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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. 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 own 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 a will be melted, if you give him not John Drum's entertainment", your inclining cannot be removed. Here he comes.

Enter PAROLLES. 1 Lord. O, for the love of laughter, hinder not the humourb 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

go; 't is but a drum. Par. But a drum! Is 't but a drum ? A drum so lost!—There was 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.


Ore. The original has ours. The emendation is by Theobald.

Humour. In the original, honour.



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. 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. 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 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 I vow. BER. I know thou 'rt 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 a him; 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. BER. Now will I lead you to the house, and show you

* Embossed. The word is probably here used in the sense of exhausted. In the Induction to • The Taming of the Shrew," the poor cur is emboss'd”-swollen with hard running. In the old field language, the weary stag was embossed.


. 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 re-send;
And this is all I have done: She's a fair creature;

Will you go see her? 2 LORD.

With all my heart, my lord.


SCENE VII.-Florence. A Room in the Widow's House.

Enter HELENA and Widow.

Hel. If you wisdoubt 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.

Nor would I wish you.
First, give me trust, the count he is my husband;
And, what to your sworn counsel I have spoken
Is so, from word to word; and then you cannot,
By the good aid that I of you shall borrow,

Err in bestowing it.

I should believe you;
For you have show'd me that which well approves
You are great in fortune.

Take this purse of gold,
And let me buy your friendly help thus far,
Which I will over-pay, and pay again,
When I have found it. The count he woos your daughter,
Lays down his wanton siege before her beauty,
Resolves to carry her; let her, in fine, consent,
As we 'll direct her how 't is 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,
From son to son, some four or five descents
Since the first father wore it: this ring he holds
In most rich choice; yet, in his idle fire,
To buy his will, it would not seem too dear,
Howe'er repented after.


WID. Now I see the bottom of your purpose.
HEL. You see it lawful then: It is no more,

But that your daughter, ere she seems as won,
Desires this ring; appoints him an encounter ;
In fine, delivers me to fill the time,
Herself most chastely absent; after this a,
To marry her, I 'll add three thousand crowns

To what is past already.

I have yielded :
Instruct my daughter how she shall persever,
That time and place, with this deceit so lawful,
May prove coherent. Every night he comes
With musics of all sorts, and songs compos'd
To her unworthiness : It nothing steads us
To chide him from our eaves ; for he persists,

As if his life lay on 't.

Why then, to-night
Let us assay our plot; which, if it speed,
Is wicked meaning in a lawful deed,
And lawful meaning in a lawful act;
Where both not sin, and yet a sinful fact :
But let 's about it.


* This, which is wanting in the first folio, was added in the second.

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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. 1 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. I LORD. But what linsy-woolsy hast thou to speak to us again? 1 Sold. E'en such as you speak to me. 1 Lord. He must think us some band of strangers i' the adversary's entertain

ment. 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

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