wid. Here you shall see a countryman of yours, That has done worthy service.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
Whatsoe'er he is,
He's bravely taken here. He stole from France,
His name, I
pray you. Dia. The count Rousillon. Know Know you such a one? Hel. But by the ear, that hears most nobly of him; His face I know not.
Hel. Ay, surely, mere the truth; I know his lady. Dia. There is a gentleman, that serves the count, Reports but coarsely of her.
What's his name?
Dia. Monsieur Parolles.
O, I believe with him, In argument of praise, or to the worth Of the great count himself, she is too mean To have her name repeated; all her deserving Is a reserved honesty, and that
I have not heard examined.2
Alas, poor lady! 'Tis a hard bondage, to become the wife Of a detesting lord.
Wid. Ay, right; good creature, wheresoe'er she is,3
1 For, here and in other places, signifies because, which Tooke says is always its signification.
2 That is, questioned, doubted.
3 The old copy reads
"I write good creature, wheresoe'er she is."
Malone once deemed this an error, and proposed, "A right good creature," which was admitted into the text, but he subsequently thought that the old reading was correct.
Her heart weighs sadly: this young maid might do her A shrewd turn, if she pleased.
Hel. How do you mean? May be the amorous count solicits her In the unlawful purpose.
He does, indeed;
But she is armed for him, and keeps her guard
Enter, with Drum and Colors, a party of the Florentine Army, BERTRAM and PARolles.
Mar. The gods forbid else! Wid. So, now they come.That is Antonio, the duke's eldest son; That, Escalus.
Which is the Frenchman?
That with the plume: 'tis a most gallant fellow;
Hel. I like him well.
Dia. 'Tis pity he is not honest. Yond's that same knave,
That leads him to these places; were I his lady,
Which is he?
Dia. That jack-an-apes with scarfs. Why is he melancholy?
1 Deals with panders.
Hel. Perchance he's hurt i'the battle.
Par. Lose our drum! Well.
Mar. He's shrewdly vexed at something. Look, he has spied us.
Wid. Marry, hang you!
Mar. And your courtesy, for a ring-carrier! [Exeunt BERTRAM, PAROLLES, Officers, and Soldiers.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL.
Wid. The troop is past. Come, pilgrim, I will
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.
Ber. Do you think I am so far deceived in him?
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, fail you.
Ber. I would I knew in what particular action to try him.
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 leaguer1 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 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,3 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.4
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.
4 A phrase for at any rate-sometimes, "at any hand."
The emendation is Theobald's.
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.
Ber. It might, but it is not now.
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.1
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 gone about it?
Par. I know not what the success will be, my lord; but the attempt 1 vow. I
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.
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.