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Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare [Craig, Oxford edition]

Part 2 out of 3

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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.

Wide o' the bow-hand! I' faith, your hand is out.

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

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

Then will she get the upshoot by cleaving the pin.

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

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

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

[Exeunt BOYET and MARIA.]

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' the 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.
[Shouting within.] Sola, sola!

[Exit running.]

SCENE II. The same.


Very reverent sport, truly; and done in the testimony of
a good conscience.

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.

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.

Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.

Twas not a haud credo; 'twas a pricket.

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.

I sthe deer was not a haud credo; 'twas a pricket.

Twice sod simplicity, bis coctus!
O! thou monster Ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!

Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred of 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
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.

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?

Dictynna, goodman Dull; Dictynna, goodman Dull.

What is Dictynna?

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

I will something affect the letter; for it argues facility.
The preyful Princess pierc'd and prick'd a pretty pleasing
Some say a sore; but not a sore till now made sore with
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.

A rare talent!

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

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, 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

Mehercle! if their sons be ingenious, 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


God give you good morrow, Master parson.

Master parson, quasi pers-on. And if one should be
pierced, which is the one?

Marry, Master schoolmaster, he that is likest to a hogshead.

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

Good Master parson [Giving a letter to NATHANIEL.], 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.

'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?

Ay, sir, and very learned.

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

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 bowed.
Study his bias leaves, and makes his book thine eyes,
Where all those pleasures live that art would comprehend:
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.

You find not the apostrophas, 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 odoriferous flowers of fancy, the jerks of
invention? Imitari is nothing: so doth the hound his master, the
ape his keeper, the 'tired horse his rider. But, damosella
virgin, was this directed to you?

Ay, sir; from one Monsieur Berowne, one of the strange
queen's lords.

I will overglance the superscript: 'To the snow-white
hand of the most beauteous Lady Rosaline.' I will look again on
the intellect of the letter, for the nomination of the party
writing to the person written unto: 'Your Ladyship's in all
desired employment, Berowne.'--Sir Nathaniel, this Berowne is one
of the votaries with the king; and here he hath framed a letter
to a sequent of the stranger queen's, which, accidentally, or by
the way of progression, hath miscarried. Trip and go, my sweet;
deliver this paper into the royal hand of the king; it may
concern much. Stay not thy compliment; I forgive thy duty. Adieu.

Good Costard, go with me. Sir, God save your life!

Have with thee, my girl.


Sir, you have done this in the fear of God, very religiously;
and, as a certain Father saith--

Sir, tell not me of the Father; I do fear colourable colours. But
to return to the verses: did they please you, Sir Nathaniel?

Marvellous well for the pen.

I do dine to-day at the father's of a certain pupil of
mine; where, if, before repast, it shall please you to gratify
the table with a grace, I will, on my privilege I have with the
parents of the foresaid child or pupil, undertake your ben
venuto; where I will prove those verses to be very unlearned,
neither savouring of poetry, wit, nor invention. I beseech your

And thank you too; for society,--saith the text,--is the
happiness of life.

And certes, the text most infallibly concludes it.
[To DULL] Sir, I do invite you too; you shall not say me nay:
pauca verba. Away! the gentles are at their game, and we will to
our recreation.


SCENE III. The same.

[Enter BEROWNE, with a paper.]

The king he is hunting the deer: I am coursing myself: they have
pitched a toil: I am tolling in a pitch,--pitch that defiles:
defile! a foul word! Well, sit thee down, sorrow! for
so they say the fool said, and so say I, and I am the fool: well
proved, wit! By the Lord, this love is as mad as Ajax: it kills
sheep; it kills me, I a sheep: well proved again o' my side. I
will not love; if I do, hang me; i' faith, I will not. O! but her
eye,--by this light, but for her eye, I would not love her; yes,
for her two eyes. Well, I do nothing in the world but lie, and
lie in my throat. By heaven, I do love; and it hath taught me to
rime, and to be melancholy; and here is part of my rhyme, and
here my melancholy. Well, she hath one o' my sonnets already; the
clown bore it, the fool sent it, and the lady hath it: sweet
clown, sweeter fool, sweetest lady! By the world, I would not
care a pin if the other three were in. Here comes one with a
paper; God give him grace to groan!

[Gets up into a tree.]

[Enter the KING, with a paper.]

Ay me!

BEROWNE. [Aside.]
Shot, by heaven! Proceed, sweet Cupid; thou hast thumped
him with thy bird-bolt under the left pap. In faith, secrets!

So sweet a kiss the golden sun gives not
To those fresh morning drops upon the rose,
As thy eye-beams, when their fresh rays have smote
The night of dew that on my cheeks down flows;
Nor shines the silver moon one half so bright
Through the transparent bosom of the deep,
As doth thy face through tears of mine give light.
Thou shin'st in every tear that I do weep:
No drop but as a coach doth carry thee;
So ridest thou triumphing in my woe.
Do but behold the tears that swell in me,
And they thy glory through my grief will show:
But do not love thyself; then thou wilt keep
My tears for glasses, and still make me weep.
O queen of queens! how far dost thou excel
No thought can think nor tongue of mortal tell.

