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Love’s Labours Lost

PRINCESSSweet hearts, we shall be rich ere we depart,
If fairings come thus plentifully in:
A lady wall’d about with diamonds!
Look you what I have from the loving king. 5
ROSALINEMadame, came nothing else along with that?
PRINCESSNothing but this! yes, as much love in rhyme
As would be cramm’d up in a sheet of paper,
Writ o’ both sides the leaf, margent and all,
That he was fain to seal on Cupid’s name. 10
ROSALINEThat was the way to make his godhead wax,
For he hath been five thousand years a boy.
KATHARINEAy, and a shrewd unhappy gallows too.
ROSALINEYou’ll ne’er be friends with him; a’ kill’d your sister.
KATHARINEHe made her melancholy, sad, and heavy; 15
And so she died: had she been light, like you,
Of such a merry, nimble, stirring spirit,
She might ha’ been a grandam ere she died:
And so may you; for a light heart lives long.
ROSALINEWhat’s your dark meaning, mouse, of this light word? 20
KATHARINEA light condition in a beauty dark.
ROSALINEWe need more light to find your meaning out.
KATHARINEYou’ll mar the light by taking it in snuff;
Therefore I’ll darkly end the argument.
ROSALINELook what you do, you do it still i’ the dark. 25
KATHARINESo do not you, for you are a light wench.
ROSALINEIndeed I weigh not you, and therefore light.
KATHARINEYou weigh me not? O, that’s you care not for me.
ROSALINEGreat reason; for ‘past cure is still past care.’
PRINCESSWell bandied both; a set of wit well play’d. 30
But Rosaline, you have a favour too:
Who sent it? and what is it?
ROSALINEI would you knew:
An if my face were but as fair as yours,
My favour were as great; be witness this. 35
Nay, I have verses too, I thank Biron:
The numbers true; and, were the numbering too,
I were the fairest goddess on the ground:
I am compared to twenty thousand fairs.
O, he hath drawn my picture in his letter! 40
PRINCESSAny thing like?
ROSALINEMuch in the letters; nothing in the praise.
PRINCESSBeauteous as ink; a good conclusion.
KATHARINEFair as a text B in a copy-book.
ROSALINE‘Ware pencils, ho! let me not die your debtor, 45
My red dominical, my golden letter:
O, that your face were not so full of O’s!
KATHARINEA pox of that jest! and I beshrew all shrows.
PRINCESSBut, Katharine, what was sent to you from fair Dumain?
KATHARINEMadam, this glove. 50
PRINCESSDid he not send you twain?
KATHARINEYes, madam, and moreover
Some thousand verses of a faithful lover,
A huge translation of hypocrisy,
Vilely compiled, profound simplicity. 55
MARIAThis and these pearls to me sent Longaville:
The letter is too long by half a mile.
PRINCESSI think no less. Dost thou not wish in heart
The chain were longer and the letter short?
MARIAAy, or I would these hands might never part. 60
PRINCESSWe are wise girls to mock our lovers so.
ROSALINEThey are worse fools to purchase mocking so.
That same Biron I’ll torture ere I go:
O that I knew he were but in by the week!
How I would make him fawn and beg and seek 65
And wait the season and observe the times
And spend his prodigal wits in bootless rhymes
And shape his service wholly to my hests
And make him proud to make me proud that jests!
So perttaunt-like would I o’ersway his state 70
That he should be my fool and I his fate.
PRINCESSNone are so surely caught, when they are catch’d,
As wit turn’d fool: folly, in wisdom hatch’d,
Hath wisdom’s warrant and the help of school
And wit’s own grace to grace a learned fool. 75
ROSALINEThe blood of youth burns not with such excess
As gravity’s revolt to wantonness.
MARIAFolly in fools bears not so strong a note
As foolery in the wise, when wit doth dote;
Since all the power thereof it doth apply 80
To prove, by wit, worth in simplicity.
PRINCESSHere comes Boyet, and mirth is in his face.
BOYETO, I am stabb’d with laughter! Where’s her grace?
PRINCESSThy news Boyet?
BOYETPrepare, madam, prepare! 85
Arm, wenches, arm! encounters mounted are
Against your peace: Love doth approach disguised,
Armed in arguments; you’ll be surprised:
Muster your wits; stand in your own defence;
Or hide your heads like cowards, and fly hence. 90
PRINCESSSaint Denis to Saint Cupid! What are they
That charge their breath against us? say, scout, say.
BOYETUnder the cool shade of a sycamore
I thought to close mine eyes some half an hour;
When, lo! to interrupt my purposed rest, 95
Toward that shade I might behold addrest
The king and his companions: warily
I stole into a neighbour thicket by,
And overheard what you shall overhear,
That, by and by, disguised they will be here. 100
Their herald is a pretty knavish page,
That well by heart hath conn’d his embassage:
Action and accent did they teach him there;
‘Thus must thou speak,’ and ‘thus thy body bear:’
And ever and anon they made a doubt 105
Presence majestical would put him out,
‘For,’ quoth the king, ‘an angel shalt thou see;
Yet fear not thou, but speak audaciously.’
The boy replied, ‘An angel is not evil;
I should have fear’d her had she been a devil.’ 110
With that, all laugh’d and clapp’d him on the shoulder,
Making the bold wag by their praises bolder:
One rubb’d his elbow thus, and fleer’d and swore
A better speech was never spoke before;
Another, with his finger and his thumb, 115
Cried, ‘Via! we will do’t, come what will come;’
The third he caper’d, and cried, ‘All goes well;’
The fourth turn’d on the toe, and down he fell.
