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  • Title: Love's Labor's Lost (Quarto 1, 1598)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Quarto 1, 1598)

    Enter Dull, Holofernes, the Pedant and Nathaniel.
    Nat. Very reuerent sport truly, and done in the testimonie
    of a good conscience.
    Ped. The Deare was (as you know) sanguis in blood, ripe
    as the Pomwater, who now hangeth like a Iewel in the eare
    1155of Celo the skie, the welken the heauen, & anon falleth like
    a Crab on the face of Terra, the soyle, the land, the earth.
    Curat Nath. Truely M. Holofernes, the epythithes are
    sweetly varried like a scholler at the least: but sir I assure ye
    1160it was a Bucke of the first head.
    Holo. Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.
    Dul. Twas not a haud credo, twas a Pricket.
    Holo. Most barbarous intimation: yet a kind of insinua-
    tion, as it were in via, in way of explication facere: as it were
    1165replication, or rather ostentare, to show as it were his inclina-
    tion after his vndressed, vnpolished, vneducated, vnpruned,
    vntrained, or rather vnlettered, or ratherest vnconfirmed fa-
    shion, to insert again my haud credo for a Deare.
    1170Dul. I said the Deare was not a haud credo, twas a Pricket.
    Holo. Twice sodd simplicitie, bis coctus, O thou monster
    ignorance, How deformed doost thou looke.
    Nath. Sir he hath neuer fed of the dainties that are bred
    1175in a booke.
    He hath not eate paper as it were: he hath not drunke inck.
    His intellect is not replenished, he is only an annimall, only
    sensible in the duller partes: and such barren plantes are
    1180 set before vs, that we thankful should be:
    which we taste,
    and feeling, are for those partes that doe fructifie in vs
    more then he.
    For as it would ill become me to be vaine, indistreell, or a
    1185So were there a patch set on Learning, to see him in a schole.
    But omne bene say I, being of an olde Fathers minde,
    Many can brooke the weather, that loue not the winde.
    Dul. You two are book-men, Can you tel me by your wit,
    1190What was a month old at Cains birth, that's not fiue weeks
    old as yet?
    Holo. Dictisima goodman Dull, dictisima goodman Dull.
    Dul. What is dictima?
    1195Nath. A title to Phebe, to Luna, to the Moone.
    Holo. The Moone was a month old when Adam was no
    And rought not to fiue-weeks when he came to fiuescore.
    Th'allusion holdes in the Exchange.
    1200Dul. Tis true in deede, the Collusion holdes in the Ex-
    Holo. God comfort thy capacitie, I say th'allusion holdes
    in the Exchange.
    Dul. And I say the polusion holdes in the Exchange: for
    1205the Moone is neuer but a month olde: and I say beside
    that, twas a Pricket that the Princesse kild.
    Holo. Sir Nathaniel, will you heare an extemporall Epy-
    taph on the death of the Deare, and to humour the igno-
    rault cald the Deare: the Princesse kild a Pricket.
    Nath. Perge, good M. Holofernes perge, so it shall please
    you to abrogate squirilitie.
    Holo. I wil somthing affect the letter, for it argues facilitie.
    The prayfull Princesse pearst and prickt
    a prettie pleasing Pricket,
    Some say a Sore, but not a sore,
    till now made sore with shooting.
    The Dogges did yell, put ell to Sore,
    1220 then Sorell iumps from thicket:
    Or Pricket-sore, or els Sorell,
    the people fall a hooting.
    If Sore be sore, then el to Sore,
    makes fiftie sores o sorell:
    1225Of one sore I an hundred make
    by adding but one more l.
    Nath. A rare talent.
    Dull. If a talent be a claw, looke how he clawes him
    with a talent.
    1230Nath. This is a gyft that I haue simple: simple, a foolish
    extrauagant spirit, full of formes, figures, shapes, obiectes,
    Ideas, aprehentions, motions, reuolutions. These are begot in
    the ventricle of Memorie, nourisht in the wombe of prima-
    ter, and deliuered vpon the mellowing of occasion: But the
    1235gyft is good in those whom it is acute, and I am thankfull
    for it.
    Holo. Sir, I prayse the L. for you, and so may my parishi-
    oners, for their Sonnes are well tuterd by you, and their
    Daughters profite very greatly vnder you: you are a good
    1240member of the common wealth.
    Nath. Me hercle, yf their Sonnes be ingenous, they shal
    want no instruction: If their Daughters be capable, I will
    put it to them. But Vir sapis qui pauca loquitur, a soule Femi-
    nine saluteth vs.
