Document:  All > Shakespeare > Comedies > All's Well That Ends Well > Act IV, scene III

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	[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]




	ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL






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