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All's Well That Ends Well
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Navigate this workAll's Well That Ends Well
Act 4, scene 3
News comes to the Duke of Florence’s court that Bertram’s wife has died while on pilgrimage. When Bertram enters, he has received this news, he has made his plans to return to Rossillion, and he has (he thinks) lain with Diana. A blindfolded Parolles gives away military secrets and betrays Bertram and the other French lords, and is then himself abandoned by them.Enter the two French ⌜Lords⌝ and some two
or three Soldiers.
FIRST LORD 2085 You have not given him his mother’s
SECOND LORD 2087 I have delivered it an hour since. There
2088 is something in ’t that stings his nature, for on the
2089 5 reading it he changed almost into another man.
FIRST LORD 2090 He has much worthy blame laid upon him
2091 for shaking off so good a wife and so sweet a lady.
SECOND LORD 2092 Especially he hath incurred the everlasting
2093 displeasure of the King, who had even tuned
2094 10 his bounty to sing happiness to him. I will tell you
2095 a thing, but you shall let it dwell darkly with you.
p. 153FIRST LORD 2096 When you have spoken it, ’tis dead, and I
2097 am the grave of it.
SECOND LORD 2098 He hath perverted a young gentlewoman
2099 15 here in Florence of a most chaste renown,
2100 and this night he fleshes his will in the spoil of her
2101 honor. He hath given her his monumental ring and
2102 thinks himself made in the unchaste composition.
FIRST LORD 2103 Now God delay our rebellion! As we are
2104 20 ourselves, what things are we!
SECOND LORD 2105 Merely our own traitors. And, as in the
2106 common course of all treasons we still see them
2107 reveal themselves till they attain to their abhorred
2108 ends, so he that in this action contrives against his
2109 25 own nobility, in his proper stream o’erflows
FIRST LORD 2111 Is it not meant damnable in us to be trumpeters
2112 of our unlawful intents? We shall not, then,
2113 have his company tonight?
SECOND LORD 2114 30Not till after midnight, for he is dieted to
2115 his hour.
FIRST LORD 2116 That approaches apace. I would gladly
2117 have him see his company anatomized, that he
2118 might take a measure of his own judgments
2119 35 wherein so curiously he had set this counterfeit.
SECOND LORD 2120 We will not meddle with him till he
2121 come, for his presence must be the whip of the
FIRST LORD 2123 In the meantime, what hear you of these
2124 40 wars?
SECOND LORD 2125 I hear there is an overture of peace.
FIRST LORD 2126 Nay, I assure you, a peace concluded.
SECOND LORD 2127 What will Count Rossillion do then?
2128 Will he travel higher or return again into France?
FIRST LORD 2129 45I perceive by this demand you are not altogether
2130 of his counsel.
SECOND LORD 2131 Let it be forbid, sir! So should I be a
2132 great deal of his act.
p. 155FIRST LORD 2133 Sir, his wife some two months since fled
2134 50 from his house. Her pretense is a pilgrimage to
2135 Saint Jaques le Grand, which holy undertaking
2136 with most austere sanctimony she accomplished.
2137 And, there residing, the tenderness of her nature
2138 became as a prey to her grief; in fine, made a groan
2139 55 of her last breath, and now she sings in heaven.
SECOND LORD 2140 How is this justified?
FIRST LORD 2141 The stronger part of it by her own letters,
2142 which makes her story true even to the point of her
2143 death. Her death itself, which could not be her
2144 60 office to say is come, was faithfully confirmed by
2145 the rector of the place.
SECOND LORD 2146 Hath the Count all this intelligence?
FIRST LORD 2147 Ay, and the particular confirmations, point
2148 from point, to the full arming of the verity.
SECOND LORD 2149 65I am heartily sorry that he’ll be glad of
FIRST LORD 2151 How mightily sometimes we make us
2152 comforts of our losses.
