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Speeches (Lines) for Holofernes
in "Love's Labour's Lost"

Total: 54

# Act, Scene, Line
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Speech text



Sir Nathaniel. Very reverend sport, truly; and done in the testimony
of a good conscience.

Holofernes. The deer was, as you know, sanguis, in blood; ripe
as the pomewater, who now hangeth like a jewel in
the ear of caelo, the sky, the welkin, the heaven;
and anon falleth like a crab on the face of terra,
the soil, the land, the earth.



Sir Nathaniel. Truly, Master Holofernes, the epithets are sweetly
varied, like a scholar at the least: but, sir, I
assure ye, it was a buck of the first head.

Holofernes. Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.



Dull. 'Twas not a haud credo; 'twas a pricket.

Holofernes. Most barbarous intimation! yet a kind of
insinuation, as it were, in via, in way, of
explication; facere, as it were, replication, or
rather, ostentare, to show, as it were, his
inclination, after his undressed, unpolished,
uneducated, unpruned, untrained, or rather,
unlettered, or ratherest, unconfirmed fashion, to
insert again my haud credo for a deer.



Dull. I said the deer was not a haud credo; twas a pricket.

Holofernes. Twice-sod simplicity, his coctus!
O thou monster Ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!



Dull. You two are book-men: can you tell me by your wit
What was a month old at Cain's birth, that's not five
weeks old as yet?

Holofernes. Dictynna, goodman Dull; Dictynna, goodman Dull.



Sir Nathaniel. A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon.

Holofernes. The moon was a month old when Adam was no more,
And raught not to five weeks when he came to
The allusion holds in the exchange.



Dull. 'Tis true indeed; the collusion holds in the exchange.

Holofernes. God comfort thy capacity! I say, the allusion holds
in the exchange.



Dull. And I say, the pollusion holds in the exchange; for
the moon is never but a month old: and I say beside
that, 'twas a pricket that the princess killed.

Holofernes. Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal epitaph
on the death of the deer? And, to humour the
ignorant, call I the deer the princess killed a pricket.



Sir Nathaniel. Perge, good Master Holofernes, perge; so it shall
please you to abrogate scurrility.

Holofernes. I will something affect the letter, for it argues facility.
The preyful princess pierced and prick'd a pretty
pleasing pricket;
Some say a sore; but not a sore, till now made
sore with shooting.
The dogs did yell: put L to sore, then sorel jumps
from thicket;
Or pricket sore, or else sorel; the people fall a-hooting.
If sore be sore, then L to sore makes fifty sores
one sorel.
Of one sore I an hundred make by adding but one more L.



Dull. [Aside] If a talent be a claw, look how he claws
him with a talent.

Holofernes. This is a gift that I have, simple, simple; a
foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures,
shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions,
revolutions: these are begot in the ventricle of
memory, nourished in the womb of pia mater, and
delivered upon the mellowing of occasion. But the
gift is good in those in whom it is acute, and I am
thankful for it.



Sir Nathaniel. Sir, I praise the Lord for you; and so may my
parishioners; for their sons are well tutored by
you, and their daughters profit very greatly under
you: you are a good member of the commonwealth.

Holofernes. Mehercle, if their sons be ingenuous, they shall
want no instruction; if their daughters be capable,
I will put it to them: but vir sapit qui pauca
loquitur; a soul feminine saluteth us.



Jaquenetta. God give you good morrow, master Parson.

Holofernes. Master Parson, quasi pers-on. An if one should be
pierced, which is the one?



Costard. Marry, master schoolmaster, he that is likest to a hogshead.

Holofernes. Piercing a hogshead! a good lustre of conceit in a
tuft of earth; fire enough for a flint, pearl enough
for a swine: 'tis pretty; it is well.



Jaquenetta. Good master Parson, be so good as read me this
letter: it was given me by Costard, and sent me
from Don Armado: I beseech you, read it.

Holofernes. Fauste, precor gelida quando pecus omne sub umbra
Ruminat,—and so forth. Ah, good old Mantuan! I
may speak of thee as the traveller doth of Venice;
Venetia, Venetia,
Chi non ti vede non ti pretia.
Old Mantuan, old Mantuan! who understandeth thee
not, loves thee not. Ut, re, sol, la, mi, fa.
Under pardon, sir, what are the contents? or rather,
as Horace says in his—What, my soul, verses?



Sir Nathaniel. Ay, sir, and very learned.

Holofernes. Let me hear a staff, a stanze, a verse; lege, domine.



