Love's Labour's Lost (1593-5)

(Complete Text)
Title Variant: A Pleasant Conceited Comedy Called Love's Labour's Lost
Online Critical Edition in Progress - Version 1.a.
Shakespeare Network -

Act I

Act II


Act V

Act I, Scene 1

The king of Navarre's park.

[Enter FERDINAND king of Navarre, BIRON, LONGAVILLE] [p]and DUMAIN]


Ferdinand Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,
Live register'd upon our brazen tombs
And then grace us in the disgrace of death;
When, spite of cormorant devouring Time,
The endeavor of this present breath may buy
That honour which shall bate his scythe's keen edge
And make us heirs of all eternity.
Therefore, brave conquerors,--for so you are,
That war against your own affections
And the huge army of the world's desires,--
Our late edict shall strongly stand in force:
Navarre shall be the wonder of the world;
Our court shall be a little Academe,
Still and contemplative in living art.
You three, Biron, Dumain, and Longaville,
Have sworn for three years' term to live with me
My fellow-scholars, and to keep those statutes
That are recorded in this schedule here:
Your oaths are pass'd; and now subscribe your names,
That his own hand may strike his honour down
That violates the smallest branch herein:
If you are arm'd to do as sworn to do,
Subscribe to your deep oaths, and keep it too.


Longaville I am resolved; 'tis but a three years' fast:
The mind shall banquet, though the body pine:
Fat paunches have lean pates, and dainty bits
Make rich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits.


Dumain My loving lord, Dumain is mortified:
The grosser manner of these world's delights
He throws upon the gross world's baser slaves:
To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die;
With all these living in philosophy.


Biron I can but say their protestation over;
So much, dear liege, I have already sworn,
That is, to live and study here three years.
But there are other strict observances;
As, not to see a woman in that term,
Which I hope well is not enrolled there;
And one day in a week to touch no food
And but one meal on every day beside,
The which I hope is not enrolled there;
And then, to sleep but three hours in the night,
And not be seen to wink of all the day--
When I was wont to think no harm all night
And make a dark night too of half the day--
Which I hope well is not enrolled there:
O, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep,
Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep!


Ferdinand Your oath is pass'd to pass away from these.


Biron Let me say no, my liege, an if you please:
I only swore to study with your grace
And stay here in your court for three years' space.


Longaville You swore to that, Biron, and to the rest.


Biron By yea and nay, sir, then I swore in jest.
What is the end of study? let me know.


Ferdinand Why, that to know, which else we should not know.


Biron Things hid and barr'd, you mean, from common sense?


Ferdinand Ay, that is study's godlike recompense.


Biron Come on, then; I will swear to study so,
To know the thing I am forbid to know:
As thus,--to study where I well may dine,
When I to feast expressly am forbid;
Or study where to meet some mistress fine,
When mistresses from common sense are hid;
Or, having sworn too hard a keeping oath,
Study to break it and not break my troth.
If study's gain be thus and this be so,
Study knows that which yet it doth not know:
Swear me to this, and I will ne'er say no.


Ferdinand These be the stops that hinder study quite
And train our intellects to vain delight.


Biron Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain,
Which with pain purchased doth inherit pain:
As, painfully to pore upon a book
To seek the light of truth; while truth the while
Doth falsely blind the eyesight of his look:
Light seeking light doth light of light beguile:
So, ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes.
Study me how to please the eye indeed
By fixing it upon a fairer eye,
Who dazzling so, that eye shall be his heed
And give him light that it was blinded by.
Study is like the heaven's glorious sun
That will not be deep-search'd with saucy looks:
Small have continual plodders ever won
Save base authority from others' books
These earthly godfathers of heaven's lights
That give a name to every fixed star
Have no more profit of their shining nights
Than those that walk and wot not what they are.
Too much to know is to know nought but fame;
And every godfather can give a name.


Ferdinand How well he's read, to reason against reading!


Dumain Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding!


Longaville He weeds the corn and still lets grow the weeding.


Biron The spring is near when green geese are a-breeding.


Dumain How follows that?


Biron Fit in his place and time.


Dumain In reason nothing.


Biron Something then in rhyme.


Ferdinand Biron is like an envious sneaping frost,
That bites the first-born infants of the spring.


Biron Well, say I am; why should proud summer boast
Before the birds have any cause to sing?
Why should I joy in any abortive birth?
At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows.
So you, to study now it is too late,
Climb o'er the house to unlock the little gate.


Ferdinand Well, sit you out: go home, Biron: adieu.


Biron No, my good lord; I have sworn to stay with you:
And though I have for barbarism spoke more
Than for that angel knowledge you can say,
Yet confident I'll keep what I have swore
And bide the penance of each three years' day.
Give me the paper; let me read the same;
And to the strict'st decrees I'll write my name.


Ferdinand How well this yielding rescues thee from shame!


Biron [Reads] 'Item, That no woman shall come within a
mile of my court:' Hath this been proclaimed?


Longaville Four days ago.


Biron Let's see the penalty.
'On pain of losing her tongue.' Who devised this penalty?


Longaville Marry, that did I.


Biron Sweet lord, and why?


Longaville To fright them hence with that dread penalty.


Biron A dangerous law against gentility!
'Item, If any man be seen to talk with a woman
within the term of three years, he shall endure such
public shame as the rest of the court can possibly devise.'
This article, my liege, yourself must break;
For well you know here comes in embassy
The French king's daughter with yourself to speak--
A maid of grace and complete majesty--
About surrender up of Aquitaine
To her decrepit, sick and bedrid father:
Therefore this article is made in vain,
Or vainly comes the admired princess hither.


Ferdinand What say you, lords? Why, this was quite forgot.


Biron So study evermore is overshot:
While it doth study to have what it would
It doth forget to do the thing it should,
And when it hath the thing it hunteth most,
'Tis won as towns with fire, so won, so lost.


Ferdinand We must of force dispense with this decree;
She must lie here on mere necessity.


Biron Necessity will make us all forsworn
Three thousand times within this three years' space;
For every man with his affects is born,
Not by might master'd but by special grace:
If I break faith, this word shall speak for me;
I am forsworn on 'mere necessity.'
So to the laws at large I write my name:
And he that breaks them in the least degree
Stands in attainder of eternal shame:
Suggestions are to other as to me;
But I believe, although I seem so loath,
I am the last that will last keep his oath.
But is there no quick recreation granted?


