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

Dramatis Personae.

FERDINAND, King of Navarre BEROWNE, Lord attending on the King LONGAVILLE, Lord attending on the King DUMAINE, Lord attending on the King BOYET, Lord attending on the Princess of France MARCADE, Lord attending on the Princess of France DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO, a fantastical Spaniard SIR NATHANIEL, a Curate HOLOFERNES, a Schoolmaster DULL, a Constable COSTARD, a Clown MOTH, Page to Armado A FORESTER

THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE ROSALINE, Lady attending on the Princess MARIA, Lady attending on the Princess KATHARINE, Lady attending on the Princess JAQUENETTA, a country wench

Officers and Others, Attendants on the King and Princess.

SCENE: Navarre


SCENE I. The King of Navarre's park

[Enter the King, BEROWNE, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAIN.]

KING. Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives, Live regist'red upon our brazen tombs, And then grace us in the disgrace of death; When, spite of cormorant devouring Time, The endeavour 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, Berowne, 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 resolv'd; '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.

DUMAINE. 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.

BEROWNE. 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.

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

BEROWNE. 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, Berowne, and to the rest.

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

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

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

KING. Ay, that is study's god-like recompense.

BEROWNE. 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.

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

BEROWNE. Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain Which, with pain purchas'd, 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.

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

DUMAINE. Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding!

LONGAVILLE. He weeds the corn, and still lets grow the weeding.

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

DUMAINE. How follows that?

BEROWNE. Fit in his place and time.

DUMAINE. In reason nothing.

BEROWNE. Something then in rime.

LONGAVILLE. Berowne is like an envious sneaping frost That bites the first-born infants of the spring.

BEROWNE. 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 shows; 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.

KING. Well, sit out; go home, Berowne; adieu.

BEROWNE. 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.

KING. How well this yielding rescues thee from shame!

BEROWNE. 'Item. That no woman shall come within a mile of my court.'Hath this been proclaimed?

LONGAVILLE. Four days ago.

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

LONGAVILLE. Marry, that did I.

BEROWNE. Sweet lord, and why?

LONGAVILLE. To fright them hence with that dread penalty.

BEROWNE. 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 mild 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 th' admired princess hither.

KING. What say you, lords? why, this was quite forgot.

BEROWNE. So study evermore is over-shot: 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.

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

BEROWNE. 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; [Subscribes] 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?

KING. 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 who 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.

BEROWNE. 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?

BEROWNE. 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.

BEROWNE. This is he.

DULL. Signior Arm—Arm—commends you. There's villainy abroad: this letter will tell you more.

COSTARD. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me.

KING. A letter from the magnificent Armado.

BEROWNE. How long soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.

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

BEROWNE. To hear, or forbear laughing?

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

BEROWNE. 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.

BEROWNE. 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.

BEROWNE. For the following, sir?

COSTARD. As it shall follow in my correction; and God defend the right!

KING. Will you hear this letter with attention?

BEROWNE. As we would hear an oracle.

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

KING. '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.

KING. 'So it is,'—

COSTARD. It may be so; but if he say it is so, he is, in telling true, but so.—

KING. Peace!

COSTARD. Be to me, and every man that dares not fight!

KING. No words!

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

KING. '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 upon; it is ycleped thy park. Then for the place where; where, I mean, I did encounter that obscene and most 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,'—


KING. 'that unlettered small-knowing soul,'—


KING. 'that shallow vassal,'—

COSTARD. Still me.—

KING. 'which, as I remember, hight Costard,'—


KING. 'sorted and consorted, contrary to thy established proclaimed edict and continent canon, with—with,—O! with but with this I passion to say wherewith,'—

COSTARD. With a wench.

KING. '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, Antony Dull, a man of good repute, carriage, bearing, and estimation.'

DULL. Me, an't please you; I am Antony Dull.

KING. 'For Jaquenetta,—so is the weaker vessel called, which I apprehended with the aforesaid swain,—I keep her as a vessel of thy 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, DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO.'

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

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

COSTARD. Sir, I confess the wench.

KING. Did you hear the proclamation?

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

KING. 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 damosel.

KING. Well, it was proclaimed 'damosel'.

COSTARD. This was no damosel neither, sir; she was a 'virgin'.

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

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

KING. This maid not serve your turn, sir.

COSTARD. This maid will serve my turn, sir.

