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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 lost135
    Her feet were much too dainty for such tread.
    Duma. O vile, then as she goes what vpward lyes?
    1630The street should see as she walk'd ouer head.
    Kin. But what of this, are we not all in loue?
    Ber. O nothing so sure, and thereby all forsworne.
    Kin. Then leaue this chat, & good Berown now proue
    Our louing lawfull, and our fayth not torne.
    1635Dum. I marie there, some flattery for this euill.
    Long. O some authority how to proceed,
    Some tricks, some quillets, how to cheat the diuell.
    Dum. 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 against the Kingly state of youth.
    Say, Can you fast? your stomacks are too young:
    1645And abstinence ingenders maladies.
    And where that you haue vow'd to studie (Lords)
    In that each of you haue forsworne his Booke.
    Can you still dreame and pore, and thereon looke.
    For when would you my Lord, or you, or you,
    1650Haue found the ground of studies excellence,
    Without the beauty 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 spirits in the arteries,
    As motion and long during action tyres
    The sinnowy vigour of the trauailer.
    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 Author in the world,
    Teaches such beauty as a womans 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.
    Doe we not likewise see our learning there?
    O we haue made a Vow to studie, Lords,
    1670And in that vow we haue forsworne our Bookes:
    For when would you (my Leege) or you, or you?
    In leaden contemplation haue found out
    Such fiery Numbers as the prompting eyes,
    Of beauties tutors haue inrich'd you with:
    1675Other slow Arts intirely keepe the braine:
    And therefore finding barraine practizers,
    Scarce shew a haruest of their heauy toyle.
    But Loue first learned in a Ladies eyes,
    Liues not alone emured in the braine:
    1680But with the motion of all elements,
    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 suspicious head of theft is stopt.
    Loues feeling is more soft and sensible,
    Then are the tender hornes of Cockled Snayles.
    1690Loues tongue proues dainty, Bachus grosse in taste,
    For Valour, is not Loue a Hercules?
    Still climing trees in the Hesporides.
    Subtill as Sphinx, as sweet and musicall,
    As bright Apollo's Lute, strung with his haire.
    1695And when Loue speakes, the voyce of all the Gods,
    Make heauen drowsie with the harmonie.
    Neuer durst Poet touch a pen to write,
    Vntill his Inke were tempred with Loues sighes:
    O then his lines would rauish sauage eares,
    1700And plant in Tyrants milde humilitie.
    From womens eyes this doctrine I deriue.
    They sparcle still the right promethean fire,
    They are the Bookes, the Arts, the Achademes,
    That shew, containe, and nourish all the world.
    1705Else 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 word that all men loue:
    Or for Loues sake, a word that loues all men.
    1710Or for Mens sake, the author of these Women:
    Or Womens sake, by whom we men are Men.
    Let's once loose our oathes to finde our selues,
    Or else we loose our selues, to keepe our oathes:
    It is religion to be thus forsworne.
    1715For Charity it selfe fulfills the Law:
    And who can seuer loue from Charity.
    Kin. Saint Cupid then, and Souldiers to the field.
    Ber. Aduance your standards, & vpon them Lords.
    Pell, mell, downe with them: but be first aduis'd,
    1720In conflict that you get the Sunne of them.
    Long. Now to plaine dealing, Lay these glozes by,
    Shall we resolue to woe these girles of France?
    Kin. And winne them too, therefore let vs deuise,
    Some entertainment for them in their Tents.
    1725Ber. First from the Park let vs conduct them thither,
    Then homeward euery man attach the hand
    Of his faire Mistresse, in the afternoone
    We will with some strange pastime solace them:
    Such as the shortnesse of the time can shape,
    1730For Reuels, Dances, Maskes, and merry houres,
    Fore-runne faire Loue, strewing her way with flowres.
    Kin. Away, away, no time shall be omitted,
    That will be time, and may by vs be fitted.
    Ber. Alone, alone sowed Cockell, reap'd no Corne,
    1735And Iustice alwaies whirles in equall measure:
    Light Wenches may proue plagues to men forsworne,
    If so, our Copper buyes no better treasure. Exeunt.

    Actus Quartus.

    Enter the Pedant, Curate and Dull.

    1740Pedant. Satis quid sufficit.
    Curat. I praise God for you sir, your reasons at dinner
    haue beene sharpe & sententious: pleasant without scur-
    rillity, witty without affection, audacious without im-
    pudency, learned without opinion, and strange without
    1745heresie: I did conuerse this quondam day with a compa-
    nion of the Kings, who is intituled, nominated, or called,
    Don Adriano de Armatho.
    Ped. Noui hominum tanquam te, His humour is lofty,
    his discourse peremptorie: his tongue filed, his eye
    1750ambitious, his gate maiesticall, and his generall behaui-
    our vaine, ridiculous, and thrasonicall. He is too picked,
    too spruce, too affected, too odde, as it were, too pere-
    grinat, as I may call it.
    M2 Curat.