Shakespeare Piece of the Day: Love’s Labor’s Lost (7/18/16)

07/18/2016 — Leave a comment

Love’s Labour’s Lost, ACT I
SCENE I. The king of Navarre’s park.


Longaville The Nine Worthies

Enter FERDINAND king of Navarre, BIRON, LONGAVILLE and DUMAIN

FERDINAND
Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,
Live register’d upon our brazen tombs
And then grace us in the disgrace of death;
When, spite of cormorant devouring Time,
The endeavor of this present breath may buy
That honour which shall bate his scythe’s keen edge
And make us heirs of all eternity.
Therefore, brave conquerors,–for so you are,
That war against your own affections
And the huge army of the world’s desires,–
Our late edict shall strongly stand in force:
Navarre shall be the wonder of the world;
Our court shall be a little Academe,
Still and contemplative in living art.
You three, Biron, Dumain, and Longaville,
Have sworn for three years’ term to live with me
My fellow-scholars, and to keep those statutes
That are recorded in this schedule here:
Your oaths are pass’d; and now subscribe your names,
That his own hand may strike his honour down
That violates the smallest branch herein:
If you are arm’d to do as sworn to do,
Subscribe to your deep oaths, and keep it too.

LONGAVILLE
I am resolved; ’tis but a three years’ fast:
The mind shall banquet, though the body pine:
Fat paunches have lean pates, and dainty bits
Make rich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits.

DUMAIN
My loving lord, Dumain is mortified:
The grosser manner of these world’s delights
He throws upon the gross world’s baser slaves:
To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die;
With all these living in philosophy.

BIRON
I can but say their protestation over;
So much, dear liege, I have already sworn,
That is, to live and study here three years.
But there are other strict observances;
As, not to see a woman in that term,
Which I hope well is not enrolled there;
And one day in a week to touch no food
And but one meal on every day beside,
The which I hope is not enrolled there;
And then, to sleep but three hours in the night,
And not be seen to wink of all the day–
When I was wont to think no harm all night
And make a dark night too of half the day–
Which I hope well is not enrolled there:
O, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep,
Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep!

FERDINAND
Your oath is pass’d to pass away from these.

BIRON
Let me say no, my liege, an if you please:
I only swore to study with your grace
And stay here in your court for three years’ space.

LONGAVILLE
You swore to that, Biron, and to the rest.

BIRON
By yea and nay, sir, then I swore in jest.
What is the end of study? let me know.

FERDINAND
Why, that to know, which else we should not know.

BIRON
Things hid and barr’d, you mean, from common sense?

FERDINAND
Ay, that is study’s godlike recompense.

BIRON
Come on, then; I will swear to study so,
To know the thing I am forbid to know:
As thus,–to study where I well may dine,
When I to feast expressly am forbid;
Or study where to meet some mistress fine,
When mistresses from common sense are hid;
Or, having sworn too hard a keeping oath,
Study to break it and not break my troth.
If study’s gain be thus and this be so,
Study knows that which yet it doth not know:
Swear me to this, and I will ne’er say no.

FERDINAND
These be the stops that hinder study quite
And train our intellects to vain delight.

BIRON
Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain,
Which with pain purchased doth inherit pain:
As, painfully to pore upon a book
To seek the light of truth; while truth the while
Doth falsely blind the eyesight of his look:
Light seeking light doth light of light beguile:
So, ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes.
Study me how to please the eye indeed
By fixing it upon a fairer eye,
Who dazzling so, that eye shall be his heed
And give him light that it was blinded by.
Study is like the heaven’s glorious sun
That will not be deep-search’d with saucy looks:
Small have continual plodders ever won
Save base authority from others’ books
These earthly godfathers of heaven’s lights
That give a name to every fixed star
Have no more profit of their shining nights
Than those that walk and wot not what they are.
Too much to know is to know nought but fame;
And every godfather can give a name.

FERDINAND
How well he’s read, to reason against reading!

DUMAIN
Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding!

LONGAVILLE
He weeds the corn and still lets grow the weeding.

BIRON
The spring is near when green geese are a-breeding.

