Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Timothy Billings
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Love's Labor's Lost (Folio 1, 1623)


Loues Labour's lost
1
Actus primus.
Enter Ferdinand King of Nauarre, Berowne, Longauill, and
Dumane.
Ferdinand.
5LEt 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:
10That 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.
15Our 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,
20Haue 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,
25That 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,
30Fat 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:
35To 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.
40But 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:
45The 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:
50Which 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,
55I 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?
60Fer. 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,
65To 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.
70Or 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.
75Ferd. 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,
80To 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.
85Studie 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,
90That 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,
95Haue 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.
100Dum. 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.
105Dum. 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,
110That 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,
115Then 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.
120Ber. 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.
125Giue 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.
130Hath this bin proclaimed?
Lon. Foure dayes agoe.
Ber. Let's see the penaltie.
On paine of loosing her tongue.
Who deuis'd this penaltie?
135Lon. 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 with-
140in the tearme of three yeares, hee shall indure such
publique shame as the rest of the Court shall possibly
deuise.
Ber. This Article my Liedge your selfe must breake,
For well you know here comes in Embassie
145The 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,
150Or 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,
155It 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.
160Ber. 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,
165I 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:
170But 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,
175A 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
180Haue 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.
185How 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.
190Lon. 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?
195Con. 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:
200Ther'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
205high words.
Lon. A high hope for a low heauen, God grant vs pa-
tience.
Ber. To heare, or forbeare hearing.
Lon. To heare meekely sir, and to laugh moderately,
210or 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.
215Ber. 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
220following. 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 de-
225fend 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.
230
Ferdinand.
GReat Deputie, the Welkins Vicegerent, and sole domi-
nator of Nauar, my soules earths God, and bodies fo-
string patrone:
Cost. Not a vvord of Costard yet.
235Ferd. 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.
240Ferd. 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 whole-
some Physicke of thy health-giuing ayre: And as I am a Gen-
245tleman, betooke my selfe to walke: the time When? about the
sixt 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
250place Where? where I meane I did encounter that obscene and
most preposterous euent that draweth from my snow-white pen
the 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
255curious knotted garden; There did I see that low spiri-
ted 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 Co-
stard, (
Clow. O me) sorted and consorted contrary to thy e-
260stablished 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
265euer esteemed dutie prickes me on) haue sent to thee, to receiue
the 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)
270which 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.
275Ber. 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.
280Fer. 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.
285Clow. I was taken with none sir, I was taken vvith a
Damosell.
Fer. Well, it was proclaimed Damosell.
Clo. This was no Damosell neyther sir, shee was a
Virgin.
290Fer. 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.
295Kin. 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.
300My 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.
305Sirra, come on.
Clo. I suffer for the truth sir: for true it is, I was ta-
ken with Iaquenetta, and Iaquenetta is a true girle, and
therefore welcome the sowre cup of prosperitie, afflicti-
on may one day smile againe, and vntill then sit downe
310sorrow.
Exit.