Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Timothy Billings
Not Peer Reviewed

Love's Labor's Lost (Quarto 1, 1598)

A pleasant conceited Comedie:

And when it hath the thing it hunteth most,
Tis won as townes with fire, so won so lost.
Fer. We must of force dispence with this Decree,
Shee must lie heere on meere necessitie.
160Ber. Necessitie will make vs all forsworne
Three thousand times within this three yeeres space:
For euery man with his affectes is borne,
Not by might mastred, but by speciall grace.
If I breake fayth, this word shall speake for me,
165I am forsworne on meere necessitie.
So to the Lawes at large I write my name,
And he that breakes them in the least degree,
Standes in attainder of eternall shame.
Suggestions are to other as to me:
170But I beleeue although I seeme so loth,
I am the last that will last keepe his oth.
But is there no quicke recreation graunted?
Ferd. I that there is, our Court you know is haunted
With a refined trauailer of Spaine,
175A man in all the worldes new fashion planted,
That hath a mint of phrases in his braine:
On who the musique of his owne vaine tongue
Doth rauish like inchannting harmonie:
A man of complements whom right and wrong
180Haue chose as vmpier of their mutenie.
This childe of Fancie that Armado hight,
For interim to our studies shall relate,
In high borne wordes the worth of many a Knight:
From tawnie Spaine lost in the worldes debate.
185How you delight my Lords I know not I,
But I protest I loue to heare him lie,
And I will vse him for my Minstrelsie.
Bero. Armado is a most illustrious wight,
A man of fier new wordes, Fashions owne knight.
190Lon. Costard the swaine and he, shalbe our sport,
And so to studie three yeeres is but short.