Without the Florentine camp.
(Second French Lord; First Soldier as Interpreter; Second Soldier; Parolles)
One of the French lords, with several soldiers, lies in wait for Parolles, who is busy figuring out some credible tale about a great feat which he would never dare to accomplish. They seize Parolles, uttering strange jargon that makes him think he is in the hands of the enemy. Shaking with fear, Parolles offers to betray all the secrets of the Florentine camp in order to save his life. (57 lines)
Enter Second French Lord with five or six other Soldiers in ambush.
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.
Good captain, let me be th’ interpreter.
Art not acquainted with him? Knows he not thy voice?
No, sir, I warrant you.
But what linsey-woolsey hast thou to speak to us again?
E’en such as you speak to me.
He must think us some band of strangers i’ th’ adversary’s entertainment. Now he hath a smack of all neighboring languages; therefore we must every one be a man of his own fancy, not to know what we speak one to another; so we seem to know, is to know straight our purpose: choughs’ language, gabble enough, and good enough. As for you, interpreter, you must seem very politic. But couch ho, here he comes, to beguile two hours in a sleep, and then to return and swear the lies he forges.
They stand aside.
Ten a’ clock: within these three hours ’twill be time enough to go home. What shall I say I have done? It must be a very plausive invention that carries it. They begin to smoke me, and disgraces have of late knock’d too often at my door. I find my tongue is too foolhardy, but my heart hath the fear of Mars before it, and of his creatures, not daring the reports of my tongue.
This is the first truth that e’er thine own tongue was guilty of.
What the devil should move me to undertake the recovery of this drum, being not ignorant of the impossibility, and knowing I had no such purpose? I must give myself some hurts, and say I got them in exploit. Yet slight ones will not carry it. They will say, “Came you off with so little?” And great ones I dare not give; wherefore what’s the instance? Tongue, I must put you into a butter-woman’s mouth and buy myself another of Bajazeth’s mule, if you prattle me into these perils.
Is it possible he should know what he is, and be that he is?
I would the cutting of my garments would serve the turn, or the breaking of my Spanish sword.
We cannot afford you so.
Or the baring of my beard, and to say it was in stratagem.
’Twould not do.
Or to drown my clothes, and say I was stripp’d.
Though I swore I leapt from the window of the citadel—
Three great oaths would scarce make that be believ’d.
I would I had any drum of the enemy’s. I would swear I recover’d it.
You shall hear one anon.
A drum now of the enemy’s—
Throca movousus, cargo, cargo, cargo.
O, ransom, ransom!
They seize him.
Do not hide mine eyes.
They blindfold him.
Boskos thromuldo boskos.
I know you are the Muskos’ regiment,
And I shall lose my life for want of language.
If there be here German, or Dane, Low Dutch,
Italian, or French, let him speak to me,
I’ll discover that which shall undo the Florentine.
Boskos vauvado. I understand thee, and can speak thy tongue. Kerelybonto, sir, betake thee to thy faith, for seventeen poniards are at thy bosom.
O, pray, pray, pray! Manka revania dulche.
The general is content to spare thee yet,
And hoodwink’d as thou art, will lead thee on
To gather from thee. Haply thou mayst inform
Something to save thy life.
O, let me live,
And all the secrets of our camp I’ll show,
Their force, their purposes; nay, I’ll speak that
Which you will wonder at.
But wilt thou faithfully?
If I do not, damn me.
Come on, thou art granted space,
Exit with Parolles guarded.
A short alarum within.
Go tell the Count Roussillon, and my brother,
We have caught the woodcock, and will keep him muffled
Till we do hear from them.
Captain, I will.
’A will betray us all unto ourselves:
Inform on that.
So I will, sir.
Till then I’ll keep him dark and safely lock’d.