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  • Title: Love's Labor's Lost (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Timothy Billings

  • Copyright Timothy Billings. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Timothy Billings
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Love's Labor's Lost (Folio 1, 1623)

    Loues Labour's lost
    meane you? you will lose your reputation.
    Brag. Gentlemen and Souldiers pardon me, I will
    2660not combat in my shirt.
    Du. You may not denie it, Pompey hath made the
    Brag. Sweet bloods, I both may, and will.
    Ber. What reason haue you for't?
    2665Brag. The naked truth of it is, I haue no shirt,
    I go woolward for penance.
    Boy. True, and it was inioyned him in Rome for want
    of Linnen: since when, Ile be sworne he wore none, but
    a dishclout of Iaquenettas, and that hee weares next his
    2670heart for a fauour.

    Enter a Messenger, Monsieur Marcade.

    Mar. God saue you Madame.
    Qu. Welcome Marcade, but that thou interruptest
    our merriment.
    2675Marc. I am sorrie Madam, for the newes I bring is
    heauie in my tongue. The King your father
    Qu. Dead for my life.
    Mar. Euen so: My tale is told.
    Ber. Worthies away, the Scene begins to cloud.
    Brag. For mine owne part, I breath free breath: I
    haue seene the day of wrong, through the little hole of
    discretion, and I will right my selfe like a Souldier.
    Exeunt Worthies
    Kin. How fare's your Maiestie?
    Qu. Boyet prepare, I will away to night.
    Kin. Madame not so, I do beseech you stay.
    Qu. Prepare I say. I thanke you gracious Lords
    For all your faire endeuours and entreats:
    Out of a new sad-soule, that you vouchsafe,
    2690In your rich wisedome to excuse, or hide,
    The liberall opposition of our spirits,
    If ouer-boldly we haue borne our selues,
    In the conuerse of breath (your gentlenesse
    Was guiltie of it.) Farewell worthie Lord:
    2695A heauie heart beares not a humble tongue.
    Excuse me so, comming so short of thankes,
    For my great suite, so easily obtain'd.
    Kin. The extreme parts of time, extremelie formes
    All causes to the purpose of his speed:
    2700And often at his verie loose decides
    That, which long processe could not arbitrate.
    And though the mourning brow of progenie
    Forbid the smiling curtesie of Loue:
    The holy suite which faine it would conuince,
    2705Yet since loues argument was first on foote,
    Let not the cloud of sorrow iustle it
    From what it purpos'd: since to waile friends lost,
    Is not by much so wholsome profitable,
    As to reioyce at friends but newly found.
    2710Qu. I vnderstand you not, my greefes are double.
    Ber. Honest plain words, best pierce the ears of griefe
    And by these badges vnderstand the King,
    For your faire sakes haue we neglected time,
    Plaid foule play with our oaths: your beautie Ladies
    2715Hath much deformed vs, fashioning our humors
    Euen to the opposed end of our intents.
    And what in vs hath seem'd ridiculous:
    As Loue is full of vnbefitting straines,
    All wanton as a childe, skipping and vaine.
    2720Form'd by the eie, and therefore like the eie.
    Full of straying shapes, of habits, and of formes
    Varying in subiects as the eie doth roule,
    To euerie varied obiect in his glance:
    Which partie-coated presence of loose loue
    2725Put on by vs, if in your heauenly eies,
    Haue misbecom'd our oathes and grauities.
    Those heauenlie eies that looke into these faults,
    Suggested vs to make: therefore Ladies
    Our loue being yours, the error that Loue makes
    2730Is likewise yonrs. We to our selues proue false,
    By being once false, for euer to be true
    To those that make vs both, faire Ladies you.
    And euen that falshood in it selfe a sinne,
    Thus purifies it selfe, and turnes to grace.
    2735Qu. We haue receiu'd your Letters, full of Loue:
    Your Fauours, the Ambassadors of Loue.
    And in our maiden counsaile rated them,
    At courtship, pleasant iest, and curtesie,
    As bumbast and as lining to the time:
    2740But more deuout then these are our respects
    Haue we not bene, and therefore met your loues
    In their owne fashion, like a merriment.
    Du. Our letters Madam, shew'd much more then iest.
    Lon. So did our lookes.
    2745Rosa. We did not coat them so.
    Kin. Now at the latest minute of the houre,
    Grant vs your loues.
    Qu. A time me thinkes too short,
    To make a world-without-end bargaine in;
    2750No, no my Lord, your Grace is periur'd much,
    Full of deare guiltinesse, and therefore this:
    If for my Loue (as there is no such cause)
    You will do ought, this shall you do for me.
    Your oth I will not trust: but go with speed
    2755To some forlorne and naked Hermitage,
    Remote from all the pleasures of the world:
    There stay, vntill the twelue Celestiall Signes
    Haue brought about their annuall reckoning.
    If this austere insociable life,
    2760Change not your offer made in heate of blood:
    If frosts, and fasts, hard lodging, and thin weeds
    Nip not the gaudie blossomes of your Loue,
    But that it beare this triall, and last loue:
    Then at the expiration of the yeare,
    2765Come challenge me, challenge me by these deserts,
    And by this Virgin palme, now kissing thine,
    I will be thine: and till that instant shut
    My wofull selfe vp in a mourning house,
    Raining the teares of lamentation,
    2770For the remembrance of my Fathers death.
    If this thou do denie, let our hands part,
    Neither intitled in the others hart.
    Kin. If this, or more then this, I would denie,
    To flatter vp these powers of mine with rest,
    2775The sodaine hand of death close vp mine eie.
    Hence euer then, my heart is in thy brest.
    Ber. And what to me my Loue? and what to me?
    Ros. You must be purged too, your sins are rack'd.
    You are attaint with faults and periurie:
    2780Therefore if you my fauor meane to get,
    A tweluemonth shall you spend, and neuer rest,
    But seeke the wearie beds of people sicke.
    Du. But what to me my loue? but what to me?
    Kat. A wife? a beard, faire health, and honestie,
    2785With three-fold loue, I wish you all these three.
    Du. O shall I say, I thanke you gentle wife?
    Kat. Not so my Lord, a tweluemonth and a day,