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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    A pleasant conceited Comedie:

    But Loue first learned in a Ladies eyes,
    Liues not alone emured in the braine:
    1680But with the motion of all elamentes,
    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 suspitious head of theft is stopt.
    Loues feeling is more soft and sensible,
    Then are the tender hornes of Cockled Snayles.
    1690Loues tongue proues daintie, Bachus grosse in taste,
    For Valoure, is not Loue a Hercules?
    Still clyming trees in the Hesperides.
    Subtit as Sphinx, as sweete and musicall,
    As bright Appolos Lute, strung with his haire.
    1695And when Loue speakes, the voyce of all the Goddes,
    Make heauen drowsie with the harmonie.
    Neuer durst Poet touch a pen to write,
    Vntill his Incke 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 fier,
    They are the Bookes, the Artes, the Achademes,
    That shew, containe, and nourish all the worlde.
    1705Els 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 worde that all men loue:
    Or for Loues sake, a worde that loues all men.
    1710Or for Mens sake, the authour of these Women:
    Or Womens sake, by whom we Men are Men.
    Lets vs once loose our othes to finde our selues,
    Or els we loose our selues, to keepe our othes:
    It is Religion to be thus forsworne.