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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Actus Quartus.
    Enter the Princesse, a Forrester, her Ladies, and
    her Lords.
    975Qu. Was that the King that spurd his horse so hard,
    Against the steepe vprising of the hill?
    Boy. I know not, but I thinke it was not he.
    Qu. Who ere a was, a shew'd a mounting minde:
    Well Lords, to day we shall haue our dispatch,
    980On Saterday we will returne to France.
    Then Forrester my friend, Where is the Bush
    That we must stand and play the murtherer in?
    For. Hereby vpon the edge of yonder Coppice,
    A Stand where you may make the fairest shoote.
    985Qu. I thanke my beautie, I am faire that shoote,
    And thereupon thou speak'st the fairest shoote.
    For. Pardon me Madam, for I meant not so.
    Qu. What, what? First praise me, & then again say no.
    O short liu'd pride. Not faire? alacke for woe.
    L5 For. Yes.
    130 Loues Labour's lost
    990For. Yes Madam faire.
    Qu. Nay, neuer paint me now,
    Where faire is not, praise cannot mend the brow.
    Here (good my glasse) take this for telling true:
    Faire paiment for foule words, is more then due.
    995For. Nothing but faire is that which you inherit.
    Qu. See, see, my beautie will be sau'd by merit.
    O heresie in faire, fit for these dayes,
    A giuing hand, though foule, shall haue faire praise.
    But come, the Bow: Now Mercie goes to kill,
    1000And shooting well, is then accounted ill:
    Thus will I saue my credit in the shoote,
    Not wounding, pittie would not let me do't:
    If wounding, then it was to shew my skill,
    That more for praise, then purpose meant to kill.
    1005And out of question, so it is sometimes:
    Glory growes guiltie of detested crimes,
    When for Fames sake, for praise an outward part,
    We bend to that, the working of the hart.
    As I for praise alone now seeke to spill
    1010The poore Deeres blood, that my heart meanes no ill.
    Boy. Do not curst wiues hold that selfe-soueraigntie
    Onely for praise sake, when they striue to be
    Lords ore their Lords?
    Qu. Onely for praise, and praise we may afford,
    1015To any Lady that subdewes a Lord.
    Enter Clowne.
    Boy. Here comes a member of the common-wealth.
    Clo. God dig-you-den all, pray you which is the head
    1020Qu. Thou shalt know her fellow, by the rest that haue
    no heads.
    Clo. Which is the greatest Lady, the highest?
    Qu. The thickest, and the tallest.
    Clo. The thickest, & the tallest: it is so, truth is truth.
    1025And your waste Mistris, were as slender as my wit,
    One a these Maides girdles for your waste should be fit.
    Are not you the chiefe womã? You are the thickest here?
    Qu. What's your will sir? What's your will?
    Clo. I haue a Letter from Monsier Berowne,
    1030To one Lady Rosaline.
    Qu. O thy letter, thy letter: He's a good friend of mine.
    Stand a side good bearer.
    Boyet, you can carue,
    Breake vp this Capon.
    1035Boyet. I am bound to serue.
    This Letter is mistooke: it importeth none here:
    It is writ to Iaquenetta.
    Qu. We will reade it, I sweare.
    Breake the necke of the Waxe, and euery one giue eare.
    1040 Boyet reades.
    BY heauen, that thou art faire, is most infallible: true
    that thou art beauteous, truth it selfe that thou art
    louely: more fairer then faire, beautifull then beautious,
    truer then truth it selfe: haue comiseration on thy heroi-
    1045call Vassall. The magnanimous and most illustrate King
    Cophetua set eie vpon the pernicious and indubitate Beg-
    ger Zenelophon: and he it was that might rightly say, Ve-
    ni, vidi, vici: Which to annothanize in the vulgar, O
    base and obscure vulgar; videliset, He came, See, and o-
    1050uercame: hee came one; see, two; ouercame three:
    Who came? the King. Why did he come? to see. Why
    did he see? to ouercome. To whom came he? to the
    Begger. What saw he? the Begger. Who ouercame
    he? the Begger. The conclusion is victorie: On whose
    1055side? the King: the captiue is inricht: On whose side?
    the Beggers. The catastrophe is a Nuptiall: on whose
    side? the Kings: no, on both in one, or one in both. I am
    the King (for so stands the comparison) thou the Beg-
    ger, for so witnesseth thy lowlinesse. Shall I command
    1060thy loue? I may. Shall I enforce thy loue? I could.
