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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Ferdinand K. of Nauar, Berowne,
    Longauill, and Dumaine.
    5LET Fame, that all hunt after in their lyues,
    Liue registred vpon our brazen Tombes,
    And then grace vs, in the disgrace of death:
    When spight of cormorant deuouring Time,
    Thendeuour of this present breath may buy:
    10That honour which shall bate his sythes keene edge,
    And make vs heires of all eternitie.
    Therefore braue Conquerours, for so you are,
    That warre agaynst your owne affections,
    And the hudge armie of the worldes desires.
    15Our late edict shall strongly stand in force,
    Nauar shall be the wonder of the worlde.
    Our Court shalbe a lytlle Achademe,
    Still and contemplatyue in lyuing art.
    You three, Berowne, Dumaine, and Longauill,
    20Haue sworne for three yeeres tearme, to liue with me:
    My fellow Schollers, and to keepe those statutes
    That are recorded in this sedule here.
    Your othes are past, and now subscribe your names:
    That his owne hand may strike his honour downe,
    25That violates the smallest branch herein.
    If you are armd to do, as sworne to do,
    Subscribe to your deepe othes, and keepe it to.
    Longauill. I am resolued, tis but a thee yeeres fast:
    The minde shall banquet, though the body pine,
    30Fat paunches haue leane pates: and daynty bits
    Make rich the ribbes, but bancrout quite the wits.
    Dumaine My louing Lord, Dumaine is mortefied,
    The grosser manner of these worldes delyghts:
    He throwes vppon the grosse worlds baser slaues
    A pleasant conceited Comedie:
    35To loue, to wealth, to pome, I pine and die,
    With all these lyuing in Philosophie.
    Berowne. I can but say their protestation ouer,
    So much deare Liedge, I haue already sworne,
    That is, to lyue and study heere three yeeres.
    40But there are other strickt obseruances:
    As not to see a woman in that terme,
    Which I hope well is not enrolled there.
    And one day in a weeke to touch no foode:
    And but one meale on euery day beside:
    45The which I hope is not enrolled there.
    And then to sleepe but three houres in the nyght,
    And not be seene to wincke of all the day.
    When I was wont to thinke no harme all nyght,
    And make a darke nyght too of halfe the day:
    50Which I hope well is not enrolled there.
    O these are barraine taskes, too hard to keepe,
    Not to see Ladyes, study, fast, not sleepe.
    Ferd. Your othe is past, to passe away from these.
    Berow. Let me say no my liedge, and yf you please,
    55I onely swore to study with your grace,
    And stay heere in your Court for three yeeres space.
    Longa. You swore to that Berowne, and to the rest.
    Bero. By yea and nay sir, than I swore in iest.
    What is the ende of study, let me know?
    60Ferd. Why that to know which else we should not know.
    Ber. Things hid & bard (you meane) from cammon sense.
    Ferd. I, that is studies god-like recompence.
    Bero. Com'on then, I will sweare to study so,
    65To know the thing I am forbid to know:
    As thus, to study where I well may dine,
    When I to fast expressely am forbid.
    Or studie where to meete some Mistris fine.
    When Mistresses from common sense are hid.
    70Or hauing sworne too hard a keeping oth,
    Studie to breake it, and not breake my troth.
    If studies gaine be thus, and this be so,
    Studie knowes that which yet it doth not know,
    Sweare me to this, and I will nere say no.
    75Ferd. These be the stopps that hinder studie quit,
    And traine our intelects to vaine delight.
    Bero. Why? all delightes are vaine, but that most vaine
    Which with payne purchas'd, doth inherite payne,
    As paynefully to poare vpon a Booke,
    80To seeke the lyght of trueth, while trueth the whyle
    Doth falsely blinde the eye-sight of his looke:
    Light seeking light, doth light of light beguyle:
    So ere you finde where light in darknes lyes,
    Your light growes darke by loosing of your eyes.
    85Studie me how to please the eye in deede,
    By fixing it vppon a fayrer eye,
    Who dazling so, that eye shalbe his heed,
    And giue him light that it was blinded by.