SECOND LORD 2153 And how mightily some other times we
2154 70 drown our gain in tears. The great dignity that his
2155 valor hath here acquired for him shall at home be
2156 encountered with a shame as ample.
FIRST LORD 2157 The web of our life is of a mingled yarn,
2158 good and ill together. Our virtues would be proud
2159 75 if our faults whipped them not, and our crimes
2160 would despair if they were not cherished by our
Enter a ⌜Servant.⌝
2162 How now? Where’s your master?
SERVANT 2163 He met the Duke in the street, sir, of whom
2164 80 he hath taken a solemn leave. His Lordship will
2165 next morning for France. The Duke hath offered
2166 him letters of commendations to the King.
p. 157SECOND LORD 2167 They shall be no more than needful
2168 there, if they were more than they can commend.
2169 85 They cannot be too sweet for the King’s tartness.
Enter ⌜Bertram⌝ Count Rossillion.
2170 Here’s his Lordship now.—How now, my lord? Is ’t
2171 not after midnight?
BERTRAM 2172 I have tonight dispatched sixteen businesses,
2173 a month’s length apiece. By an abstract of
2174 90 success: I have congeed with the Duke, done my
2175 adieu with his nearest, buried a wife, mourned for
2176 her, writ to my lady mother I am returning, entertained
2177 my convoy, and between these main parcels
2178 of dispatch effected many nicer needs. The last
2179 95 was the greatest, but that I have not ended yet.
SECOND LORD 2180 If the business be of any difficulty, and
2181 this morning your departure hence, it requires
2182 haste of your Lordship.
BERTRAM 2183 I mean the business is not ended as fearing
2184 100 to hear of it hereafter. But shall we have this dialogue
2185 between the Fool and the Soldier? Come,
2186 bring forth this counterfeit module; has deceived
2187 me like a double-meaning prophesier.
SECOND LORD 2188 Bring him forth. Has sat i’ th’ stocks all
2189 105 night, poor gallant knave.⌜Soldiers exit.⌝
BERTRAM 2190 No matter. His heels have deserved it in
2191 usurping his spurs so long. How does he carry
SECOND LORD 2193 I have told your Lordship already: the
2194 110 stocks carry him. But to answer you as you would
2195 be understood: he weeps like a wench that had
2196 shed her milk. He hath confessed himself to Morgan,
2197 whom he supposes to be a friar, from the time
2198 of his remembrance to this very instant disaster of
2199 115 his setting i’ th’ stocks. And what think you he hath
p. 159BERTRAM 2201 Nothing of me, has he?
SECOND LORD 2202 His confession is taken, and it shall be
2203 read to his face. If your Lordship be in ’t, as I
2204 120 believe you are, you must have the patience to
2205 hear it.
Enter Parolles, ⌜blindfolded,⌝ with his Interpreter,
⌜the First Soldier.⌝
BERTRAM 2206 A plague upon him! Muffled! He can say
2207 nothing of me.
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside to Bertram⌝ 2208 Hush, hush. Hoodman
2209 125 comes.—Portotartarossa.
FIRST SOLDIER, ⌜to Parolles⌝ 2210 He calls for the tortures.
2211 What will you say without ’em?
PAROLLES 2212 I will confess what I know without constraint.
2213 If you pinch me like a pasty, I can say no
2214 130 more.
FIRST SOLDIER 2215 Bosko Chimurcho.
⌜FIRST⌝ LORD 2216 Boblibindo chicurmurco.
FIRST SOLDIER 2217 You are a merciful general.—Our general
2218 bids you answer to what I shall ask you out of a
2219 135 note.
PAROLLES 2220 And truly, as I hope to live.
FIRST SOLDIER, ⌜as if reading a note⌝ 2221 First, demand of
2222 him how many horse the Duke is strong.—What say
2223 you to that?
PAROLLES 2224 140Five or six thousand, but very weak and
2225 unserviceable. The troops are all scattered, and the
2226 commanders very poor rogues, upon my reputation
2227 and credit, and as I hope to live.