Ferdinand Ay, that there is. Our court, you know, is haunted
With a refined traveller of Spain;
A man in all the world's new fashion planted,
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain;
One whom the music of his own vain tongue
Doth ravish like enchanting harmony;
A man of complements, whom right and wrong
Have chose as umpire of their mutiny:
This child of fancy, that Armado hight,
For interim to our studies shall relate
In high-born words the worth of many a knight
From tawny Spain lost in the world's debate.
How you delight, my lords, I know not, I;
But, I protest, I love to hear him lie
And I will use him for my minstrelsy.


Biron Armado is a most illustrious wight,
A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight.


Longaville Costard the swain and he shall be our sport;
And so to study, three years is but short.


[Enter DULL with a letter, and COSTARD]


Dull Which is the duke's own person?


Biron This, fellow: what wouldst?


Dull I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his
grace's tharborough: but I would see his own person
in flesh and blood.


Biron This is he.


Dull Signior Arme--Arme--commends you. There's villany
abroad: this letter will tell you more.


Costard Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me.


Ferdinand A letter from the magnificent Armado.


Biron How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.


Longaville A high hope for a low heaven: God grant us patience!


Biron To hear? or forbear laughing?


Longaville To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately; or to
forbear both.


Biron Well, sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to
climb in the merriness.


Costard The matter is to me, sir, as concerning Jaquenetta.
The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.


Biron In what manner?


Costard In manner and form following, sir; all those three:
I was seen with her in the manor-house, sitting with
her upon the form, and taken following her into the
park; which, put together, is in manner and form
following. Now, sir, for the manner,--it is the
manner of a man to speak to a woman: for the form,--
in some form.


Biron For the following, sir?


Costard As it shall follow in my correction: and God defend
the right!


Ferdinand Will you hear this letter with attention?


Biron As we would hear an oracle.


Costard Such is the simplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.


Ferdinand [Reads] 'Great deputy, the welkin's vicegerent and
sole dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's god,
and body's fostering patron.'


Costard Not a word of Costard yet.


Ferdinand [Reads] 'So it is,'--


Costard It may be so: but if he say it is so, he is, in
telling true, but so.


Costard Be to me and every man that dares not fight!


Ferdinand No words!


Costard Of other men's secrets, I beseech you.


Ferdinand [Reads] 'So it is, besieged with sable-coloured
melancholy, I did commend the black-oppressing humour
to the most wholesome physic of thy health-giving
air; and, as I am a gentleman, betook myself to
walk. The time when. About the sixth hour; when
beasts most graze, birds best peck, and men sit down
to that nourishment which is called supper: so much
for the time when. Now for the ground which; which,
I mean, I walked upon: it is y-cleped thy park. Then
for the place where; where, I mean, I did encounter
that obscene and preposterous event, that draweth
from my snow-white pen the ebon-coloured ink, which
here thou viewest, beholdest, surveyest, or seest;
but to the place where; it standeth north-north-east
and by east from the west corner of thy curious-
knotted garden: there did I see that low-spirited
swain, that base minnow of thy mirth,'--


Ferdinand [Reads] 'that unlettered small-knowing soul,'--


Ferdinand [Reads] 'that shallow vassal,'--


Costard Still me?


Ferdinand [Reads] 'which, as I remember, hight Costard,'--


Costard O, me!


Ferdinand [Reads] 'sorted and consorted, contrary to thy
established proclaimed edict and continent canon,
which with,--O, with--but with this I passion to say


Costard With a wench.


Ferdinand [Reads] 'with a child of our grandmother Eve, a
female; or, for thy more sweet understanding, a
woman. Him I, as my ever-esteemed duty pricks me on,
have sent to thee, to receive the meed of
punishment, by thy sweet grace's officer, Anthony
Dull; a man of good repute, carriage, bearing, and


Dull 'Me, an't shall please you; I am Anthony Dull.


Ferdinand [Reads] 'For Jaquenetta,--so is the weaker vessel
called which I apprehended with the aforesaid
swain,--I keep her as a vessel of the law's fury;
and shall, at the least of thy sweet notice, bring
her to trial. Thine, in all compliments of devoted
and heart-burning heat of duty.


Biron This is not so well as I looked for, but the best
that ever I heard.


Ferdinand Ay, the best for the worst. But, sirrah, what say
you to this?


Costard Sir, I confess the wench.


Ferdinand Did you hear the proclamation?


Costard I do confess much of the hearing it but little of
the marking of it.


Ferdinand It was proclaimed a year's imprisonment, to be taken
with a wench.


Costard I was taken with none, sir: I was taken with a damsel.


Ferdinand Well, it was proclaimed 'damsel.'


Costard This was no damsel, neither, sir; she was a virgin.


Ferdinand It is so varied, too; for it was proclaimed 'virgin.'


Costard If it were, I deny her virginity: I was taken with a maid.


Ferdinand This maid will not serve your turn, sir.


Costard This maid will serve my turn, sir.


Ferdinand Sir, I will pronounce your sentence: you shall fast
a week with bran and water.


Costard I had rather pray a month with mutton and porridge.


Ferdinand And Don Armado shall be your keeper.
My Lord Biron, see him deliver'd o'er:
And go we, lords, to put in practise that
Which each to other hath so strongly sworn.




Biron I'll lay my head to any good man's hat,
These oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn.
Sirrah, come on.


Costard I suffer for the truth, sir; for true it is, I was
taken with Jaquenetta, and Jaquenetta is a true
girl; and therefore welcome the sour cup of
prosperity! Affliction may one day smile again; and
till then, sit thee down, sorrow!




Act I, Scene 2

The same.



Don Adriano de Armado Boy, what sign is it when a man of great spirit
grows melancholy?


Moth A great sign, sir, that he will look sad.


Don Adriano de Armado Why, sadness is one and the self-same thing, dear imp.


Moth No, no; O Lord, sir, no.


Don Adriano de Armado How canst thou part sadness and melancholy, my
tender juvenal?


Moth By a familiar demonstration of the working, my tough senior.


Don Adriano de Armado Why tough senior? why tough senior?


Moth Why tender juvenal? why tender juvenal?


Don Adriano de Armado I spoke it, tender juvenal, as a congruent epitheton
appertaining to thy young days, which we may
nominate tender.


Moth And I, tough senior, as an appertinent title to your
old time, which we may name tough.


Moth How mean you, sir? I pretty, and my saying apt? or
I apt, and my saying pretty?


Don Adriano de Armado Thou pretty, because little.


Moth Little pretty, because little. Wherefore apt?


Don Adriano de Armado And therefore apt, because quick.


Moth Speak you this in my praise, master?


Don Adriano de Armado In thy condign praise.


Moth I will praise an eel with the same praise.


Don Adriano de Armado What, that an eel is ingenious?


Moth That an eel is quick.