With that, they all did tumble on the ground,
With such a zealous laughter, so profound, 120
That in this spleen ridiculous appears,
To cheque their folly, passion’s solemn tears.
PRINCESSBut what, but what, come they to visit us?
BOYETThey do, they do: and are apparell’d thus.
Like Muscovites or Russians, as I guess. 125
Their purpose is to parle, to court and dance;
And every one his love-feat will advance
Unto his several mistress, which they’ll know
By favours several which they did bestow.
PRINCESSAnd will they so? the gallants shall be task’d; 130
For, ladies, we shall every one be mask’d;
And not a man of them shall have the grace,
Despite of suit, to see a lady’s face.
Hold, Rosaline, this favour thou shalt wear,
And then the king will court thee for his dear; 135
Hold, take thou this, my sweet, and give me thine,
So shall Biron take me for Rosaline.
And change your favours too; so shall your loves
Woo contrary, deceived by these removes.
ROSALINECome on, then; wear the favours most in sight. 140
KATHARINEBut in this changing what is your intent?
PRINCESSThe effect of my intent is to cross theirs:
They do it but in mocking merriment;
And mock for mock is only my intent.
Their several counsels they unbosom shall 145
To loves mistook, and so be mock’d withal
Upon the next occasion that we meet,
With visages displayed, to talk and greet.
ROSALINEBut shall we dance, if they desire to’t?
PRINCESSNo, to the death, we will not move a foot; 150
Nor to their penn’d speech render we no grace,
But while ’tis spoke each turn away her face.
BOYETWhy, that contempt will kill the speaker’s heart,
And quite divorce his memory from his part.
PRINCESSTherefore I do it; and I make no doubt 155
The rest will ne’er come in, if he be out
There’s no such sport as sport by sport o’erthrown,
To make theirs ours and ours none but our own:
So shall we stay, mocking intended game,
And they, well mock’d, depart away with shame. 160
Trumpets sound within
BOYETThe trumpet sounds: be mask’d; the maskers come.
The Ladies mask
Enter Blackamoors with music; MOTH; FERDINAND,BIRON, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAIN, in Russian habits,and masked
MOTHAll hail, the richest beauties on the earth!–
BOYETBeauties no richer than rich taffeta.
MOTHA holy parcel of the fairest dames.
The Ladies turn their backs to him
That ever turn’d their–backs–to mortal views! 165
MOTHThat ever turn’d their eyes to mortal views!–Out–
BOYETTrue; out indeed.
MOTHOut of your favours, heavenly spirits, vouchsafe
Not to behold–
MOTHOnce to behold with your sun-beamed eyes, 170
–with your sun-beamed eyes–
BOYETThey will not answer to that epithet;
You were best call it ‘daughter-beamed eyes.’
MOTHThey do not mark me, and that brings me out.
BIRONIs this your perfectness? be gone, you rogue! 175
ROSALINEWhat would these strangers? know their minds, Boyet:
If they do speak our language, ’tis our will:
That some plain man recount their purposes
Know what they would.
BOYETWhat would you with the princess? 180
BIRONNothing but peace and gentle visitation.
ROSALINEWhat would they, say they?
BOYETNothing but peace and gentle visitation.
ROSALINEWhy, that they have; and bid them so be gone.
BOYETShe says, you have it, and you may be gone. 185
FERDINANDSay to her, we have measured many miles
To tread a measure with her on this grass.
BOYETThey say, that they have measured many a mile
To tread a measure with you on this grass.
ROSALINEIt is not so. Ask them how many inches 190
Is in one mile: if they have measured many,
The measure then of one is easily told.
BOYETIf to come hither you have measured miles,
And many miles, the princess bids you tell
How many inches doth fill up one mile. 195
BIRONTell her, we measure them by weary steps.
BOYETShe hears herself.
ROSALINEHow many weary steps,
Of many weary miles you have o’ergone,
Are number’d in the travel of one mile? 200
BIRONWe number nothing that we spend for you:
Our duty is so rich, so infinite,
That we may do it still without accompt.
Vouchsafe to show the sunshine of your face,
That we, like savages, may worship it. 205
ROSALINEMy face is but a moon, and clouded too.
FERDINANDBlessed are clouds, to do as such clouds do!
Vouchsafe, bright moon, and these thy stars, to shine,
Those clouds removed, upon our watery eyne.
ROSALINEO vain petitioner! beg a greater matter; 210
Thou now request’st but moonshine in the water.
FERDINANDThen, in our measure do but vouchsafe one change.
Thou bid’st me beg: this begging is not strange.
ROSALINEPlay, music, then! Nay, you must do it soon.
Music plays
Not yet! no dance! Thus change I like the moon. 215
FERDINANDWill you not dance? How come you thus estranged?
ROSALINEYou took the moon at full, but now she’s changed.
FERDINANDYet still she is the moon, and I the man.
The music plays; vouchsafe some motion to it.
ROSALINEOur ears vouchsafe it. 220
FERDINANDBut your legs should do it.
ROSALINESince you are strangers and come here by chance,
We’ll not be nice: take hands. We will not dance.
FERDINANDWhy take we hands, then?
ROSALINEOnly to part friends: 225
Curtsy, sweet hearts; and so the measure ends.
FERDINANDMore measure of this measure; be not nice.
ROSALINEWe can afford no more at such a price.