FIRST SOLDIER 2228 Shall I set down your answer so?
PAROLLES 2229 145Do. I’ll take the Sacrament on ’t, how and
2230 which way you will.
BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2231 All’s one to him. What a past-saving
2232 slave is this!
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside to Bertram⌝ 2233 You’re deceived, my
p. 1612234 150 lord. This is Monsieur Parolles, the gallant
2235 militarist—that was his own phrase—that had the
2236 whole theoric of war in the knot of his scarf, and
2237 the practice in the chape of his dagger.
SECOND LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2238 I will never trust a man again for
2239 155 keeping his sword clean, nor believe he can have
2240 everything in him by wearing his apparel neatly.
FIRST SOLDIER, ⌜to Parolles⌝ 2241 Well, that’s set down.
PAROLLES 2242 “Five or six thousand horse,” I said—I will
2243 say true—“or thereabouts” set down, for I’ll speak
2244 160 truth.
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2245 He’s very near the truth in this.
BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2246 But I con him no thanks for ’t, in the
2247 nature he delivers it.
PAROLLES 2248 “Poor rogues,” I pray you say.
FIRST SOLDIER 2249 165Well, that’s set down.
PAROLLES 2250 I humbly thank you, sir. A truth’s a truth.
2251 The rogues are marvelous poor.
FIRST SOLDIER, ⌜as if reading a note⌝ 2252 Demand of him of
2253 what strength they are o’ foot.—What say you to
2254 170 that?
PAROLLES 2255 By my troth, sir, if I were to live ⌜but⌝ this
2256 present hour, I will tell true. Let me see: Spurio a
2257 hundred and fifty, Sebastian so many, Corambus
2258 so many, Jaques so many; Guiltian, Cosmo,
2259 175 Lodowick and Gratii, two hundred fifty each; mine
2260 own company, Chitopher, Vaumond, Bentii, two
2261 hundred fifty each; so that the muster-file, rotten
2262 and sound, upon my life amounts not to fifteen
2263 thousand poll, half of the which dare not shake the
2264 180 snow from off their cassocks lest they shake themselves
2265 to pieces.
BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2266 What shall be done to him?
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2267 Nothing but let him have thanks.
2268 (⌜Aside to First Soldier.⌝) Demand of him my condition
2269 185 and what credit I have with the Duke.
p. 163FIRST SOLDIER, ⌜to Parolles⌝ 2270 Well, that’s set down. ⌜Pretending
to read:⌝ 2271 You shall demand of him whether
2272 one Captain Dumaine be i’ th’ camp, a Frenchman;
2273 what his reputation is with the Duke, what his valor,
2274 190 honesty, and expertness in wars; or whether he
2275 thinks it were not possible with well-weighing sums
2276 of gold to corrupt him to a revolt.—What say you to
2277 this? What do you know of it?
PAROLLES 2278 I beseech you let me answer to the particular
2279 195 of the inter’gatories. Demand them singly.
FIRST SOLDIER 2280 Do you know this Captain Dumaine?
PAROLLES 2281 I know him. He was a botcher’s prentice in
2282 Paris, from whence he was whipped for getting the
2283 shrieve’s fool with child, a dumb innocent that
2284 200 could not say him nay.
BERTRAM, ⌜aside to First Lord⌝ 2285 Nay, by your leave, hold
2286 your hands, though I know his brains are forfeit to
2287 the next tile that falls.
FIRST SOLDIER 2288 Well, is this captain in the Duke of
2289 205 Florence’s camp?
PAROLLES 2290 Upon my knowledge he is, and lousy.
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside to Bertram⌝ 2291 Nay, look not so upon
2292 me. We shall hear of your ⌜Lordship⌝ anon.
FIRST SOLDIER 2293 What is his reputation with the Duke?