Don Adriano de Armado I do say thou art quick in answers: thou heatest my blood.


Moth I am answered, sir.


Don Adriano de Armado I love not to be crossed.


Moth [Aside] He speaks the mere contrary; crosses love not him.


Don Adriano de Armado I have promised to study three years with the duke.


Moth You may do it in an hour, sir.


Moth How many is one thrice told?


Don Adriano de Armado I am ill at reckoning; it fitteth the spirit of a tapster.


Moth You are a gentleman and a gamester, sir.


Don Adriano de Armado I confess both: they are both the varnish of a
complete man.


Moth Then, I am sure, you know how much the gross sum of
deuce-ace amounts to.


Don Adriano de Armado It doth amount to one more than two.


Moth Which the base vulgar do call three.


Moth Why, sir, is this such a piece of study? Now here
is three studied, ere ye'll thrice wink: and how
easy it is to put 'years' to the word 'three,' and
study three years in two words, the dancing horse
will tell you.


Don Adriano de Armado A most fine figure!


Moth To prove you a cipher.


Don Adriano de Armado I will hereupon confess I am in love: and as it is
base for a soldier to love, so am I in love with a
base wench. If drawing my sword against the humour
of affection would deliver me from the reprobate
thought of it, I would take Desire prisoner, and
ransom him to any French courtier for a new-devised
courtesy. I think scorn to sigh: methinks I should
outswear Cupid. Comfort, me, boy: what great men
have been in love?


Moth Hercules, master.


Don Adriano de Armado Most sweet Hercules! More authority, dear boy, name
more; and, sweet my child, let them be men of good
repute and carriage.


Moth Samson, master: he was a man of good carriage, great
carriage, for he carried the town-gates on his back
like a porter: and he was in love.


Don Adriano de Armado O well-knit Samson! strong-jointed Samson! I do
excel thee in my rapier as much as thou didst me in
carrying gates. I am in love too. Who was Samson's
love, my dear Moth?


Moth A woman, master.


Don Adriano de Armado Of what complexion?


Moth Of all the four, or the three, or the two, or one of the four.


Don Adriano de Armado Tell me precisely of what complexion.


Moth Of the sea-water green, sir.


Don Adriano de Armado Is that one of the four complexions?


Moth As I have read, sir; and the best of them too.


Don Adriano de Armado Green indeed is the colour of lovers; but to have a
love of that colour, methinks Samson had small reason
for it. He surely affected her for her wit.


Moth It was so, sir; for she had a green wit.


Don Adriano de Armado My love is most immaculate white and red.


Moth Most maculate thoughts, master, are masked under
such colours.


Don Adriano de Armado Define, define, well-educated infant.


Moth My father's wit and my mother's tongue, assist me!


Don Adriano de Armado Sweet invocation of a child; most pretty and


Moth If she be made of white and red,
Her faults will ne'er be known,
For blushing cheeks by faults are bred
And fears by pale white shown:
Then if she fear, or be to blame,
By this you shall not know,
For still her cheeks possess the same
Which native she doth owe.
A dangerous rhyme, master, against the reason of
white and red.


Don Adriano de Armado Is there not a ballad, boy, of the King and the Beggar?


Moth The world was very guilty of such a ballad some
three ages since: but I think now 'tis not to be
found; or, if it were, it would neither serve for
the writing nor the tune.


Don Adriano de Armado I will have that subject newly writ o'er, that I may
example my digression by some mighty precedent.
Boy, I do love that country girl that I took in the
park with the rational hind Costard: she deserves well.


Moth [Aside] To be whipped; and yet a better love than
my master.


Don Adriano de Armado Sing, boy; my spirit grows heavy in love.


Moth And that's great marvel, loving a light wench.


Moth Forbear till this company be past.




Dull Sir, the duke's pleasure is, that you keep Costard
safe: and you must suffer him to take no delight
nor no penance; but a' must fast three days a week.
For this damsel, I must keep her at the park: she
is allowed for the day-woman. Fare you well.


Don Adriano de Armado I do betray myself with blushing. Maid!


Don Adriano de Armado I will visit thee at the lodge.


Jaquenetta That's hereby.


Don Adriano de Armado I know where it is situate.


Jaquenetta Lord, how wise you are!


Don Adriano de Armado I will tell thee wonders.


Jaquenetta With that face?


Jaquenetta So I heard you say.


Don Adriano de Armado And so, farewell.


Jaquenetta Fair weather after you!


Dull Come, Jaquenetta, away!




Don Adriano de Armado Villain, thou shalt fast for thy offences ere thou
be pardoned.


Costard Well, sir, I hope, when I do it, I shall do it on a
full stomach.


Don Adriano de Armado Thou shalt be heavily punished.


Costard I am more bound to you than your fellows, for they
are but lightly rewarded.


Don Adriano de Armado Take away this villain; shut him up.


Moth Come, you transgressing slave; away!


Costard Let me not be pent up, sir: I will fast, being loose.


Moth No, sir; that were fast and loose: thou shalt to prison.


Costard Well, if ever I do see the merry days of desolation
that I have seen, some shall see.


Moth What shall some see?


Costard Nay, nothing, Master Moth, but what they look upon.
It is not for prisoners to be too silent in their
words; and therefore I will say nothing: I thank
God I have as little patience as another man; and
therefore I can be quiet.


[Exeunt MOTH and COSTARD]


Don Adriano de Armado I do affect the very ground, which is base, where
her shoe, which is baser, guided by her foot, which
is basest, doth tread. I shall be forsworn, which
is a great argument of falsehood, if I love. And
how can that be true love which is falsely
attempted? Love is a familiar; Love is a devil:
there is no evil angel but Love. Yet was Samson so
tempted, and he had an excellent strength; yet was
Solomon so seduced, and he had a very good wit.
Cupid's butt-shaft is too hard for Hercules' club;
and therefore too much odds for a Spaniard's rapier.
The first and second cause will not serve my turn;
the passado he respects not, the duello he regards
not: his disgrace is to be called boy; but his
glory is to subdue men. Adieu, valour! rust rapier!
be still, drum! for your manager is in love; yea,
he loveth. Assist me, some extemporal god of rhyme,
for I am sure I shall turn sonnet. Devise, wit;
write, pen; for I am for whole volumes in folio.




Act II, Scene 1

The same.