How shall she know my griefs? I'll drop the paper:
Sweet leaves, shade folly. Who is he comes here?
[Steps aside.]
What, Longaville! and reading! Listen, ear.
[Enter LONGAVILLE, with a paper.]

Now, in thy likeness, one more fool appear!

Ay me! I am forsworn.

Why, he comes in like a perjure, wearing papers.

In love, I hope: sweet fellowship in shame!

One drunkard loves another of the name.

Am I the first that have been perjur'd so?

I could put thee in comfort: not by two that I know;
Thou makest the triumviry, the corner-cap of society,
The shape of love's Tyburn that hangs up simplicity.

I fear these stubborn lines lack power to move.
O sweet Maria, empress of my love!
These numbers will I tear, and write in prose.

O! rimes are guards on wanton Cupid's hose:
Disfigure not his slop.

This same shall go.

Did not the heavenly rhetoric of thine eye,
'Gainst whom the world cannot hold argument,
Persuade my heart to this false perjury?
Vows for thee broke deserve not punishment.
A woman I forswore; but I will prove,
Thou being a goddess, I forswore not thee:
My vow was earthly, thou a heavenly love;
Thy grace being gain'd, cures all disgrace in me.
Vows are but breath, and breath a vapour is:
Then thou, fair sun, which on my earth dost shine,
Exhal'st this vapour-vow; in thee it is:
If broken, then it is no fault of mine:
If by me broke, what fool is not so wise
To lose an oath to win a paradise!

This is the liver-vein, which makes flesh a deity;
A green goose a goddess; pure, pure idolatry.
God amend us, God amend! We are much out o' the way.

By whom shall I send this?--Company! Stay.

[Steps aside.]

All hid, all hid; an old infant play.
Like a demigod here sit I in the sky,
And wretched fools' secrets heedfully o'er-eye.
More sacks to the mill! O heavens, I have my wish.

[Enter DUMAINE, with a paper.]
Dumain transformed: four woodcocks in a dish!

O most divine Kate!

O most profane coxcomb!

By heaven, the wonder in a mortal eye!

By earth, she is but corporal; there you lie.

Her amber hairs for foul hath amber quoted.

An amber-colour'd raven was well noted.

As upright as the cedar.

Stoop, I say;
Her shoulder is with child.

As fair as day.

Ay, as some days; but then no sun must shine.

O! that I had my wish.

And I had mine!

And I mine too, good Lord!

Amen, so I had mine. Is not that a good word?

I would forget her; but a fever she
Reigns in my blood, and will remember'd be.

A fever in your blood! Why, then incision
Would let her out in saucers: sweet misprision!

Once more I'll read the ode that I have writ.

Once more I'll mark how love can vary wit.

On a day, alack the day!
Love, whose month is ever May,
Spied a blossom passing fair
Playing in the wanton air:
Through the velvet leaves the wind,
All unseen, 'gan passage find;
That the lover, sick to death,
Wish'd himself the heaven's breath.
Air, quoth he, thy cheeks may blow;
Air, would I might triumph so!
But, alack! my hand is sworn
Ne'er to pluck thee from thy thorn;
Vow, alack! for youth unmeet,
Youth so apt to pluck a sweet.
Do not call it sin in me,
That I am forsworn for thee;
Thou for whom e'en Jove would swear
Juno but an Ethiope were;
And deny himself for Jove,
Turning mortal for thy love.

This will I send, and something else more plain,
That shall express my true love's fasting pain.
O! would the King, Berowne and Longaville
Were lovers too. Ill, to example ill,
Would from my forehead wipe a perjur'd note;
For none offend where all alike do dote.

[Advancing.] Dumain, thy love is far from charity,
That in love's grief desir'st society;
You may look pale, but I should blush, I know,
To be o'erheard and taken napping so.

[Advancing.] Come, sir, you blush; as his, your case is such.
You chide at him, offending twice as much:
You do not love Maria; Longaville
Did never sonnet for her sake compile;
Nor never lay his wreathed arms athwart
His loving bosom, to keep down his heart.
I have been closely shrouded in this bush,
And mark'd you both, and for you both did blush.
I heard your guilty rimes, observ'd your fashion,
Saw sighs reek from you, noted well your passion:
Ay me! says one. O Jove! the other cries;
One, her hairs were gold; crystal the other's eyes:
[To LONGAVILLE] You would for paradise break faith and troth;
[To DUMAIN] And Jove, for your love would infringe an oath.
What will Berowne say when that he shall hear
Faith infringed which such zeal did swear?
How will he scorn! how will he spend his wit!
How will he triumph, leap, and laugh at it!
For all the wealth that ever I did see,
I would not have him know so much by me.

Now step I forth to whip hypocrisy.
[Descends from the tree.]
Ah! good my liege, I pray thee pardon me:
Good heart! what grace hast thou thus to reprove
These worms for loving, that art most in love?
Your eyes do make no coaches; in your tears
There is no certain princess that appears:
You'll not be perjur'd; 'tis a hateful thing:
Tush! none but minstrels like of sonneting.
But are you not asham'd? nay, are you not,
All three of you, to be thus much o'ershot?
You found his mote; the king your mote did see;
But I a beam do find in each of three.
O! what a scene of foolery have I seen,
Of sighs, of groans, of sorrow, and of teen;
O me! with what strict patience have I sat,
To see a king transformed to a gnat;
To see great Hercules whipping a gig,
And profound Solomon to tune a jig,
And Nestor play at push-pin with the boys,
And critic Timon laugh at idle toys!
Where lies thy grief, O! tell me, good Dumaine?
And, gentle Longaville, where lies thy pain?
And where my liege's? all about the breast:
A caudle, ho!