PAROLLES 2294 210The Duke knows him for no other but a
2295 poor officer of mine, and writ to me this other day
2296 to turn him out o’ th’ band. I think I have his letter
2297 in my pocket.
FIRST SOLDIER 2298 Marry, we’ll search.
⌜They search Parolles’ pockets.⌝
PAROLLES 2299 215In good sadness, I do not know. Either it is
2300 there, or it is upon a file with the Duke’s other letters
2301 in my tent.
FIRST SOLDIER 2302 Here ’tis; here’s a paper. Shall I read it to
PAROLLES 2304 220I do not know if it be it or no.
p. 165BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2305 Our interpreter does it well.
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2306 Excellently.
FIRST SOLDIER ⌜reads⌝ 2307 Dian, the Count’s a fool and full
2308 of gold—
PAROLLES 2309 225That is not the Duke’s letter, sir. That is an
2310 advertisement to a proper maid in Florence, one
2311 Diana, to take heed of the allurement of one Count
2312 Rossillion, a foolish idle boy, but for all that very
2313 ruttish. I pray you, sir, put it up again.
FIRST SOLDIER 2314 230Nay, I’ll read it first, by your favor.
PAROLLES 2315 My meaning in ’t, I protest, was very honest
2316 in the behalf of the maid, for I knew the young
2317 count to be a dangerous and lascivious boy, who is
2318 a whale to virginity and devours up all the fry it
2319 235 finds.
BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2320 Damnable both-sides rogue!
FIRST SOLDIER ⌜reads⌝
2321 When he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and
2322 take it.
2323 After he scores, he never pays the score.
2324 240 Half won is match well made. Match, and well
2325 make it.
2326 He ne’er pays after-debts. Take it before.
2327 And say a soldier, Dian, told thee this:
2328 Men are to mell with; boys are not to kiss.
2329 245 For count of this: the Count’s a fool, I know it,
2330 Who pays before, but not when he does owe it.
2331 Thine, as he vowed to thee in thine ear,
BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2333 He shall be whipped through the
2334 250 army with this rhyme in ’s forehead.
SECOND LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2335 This is your devoted friend, sir,
2336 the manifold linguist and the armipotent soldier.
BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2337 I could endure anything before but a
2338 cat, and now he’s a cat to me.
FIRST SOLDIER, ⌜to Parolles⌝ 2339 255I perceive, sir, by ⌜our⌝
2340 general’s looks we shall be fain to hang you.
p. 167PAROLLES 2341 My life, sir, in any case! Not that I am afraid
2342 to die, but that, my offenses being many, I would
2343 repent out the remainder of nature. Let me live,
2344 260 sir, in a dungeon, i’ th’ stocks, or anywhere, so I
2345 may live.
FIRST SOLDIER 2346 We’ll see what may be done, so you confess
2347 freely. Therefore once more to this Captain
2348 Dumaine: you have answered to his reputation
2349 265 with the Duke, and to his valor. What is his
PAROLLES 2351 He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister. For
2352 rapes and ravishments, he parallels Nessus. He
2353 professes not keeping of oaths. In breaking ’em he
2354 270 is stronger than Hercules. He will lie, sir, with such
2355 volubility that you would think truth were a fool.
2356 Drunkenness is his best virtue, for he will be
2357 swine-drunk, and in his sleep he does little harm,
2358 save to his bedclothes about him; but they know
2359 275 his conditions and lay him in straw. I have but
2360 little more to say, sir, of his honesty; he has everything
2361 that an honest man should not have; what an
2362 honest man should have, he has nothing.
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2363 I begin to love him for this.
BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2364 280For this description of thine honesty?
2365 A pox upon him! For me, he’s more and more
2366 a cat.
FIRST SOLDIER 2367 What say you to his expertness in war?
