All's Well That Ends Well By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scene 3

BERTRAM.
He shall be whipped through the army with this rhyme in his
forehead.

SECOND LORD.
This is your devoted friend, sir, the manifold linguist, and the
armipotent soldier.

BERTRAM.
I could endure anything before but a cat, and now he's a cat to
me.

FIRST SOLDIER.
I perceive, sir, by our general's looks we shall be fain to hang
you.

PAROLLES.
My life, sir, in any case: not that I am afraid to die, but that,
my offences being many, I would repent out the remainder of
nature: let me live, sir, in a dungeon, i' the stocks, or
anywhere, so I may live.

FIRST SOLDIER.
We'll see what may be done, so you confess freely; therefore,
once more to this Captain Dumain: you have answered to his
reputation with the duke, and to his valour: what is his honesty?

PAROLLES.
He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister: for rapes and
ravishments he parallels Nessus. He professes not keeping of
oaths; in breaking them he is stronger than Hercules. He will
lie, sir, with such volubility that you would think truth were a
fool: drunkenness is his best virtue, for he will be swine-drunk;
and in his sleep he does little harm, save to his bedclothes
about him; but they know his conditions and lay him in straw. I
have but little more to say, sir, of his honesty; he has
everything that an honest man should not have; what an honest man
should have he has nothing.

FIRST LORD.
I begin to love him for this.

BERTRAM.
For this description of thine honesty? A pox upon him for me;
he's more and more a cat.

FIRST SOLDIER.
What say you to his expertness in war?

PAROLLES.
Faith, sir, has led the drum before the English tragedians, — to
belie him I will not, — and more of his soldiership I know not,
except in that country he had the honour to be the officer at a
place there called Mile-end to instruct for the doubling of
files: I would do the man what honour I can, but of this I am not
certain.

FIRST LORD.
He hath out-villanied villainy so far that the rarity redeems
him.

BERTRAM.
A pox on him! he's a cat still.

FIRST SOLDIER.
His qualities being at this poor price, I need not to ask you if
gold will corrupt him to revolt.

PAROLLES.
Sir, for a quart d'ecu he will sell the fee-simple of his
salvation, the inheritance of it; and cut the entail from all
remainders and a perpetual succession for it perpetually.

FIRST SOLDIER.
What's his brother, the other Captain Dumain?

SECOND LORD.
Why does he ask him of me?

FIRST SOLDIER.
What's he?

PAROLLES.
E'en a crow o' the same nest; not altogether so great as the
first in goodness, but greater a great deal in evil. He excels
his brother for a coward, yet his brother is reputed one of the
best that is; in a retreat he outruns any lackey: marry, in
coming on he has the cramp.

FIRST SOLDIER.
If your life be saved, will you undertake to betray the
Florentine?

PAROLLES.
Ay, and the captain of his horse, Count Rousillon.

FIRST SOLDIER.
I'll whisper with the general, and know his pleasure.

PAROLLES.
[Aside.] I'll no more drumming; a plague of all drums! Only to
seem to deserve well, and to beguile the supposition of that
lascivious young boy the count, have I run into this danger: yet
who would have suspected an ambush where I was taken?

FIRST SOLDIER.
There is no remedy, sir, but you must die: the general says you
that have so traitorously discovered 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.

PAROLLES.
O Lord! sir, let me live, or let me see my death.

FIRST SOLDIER.
That shall you, and take your leave of all your friends.

[Unmuffling him.]

So look about you; know you any here?

BERTRAM.
Good morrow, noble captain.

SECOND LORD.
God bless you, Captain Parolles.

FIRST LORD.
God save you, noble captain.

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