Open Source Shakespeare

Love's Labour's Lost

(complete text)

Act I

1. The king of Navarre’s park.

2. The same.

Act II

1. The same.


1. The same.

Act IV

1. The same.

2. The same.

3. The same.

Act V

1. The same.

2. The same.

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Act I, Scene 1

The king of Navarre’s park.


[Enter FERDINAND king of Navarre, BIRON, LONGAVILLE] [p]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; 5
    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, 10
    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, 15
    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: 20
    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. 25
  • 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: 30
    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; 35
    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; 40
    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— 45
    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! 50
  • 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. 55
  • 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. 60
  • 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, 65
    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: 70
    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: 75
    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, 80
    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. 85
    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 90
    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. 95
  • 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? 100
  • 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. 105
  • 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; 110
    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: 115
    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; 120
    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. 125
  • Biron. Let's see the penalty.
    'On pain of losing her tongue.' Who devised this penalty?
  • Longaville. Marry, that did I.
  • Biron. Sweet lord, and why? 130
  • Longaville. To fright them hence with that dread penalty.
  • Biron. A dangerous law against gentility!
    'Item, If any man be seen to talk with a woman
    within the term of three years, he shall endure such 135
    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— 140
    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. 145
  • 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. 150
  • 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, 155
    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] 160
    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. 165
    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; 170
    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, 175
    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 180
    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. 185

[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 190
    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. 195
  • 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 200
    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. 205
  • 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 210
    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 215
    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 220
    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 225
    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. 230
  • 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 235
    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 240
    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- 245
    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? 250
  • 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 255
    established proclaimed edict and continent canon,
    which with,—O, with—but with this I passion to say
  • Costard. With a wench.
  • Ferdinand. [Reads] 'with a child of our grandmother Eve, a 260
    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 265
  • 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; 270
    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.
  • Biron. This is not so well as I looked for, but the best 275
    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? 280
  • 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. 285
  • 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. 290
  • 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. 295
    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.


  • Biron. I'll lay my head to any good man's hat, 300
    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 305
    prosperity! Affliction may one day smile again; and
    till then, sit thee down, sorrow!



Act I, Scene 2

The same.



  • Don Adriano de Armado. Boy, what sign is it when a man of great spirit 310
    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 315
    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 320
    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. 325
  • 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. 330
  • 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. 335
  • 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. 340
  • 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. 345
  • 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. 350
  • 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 355
    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 360
    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 365
    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 370
    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. 375
  • 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. 380
  • 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? 385
  • 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. 390
  • 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! 395
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Sweet invocation of a child; most pretty and
  • Moth. If she be made of white and red,
    Her faults will ne'er be known,
    For blushing cheeks by faults are bred 400
    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. 405
    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 410
    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 415
    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. 420
  • Don Adriano de Armado. I say, sing.
  • Moth. Forbear till this company be past.


  • Dull. Sir, the duke's pleasure is, that you keep Costard
    safe: and you must suffer him to take no delight 425
    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? 430
  • 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. 435
  • 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! 440
  • Dull. Come, Jaquenetta, away!


  • 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 445
    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. 450
  • 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. 455
  • 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 460
    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 465
    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 470
    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 475
    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; 480
    write, pen; for I am for whole volumes in folio.



Act II, Scene 1

The same.


[Enter the PRINCESS of France, ROSALINE, MARIA,] [p]KATHARINE, BOYET, Lords, and other Attendants]

  • Boyet. Now, madam, summon up your dearest spirits: 485
    Consider who the king your father sends,
    To whom he sends, and what's his embassy:
    Yourself, held precious in the world's esteem,
    To parley with the sole inheritor
    Of all perfections that a man may owe, 490
    Matchless Navarre; the plea of no less weight
    Than Aquitaine, a dowry for a queen.
    Be now as prodigal of all dear grace
    As Nature was in making graces dear
    When she did starve the general world beside 495
    And prodigally gave them all to you.
  • Princess of France. Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,
    Needs not the painted flourish of your praise:
    Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye,
    Not utter'd by base sale of chapmen's tongues: 500
    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.
    But now to task the tasker: good Boyet,
    You are not ignorant, all-telling fame 505
    Doth noise abroad, Navarre hath made a vow,
    Till painful study shall outwear three years,
    No woman may approach his silent court:
    Therefore to's seemeth it a needful course,
    Before we enter his forbidden gates, 510
    To know his pleasure; and in that behalf,
    Bold of your worthiness, we single you
    As our best-moving fair solicitor.
    Tell him, the daughter of the King of France,
    On serious business, craving quick dispatch, 515
    Importunes personal conference with his grace:
    Haste, signify so much; while we attend,
    Like humble-visaged suitors, his high will.
  • Boyet. Proud of employment, willingly I go.
  • Princess of France. All pride is willing pride, and yours is so. 520
    [Exit BOYET]
    Who are the votaries, my loving lords,
    That are vow-fellows with this virtuous duke?
  • First Lord. Lord Longaville is one.
  • Princess of France. Know you the man? 525
  • Maria. I know him, madam: at a marriage-feast,
    Between Lord Perigort and the beauteous heir
    Of Jaques Falconbridge, solemnized
    In Normandy, saw I this Longaville:
    A man of sovereign parts he is esteem'd; 530
    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,
    Is a sharp wit matched with too blunt a will; 535
    Whose edge hath power to cut, whose will still wills
    It should none spare that come within his power.
  • Princess of France. Some merry mocking lord, belike; is't so?
  • Maria. They say so most that most his humours know.
  • Princess of France. Such short-lived wits do wither as they grow. 540
    Who are the rest?
  • Katharine. The young Dumain, a well-accomplished youth,
    Of all that virtue love for virtue loved:
    Most power to do most harm, least knowing ill;
    For he hath wit to make an ill shape good, 545
    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.
  • Rosaline. Another of these students at that time 550
    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:
    His eye begets occasion for his wit; 555
    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
    That aged ears play truant at his tales 560
    And younger hearings are quite ravished;
    So sweet and voluble is his discourse.
  • Princess of France. God bless my ladies! are they all in love,
    That every one her own hath garnished
    With such bedecking ornaments of praise? 565
  • First Lord. Here comes Boyet.

[Re-enter BOYET]

  • Princess of France. Now, what admittance, lord?
  • Boyet. Navarre had notice of your fair approach;
    And he and his competitors in oath 570
    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, 575
    To let you enter his unpeopled house.
    Here comes Navarre.
  • Ferdinand. Fair princess, welcome to the court of Navarre. 580
  • Princess of France. 'Fair' I give you back again; and 'welcome' I have
    not yet: the roof of this court is too high to be
    yours; and welcome to the wide fields too base to be mine.
  • Ferdinand. You shall be welcome, madam, to my court.
  • Princess of France. I will be welcome, then: conduct me thither. 585
  • Ferdinand. Hear me, dear lady; I have sworn an oath.
  • Princess of France. Our Lady help my lord! he'll be forsworn.
  • Ferdinand. Not for the world, fair madam, by my will.
  • Princess of France. Why, will shall break it; will and nothing else.
  • Ferdinand. Your ladyship is ignorant what it is. 590
  • Princess of France. Were my lord so, his ignorance were wise,
    Where now his knowledge must prove ignorance.
    I hear your grace hath sworn out house-keeping:
    Tis deadly sin to keep that oath, my lord,
    And sin to break it. 595
    But pardon me. I am too sudden-bold:
    To teach a teacher ill beseemeth me.
    Vouchsafe to read the purpose of my coming,
    And suddenly resolve me in my suit.
  • Ferdinand. Madam, I will, if suddenly I may. 600
  • Princess of France. You will the sooner, that I were away;
    For you'll prove perjured if you make me stay.
  • Biron. Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?
  • Rosaline. Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?
  • Biron. I know you did. 605
  • Rosaline. How needless was it then to ask the question!
  • Biron. You must not be so quick.
  • Rosaline. 'Tis 'long of you that spur me with such questions.
  • Biron. Your wit's too hot, it speeds too fast, 'twill tire.
  • Rosaline. Not till it leave the rider in the mire. 610
  • Biron. What time o' day?
  • Rosaline. The hour that fools should ask.
  • Biron. Now fair befall your mask!
  • Rosaline. Fair fall the face it covers!
  • Biron. And send you many lovers! 615
  • Rosaline. Amen, so you be none.
  • Biron. Nay, then will I be gone.
  • Ferdinand. Madam, your father here doth intimate
    The payment of a hundred thousand crowns;
    Being but the one half of an entire sum 620
    Disbursed by my father in his wars.
    But say that he or we, as neither have,
    Received that sum, yet there remains unpaid
    A hundred thousand more; in surety of the which,
    One part of Aquitaine is bound to us, 625
    Although not valued to the money's worth.
    If then the king your father will restore
    But that one half which is unsatisfied,
    We will give up our right in Aquitaine,
    And hold fair friendship with his majesty. 630
    But that, it seems, he little purposeth,
    For here he doth demand to have repaid
    A hundred thousand crowns; and not demands,
    On payment of a hundred thousand crowns,
    To have his title live in Aquitaine; 635
    Which we much rather had depart withal
    And have the money by our father lent
    Than Aquitaine so gelded as it is.
    Dear Princess, were not his requests so far
    From reason's yielding, your fair self should make 640
    A yielding 'gainst some reason in my breast
    And go well satisfied to France again.
  • Princess of France. You do the king my father too much wrong
    And wrong the reputation of your name,
    In so unseeming to confess receipt 645
    Of that which hath so faithfully been paid.
  • Ferdinand. I do protest I never heard of it;
    And if you prove it, I'll repay it back
    Or yield up Aquitaine.
  • Princess of France. We arrest your word. 650
    Boyet, you can produce acquittances
    For such a sum from special officers
    Of Charles his father.
  • Ferdinand. Satisfy me so.
  • Boyet. So please your grace, the packet is not come 655
    Where that and other specialties are bound:
    To-morrow you shall have a sight of them.
  • Ferdinand. It shall suffice me: at which interview
    All liberal reason I will yield unto.
    Meantime receive such welcome at my hand 660
    As honour without breach of honour may
    Make tender of to thy true worthiness:
    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, 665
    Though so denied fair harbour in my house.
    Your own good thoughts excuse me, and farewell:
    To-morrow shall we visit you again.
  • Princess of France. Sweet health and fair desires consort your grace!
  • Ferdinand. Thy own wish wish I thee in every place! 670


  • Biron. Lady, I will commend you to mine own heart.
  • Rosaline. Pray you, do my commendations; I would be glad to see it.
  • Biron. I would you heard it groan.
  • Rosaline. Is the fool sick? 675
  • Biron. Sick at the heart.
  • Rosaline. Alack, let it blood.
  • Biron. Would that do it good?
  • Rosaline. My physic says 'ay.'
  • Biron. Will you prick't with your eye? 680
  • Rosaline. No point, with my knife.
  • Biron. Now, God save thy life!
  • Rosaline. And yours from long living!
  • Biron. I cannot stay thanksgiving.


