Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare
Love’s Labour’s Lost
ACT IV. SCENE II.—Another part of the Park.
Dum. Some salve for perjury.
Biron. O, ’tis more than need!—
Have at you, then, affection’s men-at-arms:
Consider what you first did swear unto;—
To fast,—to study,—and to see no woman;—
Flat treason ‘gainst the kingly state of youth.
Say, can you fast? your stomachs are too young,
And abstinence engender maladies.
And where that you have vow’d to study, lords,
In that each of you hath forsworn his book,—
Can you still dream, and pore, and thereon look?
Why, universal plodding prisons up
The nimble spirits in the arteries,
As motion and long-during action tires
The sinewy vigour of the traveller/
Now, for not looking on a woman’s face,
You have in that forsowrn the se of eyes,
And study, too, the causer of your vow:
For when would you, my liege, or you, or you,
In leaden contemplation, have found out
Such fiery numbers as the prompting eyes
Of beauteous tutors have enrich’d you with?
Other slow arts entire keep the brain,
And therefore, finding barren practisers,
Scarce show a harvest of their heavy toil;
But love, first learned in a lady’s eyes
Lives not alone immured in the brain,
But, with the motion of all elements,
Courses as swift as thought in every power,
And gives to every power a double power
Above their functions and their offices.
It adds a precious seeing to the eye:
A lover’s eyes will gaze an eagle blind;
A lover’s ear will hear the lowest sound,
When the suspicious head of theft is stopp’d,
Love’s feeling is more soft and sensible
Than are tender horns of cockled snails;
Love’s tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in
For valour, is not love a Hercules,
Still climbing trees in the Hesperides?
Subtle as sphinx; as sweet and musical
As bright Apollo’s lute, strung with his hair?
And when love speaks the vice of all the gods
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.
Never durst poet touch a pen to write
Until his inke were temper’d with love’s sighs:
O, then his line would ravish savage ears,
And plant in tyrants mild humility.
From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right promethean fire;
They are the boos, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain, and nourish all the world,
Else none at all in aught proves excellent.
Then fools you were these women to forswear;
Or, keeping what is sworn, you will prove fools.
For wisdom’s sake.—a word that all men love
Or for love’s sake—a word that loves all men,
Or for men’s sake, the authors of these women,
Or women’s sake, by wgin we neb are men,
Let us once lose our oaths to find ourselves,
Or else we lose ourselves to keep our oaths:
It is religion to be thus forsworn;
For charity itself fulfils the law,
And who can sever love from charity?
King. Saint Cupid, the! and, soldiers, to
the filed! [them, lords;
Biron. Advance your standards, and upon
Pell-mell, down with them! but be first advis’d
In conflict that you get the sun of them
Long. Now to plain-dealing; lay these glozes
Shall we resolve to woo these girls of France?
King. And win them too: therefore let us
Some entertainment for them in their tents.
Biron. First, from the park let us conduct
Then homeward every man attach the hand
Of his fair mistress: in the afternoon
We will with some strange pastime solace them,
Such as the shortness of the time can shape;
For revels, dances, masks, and merry hours,
Forerun fair Love, strewing her way with
King. Away, away! no time shall be omitted,
That will be time, and may by us be fitted.
Biron. Allons! Allons!—Sow’d cockle reap’d
And justice always whirls in equal measure:
Light wenches may prove plagues to men for-
If so, our copper buys no better treasure.
(On 11/24/14 - Join me for the continuation of “Love’s Labour’s Lost”,
ACT V. SCENE I.—Another part of the Park.