Too bitter is thy jest.
Are we betrayed thus to thy over-view?

Not you by me, but I betray'd by you.
I that am honest; I that hold it sin
To break the vow I am engaged in;
I am betrayed by keeping company
With men like men, men of inconstancy.
When shall you see me write a thing in rime?
Or groan for Joan? or spend a minute's time
In pruning me? When shall you hear that I
Will praise a hand, a foot, a face, an eye,
A gait, a state, a brow, a breast, a waist,
A leg, a limb?--

Soft! whither away so fast?
A true man or a thief that gallops so?

I post from love; good lover, let me go.


God bless the king!

What present hast thou there?

Some certain treason.

What makes treason here?

Nay, it makes nothing, sir.

If it mar nothing neither,
The treason and you go in peace away together.

I beseech your Grace, let this letter be read;
Our parson misdoubts it; 'twas treason, he said.

Berowne, read it over.

[Giving the letter to him.]

Where hadst thou it?

Of Costard.

Where hadst thou it?

Of Dun Adramadio, Dun Adramadio.

[BEROWNE tears the letter.]

How now! What is in you? Why dost thou tear it?

A toy, my liege, a toy: your Grace needs not fear it.

It did move him to passion, and therefore let's hear it.

[Picking up the pieces.]
It is Berowne's writing, and here is his name.

[To COSTARD.] Ah, you whoreson loggerhead, you were born
to do me shame.
Guilty, my lord, guilty; I confess, I confess.


That you three fools lack'd me fool to make up the mess;
He, he, and you, and you, my liege, and I,
Are pick-purses in love, and we deserve to die.
O! dismiss this audience, and I shall tell you more.

Now the number is even.

True, true, we are four.
Will these turtles be gone?

Hence, sirs; away!

Walk aside the true folk, and let the traitors stay.


Sweet lords, sweet lovers, O! let us embrace!
As true we are as flesh and blood can be:
The sea will ebb and flow, heaven show his face;
Young blood doth not obey an old decree:
We cannot cross the cause why we were born,
Therefore of all hands must we be forsworn.

What! did these rent lines show some love of thine?

'Did they?' quoth you? Who sees the heavenly Rosaline
That, like a rude and savage man of Inde
At the first op'ning of the gorgeous east,
Bows not his vassal head and, strucken blind,
Kisses the base ground with obedient breast?
What peremptory eagle-sighted eye
Dares look upon the heaven of her brow,
That is not blinded by her majesty?

What zeal, what fury hath inspir'd thee now?
My love, her mistress, is a gracious moon;
She, an attending star, scarce seen a light.

My eyes are then no eyes, nor I Berowne.
O! but for my love, day would turn to night.
Of all complexions the cull'd sovereignty
Do meet, as at a fair, in her fair cheek,
Where several worthies make one dignity,
Where nothing wants that want itself doth seek.
Lend me the flourish of all gentle tongues,--
Fie, painted rhetoric! O! she needs it not:
To things of sale a seller's praise belongs;
She passes praise; then praise too short doth blot.
A wither'd hermit, five-score winters worn,
Might shake off fifty, looking in her eye:
Beauty doth varnish age, as if new-born,
And gives the crutch the cradle's infancy.
O! 'tis the sun that maketh all things shine!

By heaven, thy love is black as ebony.

Is ebony like her? O wood divine!
A wife of such wood were felicity.
O! who can give an oath? Where is a book?
That I may swear beauty doth beauty lack,
If that she learn not of her eye to look.
No face is fair that is not full so black.

O paradox! Black is the badge of hell,
The hue of dungeons, and the school of night;
And beauty's crest becomes the heavens well.

Devils soonest tempt, resembling spirits of light.
O! if in black my lady's brows be deck'd,
It mourns that painting and usurping hair
Should ravish doters with a false aspect;
And therefore is she born to make black fair.
Her favour turns the fashion of the days,
For native blood is counted painting now;
And therefore red, that would avoid dispraise,
Paints itself black, to imitate her brow.

To look like her are chimney-sweepers black.

And since her time are colliers counted bright.

And Ethiopes of their sweet complexion crack.

Dark needs no candles now, for dark is light.

Your mistresses dare never come in rain,
For fear their colours should be wash'd away.

'Twere good yours did; for, sir, to tell you plain,
I'll find a fairer face not wash'd to-day.

I'll prove her fair, or talk till doomsday here.

No devil will fright thee then so much as she.

I never knew man hold vile stuff so dear.

Look, here's thy love:

[Showing his shoe.]

my foot and her face see.

O! if the streets were paved with thine eyes,
Her feet were much too dainty for such tread.

O vile! Then, as she goes, what upward lies
The street should see as she walk'd over head.

But what of this? Are we not all in love?

Nothing so sure; and thereby all forsworn.

