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Love’s Labour’s Lost

BOYET, Lords, and other Attendants.
BOYETNow, madam, summon up your dearest spirits:
Consider who the king your father sends,
To whom he sends, and what’s his embassy:
Yourself, held precious in the world’s esteem, 5
To parley with the sole inheritor
Of all perfections that a man may owe,
Matchless Navarre; the plea of no less weight
Than Aquitaine, a dowry for a queen.
Be now as prodigal of all dear grace 10
As Nature was in making graces dear
When she did starve the general world beside
And prodigally gave them all to you.
PRINCESSGood Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,
Needs not the painted flourish of your praise: 15
Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye,
Not utter’d by base sale of chapmen’s tongues:
I am less proud to hear you tell my worth
Than you much willing to be counted wise
In spending your wit in the praise of mine. 20
But now to task the tasker: good Boyet,
You are not ignorant, all-telling fame
Doth noise abroad, Navarre hath made a vow,
Till painful study shall outwear three years,
No woman may approach his silent court: 25
Therefore to’s seemeth it a needful course,
Before we enter his forbidden gates,
To know his pleasure; and in that behalf,
Bold of your worthiness, we single you
As our best-moving fair solicitor. 30
Tell him, the daughter of the King of France,
On serious business, craving quick dispatch,
Importunes personal conference with his grace:
Haste, signify so much; while we attend,
Like humble-visaged suitors, his high will. 35
BOYETProud of employment, willingly I go.
PRINCESSAll pride is willing pride, and yours is so.
Who are the votaries, my loving lords,
That are vow-fellows with this virtuous duke?
First LordLord Longaville is one. 40
PRINCESSKnow you the man?
MARIAI know him, madam: at a marriage-feast,
Between Lord Perigort and the beauteous heir
Of Jaques Falconbridge, solemnized
In Normandy, saw I this Longaville: 45
A man of sovereign parts he is esteem’d;
Well fitted in arts, glorious in arms:
Nothing becomes him ill that he would well.
The only soil of his fair virtue’s gloss,
If virtue’s gloss will stain with any soil, 50
Is a sharp wit matched with too blunt a will;
Whose edge hath power to cut, whose will still wills
It should none spare that come within his power.
PRINCESSSome merry mocking lord, belike; is’t so?
MARIAThey say so most that most his humours know. 55
PRINCESSSuch short-lived wits do wither as they grow.
Who are the rest?
KATHARINEThe young Dumain, a well-accomplished youth,
Of all that virtue love for virtue loved:
Most power to do most harm, least knowing ill; 60
For he hath wit to make an ill shape good,
And shape to win grace though he had no wit.
I saw him at the Duke Alencon’s once;
And much too little of that good I saw
Is my report to his great worthiness. 65
ROSALINEAnother of these students at that time
Was there with him, if I have heard a truth.
Biron they call him; but a merrier man,
Within the limit of becoming mirth,
I never spent an hour’s talk withal: 70
His eye begets occasion for his wit;
For every object that the one doth catch
The other turns to a mirth-moving jest,
Which his fair tongue, conceit’s expositor,
Delivers in such apt and gracious words 75
That aged ears play truant at his tales
And younger hearings are quite ravished;
So sweet and voluble is his discourse.
PRINCESSGod bless my ladies! are they all in love,
That every one her own hath garnished 80
With such bedecking ornaments of praise?
First LordHere comes Boyet.
Re-enter BOYET.
PRINCESSNow, what admittance, lord?
BOYETNavarre had notice of your fair approach;
And he and his competitors in oath 85
Were all address’d to meet you, gentle lady,
Before I came. Marry, thus much I have learnt:
He rather means to lodge you in the field,
Like one that comes here to besiege his court,
Than seek a dispensation for his oath, 90
To let you enter his unpeopled house.
Here comes Navarre.
FERDINANDFair princess, welcome to the court of Navarre.