FERDINANDPrize you yourselves: what buys your company?
ROSALINEYour absence only. 230
FERDINANDThat can never be.
ROSALINEThen cannot we be bought: and so, adieu;
Twice to your visor, and half once to you.
FERDINANDIf you deny to dance, let’s hold more chat.
ROSALINEIn private, then. 235
FERDINANDI am best pleased with that.
They converse apart
BIRONWhite-handed mistress, one sweet word with thee.
PRINCESSHoney, and milk, and sugar; there is three.
BIRONNay then, two treys, and if you grow so nice,
Metheglin, wort, and malmsey: well run, dice! 240
There’s half-a-dozen sweets.
PRINCESSSeventh sweet, adieu:
Since you can cog, I’ll play no more with you.
BIRONOne word in secret.
PRINCESSLet it not be sweet. 245
BIRONThou grievest my gall.
PRINCESSGall! bitter.
BIRONTherefore meet.
They converse apart
DUMAINWill you vouchsafe with me to change a word?
MARIAName it. 250
DUMAINFair lady,–
MARIASay you so? Fair lord,–
Take that for your fair lady.
DUMAINPlease it you,
As much in private, and I’ll bid adieu. 255
They converse apart
KATHARINEWhat, was your vizard made without a tongue?
LONGAVILLEI know the reason, lady, why you ask.
KATHARINEO for your reason! quickly, sir; I long.
LONGAVILLEYou have a double tongue within your mask,
And would afford my speechless vizard half. 260
KATHARINEVeal, quoth the Dutchman. Is not ‘veal’ a calf?
LONGAVILLEA calf, fair lady!
KATHARINENo, a fair lord calf.
LONGAVILLELet’s part the word.
KATHARINENo, I’ll not be your half 265
Take all, and wean it; it may prove an ox.
LONGAVILLELook, how you butt yourself in these sharp mocks!
Will you give horns, chaste lady? do not so.
KATHARINEThen die a calf, before your horns do grow.
LONGAVILLEOne word in private with you, ere I die. 270
KATHARINEBleat softly then; the butcher hears you cry.
They converse apart
BOYETThe tongues of mocking wenches are as keen
As is the razor’s edge invisible,
Cutting a smaller hair than may be seen,
Above the sense of sense; so sensible 275
Seemeth their conference; their conceits have wings
Fleeter than arrows, bullets, wind, thought, swifter things.
ROSALINENot one word more, my maids; break off, break off.
BIRONBy heaven, all dry-beaten with pure scoff!
FERDINANDFarewell, mad wenches; you have simple wits. 280
PRINCESSTwenty adieus, my frozen Muscovits.
Exeunt FERDINAND, Lords, and Blackamoors
Are these the breed of wits so wonder’d at?
BOYETTapers they are, with your sweet breaths puff’d out.
ROSALINEWell-liking wits they have; gross, gross; fat, fat.
PRINCESSO poverty in wit, kingly-poor flout! 285
Will they not, think you, hang themselves tonight?
Or ever, but in vizards, show their faces?
This pert Biron was out of countenance quite.
ROSALINEO, they were all in lamentable cases!
The king was weeping-ripe for a good word. 290
PRINCESSBiron did swear himself out of all suit.
MARIADumain was at my service, and his sword:
No point, quoth I; my servant straight was mute.
KATHARINELord Longaville said, I came o’er his heart;
And trow you what he called me? 295
PRINCESSQualm, perhaps.
KATHARINEYes, in good faith.
PRINCESSGo, sickness as thou art!
ROSALINEWell, better wits have worn plain statute-caps.
But will you hear? the king is my love sworn. 300
PRINCESSAnd quick Biron hath plighted faith to me.
KATHARINEAnd Longaville was for my service born.
MARIADumain is mine, as sure as bark on tree.
BOYETMadam, and pretty mistresses, give ear:
Immediately they will again be here 305
In their own shapes; for it can never be
They will digest this harsh indignity.
PRINCESSWill they return?
BOYETThey will, they will, God knows,
And leap for joy, though they are lame with blows: 310
Therefore change favours; and, when they repair,
Blow like sweet roses in this summer air.
PRINCESSHow blow? how blow? speak to be understood.
BOYETFair ladies mask’d are roses in their bud;
Dismask’d, their damask sweet commixture shown, 315
Are angels vailing clouds, or roses blown.
PRINCESSAvaunt, perplexity! What shall we do,
If they return in their own shapes to woo?
ROSALINEGood madam, if by me you’ll be advised,
Let’s, mock them still, as well known as disguised: 320
Let us complain to them what fools were here,
Disguised like Muscovites, in shapeless gear;
And wonder what they were and to what end
Their shallow shows and prologue vilely penn’d
And their rough carriage so ridiculous, 325
Should be presented at our tent to us.
BOYETLadies, withdraw: the gallants are at hand.
PRINCESSWhip to our tents, as roes run o’er land.
Re-enter FERDINAND, BIRON, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAIN,in their proper habits
FERDINANDFair sir, God save you! Where’s the princess?
BOYETGone to her tent. Please it your majesty 330
Command me any service to her thither?
FERDINANDThat she vouchsafe me audience for one word.
BOYETI will; and so will she, I know, my lord.
BIRONThis fellow pecks up wit as pigeons pease,
And utters it again when God doth please: 335
He is wit’s pedler, and retails his wares
At wakes and wassails, meetings, markets, fairs;
And we that sell by gross, the Lord doth know,
Have not the grace to grace it with such show.