  • Dumain. Sir, I pray you, a word: what lady is that same?
  • Boyet. The heir of Alencon, Katharine her name.
  • Dumain. A gallant lady. Monsieur, fare you well.


  • Longaville. I beseech you a word: what is she in the white? 690
  • Boyet. A woman sometimes, an you saw her in the light.
  • Longaville. Perchance light in the light. I desire her name.
  • Boyet. She hath but one for herself; to desire that were a shame.
  • Longaville. Pray you, sir, whose daughter?
  • Boyet. Her mother's, I have heard. 695
  • Longaville. God's blessing on your beard!
  • Boyet. Good sir, be not offended.
    She is an heir of Falconbridge.
  • Longaville. Nay, my choler is ended.
    She is a most sweet lady. 700
  • Boyet. Not unlike, sir, that may be.


  • Biron. What's her name in the cap?
  • Boyet. Rosaline, by good hap.
  • Biron. Is she wedded or no? 705
  • Boyet. To her will, sir, or so.
  • Biron. You are welcome, sir: adieu.
  • Boyet. Farewell to me, sir, and welcome to you.

[Exit BIRON]

  • Maria. That last is Biron, the merry madcap lord: 710
    Not a word with him but a jest.
  • Boyet. And every jest but a word.
  • Princess of France. It was well done of you to take him at his word.
  • Boyet. I was as willing to grapple as he was to board.
  • Maria. Two hot sheeps, marry. 715
  • Boyet. And wherefore not ships?
    No sheep, sweet lamb, unless we feed on your lips.
  • Maria. You sheep, and I pasture: shall that finish the jest?
  • Boyet. So you grant pasture for me.

[Offering to kiss her]

  • Maria. Not so, gentle beast:
    My lips are no common, though several they be.
  • Boyet. Belonging to whom?
  • Maria. To my fortunes and me.
  • Princess of France. Good wits will be jangling; but, gentles, agree: 725
    This civil war of wits were much better used
    On Navarre and his book-men; for here 'tis abused.
  • Boyet. If my observation, which very seldom lies,
    By the heart's still rhetoric disclosed with eyes,
    Deceive me not now, Navarre is infected. 730
  • Princess of France. With what?
  • Boyet. With that which we lovers entitle affected.
  • Princess of France. Your reason?
  • Boyet. Why, all his behaviors did make their retire
    To the court of his eye, peeping thorough desire: 735
    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,
    Did stumble with haste in his eyesight to be;
    All senses to that sense did make their repair, 740
    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;
    Who, tendering their own worth from where they were glass'd,
    Did point you to buy them, along as you pass'd: 745
    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,
    An you give him for my sake but one loving kiss.
  • Princess of France. Come to our pavilion: Boyet is disposed. 750
  • Boyet. But to speak that in words which his eye hath
    I only have made a mouth of his eye,
    By adding a tongue which I know will not lie.
  • Rosaline. Thou art an old love-monger and speakest skilfully. 755
  • Maria. He is Cupid's grandfather and learns news of him.
  • Rosaline. Then was Venus like her mother, for her father is but grim.
  • Boyet. Do you hear, my mad wenches?
  • Maria. No.
  • Boyet. What then, do you see? 760
  • Rosaline. Ay, our way to be gone.
  • Boyet. You are too hard for me.



Act III, Scene 1

The same.



  • Don Adriano de Armado. Warble, child; make passionate my sense of hearing. 765
  • Moth. Concolinel.


  • Don Adriano de Armado. Sweet air! Go, tenderness of years; take this key,
    give enlargement to the swain, bring him festinately
    hither: I must employ him in a letter to my love. 770
  • Moth. Master, will you win your love with a French brawl?
  • Don Adriano de Armado. How meanest thou? brawling in French?
  • Moth. No, my complete master: but to jig off a tune at
    the tongue's end, canary to it with your feet, humour
    it with turning up your eyelids, sigh a note and 775
    sing a note, sometime through the throat, as if you
    swallowed love with singing love, sometime through
    the nose, as if you snuffed up love by smelling
    love; with your hat penthouse-like o'er the shop of
    your eyes; with your arms crossed on your thin-belly 780
    doublet like a rabbit on a spit; or your hands in
    your pocket like a man after the old painting; and
    keep not too long in one tune, but a snip and away.
    These are complements, these are humours; these
    betray nice wenches, that would be betrayed without 785
    these; and make them men of note—do you note
    me?—that most are affected to these.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. How hast thou purchased this experience?
  • Moth. By my penny of observation.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. But O,—but O,— 790
  • Moth. 'The hobby-horse is forgot.'
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Callest thou my love 'hobby-horse'?
  • Moth. No, master; the hobby-horse is but a colt, and your
    love perhaps a hackney. But have you forgot your love?
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Almost I had. 795
  • Moth. Negligent student! learn her by heart.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. By heart and in heart, boy.
  • Moth. And out of heart, master: all those three I will prove.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. What wilt thou prove?
  • Moth. A man, if I live; and this, by, in, and without, upon 800
    the instant: by heart you love her, because your
    heart cannot come by her; in heart you love her,
    because your heart is in love with her; and out of
    heart you love her, being out of heart that you
    cannot enjoy her. 805
  • Don Adriano de Armado. I am all these three.
  • Moth. And three times as much more, and yet nothing at
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Fetch hither the swain: he must carry me a letter.
  • Moth. A message well sympathized; a horse to be ambassador 810
    for an ass.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Ha, ha! what sayest thou?
  • Moth. Marry, sir, you must send the ass upon the horse,
    for he is very slow-gaited. But I go.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. The way is but short: away! 815
  • Moth. As swift as lead, sir.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. The meaning, pretty ingenious?
    Is not lead a metal heavy, dull, and slow?
  • Moth. Minime, honest master; or rather, master, no.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. I say lead is slow. 820
  • Moth. You are too swift, sir, to say so:
    Is that lead slow which is fired from a gun?
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Sweet smoke of rhetoric!
    He reputes me a cannon; and the bullet, that's he:
    I shoot thee at the swain. 825
  • Moth. Thump then and I flee.


  • Don Adriano de Armado. A most acute juvenal; voluble and free of grace!
    By thy favour, sweet welkin, I must sigh in thy face:
    Most rude melancholy, valour gives thee place. 830
    My herald is return'd.

[Re-enter MOTH with COSTARD]

  • Moth. A wonder, master! here's a costard broken in a shin.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Some enigma, some riddle: come, thy l'envoy; begin.
  • Costard. No enigma, no riddle, no l'envoy; no salve in the 835
    mail, sir: O, sir, plantain, a plain plantain! no
    l'envoy, no l'envoy; no salve, sir, but a plantain!
  • Don Adriano de Armado. By virtue, thou enforcest laughter; thy silly
    thought my spleen; the heaving of my lungs provokes
    me to ridiculous smiling. O, pardon me, my stars! 840
    Doth the inconsiderate take salve for l'envoy, and
    the word l'envoy for a salve?
  • Moth. Do the wise think them other? is not l'envoy a salve?
  • Don Adriano de Armado. No, page: it is an epilogue or discourse, to make plain
    Some obscure precedence that hath tofore been sain. 845
    I will example it:
    The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee,
    Were still at odds, being but three.
    There's the moral. Now the l'envoy.
  • Moth. I will add the l'envoy. Say the moral again. 850
  • Don Adriano de Armado. The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee,
    Were still at odds, being but three.
  • Moth. Until the goose came out of door,
    And stay'd the odds by adding four.
    Now will I begin your moral, and do you follow with 855
    my l'envoy.
    The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee,
    Were still at odds, being but three.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Until the goose came out of door,
    Staying the odds by adding four. 860
  • Moth. A good l'envoy, ending in the goose: would you
    desire more?
  • Costard. The boy hath sold him a bargain, a goose, that's flat.
    Sir, your pennyworth is good, an your goose be fat.
    To sell a bargain well is as cunning as fast and loose: 865
    Let me see; a fat l'envoy; ay, that's a fat goose.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Come hither, come hither. How did this argument begin?
  • Moth. By saying that a costard was broken in a shin.
    Then call'd you for the l'envoy.
  • Costard. True, and I for a plantain: thus came your 870
    argument in;
    Then the boy's fat l'envoy, the goose that you bought;
    And he ended the market.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. But tell me; how was there a costard broken in a shin?
  • Moth. I will tell you sensibly. 875
  • Costard. Thou hast no feeling of it, Moth: I will speak that l'envoy:
    I Costard, running out, that was safely within,
    Fell over the threshold and broke my shin.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. We will talk no more of this matter.
  • Costard. Till there be more matter in the shin. 880
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Sirrah Costard, I will enfranchise thee.
  • Costard. O, marry me to one Frances: I smell some l'envoy,
    some goose, in this.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. By my sweet soul, I mean setting thee at liberty,
    enfreedoming thy person; thou wert immured, 885
    restrained, captivated, bound.
  • Costard. True, true; and now you will be my purgation and let me loose.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. I give thee thy liberty, set thee from durance; and,
    in lieu thereof, impose on thee nothing but this:
    bear this significant 890
    [Giving a letter]
    to the country maid Jaquenetta:
    there is remuneration; for the best ward of mine
    honour is rewarding my dependents. Moth, follow.


  • Moth. Like the sequel, I. Signior Costard, adieu.
  • Costard. My sweet ounce of man's flesh! my incony Jew!
    [Exit MOTH]
    Now will I look to his remuneration. Remuneration!
    O, that's the Latin word for three farthings: three 900
    farthings—remuneration.—'What's the price of this
    inkle?'—'One penny.'—'No, I'll give you a
    remuneration:' why, it carries it. Remuneration!
    why, it is a fairer name than French crown. I will
    never buy and sell out of this word. 905

[Enter BIRON]

  • Biron. O, my good knave Costard! exceedingly well met.
  • Costard. Pray you, sir, how much carnation ribbon may a man
    buy for a remuneration?
  • Biron. What is a remuneration? 910
  • Costard. Marry, sir, halfpenny farthing.
  • Biron. Why, then, three-farthing worth of silk.
  • Costard. I thank your worship: God be wi' you!
  • Biron. Stay, slave; I must employ thee:
    As thou wilt win my favour, good my knave, 915
    Do one thing for me that I shall entreat.
  • Costard. When would you have it done, sir?
  • Biron. This afternoon.
  • Costard. Well, I will do it, sir: fare you well.
  • Biron. Thou knowest not what it is. 920
  • Costard. I shall know, sir, when I have done it.
  • Biron. Why, villain, thou must know first.
  • Costard. I will come to your worship to-morrow morning.
  • Biron. It must be done this afternoon.
    Hark, slave, it is but this: 925
    The princess comes to hunt here in the park,
    And in her train there is a gentle lady;
    When tongues speak sweetly, then they name her name,
    And Rosaline they call her: ask for her;
    And to her white hand see thou do commend 930
    This seal'd-up counsel. There's thy guerdon; go.

