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Sec. Lord. [Aside to Ber.] O, for the love of laughter, hinder not the honour of his design: let him fetch off his drum in any hand.

Ber. How now, monsieur! this drum sticks sorely in your disposition.

First 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 excellent command,to charge in with our horse upon our own wings, and to rend our own soldiers !

First Lord. That was not to be blamed in the command of the service: it was a disaster of war that Cæsar himself could not have prevented, if he had been there to command.

Ber. Well, we cannot greatly condemn our success some dishonour we had in the loss of that drum; but it is not to be recovered.

Par. It might have been recovered.
Ber. It might; but it is not now.

Par. 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 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 enterprise 70 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 greatness, even to the utmost syllable of your worthiness.

45. in any hand, in any case.

68. mystery, mastery.

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 my- 80 self in my certainty, put myself into my mortal 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 'rt valiant; and, to the possibility of thy soldiership, will subscribe for thee. Farewell.

Par. I love not many words.



Sec. Lord. No more than a fish loves water. 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 damned 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, 100 you have him ever after.

Ber. Why, do you think he will make no deed at all of this that so seriously he does address himself unto?

Sec. 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 : n; 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 110 107. embossed him, run him down.

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 very night.

Sec. Lord. I must go look my twigs: he shall be caught.

Ber. Your brother he shall go along with me. Sec. Lord. As 't please your lordship: I'll leave

you. [Exit. Ber. Now will I lead you to the house, and

show you.

The lass I spoke of.

First Lord.

But you say she's honest.

Ber. That's all the fault: I spoke with her but


And found her wondrous cold; but I sent to her,
By this same coxcomb that we have i' the wind,
Tokens and letters which she did re-send;

And this is all I have done.

Will you go see her?

She's a fair creature:

First Lord.

With all my heart, my lord. [Exeunt.

SCENE VII. Florence.

The Widow s house.

Enter HELENA and Widow.

Hel. If you misdoubt me that I am not she,
I know not how I shall assure you further,
But I shall lose the grounds I work upon.

Wid. Though my estate be fallen, I was well born,

Nothing acquainted with these businesses;

And would not put my reputation now

III. case, flay, strip, unmask.

3. i.e. without calling Bertram himself as witness.


In any staining act.

Nor would I wish you.
First, give me trust, the count he is my husband,
And what to your sworn counsel I have spoken
Is so from word to word; and then you cannot,
By the good aid that I of you shall borrow,
Err in bestowing it.


For you

I should believe you;

have show'd me that which well approves You're great in fortune.


Take this purse of gold,

And let me buy your friendly help thus far,

Which I will over-pay and pay again

When I have found it. The count he wooes your daughter,

Lays down his wanton siege before her beauty,
Resolved to carry her: let her in fine consent,
As we'll direct her how 'tis best to bear it.
Now his important blood will nought deny
That she'll demand: a ring the county wears,
That downward hath succeeded in his house
From son to son, some four or five descents
Since the first father wore it: this ring he holds
In most rich choice; yet in his idle fire,
To buy his will, it would not seem too dear,
Howe'er repented after.


Now I see

The bottom of your purpose.

Hel. You see it lawful, then it is no more, But that your daughter, ere she seems as won, Desires this ring; appoints him an encounter ; In fine, delivers me to fill the time,

Herself most chastely absent: after this,

To marry her, I'll add three thousand crowns
To what is past already.

21. important, importunate.

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I have yielded:

Instruct my daughter how she shall persever,
That time and place with this deceit so lawful
May prove coherent. Every night he comes
With musics of all sorts and songs composed
To her unworthiness: it nothing steads us
To chide him from our eaves; for he persists
As if his life lay on 't.


Let us assay our plot;

Why then to-night

which, if it speed,

Is wicked meaning in a lawful deed
And lawful meaning in a lawful act,
Where both not sin, and yet a sinful fact:
But let's about it.




SCENE I. Without the Florentine camp.

Enter Second French Lord, with five or six
other Soldiers in ambush.

Sec. Lord. He can come no other way but by this hedge-corner. When you sally upon him, speak what terrible language you will: though you understand it not yourselves, no matter; for we must not seem to understand him, unless some one among us whom we must produce for an interpreter.

First Sold. Good captain, let me be the interpreter.

Sec. Lord. Art not acquainted with him? knows 10 he not thy voice?

47. fact, deed.

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