Love's Labour's Lost

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Original text
Act I, Scene I
Enter Ferdinand King of Nauarre, Berowne, Longauill,
and Dumane.

Ferdinand.
LEt Fame, that all hunt after in their liues,
Liue registred vpon our brazen Tombes,
And then grace vs in the disgrace of death:
when spight of cormorant deuouring Time,
Th'endeuour of this present breath may buy:
That honour which shall bate his sythes keene edge,
And make vs heyres of all eternitie.
Therefore braue Conquerours, for so you are,
That warre against your owne affections,
And the huge Armie of the worlds desires.
Our late edict shall strongly stand in force,
Nauar shall be the wonder of the world.
Our Court shall be a little Achademe,
Still and contemplatiue in liuing Art.
You three, Berowne, Dumaine, and Longauill,
Haue sworne for three yeeres terme, to liue with me:
My fellow Schollers, and to keepe those statutes
That are recorded in this scedule heere.
Your oathes are past, and now subscribe your names:
That his owne hand may strike his honour downe,
That violates the smallest branch heerein:
If you are arm'd to doe, as sworne to do,
Subscribe to your deepe oathes, and keepe it to.

Longauill.
I am resolu'd, 'tis but a three yeeres fast:
The minde shall banquet, though the body pine,
Fat paunches haue leane pates: and dainty bits,
Make rich the ribs, but bankerout the wits.


Dumane.
My louing Lord, Dumane is mortified,
The grosser manner of these worlds delights,
He throwes vpon the grosse worlds baser slaues:
To loue, to wealth, to pompe, I pine and die,
With all these liuing in Philosophie.


Berowne.
I can but say their protestation ouer,
So much, deare Liege, I haue already sworne,
That is, to liue and study heere three yeeres.
But there are other strict obseruances:
As not to see a woman in that terme,
Which I hope well is not enrolled there.
And one day in a weeke to touch no foode:
And but one meale on euery day beside:
The which I hope is not enrolled there.
And then to sleepe but three houres in the night,
And not be seene to winke of all the day.
When I was wont to thinke no harme all night,
And make a darke night too of halfe the day:
Which I hope well is not enrolled there.
O, these are barren taskes, too hard to keepe,
Not to see Ladies, study, fast, not sleepe.

Ferd.
Your oath is past, to passe away from these.

Berow.
Let me say no my Liedge, and if you please,
I onely swore to study with your grace,
And stay heere in your Court for three yeeres space.

Longa.
You swore to that Berowne, and to the rest.

Berow.
By yea and nay sir, than I swore in iest.
What is the end of study, let me know?

Fer.
Why that to know which else wee should not know.

Ber.
Things hid & bard (you meane) frõ cõmon sense.

Ferd.
I, that is studies god-like recompence.

Bero.
Come on then, I will sweare to studie so,
To know the thing I am forbid to know:
As thus, to study where I well may dine,
When I to fast expressely am forbid.
Or studie where to meet some Mistresse fine,
When Mistresses from common sense are hid.
Or hauing sworne too hard a keeping oath,
Studie to breake it, and not breake my troth.
If studies gaine be thus, and this be so,
Studie knowes that which yet it doth not know,
Sweare me to this, and I will nere say no.

Ferd.
These be the stops that hinder studie quite,
And traine our intellects to vaine delight.

Ber.
Why? all delights are vaine, and that most vaine
Which with paine purchas'd, doth inherit paine,
As painefully to poare vpon a Booke,
To seeke the light of truth, while truth the while
Doth falsely blinde the eye-sight of his looke:
Light seeeking light, doth light of light beguile:
So ere you finde where light in darkenesse lies,
Your light growes darke by losing of your eyes.
Studie me how to please the eye indeede,
By fixing it vpon a fairer eye,
Who dazling so, that eye shall be his heed,
And giue him light that it was blinded by.
Studie is like the heauens glorious Sunne,
That will not be deepe search'd with sawcy lookes:
Small haue continuall plodders euer wonne,
Saue base authoritie from others Bookes.
These earthly Godfathers of heauens lights,
That giue a name to euery fixed Starre,
Haue no more profit of their shining nights,
Then those that walke and wot not what they are.
Too much to know, is to know nought but fame:
And euery Godfather can giue a name.

Fer.
How well hee's read, to reason against reading.

Dum.
Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding.

Lon.
Hee weedes the corne, and still lets grow the weeding.

Ber.
The Spring is neare when greene geesse are a breeding.