DUMAIN
How follows that?

BIRON
Fit in his place and time.

DUMAIN
In reason nothing.

BIRON
Something then in rhyme.

FERDINAND
Biron is like an envious sneaping frost,
That bites the first-born infants of the spring.

BIRON
Well, say I am; why should proud summer boast
Before the birds have any cause to sing?
Why should I joy in any abortive birth?
At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows.
So you, to study now it is too late,
Climb o’er the house to unlock the little gate.

FERDINAND
Well, sit you out: go home, Biron: adieu.

BIRON
No, my good lord; I have sworn to stay with you:
And though I have for barbarism spoke more
Than for that angel knowledge you can say,
Yet confident I’ll keep what I have swore
And bide the penance of each three years’ day.
Give me the paper; let me read the same;
And to the strict’st decrees I’ll write my name.

FERDINAND
How well this yielding rescues thee from shame!

BIRON
[Reads] ‘Item, That no woman shall come within a
mile of my court:’ Hath this been proclaimed?

LONGAVILLE
Four days ago.

BIRON
Let’s see the penalty.

Reads

‘On pain of losing her tongue.’ Who devised this penalty?

LONGAVILLE
Marry, that did I.

BIRON
Sweet lord, and why?

LONGAVILLE
To fright them hence with that dread penalty.

BIRON
A dangerous law against gentility!

Reads

‘Item, If any man be seen to talk with a woman
within the term of three years, he shall endure such
public shame as the rest of the court can possibly devise.’
This article, my liege, yourself must break;
For well you know here comes in embassy
The French king’s daughter with yourself to speak–
A maid of grace and complete majesty–
About surrender up of Aquitaine
To her decrepit, sick and bedrid father:
Therefore this article is made in vain,
Or vainly comes the admired princess hither.

FERDINAND
What say you, lords? Why, this was quite forgot.

BIRON
So study evermore is overshot:
While it doth study to have what it would
It doth forget to do the thing it should,
And when it hath the thing it hunteth most,
‘Tis won as towns with fire, so won, so lost.

FERDINAND
We must of force dispense with this decree;
She must lie here on mere necessity.

BIRON
Necessity will make us all forsworn
Three thousand times within this three years’ space;
For every man with his affects is born,
Not by might master’d but by special grace:
If I break faith, this word shall speak for me;
I am forsworn on ‘mere necessity.’
So to the laws at large I write my name:

Subscribes

And he that breaks them in the least degree
Stands in attainder of eternal shame:
Suggestions are to other as to me;
But I believe, although I seem so loath,
I am the last that will last keep his oath.
But is there no quick recreation granted?

FERDINAND
Ay, that there is. Our court, you know, is haunted
With a refined traveller of Spain;
A man in all the world’s new fashion planted,
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain;
One whom the music of his own vain tongue
Doth ravish like enchanting harmony;
A man of complements, whom right and wrong
Have chose as umpire of their mutiny:
This child of fancy, that Armado hight,
For interim to our studies shall relate
In high-born words the worth of many a knight
From tawny Spain lost in the world’s debate.
How you delight, my lords, I know not, I;
But, I protest, I love to hear him lie
And I will use him for my minstrelsy.

BIRON
Armado is a most illustrious wight,
A man of fire-new words, fashion’s own knight.

LONGAVILLE
Costard the swain and he shall be our sport;
And so to study, three years is but short.

Enter DULL with a letter, and COSTARD

DULL
Which is the duke’s own person?

BIRON
This, fellow: what wouldst?

DULL
I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his
grace’s tharborough: but I would see his own person
in flesh and blood.

BIRON
This is he.

DULL
Signior Arme–Arme–commends you. There’s villany
abroad: this letter will tell you more.

COSTARD
Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me.

FERDINAND
A letter from the magnificent Armado.

BIRON
How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.

LONGAVILLE
A high hope for a low heaven: God grant us patience!

BIRON
To hear? or forbear laughing?

LONGAVILLE
To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately; or to
forbear both.

BIRON
Well, sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to
climb in the merriness.