Sir Nathaniel. [Reads]
If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to love?
Ah, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vow'd!
Though to myself forsworn, to thee I'll faithful prove:
Those thoughts to me were oaks, to thee like
osiers bow'd.
Study his bias leaves and makes his book thine eyes,
Where all those pleasures live that art would
If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice;
Well learned is that tongue that well can thee commend,
All ignorant that soul that sees thee without wonder;
Which is to me some praise that I thy parts admire:
Thy eye Jove's lightning bears, thy voice his dreadful thunder,
Which not to anger bent, is music and sweet fire.
Celestial as thou art, O, pardon, love, this wrong,
That sings heaven's praise with such an earthly tongue.

Holofernes. You find not the apostraphas, and so miss the
accent: let me supervise the canzonet. Here are
only numbers ratified; but, for the elegancy,
facility, and golden cadence of poesy, caret.
Ovidius Naso was the man: and why, indeed, Naso,
but for smelling out the odouriferous flowers of
fancy, the jerks of invention? Imitari is nothing:
so doth the hound his master, the ape his keeper,
the tired horse his rider. But, damosella virgin,
was this directed to you?



Jaquenetta. Ay, sir, from one Monsieur Biron, one of the strange
queen's lords.

Holofernes. I will overglance the superscript: 'To the
snow-white hand of the most beauteous Lady
Rosaline.' I will look again on the intellect of
the letter, for the nomination of the party writing
to the person written unto: 'Your ladyship's in all
desired employment, BIRON.' Sir Nathaniel, this
Biron is one of the votaries with the king; and here
he hath framed a letter to a sequent of the stranger
queen's, which accidentally, or by the way of
progression, hath miscarried. Trip and go, my
sweet; deliver this paper into the royal hand of the
king: it may concern much. Stay not thy
compliment; I forgive thy duty; adieu.



Sir Nathaniel. Sir, you have done this in the fear of God, very
religiously; and, as a certain father saith,—

Holofernes. Sir tell me not of the father; I do fear colourable
colours. But to return to the verses: did they
please you, Sir Nathaniel?



Sir Nathaniel. Marvellous well for the pen.

Holofernes. I do dine to-day at the father's of a certain pupil
of mine; where, if, before repast, it shall please
you to gratify the table with a grace, I will, on my
privilege I have with the parents of the foresaid
child or pupil, undertake your ben venuto; where I
will prove those verses to be very unlearned,
neither savouring of poetry, wit, nor invention: I
beseech your society.



Sir Nathaniel. And thank you too; for society, saith the text, is
the happiness of life.

Holofernes. And, certes, the text most infallibly concludes it.
Sir, I do invite you too; you shall not
say me nay: pauca verba. Away! the gentles are at
their game, and we will to our recreation.



(stage directions). [Enter HOLOFERNES, SIR NATHANIEL, and DULL]

Holofernes. Satis quod sufficit.



Sir Nathaniel. I praise God for you, sir: your reasons at dinner
have been sharp and sententious; pleasant without
scurrility, witty without affection, audacious without
impudency, learned without opinion, and strange with-
out heresy. I did converse this quondam day with
a companion of the king's, who is intituled, nomi-
nated, or called, Don Adriano de Armado.

Holofernes. Novi hominem tanquam te: his humour is lofty, his
discourse peremptory, his tongue filed, his eye
ambitious, his gait majestical, and his general
behavior vain, ridiculous, and thrasonical. He is
too picked, too spruce, too affected, too odd, as it
were, too peregrinate, as I may call it.



(stage directions). [Draws out his table-book]

Holofernes. He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer
than the staple of his argument. I abhor such
fanatical phantasimes, such insociable and
point-devise companions; such rackers of
orthography, as to speak dout, fine, when he should
say doubt; det, when he should pronounce debt,—d,
e, b, t, not d, e, t: he clepeth a calf, cauf;
half, hauf; neighbour vocatur nebor; neigh
abbreviated ne. This is abhominable,—which he
would call abbominable: it insinuateth me of
insanie: anne intelligis, domine? to make frantic, lunatic.



Sir Nathaniel. Laus Deo, bene intelligo.

Holofernes. Bon, bon, fort bon, Priscian! a little scratch'd,
'twill serve.



Sir Nathaniel. Videsne quis venit?

Holofernes. Video, et gaudeo.



(stage directions). [To MOTH]

Holofernes. Quare chirrah, not sirrah?



Don Adriano de Armado. Men of peace, well encountered.

Holofernes. Most military sir, salutation.



Moth. Yes, yes; he teaches boys the hornbook. What is a,
b, spelt backward, with the horn on his head?

Holofernes. Ba, pueritia, with a horn added.



Moth. Ba, most silly sheep with a horn. You hear his learning.

Holofernes. Quis, quis, thou consonant?



Moth. The third of the five vowels, if you repeat them; or
the fifth, if I.

Holofernes. I will repeat them,—a, e, i,—



Moth. Offered by a child to an old man; which is wit-old.

Holofernes. What is the figure? what is the figure?



Moth. Horns.

