Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Berowne with a Paper in his hand, alone.
    Bero. The King he is hunting the Deare,
    1335I am coursing my selfe.
    They haue pitcht a Toyle, I am toyling in a pytch,
    pitch that defiles; defile, a foule word: Well, set thee
    downe sorrow; for so they say the foole said, and so say
    I, and I the foole: Well proued wit. By the Lord this
    1340Loue is as mad as Aiax, it kils sheepe, it kils mee, I a
    sheepe: Well proued againe a my side. I will not loue;
    if I do hang me: yfaith I will not. O but her eye: by
    this light, but for her eye, I would not loue her; yes, for
    her two eyes. Well, I doe nothing in the world but lye,
    1345and lye in my throate. By heauen I doe loue, and it hath
    taught mee to Rime, and to be mallicholie: and here is
    part of my Rime, and heere my mallicholie. Well, she
    hath one a'my Sonnets already, the Clowne bore it, the
    Foole sent it, and the Lady hath it: sweet Clowne, swee-
    1350ter Foole, sweetest Lady. By the world, I would not care
    a pin, if the other three were in. Here comes one with a
    paper, God giue him grace to grone.
    He stands aside. The King entreth.
    Kin. Ay mee!
    1355Ber. Shot by heauen: proceede sweet Cupid, thou hast
    thumpt him with thy Birdbolt vnder the left pap: in faith
    So sweete a kisse the golden Sunne giues not,
    To those fresh morning drops vpon the Rose,
    1360As thy eye beames, when their fresh rayse haue smot.
    The night of dew that on my cheekes downe flowes.
    Nor shines the siluer Moone one halfe so bright,
    Through the transparent bosome of the deepe,
    As doth thy face through teares of mine giue light:
    1365Thou shin'st in euery teare that I doe weepe,
    No drop, but as a Coach doth carry thee:
    So ridest thou triumphing in my woe.
    Do but behold the teares that swell in me,
    And they thy glory through my griefe will show:
    L6v But
    Loues Labour's lost133
    1370But doe not loue thy selfe, then thou wilt keepe
    My teares for glasses, and still make me weepe.
    O Queene of Queenes, how farre dost thou excell,
    No thought can thinke, nor tongue of mortall tell.
    How shall she know my griefes? Ile drop the paper.
    1375Sweet leaues shade folly. Who is he comes heere?
    Enter Longauile. The King steps aside.
    What Longauill, and reading: listen eare.
    Ber. Now in thy likenesse, one more foole appeare.
    Long. Ay me, I am forsworne.
    1380Ber. Why he comes in like a periure, wearing papers.
    Long. In loue I hope, sweet fellowship in shame.
    Ber. One drunkard loues another of the name.
    Lon. Am I the first yt haue been periur'd so?
    Ber. I could put thee in comfort, not by two that I (know,
    1385Thou makest the triumphery, the corner cap of societie,
    The shape of Loues Tiburne, that hangs vp simplicitie.
    Lon. I feare these stubborn lines lack power to moue.
    O sweet Maria, Empresse of my Loue,
    These numbers will I teare, and write in prose.
    1390Ber. O Rimes are gards on wanton Cupids hose,
    Disfigure not his Shop.
    Lon. This same shall goe. He reades the Sonnet.
    Did not the heauenly Rhetoricke of thine eye,
    'Gainst whom the world cannot hold argument,
    1395Perswade my heart to this false periurie?
    Vowes for thee broke deserue not punishment.
    A Woman I forswore, but I will proue,
    Thou being a Goddesse, I forswore not thee.
    My Vow was earthly, thou a heauenly Loue.
    1400Thy grace being gain'd, cures all disgrace in me.
    Vowes are but breath, and breath a vapour is.
    Then thou faire Sun, which on my earth doest shine,
    Exhalest this vapor-vow, in thee it is:
    If broken then, it is no fault of mine:
    1405If by me broke, What foole is not so wise,
    To loose an oath, to win a Paradise?
    Ber. This is the liuer veine, which makes flesh a deity.
    A greene Goose, a Coddesse, pure pure Idolatry.
    God amend vs, God amend, we are much out o'th'way.
    1410 Enter Dumaine.
    Lon. By whom shall I send this (company?) Stay.
    Bero. All hid, all hid, an old infant play,
    Like a demie God, here sit I in the skie,
    And wretched fooles secrets heedfully ore-eye.
    1415More Sacks to the myll. O heauens I haue my wish,
    Dumaine transform'd, foure Woodcocks in a dish.
    Dum. O most diuine Kate.
    Bero. O most prophane coxcombe.
    Dum. By heauen the wonder of a mortall eye.
    1420Bero. By earth she is not, corporall, there you lye.
    Dum. Her Amber haires for foule hath amber coted.
    Ber. An Amber coloured Rauen was well noted.
    Dum. As vpright as the Cedar.
    Ber. Stoope I say her shoulder is with-child.