Then leave this chat; and, good Berowne, now prove
Our loving lawful, and our faith not torn.

Ay, marry, there; some flattery for this evil.

O! some authority how to proceed;
Some tricks, some quillets, how to cheat the devil.

Some salve for perjury.

O, 'tis more than need.
Have at you, then, affection's men-at-arms:
Consider what you first did swear unto,
To fast, to study, and to see no woman;
Flat treason 'gainst the kingly state of youth.
Say, can you fast? Your stomachs are too young,
And abstinence engenders maladies.
And where that you you have vow'd to study, lords,
In that each of you have forsworn his book,
Can you still dream, and pore, and thereon look?
For when would you, my lord, or you, or you,
Have found the ground of study's excellence
Without the beauty of a woman's face?
From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:
They are the ground, the books, the academes,
From whence doth spring the true Promethean fire.
Why, universal plodding poisons up
The nimble spirits in the arteries,
As motion and long-during action tires
The sinewy vigour of the traveller.
Now, for not looking on a woman's face,
You have in that forsworn the use of eyes,
And study too, the causer of your vow;
For where is author in the world
Teaches such beauty as a woman's eye?
Learning is but an adjunct to ourself,
And where we are our learning likewise is:
Then when ourselves we see in ladies' eyes,
Do we not likewise see our learning there?
O! we have made a vow to study, lords,
And in that vow we have forsworn our books:
For when would you, my liege, or you, or you,
In leaden contemplation have found out
Such fiery numbers as the prompting eyes
Of beauty's tutors have enrich'd you with?
Other slow arts entirely keep the brain;
And therefore, finding barren practisers,
Scarce show a harvest of their heavy toil;
But love, first learned in a lady's eyes,
Lives not alone immured in the brain,
But with the motion of all elements,
Courses as swift as thought in every power,
And gives to every power a double power,
Above their functions and their offices.
It adds a precious seeing to the eye;
A lover's eyes will gaze an eagle blind;
A lover's ear will hear the lowest sound,
When the suspicious head of theft is stopp'd:
Love's feeling is more soft and sensible
Than are the tender horns of cockled snails:
Love's tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste.
For valour, is not Love a Hercules,
Still climbing trees in the Hesperides?
Subtle as Sphinx; as sweet and musical
As bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair;
And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods
Make heaven drowsy with the harmony.
Never durst poet touch a pen to write
Until his ink were temper'd with Love's sighs;
O! then his lines would ravish savage ears,
And plant in tyrants mild humility.
From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain, and nourish, all the world;
Else none at all in aught proves excellent.
Then fools you were these women to forswear,
Or, keeping what is sworn, you will prove fools.
For wisdom's sake, a word that all men love,
Or for love's sake, a word that loves all men,
Or for men's sake, the authors of these women;
Or women's sake, by whom we men are men,
Let us once lose our oaths to find ourselves,
Or else we lose ourselves to keep our oaths.
It is religion to be thus forsworn;
For charity itself fulfils the law;
And who can sever love from charity?

Saint Cupid, then! and, soldiers, to the field!

Advance your standards, and upon them, lords;
Pell-mell, down with them! be first advis'd,
In conflict that you get the sun of them.

Now to plain-dealing; lay these glozes by:
Shall we resolve to woo these girls of France?

And win them too; therefore let us devise
Some entertainment for them in their tents.

First, from the park let us conduct them thither;
Then homeward every man attach the hand
Of his fair mistress: in the afternoon
We will with some strange pastime solace them,
Such as the shortness of the time can shape;
For revels, dances, masks, and merry hours,
Forerun fair Love, strewing her way with flowers.

Away, away! No time shall be omitted,
That will betime, and may by us be fitted.

Allons! allons! Sow'd cockle reap'd no corn;
And justice always whirls in equal measure:
Light wenches may prove plagues to men forsworn;
If so, our copper buys no better treasure.



SCENE I. The King of Navarre's park.


Satis quod sufficit.

I praise God for you, sir: your reasons at dinner have
been sharp and sententious; pleasant without scurrility, witty
without affection, audacious without impudency, learned without
opinion, and strange without heresy. I did converse this quondam
day with a companion of the king's who is intituled, nominated,
or called, Don Adriano de Armado.

Novi hominem tanquam te: his humour is lofty, his
discourse peremptory, his tongue filed, his eye ambitious, his
gait majestical and his general behaviour vain, ridiculous, and
thrasonical. He is too picked, too spruce, too affected, too odd,
as it were, too peregrinate, as I may call it.

A most singular and choice epithet.

[Draws out his table-book.]

He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than
the staple of his argument. I abhor such fanatical phantasimes,
such insociable and point-devise companions; such rackers of
orthography, as to speak dout, fine, when he should say doubt;
det when he should pronounce debt,--d, e, b, t, not d, e, t: he
clepeth a calf, cauf; half, hauf; neighbour vocatur nebour, neigh
abbreviated ne. This is abhominable, which he
would call abominable,--it insinuateth me of insanie: anne
intelligis, domine? to make frantic, lunatic.

Laus Deo, bone intelligo.

Bone? bone for bene: Priscian a little scratch'd; 'twill serve.


Videsne quis venit?