Holofernes. Thou disputest like an infant: go, whip thy gig.



Costard. An I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst
have it to buy gingerbread: hold, there is the very
remuneration I had of thy master, thou halfpenny
purse of wit, thou pigeon-egg of discretion. O, an
the heavens were so pleased that thou wert but my
bastard, what a joyful father wouldst thou make me!
Go to; thou hast it ad dunghill, at the fingers'
ends, as they say.

Holofernes. O, I smell false Latin; dunghill for unguem.



Don Adriano de Armado. Arts-man, preambulate, we will be singled from the
barbarous. Do you not educate youth at the
charge-house on the top of the mountain?

Holofernes. Or mons, the hill.



Don Adriano de Armado. At your sweet pleasure, for the mountain.

Holofernes. I do, sans question.



Don Adriano de Armado. Sir, it is the king's most sweet pleasure and
affection to congratulate the princess at her
pavilion in the posteriors of this day, which the
rude multitude call the afternoon.

Holofernes. The posterior of the day, most generous sir, is
liable, congruent and measurable for the afternoon:
the word is well culled, chose, sweet and apt, I do
assure you, sir, I do assure.



Don Adriano de Armado. Sir, the king is a noble gentleman, and my familiar,
I do assure ye, very good friend: for what is
inward between us, let it pass. I do beseech thee,
remember thy courtesy; I beseech thee, apparel thy
head: and among other important and most serious
designs, and of great import indeed, too, but let
that pass: for I must tell thee, it will please his
grace, by the world, sometime to lean upon my poor
shoulder, and with his royal finger, thus, dally
with my excrement, with my mustachio; but, sweet
heart, let that pass. By the world, I recount no
fable: some certain special honours it pleaseth his
greatness to impart to Armado, a soldier, a man of
travel, that hath seen the world; but let that pass.
The very all of all is,—but, sweet heart, I do
implore secrecy,—that the king would have me
present the princess, sweet chuck, with some
delightful ostentation, or show, or pageant, or
antique, or firework. Now, understanding that the
curate and your sweet self are good at such
eruptions and sudden breaking out of mirth, as it
were, I have acquainted you withal, to the end to
crave your assistance.

Holofernes. Sir, you shall present before her the Nine Worthies.
Sir, as concerning some entertainment of time, some
show in the posterior of this day, to be rendered by
our assistants, at the king's command, and this most
gallant, illustrate, and learned gentleman, before
the princess; I say none so fit as to present the
Nine Worthies.



Sir Nathaniel. Where will you find men worthy enough to present them?

Holofernes. Joshua, yourself; myself and this gallant gentleman,
Judas Maccabaeus; this swain, because of his great
limb or joint, shall pass Pompey the Great; the
page, Hercules,—



Don Adriano de Armado. Pardon, sir; error: he is not quantity enough for
that Worthy's thumb: he is not so big as the end of his club.

Holofernes. Shall I have audience? he shall present Hercules in
minority: his enter and exit shall be strangling a
snake; and I will have an apology for that purpose.



Don Adriano de Armado. For the rest of the Worthies?—

Holofernes. I will play three myself.



Don Adriano de Armado. Shall I tell you a thing?

Holofernes. We attend.



Don Adriano de Armado. We will have, if this fadge not, an antique. I
beseech you, follow.

Holofernes. Via, goodman Dull! thou hast spoken no word all this while.



Dull. Nor understood none neither, sir.

Holofernes. Allons! we will employ thee.



Dull. I'll make one in a dance, or so; or I will play
On the tabour to the Worthies, and let them dance the hay.

Holofernes. Most dull, honest Dull! To our sport, away!



(stage directions). [Enter HOLOFERNES, for Judas; and MOTH, for Hercules]

Holofernes. Great 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.
Quoniam he seemeth in minority,
Ergo I come with this apology.
Keep some state in thy exit, and vanish.
[MOTH retires]
Judas I am,—



Dumain. A Judas!

Holofernes. Not Iscariot, sir.
Judas I am, ycliped Maccabaeus.



Biron. A kissing traitor. How art thou proved Judas?

Holofernes. Judas I am,—



Dumain. The more shame for you, Judas.

Holofernes. What mean you, sir?



Boyet. To make Judas hang himself.

Holofernes. Begin, sir; you are my elder.



Biron. Well followed: Judas was hanged on an elder.

Holofernes. I will not be put out of countenance.



Biron. Because thou hast no face.

Holofernes. What is this?



Biron. Ay, and worn in the cap of a tooth-drawer.
And now forward; for we have put thee in countenance.

Holofernes. You have put me out of countenance.



Biron. False; we have given thee faces.

Holofernes. But you have out-faced them all.



Biron. For the ass to the Jude; give it him:—Jud-as, away!

Holofernes. This is not generous, not gentle, not humble.

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