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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 lost123
    100Dum. Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding.
    Lon. Hee weedes the corne, and still lets grow the
    Ber. The Spring is neare when greene geesse are a
    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.
    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
    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
    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-
    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
    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
    L2 Fer. Great