[Enter the PRINCESS of France, ROSALINE, MARIA,] [p]KATHARINE, BOYET, Lords, and other Attendants]


Boyet Now, madam, summon up your dearest spirits:
Consider who the king your father sends,
To whom he sends, and what's his embassy:
Yourself, held precious in the world's esteem,
To parley with the sole inheritor
Of all perfections that a man may owe,
Matchless Navarre; the plea of no less weight
Than Aquitaine, a dowry for a queen.
Be now as prodigal of all dear grace
As Nature was in making graces dear
When she did starve the general world beside
And prodigally gave them all to you.


Princess of France Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,
Needs not the painted flourish of your praise:
Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye,
Not utter'd by base sale of chapmen's tongues:
I am less proud to hear you tell my worth
Than you much willing to be counted wise
In spending your wit in the praise of mine.
But now to task the tasker: good Boyet,
You are not ignorant, all-telling fame
Doth noise abroad, Navarre hath made a vow,
Till painful study shall outwear three years,
No woman may approach his silent court:
Therefore to's seemeth it a needful course,
Before we enter his forbidden gates,
To know his pleasure; and in that behalf,
Bold of your worthiness, we single you
As our best-moving fair solicitor.
Tell him, the daughter of the King of France,
On serious business, craving quick dispatch,
Importunes personal conference with his grace:
Haste, signify so much; while we attend,
Like humble-visaged suitors, his high will.


Boyet Proud of employment, willingly I go.


Princess of France All pride is willing pride, and yours is so.
[Exit BOYET]
Who are the votaries, my loving lords,
That are vow-fellows with this virtuous duke?


First Lord Lord Longaville is one.


Princess of France Know you the man?


Maria I know him, madam: at a marriage-feast,
Between Lord Perigort and the beauteous heir
Of Jaques Falconbridge, solemnized
In Normandy, saw I this Longaville:
A man of sovereign parts he is esteem'd;
Well fitted in arts, glorious in arms:
Nothing becomes him ill that he would well.
The only soil of his fair virtue's gloss,
If virtue's gloss will stain with any soil,
Is a sharp wit matched with too blunt a will;
Whose edge hath power to cut, whose will still wills
It should none spare that come within his power.


Princess of France Some merry mocking lord, belike; is't so?


Maria They say so most that most his humours know.


Princess of France Such short-lived wits do wither as they grow.
Who are the rest?


Katharine The young Dumain, a well-accomplished youth,
Of all that virtue love for virtue loved:
Most power to do most harm, least knowing ill;
For he hath wit to make an ill shape good,
And shape to win grace though he had no wit.
I saw him at the Duke Alencon's once;
And much too little of that good I saw
Is my report to his great worthiness.


Rosaline Another of these students at that time
Was there with him, if I have heard a truth.
Biron they call him; but a merrier man,
Within the limit of becoming mirth,
I never spent an hour's talk withal:
His eye begets occasion for his wit;
For every object that the one doth catch
The other turns to a mirth-moving jest,
Which his fair tongue, conceit's expositor,
Delivers in such apt and gracious words
That aged ears play truant at his tales
And younger hearings are quite ravished;
So sweet and voluble is his discourse.


Princess of France God bless my ladies! are they all in love,
That every one her own hath garnished
With such bedecking ornaments of praise?


First Lord Here comes Boyet.


[Re-enter BOYET]


Princess of France Now, what admittance, lord?


Boyet Navarre had notice of your fair approach;
And he and his competitors in oath
Were all address'd to meet you, gentle lady,
Before I came. Marry, thus much I have learnt:
He rather means to lodge you in the field,
Like one that comes here to besiege his court,
Than seek a dispensation for his oath,
To let you enter his unpeopled house.
Here comes Navarre.


Ferdinand Fair princess, welcome to the court of Navarre.


Princess of France 'Fair' I give you back again; and 'welcome' I have
not yet: the roof of this court is too high to be
yours; and welcome to the wide fields too base to be mine.


Ferdinand You shall be welcome, madam, to my court.


Princess of France I will be welcome, then: conduct me thither.


Ferdinand Hear me, dear lady; I have sworn an oath.


Princess of France Our Lady help my lord! he'll be forsworn.


Ferdinand Not for the world, fair madam, by my will.


Princess of France Why, will shall break it; will and nothing else.


Ferdinand Your ladyship is ignorant what it is.


Princess of France Were my lord so, his ignorance were wise,
Where now his knowledge must prove ignorance.
I hear your grace hath sworn out house-keeping:
Tis deadly sin to keep that oath, my lord,
And sin to break it.
But pardon me. I am too sudden-bold:
To teach a teacher ill beseemeth me.
Vouchsafe to read the purpose of my coming,
And suddenly resolve me in my suit.


Ferdinand Madam, I will, if suddenly I may.


Princess of France You will the sooner, that I were away;
For you'll prove perjured if you make me stay.


Biron Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?


Rosaline Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?


Biron I know you did.


Rosaline How needless was it then to ask the question!


Biron You must not be so quick.


Rosaline 'Tis 'long of you that spur me with such questions.


Biron Your wit's too hot, it speeds too fast, 'twill tire.


Rosaline Not till it leave the rider in the mire.


Biron What time o' day?


Rosaline The hour that fools should ask.


Biron Now fair befall your mask!


Rosaline Fair fall the face it covers!


Biron And send you many lovers!


Rosaline Amen, so you be none.


Biron Nay, then will I be gone.


Ferdinand Madam, your father here doth intimate
The payment of a hundred thousand crowns;
Being but the one half of an entire sum
Disbursed by my father in his wars.
But say that he or we, as neither have,
Received that sum, yet there remains unpaid
A hundred thousand more; in surety of the which,
One part of Aquitaine is bound to us,
Although not valued to the money's worth.
If then the king your father will restore
But that one half which is unsatisfied,
We will give up our right in Aquitaine,
And hold fair friendship with his majesty.
But that, it seems, he little purposeth,
For here he doth demand to have repaid
A hundred thousand crowns; and not demands,
On payment of a hundred thousand crowns,
To have his title live in Aquitaine;
Which we much rather had depart withal
And have the money by our father lent
Than Aquitaine so gelded as it is.
Dear Princess, were not his requests so far
From reason's yielding, your fair self should make
A yielding 'gainst some reason in my breast
And go well satisfied to France again.


Princess of France You do the king my father too much wrong
And wrong the reputation of your name,
In so unseeming to confess receipt
Of that which hath so faithfully been paid.


Ferdinand I do protest I never heard of it;
And if you prove it, I'll repay it back
Or yield up Aquitaine.


Princess of France We arrest your word.
Boyet, you can produce acquittances
For such a sum from special officers
Of Charles his father.


Ferdinand Satisfy me so.


Boyet So please your grace, the packet is not come
Where that and other specialties are bound:
To-morrow you shall have a sight of them.