    1425Dum. As faire as day.
    Ber. I as some daies, but then no sunne must shine.
    Dum. O that I had my wish?
    Lon. And I had mine.
    Kin. And mine too good Lord.
    1430Ber. Amen, so I had mine: Is not that a good word?
    Dum. I would forget her, but a Feuer she
    Raignes in my bloud, and will remembred be.
    Ber. A Feuer in your bloud, why then incision
    Would let her out in Sawcers, sweet misprision.
    1435Dum. Once more Ile read the Ode that I haue writ.
    Ber. Once more Ile marke how Loue can varry Wit.
    Dumane reades his Sonnet.
    On a day, alack the day:
    Loue, whose Month is euery May,
    1440Spied a blossome passing faire,
    Playing in the wanton ayre:
    Through the Veluet, leaues the winde,
    All vnseene, can passage finde.
    That the Louer sicke to death,
    1445Wish himselfe the heauens breath.
    Ayre (quoth he) thy cheekes may blowe,
    Ayre, would I might triumph so.
    But alacke my hand is sworne,
    Nere to plucke thee from thy throne:
    1450Vow alacke for youth vnmeete,
    Youth so apt to plucke a sweet.
    Doe not call it sinne in me,
    That I am forsworne for thee.
    Thou for whom Ioue would sweare,
    1455Iuno but an AEthiop were,
    And denie himselfe for Ioue.
    Turning mortall for thy Loue
    This will I send, and something else more plaine.
    That shall expresse my true-loues fasting paine.
    1460O would the King, Berowne and Longauill,
    Were Louers too, ill to example ill,
    Would from my forehead wipe a periur'd note:
    For none offend, where all alike doe dote.
    Lon. Dumaine, thy Loue is farre from charitie,
    1465That in Loues griefe desir'st societie:
    You may looke pale, but I should blush I know,
    To be ore-heard, and taken napping so.
    Kin. Come sir, you blush: as his, your case is such,
    You chide at him, offending twice as much.
    1470You doe not loue Maria? Longauile,
    Did neuer Sonnet for her sake compile;
    Nor neuer lay his wreathed armes athwart
    His louing bosome, to keepe downe his heart.
    I haue beene closely shrowded in this bush,
    1475And markt you both, and for you both did blush.
    I heard your guilty Rimes, obseru'd your fashion:
    Saw sighes reeke from you, noted well your passion.
    Aye me, sayes one! O Ioue, the other cries!
    On her haires were Gold, Christall the others eyes.
    1480You would for Paradise breake Faith and troth,
    And Ioue for your Loue would infringe an oath.
    What will Berowne say when that he shall heare
    Faith infringed, which such zeale did sweare.
    How will he scorne? how will he spend his wit?
    1485How will he triumph, leape, and laugh at it?
    For all the wealth that euer I did see,
    I would not haue him know so much by me.
    Bero. Now step I forth to whip hypocrisie.
    Ah good my Liedge, I pray thee pardon me.
    1490Good heart, What grace hast thou thus to reproue
    These wormes for louing, that art most in loue?
    Your eyes doe make no couches in your teares.
    There is no certaine Princesse that appeares.
    You'll not be periur'd, 'tis a hatefull thing:
    1495Tush, none but Minstrels like of Sonnetting.
    But are you not asham'd? nay, are you not
    M1 All
    134 Loues Labour's lost
    All three of you, to be thus much ore'shot?
    You found his Moth, the King your Moth did see:
    But I a Beame doe finde in each of three.
    1500O what a Scene of fool'ry haue I seene.
    Of sighes, of grones, of sorrow, and of teene:
    O me, with what strict patience haue I sat,
    To see a King transformed to a Gnat?
    To see great Hercules whipping a Gigge,
    1505And profound Salomon tuning a Iygge?
    And Nestor play at push-pin with the boyes,
    And Critticke Tymon laugh at idle toyes.
    Where lies thy griefe? O tell me good Dumaine;
    And gentle Longauill, where lies thy paine?
    1510And where my Liedges? all about the brest:
    A Candle hoa!
    Kin. Too bitter is thy iest.
    Are wee betrayed thus to thy ouer-view?
    Ber. Not you by me, but I betrayed to you.
    1515I that am honest, I that hold it sinne
    To breake the vow I am ingaged in.
    I am betrayed by keeping company
    With men, like men of inconstancie.
    When shall you see me write a thing in rime?
    1520Or grone for Ioane? or spend a minutes time,
    In pruning mee, when shall you heare that I will praise a
    hand, a foot, a face, an eye: a gate, a state, a brow, a brest,
    a waste, a legge, a limme.
    Kin. Soft, Whither a-way so fast?
    1525A true man, or a theefe, that gallops so.
    Ber. I post from Loue, good Louer let me go.
    Enter Iaquenetta and Clowne.
    Iaqu. God blesse the King.