Dum.
How followes that?

Ber.
Fit in his place and time.

Dum.
In reason nothing.

Ber.
Something then in rime.

Ferd.
Berowne is like an enuious sneaping Frost,
That bites the first borne infants of the Spring.

Ber.
Wel, say I am, why should proud Summer boast,
Before the Birds haue any cause to sing?
Why should I ioy in any abortiue birth?
At Christmas I no more desire a Rose,
Then wish a Snow in Mayes new fangled showes:
But like of each thing that in season growes.
So you to studie now it is too late,
That were to clymbe ore the house to vnlocke the gate.

Fer.
Well, sit you out: go home Berowne: adue.

Ber.
No my good Lord, I haue sworn to stay with you.
And though I haue for barbarisme spoke more,
Then for that Angell knowledge you can say,
Yet confident Ile keepe what I haue sworne,
And bide the pennance of each three yeares day.
Giue me the paper, let me reade the same,
And to the strictest decrees Ile write my name.

Fer.
How well this yeelding rescues thee from shame.

Ber.
Item. That no woman shall come within
a mile of my Court. Hath this bin proclaimed?

Lon.
Foure dayes agoe.

Ber.
Let's see the penaltie. On paine of loosing her
tongue. Who deuis'd this penaltie?

Lon.
Marry that did I.

Ber.
Sweete Lord, and why?

Lon.
To fright them hence with that dread penaltie,
A dangerous law against gentilitie.
Item, If any man be seene to talke with a woman within the
tearme of three yeares, hee shall indure such publique shame as
the rest of the Court shall possibly deuise.
This Article my Liedge your selfe must breake,
For well you know here comes in Embassie
The French Kings daughter, with your selfe to speake:
A Maide of grace and compleate maiestie,
About surrender vp of Aquitaine:
To her decrepit, sicke, and bed-rid Father.
Therefore this Article is made in vaine,
Or vainly comes th'admired Princesse hither.

Fer.
What say you Lords? Why, this was quite forgot.

Ber.
So Studie euermore is ouershot,
While it doth study to haue what it would,
It doth forget to doe the thing it should:
And when it hath the thing it hunteth most,
'Tis won as townes with fire, so won, so lost.

Fer.
We must of force dispence with this Decree,
She must lye here on meere necessitie.

Ber.
Necessity will make vs all forsworne
Three thousand times within this three yeeres space:
For euery man with his affects is borne,
Not by might mastred, but by speciall grace.
If I breake faith, this word shall breake for me,
I am forsworne on meere necessitie.
So to the Lawes at large I write my name,
And he that breakes them in the least degree,
Stands in attainder of eternall shame.
Suggestions are to others as to me:
But I beleeue although I seeme so loth,
I am the last that will last keepe his oth.

But is there no quicke recreation granted?

Fer.
I that there is, our Court you know is hanted
With a refined trauailer of Spaine,
A man in all the worlds new fashion planted,
That hath a mint of phrases in his braine:
One, who the musicke of his owne vaine tongue,
Doth rauish like inchanting harmonie:
A man of complements whom right and wrong
Haue chose as vmpire of their mutinie.
This childe of fancie that Armado hight,
For interim to our studies shall relate,
In high-borne words the worth of many a Knight:
From tawnie Spaine lost in the worlds debate.
How you delight my Lords, I know not I,
But I protest I loue to heare him lie,
And I will vse him for my Minstrelsie.

Bero.
Armado is a most illustrious wight,
A man of fire, new words, fashions owne Knight.

Lon.
Costard the swaine and he, shall be our sport,
And so to studie, three yeeres is but short.
Enter a Constable with Costard with a Letter.

Const.
Which is the Dukes owne person.

Ber.
This fellow, What would'st?

Con.
I my selfe reprehend his owne person, for I am his
graces Tharborough: But I would see his own person in
flesh and blood.

Ber.
This is he.

Con.
Signeor Arme, Arme commends you: Ther's
villanie abroad, this letter will tell you more.

Clow.
Sir the Contempts thereof are as touching mee.

Fer.
A letter from the magnificent Armado.

Ber.
How low soeuer the matter, I hope in God for
high words.

Lon.
A high hope for a low heauen, God grant vs
patience.

Ber.
To heare, or forbeare hearing.

Lon.
To heare meekely sir, and to laugh moderately,
or to forbeare both.

Ber.
Well sir, be it as the stile shall giue vs cause to
clime in the merrinesse.