Video, et gaudeo.

[To MOTH] Chirrah!

Quare chirrah, not sirrah?

Men of peace, well encountered.

Most military sir, salutation.

[Aside to COSTARD.] They have been at a great feast of
languages and stolen the scraps.

O! they have lived long on the alms-basket of words. I
marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word, for thou are
not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus; thou art
easier swallowed than a flap-dragon.

Peace! the peal begins.

[To HOLOFERNES.] Monsieur, are you not lettered?

Yes, yes; he teaches boys the hornbook. What is a, b, spelt
backward with the horn on his head?

Ba, pueritia, with a horn added.

Ba! most silly sheep with a horn. You hear his learning.

Quis, quis, thou consonant?

The third of the five vowels, if you repeat them; or the
fifth, if I.

I will repeat them,--a, e, i,--

The sheep; the other two concludes it,--o, u.

Now, by the salt wave of the Mediterraneum, a sweet touch,
a quick venue of wit! snip, snap, quick and home! It rejoiceth my
intellect: true wit!

Offered by a child to an old man; which is wit-old.

What is the figure? What is the figure?


Thou disputes like an infant; go, whip thy gig.

Lend me your horn to make one, and I will whip about your
infamy circum circa. A gig of a cuckold's horn.

An I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it
to buy gingerbread. Hold, there is the very remuneration I had
of thy master, thou half-penny purse of wit, thou pigeon-egg of
discretion. O! an the heavens were so pleased that thou wert but
my bastard, what a joyful father wouldst thou make me. Go to;
thou hast it ad dunghill, at the fingers' ends, as they say.

O, I smell false Latin! 'dunghill' for unguem.

Arts-man, praeambula; we will be singled from the barbarous. Do
you not educate youth at the charge-house on the top of the

Or mons, the hill.

At your sweet pleasure, for the mountain.

I do, sans question.

Sir, it is the King's most sweet pleasure and affection to
congratulate the princess at her pavilion, in the posteriors of
this day, which the rude multitude call the afternoon.

The posterior of the day, most generous sir, is liable,
congruent, and measurable, for the afternoon. The word is well
culled, chose, sweet, and apt, I do assure you, sir; I do assure.

Sir, the King is a noble gentleman, and my familiar, I do
assure ye, very good friend. For what is inward between us, let
it pass: I do beseech thee, remember thy courtsy; I beseech
thee, apparel thy head: and among other importunate and most
serious designs, and of great import indeed, too, but let that
pass: for I must tell thee it will please his Grace, by the
world, sometime to lean upon my poor shoulder, and with his royal
finger thus dally with my excrement, with my mustachio: but,
sweet heart, let that pass. By the world, I recount no fable:
some certain special honours it pleaseth his greatness to impart
to Armado, a soldier, a man of travel, that hath seen the world:
but let that pass. The very all of all is, but, sweet heart, I do
implore secrecy, that the King would have me present the
princess, sweet chuck, with some delightful ostentation, or show,
or pageant, or antic, or firework. Now, understanding that the
curate and your sweet self are good at such eruptions and sudden
breaking-out of mirth, as it were, I have acquainted you withal,
to the end to crave your assistance.

Sir, you shall present before her the Nine Worthies. Sir
Nathaniel, as concerning some entertainment of time, some
show in the posterior of this day, to be rendered by our
assistance, the King's command, and this most gallant,
illustrate, and learned gentleman, before the princess, I say
none so fit as to present the Nine Worthies.

Where will you find men worthy enough to present them?

Joshua, yourself; myself, Alexander; this gallant
gentleman, Judas Maccabaeus; this swain, because of his great
limb or joint, shall pass Pompey the Great; the page, Hercules,--

Pardon, sir; error: he is not quantity enough for that
Worthy's thumb; he is not so big as the end of his club.

Shall I have audience? He shall present Hercules in minority: his
enter and exit shall be strangling a snake; and I will have an
apology for that purpose.

An excellent device! So, if any of the audience hiss, you may
cry 'Well done, Hercules; now thou crushest the snake!' That is
the way to make an offence gracious, though few have the grace to
do it.

For the rest of the Worthies?--

I will play three myself.

Thrice-worthy gentleman!

Shall I tell you a thing?

We attend.

We will have, if this fadge not, an antic. I beseech you,

Via, goodman Dull! Thou has spoken no word all this while.

Nor understood none neither, sir.

Allons! we will employ thee.

I'll make one in a dance, or so, or I will play on the tabor to
the Worthies, and let them dance the hay.

Most dull, honest Dull! To our sport, away.


SCENE II. The same. Before the Princess's pavilion.


Sweet hearts, we shall be rich ere we depart,
If fairings come thus plentifully in.
A lady wall'd about with diamonds!
Look you what I have from the loving king.

Madam, came nothing else along with that?

Nothing but this! Yes, as much love in rime
As would be cramm'd up in a sheet of paper
Writ o' both sides the leaf, margent and all,
That he was fain to seal on Cupid's name.

That was the way to make his godhead wax;
For he hath been five thousand years a boy.

Ay, and a shrewd unhappy gallows too.

You'll ne'er be friends with him: a' kill'd your sister.

