Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Timothy Billings
Not Peer Reviewed

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

A pleasant conceited Comedie:

That, which long processe could not arbitrate.
And though the mourning brow of progenie
Forbid the smyling courtecie of Loue,
The holy suite which faine it would conuince,
2705Yet since Loues argument was first on foote,
Let not the cloude of Sorrow iustle it
From what it purposd, since to wayle friendes lost,
Is not by much so holdsome profitable,
As to reioyce at friendes but newly found.
2710Quee. I vnderstand you not, my griefes are double.
Bero. Honest plaine words, best pearce the eare of griefe,
And by these badges vnderstand the King,
For your faire sakes, haue we neglected time.
Plaide foule play with our othes: your beautie Ladies
2715Hath much deformed vs, fashioning our humours
Euen to the opposed ende of our ententes.
And what in vs hath seemed rediculous:
As Loue is full of vnbefitting straines,
All wanton as a childe, skipping and vaine.
2720Formd by the eye, and therefore like the eye.
Full of straying shapes, of habites and of formes:
Varying in subiectes as the eye doth roule,
To euery varied obiect in his glaunce:
Which partie coted presence of loose loue
2725Put on by vs, if in your heauenly eyes,
Haue misbecombd our othes and grauities.
Those heauenly eyes that looke into these faultes,
Suggested vs to make, therefore Ladies
Our loue being yours, the errour that Loue makes
2730Is likewise yours: we to our selues proue false,
By being once falce, for euer to be true
To those that make vs both faire Ladies you.
And euen that falshood in it selfe a sinne,
Thus purifies it selfe and turns to grace.
2735Quee. We haue receiud your Letters, full of Loue:
Your Fauours, embassadours of Loue.
And in our mayden counsaile rated them,
At courtshyp pleasant iest and courtecie,