Ferdinand It shall suffice me: at which interview
All liberal reason I will yield unto.
Meantime receive such welcome at my hand
As honour without breach of honour may
Make tender of to thy true worthiness:
You may not come, fair princess, in my gates;
But here without you shall be so received
As you shall deem yourself lodged in my heart,
Though so denied fair harbour in my house.
Your own good thoughts excuse me, and farewell:
To-morrow shall we visit you again.


Princess of France Sweet health and fair desires consort your grace!


Ferdinand Thy own wish wish I thee in every place!




Biron Lady, I will commend you to mine own heart.


Rosaline Pray you, do my commendations; I would be glad to see it.


Biron I would you heard it groan.


Rosaline Is the fool sick?


Biron Sick at the heart.


Rosaline Alack, let it blood.


Biron Would that do it good?


Rosaline My physic says 'ay.'


Biron Will you prick't with your eye?


Rosaline No point, with my knife.


Biron Now, God save thy life!


Rosaline And yours from long living!


Biron I cannot stay thanksgiving.




Dumain Sir, I pray you, a word: what lady is that same?


Boyet The heir of Alencon, Katharine her name.


Dumain A gallant lady. Monsieur, fare you well.




Longaville I beseech you a word: what is she in the white?


Boyet A woman sometimes, an you saw her in the light.


Longaville Perchance light in the light. I desire her name.


Boyet She hath but one for herself; to desire that were a shame.


Longaville Pray you, sir, whose daughter?


Boyet Her mother's, I have heard.


Longaville God's blessing on your beard!


Boyet Good sir, be not offended.
She is an heir of Falconbridge.


Longaville Nay, my choler is ended.
She is a most sweet lady.


Boyet Not unlike, sir, that may be.




Biron What's her name in the cap?


Boyet Rosaline, by good hap.


Biron Is she wedded or no?


Boyet To her will, sir, or so.


Biron You are welcome, sir: adieu.


Boyet Farewell to me, sir, and welcome to you.


[Exit BIRON]


Maria That last is Biron, the merry madcap lord:
Not a word with him but a jest.


Boyet And every jest but a word.


Princess of France It was well done of you to take him at his word.


Boyet I was as willing to grapple as he was to board.


Maria Two hot sheeps, marry.


Boyet And wherefore not ships?
No sheep, sweet lamb, unless we feed on your lips.


Maria You sheep, and I pasture: shall that finish the jest?


Boyet So you grant pasture for me.


[Offering to kiss her]


Maria Not so, gentle beast:
My lips are no common, though several they be.


Boyet Belonging to whom?


Maria To my fortunes and me.


Princess of France Good wits will be jangling; but, gentles, agree:
This civil war of wits were much better used
On Navarre and his book-men; for here 'tis abused.


Boyet If my observation, which very seldom lies,
By the heart's still rhetoric disclosed with eyes,
Deceive me not now, Navarre is infected.


Boyet With that which we lovers entitle affected.


Boyet Why, all his behaviors did make their retire
To the court of his eye, peeping thorough desire:
His heart, like an agate, with your print impress'd,
Proud with his form, in his eye pride express'd:
His tongue, all impatient to speak and not see,
Did stumble with haste in his eyesight to be;
All senses to that sense did make their repair,
To feel only looking on fairest of fair:
Methought all his senses were lock'd in his eye,
As jewels in crystal for some prince to buy;
Who, tendering their own worth from where they were glass'd,
Did point you to buy them, along as you pass'd:
His face's own margent did quote such amazes
That all eyes saw his eyes enchanted with gazes.
I'll give you Aquitaine and all that is his,
An you give him for my sake but one loving kiss.


Princess of France Come to our pavilion: Boyet is disposed.


Boyet But to speak that in words which his eye hath
I only have made a mouth of his eye,
By adding a tongue which I know will not lie.


Rosaline Thou art an old love-monger and speakest skilfully.


Maria He is Cupid's grandfather and learns news of him.


Rosaline Then was Venus like her mother, for her father is but grim.


Boyet Do you hear, my mad wenches?


Boyet What then, do you see?


Rosaline Ay, our way to be gone.


Boyet You are too hard for me.




Act III, Scene 1

The same.



Don Adriano de Armado Warble, child; make passionate my sense of hearing.


Moth Concolinel.




Don Adriano de Armado Sweet air! Go, tenderness of years; take this key,
give enlargement to the swain, bring him festinately
hither: I must employ him in a letter to my love.


Moth Master, will you win your love with a French brawl?


Don Adriano de Armado How meanest thou? brawling in French?


Moth No, my complete master: but to jig off a tune at
the tongue's end, canary to it with your feet, humour
it with turning up your eyelids, sigh a note and
sing a note, sometime through the throat, as if you
swallowed love with singing love, sometime through
the nose, as if you snuffed up love by smelling
love; with your hat penthouse-like o'er the shop of
your eyes; with your arms crossed on your thin-belly
doublet like a rabbit on a spit; or your hands in
your pocket like a man after the old painting; and
keep not too long in one tune, but a snip and away.
These are complements, these are humours; these
betray nice wenches, that would be betrayed without
these; and make them men of note--do you note
me?--that most are affected to these.


Don Adriano de Armado How hast thou purchased this experience?


Moth By my penny of observation.


Don Adriano de Armado But O,--but O,--


Moth 'The hobby-horse is forgot.'


Don Adriano de Armado Callest thou my love 'hobby-horse'?


Moth No, master; the hobby-horse is but a colt, and your
love perhaps a hackney. But have you forgot your love?


Moth Negligent student! learn her by heart.


Don Adriano de Armado By heart and in heart, boy.


Moth And out of heart, master: all those three I will prove.


Don Adriano de Armado What wilt thou prove?


Moth A man, if I live; and this, by, in, and without, upon
the instant: by heart you love her, because your
heart cannot come by her; in heart you love her,
because your heart is in love with her; and out of
heart you love her, being out of heart that you
cannot enjoy her.


Don Adriano de Armado I am all these three.


Moth And three times as much more, and yet nothing at


Don Adriano de Armado Fetch hither the swain: he must carry me a letter.


Moth A message well sympathized; a horse to be ambassador
for an ass.


Don Adriano de Armado Ha, ha! what sayest thou?


Moth Marry, sir, you must send the ass upon the horse,
for he is very slow-gaited. But I go.


Don Adriano de Armado The way is but short: away!


Moth As swift as lead, sir.


Don Adriano de Armado The meaning, pretty ingenious?
Is not lead a metal heavy, dull, and slow?


Moth Minime, honest master; or rather, master, no.


Don Adriano de Armado I say lead is slow.