[Giving him a shilling]

  • Costard. Gardon, O sweet gardon! better than remuneration,
    a'leven-pence farthing better: most sweet gardon! I
    will do it sir, in print. Gardon! Remuneration! 935


  • Biron. And I, forsooth, in love! I, that have been love's whip;
    A very beadle to a humorous sigh;
    A critic, nay, a night-watch constable;
    A domineering pedant o'er the boy; 940
    Than whom no mortal so magnificent!
    This whimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy;
    This senior-junior, giant-dwarf, Dan Cupid;
    Regent of love-rhymes, lord of folded arms,
    The anointed sovereign of sighs and groans, 945
    Liege of all loiterers and malcontents,
    Dread prince of plackets, king of codpieces,
    Sole imperator and great general
    Of trotting 'paritors:—O my little heart:—
    And I to be a corporal of his field, 950
    And wear his colours like a tumbler's hoop!
    What, I! I love! I sue! I seek a wife!
    A woman, that is like a German clock,
    Still a-repairing, ever out of frame,
    And never going aright, being a watch, 955
    But being watch'd that it may still go right!
    Nay, to be perjured, which is worst of all;
    And, among three, to love the worst of all;
    A wightly wanton with a velvet brow,
    With two pitch-balls stuck in her face for eyes; 960
    Ay, and by heaven, one that will do the deed
    Though Argus were her eunuch and her guard:
    And I to sigh for her! to watch for her!
    To pray for her! Go to; it is a plague
    That Cupid will impose for my neglect 965
    Of his almighty dreadful little might.
    Well, I will love, write, sigh, pray, sue and groan:
    Some men must love my lady and some Joan.



Act IV, Scene 1

The same.


[Enter the PRINCESS, and her train, a Forester,] [p]BOYET, ROSALINE, MARIA, and KATHARINE]

  • Princess of France. Was that the king, that spurred his horse so hard
    Against the steep uprising of the hill?
  • Boyet. I know not; but I think it was not he.
  • Princess of France. Whoe'er a' was, a' show'd a mounting mind. 975
    Well, lords, to-day we shall have our dispatch:
    On Saturday we will return to France.
    Then, forester, my friend, where is the bush
    That we must stand and play the murderer in?
  • Forester. Hereby, upon the edge of yonder coppice; 980
    A stand where you may make the fairest shoot.
  • Princess of France. I thank my beauty, I am fair that shoot,
    And thereupon thou speak'st the fairest shoot.
  • Forester. Pardon me, madam, for I meant not so.
  • Princess of France. What, what? first praise me and again say no? 985
    O short-lived pride! Not fair? alack for woe!
  • Forester. Yes, madam, fair.
  • Princess of France. Nay, never paint me now:
    Where fair is not, praise cannot mend the brow.
    Here, good my glass, take this for telling true: 990
    Fair payment for foul words is more than due.
  • Forester. Nothing but fair is that which you inherit.
  • Princess of France. See see, my beauty will be saved by merit!
    O heresy in fair, fit for these days!
    A giving hand, though foul, shall have fair praise. 995
    But come, the bow: now mercy goes to kill,
    And shooting well is then accounted ill.
    Thus will I save my credit in the shoot:
    Not wounding, pity would not let me do't;
    If wounding, then it was to show my skill, 1000
    That more for praise than purpose meant to kill.
    And out of question so it is sometimes,
    Glory grows guilty of detested crimes,
    When, for fame's sake, for praise, an outward part,
    We bend to that the working of the heart; 1005
    As I for praise alone now seek to spill
    The poor deer's blood, that my heart means no ill.
  • Boyet. Do not curst wives hold that self-sovereignty
    Only for praise sake, when they strive to be
    Lords o'er their lords? 1010
  • Princess of France. Only for praise: and praise we may afford
    To any lady that subdues a lord.
  • Boyet. Here comes a member of the commonwealth.


  • Costard. God dig-you-den all! Pray you, which is the head lady? 1015
  • Princess of France. Thou shalt know her, fellow, by the rest that have no heads.
  • Costard. Which is the greatest lady, the highest?
  • Princess of France. The thickest and the tallest.
  • Costard. The thickest and the tallest! it is so; truth is truth.
    An your waist, mistress, were as slender as my wit, 1020
    One o' these maids' girdles for your waist should be fit.
    Are not you the chief woman? you are the thickest here.
  • Princess of France. What's your will, sir? what's your will?
  • Costard. I have a letter from Monsieur Biron to one Lady Rosaline.
  • Princess of France. O, thy letter, thy letter! he's a good friend of mine: 1025
    Stand aside, good bearer. Boyet, you can carve;
    Break up this capon.
  • Boyet. I am bound to serve.
    This letter is mistook, it importeth none here;
    It is writ to Jaquenetta. 1030
  • Princess of France. We will read it, I swear.
    Break the neck of the wax, and every one give ear.


  • Boyet. 'By heaven, that thou art fair, is most infallible;
    true, that thou art beauteous; truth itself, that 1035
    thou art lovely. More fairer than fair, beautiful
    than beauteous, truer than truth itself, have
    commiseration on thy heroical vassal! The
    magnanimous and most illustrate king Cophetua set
    eye upon the pernicious and indubitate beggar 1040
    Zenelophon; and he it was that might rightly say,
    Veni, vidi, vici; which to annothanize in the
    vulgar,—O base and obscure vulgar!—videlicet, He
    came, saw, and overcame: he came, one; saw two;
    overcame, three. Who came? the king: why did he 1045
    come? to see: why did he see? to overcome: to
    whom came he? to the beggar: what saw he? the
    beggar: who overcame he? the beggar. The
    conclusion is victory: on whose side? the king's.
    The captive is enriched: on whose side? the 1050
    beggar's. The catastrophe is a nuptial: on whose
    side? the king's: no, on both in one, or one in
    both. I am the king; for so stands the comparison:
    thou the beggar; for so witnesseth thy lowliness.
    Shall I command thy love? I may: shall I enforce 1055
    thy love? I could: shall I entreat thy love? I
    will. What shalt thou exchange for rags? robes;
    for tittles? titles; for thyself? me. Thus,
    expecting thy reply, I profane my lips on thy foot,
    my eyes on thy picture. and my heart on thy every 1060
    part. Thine, in the dearest design of industry,
    Thus dost thou hear the Nemean lion roar
    'Gainst thee, thou lamb, that standest as his prey.
    Submissive fall his princely feet before, 1065
    And he from forage will incline to play:
    But if thou strive, poor soul, what art thou then?
    Food for his rage, repasture for his den.
  • Princess of France. What plume of feathers is he that indited this letter?
    What vane? what weathercock? did you ever hear better? 1070
  • Boyet. I am much deceived but I remember the style.
  • Princess of France. Else your memory is bad, going o'er it erewhile.
  • Boyet. This Armado is a Spaniard, that keeps here in court;
    A phantasime, a Monarcho, and one that makes sport
    To the prince and his bookmates. 1075
  • Princess of France. Thou fellow, a word:
    Who gave thee this letter?
  • Costard. I told you; my lord.
  • Princess of France. To whom shouldst thou give it?
  • Costard. From my lord to my lady. 1080
  • Princess of France. From which lord to which lady?
  • Costard. From my lord Biron, a good master of mine,
    To a lady of France that he call'd Rosaline.
  • Princess of France. Thou hast mistaken his letter. Come, lords, away.
    [To ROSALINE] 1085
    Here, sweet, put up this: 'twill be thine another day.

[Exeunt PRINCESS and train]

  • Boyet. Who is the suitor? who is the suitor?
  • Rosaline. Shall I teach you to know?
  • Boyet. Ay, my continent of beauty. 1090
  • Rosaline. Why, she that bears the bow.
    Finely put off!
  • Boyet. My lady goes to kill horns; but, if thou marry,
    Hang me by the neck, if horns that year miscarry.
    Finely put on! 1095
  • Rosaline. Well, then, I am the shooter.
  • Boyet. And who is your deer?
  • Rosaline. If we choose by the horns, yourself come not near.
    Finely put on, indeed!
  • Maria. You still wrangle with her, Boyet, and she strikes 1100
    at the brow.
  • Boyet. But she herself is hit lower: have I hit her now?
  • Rosaline. Shall I come upon thee with an old saying, that was
    a man when King Pepin of France was a little boy, as
    touching the hit it? 1105
  • Boyet. So I may answer thee with one as old, that was a
    woman when Queen Guinover of Britain was a little
    wench, as touching the hit it.
  • Rosaline. Thou canst not hit it, hit it, hit it,
    Thou canst not hit it, my good man. 1110
  • Boyet. An I cannot, cannot, cannot,
    An I cannot, another can.


  • Costard. By my troth, most pleasant: how both did fit it!
  • Maria. A mark marvellous well shot, for they both did hit it. 1115
  • Boyet. A mark! O, mark but that mark! A mark, says my lady!
    Let the mark have a prick in't, to mete at, if it may be.
  • Maria. Wide o' the bow hand! i' faith, your hand is out.
  • Costard. Indeed, a' must shoot nearer, or he'll ne'er hit the clout.
  • Boyet. An if my hand be out, then belike your hand is in. 1120
  • Costard. Then will she get the upshoot by cleaving the pin.
  • Maria. Come, come, you talk greasily; your lips grow foul.
  • Costard. She's too hard for you at pricks, sir: challenge her to bowl.
  • Boyet. I fear too much rubbing. Good night, my good owl.

[Exeunt BOYET and MARIA]

  • Costard. By my soul, a swain! a most simple clown!
    Lord, Lord, how the ladies and I have put him down!
    O' my troth, most sweet jests! most incony
    vulgar wit!
    When it comes so smoothly off, so obscenely, as it 1130
    were, so fit.
    Armado o' th' one side,—O, a most dainty man!
    To see him walk before a lady and to bear her fan!
    To see him kiss his hand! and how most sweetly a'
    will swear! 1135
    And his page o' t' other side, that handful of wit!
    Ah, heavens, it is a most pathetical nit!
    Sola, sola!

[Shout within]

[Exit COSTARD, running]


Act IV, Scene 2

The same.