This gallant pins the wenches on his sleeve; 340
Had he been Adam, he had tempted Eve;
A’ can carve too, and lisp: why, this is he
That kiss’d his hand away in courtesy;
This is the ape of form, monsieur the nice,
That, when he plays at tables, chides the dice 345
In honourable terms: nay, he can sing
A mean most meanly; and in ushering
Mend him who can: the ladies call him sweet;
The stairs, as he treads on them, kiss his feet:
This is the flower that smiles on every one, 350
To show his teeth as white as whale’s bone;
And consciences, that will not die in debt,
Pay him the due of honey-tongued Boyet.
FERDINANDA blister on his sweet tongue, with my heart,
That put Armado’s page out of his part! 355
BIRONSee where it comes! Behavior, what wert thou
Till this madman show’d thee? and what art thou now?
FERDINANDAll hail, sweet madam, and fair time of day!
PRINCESS‘Fair’ in ‘all hail’ is foul, as I conceive.
FERDINANDConstrue my speeches better, if you may. 360
PRINCESSThen wish me better; I will give you leave.
FERDINANDWe came to visit you, and purpose now
To lead you to our court; vouchsafe it then.
PRINCESSThis field shall hold me; and so hold your vow:
Nor God, nor I, delights in perjured men. 365
FERDINANDRebuke me not for that which you provoke:
The virtue of your eye must break my oath.
PRINCESSYou nickname virtue; vice you should have spoke;
For virtue’s office never breaks men’s troth.
Now by my maiden honour, yet as pure 370
As the unsullied lily, I protest,
A world of torments though I should endure,
I would not yield to be your house’s guest;
So much I hate a breaking cause to be
Of heavenly oaths, vow’d with integrity. 375
FERDINANDO, you have lived in desolation here,
Unseen, unvisited, much to our shame.
PRINCESSNot so, my lord; it is not so, I swear;
We have had pastimes here and pleasant game:
A mess of Russians left us but of late. 380
FERDINANDHow, madam! Russians!
PRINCESSAy, in truth, my lord;
Trim gallants, full of courtship and of state.
ROSALINEMadam, speak true. It is not so, my lord:
My lady, to the manner of the days, 385
In courtesy gives undeserving praise.
We four indeed confronted were with four
In Russian habit: here they stay’d an hour,
And talk’d apace; and in that hour, my lord,
They did not bless us with one happy word. 390
I dare not call them fools; but this I think,
When they are thirsty, fools would fain have drink.
BIRONThis jest is dry to me. Fair gentle sweet,
Your wit makes wise things foolish: when we greet,
With eyes best seeing, heaven’s fiery eye, 395
By light we lose light: your capacity
Is of that nature that to your huge store
Wise things seem foolish and rich things but poor.
ROSALINEThis proves you wise and rich, for in my eye,–
BIRONI am a fool, and full of poverty. 400
ROSALINEBut that you take what doth to you belong,
It were a fault to snatch words from my tongue.
BIRONO, I am yours, and all that I possess!
ROSALINEAll the fool mine?
BIRONI cannot give you less. 405
ROSALINEWhich of the vizards was it that you wore?
BIRONWhere? when? what vizard? why demand you this?
ROSALINEThere, then, that vizard; that superfluous case
That hid the worse and show’d the better face.
FERDINANDWe are descried; they’ll mock us now downright. 410
DUMAINLet us confess and turn it to a jest.
PRINCESSAmazed, my lord? why looks your highness sad?
ROSALINEHelp, hold his brows! he’ll swoon! Why look you pale?
Sea-sick, I think, coming from Muscovy.
BIRONThus pour the stars down plagues for perjury. 415
Can any face of brass hold longer out?
Here stand I lady, dart thy skill at me;
Bruise me with scorn, confound me with a flout;
Thrust thy sharp wit quite through my ignorance;
Cut me to pieces with thy keen conceit; 420
And I will wish thee never more to dance,
Nor never more in Russian habit wait.
O, never will I trust to speeches penn’d,
Nor to the motion of a schoolboy’s tongue,
Nor never come in vizard to my friend, 425
Nor woo in rhyme, like a blind harper’s song!
Taffeta phrases, silken terms precise,
Three-piled hyperboles, spruce affectation,
Figures pedantical; these summer-flies
Have blown me full of maggot ostentation: 430
I do forswear them; and I here protest,
By this white glove;–how white the hand, God knows!–
Henceforth my wooing mind shall be express’d
In russet yeas and honest kersey noes:
And, to begin, wench,–so God help me, la!– 435
My love to thee is sound, sans crack or flaw.
ROSALINESans sans, I pray you.
BIRONYet I have a trick
Of the old rage: bear with me, I am sick;
I’ll leave it by degrees. Soft, let us see: 440
Write, ‘Lord have mercy on us’ on those three;
They are infected; in their hearts it lies;
They have the plague, and caught it of your eyes;
These lords are visited; you are not free,
For the Lord’s tokens on you do I see. 445
PRINCESSNo, they are free that gave these tokens to us.
BIRONOur states are forfeit: seek not to undo us.
ROSALINEIt is not so; for how can this be true,
That you stand forfeit, being those that sue?
BIRONPeace! for I will not have to do with you. 450
ROSALINENor shall not, if I do as I intend.
BIRONSpeak for yourselves; my wit is at an end.
FERDINANDTeach us, sweet madam, for our rude transgression
Some fair excuse.