Moth You are too swift, sir, to say so:
Is that lead slow which is fired from a gun?


Don Adriano de Armado Sweet smoke of rhetoric!
He reputes me a cannon; and the bullet, that's he:
I shoot thee at the swain.


Moth Thump then and I flee.




Don Adriano de Armado A most acute juvenal; voluble and free of grace!
By thy favour, sweet welkin, I must sigh in thy face:
Most rude melancholy, valour gives thee place.
My herald is return'd.


[Re-enter MOTH with COSTARD]


Moth A wonder, master! here's a costard broken in a shin.


Don Adriano de Armado Some enigma, some riddle: come, thy l'envoy; begin.


Costard No enigma, no riddle, no l'envoy; no salve in the
mail, sir: O, sir, plantain, a plain plantain! no
l'envoy, no l'envoy; no salve, sir, but a plantain!


Don Adriano de Armado By virtue, thou enforcest laughter; thy silly
thought my spleen; the heaving of my lungs provokes
me to ridiculous smiling. O, pardon me, my stars!
Doth the inconsiderate take salve for l'envoy, and
the word l'envoy for a salve?


Moth Do the wise think them other? is not l'envoy a salve?


Don Adriano de Armado No, page: it is an epilogue or discourse, to make plain
Some obscure precedence that hath tofore been sain.
I will example it:
The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee,
Were still at odds, being but three.
There's the moral. Now the l'envoy.


Moth I will add the l'envoy. Say the moral again.


Don Adriano de Armado The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee,
Were still at odds, being but three.


Moth Until the goose came out of door,
And stay'd the odds by adding four.
Now will I begin your moral, and do you follow with
my l'envoy.
The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee,
Were still at odds, being but three.


Don Adriano de Armado Until the goose came out of door,
Staying the odds by adding four.


Moth A good l'envoy, ending in the goose: would you
desire more?


Costard The boy hath sold him a bargain, a goose, that's flat.
Sir, your pennyworth is good, an your goose be fat.
To sell a bargain well is as cunning as fast and loose:
Let me see; a fat l'envoy; ay, that's a fat goose.


Don Adriano de Armado Come hither, come hither. How did this argument begin?


Moth By saying that a costard was broken in a shin.
Then call'd you for the l'envoy.


Costard True, and I for a plantain: thus came your
argument in;
Then the boy's fat l'envoy, the goose that you bought;
And he ended the market.


Don Adriano de Armado But tell me; how was there a costard broken in a shin?


Moth I will tell you sensibly.


Costard Thou hast no feeling of it, Moth: I will speak that l'envoy:
I Costard, running out, that was safely within,
Fell over the threshold and broke my shin.


Don Adriano de Armado We will talk no more of this matter.


Costard Till there be more matter in the shin.


Don Adriano de Armado Sirrah Costard, I will enfranchise thee.


Costard O, marry me to one Frances: I smell some l'envoy,
some goose, in this.


Don Adriano de Armado By my sweet soul, I mean setting thee at liberty,
enfreedoming thy person; thou wert immured,
restrained, captivated, bound.


Costard True, true; and now you will be my purgation and let me loose.


Don Adriano de Armado I give thee thy liberty, set thee from durance; and,
in lieu thereof, impose on thee nothing but this:
bear this significant
[Giving a letter]
to the country maid Jaquenetta:
there is remuneration; for the best ward of mine
honour is rewarding my dependents. Moth, follow.




Moth Like the sequel, I. Signior Costard, adieu.


Costard My sweet ounce of man's flesh! my incony Jew!
[Exit MOTH]
Now will I look to his remuneration. Remuneration!
O, that's the Latin word for three farthings: three
farthings--remuneration.--'What's the price of this
inkle?'--'One penny.'--'No, I'll give you a
remuneration:' why, it carries it. Remuneration!
why, it is a fairer name than French crown. I will
never buy and sell out of this word.


[Enter BIRON]


Biron O, my good knave Costard! exceedingly well met.


Costard Pray you, sir, how much carnation ribbon may a man
buy for a remuneration?


Biron What is a remuneration?


Costard Marry, sir, halfpenny farthing.


Biron Why, then, three-farthing worth of silk.


Costard I thank your worship: God be wi' you!


Biron Stay, slave; I must employ thee:
As thou wilt win my favour, good my knave,
Do one thing for me that I shall entreat.


Costard When would you have it done, sir?


Biron This afternoon.


Costard Well, I will do it, sir: fare you well.


Biron Thou knowest not what it is.


Costard I shall know, sir, when I have done it.


Biron Why, villain, thou must know first.


Costard I will come to your worship to-morrow morning.


Biron It must be done this afternoon.
Hark, slave, it is but this:
The princess comes to hunt here in the park,
And in her train there is a gentle lady;
When tongues speak sweetly, then they name her name,
And Rosaline they call her: ask for her;
And to her white hand see thou do commend
This seal'd-up counsel. There's thy guerdon; go.


[Giving him a shilling]


Costard Gardon, O sweet gardon! better than remuneration,
a'leven-pence farthing better: most sweet gardon! I
will do it sir, in print. Gardon! Remuneration!




Biron And I, forsooth, in love! I, that have been love's whip;
A very beadle to a humorous sigh;
A critic, nay, a night-watch constable;
A domineering pedant o'er the boy;
Than whom no mortal so magnificent!
This whimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy;
This senior-junior, giant-dwarf, Dan Cupid;
Regent of love-rhymes, lord of folded arms,
The anointed sovereign of sighs and groans,
Liege of all loiterers and malcontents,
Dread prince of plackets, king of codpieces,
Sole imperator and great general
Of trotting 'paritors:--O my little heart:--
And I to be a corporal of his field,
And wear his colours like a tumbler's hoop!
What, I! I love! I sue! I seek a wife!
A woman, that is like a German clock,
Still a-repairing, ever out of frame,
And never going aright, being a watch,
But being watch'd that it may still go right!
Nay, to be perjured, which is worst of all;
And, among three, to love the worst of all;
A wightly wanton with a velvet brow,
With two pitch-balls stuck in her face for eyes;
Ay, and by heaven, one that will do the deed
Though Argus were her eunuch and her guard:
And I to sigh for her! to watch for her!
To pray for her! Go to; it is a plague
That Cupid will impose for my neglect
Of his almighty dreadful little might.
Well, I will love, write, sigh, pray, sue and groan:
Some men must love my lady and some Joan.




Act IV, Scene 1

The same.

[Enter the PRINCESS, and her train, a Forester,] [p]BOYET, ROSALINE, MARIA, and KATHARINE]


Princess of France Was that the king, that spurred his horse so hard
Against the steep uprising of the hill?