  • 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 1145
    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 1150
    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 1155
    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 1160
    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!
  • Sir Nathaniel. Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred 1165
    in a book; he hath not eat paper, as it were; he
    hath not drunk ink: his intellect is not
    replenished; he is only an animal, only sensible in
    the duller parts:
    And such barren plants are set before us, that we 1170
    thankful should be,
    Which we of taste and feeling are, for those parts that
    do fructify in us more than he.
    For as it would ill become me to be vain, indiscreet, or a fool,
    So were there a patch set on learning, to see him in a school: 1175
    But omne bene, say I; being of an old father's mind,
    Many can brook the weather that love not the wind.
  • 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? 1180
  • Holofernes. Dictynna, goodman Dull; Dictynna, goodman Dull.
  • Dull. What is Dictynna?
  • 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 1185
    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. 1190
  • 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 1195
    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 1200
    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; 1205
    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.
  • Sir Nathaniel. A rare talent! 1210
  • 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, 1215
    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. 1220
  • 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 1225
    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. 1230
  • 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 1235
    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 1240
    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 1245
    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. 1250
  • 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 1255
    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; 1260
    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. 1265
    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, 1270
    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, 1275
    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 1280
    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 1285
    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 1290
    king: it may concern much. Stay not thy
    compliment; I forgive thy duty; adieu.
  • Jaquenetta. Good Costard, go with me. Sir, God save your life!
  • Costard. Have with thee, my girl.


  • 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? 1300
  • 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 1305
    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 1310
    the happiness of life.
  • Holofernes. And, certes, the text most infallibly concludes it.
    [To DULL]
    Sir, I do invite you too; you shall not
    say me nay: pauca verba. Away! the gentles are at 1315
    their game, and we will to our recreation.



Act IV, Scene 3

The same.


[Enter BIRON, with a paper]

  • Biron. The king he is hunting the deer; I am coursing
    myself: they have pitched a toil; I am toiling in 1320
    a pitch,—pitch that defiles: defile! a foul
    word. Well, set thee down, sorrow! for so they say
    the fool said, and so say I, and I the fool: well
    proved, wit! By the Lord, this love is as mad as
    Ajax: it kills sheep; it kills me, I a sheep: 1325
    well proved again o' my side! I will not love: if
    I do, hang me; i' faith, I will not. O, but her
    eye,—by this light, but for her eye, I would not
    love her; yes, for her two eyes. Well, I do nothing
    in the world but lie, and lie in my throat. By 1330
    heaven, I do love: and it hath taught me to rhyme
    and to be melancholy; and here is part of my rhyme,
    and here my melancholy. Well, she hath one o' my
    sonnets already: the clown bore it, the fool sent
    it, and the lady hath it: sweet clown, sweeter 1335
    fool, sweetest lady! By the world, I would not care
    a pin, if the other three were in. Here comes one
    with a paper: God give him grace to groan!

[Stands aside]

[Enter FERDINAND, with a paper]

  • Ferdinand. Ay me!
  • Biron. [Aside] Shot, by heaven! Proceed, sweet Cupid:
    thou hast thumped him with thy bird-bolt under the
    left pap. In faith, secrets!
  • Ferdinand. [Reads] 1345
    So sweet a kiss the golden sun gives not
    To those fresh morning drops upon the rose,
    As thy eye-beams, when their fresh rays have smote
    The night of dew that on my cheeks down flows:
    Nor shines the silver moon one half so bright 1350
    Through the transparent bosom of the deep,
    As doth thy face through tears of mine give light;
    Thou shinest in every tear that I do weep:
    No drop but as a coach doth carry thee;
    So ridest thou triumphing in my woe. 1355
    Do but behold the tears that swell in me,
    And they thy glory through my grief will show:
    But do not love thyself; then thou wilt keep
    My tears for glasses, and still make me weep.
    O queen of queens! how far dost thou excel, 1360
    No thought can think, nor tongue of mortal tell.
    How shall she know my griefs? I'll drop the paper:
    Sweet leaves, shade folly. Who is he comes here?
    [Steps aside]
    What, Longaville! and reading! listen, ear. 1365
  • Biron. Now, in thy likeness, one more fool appear!

[Enter LONGAVILLE, with a paper]

  • Longaville. Ay me, I am forsworn!
  • Biron. Why, he comes in like a perjure, wearing papers.
  • Ferdinand. In love, I hope: sweet fellowship in shame! 1370
  • Biron. One drunkard loves another of the name.
  • Longaville. Am I the first that have been perjured so?
  • Biron. I could put thee in comfort. Not by two that I know:
    Thou makest the triumviry, the corner-cap of society,
    The shape of Love's Tyburn that hangs up simplicity. 1375
  • Longaville. I fear these stubborn lines lack power to move:
    O sweet Maria, empress of my love!
    These numbers will I tear, and write in prose.
  • Biron. O, rhymes are guards on wanton Cupid's hose:
    Disfigure not his slop. 1380
  • Longaville. This same shall go.
    Did not the heavenly rhetoric of thine eye,
    'Gainst whom the world cannot hold argument,
    Persuade my heart to this false perjury? 1385
    Vows for thee broke deserve not punishment.
    A woman I forswore; but I will prove,
    Thou being a goddess, I forswore not thee:
    My vow was earthly, thou a heavenly love;
    Thy grace being gain'd cures all disgrace in me. 1390
    Vows are but breath, and breath a vapour is:
    Then thou, fair sun, which on my earth dost shine,
    Exhalest this vapour-vow; in thee it is:
    If broken then, it is no fault of mine:
    If by me broke, what fool is not so wise 1395
    To lose an oath to win a paradise?
  • Biron. This is the liver-vein, which makes flesh a deity,
    A green goose a goddess: pure, pure idolatry.
    God amend us, God amend! we are much out o' the way.
  • Longaville. By whom shall I send this?—Company! stay. 1400

[Steps aside]

  • Biron. All hid, all hid; an old infant play.
    Like a demigod here sit I in the sky.
    And wretched fools' secrets heedfully o'ereye.
    More sacks to the mill! O heavens, I have my wish! 1405
    [Enter DUMAIN, with a paper]
    Dumain transform'd! four woodcocks in a dish!
  • Dumain. O most divine Kate!
  • Biron. O most profane coxcomb!
  • Dumain. By heaven, the wonder in a mortal eye! 1410
  • Biron. By earth, she is not, corporal, there you lie.
  • Dumain. Her amber hair for foul hath amber quoted.
  • Biron. An amber-colour'd raven was well noted.
  • Dumain. As upright as the cedar.
  • Biron. Stoop, I say; 1415
    Her shoulder is with child.
  • Dumain. As fair as day.
  • Biron. Ay, as some days; but then no sun must shine.
  • Dumain. O that I had my wish!
  • Longaville. And I had mine! 1420
  • Ferdinand. And I mine too, good Lord!
  • Biron. Amen, so I had mine: is not that a good word?
  • Dumain. I would forget her; but a fever she
    Reigns in my blood and will remember'd be.
  • Biron. A fever in your blood! why, then incision 1425
    Would let her out in saucers: sweet misprision!
  • Dumain. Once more I'll read the ode that I have writ.
  • Biron. Once more I'll mark how love can vary wit.
  • Dumain. [Reads]
    On a day—alack the day!— 1430
    Love, whose month is ever May,
    Spied a blossom passing fair
    Playing in the wanton air:
    Through the velvet leaves the wind,
    All unseen, can passage find; 1435
    That the lover, sick to death,
    Wish himself the heaven's breath.
    Air, quoth he, thy cheeks may blow;
    Air, would I might triumph so!
    But, alack, my hand is sworn 1440
    Ne'er to pluck thee from thy thorn;
    Vow, alack, for youth unmeet,
    Youth so apt to pluck a sweet!
    Do not call it sin in me,
    That I am forsworn for thee; 1445
    Thou for whom Jove would swear
    Juno but an Ethiope were;
    And deny himself for Jove,
    Turning mortal for thy love.
    This will I send, and something else more plain, 1450
    That shall express my true love's fasting pain.
    O, would the king, Biron, and Longaville,
    Were lovers too! Ill, to example ill,
    Would from my forehead wipe a perjured note;
    For none offend where all alike do dote. 1455
  • Longaville. [Advancing] Dumain, thy love is far from charity.
    You may look pale, but I should blush, I know,
    To be o'erheard and taken napping so.
  • Ferdinand. [Advancing] Come, sir, you blush; as his your case is such;
    You chide at him, offending twice as much; 1460
    You do not love Maria; Longaville
    Did never sonnet for her sake compile,
    Nor never lay his wreathed arms athwart
    His loving bosom to keep down his heart.
    I have been closely shrouded in this bush 1465
    And mark'd you both and for you both did blush:
    I heard your guilty rhymes, observed your fashion,
    Saw sighs reek from you, noted well your passion:
    Ay me! says one; O Jove! the other cries;
    One, her hairs were gold, crystal the other's eyes: 1470
    You would for paradise break faith, and troth;
    [To DUMAIN]
    And Jove, for your love, would infringe an oath.
    What will Biron say when that he shall hear 1475
    Faith so infringed, which such zeal did swear?
    How will he scorn! how will he spend his wit!
    How will he triumph, leap and laugh at it!
    For all the wealth that ever I did see,
    I would not have him know so much by me. 1480
  • Biron. Now step I forth to whip hypocrisy.
    Ah, good my liege, I pray thee, pardon me!
    Good heart, what grace hast thou, thus to reprove
    These worms for loving, that art most in love? 1485
    Your eyes do make no coaches; in your tears
    There is no certain princess that appears;
    You'll not be perjured, 'tis a hateful thing;
    Tush, none but minstrels like of sonneting!
    But are you not ashamed? nay, are you not, 1490
    All three of you, to be thus much o'ershot?
    You found his mote; the king your mote did see;
    But I a beam do find in each of three.
    O, what a scene of foolery have I seen,
    Of sighs, of groans, of sorrow and of teen! 1495
    O me, with what strict patience have I sat,
    To see a king transformed to a gnat!
    To see great Hercules whipping a gig,
    And profound Solomon to tune a jig,
    And Nestor play at push-pin with the boys, 1500
    And critic Timon laugh at idle toys!
    Where lies thy grief, O, tell me, good Dumain?
    And gentle Longaville, where lies thy pain?
    And where my liege's? all about the breast:
    A caudle, ho! 1505
  • Ferdinand. Too bitter is thy jest.
    Are we betray'd thus to thy over-view?
  • Biron. Not you to me, but I betray'd by you:
    I, that am honest; I, that hold it sin
    To break the vow I am engaged in; 1510
    I am betray'd, by keeping company
    With men like men of inconstancy.
    When shall you see me write a thing in rhyme?
    Or groan for love? or spend a minute's time
    In pruning me? When shall you hear that I 1515
    Will praise a hand, a foot, a face, an eye,
    A gait, a state, a brow, a breast, a waist,
    A leg, a limb?
  • Ferdinand. Soft! whither away so fast?
    A true man or a thief that gallops so? 1520
  • Biron. I post from love: good lover, let me go.