He made her melancholy, sad, and heavy;
And so she died: had she been light, like you,
Of such a merry, nimble, stirring spirit,
She might ha' been a grandam ere she died;
And so may you, for a light heart lives long.

What's your dark meaning, mouse, of this light word?

A light condition in a beauty dark.

We need more light to find your meaning out.

You'll mar the light by taking it in snuff;
Therefore I'll darkly end the argument.

Look what you do, you do it still i' the dark.

So do not you; for you are a light wench.

Indeed, I weigh not you; and therefore light.

You weigh me not? O! that's you care not for me.

Great reason; for 'past cure is still past care.'

Well bandied both; a set of wit well play'd.
But, Rosaline, you have a favour too:
Who sent it? and what is it?

I would you knew.
An if my face were but as fair as yours,
My favour were as great: be witness this.
Nay, I have verses too, I thank Berowne;
The numbers true, and, were the numbering too,
I were the fairest goddess on the ground:
I am compar'd to twenty thousand fairs.
O! he hath drawn my picture in his letter.

Anything like?

Much in the letters; nothing in the praise.

Beauteous as ink; a good conclusion.

Fair as a text B in a copy-book.

'Ware pencils! how! let me not die your debtor,
My red dominical, my golden letter:
O, that your face were not so full of O's!

A pox of that jest! and beshrew all shrows!

But, Katharine, what was sent to you from fair Dumaine?

Madam, this glove.

Did he not send you twain?

Yes, madam; and, moreover,
Some thousand verses of a faithful lover;
A huge translation of hypocrisy,
Vilely compil'd, profound simplicity.

This, and these pearl, to me sent Longaville;
The letter is too long by half a mile.

I think no less. Dost thou not wish in heart
The chain were longer and the letter short?

Ay, or I would these hands might never part.

We are wise girls to mock our lovers so.

They are worse fools to purchase mocking so.
That same Berowne I'll torture ere I go.
O that I knew he were but in by th' week!
How I would make him fawn, and beg, and seek,
And wait the season, and observe the times,
And spend his prodigal wits in bootless rimes,
And shape his service wholly to my hests,
And make him proud to make me proud that jests!
So perttaunt-like would I o'ersway his state
That he should be my fool, and I his fate.

None are so surely caught, when they are catch'd,
As wit turn'd fool: folly, in wisdom hatch'd,
Hath wisdom's warrant and the help of school
And wit's own grace to grace a learned fool.

The blood of youth burns not with such excess
As gravity's revolt to wantonness.

Folly in fools bears not so strong a note
As fool'ry in the wise when wit doth dote;
Since all the power thereof it doth apply
To prove, by wit, worth in simplicity.

[Enter BOYET.]

Here comes Boyet, and mirth is in his face.

O! I am stabb'd with laughter! Where's her Grace?

Thy news, Boyet?

Prepare, madam, prepare!--
Arm, wenches, arm! encounters mounted are
Against your peace: Love doth approach disguis'd,
Armed in arguments; you'll be surpris'd:
Muster your wits; stand in your own defence;
Or hide your heads like cowards, and fly hence.

Saint Denis to Saint Cupid! What are they
That charge their breath against us? Say, scout, say.

Under the cool shade of a sycamore
I thought to close mine eyes some half an hour;
When, lo, to interrupt my purpos'd rest,
Toward that shade I might behold addrest
The king and his companions: warily
I stole into a neighbour thicket by,
And overheard what you shall overhear;
That, by and by, disguis'd they will be here.
Their herald is a pretty knavish page,
That well by heart hath conn'd his embassage:
Action and accent did they teach him there;
'Thus must thou speak' and 'thus thy body bear,'
And ever and anon they made a doubt
Presence majestical would put him out;
'For' quoth the King 'an angel shalt thou see;
Yet fear not thou, but speak audaciously.'
The boy replied 'An angel is not evil;
I should have fear'd her had she been a devil.'
With that all laugh'd, and clapp'd him on the shoulder,
Making the bold wag by their praises bolder.
One rubb'd his elbow, thus, and fleer'd, and swore
A better speech was never spoke before.
Another with his finger and his thumb
Cried 'Via! we will do't, come what will come.'
The third he caper'd, and cried 'All goes well.'
The fourth turn'd on the toe, and down he fell.
With that they all did tumble on the ground,
With such a zealous laughter, so profound,
That in this spleen ridiculous appears,
To check their folly, passion's solemn tears.

But what, but what, come they to visit us?

They do, they do, and are apparell'd thus,
Like Muscovites or Russians, as I guess.
Their purpose is to parley, court, and dance;
And every one his love-feat will advance
Unto his several mistress; which they'll know
By favours several which they did bestow.

And will they so? The gallants shall be task'd:
For, ladies, we will every one be mask'd;
And not a man of them shall have the grace,
Despite of suit, to see a lady's face.
Hold, Rosaline, this favour thou shalt wear,
And then the king will court thee for his dear;
Hold, take thou this, my sweet, and give me thine,
So shall Berowne take me for Rosaline.
And change you favours too; so shall your loves
Woo contrary, deceiv'd by these removes.

Come on, then, wear the favours most in sight.

But, in this changing, what is your intent?