    Kin. What Present hast thou there?
    1530Clo. Some certaine treason.
    Kin. What makes treason heere?
    Clo. Nay it makes nothing sir.
    Kin. If it marre nothing neither,
    The treason and you goe in peace away together.
    1535Iaqu. I beseech your Grace let this Letter be read,
    Our person mis-doubts it: it was treason he said.
    Kin. Berowne, read it ouer. He reades the Letter.
    Kin. Where hadst thou it?
    Iaqu. Of Costard.
    1540King. Where hadst thou it?
    Cost. Of Dun Adramadio, Dun Adramadio.
    Kin. How now, what is in you? why dost thou tear it?
    Ber. A toy my Liedge, a toy: your grace needes not
    feare it.
    1545Long. It did moue him to passion, and therefore let's
    heare it.
    Dum. It is Berowns writing, and heere is his name.
    Ber. Ah you whoreson loggerhead, you were borne
    to doe me shame.
    1550Guilty my Lord, guilty: I confesse, I confesse.
    Kin. What?
    Ber. That you three fooles, lackt mee foole, to make
    vp the messe.
    He, he, and you: and you my Liedge, and I,
    1555Are picke-purses in Loue, and we deserue to die.
    O dismisse this audience, and I shall tell you more.
    Dum. Now the number is euen.
    Berow. True true, we are fowre: will these Turtles
    be gone?
    1560Kin. Hence sirs, away.
    Clo. Walk aside the true folke, & let the traytors stay.
    Ber. Sweet Lords, sweet Louers, O let vs imbrace,
    As true we are as flesh and bloud can be,
    The Sea will ebbe and flow, heauen will shew his face:
    1565Young bloud doth not obey an old decree.
    We cannot crosse the cause why we are borne:
    Therefore of all hands must we be forsworne.
    King. What, did these rent lines shew some loue of
    1570Ber. Did they, quoth you? Who sees the heauenly (Rosaline,
    That (like a rude and sauage man of Inde.)
    At the first opening of the gorgeous East,
    Bowes not his vassall head, and strooken blinde,
    Kisses the base ground with obedient breast?
    1575What peremptory Eagle-sighted eye
    Dares looke vpon the heauen of her brow,
    That is not blinded by her maiestie?
    Kin. What zeale, what furie, hath inspir'd thee now?
    My Loue (her Mistres) is a gracious Moone,
    1580Shee (an attending Starre) scarce seene a light.
    Ber. My eyes are then no eyes, nor I Berowne.
    O, but for my Loue, day would turne to night,
    Of all complexions the cul'd soueraignty,
    Doe meet as at a faire in her faire cheeke,
    1585Where seuerall Worthies make one dignity,
    Where nothing wants, that want it selfe doth seeke.
    Lend me the flourish of all gentle tongues,
    Fie painted Rethoricke, O she needs it not,
    To things of sale, a sellers praise belongs:
    1590She passes prayse, then prayse too short doth blot.
    A withered Hermite, fiuescore winters worne,
    Might shake off fiftie, looking in her eye:
    Beauty doth varnish Age, as if new borne,
    And giues the Crutch the Cradles infancie.
    1595O 'tis the Sunne that maketh all things shine.
    King. By heauen, thy Loue is blacke as Ebonie.
    Berow. Is Ebonie like her? O word diuine?
    A wife of such wood were felicitie.
    O who can giue an oth? Where is a booke?
    1600That I may sweare Beauty doth beauty lacke,
    If that she learne not of her eye to looke:
    No face is faire that is not full so blacke.
    Kin. O paradoxe, Blacke is the badge of hell,
    The hue of dungeons, and the Schoole of night:
    1605And beauties crest becomes the heauens well.
    Ber. Diuels soonest tempt resembling spirits of light.
    O if in blacke my Ladies browes be deckt,
    It mournes, that painting vsurping haire
    Should rauish doters with a false aspect:
    1610And therfore is she borne to make blacke, faire.
    Her fauour turnes the fashion of the dayes,
    For natiue bloud is counted painting now:
    And therefore red that would auoyd dispraise,
    Paints it selfe blacke, to imitate her brow.
    1615Dum. To look like her are Chimny-sweepers blacke.
    Lon. And since her time, are Colliers counted bright.
    King. And AEthiops of their sweet complexion crake.
    Dum. Dark needs no Candles now, for dark is light.
    Ber. Your mistresses dare neuer come in raine,
    1620For feare their colours should be washt away.
    Kin. 'Twere good yours did: for sir to tell you plaine,
    Ile finde a fairer face not washt to day.
    Ber. Ile proue her faire, or talke till dooms-day here.
    Kin. No Diuell will fright thee then so much as shee.
    1625Duma. I neuer knew man hold vile stuffe so deere.
    Lon. Looke, heer's thy loue, my foot and her face see.
    Ber. O if the streets were paued with thine eyes,
    M1v Her
    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.