    Studie is lyke the heauens glorious Sunne,
    90That will not be deepe searcht with sawcie lookes:
    Small haue continuall plodders euer wonne,
    Saue base aucthoritie from others Bookes.
    These earthly Godfathers of heauens lights,
    That giue a name to euery fixed Starre,
    95Haue no more profite of their shyning nights,
    Then those that walke and wot not what they are.
    Too much to know, is to know nought but fame:
    And euery Godfather can giue a name.
    Ferd. How well hees read to reason against reading.
    100Dum. Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding.
    Lon. He weedes the corne, & still lets grow the weeding.
    Ber. The Spring is neare when greene geese are a bree-(ding.
    105Duma. How followes that?
    Ber. Fit in his place and tyme.
    Duma. In reason nothing.
    Bero. Something then in rime.
    Ferd. Berowne is like an enuious sneaping Frost,
    110That bites the first borne infants of the Spring.
    Bero. Well, say I am, why should proude Sommer boast,
    Before the Birdes haue any cause to sing?
    Why should I ioy in any abhortiue byrth?
    At Christmas I no more desire a Rose,
    115Then wish a Snow in Mayes new fangled showes:
    But like of each thing that in season growes.
    So you to studie now it is too late,
    Clymbe ore the house to vnlocke the little gate.
    Ferd. Well, sit you out: go home Berowne: adue.
    120Bero. No my good Lord, I haue sworne to stay with you.
    And though I haue for barbarisme spoke more
    Then for that Angell knowledge you can say,
    Yet confident Ile keepe what I haue sworne,
    And bide the pennance of each three yeeres day.
    125Giue me the paper, let me reade the same,
    And to the strictest decrees Ile write my name.
    Fer. How well this yeelding rescewes thee from shame.
    Item, That no woman shall come within a myle of
    my Court.
    Hath this bin proclaymed?
    Long. Foure dayes ago.
    Ber. Lets see the penaltie.
    On payne of loosing her tung.
    Who deuis'd this penaltie?
    135Long. Marrie that did I.
    Bero. Sweete Lord and why?
    Long. To fright them hence with that dread penaltie.
    A dangerous law against gentletie.
    Item, Yf any man be seene to talke with a woman within
    140 the tearme of three yeeres, he shall indure such publibue
    shame as the rest of the Court can possible deuise.
    Ber. This Article my liedge your selfe must breake,
    For well you know here comes in Embassaie,
    145The French kinges daughter with your selfe to speake:
    A Maide of grace and complet maiestie,
    About surrender vp of Aquitaine,
    To her decrepit, sicke, and bedred Father.
    Therefore this Article is made in vaine,
    150Or vainely comes th'admired Princesse hither.
    Ferd. What say you Lordes? why, this was quite forgot.
    Ber. So Studie euermore is ouershot,
    While it doth studie to haue what it would,
    155It doth forget to do the thing it should:
    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.
    Enter a Constable with Costard with a letter.
    Constab. Which is the Dukes owne person?
    Ber. This fellow, What would'st?
    195Const. I my selfe reprehend his owne person, for I am his
    graces Farborough: But I would see his owne person
    in flesh and blood.
    Ber. This is he.
    Const. Signeour Arme Arme commendes you:
    200Ther's villanie abrod, this letter will tell you more.
    Clowne. Sir the Contempls thereof are as touching me.
    Fer. A letter from the magnifisent Armado.
    Bero. How low so euer the matter, I hope in God for high(words.
    Lon. A high hope for a low heauen. God grant vs patience
    Ber. To heare, or forbeare hearing.
    Lon. To heare meekely sir, and to laugh moderatly, or
    210to forbeare both.
    Bero. Well sir, be it as the stile shall giue vs cause to clime
    in the merrines.
    Clow.The matter is to me sir, as concerning Iaquenetta:
    The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.
    215Bero. In what manner?
    Clow. In manner and forme folowing sir all those three.
    I was seene with her in the Manner house, sitting with her
    vppon the Forme, and taken following her into the Parke:
    which put togeather, is in manner and forme following.
    220Now sir for the manner, It is the manner of a man to speake
    to a woman, for the forme in some forme.
    Ber. For the following sir.
    Clow. As it shall follow in my correction, and God defend
    225the right.