PRINCESSThe fairest is confession. 455
Were not you here but even now disguised?
FERDINANDMadam, I was.
PRINCESSAnd were you well advised?
FERDINANDI was, fair madam.
PRINCESSWhen you then were here, 460
What did you whisper in your lady’s ear?
FERDINANDThat more than all the world I did respect her.
PRINCESSWhen she shall challenge this, you will reject her.
FERDINANDUpon mine honour, no.
PRINCESSPeace, peace! forbear: 465
Your oath once broke, you force not to forswear.
FERDINANDDespise me, when I break this oath of mine.
PRINCESSI will: and therefore keep it. Rosaline,
What did the Russian whisper in your ear?
ROSALINEMadam, he swore that he did hold me dear 470
As precious eyesight, and did value me
Above this world; adding thereto moreover
That he would wed me, or else die my lover.
PRINCESSGod give thee joy of him! the noble lord
Most honourably doth unhold his word. 475
FERDINANDWhat mean you, madam? by my life, my troth,
I never swore this lady such an oath.
ROSALINEBy heaven, you did; and to confirm it plain,
You gave me this: but take it, sir, again.
FERDINANDMy faith and this the princess I did give: 480
I knew her by this jewel on her sleeve.
PRINCESSPardon me, sir, this jewel did she wear;
And Lord Biron, I thank him, is my dear.
What, will you have me, or your pearl again?
BIRONNeither of either; I remit both twain. 485
I see the trick on’t: here was a consent,
Knowing aforehand of our merriment,
To dash it like a Christmas comedy:
Some carry-tale, some please-man, some slight zany,
Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some Dick, 490
That smiles his cheek in years and knows the trick
To make my lady laugh when she’s disposed,
Told our intents before; which once disclosed,
The ladies did change favours: and then we,
Following the signs, woo’d but the sign of she. 495
Now, to our perjury to add more terror,
We are again forsworn, in will and error.
Much upon this it is: and might not you
Forestall our sport, to make us thus untrue?
Do not you know my lady’s foot by the squier, 500
And laugh upon the apple of her eye?
And stand between her back, sir, and the fire,
Holding a trencher, jesting merrily?
You put our page out: go, you are allow’d;
Die when you will, a smock shall be your shroud. 505
You leer upon me, do you? there’s an eye
Wounds like a leaden sword.
BOYETFull merrily
Hath this brave manage, this career, been run.
BIRONLo, he is tilting straight! Peace! I have done. 510
Welcome, pure wit! thou partest a fair fray.
COSTARDO Lord, sir, they would know
Whether the three Worthies shall come in or no.
BIRONWhat, are there but three?
COSTARDNo, sir; but it is vara fine, 515
For every one pursents three.
BIRONAnd three times thrice is nine.
COSTARDNot so, sir; under correction, sir; I hope it is not so.
You cannot beg us, sir, I can assure you, sir we know
what we know: 520
I hope, sir, three times thrice, sir,–
BIRONIs not nine.
COSTARDUnder correction, sir, we know whereuntil it doth amount.
BIRONBy Jove, I always took three threes for nine.
COSTARDO Lord, sir, it were pity you should get your living 525
by reckoning, sir.
BIRONHow much is it?
COSTARDO Lord, sir, the parties themselves, the actors,
sir, will show whereuntil it doth amount: for mine
own part, I am, as they say, but to parfect one man 530
in one poor man, Pompion the Great, sir.
BIRONArt thou one of the Worthies?
COSTARDIt pleased them to think me worthy of Pompion the
Great: for mine own part, I know not the degree of
the Worthy, but I am to stand for him. 535
BIRONGo, bid them prepare.
COSTARDWe will turn it finely off, sir; we will take
some care.
FERDINANDBiron, they will shame us: let them not approach.
BIRONWe are shame-proof, my lord: and tis some policy 540
To have one show worse than the king’s and his company.
FERDINANDI say they shall not come.
PRINCESSNay, my good lord, let me o’errule you now:
That sport best pleases that doth least know how:
Where zeal strives to content, and the contents 545
Dies in the zeal of that which it presents:
Their form confounded makes most form in mirth,
When great things labouring perish in their birth.
BIRONA right description of our sport, my lord.
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOAnointed, I implore so much expense of thy royal 550
sweet breath as will utter a brace of words.
Converses apart with FERDINAND, and delivers him a paper
PRINCESSDoth this man serve God?
BIRONWhy ask you?
PRINCESSHe speaks not like a man of God’s making.
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOThat is all one, my fair, sweet, honey monarch; for, 555
I protest, the schoolmaster is exceeding
fantastical; too, too vain, too too vain: but we
will put it, as they say, to fortuna de la guerra.
I wish you the peace of mind, most royal couplement!
FERDINANDHere is like to be a good presence of Worthies. He 560
presents Hector of Troy; the swain, Pompey the
Great; the parish curate, Alexander; Armado’s page,
Hercules; the pedant, Judas Maccabaeus: And if
these four Worthies in their first show thrive,
These four will change habits, and present the other five. 565
BIRONThere is five in the first show.
FERDINANDYou are deceived; ’tis not so.
BIRONThe pedant, the braggart, the hedge-priest, the fool
and the boy:–
Abate throw at novum, and the whole world again 570
Cannot pick out five such, take each one in his vein.
FERDINANDThe ship is under sail, and here she comes amain.
Enter COSTARD, for Pompey
COSTARDI Pompey am,–
BOYETYou lie, you are not he.