PAROLLES 2368 Faith, sir, has led the drum before the English
2369 285 tragedians. To belie him I will not, and more
2370 of his soldiership I know not, except in that country
2371 he had the honor to be the officer at a place
2372 there called Mile End, to instruct for the doubling
2373 of files. I would do the man what honor I can, but
2374 290 of this I am not certain.
FIRST LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2375 He hath out-villained villainy so
2376 far that the rarity redeems him.
p. 169BERTRAM, ⌜aside⌝ 2377 A pox on him! He’s a cat still.
FIRST SOLDIER 2378 His qualities being at this poor price,
2379 295 I need not to ask you if gold will corrupt him to
PAROLLES 2381 Sir, for a cardecu he will sell the fee-simple
2382 of his salvation, the inheritance of it, and cut th’
2383 entail from all remainders, and a perpetual succession
2384 300 for it perpetually.
FIRST SOLDIER 2385 What’s his brother, the other Captain
SECOND LORD, ⌜aside⌝ 2387 Why does he ask him of me?
FIRST SOLDIER 2388 What’s he?
PAROLLES 2389 305E’en a crow o’ th’ same nest: not altogether
2390 so great as the first in goodness, but greater a great
2391 deal in evil. He excels his brother for a coward, yet
2392 his brother is reputed one of the best that is. In a
2393 retreat he outruns any lackey. Marry, in coming on
2394 310 he has the cramp.
FIRST SOLDIER 2395 If your life be saved, will you undertake
2396 to betray the Florentine?
PAROLLES 2397 Ay, and the captain of his horse, Count
FIRST SOLDIER 2399 315I’ll whisper with the General and know
2400 his pleasure.
PAROLLES, ⌜aside⌝ 2401 I’ll no more drumming. A plague of
2402 all drums! Only to seem to deserve well, and to
2403 beguile the supposition of that lascivious young
2404 320 boy the Count, have I run into this danger. Yet who
2405 would have suspected an ambush where I was
FIRST SOLDIER 2407 There is no remedy, sir, but you must
2408 die. The General says you that have so traitorously
2409 325 discovered the secrets of your army and made
2410 such pestiferous reports of men very nobly held
2411 can serve the world for no honest use. Therefore
2412 you must die.—Come, headsman, off with his
p. 171PAROLLES 2414 330O Lord, sir, let me live, or let me see my
FIRST SOLDIER 2416 That shall you, and take your leave of
2417 all your friends. ⌜He removes the blindfold.⌝ So,
2418 look about you. Know you any here?
BERTRAM 2419 335Good morrow, noble captain.
SECOND LORD 2420 God bless you, Captain Parolles.
FIRST LORD 2421 God save you, noble captain.
SECOND LORD 2422 Captain, what greeting will you to my
2423 Lord Lafew? I am for France.
FIRST LORD 2424 340Good captain, will you give me a copy of
2425 the sonnet you writ to Diana in behalf of the Count
2426 Rossillion? An I were not a very coward, I’d compel
2427 it of you. But fare you well.
⌜Bertram and Lords⌝ exit.
FIRST SOLDIER 2428 You are undone, captain—all but your
2429 345 scarf; that has a knot on ’t yet.
PAROLLES 2430 Who cannot be crushed with a plot?
FIRST SOLDIER 2431 If you could find out a country where
2432 but women were that had received so much
2433 shame, you might begin an impudent nation. Fare
2434 350 you well, sir. I am for France too. We shall speak of
2435 you there.He exits.
2436 Yet am I thankful. If my heart were great,
2437 ’Twould burst at this. Captain I’ll be no more,
2438 But I will eat and drink, and sleep as soft
2439 355 As captain shall. Simply the thing I am
2440 Shall make me live. Who knows himself a braggart,
2441 Let him fear this, for it will come to pass
2442 That every braggart shall be found an ass.
2443 Rust, sword; cool, blushes; and Parolles live
2444 360 Safest in shame. Being fooled, by fool’ry thrive.
2445 There’s place and means for every man alive.
2446 I’ll after them.He exits.