KING. 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.

KING. And Don Armado shall be your keeper. My Lord Berowne, see him delivered o'er: And go we, lords, to put in practice that Which each to other hath so strongly sworn.


BEROWNE. 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!


SCENE II. The park.

[Enter ARMADO and MOTH.]

ARMADO. Boy, what sign is it when a man of great spirit grows melancholy?

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

ARMADO. Why, sadness is one and the self-same thing, dear imp.

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

ARMADO. How canst thou part sadness and melancholy, my tender juvenal?

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

ARMADO. Why tough senior? Why tough senior?

MOTH. Why tender juvenal? Why tender juvenal?

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.

ARMADO. Pretty and apt.

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

ARMADO. Thou pretty, because little.

MOTH. Little pretty, because little. Wherefore apt?

ARMADO. And therefore apt, because quick.

MOTH. Speak you this in my praise, master?

ARMADO. In thy condign praise.

MOTH. I will praise an eel with the same praise.

ARMADO. What! That an eel is ingenious?

MOTH. That an eel is quick.

ARMADO. I do say thou art quick in answers: thou heat'st my blood.

MOTH. I am answered, sir.

ARMADO. I love not to be crossed.

MOTH. [Aside] He speaks the mere contrary: crosses love not him.

ARMADO. I have promised to study three years with the duke.

MOTH. You may do it in an hour, sir.

ARMADO. Impossible.

MOTH. How many is one thrice told? @@@@

ARMADO. I am ill at reck'ning; it fitteth the spirit of a tapster.

MOTH. You are a gentleman and a gamester, sir.

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.

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's 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.

ARMADO. A most fine figure!

MOTH. [Aside] To prove you a cipher.

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 curtsy. I think scorn to sigh: methinks I should out-swear Cupid. Comfort me, boy: what great men have been in love?

MOTH. Hercules, master.

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.

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.

ARMADO. Of what complexion?

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

ARMADO. Tell me precisely of what complexion.

MOTH. Of the sea-water green, sir.

ARMADO. Is that one of the four complexions?

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

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.

ARMADO. My love is most immaculate white and red.

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

ARMADO. Define, define, well-educated infant.

MOTH. My father's wit my mother's tongue assist me!

ARMADO. Sweet invocation of a child; most pretty, and pathetical!

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.

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.

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.

ARMADO. Sing, boy: my spirit grows heavy in love.

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

ARMADO. I say, sing.

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.

ARMADO. I do betray myself with blushing. Maid!


ARMADO. I will visit thee at the lodge.

JAQUENETTA. That's hereby.

ARMADO. I know where it is situate.

JAQUENETTA. Lord, how wise you are!

ARMADO. I will tell thee wonders.

JAQUENETTA. With that face?

ARMADO. I love thee.

JAQUENETTA. So I heard you say.

ARMADO. And so, farewell.

JAQUENETTA. Fair weather after you!

DULL. Come, Jaquenetta, away!

[Exit with JAQUENETTA.]

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.

ARMADO. Thou shalt be heavily punished.

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

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.]

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 rime, for I am sure I shall turn sonneter. Devise, wit; write, pen; for I am for whole volumes in folio.



SCENE II. The King of Navarre's park. A pavilion and tents at a distance.


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. Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean, Needs not the painted flourish of your praise: Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye, Not utt'red 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-visag'd suitors, his high will.

BOYET. Proud of employment, willingly I go.

PRINCESS. 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. 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 match'd 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. Some merry mocking lord, belike; is't so?

MARIA. They say so most that most his humours know.

PRINCESS. Such short-liv'd wits do wither as they grow. Who are the rest?

KATHARINE. The young Dumain, a well-accomplish'd youth, Of all that virtue love for virtue lov'd; 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: Berowne 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. 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. 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 unpeeled house. Here comes Navarre.

[The LADIES mask.]


KING. Fair Princess, welcome to the court of Navarre.

PRINCESS. '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.

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

PRINCESS. I will be welcome then: conduct me thither.

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

PRINCESS. Our Lady help my lord! he'll be forsworn.

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

PRINCESS. Why, will shall break it; will, and nothing else.

KING. Your ladyship is ignorant what it is.

PRINCESS. 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.

[Gives a paper.]

KING. Madam, I will, if suddenly I may.

PRINCESS. You will the sooner that I were away, For you'll prove perjur'd if you make me stay.