PRINCESS‘Fair’ I give you back again; and ‘welcome’ I have
not yet: the roof of this court is too high to be 95
yours; and welcome to the wide fields too base to be mine.
FERDINANDYou shall be welcome, madam, to my court.
PRINCESSI will be welcome, then: conduct me thither.
FERDINANDHear me, dear lady; I have sworn an oath.
PRINCESSOur Lady help my lord! he’ll be forsworn. 100
FERDINANDNot for the world, fair madam, by my will.
PRINCESSWhy, will shall break it; will and nothing else.
FERDINANDYour ladyship is ignorant what it is.
PRINCESSWere my lord so, his ignorance were wise,
Where now his knowledge must prove ignorance. 105
I hear your grace hath sworn out house-keeping:
Tis deadly sin to keep that oath, my lord,
And sin to break it.
But pardon me. I am too sudden-bold:
To teach a teacher ill beseemeth me. 110
Vouchsafe to read the purpose of my coming,
And suddenly resolve me in my suit.
FERDINANDMadam, I will, if suddenly I may.
PRINCESSYou will the sooner, that I were away;
For you’ll prove perjured if you make me stay. 115
BIRONDid not I dance with you in Brabant once?
ROSALINEDid not I dance with you in Brabant once?
BIRONI know you did.
ROSALINEHow needless was it then to ask the question!
BIRONYou must not be so quick. 120
ROSALINE‘Tis ‘long of you that spur me with such questions.
BIRONYour wit’s too hot, it speeds too fast, ’twill tire.
ROSALINENot till it leave the rider in the mire.
BIRONWhat time o’ day?
ROSALINEThe hour that fools should ask. 125
BIRONNow fair befall your mask!
ROSALINEFair fall the face it covers!
BIRONAnd send you many lovers!
ROSALINEAmen, so you be none.
BIRONNay, then will I be gone. 130
FERDINANDMadam, your father here doth intimate
The payment of a hundred thousand crowns;
Being but the one half of an entire sum
Disbursed by my father in his wars.
But say that he or we, as neither have, 135
Received that sum, yet there remains unpaid
A hundred thousand more; in surety of the which,
One part of Aquitaine is bound to us,
Although not valued to the money’s worth.
If then the king your father will restore 140
But that one half which is unsatisfied,
We will give up our right in Aquitaine,
And hold fair friendship with his majesty.
But that, it seems, he little purposeth,
For here he doth demand to have repaid 145
A hundred thousand crowns; and not demands,
On payment of a hundred thousand crowns,
To have his title live in Aquitaine;
Which we much rather had depart withal
And have the money by our father lent 150
Than Aquitaine so gelded as it is.
Dear Princess, were not his requests so far
From reason’s yielding, your fair self should make
A yielding ‘gainst some reason in my breast
And go well satisfied to France again. 155
PRINCESSYou do the king my father too much wrong
And wrong the reputation of your name,
In so unseeming to confess receipt
Of that which hath so faithfully been paid.
FERDINANDI do protest I never heard of it; 160
And if you prove it, I’ll repay it back
Or yield up Aquitaine.
PRINCESSWe arrest your word.
Boyet, you can produce acquittances
For such a sum from special officers 165
Of Charles his father.
FERDINANDSatisfy me so.
BOYETSo please your grace, the packet is not come
Where that and other specialties are bound:
To-morrow you shall have a sight of them. 170
FERDINANDIt shall suffice me: at which interview
All liberal reason I will yield unto.
Meantime receive such welcome at my hand
As honour without breach of honour may
Make tender of to thy true worthiness: 175
You may not come, fair princess, in my gates;
But here without you shall be so received
As you shall deem yourself lodged in my heart,
Though so denied fair harbour in my house.
Your own good thoughts excuse me, and farewell: 180
To-morrow shall we visit you again.
PRINCESSSweet health and fair desires consort your grace!
FERDINANDThy own wish wish I thee in every place!
BIRONLady, I will commend you to mine own heart.
