All's Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare
Camp before Florence
Enter BERTRAM, and the two FRENCH LORDSSECOND LORD
Nay, good my lord, put him to't; let him have his way. FIRST LORD
If your lordship find him not a hiding, hold me no more
in your respect. SECOND LORD
On my life, my lord, a bubble.
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. FIRST 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.
None better than to let him fetch off his drum, which
you hear him so confidently undertake to do. SECOND 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. FIRST 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 will be melted, if you give him not John Drum's
entertainment, your inclining cannot be removed. Here he comes.
Enter PAROLLESSECOND LORD
O, for the love of laughter, hinder not the honour of
his design; let him fetch off his drum in any hand.
A pox on 't; let it go; 'tis but a drum.
That was not to be blam'd 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.
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 damn'd than to do 't. FIRST 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.
None in the world; but return with an invention, and
clap upon you two or three probable lies. But we have almost
emboss'd him. You shall see his fall to-night; for indeed he is
not for your lordship's respect. FIRST LORD
We'll make you some sport with the fox ere we case him.
He was first smok'd 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. SECOND LORD
I must go look my twigs; he shall be caught.
As't please your lordship. I'll leave you.
But you say she's honest.
With all my heart, my lord.