BEROWNE. Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?

ROSALINE. Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?

BEROWNE. I know you did.

ROSALINE. How needless was it then To ask the question!

BEROWNE. You must not be so quick.

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

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

ROSALINE. Not till it leave the rider in the mire.

BEROWNE. What time o' day?

ROSALINE. The hour that fools should ask.

BEROWNE. Now fair befall your mask!

ROSALINE. Fair fall the face it covers!

BEROWNE. And send you many lovers!

ROSALINE. Amen, so you be none.

BEROWNE. Nay, then will I be gone.

KING. 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,— Receiv'd 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. 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.

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

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

KING. 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.

KING. 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 receiv'd As you shall deem yourself lodg'd 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. Sweet health and fair desires consort your Grace!

KING. Thy own wish wish I thee in every place.

[Exeunt KING and his Train.]

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

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

BEROWNE. I would you heard it groan.

ROSALINE. Is the fool sick?

BEROWNE. Sick at the heart.

ROSALINE. Alack! let it blood.

BEROWNE. Would that do it good?

ROSALINE. My physic says 'ay.'

BEROWNE. Will you prick't with your eye?

ROSALINE. No point, with my knife.

BEROWNE. Now, God save thy life!

ROSALINE. And yours from long living!

BEROWNE. I cannot stay thanksgiving.


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

BOYET. The heir of Alencon, Katharine her name.

DUMAINE. 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.


BEROWNE. What's her name in the cap?

BOYET. Rosaline, by good hap.

BEROWNE. Is she wedded or no?

BOYET. To her will, sir, or so.

BEROWNE. You are welcome, sir. Adieu!

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

[Exit BEROWNE.—LADIES unmask.]

MARIA. That last is Berowne, the merry mad-cap lord; Not a word with him but a jest.

BOYET. And every jest but a word.

PRINCESS. 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. Good wits will be jangling; but, gentles, agree; This civil war of wits were much better us'd On Navarre and his book-men, for here 'tis abus'd.

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

PRINCESS. With what?

BOYET. With that which we lovers entitle affected.

PRINCESS. Your reason.

BOYET. Why, all his behaviours 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, tend'ring 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. Come, to our pavilion: Boyet is dispos'd.

BOYET. But to speak that in words which his eye hath disclos'd. 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 speak'st 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.



SCENE I. The King of Navarre's park.

[Enter ARMADO and MOTH.]

ARMADO. Warble, child; make passionate my sense of hearing.

MOTH [Singing.] Concolinel,—

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?

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.

ARMADO. How hast thou purchased this experience?

MOTH. By my penny of observation.

ARMADO. But O—but O,—

MOTH. 'The hobby-horse is forgot.'

ARMADO. Call'st 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?

ARMADO. Almost I had.

MOTH. Negligent student! learn her by heart.

ARMADO. By heart and in heart, boy.

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

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.

ARMADO. I am all these three.

MOTH. And three times as much more, and yet nothing at all.

ARMADO. Fetch hither the swain: he must carry me a letter.

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

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.

ARMADO. The way is but short: away!

MOTH. As swift as lead, sir.

ARMADO. The meaning, pretty ingenious? Is not lead a metal heavy, dull, and slow?

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

ARMADO. I say lead is slow.

MOTH. You are too swift, sir, to say so: Is that lead slow which is fir'd from a gun?

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.


ARMADO. A most acute juvenal; volable 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.

ARMADO. Some enigma, some riddle: come, thy l'envoy; begin.

COSTARD. No egma, 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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

ARMADO. We will talk no more of this matter.

COSTARD. Till there be more matter in the shin.

ARMADO. Sirrah Costard. I will enfranchise thee.

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

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.

ARMADO. I give thee thy liberty, set thee from durance; and, in lieu thereof, impose on thee nothing but this:—[Giving a letter.] Bear this significant to the country maid Jaquenetta. [Giving money.] 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 BEROWNE.]

BEROWNE. O! My good knave Costard, exceedingly well met.

COSTARD. Pray you, sir, how much carnation riband may a man buy for a remuneration?

BEROWNE. What is a remuneration?

COSTARD. Marry, sir, halfpenny farthing.

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

COSTARD. I thank your worship. God be wi' you!

BEROWNE. 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?

BEROWNE. O, this afternoon.