COSTARDI Pompey am,– 575
BOYETWith libbard’s head on knee.
BIRONWell said, old mocker: I must needs be friends
with thee.
COSTARDI Pompey am, Pompey surnamed the Big–
DUMAINThe Great. 580
COSTARDIt is, ‘Great,’ sir:–
Pompey surnamed the Great;
That oft in field, with targe and shield, did make
my foe to sweat:
And travelling along this coast, I here am come by chance, 585
And lay my arms before the legs of this sweet lass of France,
If your ladyship would say, ‘Thanks, Pompey,’ I had done.
PRINCESSGreat thanks, great Pompey.
COSTARD‘Tis not so much worth; but I hope I was perfect: I
made a little fault in ‘Great.’ 590
BIRONMy hat to a halfpenny, Pompey proves the best Worthy.
Enter SIR NATHANIEL, for Alexander
SIR NATHANIELWhen in the world I lived, I was the world’s
By east, west, north, and south, I spread my
conquering might: 595
My scutcheon plain declares that I am Alisander,–
BOYETYour nose says, no, you are not for it stands too right.
BIRONYour nose smells ‘no’ in this, most tender-smelling knight.
PRINCESSThe conqueror is dismay’d. Proceed, good Alexander.
SIR NATHANIELWhen in the world I lived, I was the world’s 600
BOYETMost true, ’tis right; you were so, Alisander.
BIRONPompey the Great,–
COSTARDYour servant, and Costard.
BIRONTake away the conqueror, take away Alisander. 605
Alisander the conqueror! You will be scraped out of
the painted cloth for this: your lion, that holds
his poll-axe sitting on a close-stool, will be given
to Ajax: he will be the ninth Worthy. A conqueror,
and afeard to speak! run away for shame, Alisander. 610
There, an’t shall please you; a foolish mild man; an
honest man, look you, and soon dashed. He is a
marvellous good neighbour, faith, and a very good
bowler: but, for Alisander,–alas, you see how
’tis,–a little o’erparted. But there are Worthies 615
a-coming will speak their mind in some other sort.
Enter HOLOFERNES, for Judas; and MOTH, for Hercules
HOLOFERNESGreat Hercules is presented by this imp,
Whose club kill’d Cerberus, that three-headed canis;
And when he was a babe, a child, a shrimp,
Thus did he strangle serpents in his manus. 620
Quoniam he seemeth in minority,
Ergo I come with this apology.
Keep some state in thy exit, and vanish.
MOTH retires
Judas I am,–
DUMAINA Judas! 625
HOLOFERNESNot Iscariot, sir.
Judas I am, ycliped Maccabaeus.
DUMAINJudas Maccabaeus clipt is plain Judas.
BIRONA kissing traitor. How art thou proved Judas?
HOLOFERNESJudas I am,– 630
DUMAINThe more shame for you, Judas.
HOLOFERNESWhat mean you, sir?
BOYETTo make Judas hang himself.
HOLOFERNESBegin, sir; you are my elder.
BIRONWell followed: Judas was hanged on an elder. 635
HOLOFERNESI will not be put out of countenance.
BIRONBecause thou hast no face.
HOLOFERNESWhat is this?
BOYETA cittern-head.
DUMAINThe head of a bodkin. 640
BIRONA Death’s face in a ring.
LONGAVILLEThe face of an old Roman coin, scarce seen.
BOYETThe pommel of Caesar’s falchion.
DUMAINThe carved-bone face on a flask.
BIRONSaint George’s half-cheek in a brooch. 645
DUMAINAy, and in a brooch of lead.
BIRONAy, and worn in the cap of a tooth-drawer.
And now forward; for we have put thee in countenance.
HOLOFERNESYou have put me out of countenance.
BIRONFalse; we have given thee faces. 650
HOLOFERNESBut you have out-faced them all.
BIRONAn thou wert a lion, we would do so.
BOYETTherefore, as he is an ass, let him go.
And so adieu, sweet Jude! nay, why dost thou stay?
DUMAINFor the latter end of his name. 655
BIRONFor the ass to the Jude; give it him:–Jud-as, away!
HOLOFERNESThis is not generous, not gentle, not humble.
BOYETA light for Monsieur Judas! it grows dark, he may stumble.
PRINCESSAlas, poor Maccabaeus, how hath he been baited!
BIRONHide thy head, Achilles: here comes Hector in arms. 660
DUMAINThough my mocks come home by me, I will now be merry.
FERDINANDHector was but a Troyan in respect of this.
BOYETBut is this Hector?
FERDINANDI think Hector was not so clean-timbered.
LONGAVILLEHis leg is too big for Hector’s. 665
DUMAINMore calf, certain.
BOYETNo; he is best endued in the small.
BIRONThis cannot be Hector.
DUMAINHe’s a god or a painter; for he makes faces.
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOThe armipotent Mars, of lances the almighty, 670
Gave Hector a gift,–
DUMAINA gilt nutmeg.
BIRONA lemon.
LONGAVILLEStuck with cloves.
DUMAINNo, cloven. 675
The armipotent Mars, of lances the almighty
Gave Hector a gift, the heir of Ilion;
A man so breathed, that certain he would fight; yea
From morn till night, out of his pavilion. 680
I am that flower,–
DUMAINThat mint.
LONGAVILLEThat columbine.
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOSweet Lord Longaville, rein thy tongue.