ROSALINEPray you, do my commendations; I would be glad to see it. 185
BIRONI would you heard it groan.
ROSALINEIs the fool sick?
BIRONSick at the heart.
ROSALINEAlack, let it blood.
BIRONWould that do it good? 190
ROSALINEMy physic says ‘ay.’
BIRONWill you prick’t with your eye?
ROSALINENo point, with my knife.
BIRONNow, God save thy life!
ROSALINEAnd yours from long living! 195
BIRONI cannot stay thanksgiving.
DUMAINSir, I pray you, a word: what lady is that same?
BOYETThe heir of Alencon, Katharine her name.
DUMAINA gallant lady. Monsieur, fare you well.
LONGAVILLEI beseech you a word: what is she in the white? 200
BOYETA woman sometimes, an you saw her in the light.
LONGAVILLEPerchance light in the light. I desire her name.
BOYETShe hath but one for herself; to desire that were a shame.
LONGAVILLEPray you, sir, whose daughter?
BOYETHer mother’s, I have heard. 205
LONGAVILLEGod’s blessing on your beard!
BOYETGood sir, be not offended.
She is an heir of Falconbridge.
LONGAVILLENay, my choler is ended.
She is a most sweet lady. 210
BOYETNot unlike, sir, that may be.
BIRONWhat’s her name in the cap?
BOYETRosaline, by good hap.
BIRONIs she wedded or no?
BOYETTo her will, sir, or so. 215
BIRONYou are welcome, sir: adieu.
BOYETFarewell to me, sir, and welcome to you.
MARIAThat last is Biron, the merry madcap lord:
Not a word with him but a jest.
BOYETAnd every jest but a word. 220
PRINCESSIt was well done of you to take him at his word.
BOYETI was as willing to grapple as he was to board.
MARIATwo hot sheeps, marry.
BOYETAnd wherefore not ships?
No sheep, sweet lamb, unless we feed on your lips. 225
MARIAYou sheep, and I pasture: shall that finish the jest?
BOYETSo you grant pasture for me.
Offering to kiss her
MARIANot so, gentle beast:
My lips are no common, though several they be.
BOYETBelonging to whom? 230
MARIATo my fortunes and me.
PRINCESSGood wits will be jangling; but, gentles, agree:
This civil war of wits were much better used
On Navarre and his book-men; for here ’tis abused.
BOYETIf my observation, which very seldom lies, 235
By the heart’s still rhetoric disclosed with eyes,
Deceive me not now, Navarre is infected.
PRINCESSWith what?
BOYETWith that which we lovers entitle affected.
PRINCESSYour reason? 240
BOYETWhy, all his behaviors did make their retire
To the court of his eye, peeping thorough desire:
His heart, like an agate, with your print impress’d,
Proud with his form, in his eye pride express’d:
His tongue, all impatient to speak and not see, 245
Did stumble with haste in his eyesight to be;
All senses to that sense did make their repair,
To feel only looking on fairest of fair:
Methought all his senses were lock’d in his eye,
As jewels in crystal for some prince to buy; 250
Who, tendering their own worth from where they were glass’d,
Did point you to buy them, along as you pass’d:
His face’s own margent did quote such amazes
That all eyes saw his eyes enchanted with gazes.
I’ll give you Aquitaine and all that is his, 255
An you give him for my sake but one loving kiss.
PRINCESSCome to our pavilion: Boyet is disposed.
BOYETBut to speak that in words which his eye hath
I only have made a mouth of his eye, 260
By adding a tongue which I know will not lie.
ROSALINEThou art an old love-monger and speakest skilfully.
MARIAHe is Cupid’s grandfather and learns news of him.
ROSALINEThen was Venus like her mother, for her father is but grim.
BOYETDo you hear, my mad wenches? 265
BOYETWhat then, do you see?
ROSALINEAy, our way to be gone.
BOYETYou are too hard for me.

Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act 3, Scene 1