  • Jaquenetta. God bless the king!
  • Ferdinand. What present hast thou there?
  • Costard. Some certain treason. 1525
  • Ferdinand. What makes treason here?
  • Costard. Nay, it makes nothing, sir.
  • Ferdinand. If it mar nothing neither,
    The treason and you go in peace away together.
  • Jaquenetta. I beseech your grace, let this letter be read: 1530
    Our parson misdoubts it; 'twas treason, he said.
  • Ferdinand. Biron, read it over.
    [Giving him the paper]
    Where hadst thou it?
  • Jaquenetta. Of Costard. 1535
  • Ferdinand. Where hadst thou it?
  • Costard. Of Dun Adramadio, Dun Adramadio.

[BIRON tears the letter]

  • Ferdinand. How now! what is in you? why dost thou tear it?
  • Biron. A toy, my liege, a toy: your grace needs not fear it. 1540
  • Longaville. It did move him to passion, and therefore let's hear it.
  • Dumain. It is Biron's writing, and here is his name.

[Gathering up the pieces]

  • Biron. [To COSTARD] Ah, you whoreson loggerhead! you were
    born to do me shame. 1545
    Guilty, my lord, guilty! I confess, I confess.
  • Ferdinand. What?
  • Biron. That you three fools lack'd me fool to make up the mess:
    He, he, and you, and you, my liege, and I,
    Are pick-purses in love, and we deserve to die. 1550
    O, dismiss this audience, and I shall tell you more.
  • Dumain. Now the number is even.
  • Biron. True, true; we are four.
    Will these turtles be gone?
  • Ferdinand. Hence, sirs; away! 1555
  • Costard. Walk aside the true folk, and let the traitors stay.


  • Biron. Sweet lords, sweet lovers, O, let us embrace!
    As true we are as flesh and blood can be:
    The sea will ebb and flow, heaven show his face; 1560
    Young blood doth not obey an old decree:
    We cannot cross the cause why we were born;
    Therefore of all hands must we be forsworn.
  • Ferdinand. What, did these rent lines show some love of thine?
  • Biron. Did they, quoth you? Who sees the heavenly Rosaline, 1565
    That, like a rude and savage man of Inde,
    At the first opening of the gorgeous east,
    Bows not his vassal head and strucken blind
    Kisses the base ground with obedient breast?
    What peremptory eagle-sighted eye 1570
    Dares look upon the heaven of her brow,
    That is not blinded by her majesty?
  • Ferdinand. What zeal, what fury hath inspired thee now?
    My love, her mistress, is a gracious moon;
    She an attending star, scarce seen a light. 1575
  • Biron. My eyes are then no eyes, nor I Biron:
    O, but for my love, day would turn to night!
    Of all complexions the cull'd sovereignty
    Do meet, as at a fair, in her fair cheek,
    Where several worthies make one dignity, 1580
    Where nothing wants that want itself doth seek.
    Lend me the flourish of all gentle tongues,—
    Fie, painted rhetoric! O, she needs it not:
    To things of sale a seller's praise belongs,
    She passes praise; then praise too short doth blot. 1585
    A wither'd hermit, five-score winters worn,
    Might shake off fifty, looking in her eye:
    Beauty doth varnish age, as if new-born,
    And gives the crutch the cradle's infancy:
    O, 'tis the sun that maketh all things shine. 1590
  • Ferdinand. By heaven, thy love is black as ebony.
  • Biron. Is ebony like her? O wood divine!
    A wife of such wood were felicity.
    O, who can give an oath? where is a book?
    That I may swear beauty doth beauty lack, 1595
    If that she learn not of her eye to look:
    No face is fair that is not full so black.
  • Ferdinand. O paradox! Black is the badge of hell,
    The hue of dungeons and the suit of night;
    And beauty's crest becomes the heavens well. 1600
  • Biron. Devils soonest tempt, resembling spirits of light.
    O, if in black my lady's brows be deck'd,
    It mourns that painting and usurping hair
    Should ravish doters with a false aspect;
    And therefore is she born to make black fair. 1605
    Her favour turns the fashion of the days,
    For native blood is counted painting now;
    And therefore red, that would avoid dispraise,
    Paints itself black, to imitate her brow.
  • Dumain. To look like her are chimney-sweepers black. 1610
  • Longaville. And since her time are colliers counted bright.
  • Ferdinand. And Ethiopes of their sweet complexion crack.
  • Dumain. Dark needs no candles now, for dark is light.
  • Biron. Your mistresses dare never come in rain,
    For fear their colours should be wash'd away. 1615
  • Ferdinand. 'Twere good, yours did; for, sir, to tell you plain,
    I'll find a fairer face not wash'd to-day.
  • Biron. I'll prove her fair, or talk till doomsday here.
  • Ferdinand. No devil will fright thee then so much as she.
  • Dumain. I never knew man hold vile stuff so dear. 1620
  • Longaville. Look, here's thy love: my foot and her face see.
  • Biron. O, if the streets were paved with thine eyes,
    Her feet were much too dainty for such tread!
  • Dumain. O, vile! then, as she goes, what upward lies
    The street should see as she walk'd overhead. 1625
  • Ferdinand. But what of this? are we not all in love?
  • Biron. Nothing so sure; and thereby all forsworn.
  • Ferdinand. Then leave this chat; and, good Biron, now prove
    Our loving lawful, and our faith not torn.
  • Dumain. Ay, marry, there; some flattery for this evil. 1630
  • Longaville. O, some authority how to proceed;
    Some tricks, some quillets, how to cheat the devil.
  • Dumain. Some salve for perjury.
  • Biron. 'Tis more than need.
    Have at you, then, affection's men at arms. 1635
    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 engenders maladies. 1640
    And where that you have vow'd to study, lords,
    In that each of you have forsworn his book,
    Can you still dream and pore and thereon look?
    For when would you, my lord, or you, or you,
    Have found the ground of study's excellence 1645
    Without the beauty of a woman's face?
    [From women's eyes this doctrine I derive;]
    They are the ground, the books, the academes
    From whence doth spring the true Promethean fire]
    Why, universal plodding poisons up 1650
    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 forsworn the use of eyes 1655
    And study too, the causer of your vow;
    For where is any author in the world
    Teaches such beauty as a woman's eye?
    Learning is but an adjunct to ourself
    And where we are our learning likewise is: 1660
    Then when ourselves we see in ladies' eyes,
    Do we not likewise see our learning there?
    O, we have made a vow to study, lords,
    And in that vow we have forsworn our books.
    For when would you, my liege, or you, or you, 1665
    In leaden contemplation have found out
    Such fiery numbers as the prompting eyes
    Of beauty's tutors have enrich'd you with?
    Other slow arts entirely keep the brain;
    And therefore, finding barren practisers, 1670
    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, 1675
    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, 1680
    When the suspicious head of theft is stopp'd:
    Love's feeling is more soft and sensible
    Than are the tender horns of cockl'd snails;
    Love's tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste:
    For valour, is not Love a Hercules, 1685
    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 voice of all the gods
    Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony. 1690
    Never durst poet touch a pen to write
    Until his ink were temper'd with Love's sighs;
    O, then his lines would ravish savage ears
    And plant in tyrants mild humility.
    From women's eyes this doctrine I derive: 1695
    They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
    They are the books, the arts, the academes,
    That show, contain and nourish all the world:
    Else none at all in ought proves excellent.
    Then fools you were these women to forswear, 1700
    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 whom we men are men, 1705
    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 fulfills the law,
    And who can sever love from charity? 1710
  • Ferdinand. Saint Cupid, then! and, soldiers, to the field!
  • Biron. Advance your standards, and upon them, lords;
    Pell-mell, down with them! but be first advised,
    In conflict that you get the sun of them.
  • Longaville. Now to plain-dealing; lay these glozes by: 1715
    Shall we resolve to woo these girls of France?
  • Ferdinand. And win them too: therefore let us devise
    Some entertainment for them in their tents.
  • Biron. First, from the park let us conduct them thither;
    Then homeward every man attach the hand 1720
    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 flowers. 1725
  • Ferdinand. Away, away! no time shall be omitted
    That will betime, and may by us be fitted.
  • Biron. Allons! allons! Sow'd cockle reap'd no corn;
    And justice always whirls in equal measure:
    Light wenches may prove plagues to men forsworn; 1730
    If so, our copper buys no better treasure.



Act V, Scene 1

The same.



  • Holofernes. Satis quod sufficit.
  • Sir Nathaniel. I praise God for you, sir: your reasons at dinner 1735
    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- 1740
    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 1745
    too picked, too spruce, too affected, too odd, as it
    were, too peregrinate, as I may call it.
  • Sir Nathaniel. A most singular and choice epithet.

[Draws out his table-book]

  • Holofernes. He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer 1750
    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, 1755
    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. 1760
  • 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. 1765


  • Don Adriano de Armado. Chirrah!


  • Holofernes. Quare chirrah, not sirrah?
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Men of peace, well encountered. 1770
  • Holofernes. Most military sir, salutation.
  • Moth. [Aside to COSTARD] They have been at a great feast
    of languages, and stolen the scraps.
  • Costard. O, they have lived long on the alms-basket of words.
    I marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word; 1775
    for thou art not so long by the head as
    honorificabilitudinitatibus: thou art easier
    swallowed than a flap-dragon.
  • Moth. Peace! the peal begins.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. [To HOLOFERNES] Monsieur, are you not lettered? 1780
  • 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? 1785
  • 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. The sheep: the other two concludes it,—o, u.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Now, by the salt wave of the Mediterraneum, a sweet 1790
    touch, a quick venue of wit! snip, snap, quick and
    home! it rejoiceth my intellect: true wit!
  • Moth. Offered by a child to an old man; which is wit-old.
  • Holofernes. What is the figure? what is the figure?
  • Moth. Horns. 1795
  • Holofernes. Thou disputest like an infant: go, whip thy gig.
  • Moth. Lend me your horn to make one, and I will whip about
    your infamy circum circa,—a gig of a cuckold's horn.
  • Costard. An I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst
    have it to buy gingerbread: hold, there is the very 1800
    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' 1805
    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? 1810
  • 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 1815
    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 1820
    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 1825
    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 1830
    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. 1835
    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 1840
    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. 1845
    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 1850
    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 1855
    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 1860
    snake; and I will have an apology for that purpose.
  • Moth. An excellent device! so, if any of the audience
    hiss, you may cry 'Well done, Hercules! now thou
    crushest the snake!' that is the way to make an
    offence gracious, though few have the grace to do it. 1865
  • Don Adriano de Armado. For the rest of the Worthies?—
  • Holofernes. I will play three myself.
  • Moth. Thrice-worthy gentleman!
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Shall I tell you a thing?
  • Holofernes. We attend. 1870
  • 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. 1875
  • 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!



