Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Timothy Billings
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Love's Labor's Lost (Quarto 1, 1598)


Enter Berowne with a paper in his hand, alone.
Berow. The King he is hunting the Deare,
1335 I am coursing my selfe.
They haue pitcht a Toyle, I am toyling in a pytch, pytch
that defiles; defile, a foule worde: Well, set thee downe
sorrow; for so they say the foole sayd, and so say I, and I the
foole: Well proued wit. By the Lord this Loue is as madd
1340as Aiax, it kills Sheepe, it kills mee, I a Sheepe well prooued
againe a my side. I will not loue; if I do hang mee: I'fayth
I will not. O but her eye: by this light, but for her eye, I
would not loue her; yes for her two eyes. Well, I do nothing
in the world but lie, and lie in my throate. By heauen I doe
1345loue, and it hath taught me to rime, and to be mallicholie:
and heere is part of my Rime, and heare my mallicholie.
Well, she hath one a'my Sonnets already, the Clowne bore
it, the Foole sent it, and the Lady hath it: sweete Clowne,
1350sweeter Foole, sweetest Lady. By the worlde, I woulde not
care a pin, if the other three were in. Heere comes one with
a paper, God giue him grace to grone.
He standes a side.The King entreth.
King. Ay mee!
1355Be. Shot by heauen, proceed sweet Cupid, thou hast thumpt
him with thy Birdbolt vnder the left papp: in fayth secrets.
King,
So sweete a kisse the golden Sunne giues not,
To those fresh morning dropps vpon the Rose,
1360As thy eye beames, when their fresh rayse haue smot.
The night of dew that on my cheekes downe flowes,
Nor shines the siluer Moone one halfe so bright,
Through the transparent bosome of the deepe,
As doth thy face through teares of mine giue light:
1365Thou shinst in euerie teare that I do weepe,
No drop but as a Coach doth carrie thee:
So ridest thou triumphing in my wo.
Do but beholde the teares that swell in me,
And they thy glorie through my griefe will show:
1370But do not loue thy selfe, then thou will keepe
My teares for glasses, and still make me weepe.
O Queene of queenes, how farre doost thou excell,
No thought can thinke, nor tongue of mortall tell.
How shall she know my griefes? Ile drop the paper.
1375Sweete leaues shade follie. Who is he comes heere?
Enter Longauill.
The King steps a side.
What Longauill, and reading: listen eare.
Berow. Now in thy likenesse, one more foole appeare.
Long. Ay mee! I am forsworne.
1380Berow. Why he comes in like a periure, wearing papers.
Long. In loue I hope, sweete fellowship in shame.
Ber. One drunkard loues an other of the name.
Long. Am I the first that haue been periurd so?
Ber. I could put thee in comfort, not by two that I know,
1385Thou makest the triumpherie, the corner cap of societie,
The shape of Loues Tiburne, that hanges vp Simplicitie.
Long. I feare these stubborne lines lacke power to moue.
O sweete Maria, Empresse of my Loue,
These numbers will I teare, and write in prose.
1390Ber. O Rimes are gardes on wanton Cupids hose,
Disfigure not his Shop.
Long. This same shall go.
He reades the Sonnet.
Did not the heanenly Rethorique of thine eye,
Gainst whom the world cannot holde argument,
1395Perswade my hart to this false periurie?
Vowes for thee broke deserue not punishment.
A Woman I forswore, but I will proue,
Thou being a Goddesse, I forswore not thee.
My Vow was earthly, thou a heauenly Loue.
1400Thy grace being gainde, cures all disgrace in mee.
Vowes are but breath, and breath a vapoure is.
Then thou faire Sunne, which on my earth doost shine,
Exhalst this vapour-vow in thee it is:
If broken then, it is no fault of mine:
1405If by mee broke, What foole is not so wise,
To loose an oth, to winn a Parradise?
Bero. This is the lyuer veine, which makes flesh a deitie.
A greene Goose, a Goddesse, pure pure ydotarie.
God amende vs, God amende, we are much out a th'way.
1410
Enter Dumaine.
Long. By whom shall I send this (companie?) Stay.
Berow. All hid, all hid, an olde infant play,
Like a demie God, here sit I in the skie,
And wretched fooles secrets heedfully ore ey.
1415More Sacks to the myll. O heauens I haue my wysh,
Dumaine transformed, foure Woodcocks in a dysh.
Duma. O most deuine Kate.
Berow. O most prophane coxcombe.
Duma. By heauen the woonder in a mortall eye.
1420Ber. By earth she is not, corporall, there you ly.
Duma. Her Amber heires for foule hath amber coted.
Ber. An amber colourd Rauen was well noted.
Duma. As vpright as the Ceder.