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

Ber.
In what manner?

Clo.
In manner and forme following sir all those
three. I was seene with her in the Mannor house, sitting
with her vpon the Forme, and taken following her
into the Parke: which put to gether, is in manner and
forme following. Now sir for the manner; It is the
manner of a man to speake to a woman, for the forme
in some forme.

Ber.
For the following sir.

Clo.
As it shall follow in my correction, and God
defend the right.

Fer.
Will you heare this Letter with attention?

Ber.
As we would heare an Oracle.

Clo.
Such is the simplicitie of man to harken after
the flesh.

Ferdinand.

GReat Deputie, the Welkins Vicegerent, and
sole dominator of Nauar, my soules earths God, and
bodies fostring patrone:

Cost.
Not a word of Costard yet.

Ferd.
So it is.

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

Ferd.
Peace,

Clow.
Be to me, and euery man that dares not fight.

Ferd.
No words,

Clow.
Of other mens secrets I beseech you.

Ferd.
So it is besieged with sable coloured melancholie, I did
commend the blacke oppressing humour to the most wholesome
Physicke of thy health-giuing ayre: And as I am a
Gentleman, betooke my selfe to walke: the time When? about
thesixt houre, When beasts most grase, birds best pecke,
and men sit downe to that nonrishment which is called
supper: So much for the time When. Now for the ground
Which? which I meane I walkt vpon, it is ycliped, Thy
Parke. Then for the place Where? where I meane I did
encounter that obscene and most preposterous euent that
draweth from my snow-white penthe ebon coloured Inke,
which heere thou viewest, beholdest, suruayest, 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 Swaine, that base Minow
of thy myrth,

(Clown.
Mee?)
that vnletered small knowing soule,

(Clow
Me?)
that shallow vassall

(Clow.
Still mee?)
which as I remember, hight Costard,

(Clow.
O me)
sorted and consorted contrary to thy established
proclaymed Edict and Continet, Cannon: Which with, ô with,
but with this I passion to say wherewith:

Clo.
With a Wench.

Ferd.
With a childe of our Grandmother Eue, a female; or for
thy more sweet vnderstanding a woman: him, I (as my
euer esteemed dutie prickes me on) haue sent to thee, to
receiuethe meed of punishment by thy sweet Graces Officer
Anthony Dull, a man of good repute, carriage, bearing,
& estimation.

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

Ferd.
For Iaquenetta (so is the weaker vessell called)
which I apprehended with the aforesaid Swaine, I keeper her
as a vessell of thy Lawes furie, and shall at the least of thy
sweet notice, bring her to triall. Thine in all complements of
deuoted and heart-burning heat of dutie.
Don Adriana de Armado.

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

Fer.
I the best, for the worst. But sirra, What say you
to this?

Clo.
Sir I confesse the Wench.

Fer.
Did you heare the Proclamation?

Clo.
I doe confesse much of the hearing it, but little of
the marking of it.

Fer.
It was proclaimed a yeeres imprisoment to bee taken
with a Wench.

Clow.
I was taken with none sir, I was taken with a
Damosell.

Fer.
Well, it was proclaimed Damosell.

Clo.
This was no Damosell neyther sir, shee was a
Virgin.

Fer.
It is so varried to, for it was proclaimed Virgin.

Clo.
If it were, I denie her Virginitie: I was taken with
a Maide.

Fer.
This Maid will not serue your turne sir.

Clo.
This Maide will serue my turne sir.

Kin.
Sir I will pronounce your sentence: You shall fast a
Weeke with Branne and water.

Clo.
I had rather pray a Moneth with Mutton and
Porridge.

Kin.
And Don Armado shall be your keeper.
My Lord Berowne, see him deliuer'd ore,
And goe we Lords to put in practice that,
Which each to other hath so strongly sworne.

Bero.
Ile lay my head to any good mans hat,
These oathes and lawes will proue an idle scorne.
Sirra, come on.

Clo.
I suffer for the truth sir: for true it is, I was
taken with Iaquenetta, and Iaquenetta is a true girle,
and therefore welcome the sowre cup of prosperitie,
affliction may one day smile againe, and vntill then sit
downe sorrow.
Exit.
Original text
Act I, Scene II
Enter Armado and Moth his Page.

Arma.
Boy, What signe is it when a man of great spirit
growes melancholy?

Boy.
A great signe sir, that he will looke sad.