COSTARD
The matter is to me, sir, as concerning Jaquenetta.
The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.

BIRON
In what manner?

COSTARD
In manner and form following, sir; all those three:
I was seen with her in the manor-house, sitting with
her upon the form, and taken following her into the
park; which, put together, is in manner and form
following. Now, sir, for the manner,–it is the
manner of a man to speak to a woman: for the form,–
in some form.

BIRON
For the following, sir?

COSTARD
As it shall follow in my correction: and God defend
the right!

FERDINAND
Will you hear this letter with attention?

BIRON
As we would hear an oracle.

COSTARD
Such is the simplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.

FERDINAND
[Reads] ‘Great deputy, the welkin’s vicegerent and
sole dominator of Navarre, my soul’s earth’s god,
and body’s fostering patron.’

COSTARD
Not a word of Costard yet.

FERDINAND
[Reads] ‘So it is,’–

COSTARD
It may be so: but if he say it is so, he is, in
telling true, but so.

FERDINAND
Peace!

COSTARD
Be to me and every man that dares not fight!

FERDINAND
No words!

COSTARD
Of other men’s secrets, I beseech you.

FERDINAND
[Reads] ‘So it is, besieged with sable-coloured
melancholy, I did commend the black-oppressing humour
to the most wholesome physic of thy health-giving
air; and, as I am a gentleman, betook myself to
walk. The time when. About the sixth hour; when
beasts most graze, birds best peck, and men sit down
to that nourishment which is called supper: so much
for the time when. Now for the ground which; which,
I mean, I walked upon: it is y-cleped thy park. Then
for the place where; where, I mean, I did encounter
that obscene and preposterous event, that draweth
from my snow-white pen the ebon-coloured ink, which
here thou viewest, beholdest, surveyest, or seest;
but to the place where; it standeth north-north-east
and by east from the west corner of thy curious-
knotted garden: there did I see that low-spirited
swain, that base minnow of thy mirth,’–

COSTARD
Me?

FERDINAND
[Reads] ‘that unlettered small-knowing soul,’–

COSTARD
Me?

FERDINAND
[Reads] ‘that shallow vassal,’–

COSTARD
Still me?

FERDINAND
[Reads] ‘which, as I remember, hight Costard,’–

COSTARD
O, me!

FERDINAND
[Reads] ‘sorted and consorted, contrary to thy
established proclaimed edict and continent canon,
which with,–O, with–but with this I passion to say
wherewith,–

COSTARD
With a wench.

FERDINAND
[Reads] ‘with a child of our grandmother Eve, a
female; or, for thy more sweet understanding, a
woman. Him I, as my ever-esteemed duty pricks me on,
have sent to thee, to receive the meed of
punishment, by thy sweet grace’s officer, Anthony
Dull; a man of good repute, carriage, bearing, and
estimation.’

DULL
‘Me, an’t shall please you; I am Anthony Dull.

FERDINAND
[Reads] ‘For Jaquenetta,–so is the weaker vessel
called which I apprehended with the aforesaid
swain,–I keep her as a vessel of the law’s fury;
and shall, at the least of thy sweet notice, bring
her to trial. Thine, in all compliments of devoted
and heart-burning heat of duty.
DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO.’

BIRON
This is not so well as I looked for, but the best
that ever I heard.

FERDINAND
Ay, the best for the worst. But, sirrah, what say
you to this?

COSTARD
Sir, I confess the wench.

FERDINAND
Did you hear the proclamation?

COSTARD
I do confess much of the hearing it but little of
the marking of it.

FERDINAND
It was proclaimed a year’s imprisonment, to be taken
with a wench.

COSTARD
I was taken with none, sir: I was taken with a damsel.

FERDINAND
Well, it was proclaimed ‘damsel.’

COSTARD
This was no damsel, neither, sir; she was a virgin.

FERDINAND
It is so varied, too; for it was proclaimed ‘virgin.’

COSTARD
If it were, I deny her virginity: I was taken with a maid.

FERDINAND
This maid will not serve your turn, sir.

COSTARD
This maid will serve my turn, sir.

