Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editors: Andrew Griffin, Helen Ostovich
Not Peer Reviewed

All's Well That Ends Well (Modern)


[3.6]
1730
Enter [Bertram,] Count [of] Roussillon and the French Lords, as at first.
2 Lord Nay, good my lord, put him to 't. Let him have his way.
1 Lord If your lordship find him not a [A4]hilding, 1735hold me no more in your respect.
2 Lord On my life, my lord, a bubble.
Bertram Do you think I am so far deceived in him?
2 Lord Believe it, my lord, in mine own direct 1740knowledge, 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.
17451 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.
Bertram I would I knew in what particular action to try 1750him.
1 Lord None better than to let him fetch off his drum, which you hear him so confidently undertake to do.
2 Lord I, with a troop of Florentines, will suddenly 1755surprize 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 1760at 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 1765anything.
1 Lord Oh, 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 this success in 't, and to what metal this counterfeit lump of ore will be 1770melted if you give him not John Drum's entertainment, your inclining cannot be removed. Here he comes.
Enter Paroles.
2 Lord [Aside to Bertram] Oh, for the love of laughter, hinder not the honor of his design! -- [Aloud] Let him fetch off his drum in any 1775hand.
Bertram How now, monsieur? This drum sticks sorely in your disposition.
1 Lord A pox on 't, let it go! 'Tis but a drum.
Paroles But a drum! Is't but a drum? A drum so 1780lost? There was excellent command, to charge in with our horse upon our own wings and to rend our own soldiers.
1 Lord That was not to be blamed in the command of the service. It was a disaster of war that Caesar 1785himself could not have prevented, if he had been there to command.
Bertram Well, we cannot greatly condemn our success. Some dishonor we had in the loss of that drum, but it is not to be recovered.
1790Paroles It might have been recovered.
Bertram It might, but it is not now.
Paroles 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 1795iacet.
Bertram 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 1800the 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.
Paroles By the hand of a soldier I will undertake it.
1805Bertram But you must not now slumber in it.
Paroles 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.
1810Bertram May I be bold to acquaint his grace you are gone about it?
Paroles I know not what the success will be, my lord, but the attempt I vow.
Bertram I know th'art valiant, 1815and to the possibility of thy soldiership, will subscribe for thee. Farewell.
Paroles I love not many words.
Exit.
2 Lord No more than a fish loves water. Is not this a strange fellow, my lord, that so confidently seems to 1820undertake this business, which he knows is not to be done, damns himself to do, and dares better be damned than to do 't?
1 Lord You do not know him, my lord, as we do. Certain it is that he will steal himself into a man's 1825favor, and for a week escape a great deal of discoveries, but when you find him out, you have him ever after.
Bertram Why, do you think he will make no deed at all of this that so seriously he does address himself 1830unto?
2 Lord None in the world, but return with an invention, and clap upon you two or three probable lies. But we have almost embossed him. You shall see his fall tonight, for indeed he is not for your lordship's 1835respect.
1 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 1840very night.
2 Lord I must go look my twigs. He shall be caught.
Bertram [To 1 Lord] Your brother he shall go along with me.
2 Lord As 't please your lordship. I'll leave you.
[Exit.]
1845Bertram Now will I lead you to the house, and show you
The lass I spoke of.
1 Lord
But you say she's honest.
Bertram That's all the fault. I spoke with her but once,
And found her wondrous cold, but I sent to her
1850By this same coxcomb that we have i'th'wind
Tokens and letters, which she did resend,
And this is all I have done. She's a fair creature.
Will you go see her?
1 Lord
With all my heart, my lord.
Exeunt.