Ber. Stoope I say, her shoulder is with child.
1425Duma. As faire as day.
Ber. I as some dayes, but then no Sunne must shine.
Duma. O that I had my wish?
Long. And I had mine.
King. And mine too good Lord.
1430Ber. Amen, so I had mine: Is not that a good word?
Duma. I would forget her, but a Feuer shee
Raignes in my blood, and will remembred be.
Ber. A Feuer in your blood, why then incision
Would let her out in Sawcers, sweete misprison.
1435Dum. Once more Ile reade the Odo that I haue writ.
Ber. Once more Ile marke how Loue can varrie Wit.
Dumaine reads his Sonnet.
On a day, alacke the day:
Loue, whose Month is euer May:
1440 Spied a blossome passing faire,
Playing in the wanton aire:
Through the Veluet, leaues the wind,
All vnseene, can passage finde:
That the Louer sicke to death,
1445 Wish himselfe the heauens breath.
Ayre (quoth he) thy cheekes may blow,
Ayre would I might triumph so.
But alacke my hand is sworne,
Nere to plucke thee from thy throne:
1450 Vow alacke for youth vnmeete,
Youth so apt to pluck a sweete.
Do not call it sinne in me,
That I am forsworne for thee:
Thou for whom Ioue would sweare,
1455 Iuno but an Æthiop were,
And denie himselfe for Ioue,
Turning mortall for thy loue.
This will I send, and something els more plaine.
That shall expresse my trueloues fasting paine.
1460O would the King, Berowne, and Longauill,
Were Louers too, ill to example ill,
Would from my forehead wipe a periurde note:
For none offende, where all alike do dote.
Long. Dumaine thy Loue is farre from charitie,
1465That in loues griefe desirst societie:
You may looke pale, but I should blush I know,
To be ore-hard and taken napping so.
King. Come sir, you blush: as his, your case is such.
You chide at him, offending twice as much.
1470You do not loue Maria? Longauile,
Did neuer Sonnet for her sake compile,
Nor neuer lay his wreathed armes athwart
His louing bosome, to keepe downe his hart.
I haue been closely shrowded in this bush,
1475And markt you both, and for you both did blush.
I heard your guyltie Rimes, obserude your fashion:
Saw sighes reeke from you, noted well your pashion.
Ay mee sayes one! O Ioue the other cryes!
One her haires were Golde, Christal the others eyes.
1480You would for Parradise breake Fayth and troth,
And Ioue for your Loue would infringe an oth.
What will Berowne say when that he shall heare
Fayth infringed, which such zeale did sweare.
How will he scorne, how will he spende his wit?
1485How will he triumph, leape, and laugh at it?
For all the wealth that euer I did see,
I would not haue him know so much by mee.
Bero. Now step I foorth to whip hipocrisie.
Ah good my Leidge, I pray thee pardon mee.
1490Good hart, What grace hast thou thus to reproue
These Wormes for louing, that art most in loue?
Your eyes do make no couches in your teares.
There is no certaine Princesse that appeares.
Youle not be periurde, tis a hatefull thing:
1495Tush, none but Minstrels like of Sonnetting.
But are you not a shamed? nay, are you not
All three of you, to be thus much ore'shot?
You found his Moth, the King your Moth did see:
But I a Beame do finde in each of three.
1500O what a Scæne of foolrie haue I seene,
Of sighes, of grones, of sorrow, and of teene:
O mee, with what strickt patience haue I sat,
To see a King transformed to a Gnat.
To see great Hercules whipping a Gigge,
1505And profound Sallomon to tune a Iigge.
And Nestor play at push-pin with the boyes,
And Crittick Tymon laugh at idle toyes.
Where lies thy griefe, o tell me good Dumaine?
And gentle Longauill, where lies thy paine?
1510And where my Liedges? all about the brest.
A Caudle hou!
King. Too bitter is thy iest.
Are we betrayed thus to thy ouer-view?
Ber. Not you by mee, but I betrayed to you.
1515I that am honest, I that holde it sinne
To breake the vow I am ingaged in.
I am betrayed by keeping companie
With men like men of inconstancie.
When shall you see mee write a thing in rime?
1520Or grone for Ione? or spende a minutes time,
In pruning mee when shall you heare that I will prayse a
hand, a foote, a face, an eye: a gate, a state, a brow, a brest,
a wast, a legge, a limme.
King. Soft, Whither a way so fast?
1525A true man, or a theefe, that gallops so.
Ber. I post from Loue, good Louer let me go.
Iaqu. God blesse the King.
Enter Iaquenetta and Clowne.
King. What present hast thou there?
1530Clow. Some certaine treason.
King. What makes treason heere?
Clow. Nay it makes nothing sir.