    Enter Iaquenetta and the Clowne.
    Iaquenetta God giue you good morrow M. Person.
    Nath. Maister Person, quasi Person? And if one shoulde
    be perst, Which is the one?
    Clo. Marrie M. Scholemaster, he that is liklest to a hoggs-
    Nath. Of persing a Hogshead, a good luster of conceit
    in a turph of Earth, Fier enough for a Flint, Pearle enough
    for a Swine: tis prettie, it is well.
    Iaque. Good M. Parson be so good as read me this letter,
    1255it was geuen me by Costard, and sent me from Don Armatho:
    I beseech you read it.
    Facile precor gellida, quando pecas omnia sub vmbra ru-
    , and so foorth. Ah good olde Mantuan, I may speake
    of thee as the traueiler doth of Venice, vemchie, vencha, que non
    1260te vnde, que non te perreche
    . Olde Mantuan, olde Mantuan,
    Who vnderstandeth thee not, loues thee not, vt re sol la mi fa:
    Vnder pardon sir, What are the contentes? or rather as Hor-
    race sayes in his, What my soule verses.
    Holo. I sir, and very learned.
    1265Nath. Let me heare a staffe, a stauze, a verse, Lege domine.
    If Loue make me forsworne, how shall I sweare to loue?
    Ah neuer fayth could hold, yf not to beautie vowed.
    Though to my selfe forsworne, to thee Ile faythfull proue.
    1270Those thoughts to me were Okes, to thee like Osiers bowed
    Studie his byas leaues, and makes his booke thine eyes.
    Where all those pleasures liue, that Art would comprehend.
    1275If knowledge be the marke, to know thee shall suffise.
    Well learned is that tongue, that well can thee commend.
    All ignorant that soule, that sees thee without wonder.
    Which is to mee some prayse, that I thy partes admire,
    Thy eie Ioues lightning beares, thy voyce his dreadful thũder
    Which not to anger bent, is musique, and sweete fier.
    Celestiall as thou art, Oh pardon loue this wrong,
    That singes heauens prayse, with such an earthly tong.
    Pedan. You finde not the apostraphas, and so misse the
    1285accent. Let me superuise the cangenet.
    Nath. Here are onely numbers ratefied, but for the ele-
    gancie, facilitie, and golden cadence of poesie caret: Ouiddius
    Naso was the man. And why in deed Naso, but for smel-
    ling out the odoriferous flowers of fancie? the ierkes of in-
    1290uention imitarie is nothing: So doth the Hound his maister,
    the Ape his keeper, the tyred Horse his rider: But Damosella
    virgin, Was this directed to you?
    Iaq. I sir from one mounsier Berowne, one of the strange
    1295Queenes Lordes.
    Nath. I will ouerglaunce the superscript.
    To the snow-white hand of the most bewtious Lady Rosaline.
    I will looke againe on the intellect of the letter, for the no-
    mination of the partie written to the person written vnto.
    Your Ladiships in all desired imployment, Berowne.
    Ped. Sir Holofernes, this Berowne is one of the Votaries
    with the King, and here he hath framed a letter to a sequent
    of the stranger Queenes: which accidentally, or by the way
    1305of progression, hath miscarried. Trip and goe my sweete,
    deliuer this Paper into the royall hand of the King, it may
    concerne much: stay not thy complement, I forgine thy
    dewtie, adue.
    Mayd. Good Costard go with me: sir God saue your life.
    Cost. Haue with thee my girle.
    Holo. Sir you haue done this in the feare of God verie reli-
    giously: and as a certaine Father saith
    Ped. Sir tell not mee of the Father, I do feare colourable
    1315coloures. But to returne to the Verses, Did they please you
    sir Nathaniel?
    Nath. Marueilous well for the pen.
    Peda. I do dine to day at the fathers of a certaine pupill of
    mine, where if (before repast) it shall please you to gratifie
    1320the table with a Grace, I will on my priuiledge I haue with
    the parentes of the foresaid childe or pupill, vndertake your
    bien venuto, where I will proue those Verses to be very vn-
    learned, neither sauouring of Poetrie, wit, nor inuention.
    I beseech your societie.
    Nath. And thanke you to: for societie (saith the text)
    is the happines of life.
    Peda. And certes the text most infallibly concludes it.
    Sir I do inuite you too, you shall not say me nay: pauca verba.
    Away, the gentles are at their game, and we will to our re-