    Shall I entreate thy loue? I will. What, shalt thou ex-
    change for ragges, roabes: for tittles titles, for thy selfe
    mee. Thus expecting thy reply, I prophane my lips on
    thy foote, my eyes on thy picture, and my heart on thy
    1065euerie part.
    Thine in the dearest designe of industrie,
    Don Adriana de Armatho.
    Thus dost thou heare the Nemean Lion roare,
    Gainst thee thou Lambe, that standest as his pray:
    1070Submissiue fall his princely feete before,
    And he from forrage will incline to play.
    But if thou striue (poore soule) what art thou then?
    Foode for his rage, repasture for his den.
    Qu. What plume of feathers is hee that indited this
    1075Letter? What veine? What Wethercocke? Did you
    euer heare better?
    Boy. I am much deceiued, but I remember the stile.
    Qu. Else your memorie is bad, going ore it erewhile.
    Boy. This Armado is a Spaniard that keeps here in court
    1080A Phantasime, a Monarcho, and one that makes sport
    To the Prince and his Booke-mates.
    Qu. Thou fellow, a word.
    Who gaue thee this Letter?
    Clow. I told you, my Lord.
    1085Qu. To whom should'st thou giue it?
    Clo. From my Lord to my Lady.
    Qu. From which Lord, to which Lady?
    Clo. From my Lord Berowne, a good master of mine,
    To a Lady of France, that he call'd Rosaline.
    1090Qu. Thou hast mistaken his letter. Come Lords away.
    Here sweete, put vp this, 'twill be thine another day.
    Boy. Who is the shooter? Who is the shooter?
    Rosa. Shall I teach you to know.
    1095Boy. I my continent of beautie.
    Rosa. Why she that beares the Bow. Finely put off.
    Boy. My Lady goes to kill hornes, but if thou marrie,
    Hang me by the necke, if hornes that yeare miscarrie.
    Finely put on.
    1100Rosa. Well then, I am the shooter.
    Boy. And who is your Deare?
    Rosa. If we choose by the hornes, your selfe come not
    neare. Finely put on indeede.
    Maria. You still wrangle with her Boyet, and shee
    1105strikes at the brow.
    Boyet. But she her selfe is hit lower:
    Haue I hit her now.
    Rosa. Shall I come vpon thee with an old saying, that
    was a man when King Pippin of France was a little boy, as
    1110touching the hit it.
    Boyet. So I may answere thee with one as old that
    was a woman when Queene Guinouer of Brittaine was a
    little wench, as touching the hit it.
    L5v Rosa. Thou
    Loues Labour's lost131
    Thou canst not hit it, hit it, hit it,
    1115Thou canst not hit it my good man.
    Boy. I cannot, cannot, cannot:
    And I cannot, another can.
    Clo. By my troth most pleasant, how both did fit it.
    Mar. A marke marueilous well shot, for they both
    1120did hit.
    Boy. A mark, O marke but that marke: a marke saies
    my Lady.
    Let the mark haue a pricke in't, to meat at, if it may be.
    Mar. Wide a'th bow hand, yfaith your hand is out.
    1125Clo. Indeede a'must shoote nearer, or heele ne're hit
    the clout.
    Boy. And if my hand be out, then belike your hand
    is in.
    Clo. Then will shee get the vpshoot by cleauing the
    1130is in.
    Ma. Come, come, you talke greasely, your lips grow
    Clo. She's too hard for you at pricks, sir challenge her
    to boule.
    1135Boy. I feare too much rubbing: good night my good
    Clo. By my soule a Swaine, a most simple Clowne.
    Lord, Lord, how the Ladies and I haue put him downe.
    O my troth most sweete iests, most inconie vulgar wit,
    1140When it comes so smoothly off, so obscenely, as it were,
    so fit.
    Armathor ath to the side, O a most dainty man.
    To see him walke before a Lady, and to beare her Fan.
    To see him kisse his hand, and how most sweetly a will
    And his Page at other side, that handfull of wit,
    Ah heauens, it is most patheticall nit.
    Sowla, sowla. Exeunt.
    Shoote within.