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Wid. Here you shall see a countryman of
That has done worthy service.
Dia. The count Rousillon; Know you such a one?
Hel. But by the ear, that hears most nobly of him;
His face I know not.
Dia. Whatsoe'er he is,
He's bravely taken here. He stole from France, As 'tis reported, for the king had married hi Against his liking: Think you it is so?
Hel. Ay, surely, mere the truth; I know his lady.
Dia. There is a gentleman, that serves the
Reports but coarsely of her.
What's his name?
Hel. O, I believe with him,
In argument of praise, or to the worth
I have not heard examin'd.
Dia. Alas, poor lady!
'Tis a hard bondage, to become the wife Of a detesting lord.
Wid. A right good creature: wheresoe'er she
Her heart weighs sadly: this young maid might
A shrewd turn, if she pleas'd.
Hel. How do you mean?
May be, the amorous count solicits her
In the unlawful purpose,
Wid. He does, indeed;
And brokes with all that can in such a suit
But she is arm'd for him, and keeps her guard
Enter with drum and colours, 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;
Which is the Frenchman?
That with the plume: 'tis a most gallant fellow; I would, he lov'd his wife: if he were honester, He were much goodlier:-Is't not an handsome gentleman?
Hel. I like him well.
Dia. 'Tis pity, he's not honest: Yond's that same knave,
That leads him to these places; were I his lady, I'd poison that vile rascal.
Hel. Which is he?
Dia. That jack-an-apes with scarfs: Why
is he melancholy?
Hel. Perchance he's hurt i' the battle.
Par. Lose our drum! well.
Mar, He's shrewdly vex'd at something: Look, he has spied us,
Wid. Marry, hang you!
Wid. The troop is past: Come, pilgrim, I will bring you
Where you shall host: of enjoin'd penitents There's four or five, to great Saint Jaques bound, Already at my house.
Hel. I humbly thank you:
Please it this matron, and this gentle maid,
Shall be for me; and, to requite you further, I will bestow some precepts on this virgin, Worthy the note.
Both. We'll take your offer kindly. [Exeunt.]
SCENE V I.
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 deceiv'd 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 surprize him; such I will have, whom, I am sure, he knows not from the enemy: will bind and bood-wink 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 any thing.
2. Lord. O, for the love of laughter, let him fetch his drum; he says, he has a stratagem fort: when your lordship sees the bottom of his succefs 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 comes,
1. Lord. O, for the love of laughter, hinder not the humour 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 command of the service; it was a disaster of war that Caesar himself could not have prevented, if he had been there to command.
Ber. Well, we cannot greatly condemn our
succefs: some dishonour we had in the loss of that drum; but it is not to be recover'd. Par. It might have been recover❜d. Ber. It might; but it is not now.
Par. It is to be recover'd: 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 enterprize, 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 greatnefs, even to the utmost syllable of your worthinefs.
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 mor tal 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 art valiant; and, to the possibility of thy soldiership, will subscribe for thee. Farewel.
Par. I love not many words.
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 him.