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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.

    Consider what you first did sweare vnto:
    To fast, to study, and to see no woman:
    Flat treason gainst the kingly state of youth.
    Say, Can you fast? your stomacks are too young:
    1645And abstinence ingenders maladies.
    And where that you haue vowd to studie (Lordes)
    In that each of you haue forsworne his Booke.
    Can you still dreame and poare and thereon looke.
    For when would you my Lord, or you, or you,
    1650Haue found the ground of Studies excellence,
    Without the beautie 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 spirites in the arteries,
    As motion and long during action tyres
    The sinnowy vigour of the trauayler.
    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 Authour in the worlde,
    Teaches such beautie as a womas 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.
    Do we not likewise see our learning there?
    O we haue made a Vow to studie, Lordes,
    1670And in that Vow we haue forsworne our Bookes:
    For when would you (my Leedge) or you, or you?
    In leaden contemplation haue found out
    Such fierie Numbers as the prompting eyes,
    Of beautis tutors haue inritcht you with:
    1675Other slow Artes intirely keepe the braine:
    And therefore finding barraine practizers,
    Scarce shew a haruest of their heauie toyle.