Brag.
Why? sadnesse is one and the selfe-same thing
deare impe.

Boy.
No no, O Lord sir no.

Brag.
How canst thou part sadnesse and melancholy
my tender Iuuenall?

Boy.
By a familiar demonstration of the working, my
tough signeur.

Brag.
Why tough signeur? Why tough signeur?

Boy.
Why tender Iuuenall? Why tender Iuuenall?

Brag.
I spoke it tender Iuuenall, as a congruent apathaton,
appertaining to thy young daies, which we may
nominate tender.

Boy.
And I tough signeur, as an appertinent title to your
olde time, which we may name tough.

Brag.
Pretty and apt.

Boy.
How meane you sir, I pretty, and my saying apt? or
I apt, and my saying prettie?

Brag.
Thou pretty because little.

Boy.
Little pretty, because little: wherefore apt?

Brag
And therefore apt, because quicke.

Boy.
Speake you this in my praise Master?

Brag.
In thy condigne praise.

Boy.
I will praise an Eele with the same praise.

Brag.
What? that an Eele is ingenuous.

Boy.
That an Eeele is quicke.

Brag.
I doe say thou art quicke in answeres. Thou heat'st
my bloud.

Boy.
I am answer'd sir.

Brag.
I loue not to be crost.

Boy.

He speakes the meere contrary, crosses loue
not him.

Br.
I haue promis'd to study iij. yeres with the
Duke.

Boy.
You may doe it in an houre sir.

Brag.
Impossible.

Boy.
How many is one thrice told?

Bra.
I am ill at reckning, it fits the spirit of a
Tapster.

Boy.
You are a gentleman and a gamester sir.

Brag.
I confesse both, they are both the varnish of a
compleat man.

Boy.
Then I am sure you know how much the grosse summe
of deus-ace amounts to.

Brag.
It doth amount to one more then two.

Boy.
Which the base vulgar call three.

Br.
True.

Boy.
Why sir is this such a peece of study? Now here's
three studied, ere you'll thrice wink, & how easie it is to
put yeres to the word three, and study three yeeres in
two words, the dancing horse will tell you.

Brag.
A most fine Figure.

Boy.

To proue you a Cypher.

Brag.
I will heereupon confesse I am in loue: and as it is
base for a Souldier to loue; so am I in loue with a base
wench. If drawing my sword against the humour of
affection, would deliuer mee from the reprobate thought
of it, I would take Desire prisoner, and ransome him to
any French Courtier for a new deuis'd curtsie. I thinke
scorne to sigh, me thinkes I should out-sweare Cupid.
Comfort me Boy, What great men haue beene in loue?

Boy.
Hercules Master.

Brag.
Most sweete Hercules: more authority deare Boy,
name more; and sweet my childe let them be men of
good repute and carriage.

Boy.
Sampson Master, he was a man of good carriage,
great carriage: for hee carried the Towne-gates on his
backe like a Porter: and he was in loue.

Brag.
O well-knit Sampson, strong ioynted Sampson; I
doe excell thee in my rapier, as much as thou didst mee in
carrying gates. I am in loue too. Who was Sampsons
loue my deare Moth?

Boy.
A Woman, Master.

Brag.
Of what complexion?

Boy.
Of all the foure, or the three, or the two, or one of
the foure.

Brag.
Tell me precisely of what complexion?

Boy.
Of the sea-water Greene sir.

Brag.
Is that one of the foure complexions?

Boy.
As I haue read sir, and the best of them too.

Brag.
Greene indeed is the colour of Louers: but to haue
a Loue of that colour, methinkes Sampson had small reason
for it. He surely affected her for her wit.

Boy.
It was so sir, for she had a greene wit.

Brag.
My Loue is most immaculate white and red.

Boy.
Most immaculate thoughts Master, are mask'd vnder
such colours.

Brag.
Define, define, well educated infant.

Boy.
My fathers witte, and my mothers tongue assist mee.

Brag.
Sweet inuocation of a childe, most pretty and
patheticall.

Boy.
If shee be made of white and red,
Her faults will nere be knowne:
For blush-in cheekes by faults are bred,
And feares by pale white showne:
Then if she feare, or be to blame,
By this you shall not know,
For still her cheekes possesse the same,
Which natiue she doth owe:
A dangerous rime master against the reason of white
and redde.

Brag.
Is there not a ballet Boy, of the King and the
Begger?