The effect of my intent is to cross theirs;
They do it but in mocking merriment;
And mock for mock is only my intent.
Their several counsels they unbosom shall
To loves mistook, and so be mock'd withal
Upon the next occasion that we meet
With visages display'd to talk and greet.

But shall we dance, if they desire us to't?

No, to the death, we will not move a foot,
Nor to their penn'd speech render we no grace;
But while 'tis spoke each turn away her face.

Why, that contempt will kill the speaker's heart,
And quite divorce his memory from his part.

Therefore I do it; and I make no doubt
The rest will ne'er come in, if he be out.
There's no such sport as sport by sport o'erthrown,
To make theirs ours, and ours none but our own:
So shall we stay, mocking intended game,
And they well mock'd, depart away with shame.

[Trumpet sounds within.]

The trumpet sounds: be mask'd; the maskers come.

[The LADIES mask.]

[Enter BLACKAMOORS with music; MOTH, the KING, BEROWNE,
LONGAVILLE, and DUMAINE in Russian habits, and masked.]

'All hail, the richest heauties on the earth!'

Beauties no richer than rich taffeta.

'A holy parcel of the fairest dames

[The LADIES turn their backs to him.]

That ever turn'd their--backs--to mortal views!

'Their eyes,' villain, 'their eyes.'

'That ever turn'd their eyes to mortal views!

True; 'out,' indeed.

'Out of your favours, heavenly spirits, vouchsafe
Not to behold'--

'Once to behold,' rogue.

'Once to behold with your sun-beamed eyes--with your
sun-beamed eyes'--

They will not answer to that epithet;
You were best call it 'daughter-beamed eyes.'

They do not mark me, and that brings me out.

Is this your perfectness? be gone, you rogue.

[Exit MOTH.]

What would these strangers? Know their minds, Boyet.
If they do speak our language, 'tis our will
That some plain man recount their purposes:
Know what they would.

What would you with the princess?

Nothing but peace and gentle visitation.

What would they, say they?

Nothing but peace and gentle visitation.

Why, that they have; and bid them so be gone.

She says you have it, and you may be gone.

Say to her we have measur'd many miles
To tread a measure with her on this grass.

They say that they have measur'd many a mile
To tread a measure with you on this grass.

It is not so. Ask them how many inches
Is in one mile? If they have measured many,
The measure then of one is easily told.

If to come hither you have measur'd miles,
And many miles, the Princess bids you tell
How many inches doth fill up one mile.

Tell her we measure them by weary steps.

She hears herself.

How many weary steps
Of many weary miles you have o'ergone
Are number'd in the travel of one mile?

We number nothing that we spend for you;
Our duty is so rich, so infinite,
That we may do it still without accompt.
Vouchsafe to show the sunshine of your face,
That we, like savages, may worship it.

My face is but a moon, and clouded too.

Blessed are clouds, to do as such clouds do!
Vouchsafe, bright moon, and these thy stars, to shine,
Those clouds remov'd, upon our watery eyne.

O vain petitioner! beg a greater matter;
Thou now requests'st but moonshine in the water.

Then in our measure do but vouchsafe one change.
Thou bid'st me beg; this begging is not strange.

Play, music, then! Nay, you must do it soon.

[Music plays.]

Not yet! No dance! thus change I like the moon.

Will you not dance? How come you thus estranged?

You took the moon at full; but now she's chang'd.

Yet still she is the moon, and I the man.
The music plays; vouchsafe some motion to it.

Our ears vouchsafe it.

But your legs should do it.

Since you are strangers, and come here by chance,
We'll not be nice: take hands; we will not dance.

Why take we hands then?

Only to part friends.
Curtsy, sweet hearts; and so the measure ends.

More measure of this measure: be not nice.

We can afford no more at such a price.

Price you yourselves? what buys your company?

Your absence only.

That can never be.

Then cannot we be bought: and so adieu;
Twice to your visor, and half once to you!

If you deny to dance, let's hold more chat.

In private then.

I am best pleas'd with that.

[They converse apart.]

White-handed mistress, one sweet word with thee.

Honey, and milk, and sugar; there is three.

Nay, then, two treys, an if you grow so nice,
Metheglin, wort, and malmsey: well run, dice!
There's half a dozen sweets.

Seventh sweet, adieu:
Since you can cog, I'll play no more with you.

One word in secret.

Let it not be sweet.

Thou griev'st my gall.

Gall! bitter.

Therefore meet.

[They converse apart.]

Will you vouchsafe with me to change a word?

Name it.

Fair lady,--

Say you so? Fair lord,
Take that for your fair lady.

Please it you,
As much in private, and I'll bid adieu.

[They converse apart.]

What, was your visord made without a tongue?

I know the reason, lady, why you ask.

O! for your reason! quickly, sir; I long.

You have a double tongue within your mask,
And would afford my speechless visor half.

'Veal' quoth the Dutchman. Is not 'veal' a calf?

A calf, fair lady!

No, a fair lord calf.

Let's part the word.

No, I'll not be your half.
Take all and wean it; it may prove an ox.

Look how you butt yourself in these sharp mocks!
Will you give horns, chaste lady? do not so.

Then die a calf, before your horns do grow.

One word in private with you ere I die.

Bleat softly, then; the butcher hears you cry.