Boyet I know not; but I think it was not he.


Princess of France Whoe'er a' was, a' show'd a mounting mind.
Well, lords, to-day we shall have our dispatch:
On Saturday we will return to France.
Then, forester, my friend, where is the bush
That we must stand and play the murderer in?


Forester Hereby, upon the edge of yonder coppice;
A stand where you may make the fairest shoot.


Princess of France I thank my beauty, I am fair that shoot,
And thereupon thou speak'st the fairest shoot.


Forester Pardon me, madam, for I meant not so.


Princess of France What, what? first praise me and again say no?
O short-lived pride! Not fair? alack for woe!


Forester Yes, madam, fair.


Princess of France Nay, never paint me now:
Where fair is not, praise cannot mend the brow.
Here, good my glass, take this for telling true:
Fair payment for foul words is more than due.


Forester Nothing but fair is that which you inherit.


Princess of France See see, my beauty will be saved by merit!
O heresy in fair, fit for these days!
A giving hand, though foul, shall have fair praise.
But come, the bow: now mercy goes to kill,
And shooting well is then accounted ill.
Thus will I save my credit in the shoot:
Not wounding, pity would not let me do't;
If wounding, then it was to show my skill,
That more for praise than purpose meant to kill.
And out of question so it is sometimes,
Glory grows guilty of detested crimes,
When, for fame's sake, for praise, an outward part,
We bend to that the working of the heart;
As I for praise alone now seek to spill
The poor deer's blood, that my heart means no ill.


Boyet Do not curst wives hold that self-sovereignty
Only for praise sake, when they strive to be
Lords o'er their lords?

Princess of France Only for praise: and praise we may afford
To any lady that subdues a lord.

Boyet Here comes a member of the commonwealth.


Costard God dig-you-den all! Pray you, which is the head lady?

Princess of France Thou shalt know her, fellow, by the rest that have no heads.

Costard Which is the greatest lady, the highest?

Princess of France The thickest and the tallest.

Costard The thickest and the tallest! it is so; truth is truth.
An your waist, mistress, were as slender as my wit,
One o' these maids' girdles for your waist should be fit.
Are not you the chief woman? you are the thickest here.

Princess of France What's your will, sir? what's your will?

Costard I have a letter from Monsieur Biron to one Lady Rosaline.

Princess of France O, thy letter, thy letter! he's a good friend of mine:
Stand aside, good bearer. Boyet, you can carve;
Break up this capon.

Boyet I am bound to serve.
This letter is mistook, it importeth none here;
It is writ to Jaquenetta.

Princess of France We will read it, I swear.
Break the neck of the wax, and every one give ear.


Boyet 'By heaven, that thou art fair, is most infallible;
true, that thou art beauteous; truth itself, that
thou art lovely. More fairer than fair, beautiful
than beauteous, truer than truth itself, have
commiseration on thy heroical vassal! The
magnanimous and most illustrate king Cophetua set
eye upon the pernicious and indubitate beggar
Zenelophon; and he it was that might rightly say,
Veni, vidi, vici; which to annothanize in the
vulgar,--O base and obscure vulgar!--videlicet, He
came, saw, and overcame: he came, one; saw two;
overcame, three. Who came? the king: why did he
come? to see: why did he see? to overcome: to
whom came he? to the beggar: what saw he? the
beggar: who overcame he? the beggar. The
conclusion is victory: on whose side? the king's.
The captive is enriched: on whose side? the
beggar's. The catastrophe is a nuptial: on whose
side? the king's: no, on both in one, or one in
both. I am the king; for so stands the comparison:
thou the beggar; for so witnesseth thy lowliness.
Shall I command thy love? I may: shall I enforce
thy love? I could: shall I entreat thy love? I
will. What shalt thou exchange for rags? robes;
for tittles? titles; for thyself? me. Thus,
expecting thy reply, I profane my lips on thy foot,
my eyes on thy picture. and my heart on thy every
part. Thine, in the dearest design of industry,
Thus dost thou hear the Nemean lion roar
'Gainst thee, thou lamb, that standest as his prey.
Submissive fall his princely feet before,
And he from forage will incline to play:
But if thou strive, poor soul, what art thou then?
Food for his rage, repasture for his den.

Princess of France What plume of feathers is he that indited this letter?
What vane? what weathercock? did you ever hear better?

Boyet I am much deceived but I remember the style.

Princess of France Else your memory is bad, going o'er it erewhile.

Boyet This Armado is a Spaniard, that keeps here in court;
A phantasime, a Monarcho, and one that makes sport
To the prince and his bookmates.

Princess of France Thou fellow, a word:
Who gave thee this letter?

Costard I told you; my lord.

Princess of France To whom shouldst thou give it?

Costard From my lord to my lady.

Princess of France From which lord to which lady?

Costard From my lord Biron, a good master of mine,
To a lady of France that he call'd Rosaline.

Princess of France Thou hast mistaken his letter. Come, lords, away.
Here, sweet, put up this: 'twill be thine another day.

[Exeunt PRINCESS and train]

Boyet Who is the suitor? who is the suitor?

Rosaline Shall I teach you to know?

Boyet Ay, my continent of beauty.

Rosaline Why, she that bears the bow.
Finely put off!

Boyet My lady goes to kill horns; but, if thou marry,
Hang me by the neck, if horns that year miscarry.
Finely put on!

Rosaline Well, then, I am the shooter.

Boyet And who is your deer?

Rosaline If we choose by the horns, yourself come not near.
Finely put on, indeed!

Maria You still wrangle with her, Boyet, and she strikes
at the brow.

Boyet But she herself is hit lower: have I hit her now?

Rosaline Shall I come upon thee with an old saying, that was
a man when King Pepin of France was a little boy, as
touching the hit it?

Boyet So I may answer thee with one as old, that was a
woman when Queen Guinover of Britain was a little
wench, as touching the hit it.

Rosaline Thou canst not hit it, hit it, hit it,
Thou canst not hit it, my good man.

Boyet An I cannot, cannot, cannot,
An I cannot, another can.


Costard By my troth, most pleasant: how both did fit it!

Maria A mark marvellous well shot, for they both did hit it.

Boyet A mark! O, mark but that mark! A mark, says my lady!
Let the mark have a prick in't, to mete at, if it may be.

Maria Wide o' the bow hand! i' faith, your hand is out.

Costard Indeed, a' must shoot nearer, or he'll ne'er hit the clout.

Boyet An if my hand be out, then belike your hand is in.

Costard Then will she get the upshoot by cleaving the pin.

