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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    called Loues Labor's lost.

    Quee. What, what? First praise mee, and againe say no.
    O short liu'd pride. Not faire? alacke for woe
    990For. Yes Madam faire.
    Quee. Nay, neuer paint me now,
    Where faire is not, praise cannot mend the brow.
    Heere (good my glasse) take this for telling trew:
    Faire payment for foule wordes, is more then dew.
    995For. No thing but faire is that which you inherrit.
    Quee. See see, my beautie wilbe sau'd by merrit.
    O heresy in faire, fit for these dayes,
    A giuing hand, though fowle, 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 Credite in the shoote,
    Not wounding, pittie would not let me doote.
    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:
    Glorie growes guyltie 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 Deares blood, that my hart meanes no ill.
    Boy. Do not curst wiues hold that selfe-soueraigntie
    Onely for praise sake, when they striue to be
    Lords ore their Lordes?
    Quee. Onely for praise, and praise we may afford,
    1015To any Lady that subdewes a Lord.
    Enter Clowne.
    Boyet, Here comes a member of the common wealth.
    Clo. God dig-you-den al, pray you which is the head lady?
    1020Que. Thou shalt know her fellow by the rest that haue no (heads.
    Clow. Which is the greatest Ladie, the highest?
    Quee. The thickest, and the tallest.
    Clow. The thickest, and the tallest: it is so, trueth is trueth.
    1025And your waste Mistrs were as slender as my wit,
    One a these Maides girdles for your waste should be fit.
    Are not you the chiefe woman? You are the thickest heere.