FERDINAND
Sir, I will pronounce your sentence: you shall fast
a week with bran and water.

COSTARD
I had rather pray a month with mutton and porridge.

FERDINAND
And Don Armado shall be your keeper.
My Lord Biron, see him deliver’d o’er:
And go we, lords, to put in practise that
Which each to other hath so strongly sworn.

Exeunt FERDINAND, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAIN

BIRON
I’ll lay my head to any good man’s hat,
These oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn.
Sirrah, come on.

COSTARD
I suffer for the truth, sir; for true it is, I was
taken with Jaquenetta, and Jaquenetta is a true
girl; and therefore welcome the sour cup of
prosperity! Affliction may one day smile again; and
till then, sit thee down, sorrow!

Exeunt

LOVE’S LABOURS LOST

SCENE II. The same.

Enter DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO and MOTH
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Boy, what sign is it when a man of great spirit
grows melancholy?

MOTH
A great sign, sir, that he will look sad.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Why, sadness is one and the self-same thing, dear imp.

MOTH
No, no; O Lord, sir, no.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
How canst thou part sadness and melancholy, my
tender juvenal?

MOTH
By a familiar demonstration of the working, my tough senior.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Why tough senior? why tough senior?

MOTH
Why tender juvenal? why tender juvenal?
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
I spoke it, tender juvenal, as a congruent epitheton
appertaining to thy young days, which we may
nominate tender.

MOTH
And I, tough senior, as an appertinent title to your
old time, which we may name tough.
DON ADRIANO DE

ARMADO
Pretty and apt.

MOTH
How mean you, sir? I pretty, and my saying apt? or
I apt, and my saying pretty?
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Thou pretty, because little.

MOTH
Little pretty, because little. Wherefore apt?
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
And therefore apt, because quick.

MOTH
Speak you this in my praise, master?
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
In thy condign praise.

MOTH
I will praise an eel with the same praise.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
What, that an eel is ingenious?

MOTH
That an eel is quick.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
I do say thou art quick in answers: thou heatest my blood.

MOTH
I am answered, sir.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
I love not to be crossed.

MOTH
[Aside] He speaks the mere contrary; crosses love not him.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
I have promised to study three years with the duke.

MOTH
You may do it in an hour, sir.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Impossible.

MOTH
How many is one thrice told?
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
I am ill at reckoning; it fitteth the spirit of a tapster.

MOTH
You are a gentleman and a gamester, sir.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
I confess both: they are both the varnish of a
complete man.

MOTH
Then, I am sure, you know how much the gross sum of
deuce-ace amounts to.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
It doth amount to one more than two.

MOTH
Which the base vulgar do call three.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
True.

MOTH
Why, sir, is this such a piece of study? Now here
is three studied, ere ye’ll thrice wink: and how
easy it is to put ‘years’ to the word ‘three,’ and
study three years in two words, the dancing horse
will tell you.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
A most fine figure!

MOTH
To prove you a cipher.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
I will hereupon confess I am in love: and as it is
base for a soldier to love, so am I in love with a
base wench. If drawing my sword against the humour
of affection would deliver me from the reprobate
thought of it, I would take Desire prisoner, and
ransom him to any French courtier for a new-devised
courtesy. I think scorn to sigh: methinks I should
outswear Cupid. Comfort, me, boy: what great men
have been in love?

MOTH
Hercules, master.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Most sweet Hercules! More authority, dear boy, name
more; and, sweet my child, let them be men of good
repute and carriage.

MOTH
Samson, master: he was a man of good carriage, great
carriage, for he carried the town-gates on his back
like a porter: and he was in love.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
O well-knit Samson! strong-jointed Samson! I do
excel thee in my rapier as much as thou didst me in
carrying gates. I am in love too. Who was Samson’s
love, my dear Moth?

MOTH
A woman, master.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Of what complexion?

MOTH
Of all the four, or the three, or the two, or one of the four.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Tell me precisely of what complexion.

MOTH
Of the sea-water green, sir.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Is that one of the four complexions?

