All's Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare
The Florentine camp
Enter the two FRENCH LORDS, and two or three SOLDIERSSECOND LORD
You have not given him his mother's letter? FIRST LORD
I have deliv'red it an hour since. There is something
in't that stings his nature; for on the reading it he chang'd
almost into another man. SECOND LORD
He has much worthy blame laid upon him for shaking off
so good a wife and so sweet a lady. FIRST LORD
Especially he hath incurred the everlasting displeasure
of the King, who had even tun'd his bounty to sing happiness to
him. I will tell you a thing, but you shall let it dwell darkly
with you. SECOND LORD
When you have spoken it, 'tis dead, and I am the grave
of it. FIRST LORD
He hath perverted a young gentlewoman here in 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. SECOND LORD
Now, God delay our rebellion! As we are ourselves,
what things are we! FIRST LORD
Merely our own traitors. And as in the common course of
all treasons we still see them reveal themselves till they attain
to their abhorr'd ends; so he that in this action contrives
against his own nobility, in his proper stream, o'erflows
himself. SECOND LORD
Is it not meant damnable in us to be trumpeters of our
unlawful intents? We shall not then have his company to-night? FIRST LORD
Not till after midnight; for he is dieted to his hour. SECOND LORD
That approaches apace. I would gladly have him see his
company anatomiz'd, that he might take a measure of his own
judgments, wherein so curiously he had set this counterfeit. FIRST LORD
We will not meddle with him till he come; for his
presence must be the whip of the other. SECOND LORD
In the meantime, what hear you of these wars? FIRST LORD
I hear there is an overture of peace. SECOND LORD
Nay, I assure you, a peace concluded. FIRST LORD
What will Count Rousillon do then? Will he travel
higher, or return again into France? SECOND LORD
I perceive, by this demand, you are not altogether
of his counsel. FIRST LORD
Let it be forbid, sir! So should I be a great deal
of his act. SECOND LORD
Sir, his wife, some two months since, fled from his
house. Her pretence is a pilgrimage to Saint Jaques le Grand;
which holy undertaking with most austere sanctimony she
accomplish'd; 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. FIRST LORD
How is this justified? SECOND LORD
The stronger part of it by her own letters, which
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 confirm'd by the rector of the place. FIRST LORD
Hath the Count all this intelligence? SECOND LORD
Ay, and the particular confirmations, point from
point, to the full arming of the verity. FIRST LORD
I am heartily sorry that he'll be glad of this. SECOND LORD
How mightily sometimes we make us comforts of our
losses! FIRST LORD
And how mightily some other times we drown our gain in
tears! The great dignity that his valour hath here acquir'd for
him shall at home be encount'red with a shame as ample. SECOND LORD
The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill
together. Our virtues would be proud if our faults whipt them
not; and our crimes would despair if they were not cherish'd by
Enter a MESSENGER
How now? Where's your master?
They shall be no more than needful there, if they were
more than they can commend. FIRST LORD
They cannot be too sweet for the King's tartness.
Here's his lordship now.
How now, my lord, is't not after midnight?
If the business be of any difficulty and this morning
your departure hence, it requires haste of your lordship.
Bring him forth. [Exeunt SOLDIERS] Has sat i' th'
stocks all night, poor gallant knave.
I have told your lordship already the stocks carry
him. But to answer you as you would be understood: he weeps like
a wench that had shed her milk; he hath confess'd 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' th'
stocks. And what think you he hath confess'd?
His confession is taken, and it shall be read to his
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 as interpreter
Hush, hush! Hoodman comes. Portotartarossa. FIRST SOLDIER
He calls for the tortures. What will you say without
Bosko chimurcho. SECOND LORD
Boblibindo chicurmurco. FIRST SOLDIER
You are a merciful general. Our General bids you
answer to what I shall ask you out of a note.
'First demand of him how many horse the Duke is
strong.' What say you to that?
Shall I set down your answer so?
Y'are deceiv'd, my lord; this is Monsieur Parolles,
the gallant militarist-that was his own phrase-that had the whole
theoric of war in the knot of his scarf, and the practice in the
chape of his dagger. FIRST LORD
I will never trust a man again for keeping his sword
clean; nor believe he can have everything in him by wearing his
apparel neatly. FIRST SOLDIER
Well, that's set down.
He's very near the truth in this.
Well, that's set down.
'Demand of him of what strength they are a-foot.'
What say you to that?
Nothing, but let him have thanks. Demand of him my
condition, and what credit I have with the Duke. FIRST SOLDIER
Well, that's set down. 'You shall demand of him
whether one Captain Dumain be i' th' camp, a Frenchman; what his
reputation is with the Duke, what his valour, honesty, expertness
in wars; or whether he thinks it were not possible, with
well-weighing sums of gold, to corrupt him to a revolt.' What say
you to this? What do you know of it?
Do you know this Captain Dumain?
Well, is this captain in the Duke of Florence's
Nay, look not so upon me; we shall hear of your
lordship anon. FIRST SOLDIER
What is his reputation with the Duke?
Marry, we'll search.
Here 'tis; here's a paper. Shall I read it to you?
Excellently. FIRST SOLDIER
[Reads] 'Dian, the Count's a fool, and full of
Nay, I'll read it first by your favour.
This is your devoted friend, sir, the manifold
linguist, and the amnipotent soldier.
I perceive, sir, by our General's looks we shall be
fain to hang you.
We'll see what may be done, so you confess freely;
therefore, once more to this Captain Dumain: you have answer'd to
his reputation with the Duke, and to his valour; what is his
I begin to love him for this.
What say you to his expertness in war?
He hath out-villain'd villainy so far that the rarity
His qualities being at this poor price, I need not
to ask you if gold will corrupt him to revolt.
What's his brother, the other Captain Dumain? FIRST LORD
Why does he ask him of me? FIRST SOLDIER
If your life be saved, will you undertake to betray
I'll whisper with the General, and know his
[Aside] I'll no more drumming. A plague of all drums!
There is no remedy, sir, but you must die.
The General says you that have so traitorously discover'd 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.
That shall you, and take your leave of all your
friends. [Unmuffling him] So look about you; know you any here?
God bless you, Captain Parolles. SECOND LORD
God save you, noble Captain. FIRST LORD
Captain, what greeting will you to my Lord Lafeu? I am
for France. SECOND LORD
Good Captain, will you give me a copy of the sonnet
you writ to Diana in behalf of the Count Rousillon? An I were not
a very coward I'd compel it of you; but fare you well.
Exeunt BERTRAM and LORDSFIRST SOLDIER
You are undone, Captain, all but your scarf; that
has a knot on 't yet.
If you could find out a country where but women were
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
Exit with SOLDIERS