Maria Come, come, you talk greasily; your lips grow foul.

Costard She's too hard for you at pricks, sir: challenge her to bowl.

Boyet I fear too much rubbing. Good night, my good owl.

[Exeunt BOYET and MARIA]

Costard By my soul, a swain! a most simple clown!
Lord, Lord, how the ladies and I have put him down!
O' my troth, most sweet jests! most incony
vulgar wit!
When it comes so smoothly off, so obscenely, as it
were, so fit.
Armado o' th' one side,--O, a most dainty man!
To see him walk before a lady and to bear her fan!
To see him kiss his hand! and how most sweetly a'
will swear!
And his page o' t' other side, that handful of wit!
Ah, heavens, it is a most pathetical nit!
Sola, sola!

[Shout within]

[Exit COSTARD, running]

Act IV, Scene 2

The same.


Sir Nathaniel Very reverend sport, truly; and done in the testimony
of a good conscience.

Holofernes The deer was, as you know, sanguis, in blood; ripe
as the pomewater, who now hangeth like a jewel in
the ear of caelo, the sky, the welkin, the heaven;
and anon falleth like a crab on the face of terra,
the soil, the land, the earth.

Sir Nathaniel Truly, Master Holofernes, the epithets are sweetly
varied, like a scholar at the least: but, sir, I
assure ye, it was a buck of the first head.

Holofernes Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.

Dull 'Twas not a haud credo; 'twas a pricket.

Holofernes Most barbarous intimation! yet a kind of
insinuation, as it were, in via, in way, of
explication; facere, as it were, replication, or
rather, ostentare, to show, as it were, his
inclination, after his undressed, unpolished,
uneducated, unpruned, untrained, or rather,
unlettered, or ratherest, unconfirmed fashion, to
insert again my haud credo for a deer.

Dull I said the deer was not a haud credo; twas a pricket.

Holofernes Twice-sod simplicity, his coctus!
O thou monster Ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!

Sir Nathaniel Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred
in a book; he hath not eat paper, as it were; he
hath not drunk ink: his intellect is not
replenished; he is only an animal, only sensible in
the duller parts:
And such barren plants are set before us, that we
thankful should be,
Which we of taste and feeling are, for those parts that
do fructify in us more than he.
For as it would ill become me to be vain, indiscreet, or a fool,
So were there a patch set on learning, to see him in a school:
But omne bene, say I; being of an old father's mind,
Many can brook the weather that love not the wind.

Dull You two are book-men: can you tell me by your wit
What was a month old at Cain's birth, that's not five
weeks old as yet?

Holofernes Dictynna, goodman Dull; Dictynna, goodman Dull.

Dull What is Dictynna?

Sir Nathaniel A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon.

Holofernes The moon was a month old when Adam was no more,
And raught not to five weeks when he came to
The allusion holds in the exchange.

Dull 'Tis true indeed; the collusion holds in the exchange.

Holofernes God comfort thy capacity! I say, the allusion holds
in the exchange.

Dull And I say, the pollusion holds in the exchange; for
the moon is never but a month old: and I say beside
that, 'twas a pricket that the princess killed.

Holofernes Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal epitaph
on the death of the deer? And, to humour the
ignorant, call I the deer the princess killed a pricket.

Sir Nathaniel Perge, good Master Holofernes, perge; so it shall
please you to abrogate scurrility.

Holofernes I will something affect the letter, for it argues facility.
The preyful princess pierced and prick'd a pretty
pleasing pricket;
Some say a sore; but not a sore, till now made
sore with shooting.
The dogs did yell: put L to sore, then sorel jumps
from thicket;
Or pricket sore, or else sorel; the people fall a-hooting.
If sore be sore, then L to sore makes fifty sores
one sorel.
Of one sore I an hundred make by adding but one more L.

Sir Nathaniel A rare talent!

Dull [Aside] If a talent be a claw, look how he claws
him with a talent.

Holofernes This is a gift that I have, simple, simple; a
foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures,
shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions,
revolutions: these are begot in the ventricle of
memory, nourished in the womb of pia mater, and
delivered upon the mellowing of occasion. But the
gift is good in those in whom it is acute, and I am
thankful for it.

Sir Nathaniel Sir, I praise the Lord for you; and so may my
parishioners; for their sons are well tutored by
you, and their daughters profit very greatly under
you: you are a good member of the commonwealth.

Holofernes Mehercle, if their sons be ingenuous, they shall
want no instruction; if their daughters be capable,
I will put it to them: but vir sapit qui pauca
loquitur; a soul feminine saluteth us.


Jaquenetta God give you good morrow, master Parson.

Holofernes Master Parson, quasi pers-on. An if one should be
pierced, which is the one?

Costard Marry, master schoolmaster, he that is likest to a hogshead.

Holofernes Piercing a hogshead! a good lustre of conceit in a
tuft of earth; fire enough for a flint, pearl enough
for a swine: 'tis pretty; it is well.

Jaquenetta Good master Parson, be so good as read me this
letter: it was given me by Costard, and sent me
from Don Armado: I beseech you, read it.

Holofernes Fauste, precor gelida quando pecus omne sub umbra
Ruminat,--and so forth. Ah, good old Mantuan! I
may speak of thee as the traveller doth of Venice;
Venetia, Venetia,
Chi non ti vede non ti pretia.
Old Mantuan, old Mantuan! who understandeth thee
not, loves thee not. Ut, re, sol, la, mi, fa.
Under pardon, sir, what are the contents? or rather,
as Horace says in his--What, my soul, verses?

Sir Nathaniel Ay, sir, and very learned.

Holofernes Let me hear a staff, a stanze, a verse; lege, domine.

Sir Nathaniel [Reads]
If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to love?
Ah, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vow'd!
Though to myself forsworn, to thee I'll faithful prove:
Those thoughts to me were oaks, to thee like
osiers bow'd.
Study his bias leaves and makes his book thine eyes,
Where all those pleasures live that art would
If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice;
Well learned is that tongue that well can thee commend,
All ignorant that soul that sees thee without wonder;
Which is to me some praise that I thy parts admire:
Thy eye Jove's lightning bears, thy voice his dreadful thunder,
Which not to anger bent, is music and sweet fire.
Celestial as thou art, O, pardon, love, this wrong,
That sings heaven's praise with such an earthly tongue.

Holofernes You find not the apostraphas, and so miss the
accent: let me supervise the canzonet. Here are
only numbers ratified; but, for the elegancy,
facility, and golden cadence of poesy, caret.
Ovidius Naso was the man: and why, indeed, Naso,
but for smelling out the odou