    Ferd. Will you heare this Letter with attention?
    Bero.As we would heare an Oracle.
    Clow.Such is the sinplicitie of man to harken after the flesh
    GReat Deputie the welkis Vizgerent, and sole dominatur of
    Nauar, my soules earthes God, and bodies fostring patrone:
    Cost. Not a worde of Costart yet.
    235Ferd. So it is
    Cost. It may be so: but if he say it is so, he is in telling true:
    but so.
    Ferd. Peace.
    Clow. Be to me, and euerie man that dares not fight.
    240Ferd. No wordes.
    Clow. Of other mens secrets I beseech you.
    Ferd. So it is besedged with sable coloured melancholie, I did
    commende the blacke oppressing humour to the most holsome phisicke
    of thy health-geuing ayre: And as I am a Gentleman, betooke my
    245selfe to walke: the time When? about the sixt houre, When Beastes
    most grase, Birdes best peck, and Men sit downe to that nourishment
    which is called Supper: So much for the time When. Now for the
    ground Which? which I meane I walkt vpon, it is ycliped Thy Park.
    Then for the place Where? where I meane, I did incounter that ob-
    250seene & most propostrous euent that draweth frõ my snowhite pen the
    ebon coloured Incke, which here thou viewest, beholdest, suruayest, or
    seest. But to the place Where? It standeth North North-east & by
    East from the West corner of thy curious knotted garden; There
    255did I see that low spirited Swaine, that base Minow of thy myrth,
    (Clowne. Mee?) that vnlettered smal knowing soule, (Clow. Mee?)
    that shallow vassall (Clown. Still mee.) which as I remember,
    hight Costard,(Clow. O mee)sorted and consorted contrary to
    thy established proclaymed Edict and continent Cannon: Which
    with, ô with, but with this I passion to say wherewith:
    Clo. With a Wench.
    With a childe of our Grandmother Eue, a female; or for thy
    more sweete vnderstanding a Woman: him, I (as my euer esteemed
    265duetie prickes me on) haue sent to thee, to receiue the meede of pu-
    nishment by thy sweete Graces Officer Anthonie Dull, a man of
    good reput, carriage bearing, and estimation.
    Antho. Me ant shall please you? I am Anthony Dull.
    For Iaquenetta (so is the weaker vessell called) vvhich I
    270apprehended with the aforesayd Swaine, I keepe her as a vessell of
    thy Lawes furie, and shall at the least of thy sweete notice, bring
    hir to tryall. Thine in all complements of deuoted and hartburning
    heate of duetie.
    Don Adriano de Armado.
    275Ber. This is not so well as I looked for, but the best that
    euer I heard.
    Fer. I the best, for the wost. But sirra, What say you to this?
    Clo. Sir I confesse the Wench.
    280Fer. Did you heare the Proclamation?
    Clo. I do confesse much of the hearing it, but little of the
    marking of it.
    Fer. It was proclaymed a yeeres imprisonment to be ta-
    ken with a Wench.
    285Clo. I was taken with none sir, I was taken with a Demsel.
    Fer. Well, it was proclaimed Damsel.
    Clo. This was no Damsel neither sir, she was a Virgin.
    290Ber. It is so varried to, for it was proclaimed Virgin.
    Clo. If it were, I denie her Virginitie: I was taken with a
    Fer. This Maide will not serue your turne sir.
    Col. This Maide will serue my turne sir.
    295Fer. Sir I will pronounce your sentence: You shall fast a
    weeke with Branne and Water.
    Clo. I had rather pray a month with Mutton & Porridge.
    Fer. And Don Armado shall be your keeper.
    300My Lord Berowne, see him deliuered ore,
    And goe we Lordes to put in practise that,
    Which each to other hath so strongly sworne.
    Bero. Ile lay my Head to any good mans Hat,
    These othes and lawes will proue an idle scorne.
    305Surra, Come on.
    Clo. I suffer for the trueth sir: for true it is, I was taken
    with Iaquenetta, and Iaquenetta is a trew girle, and therefore
    welcome the sower Cup of prosperie, affliccio may one day
    smile againe, and till then sit thee downe sorrow. Exeunt.