Boy.
The world was very guilty of such a Ballet some
three ages since, but I thinke now 'tis not to be found:
or if it were, it would neither serue for the writing, nor
the tune.

Brag.
I will haue that subiect newly writ ore, that I
may example my digression by some mighty president.
Boy, I doe loue that Countrey girle that I tooke in the Parke
with the rationall hinde Costard: she deserues well.

Boy.
To bee whip'd: and yet a better loue then
my Master.

Brag.
Sing Boy, my spirit grows heauy in ioue.

Boy.
And that's great maruell, louing a light
wench.

Brag.
I say sing.

Boy.
Forbeare till this company be past.
Enter Clowne, Constable,
and Wench.

Const.
Sir, the Dukes pleasure, is that you keepe Costard
safe, and you must let him take no delight, nor
no penance, but hee must fast three daies a weeke: for
this Damsell, I must keepe her at the Parke, shee is alowd
for the Day-woman. Fare you well. Exit.

Brag.
I do betray my selfe with blushing:
Maide.

Maid.
Man.

Brag.
I wil visit thee at the Lodge.

Maid.
That's here by.

Brag.
I know where it is situate.

Mai.
Lord how wise you are!

Brag.
I will tell thee wonders.

Ma.
With what face?

Brag.
I loue thee.

Mai.
So I heard you say.

Brag.
And so farewell.

Mai.
Faire weather after you.

Clo.
Come Iaquenetta, away.
Exeunt.

Brag.
Villaine, thou shalt fast for thy offences ere thou
be pardoned.

Clo.
Well sir, I hope when I doe it, I shall doe it on a
full stomacke.

Brag.
Thou shalt be heauily punished.

Clo.
I am more bound to you then your fellowes, for
they are but lightly rewarded.

Clo.
Take away this villaine, shut him vp.

Boy.
Come you transgressing slaue, away.

Clow.
Let mee not bee pent vp sir, I will fast being
loose.

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

Clow.
Well, if euer I do see the merry dayes of desolation
that I haue seene, some shall see.

Boy.
What shall some see?

Clow.
Nay nothing, Master Moth, but what they looke
vpon. It is not for prisoners to be silent in their
words, and therefore I will say nothing: I thanke God, I haue
as little patience as another man, and therefore I can
be quiet.
Exit.

Brag.
I doe affect the very ground (which is base)
where her shooe (which is baser) guided by her foote
(which is basest) doth tread. I shall be forsworn (which
ia a great argument of falshood) if I loue. And how
can that be true loue, which is falsly attempted? Loue
is a familiar, Loue is a Diuell. There is no euill Angell but
Loue, yet Sampson was so tempted, and he had an
excellent strength: Yet was Salomon so seduced, and hee
had a very good witte. Cupids Butshaft is too hard for
Hercules Clubbe, and therefore too much ods for a
Spaniards Rapier: The first and second cause will not
serue my turne: the Passado hee respects not, the Duello
he regards not; his disgrace is to be called Boy, but his
glorie is to subdue men. Adue Valour, rust Rapier, bee
still Drum, for your manager is in loue; yea hee loueth.
Assist me some extemporall god of Rime, for I am
sure I shall turne Sonnet. Deuise Wit, write Pen, for I
am for whole volumes in folio.
Exit.
Modern text
Act I, Scene I
Enter Ferdinand, King of Navarre, Berowne, Longaville,
and Dumaine

KING
Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,
Live registered 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, Dumaine, 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 passed; and now subscribe your names,
That his own hand may strike his honour down
That violates the smallest branch herein.
If you are armed to do as sworn to do,
Subscribe to your deep oaths, and keep it too.

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

DUMAINE
My loving lord, Dumaine 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.
He signs

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 passed, 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 barred, you mean, from common sense?

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

BEROWNE
Com'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 purchased, doth inherit pain:
As painfully to pore upon a book
To seek the light of truth, while truth the while
Doth falsely blind the eyesight of his look.
Light seeking light doth light of light beguile;
So, ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes.
Study me how to please the eye indeed
By fixing it upon a fairer eye,
Who dazzling so, that eye shall be his heed,
And give him light that it was blinded by.
Study is like the heaven's glorious sun,
That will not be deep-searched 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 naught 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 rhyme.

KING
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 an 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 you 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 sworn,
And bide the penance of each three years' day.
Give me the paper, let me read the same,
And to the strictest decrees I'll write my name.

KING
How well this yielding rescues thee from shame!