Act V, Scene 2

The same.



  • Princess of France. Sweet 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.
  • Rosaline. Madame, came nothing else along with that? 1885
  • Princess of France. Nothing 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.
  • Rosaline. That was the way to make his godhead wax, 1890
    For he hath been five thousand years a boy.
  • Katharine. Ay, and a shrewd unhappy gallows too.
  • Rosaline. You'll ne'er be friends with him; a' kill'd your sister.
  • Katharine. He made her melancholy, sad, and heavy;
    And so she died: had she been light, like you, 1895
    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.
  • Rosaline. What's your dark meaning, mouse, of this light word?
  • Katharine. A light condition in a beauty dark. 1900
  • Rosaline. We need more light to find your meaning out.
  • Katharine. You'll mar the light by taking it in snuff;
    Therefore I'll darkly end the argument.
  • Rosaline. Look what you do, you do it still i' the dark.
  • Katharine. So do not you, for you are a light wench. 1905
  • Rosaline. Indeed I weigh not you, and therefore light.
  • Katharine. You weigh me not? O, that's you care not for me.
  • Rosaline. Great reason; for 'past cure is still past care.'
  • Princess of France. Well bandied both; a set of wit well play'd.
    But Rosaline, you have a favour too: 1910
    Who sent it? and what is it?
  • Rosaline. I would you knew:
    An if my face were but as fair as yours,
    My favour were as great; be witness this.
    Nay, I have verses too, I thank Biron: 1915
    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!
  • Princess of France. Any thing like? 1920
  • Rosaline. Much in the letters; nothing in the praise.
  • Princess of France. Beauteous as ink; a good conclusion.
  • Katharine. Fair as a text B in a copy-book.
  • Rosaline. 'Ware pencils, ho! let me not die your debtor,
    My red dominical, my golden letter: 1925
    O, that your face were not so full of O's!
  • Katharine. A pox of that jest! and I beshrew all shrows.
  • Princess of France. But, Katharine, what was sent to you from fair Dumain?
  • Katharine. Madam, this glove.
  • Princess of France. Did he not send you twain? 1930
  • Katharine. Yes, madam, and moreover
    Some thousand verses of a faithful lover,
    A huge translation of hypocrisy,
    Vilely compiled, profound simplicity.
  • Maria. This and these pearls to me sent Longaville: 1935
    The letter is too long by half a mile.
  • Princess of France. I think no less. Dost thou not wish in heart
    The chain were longer and the letter short?
  • Maria. Ay, or I would these hands might never part.
  • Princess of France. We are wise girls to mock our lovers so. 1940
  • Rosaline. They 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
    And wait the season and observe the times 1945
    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
    That he should be my fool and I his fate. 1950
  • Princess of France. None 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.
  • Rosaline. The blood of youth burns not with such excess 1955
    As gravity's revolt to wantonness.
  • Maria. Folly 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
    To prove, by wit, worth in simplicity. 1960
  • Princess of France. Here comes Boyet, and mirth is in his face.

[Enter BOYET]

  • Boyet. O, I am stabb'd with laughter! Where's her grace?
  • Princess of France. Thy news Boyet?
  • Boyet. Prepare, madam, prepare! 1965
    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. 1970
  • Princess of France. Saint Denis to Saint Cupid! What are they
    That charge their breath against us? say, scout, say.
  • Boyet. Under the cool shade of a sycamore
    I thought to close mine eyes some half an hour;
    When, lo! to interrupt my purposed rest, 1975
    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. 1980
    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 1985
    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.' 1990
    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, 1995
    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, 2000
    That in this spleen ridiculous appears,
    To cheque their folly, passion's solemn tears.
  • Princess of France. But what, but what, come they to visit us?
  • Boyet. They do, they do: and are apparell'd thus.
    Like Muscovites or Russians, as I guess. 2005
    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.
  • Princess of France. And will they so? the gallants shall be task'd; 2010
    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; 2015
    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.
  • Rosaline. Come on, then; wear the favours most in sight. 2020
  • Katharine. But in this changing what is your intent?
  • Princess of France. The 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 2025
    To loves mistook, and so be mock'd withal
    Upon the next occasion that we meet,
    With visages displayed, to talk and greet.
  • Rosaline. But shall we dance, if they desire to't?
  • Princess of France. No, to the death, we will not move a foot; 2030
    Nor to their penn'd speech render we no grace,
    But while 'tis spoke each turn away her face.
  • Boyet. Why, that contempt will kill the speaker's heart,
    And quite divorce his memory from his part.
  • Princess of France. Therefore I do it; and I make no doubt 2035
    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. 2040

[Trumpets sound within]

  • Boyet. The trumpet sounds: be mask'd; the maskers come.
    [The Ladies mask]
    [Enter Blackamoors with music; MOTH; FERDINAND,]
    BIRON, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAIN, in Russian habits, 2045
    and masked]
  • Moth. All hail, the richest beauties on the earth!—
  • Boyet. Beauties no richer than rich taffeta.
  • Moth. A holy parcel of the fairest dames.
    [The Ladies turn their backs to him] 2050
    That ever turn'd their—backs—to mortal views!
  • Biron. [Aside to MOTH] Their eyes, villain, their eyes!
  • Moth. That ever turn'd their eyes to mortal views!—Out—
  • Boyet. True; out indeed.
  • Moth. Out of your favours, heavenly spirits, vouchsafe 2055
    Not to behold—
  • Biron. [Aside to MOTH] Once to behold, rogue.
  • Moth. Once to behold with your sun-beamed eyes,
    —with your sun-beamed eyes—
  • Boyet. They will not answer to that epithet; 2060
    You were best call it 'daughter-beamed eyes.'
  • Moth. They do not mark me, and that brings me out.
  • Biron. Is this your perfectness? be gone, you rogue!

[Exit MOTH]

  • Rosaline. What would these strangers? know their minds, Boyet: 2065
    If they do speak our language, 'tis our will:
    That some plain man recount their purposes
    Know what they would.
  • Boyet. What would you with the princess?
  • Biron. Nothing but peace and gentle visitation. 2070
  • Rosaline. What would they, say they?
  • Boyet. Nothing but peace and gentle visitation.
  • Rosaline. Why, that they have; and bid them so be gone.
  • Boyet. She says, you have it, and you may be gone.
  • Ferdinand. Say to her, we have measured many miles 2075
    To tread a measure with her on this grass.
  • Boyet. They say, that they have measured many a mile
    To tread a measure with you on this grass.
  • Rosaline. It is not so. Ask them how many inches
    Is in one mile: if they have measured many, 2080
    The measure then of one is easily told.
  • Boyet. If to come hither you have measured miles,
    And many miles, the princess bids you tell
    How many inches doth fill up one mile.
  • Biron. Tell her, we measure them by weary steps. 2085
  • Boyet. She hears herself.
  • Rosaline. How many weary steps,
    Of many weary miles you have o'ergone,
    Are number'd in the travel of one mile?
  • Biron. We number nothing that we spend for you: 2090
    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.
  • Rosaline. My face is but a moon, and clouded too. 2095
  • Ferdinand. Blessed are clouds, to do as such clouds do!
    Vouchsafe, bright moon, and these thy stars, to shine,
    Those clouds removed, upon our watery eyne.
  • Rosaline. O vain petitioner! beg a greater matter;
    Thou now request'st but moonshine in the water. 2100
  • Ferdinand. Then, in our measure do but vouchsafe one change.
    Thou bid'st me beg: this begging is not strange.
  • Rosaline. Play, music, then! Nay, you must do it soon.
    [Music plays]
    Not yet! no dance! Thus change I like the moon. 2105
  • Ferdinand. Will you not dance? How come you thus estranged?
  • Rosaline. You took the moon at full, but now she's changed.
  • Ferdinand. Yet still she is the moon, and I the man.
    The music plays; vouchsafe some motion to it.
  • Rosaline. Our ears vouchsafe it. 2110
  • Ferdinand. But your legs should do it.
  • Rosaline. Since you are strangers and come here by chance,
    We'll not be nice: take hands. We will not dance.
  • Ferdinand. Why take we hands, then?
  • Rosaline. Only to part friends: 2115
    Curtsy, sweet hearts; and so the measure ends.
  • Ferdinand. More measure of this measure; be not nice.
  • Rosaline. We can afford no more at such a price.
  • Ferdinand. Prize you yourselves: what buys your company?
  • Rosaline. Your absence only. 2120
  • Ferdinand. That can never be.
  • Rosaline. Then cannot we be bought: and so, adieu;
    Twice to your visor, and half once to you.
  • Ferdinand. If you deny to dance, let's hold more chat.
  • Rosaline. In private, then. 2125
  • Ferdinand. I am best pleased with that.

[They converse apart]

  • Biron. White-handed mistress, one sweet word with thee.
  • Princess of France. Honey, and milk, and sugar; there is three.
  • Biron. Nay then, two treys, and if you grow so nice, 2130
    Metheglin, wort, and malmsey: well run, dice!
    There's half-a-dozen sweets.
  • Princess of France. Seventh sweet, adieu:
    Since you can cog, I'll play no more with you.
  • Biron. One word in secret. 2135
  • Princess of France. Let it not be sweet.
  • Biron. Thou grievest my gall.
  • Princess of France. Gall! bitter.
  • Biron. Therefore meet.

[They converse apart]

  • Dumain. Will you vouchsafe with me to change a word?
  • Maria. Name it.
  • Dumain. Fair lady,—
  • Maria. Say you so? Fair lord,—
    Take that for your fair lady. 2145
  • Dumain. Please it you,
    As much in private, and I'll bid adieu.

[They converse apart]

  • Katharine. What, was your vizard made without a tongue?
  • Longaville. I know the reason, lady, why you ask. 2150
  • Katharine. O for your reason! quickly, sir; I long.
  • Longaville. You have a double tongue within your mask,
    And would afford my speechless vizard half.
  • Katharine. Veal, quoth the Dutchman. Is not 'veal' a calf?
  • Longaville. A calf, fair lady! 2155
  • Katharine. No, a fair lord calf.
  • Longaville. Let's part the word.
  • Katharine. No, I'll not be your half
    Take all, and wean it; it may prove an ox.
  • Longaville. Look, how you butt yourself in these sharp mocks! 2160
    Will you give horns, chaste lady? do not so.
  • Katharine. Then die a calf, before your horns do grow.
  • Longaville. One word in private with you, ere I die.
  • Katharine. Bleat softly then; the butcher hears you cry.