[They converse apart.]

The tongues of mocking wenches are as keen
As is the razor's edge invisible,
Cutting a smaller hair than may be seen,
Above the sense of sense; so sensible
Seemeth their conference; their conceits have wings,
Fleeter than arrows, bullets, wind, thought, swifter things.

Not one word more, my maids; break off, break off.

By heaven, all dry-beaten with pure scoff!

Farewell, mad wenches; you have simple wits.

Twenty adieus, my frozen Muscovits.

[Exeunt KING, LORDS, Music, and Attendants.]

Are these the breed of wits so wondered at?

Tapers they are, with your sweet breaths puff'd out.

Well-liking wits they have; gross, gross; fat, fat.

O poverty in wit, kingly-poor flout!
Will they not, think you, hang themselves to-night?
Or ever, but in vizors, show their faces?
This pert Berowne was out of countenance quite.

O! They were all in lamentable cases!
The King was weeping-ripe for a good word.

Berowne did swear himself out of all suit.

Dumaine was at my service, and his sword:
'No point' quoth I; my servant straight was mute.

Lord Longaville said, I came o'er his heart;
And trow you what he call'd me?

Qualm, perhaps.

Yes, in good faith.

Go, sickness as thou art!

Well, better wits have worn plain statute-caps.
But will you hear? The king is my love sworn.

And quick Berowne hath plighted faith to me.

And Longaville was for my service born.

Dumaine is mine, as sure as bark on tree.

Madam, and pretty mistresses, give ear:
Immediately they will again be here
In their own shapes; for it can never be
They will digest this harsh indignity.

Will they return?

They will, they will, God knows,
And leap for joy, though they are lame with blows;
Therefore, change favours; and, when they repair,
Blow like sweet roses in this summer air.

How blow? how blow? Speak to be understood.

Fair ladies mask'd are roses in their bud:
Dismask'd, their damask sweet commixture shown,
Are angels vailing clouds, or roses blown.

Avaunt, perplexity! What shall we do
If they return in their own shapes to woo?

Good madam, if by me you'll be advis'd,
Let's mock them still, as well known as disguis'd.
Let us complain to them what fools were here,
Disguis'd like Muscovites, in shapeless gear;
And wonder what they were, and to what end
Their shallow shows and prologue vilely penn'd,
And their rough carriage so ridiculous,
Should be presented at our tent to us.

Ladies, withdraw: the gallants are at hand.

Whip to our tents, as roes run over land.


in their proper habits.]

Fair sir, God save you! Where's the princess?

Gone to her tent. Please it your Majesty
Command me any service to her thither?

That she vouchsafe me audience for one word.

I will; and so will she, I know, my lord.


This fellow pecks up wit as pigeons pease,
And utters it again when God doth please:
He is wit's pedlar, and retails his wares
At wakes, and wassails, meetings, markets, fairs;
And we that sell by gross, the Lord doth know,
Have not the grace to grace it with such show.
This gallant pins the wenches on his sleeve;
Had he been Adam, he had tempted Eve:
He can carve too, and lisp: why this is he
That kiss'd his hand away in courtesy;
This is the ape of form, monsieur the nice,
That, when he plays at tables, chides the dice
In honourable terms; nay, he can sing
A mean most meanly; and in ushering
Mend him who can: the ladies call him sweet;
The stairs, as he treads on them, kiss his feet.
This is the flower that smiles on every one,
To show his teeth as white as whales-bone;
And consciences that will not die in debt
Pay him the due of honey-tongued Boyet.

A blister on his sweet tongue, with my heart,
That put Armado's page out of his part!

[Re-enter the PRINCESS, ushered by BOYET; ROSALINE,
MARIA, KATHARINE, and Attendants.]

See where it comes! Behaviour, what wert thou,
Till this man show'd thee? and what art thou now?

All hail, sweet madam, and fair time of day!

'Fair' in 'all hail' is foul, as I conceive.

Construe my speeches better, if you may.

Then wish me better: I will give you leave.

We came to visit you, and purpose now
To lead you to our court; vouchsafe it then.

This field shall hold me, and so hold your vow:
Nor God, nor I, delights in perjur'd men.

Rebuke me not for that which you provoke:
The virtue of your eye must break my oath.

You nickname virtue: vice you should have spoke;
For virtue's office never breaks men's troth.
Now by my maiden honour, yet as pure
As the unsullied lily, I protest,
A world of torments though I should endure,
I would not yield to be your house's guest;
So much I hate a breaking cause to be
Of heavenly oaths, vowed with integrity.

O! you have liv'd in desolation here,
Unseen, unvisited, much to our shame.

Not so, my lord; it is not so, I swear;
We have had pastimes here, and pleasant game.
A mess of Russians left us but of late.

How, madam! Russians?

Ay, in truth, my lord;
Trim gallants, full of courtship and of state.

Madam, speak true. It is not so, my lord:
My lady, to the manner of the days,
In courtesy gives undeserving praise.
We four indeed confronted were with four
In Russian habit: here they stay'd an hour,
And talk'd apace; and in that hour, my lord,
They did not bless us with one happy word.
I dare not call them fools; but this I think,
When they are thirsty, fools would fain have drink.

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