King. Yf it marr nothing neither,
The treason and you goe in peace away togeather.
1535Iaque. I beseech your Grace let this Letter be read,
Our person misdoubts it: twas treason he said.
King. Berowne reade it ouer.
He reades the letter.
King. Where hadst thou it?
Iaqu. Of Costard.
1540King. Where hadst thou it?
Cost. Of Dun Adramadio, Dun Adramadio.
Kin. How now, What is in you? Why dost thou teare it?
Ber. A toy my Leedge, a toy: your grace needs not feare it.
1545Long. It did moue him to passion, & therfore lets heare it.
Dum. It is Berownes writing, and heere is his name.
Berow. Ah you whoreson loggerhead, you were borne to
do me shame.
1550Guiltie my Lord, guiltie: I confesse, I confesse.
King. What?
Ber. That you three fooles, lackt me foole, to make vp the
Hee, hee, and you: and you my Leege, and I,
1555Are pick-purses in Loue, and we deserue to die.
O dismisse this audience, and I shall tell you more.
Duma. Now the number is euen.
Bero. True true, we are fower: will these turtles be gon?
1560King. Hence sirs, away.
Clow. Walke aside the true folke, and let the traytors stay.
Ber. Sweete Lords, sweete Louers, O let vs imbrace,
As true we are as flesh and blood can be,
The Sea will ebb and flow, heauen shew his face:
1565Young blood doth not obay an olde decree.
We can not crosse the cause why we were borne:
Therefore of all handes must we be forsworne.
King. What, did these rent lines shew some loue of thine?
1570Ber. Did they quoth you? Who sees the heauenly Rosaline,
That (like a rude and sauadge man of Inde.)
At the first opning of the gorgious East,
Bowes not his vassall head, and strooken blind.
Kisses the base ground with obedient breast.
1575What peromptorie Eagle-sighted eye
Dares looke vpon the heauen of her brow,
That is not blinded by her maiestie?
King. What zeale, what furie, hath inspirde thee now?
My Loue (her Mistres) is a gracious Moone,
1580Shee (an attending Starre) scarce seene a light.
Ber. My eyes are then no eyes, nor I Berowne.
O, but for my Loue, day would turne to night,
Of all complexions the culd soueraigntie,
Do meete as at a faire in her faire cheeke,
1585Where seuerall worthies make one dignitie,
Where nothing wantes, that want it selfe doth seeke.
Lend me the florish of all gentle tongues,
Fie paynted Rethoricke, O shee needes it not,
To thinges of sale, a sellers prayse belonges:
1590She passes prayse, then prayse too short doth blot.
A witherd Hermight fiuescore winters worne,
Might shake off fiftie, looking in her eye:
Beautie doth varnish Age, as if new borne,
And giues the Crutch the Cradles infancie.
1595O tis the Sunne that maketh all thinges shine.
King. By heauen, thy Loue is blacke as Ebonie.
Berow. Is Ebonie like her? O word deuine!
A wife of such wood were felicitie.
O who can giue an oth? Where is a booke?
1600That I may sweare Beautie doth beautie lacke,
If that she learne not of her eye to looke:
No face is fayre that is not full so blacke.
King. O paradox, Blacke is the badge of Hell,
The hue of dungions, and the Schoole of night:
1605And beauties crest becomes the heauens well.
Ber. Diuels soonest tempt resembling spirites of light.
O if in blacke my Ladyes browes be deckt,
It mournes, that painting vsurping haire
Should rauish dooters with a false aspect:
1610And therefore is she borne to make blacke fayre.
Her fauour turnes the fashion of the dayes,
For natiue blood is counted paynting now:
And therefore redd that would auoyde disprayse,
Paintes it selfe blacke, to imitate her brow.
1615Duma. To looke like her are Chimnie-sweepers blake.
Long. And since her time are Colliers counted bright.
King. And Æthiops of their sweete complexion crake.
Duma. Darke needes no Candles now, for darke is light.
Ber. Your Mistresses dare neuer come in raine,
1620For feare their colours should be washt away.
King. Twere good yours did: for sir to tell you plaine,
Ile finde a fayrer face not washt to day.
Ber. Ile proue her faire, or talke till doomse-day heere.
King. No Diuel will fright thee then so much as shee.
1625Duma. I neuer knew man holde vile stuffe so deare.
Long. Looke, heer's thy loue, my foote and her face see.
Ber O if the streetes were paued with thine eyes,
Her feete were much too daintie for such tread.
Duma. O vile, then as she goes what vpward lyes?
1630The streete should see as she walkt ouer head.
King. But what of this, are we not all in loue?
Ber. O nothing so sure, and thereby all forsworne.