[They converse apart]

  • Boyet. The 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
    Seemeth their conference; their conceits have wings 2170
    Fleeter than arrows, bullets, wind, thought, swifter things.
  • Rosaline. Not one word more, my maids; break off, break off.
  • Biron. By heaven, all dry-beaten with pure scoff!
  • Ferdinand. Farewell, mad wenches; you have simple wits.
  • Princess of France. Twenty adieus, my frozen Muscovits. 2175
    [Exeunt FERDINAND, Lords, and Blackamoors]
    Are these the breed of wits so wonder'd at?
  • Boyet. Tapers they are, with your sweet breaths puff'd out.
  • Rosaline. Well-liking wits they have; gross, gross; fat, fat.
  • Princess of France. O poverty in wit, kingly-poor flout! 2180
    Will they not, think you, hang themselves tonight?
    Or ever, but in vizards, show their faces?
    This pert Biron was out of countenance quite.
  • Rosaline. O, they were all in lamentable cases!
    The king was weeping-ripe for a good word. 2185
  • Princess of France. Biron did swear himself out of all suit.
  • Maria. Dumain was at my service, and his sword:
    No point, quoth I; my servant straight was mute.
  • Katharine. Lord Longaville said, I came o'er his heart;
    And trow you what he called me? 2190
  • Princess of France. Qualm, perhaps.
  • Katharine. Yes, in good faith.
  • Princess of France. Go, sickness as thou art!
  • Rosaline. Well, better wits have worn plain statute-caps.
    But will you hear? the king is my love sworn. 2195
  • Princess of France. And quick Biron hath plighted faith to me.
  • Katharine. And Longaville was for my service born.
  • Maria. Dumain is mine, as sure as bark on tree.
  • Boyet. Madam, and pretty mistresses, give ear:
    Immediately they will again be here 2200
    In their own shapes; for it can never be
    They will digest this harsh indignity.
  • Princess of France. Will they return?
  • Boyet. They will, they will, God knows,
    And leap for joy, though they are lame with blows: 2205
    Therefore change favours; and, when they repair,
    Blow like sweet roses in this summer air.
  • Princess of France. How blow? how blow? speak to be understood.
  • Boyet. Fair ladies mask'd are roses in their bud;
    Dismask'd, their damask sweet commixture shown, 2210
    Are angels vailing clouds, or roses blown.
  • Princess of France. Avaunt, perplexity! What shall we do,
    If they return in their own shapes to woo?
  • Rosaline. Good madam, if by me you'll be advised,
    Let's, mock them still, as well known as disguised: 2215
    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, 2220
    Should be presented at our tent to us.
  • Boyet. Ladies, withdraw: the gallants are at hand.
  • Princess of France. Whip to our tents, as roes run o'er land.
    in their proper habits]
  • Ferdinand. Fair sir, God save you! Where's the princess?
  • Boyet. Gone to her tent. Please it your majesty
    Command me any service to her thither?
  • Ferdinand. That she vouchsafe me audience for one word. 2230
  • Boyet. I will; and so will she, I know, my lord.


  • Biron. This fellow pecks up wit as pigeons pease,
    And utters it again when God doth please:
    He is wit's pedler, and retails his wares 2235
    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;
    Had he been Adam, he had tempted Eve; 2240
    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
    In honourable terms: nay, he can sing 2245
    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,
    To show his teeth as white as whale's bone; 2250
    And consciences, that will not die in debt,
    Pay him the due of honey-tongued Boyet.
  • Ferdinand. A blister on his sweet tongue, with my heart,
    That put Armado's page out of his part!
  • Biron. See where it comes! Behavior, what wert thou 2255
    Till this madman show'd thee? and what art thou now?
    [Re-enter the PRINCESS, ushered by BOYET, ROSALINE,]
  • Ferdinand. All hail, sweet madam, and fair time of day!
  • Princess of France. 'Fair' in 'all hail' is foul, as I conceive. 2260
  • Ferdinand. Construe my speeches better, if you may.
  • Princess of France. Then wish me better; I will give you leave.
  • Ferdinand. We came to visit you, and purpose now
    To lead you to our court; vouchsafe it then.
  • Princess of France. This field shall hold me; and so hold your vow: 2265
    Nor God, nor I, delights in perjured men.
  • Ferdinand. Rebuke me not for that which you provoke:
    The virtue of your eye must break my oath.
  • Princess of France. You nickname virtue; vice you should have spoke;
    For virtue's office never breaks men's troth. 2270
    Now by my maiden honour, yet as pure
    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 2275
    Of heavenly oaths, vow'd with integrity.
  • Ferdinand. O, you have lived in desolation here,
    Unseen, unvisited, much to our shame.
  • Princess of France. Not so, my lord; it is not so, I swear;
    We have had pastimes here and pleasant game: 2280
    A mess of Russians left us but of late.
  • Ferdinand. How, madam! Russians!
  • Princess of France. Ay, in truth, my lord;
    Trim gallants, full of courtship and of state.
  • Rosaline. Madam, speak true. It is not so, my lord: 2285
    My lady, to the manner of the days,
    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, 2290
    They did not bless us with one happy word.
    I dare not call them fools; but this I think,
    When they are thirsty, fools would fain have drink.
  • Biron. This jest is dry to me. Fair gentle sweet,
    Your wit makes wise things foolish: when we greet, 2295
    With eyes best seeing, heaven's fiery eye,
    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.
  • Rosaline. This proves you wise and rich, for in my eye,— 2300
  • Biron. I am a fool, and full of poverty.
  • Rosaline. But that you take what doth to you belong,
    It were a fault to snatch words from my tongue.
  • Biron. O, I am yours, and all that I possess!
  • Rosaline. All the fool mine? 2305
  • Biron. I cannot give you less.
  • Rosaline. Which of the vizards was it that you wore?
  • Biron. Where? when? what vizard? why demand you this?
  • Rosaline. There, then, that vizard; that superfluous case
    That hid the worse and show'd the better face. 2310
  • Ferdinand. We are descried; they'll mock us now downright.
  • Dumain. Let us confess and turn it to a jest.
  • Princess of France. Amazed, my lord? why looks your highness sad?
  • Rosaline. Help, hold his brows! he'll swoon! Why look you pale?
    Sea-sick, I think, coming from Muscovy. 2315
  • Biron. Thus pour the stars down plagues for perjury.
    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; 2320
    Cut me to pieces with thy keen conceit;
    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, 2325
    Nor never come in vizard to my friend,
    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 2330
    Have blown me full of maggot ostentation:
    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: 2335
    And, to begin, wench,—so God help me, la!—
    My love to thee is sound, sans crack or flaw.
  • Rosaline. Sans sans, I pray you.
  • Biron. Yet I have a trick
    Of the old rage: bear with me, I am sick; 2340
    I'll leave it by degrees. Soft, let us see:
    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, 2345
    For the Lord's tokens on you do I see.
  • Princess of France. No, they are free that gave these tokens to us.
  • Biron. Our states are forfeit: seek not to undo us.
  • Rosaline. It is not so; for how can this be true,
    That you stand forfeit, being those that sue? 2350
  • Biron. Peace! for I will not have to do with you.
  • Rosaline. Nor shall not, if I do as I intend.
  • Biron. Speak for yourselves; my wit is at an end.
  • Ferdinand. Teach us, sweet madam, for our rude transgression
    Some fair excuse. 2355
  • Princess of France. The fairest is confession.
    Were not you here but even now disguised?
  • Ferdinand. Madam, I was.
  • Princess of France. And were you well advised?
  • Ferdinand. I was, fair madam. 2360
  • Princess of France. When you then were here,
    What did you whisper in your lady's ear?
  • Ferdinand. That more than all the world I did respect her.
  • Princess of France. When she shall challenge this, you will reject her.
  • Ferdinand. Upon mine honour, no. 2365
  • Princess of France. Peace, peace! forbear:
    Your oath once broke, you force not to forswear.
  • Ferdinand. Despise me, when I break this oath of mine.
  • Princess of France. I will: and therefore keep it. Rosaline,
    What did the Russian whisper in your ear? 2370
  • Rosaline. Madam, he swore that he did hold me dear
    As precious eyesight, and did value me
    Above this world; adding thereto moreover
    That he would wed me, or else die my lover.
  • Princess of France. God give thee joy of him! the noble lord 2375
    Most honourably doth unhold his word.
  • Ferdinand. What mean you, madam? by my life, my troth,
    I never swore this lady such an oath.
  • Rosaline. By heaven, you did; and to confirm it plain,
    You gave me this: but take it, sir, again. 2380
  • Ferdinand. My faith and this the princess I did give:
    I knew her by this jewel on her sleeve.
  • Princess of France. Pardon 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? 2385
  • Biron. Neither of either; I remit both twain.
    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, 2390
    Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some Dick,
    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, 2395
    Following the signs, woo'd but the sign of she.
    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
    [To BOYET] 2400
    Forestall our sport, to make us thus untrue?
    Do not you know my lady's foot by the squier,
    And laugh upon the apple of her eye?
    And stand between her back, sir, and the fire,
    Holding a trencher, jesting merrily? 2405
    You put our page out: go, you are allow'd;
    Die when you will, a smock shall be your shroud.
    You leer upon me, do you? there's an eye
    Wounds like a leaden sword.
  • Boyet. Full merrily 2410
    Hath this brave manage, this career, been run.
  • Biron. Lo, he is tilting straight! Peace! I have done.
    [Enter COSTARD]
    Welcome, pure wit! thou partest a fair fray.
  • Costard. O Lord, sir, they would know 2415
    Whether the three Worthies shall come in or no.
  • Biron. What, are there but three?
  • Costard. No, sir; but it is vara fine,
    For every one pursents three.
  • Biron. And three times thrice is nine. 2420
  • Costard. Not 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:
    I hope, sir, three times thrice, sir,—
  • Biron. Is not nine. 2425
  • Costard. Under correction, sir, we know whereuntil it doth amount.
  • Biron. By Jove, I always took three threes for nine.
  • Costard. O Lord, sir, it were pity you should get your living
    by reckoning, sir.
  • Biron. How much is it? 2430
  • Costard. O 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
    in one poor man, Pompion the Great, sir.
  • Biron. Art thou one of the Worthies? 2435
  • Costard. It 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.
  • Biron. Go, bid them prepare.
  • Costard. We will turn it finely off, sir; we will take 2440
    some care.