MOTH
As I have read, sir; and the best of them too.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Green indeed is the colour of lovers; but to have a
love of that colour, methinks Samson had small reason
for it. He surely affected her for her wit.

MOTH
It was so, sir; for she had a green wit.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
My love is most immaculate white and red.

MOTH
Most maculate thoughts, master, are masked under
such colours.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Define, define, well-educated infant.

MOTH
My father’s wit and my mother’s tongue, assist me!
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Sweet invocation of a child; most pretty and
pathetical!

MOTH
If she be made of white and red,
Her faults will ne’er be known,
For blushing cheeks by faults are bred
And fears by pale white shown:
Then if she fear, or be to blame,
By this you shall not know,
For still her cheeks possess the same
Which native she doth owe.
A dangerous rhyme, master, against the reason of
white and red.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Is there not a ballad, boy, of the King and the Beggar?

MOTH
The world was very guilty of such a ballad some
three ages since: but I think now ’tis not to be
found; or, if it were, it would neither serve for
the writing nor the tune.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
I will have that subject newly writ o’er, that I may
example my digression by some mighty precedent.
Boy, I do love that country girl that I took in the
park with the rational hind Costard: she deserves well.

MOTH
[Aside] To be whipped; and yet a better love than
my master.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Sing, boy; my spirit grows heavy in love.

MOTH
And that’s great marvel, loving a light wench.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
I say, sing.

MOTH
Forbear till this company be past.

Enter DULL, COSTARD, and JAQUENETTA

DULL
Sir, the duke’s pleasure is, that you keep Costard
safe: and you must suffer him to take no delight
nor no penance; but a’ must fast three days a week.
For this damsel, I must keep her at the park: she
is allowed for the day-woman. Fare you well.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
I do betray myself with blushing. Maid!

JAQUENETTA
Man?
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
I will visit thee at the lodge.

JAQUENETTA
That’s hereby.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
I know where it is situate.

JAQUENETTA
Lord, how wise you are!
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
I will tell thee wonders.

JAQUENETTA
With that face?
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
I love thee.

JAQUENETTA
So I heard you say.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
And so, farewell.

JAQUENETTA
Fair weather after you!

DULL
Come, Jaquenetta, away!

Exeunt DULL and JAQUENETTA

DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Villain, thou shalt fast for thy offences ere thou
be pardoned.

COSTARD
Well, sir, I hope, when I do it, I shall do it on a
full stomach.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Thou shalt be heavily punished.

COSTARD
I am more bound to you than your fellows, for they
are but lightly rewarded.
DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
Take away this villain; shut him up.

MOTH
Come, you transgressing slave; away!

COSTARD
Let me not be pent up, sir: I will fast, being loose.

MOTH
No, sir; that were fast and loose: thou shalt to prison.

COSTARD
Well, if ever I do see the merry days of desolation
that I have seen, some shall see.

MOTH
What shall some see?

COSTARD
Nay, nothing, Master Moth, but what they look upon.
It is not for prisoners to be too silent in their
words; and therefore I will say nothing: I thank
God I have as little patience as another man; and
therefore I can be quiet.

Exeunt MOTH and COSTARD

DON

ADRIANO DE ARMADO
I do affect the very ground, which is base, where
her shoe, which is baser, guided by her foot, which
is basest, doth tread. I shall be forsworn, which
is a great argument of falsehood, if I love. And
how can that be true love which is falsely
attempted? Love is a familiar; Love is a devil:
there is no evil angel but Love. Yet was Samson so
tempted, and he had an excellent strength; yet was
Solomon so seduced, and he had a very good wit.
Cupid’s butt-shaft is too hard for Hercules’ club;
and therefore too much odds for a Spaniard’s rapier.
The first and second cause will not serve my turn;
the passado he respects not, the duello he regards
not: his disgrace is to be called boy; but his
glory is to subdue men. Adieu, valour! rust rapier!
be still, drum! for your manager is in love; yea,
he loveth. Assist me, some extemporal god of rhyme,
for I am sure I shall turn sonnet. Devise, wit;
write, pen; for I am for whole volumes in folio.

Exit

LOVE’S LABOURS LOST

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