ACT III. SCENE 6. Camp before Florence.
[Enter BERTRAM, and the two French Lords.]
Nay, good my lord, put him to't; let him have his way.
If your lordship find him not a hilding, hold me no more in your
On my life, my lord, a bubble.
Do you think I am so far deceived in him?
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
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.
I would I knew in what particular action to try him.
None better than to let him fetch off his drum, which you hear
him so confidently undertake to do.
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.
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.
O, for the love of laughter, hinder not the honour of his design:
let him fetch off his drum in any hand.
How now, monsieur! this drum sticks sorely in your disposition.
A pox on 't; let it go; 'tis but a drum.
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.
That was not to be blamed 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.
Well, we cannot greatly condemn our success: some dishonour we
had in the loss of that drum; but it is not to be recovered.
It might have been recovered.
It might, but it is not now.
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.
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, 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.
By the hand of a soldier, I will undertake it.
But you must not now slumber in it.
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
May I be bold to acquaint his grace you are gone about it?
I know not what the success will be, my lord, but the attempt I
I know thou art valiant; and, to the possibility of thy
soldiership, will subscribe for thee. Farewell.
I love not many words.