LONGAVILLEI must rather give it the rein, for it runs against Hector. 685
DUMAINAy, and Hector’s a greyhound.
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOThe sweet war-man is dead and rotten; sweet chucks,
beat not the bones of the buried: when he breathed,
he was a man. But I will forward with my device.
Sweet royalty, bestow on me the sense of hearing. 690
PRINCESSSpeak, brave Hector: we are much delighted.
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOI do adore thy sweet grace’s slipper.
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOThis Hector far surmounted Hannibal,–
COSTARDThe party is gone, fellow Hector, she is gone; she
is two months on her way. 695
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOWhat meanest thou?
COSTARDFaith, unless you play the honest Troyan, the poor
wench is cast away: she’s quick; the child brags in
her belly already: tis yours.
DONADRIANO DE ARMADODost thou infamonize me among potentates? thou shalt 700
COSTARDThen shall Hector be whipped for Jaquenetta that is
quick by him and hanged for Pompey that is dead by
DUMAINMost rare Pompey! 705
BOYETRenowned Pompey!
BIRONGreater than great, great, great, great Pompey!
Pompey the Huge!
DUMAINHector trembles.
BIRONPompey is moved. More Ates, more Ates! stir them 710
on! stir them on!
DUMAINHector will challenge him.
BIRONAy, if a’ have no man’s blood in’s belly than will
sup a flea.
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOBy the north pole, I do challenge thee. 715
COSTARDI will not fight with a pole, like a northern man:
I’ll slash; I’ll do it by the sword. I bepray you,
let me borrow my arms again.
DUMAINRoom for the incensed Worthies!
COSTARDI’ll do it in my shirt. 720
DUMAINMost resolute Pompey!
MOTHMaster, let me take you a buttonhole lower. Do you
not see Pompey is uncasing for the combat? What mean
you? You will lose your reputation.
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOGentlemen and soldiers, pardon me; I will not combat 725
in my shirt.
DUMAINYou may not deny it: Pompey hath made the challenge.
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOSweet bloods, I both may and will.
BIRONWhat reason have you for’t?
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOThe naked truth of it is, I have no shirt; I go 730
woolward for penance.
BOYETTrue, and it was enjoined him in Rome for want of
linen: since when, I’ll be sworn, he wore none but
a dishclout of Jaquenetta’s, and that a’ wears next
his heart for a favour. 735
MERCADEGod save you, madam!
PRINCESSWelcome, Mercade;
But that thou interrupt’st our merriment.
MERCADEI am sorry, madam; for the news I bring
Is heavy in my tongue. The king your father– 740
PRINCESSDead, for my life!
MERCADEEven so; my tale is told.
BIRONWorthies, away! the scene begins to cloud.
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOFor mine own part, I breathe free breath. I have
seen the day of wrong through the little hole of 745
discretion, and I will right myself like a soldier.
Exeunt Worthies
FERDINANDHow fares your majesty?
PRINCESSBoyet, prepare; I will away tonight.
FERDINANDMadam, not so; I do beseech you, stay.
PRINCESSPrepare, I say. I thank you, gracious lords, 750
For all your fair endeavors; and entreat,
Out of a new-sad soul, that you vouchsafe
In your rich wisdom to excuse or hide
The liberal opposition of our spirits,
If over-boldly we have borne ourselves 755
In the converse of breath: your gentleness
Was guilty of it. Farewell worthy lord!
A heavy heart bears not a nimble tongue:
Excuse me so, coming too short of thanks
For my great suit so easily obtain’d. 760
FERDINANDThe extreme parts of time extremely forms
All causes to the purpose of his speed,
And often at his very loose decides
That which long process could not arbitrate:
And though the mourning brow of progeny 765
Forbid the smiling courtesy of love
The holy suit which fain it would convince,
Yet, since love’s argument was first on foot,
Let not the cloud of sorrow justle it
From what it purposed; since, to wail friends lost 770
Is not by much so wholesome-profitable
As to rejoice at friends but newly found.
PRINCESSI understand you not: my griefs are double.
BIRONHonest plain words best pierce the ear of grief;
And by these badges understand the king. 775
For your fair sakes have we neglected time,
Play’d foul play with our oaths: your beauty, ladies,
Hath much deform’d us, fashioning our humours
Even to the opposed end of our intents:
And what in us hath seem’d ridiculous,– 780
As love is full of unbefitting strains,
All wanton as a child, skipping and vain,
Form’d by the eye and therefore, like the eye,
Full of strange shapes, of habits and of forms,
Varying in subjects as the eye doth roll 785
To every varied object in his glance:
Which parti-coated presence of loose love
Put on by us, if, in your heavenly eyes,
Have misbecomed our oaths and gravities,
Those heavenly eyes, that look into these faults, 790
Suggested us to make. Therefore, ladies,
Our love being yours, the error that love makes
Is likewise yours: we to ourselves prove false,
By being once false for ever to be true
To those that make us both,–fair ladies, you: 795
And even that falsehood, in itself a sin,
Thus purifies itself and turns to grace.
PRINCESSWe have received your letters full of love;
Your favours, the ambassadors of love;
And, in our maiden council, rated them 800
At courtship, pleasant jest and courtesy,
As bombast and as lining to the time:
But more devout than this in our respects
Have we not been; and therefore met your loves
In their own fashion, like a merriment. 805
DUMAINOur letters, madam, show’d much more than jest.
LONGAVILLESo did our looks.
ROSALINEWe did not quote them so.