King. Then leaue this chat, and good Berowne now proue
Our louing lawfull, and our fayth not torne.
1635Duma. I marie there, some flatterie for this euyll.
Long. O some authoritie how to proceede,
Some tricks, some quillets, how to cheate the diuell.
Duma. Some salue for periurie.
Ber. O tis more then neede.
1640Haue at you then affections men at armes,
Consider what you first did sweare vnto:
To fast, to study, and to see no woman:
Flat treason gainst the kingly state of youth.
Say, Can you fast? your stomacks are too young:
1645And abstinence ingenders maladies.
And where that you haue vowd to studie (Lordes)
In that each of you haue forsworne his Booke.
Can you still dreame and poare and thereon looke.
For when would you my Lord, or you, or you,
1650Haue found the ground of Studies excellence,
Without the beautie of a womans face?
From womens eyes this doctrine I deriue,
They are the Ground, the Bookes, the Achadems,
From whence doth spring the true Promethean fire.
1655Why vniuersall plodding poysons vp
The nimble spirites in the arteries,
As motion and long during action tyres
The sinnowy vigour of the trauayler.
Now for not looking on a womans face,
1660You haue in that forsworne the vse of eyes:
And studie too, the causer of your vow.
For where is any Authour in the worlde,
Teaches such beautie as a womas eye:
Learning is but an adiunct to our selfe,
1665And where we are, our Learning likewise is.
Then when our selues we see in Ladies eyes,
With our selues.
Do we not likewise see our learning there?
O we haue made a Vow to studie, Lordes,
1670And in that Vow we haue forsworne our Bookes:
For when would you (my Leedge) or you, or you?
In leaden contemplation haue found out
Such fierie Numbers as the prompting eyes,
Of beautis tutors haue inritcht you with:
1675Other slow Artes intirely keepe the braine:
And therefore finding barraine practizers,
Scarce shew a haruest of their heauie toyle.
But Loue first learned in a Ladies eyes,
Liues not alone emured in the braine:
1680But with the motion of all elamentes,
Courses as swift as thought in euery power,
And giues to euery power a double power,
Aboue their functions and their offices.
It addes a precious seeing to the eye:
1685A Louers eyes will gaze an Eagle blinde.
A Louers eare will heare the lowest sound.
When the suspitious head of theft is stopt.
Loues feeling is more soft and sensible,
Then are the tender hornes of Cockled Snayles.
1690Loues tongue proues daintie, Bachus grosse in taste,
For Valoure, is not Loue a Hercules?
Still clyming trees in the Hesperides.
Subtit as Sphinx, as sweete and musicall,
As bright Appolos Lute, strung with his haire.
1695And when Loue speakes, the voyce of all the Goddes,
Make heauen drowsie with the harmonie.
Neuer durst Poet touch a pen to write,
Vntill his Incke were tempred with Loues sighes:
O then his lines would rauish sauageeares,
1700And plant in Tyrants milde humilitie.
From womens eyes this doctrine I deriue.
They sparcle still the right promethean fier,
They are the Bookes, the Artes, the Achademes,
That shew, containe, and nourish all the worlde.
1705Els none at all in ought proues excellent.
Then fooles you were, these women to forsweare:
Or keeping what is sworne, you will proue fooles,
For Wisedomes sake, a worde that all men loue:
Or for Loues sake, a worde that loues all men.
1710Or for Mens sake, the authour of these Women:
Or Womens sake, by whom we Men are Men.
Lets vs once loose our othes to finde our selues,
Or els we loose our selues, to keepe our othes:
It is Religion to be thus forsworne.
1715For Charitie it selfe fulfilles the Law:
And who can seuer Loue from Charitie.
King. Saint Cupid then and Souldiers to the fielde.
Berow. Aduaunce your standars, and vpon them Lords.
Pell, mell, downe with them: but be first aduisd,
1720In conflict that you get the Sunne of them.
Long. Now to plaine dealing. Lay these glozes by,
Shall we resolue to woe these gyrles of Fraunce?
King. And winn them too, therefore let vs deuise,
Some enterteinment for them in their Tentes.
1725Ber. First from the Parke let vs conduct them thither,
Then homeward euery man attach the hand
Of his faire Mistres, in the afternoone
We will with some strange pastime solace them:
Such as the shortnesse of the time can shape,
1730For Reuels, Daunces, Maskes, and merrie houres,
Forerunne faire Loue, strewing her way with flowers.
King. Away, away, no time shalbe omitted,
That will be time and may by vs befitted.
Ber. Alone alone sowed Cockell, reapt no Corne,
1735And Iustice alwayes whirles in equall measure:
Light Wenches may proue plagues to men forsorne,
If so our Copper byes no better treasure.