BEROWNE
(reading)
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 maid of grace and complete majesty –
About surrender up of Aquitaine
To her decrepit, sick, and bedrid father.
Therefore this article is made in vain,
Or vainly comes th' admired Princess hither.

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

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

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 mastered, but by special grace.
If I break faith, this word shall speak for me:
I am forsworn on mere ‘ necessity.’
So to the laws at large I write my name,
And he that breaks them in the least degree
Stands in attainder of eternal shame.
Suggestions are to other as to me,
But I believe, although I seem so loath,
I am the last that will last keep his oath.
He signs
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 compliments, 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 farborough. But I would see his own person in
flesh and blood.

BEROWNE
This is he.

DULL
Signeour 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 low 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 hearing?

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
(reading)
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 walked upon. It is yclept 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 –

COSTARD
Me?

KING
That unlettered small-knowing soul –

COSTARD
Me?

KING
That shallow vassal –

COSTARD
Still me?

KING
Which, as I remember, hight Costard –

COSTARD
O, me!

KING
Sorted and consorted, contrary to thy established
proclaimed edict and continent canon, which 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,
Anthony Dull, a man of good repute, carriage, bearing,
and estimation.

DULL
Me, an't shall please you. I am Anthony 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
damsel.

KING
Well, it was proclaimed ‘ damsel.’

COSTARD
This was no damsel 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 ’ will 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.
Exeunt King, Longaville, and Dumaine

BEROWNE
I'll lay my head to any goodman'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!
Exeunt
Modern text
Act I, Scene II
Enter Armado and Mote, his page

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

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

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

MOTE
No, no; O Lord, sir, no!

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

MOTE
By a familiar demonstration of the working, my
tough signor.

ARMADO
Why tough signor? Why tough signor?

MOTE
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.

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

ARMADO
Pretty and apt.

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

ARMADO
Thou pretty, because little.

MOTE
Little pretty, because little. Wherefore apt?

ARMADO
And therefore apt, because quick.

MOTE
Speak you this in my praise, master?

ARMADO
In thy condign praise.

MOTE
I will praise an eel with the same praise.

ARMADO
What, that an eel is ingenious?

MOTE
That an eel is quick.

ARMADO
I do say thou art quick in answers.Thou heatest
my blood.

MOTE
I am answered, sir.

ARMADO
I love not to be crossed.

MOTE
(aside)
He speaks the mere contrary – crosses love
not him.

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

MOTE
You may do it in an hour, sir.

ARMADO
Impossible.

MOTE
How many is one thrice told?

ARMADO
I am ill at reckoning. It fitteth the spirit of a
tapster.

MOTE
You are a gentleman and a gamester, sir.

ARMADO
I confess both. They are both the varnish of a
complete man.

MOTE
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.

MOTE
Which the base vulgar do call three.

ARMADO
True.

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

ARMADO
A most fine figure!

MOTE
(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 outswear Cupid.
Comfort me, boy. What great men have been in love?

MOTE
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.

MOTE
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 Mote?

MOTE
A woman, master.

ARMADO
Of what complexion?

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

ARMADO
Tell me precisely of what complexion.

MOTE
Of the sea-water green, sir.

ARMADO
Is that one of the four complexions?

MOTE
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.

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

ARMADO
My love is most immaculate white and red.

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

ARMADO
Define, define, well-educated infant.

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

ARMADO
Sweet invocation of a child – most pretty and
pathetical!

MOTE
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?

MOTE
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.

MOTE
(aside)
To be whipped – and yet a better love than
my master.

ARMADO
Sing, boy. My spirit grows heavy in love.

MOTE
(aside)
And that's great marvel, loving a light
wench.

ARMADO
I say, sing.

MOTE
Forbear till this company be passed.
Enter Dull, Costard,
and Jaquenetta

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 dey-woman. Fare you well.

ARMADO
(aside)
I do betray myself with blushing. –
Maid –

JAQUENETTA
Man.

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!
Exeunt Dull and 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.

MOTE
Come, you transgressing slave, away!

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

MOTE
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 –

MOTE
What shall some see?

COSTARD
Nay, nothing, Master Mote, but what they look
upon. It is not for prisoners to be too silent in their
words, and therefore I say nothing. I thank God I have
as little patience as another man, and therefore I can
be quiet.
Exeunt Mote 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 rhyme, for I am
sure I shall turn sonnet. Devise, wit; write, pen; for I
am for whole volumes in folio.
Exit
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2018 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL