|All's Well That Ends Well|
| All's Well That Ends Well
| Act 4, Scene 3
Previous scene | Next scene
Enter the two French Lords and some two or three SoldiersFirst Lord
You have not given him his mother's letter?Second Lord
I have delivered it an hour since: there isFirst Lord
something in't that stings his nature; for on the
reading it he changed almost into another man.
He has much worthy blame laid upon him for shakingSecond Lord
off so good a wife and so sweet a lady.
Especially he hath incurred the everlastingFirst Lord
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.
When you have spoken it, 'tis dead, and I am theSecond Lord
grave of it.
He hath perverted a young gentlewoman here inFirst Lord
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.
Now, God delay our rebellion! as we are ourselves,Second Lord
what things are we!
Merely our own traitors. And as in the common courseFirst Lord
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.
Is it not meant damnable in us, to be trumpeters ofSecond Lord
our unlawful intents? We shall not then have his
Not till after midnight; for he is dieted to his hour.First Lord
That approaches apace; I would gladly have him seeSecond Lord
his company anatomized, that he might take a measure
of his own judgments, wherein so curiously he had
set this counterfeit.
We will not meddle with him till he come; for hisFirst Lord
presence must be the whip of the other.
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 travelFirst Lord
higher, or return again into France?
I perceive, by this demand, you are not altogetherSecond Lord
of his council.
Let it be forbid, sir; so should I be a great dealFirst Lord
of his act.
Sir, his wife some two months since fled from hisSecond Lord
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.
How is this justified?First Lord
The stronger part of it by her own letters, whichSecond Lord
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.
Hath the count all this intelligence?First Lord
Ay, and the particular confirmations, point fromSecond Lord
point, so to the full arming of the verity.
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 gainFirst Lord
in tears! The great dignity that his valour hath
here acquired for him shall at home be encountered
with a shame as ample.
The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good andServant
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 MessengerHow now! where's your master?
He met the duke in the street, sir, of whom he hathSecond Lord
taken a solemn leave: his lordship will next
morning for France. The duke hath offered him
letters of commendations to the king.
They shall be no more than needful there, if theyFirst Lord
were more than they can commend.
They cannot be too sweet for the king's tartness.BERTRAM
Here's his lordship now.
Enter BERTRAMHow now, my lord! is't not after midnight?
I have to-night dispatched sixteen businesses, aSecond Lord
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.
If the business be of any difficulty, and thisBERTRAM
morning your departure hence, it requires haste of
I mean, the business is not ended, as fearing toSecond Lord
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.
Bring him forth: has sat i' the stocks all night,BERTRAM
poor gallant knave.
No matter: his heels have deserved it, in usurpingSecond Lord
his spurs so long. How does he carry himself?
I have told your lordship already, the stocks carryBERTRAM
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?
Nothing of me, has a'?Second Lord
His confession is taken, and it shall be read to hisBERTRAM
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
A plague upon him! muffled! he can say nothing ofFirst Lord
me: hush, hush!
Hoodman comes! PortotartarosaFirst Soldier
He calls for the tortures: what will you sayPAROLLES
I will confess what I know without constraint: ifFirst Soldier
ye pinch me like a pasty, I can say no more.
Bosko chimurcho.First Lord
Boblibindo chicurmurco.First Soldier
You are a merciful general. Our general bids youPAROLLES
answer to what I shall ask you out of a note.
And truly, as I hope to live.First Soldier
[Reads] 'First demand of him how many horse thePAROLLES
duke is strong.' What say you to that?
Five or six thousand; but very weak andFirst Soldier
unserviceable: the troops are all scattered, and
the commanders very poor rogues, upon my reputation
and credit and as I hope to live.
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 MonsieurSecond Lord
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
I will never trust a man again for keeping his swordFirst Soldier
clean. nor believe he can have every thing in him
by wearing his apparel neatly.
Well, that's set down.PAROLLES
Five or six thousand horse, I said,-- I will sayFirst Lord
true,--or thereabouts, set down, for I'll speak truth.
He's very near the truth in this.BERTRAM
But I con him no thanks for't, in the nature hePAROLLES
Poor rogues, I pray you, say.First Soldier
Well, that's set down.PAROLLES
I humbly thank you, sir: a truth's a truth, theFirst Soldier
rogues are marvellous poor.
[Reads] 'Demand of him, of what strength they arePAROLLES
a-foot.' What say you to that?
By my troth, sir, if I were to live this presentBERTRAM
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.
What shall be done to him?First Lord
Nothing, but let him have thanks. Demand of him myFirst Soldier
condition, and what credit I have with the duke.
Well, that's set down.PAROLLES
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?
I beseech you, let me answer to the particular ofFirst Soldier
the inter'gatories: demand them singly.
Do you know this Captain Dumain?PAROLLES
I know him: a' was a botcher's 'prentice in Paris,BERTRAM
from whence he was whipped for getting the shrieve's
fool with child,--a dumb innocent, that could not
say him nay.
Nay, by your leave, hold your hands; though I knowFirst Soldier
his brains are forfeit to the next tile that falls.
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 yourFirst Soldier
What is his reputation with the duke?PAROLLES
The duke knows him for no other but a poor officerFirst Soldier
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.
Marry, we'll search.PAROLLES
In good sadness, I do not know; either it is there,First Soldier
or it is upon a file with the duke's other letters
in my tent.
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
[Reads] 'Dian, the count's a fool, and full of gold,'--PAROLLES
That is not the duke's letter, sir; that is anFirst Soldier
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.
Nay, I'll read it first, by your favour.PAROLLES
My meaning in't, I protest, was very honest in theBERTRAM
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.
Damnable both-sides rogue!First Soldier
[Reads] 'When he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and take it;BERTRAM
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,
He shall be whipped through the army with this rhymeSecond Lord
This is your devoted friend, sir, the manifoldBERTRAM
linguist and the armipotent soldier.
I could endure any thing before but a cat, and nowFirst Soldier
he's a cat to me.
I perceive, sir, by the general's looks, we shall bePAROLLES
fain to hang you.
My life, sir, in any case: not that I am afraid toFirst Soldier
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.
We'll see what may be done, so you confess freely;PAROLLES
therefore, once more to this Captain Dumain: you
have answered to his reputation with the duke and to
his valour: what is his honesty?
He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister: forFirst Lord
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.
I begin to love him for this.BERTRAM
For this description of thine honesty? A pox uponFirst Soldier
him for me, he's more and more a cat.
What say you to his expertness in war?PAROLLES
Faith, sir, he has led the drum before the EnglishFirst Lord
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.
He hath out-villained villany so far, that theBERTRAM
rarity redeems him.
A pox on him, he's a cat still.First Soldier
His qualities being at this poor price, I need notPAROLLES
to ask you if gold will corrupt him to revolt.
Sir, for a quart d'ecu he will sell the fee-simpleFirst Soldier
of his salvation, the inheritance of it; and cut the
entail from all remainders, and a perpetual
succession for it perpetually.
What's his brother, the other Captain Dumain?Second Lord
Why does be ask him of me?First Soldier
E'en a crow o' the same nest; not altogether soFirst Soldier
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.
If your life be saved, will you undertake to betrayPAROLLES
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 allFirst Soldier
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?
There is no remedy, sir, but you must die: thePAROLLES
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.
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.BERTRAM
Unblinding himSo, look about you: know you any here?
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?First Lord
I am for France.
Good captain, will you give me a copy of the sonnetFirst Soldier
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
You are undone, captain, all but your scarf; thatPAROLLES
has a knot on't yet
Who cannot be crushed with a plot?First Soldier
If you could find out a country where but women werePAROLLES
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
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.
| All's Well That Ends Well
| Act 4, Scene 3
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