COSTARD. Well, I will do it, sir! fare you well.

BEROWNE. O, thou knowest not what it is.

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

BEROWNE. Why, villain, thou must know first.

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

BEROWNE. 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.

[Gives him a shilling.]

There's thy guerdon: go.

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!


BEROWNE. 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 wimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy, This senior-junior, giant-dwarf, Dan Cupid; Regent of love-rimes, 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 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 perjur'd, 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.



SCENE I. The King of Navarre's park.


PRINCESS. Was that the King that spurr'd his horse so hard Against the steep uprising of the hill?

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

PRINCESS. 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. 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. What, what? First praise me, and again say no? O short-liv'd pride! Not fair? Alack for woe!

FORESTER. Yes, madam, fair.

PRINCESS. Nay, never paint me now; Where fair is not, praise cannot mend the brow. Here, good my glass [Gives money]:—take this for telling true:

Fair payment for foul words is more than due.

FORESTER. Nothing but fair is that which you inherit.

PRINCESS. See, see! my beauty will be sav'd 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. Only for praise; and praise we may afford To any lady that subdues a lord.

[Enter COSTARD.]

BOYET. Here comes a member of the commonwealth.

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

PRINCESS. Thou shalt know her, fellow, by the rest that have no heads.

COSTARD. Which is the greatest lady, the highest?

PRINCESS. 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. What's your will, sir? What's your will?

COSTARD. I have a letter from Monsieur Berowne to one Lady Rosaline.

PRINCESS. 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. 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 anatomize 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, DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO. '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 are thou then? Food for his rage, repasture for his den.'

PRINCESS. What plume of feathers is he that indited this letter? What vane? What weathercock? Did you ever hear better?

BOYET. I am much deceiv'd but I remember the style.

PRINCESS. 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 book-mates.

PRINCESS. Thou fellow, a word. Who gave thee this letter?

COSTARD. I told you; my lord.

PRINCESS. To whom shouldst thou give it?

COSTARD. From my lord to my lady.

PRINCESS. From which lord to which lady?

COSTARD. From my Lord Berowne, a good master of mine, To a lady of France that he call'd Rosaline.

PRINCESS. 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 Guinever 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' 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.


NATHANIEL. Very reverent 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.

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

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

NATHANIEL. 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 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?

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 five-score. 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, I have call'd the deer the Princess killed, a pricket.

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 pierc'd 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.

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.

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 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 us.


JAQUENETTA. God give you good morrow, Master parson.

HOLOFERNES. Master parson, quasi pers-on. And 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 or conceit in a turf of earth; fire enough for a flint, pearl enough for a swine; 'tis pretty; it is well.

JAQUENETTA. 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.

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?

NATHANIEL. Ay, sir, and very learned.

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

NATHANIEL. 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.

HOLOFERNES. 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?

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

HOLOFERNES. 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.

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

COSTARD. Have with thee, my girl.


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

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

NATHANIEL. Marvellous well for the pen.

HOLOFERNES. 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 society.

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

HOLOFERNES. 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.]

BEROWNE. 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.]

KING. 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!

KING. 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.]

BEROWNE. Now, in thy likeness, one more fool appear!

LONGAVILLE. Ay me! I am forsworn.

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

KING. In love, I hope: sweet fellowship in shame!

BEROWNE. One drunkard loves another of the name.

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

BEROWNE. 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.

LONGAVILLE. 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.

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

LONGAVILLE. 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!

BEROWNE. 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.

LONGAVILLE. By whom shall I send this?—Company! Stay.

[Steps aside.]

BEROWNE. 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!

DUMAINE. O most divine Kate!

BEROWNE. O most profane coxcomb!

DUMAINE. By heaven, the wonder in a mortal eye!

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

DUMAINE. Her amber hairs for foul hath amber quoted.

BEROWNE. An amber-colour'd raven was well noted.

DUMAINE. As upright as the cedar.

BEROWNE. Stoop, I say; Her shoulder is with child.

DUMAINE. As fair as day.

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

DUMAINE. O! that I had my wish.

LONGAVILLE. And I had mine!

KING. And I mine too, good Lord!

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

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

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

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

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

DUMAINE. 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.

LONGAVILLE. [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.

KING. [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.

BEROWNE. 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!

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

BEROWNE. 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?—

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

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


JAQUENETTA. God bless the king!

