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usurping his spurs 8 so long. How does he carry himself?
1 Lord. 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 confessed 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’the stocks : And what think you he hath confessed ?
Ber. Nothing of me, has he?
2 Lord. 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.
Re-enter Soldiers, with PAROLLES. Ber. A plague upon him! muffled! he can say nothing of me; hush! hush!
1 Lord. Hoodman 9 comes ! - Porto tartarossa.
1 Sold. He calls for the tortures; What will you say without 'em?
Par. I will confess what I know without constraint; if ye pinch me like a pasty, I can say no more.
1 Sold, Bosko chimurcho.
1 Sold. You are a merciful general:–Our general bids you to answer to what I shall ask you out of a note.
Par. And truly, as I hope to live.
1 Sold. First demand of him how many horse the duke is strong? What say you to that?
Par. Five or six thousand; but very weak and unserviceable: the troops are all scattered, and the commanders very poor rogues, upon my reputation and credit, and as I hope to live.
8 An allusion to the degradation of a knight by hacking off
9 The game at blind man's buff was formerly called Hoodman blind.
1 Sold. Shall I set down your answer so?
Par. Do; I'll take the sacrament o’nt, how and which way you will.
Ber. All's one to him. What a past-saving slave is this 10!
1 Lord. You are deceived, my lord; this is monsieur Parolles, the gallant militarist (that was his own phrase), that had the whole theorick 11 of war in the knot of his scarf, and the practice in the chape 12 of his dagger.
2 Lord. I will never trust a man again for keeping his sword clean; nor believe he can have every thing in him, by wearing his apparel neatly.
1 Sold. Well, that's set down.
Par. Five or six thousand horse, I said,— I will say true,—or thereabouts, set down,—for I'll speak truth.
1 Lord. He's very near the truth in this.
Ber. But I con him no thanks 13 for't, in the nature he delivers it.
Par. Poor rogues, I pray you, say. 1 Sold. Well, that's set down.
Par. I humbly thank you, sir: a truth's a truth, the rogues are marvellous
10 In the old copy these words are given by mistake to Parolles.
12 The chape is the catch or fastening of the sheath of his dagger.
13 i. e. I am not beholden to him for it, &c. To con thanks exactly answers to the French sçavoir gré. Chaucer has con hem thank,' and 'con hem maugré;' which last is equivalent to sçavoir malgré. It is found in several writers of Shakspeare's time. To con and to ken are from the Saxon cunnan, to know, to may or can, to be able. VOL. III.
1 Sold. Demand of him, of what strength they are a-foot. What say you to that?
Par. By my troth, sir, if I were to live this present hour 14, I will tell true. Let me see: Spurio a hundred and fifty, Sebastian so many, Corambus so many, Jaques so many; Guiltian, Cosmo, Lodowick, and Gratii, two hundred fifty each: mine own company, Chitopher, Vaumond, Bentii, two hundred and fifty each: so that the muster-file, rotten and sound, upon my life, amounts not to fifteen thousand poll; half of which dare not shake the snow from off their cassocks 15, lest they shake themselves to pieces.
Ber. What shall be done to him?
1 Lord. Nothing, but let him have thanks. Demand of him my conditions 16, and what credit I have with the duke.
1 Sold. Well, that's set down. You shall demand of him, whether one captain Dumain be i'the camp, a Frenchman; what his reputation is with the duke, what his valour, honesty, and expertness in wars; or whether he thinks, it were not possible, with wellweighing sums of gold, to corrupt him to a revolt. What say you to this? What do you know of it?
Par. I beseech you, let me answer to the partiçular of the intergatories 17: Demand them singly.
14 Perhaps we should read, 'if I were but to live this present hour;' unless the blunder is meant to show the fright of Parolles.
15 • Cassocks.' Soldier's cloaks or upper garments. Casaque, Fr. Sometimes also called Hoquetons de guerre. A very curious description of this garment may be found in that valuable work, * Thresor de la Langue Françoise, par Nicot,' ed. 1606, under the word Casaque. There was a plebeian cassock, or gaberdine, worn by country people, which is carefully distinguished from this by Nicot and his follower Cotgrave.
16. i. e. disposition and character. 17 For interrogatories.
1 Sold. Do
know this captain Dumain ? Par. I know him: he was a botcher’s ’prentice in Paris, from whence he was whipped for getting the sheriff's fool 18 with child: a dumb innocent, that could not say him, nay.
[DUMAIN lifts up his hand in anger. Ber. Nay, by your leave, hold your hands; though I know, his brains are forfeit to the next tile that falls 19.
1 Sold. Well, is this captain in the duke of Florence's camp?
Par. Upon my knowledge, he is, and lousy. 1 Lord. Nay, look not so upon me; we shall hear of your lordship anon.
1 Sold. What is his reputation with the duke?
Par. The duke knows him for no other but a poor officer of mine ; and writ to me this other day, to turn him out o'the band : I think, I have his letter in my pocket.
1 Sold. Marry, we'll search.
Par. In good sadness, I do not know; either it is there, or it is upon a file, with the duke's other letters,
in 1 Sold. Here 'tis; here's a paper ? Shall I read it to you?
Par. I do not know if it be it, or no. Ber. Our interpreter does it well. 1 Lord. Excellently. 1 Sold. Dian. The count's a fool, and full of gold,
18 Female idiots, as well as male, though not so commonly, were retained in great families for diversion. It is not improbable that some real event of recent occurrence is alluded to.
19 In Whitney's Emblems there is a story of three women who threw dice to ascertain which of them should die first. She who lost affected to laugh at the decrees of fate, when a tile suddenly falling put an end to her existence. This book was certainly known to Shakspeare. The passages in Lucian and Plutarch are not so likely to have met the poet's eye.
Par. That is not the duke's letter, sir; that is an advertisement to a proper maid in Florence, one Diana, to take heed of the allurement of one count Rousillon, a foolish idle boy, but for all that, very ruttish: I pray you, sir, put it up again.
1 Sold. Nay, I'll read it first, by your favour.
Par. My meaning in't, I protest, was very honest in the behalf of the maid : for I knew the young count to be a dangerous and lascivious boy; who is a whale 20 to virginity, and devours up all the fry it finds.
Ber. Damnable, both sides rogue! 1 Sold. When he swears oaths, bid him drop gold,
and take it ; After he scores, he never pays the score: Half won, is match well made; match, and well
make it 21 :
PAROLLES. Ber. He shall be whipped through the army with this rhyme in his forehead.
20 There is probably an allusion here to the Story of Andromeda in old prints, where the monster is frequently represented as a whale.
21 i.e. a match well made is half won; make your match therefore, but make it well.
22 The meaning of the word mell from mêler, French, is obvions. To mell, says Ruddiman, 'to fight, contend, meddle, or have to do with.' So in The Corpus Christi Play, acted at Coventry, Cott. MSS. Vesp. viii. p. 122:
* And fayre young qwene herby doth dwelle,
The way into her chawmer ryght evyn he toke.'