FERDINANDNow, at the latest minute of the hour,
Grant us your loves. 810
PRINCESSA time, methinks, too short
To make a world-without-end bargain in.
No, no, my lord, your grace is perjured much,
Full of dear guiltiness; and therefore this:
If for my love, as there is no such cause, 815
You will do aught, this shall you do for me:
Your oath I will not trust; but go with speed
To some forlorn and naked hermitage,
Remote from all the pleasures of the world;
There stay until the twelve celestial signs 820
Have brought about the annual reckoning.
If this austere insociable life
Change not your offer made in heat of blood;
If frosts and fasts, hard lodging and thin weeds
Nip not the gaudy blossoms of your love, 825
But that it bear this trial and last love;
Then, at the expiration of the year,
Come challenge me, challenge me by these deserts,
And, by this virgin palm now kissing thine
I will be thine; and till that instant shut 830
My woeful self up in a mourning house,
Raining the tears of lamentation
For the remembrance of my father’s death.
If this thou do deny, let our hands part,
Neither entitled in the other’s heart. 835
FERDINANDIf this, or more than this, I would deny,
To flatter up these powers of mine with rest,
The sudden hand of death close up mine eye!
Hence ever then my heart is in thy breast.
BIRONAnd what to me, my love? and what to me?ROSALINE You must be purged too, your sins are rack’d,You are attaint with faults and perjury:Therefore if you my favour mean to get,A twelvemonth shall you spend, and never rest,But seek the weary beds of people si
DUMAINBut what to me, my love? but what to me? A wife? 840
KATHARINEA beard, fair health, and honesty;
With three-fold love I wish you all these three.
DUMAINO, shall I say, I thank you, gentle wife?
KATHARINENot so, my lord; a twelvemonth and a day
I’ll mark no words that smooth-faced wooers say: 845
Come when the king doth to my lady come;
Then, if I have much love, I’ll give you some.
DUMAINI’ll serve thee true and faithfully till then.
KATHARINEYet swear not, lest ye be forsworn again.
LONGAVILLEWhat says Maria? 850
MARIAAt the twelvemonth’s end
I’ll change my black gown for a faithful friend.
LONGAVILLEI’ll stay with patience; but the time is long.
MARIAThe liker you; few taller are so young.
BIRONStudies my lady? mistress, look on me; 855
Behold the window of my heart, mine eye,
What humble suit attends thy answer there:
Impose some service on me for thy love.
ROSALINEOft have I heard of you, my Lord Biron,
Before I saw you; and the world’s large tongue 860
Proclaims you for a man replete with mocks,
Full of comparisons and wounding flouts,
Which you on all estates will execute
That lie within the mercy of your wit.
To weed this wormwood from your fruitful brain, 865
And therewithal to win me, if you please,
Without the which I am not to be won,
You shall this twelvemonth term from day to day
Visit the speechless sick and still converse
With groaning wretches; and your task shall be, 870
With all the fierce endeavor of your wit
To enforce the pained impotent to smile.
BIRONTo move wild laughter in the throat of death?
It cannot be; it is impossible:
Mirth cannot move a soul in agony. 875
ROSALINEWhy, that’s the way to choke a gibing spirit,
Whose influence is begot of that loose grace
Which shallow laughing hearers give to fools:
A jest’s prosperity lies in the ear
Of him that hears it, never in the tongue 880
Of him that makes it: then, if sickly ears,
Deaf’d with the clamours of their own dear groans,
Will hear your idle scorns, continue then,
And I will have you and that fault withal;
But if they will not, throw away that spirit, 885
And I shall find you empty of that fault,
Right joyful of your reformation.
BIRONA twelvemonth! well; befall what will befall,
I’ll jest a twelvemonth in an hospital.
FERDINANDNo, madam; we will bring you on your way. 890
BIRONOur wooing doth not end like an old play;
Jack hath not Jill: these ladies’ courtesy
Might well have made our sport a comedy.
FERDINANDCome, sir, it wants a twelvemonth and a day,
And then ’twill end. 895
BIRONThat’s too long for a play.
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOSweet majesty, vouchsafe me,–
PRINCESSWas not that Hector?
DUMAINThe worthy knight of Troy.
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOI will kiss thy royal finger, and take leave. I am 900
a votary; I have vowed to Jaquenetta to hold the
plough for her sweet love three years. But, most
esteemed greatness, will you hear the dialogue that
the two learned men have compiled in praise of the
owl and the cuckoo? It should have followed in the 905
end of our show.
FERDINANDCall them forth quickly; we will do so.
This side is Hiems, Winter, this Ver, the Spring;
the one maintained by the owl, the other by the 910
cuckoo. Ver, begin.
When daisies pied and violets blue
And lady-smocks all silver-white 915
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he, Cuckoo;
Cuckoo, cuckoo: O word of fear, 920
Unpleasing to a married ear!
When shepherds pipe on oaten straws
And merry larks are ploughmen’s clocks,
When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws,
And maidens bleach their summer smocks 925
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he, Cuckoo;
Cuckoo, cuckoo: O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!
When icicles hang by the wall
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail
And Tom bears logs into the hall
And milk comes frozen home in pail, 935
When blood is nipp’d and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl, Tu-whit;
Tu-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
When all aloud the wind doth blow 940
And coughing drowns the parson’s saw
And birds sit brooding in the snow
And Marian’s nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl, Tu-whit; 945
Tu-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
DONADRIANO DE ARMADOThe words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of
Apollo. You that way: we this way.