KING. What present hast thou there?

COSTARD. Some certain treason.

KING. What makes treason here?

COSTARD. Nay, it makes nothing, sir.

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

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

KING. Berowne, read it over.

[Giving the letter to him.]

Where hadst thou it?


KING. Where hadst thou it?

COSTARD. Of Dun Adramadio, Dun Adramadio.

[BEROWNE tears the letter.]

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

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

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

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

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

KING. What?

BEROWNE. 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.

DUMAINE. Now the number is even.

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

KING. Hence, sirs; away!

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


BEROWNE. 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.

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

BEROWNE. '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?

KING. 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.

BEROWNE. 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!

KING. By heaven, thy love is black as ebony.

BEROWNE. 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.

KING. 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.

BEROWNE. 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.

DUMAINE. To look like her are chimney-sweepers black.

LONGAVILLE. And since her time are colliers counted bright.

KING. And Ethiopes of their sweet complexion crack.

DUMAINE. Dark needs no candles now, for dark is light.

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

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

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

KING. No devil will fright thee then so much as she.

DUMAINE. I never knew man hold vile stuff so dear.

LONGAVILLE. Look, here's thy love:

[Showing his shoe.]

my foot and her face see.

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

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

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

BEROWNE. Nothing so sure; and thereby all forsworn.

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

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

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

DUMAINE. Some salve for perjury.

BEROWNE. 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?

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

BEROWNE. 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.

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

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

BEROWNE. 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.

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

BEROWNE. 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.


HOLOFERNES. Satis quod sufficit.

NATHANIEL. 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.

HOLOFERNES. 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.

NATHANIEL. A most singular and choice epithet.

[Draws out his table-book.]

HOLOFERNES. 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.

NATHANIEL. Laus Deo, bone intelligo.

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


NATHANIEL. Videsne quis venit?

HOLOFERNES. Video, et gaudeo.

ARMADO. [To MOTH] Chirrah!

HOLOFERNES. Quare chirrah, not sirrah?

ARMADO. Men of peace, well encountered.

HOLOFERNES. Most military sir, salutation.

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

COSTARD. 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.

MOTH. Peace! the peal begins.

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

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

HOLOFERNES. Ba, pueritia, with a horn added.

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

HOLOFERNES. Quis, quis, thou consonant?

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

HOLOFERNES. I will repeat them,—a, e, i,—

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

ARMADO. 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!

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

HOLOFERNES. What is the figure? What is the figure?

MOTH. Horns.

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

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

COSTARD. 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.

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

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

HOLOFERNES. Or mons, the hill.

ARMADO. At your sweet pleasure, for the mountain.

HOLOFERNES. I do, sans question.

ARMADO. 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.

HOLOFERNES. 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.

ARMADO. 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.

HOLOFERNES. 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.

NATHANIEL. Where will you find men worthy enough to present them?

HOLOFERNES. 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,—

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

HOLOFERNES. 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.

MOTH. 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.

ARMADO. For the rest of the Worthies?—

HOLOFERNES. I will play three myself.

MOTH. Thrice-worthy gentleman!

ARMADO. Shall I tell you a thing?

HOLOFERNES. We attend.

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

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

DULL. Nor understood none neither, sir.

HOLOFERNES. Allons! we will employ thee.

DULL. 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.

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


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


PRINCESS. 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.

ROSALINE. Madam, came nothing else along with that?

PRINCESS. 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.

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

KATHARINE. Ay, and a shrewd unhappy gallows too.

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

KATHARINE. 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.

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

KATHARINE. A light condition in a beauty dark.

ROSALINE. We need more light to find your meaning out.

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

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

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

ROSALINE. Indeed, I weigh not you; and therefore light.

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

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

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

ROSALINE. 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.

PRINCESS. Anything like?

ROSALINE. Much in the letters; nothing in the praise.

PRINCESS. Beauteous as ink; a good conclusion.

KATHARINE. Fair as a text B in a copy-book.

ROSALINE. '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!

KATHARINE. A pox of that jest! and beshrew all shrows!

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

KATHARINE. Madam, this glove.

PRINCESS. Did he not send you twain?

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

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

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

MARIA. Ay, or I would these hands might never part.

PRINCESS. We are wise girls to mock our lovers so.

ROSALINE. 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.

PRINCESS. 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.

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

MARIA. 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.

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