  • Ferdinand. Biron, they will shame us: let them not approach.
  • Biron. We are shame-proof, my lord: and tis some policy
    To have one show worse than the king's and his company. 2445
  • Ferdinand. I say they shall not come.
  • Princess of France. Nay, 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
    Dies in the zeal of that which it presents: 2450
    Their form confounded makes most form in mirth,
    When great things labouring perish in their birth.
  • Biron. A right description of our sport, my lord.


  • Don Adriano de Armado. Anointed, I implore so much expense of thy royal 2455
    sweet breath as will utter a brace of words.

[Converses apart with FERDINAND, and delivers him a paper]

  • Princess of France. Doth this man serve God?
  • Biron. Why ask you?
  • Princess of France. He speaks not like a man of God's making. 2460
  • Don Adriano de Armado. That is all one, my fair, sweet, honey monarch; for,
    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! 2465


  • Ferdinand. Here is like to be a good presence of Worthies. He
    presents Hector of Troy; the swain, Pompey the
    Great; the parish curate, Alexander; Armado's page,
    Hercules; the pedant, Judas Maccabaeus: And if 2470
    these four Worthies in their first show thrive,
    These four will change habits, and present the other five.
  • Biron. There is five in the first show.
  • Ferdinand. You are deceived; 'tis not so.
  • Biron. The pedant, the braggart, the hedge-priest, the fool 2475
    and the boy:—
    Abate throw at novum, and the whole world again
    Cannot pick out five such, take each one in his vein.
  • Ferdinand. The ship is under sail, and here she comes amain.

[Enter COSTARD, for Pompey]

  • Costard. I Pompey am,—
  • Boyet. You lie, you are not he.
  • Costard. I Pompey am,—
  • Boyet. With libbard's head on knee.
  • Biron. Well said, old mocker: I must needs be friends 2485
    with thee.
  • Costard. I Pompey am, Pompey surnamed the Big—
  • Dumain. The Great.
  • Costard. It is, 'Great,' sir:—
    Pompey surnamed the Great; 2490
    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,
    And lay my arms before the legs of this sweet lass of France,
    If your ladyship would say, 'Thanks, Pompey,' I had done. 2495
  • Princess of France. Great thanks, great Pompey.
  • Costard. 'Tis not so much worth; but I hope I was perfect: I
    made a little fault in 'Great.'
  • Biron. My hat to a halfpenny, Pompey proves the best Worthy.

[Enter SIR NATHANIEL, for Alexander]

  • Sir Nathaniel. When in the world I lived, I was the world's
    By east, west, north, and south, I spread my
    conquering might:
    My scutcheon plain declares that I am Alisander,— 2505
  • Boyet. Your nose says, no, you are not for it stands too right.
  • Biron. Your nose smells 'no' in this, most tender-smelling knight.
  • Princess of France. The conqueror is dismay'd. Proceed, good Alexander.
  • Sir Nathaniel. When in the world I lived, I was the world's
    commander,— 2510
  • Boyet. Most true, 'tis right; you were so, Alisander.
  • Biron. Pompey the Great,—
  • Costard. Your servant, and Costard.
  • Biron. Take away the conqueror, take away Alisander.
  • Costard. [To SIR NATHANIEL] O, sir, you have overthrown 2515
    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. 2520
    [SIR NATHANIEL retires]
    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 2525
    'tis,—a little o'erparted. But there are Worthies
    a-coming will speak their mind in some other sort.

[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; 2530
    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. 2535
    [MOTH retires]
    Judas I am,—
  • Dumain. A Judas!
  • Holofernes. Not Iscariot, sir.
    Judas I am, ycliped Maccabaeus. 2540
  • Dumain. Judas Maccabaeus clipt is plain Judas.
  • 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? 2545
  • 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. 2550
  • Holofernes. What is this?
  • Boyet. A cittern-head.
  • Dumain. The head of a bodkin.
  • Biron. A Death's face in a ring.
  • Longaville. The face of an old Roman coin, scarce seen. 2555
  • Boyet. The pommel of Caesar's falchion.
  • Dumain. The carved-bone face on a flask.
  • Biron. Saint George's half-cheek in a brooch.
  • Dumain. Ay, and in a brooch of lead.
  • Biron. Ay, and worn in the cap of a tooth-drawer. 2560
    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. An thou wert a lion, we would do so. 2565
  • Boyet. Therefore, as he is an ass, let him go.
    And so adieu, sweet Jude! nay, why dost thou stay?
  • Dumain. For the latter end of his name.
  • Biron. For the ass to the Jude; give it him:—Jud-as, away!
  • Holofernes. This is not generous, not gentle, not humble. 2570
  • Boyet. A light for Monsieur Judas! it grows dark, he may stumble.

[HOLOFERNES retires]

  • Princess of France. Alas, poor Maccabaeus, how hath he been baited!

[Enter DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO, for Hector]

  • Biron. Hide thy head, Achilles: here comes Hector in arms. 2575
  • Dumain. Though my mocks come home by me, I will now be merry.
  • Ferdinand. Hector was but a Troyan in respect of this.
  • Boyet. But is this Hector?
  • Ferdinand. I think Hector was not so clean-timbered.
  • Longaville. His leg is too big for Hector's. 2580
  • Dumain. More calf, certain.
  • Boyet. No; he is best endued in the small.
  • Biron. This cannot be Hector.
  • Dumain. He's a god or a painter; for he makes faces.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. The armipotent Mars, of lances the almighty, 2585
    Gave Hector a gift,—
  • Dumain. A gilt nutmeg.
  • Biron. A lemon.
  • Longaville. Stuck with cloves.
  • Dumain. No, cloven. 2590
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Peace!—
    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. 2595
    I am that flower,—
  • Dumain. That mint.
  • Longaville. That columbine.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Sweet Lord Longaville, rein thy tongue.
  • Longaville. I must rather give it the rein, for it runs against Hector. 2600
  • Dumain. Ay, and Hector's a greyhound.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. The 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.
    [To the PRINCESS] 2605
    Sweet royalty, bestow on me the sense of hearing.
  • Princess of France. Speak, brave Hector: we are much delighted.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. I do adore thy sweet grace's slipper.
  • Boyet. [Aside to DUMAIN] Loves her by the foot,—
  • Dumain. [Aside to BOYET] He may not by the yard. 2610
  • Don Adriano de Armado. This Hector far surmounted Hannibal,—
  • Costard. The party is gone, fellow Hector, she is gone; she
    is two months on her way.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. What meanest thou?
  • Costard. Faith, unless you play the honest Troyan, the poor 2615
    wench is cast away: she's quick; the child brags in
    her belly already: tis yours.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Dost thou infamonize me among potentates? thou shalt
  • Costard. Then shall Hector be whipped for Jaquenetta that is 2620
    quick by him and hanged for Pompey that is dead by
  • Dumain. Most rare Pompey!
  • Boyet. Renowned Pompey!
  • Biron. Greater than great, great, great, great Pompey! 2625
    Pompey the Huge!
  • Dumain. Hector trembles.
  • Biron. Pompey is moved. More Ates, more Ates! stir them
    on! stir them on!
  • Dumain. Hector will challenge him. 2630
  • Biron. Ay, if a' have no man's blood in's belly than will
    sup a flea.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. By the north pole, I do challenge thee.
  • Costard. I will not fight with a pole, like a northern man:
    I'll slash; I'll do it by the sword. I bepray you, 2635
    let me borrow my arms again.
  • Dumain. Room for the incensed Worthies!
  • Costard. I'll do it in my shirt.
  • Dumain. Most resolute Pompey!
  • Moth. Master, let me take you a buttonhole lower. Do you 2640
    not see Pompey is uncasing for the combat? What mean
    you? You will lose your reputation.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Gentlemen and soldiers, pardon me; I will not combat
    in my shirt.
  • Dumain. You may not deny it: Pompey hath made the challenge. 2645
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Sweet bloods, I both may and will.
  • Biron. What reason have you for't?
  • Don Adriano de Armado. The naked truth of it is, I have no shirt; I go
    woolward for penance.
  • Boyet. True, and it was enjoined him in Rome for want of 2650
    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.


  • Mercade. God save you, madam! 2655
  • Princess of France. Welcome, Mercade;
    But that thou interrupt'st our merriment.
  • Mercade. I am sorry, madam; for the news I bring
    Is heavy in my tongue. The king your father—
  • Princess of France. Dead, for my life! 2660
  • Mercade. Even so; my tale is told.
  • Biron. Worthies, away! the scene begins to cloud.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. For mine own part, I breathe free breath. I have
    seen the day of wrong through the little hole of
    discretion, and I will right myself like a soldier. 2665

[Exeunt Worthies]

  • Ferdinand. How fares your majesty?
  • Princess of France. Boyet, prepare; I will away tonight.
  • Ferdinand. Madam, not so; I do beseech you, stay.
  • Princess of France. Prepare, I say. I thank you, gracious lords, 2670
    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 2675
    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. 2680
  • Ferdinand. The 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 2685
    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 2690
    Is not by much so wholesome-profitable
    As to rejoice at friends but newly found.PRINCESS. I understand you not: my griefs are double.
  • Biron. Honest plain words best pierce the ear of grief;
    And by these badges understand the king.
    For your fair sakes have we neglected time, 2695
    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,—
    As love is full of unbefitting strains, 2700
    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
    To every varied object in his glance: 2705
    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,
    Suggested us to make. Therefore, ladies, 2710
    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:
    And even that falsehood, in itself a sin, 2715
    Thus purifies itself and turns to grace.
  • Princess of France. We have received your letters full of love;
    Your favours, the ambassadors of love;
    And, in our maiden council, rated them
    At courtship, pleasant jest and courtesy, 2720
    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.
  • Dumain. Our letters, madam, show'd much more than jest. 2725
  • Longaville. So did our looks.
  • Rosaline. We did not quote them so.
  • Ferdinand. Now, at the latest minute of the hour,
    Grant us your loves.
  • Princess of France. A time, methinks, too short 2730
    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,
    You will do aught, this shall you do for me: 2735
    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
    Have brought about the annual reckoning. 2740
    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,
    But that it bear this trial and last love; 2745
    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
    My woeful self up in a mourning house, 2750
    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.
  • Ferdinand. If this, or more than this, I would deny, 2755
    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.
  • Biron. [And what to me, my love? and what to me?
  • Rosaline. You must be purged too, your sins are rack'd, 2760
    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 sick]
  • Dumain. But what to me, my love? but what to me? A wife? 2765
  • Katharine. A beard, fair health, and honesty;
    With three-fold love I wish you all these three.
  • Dumain. O, shall I say, I thank you, gentle wife?
  • Katharine. Not so, my lord; a twelvemonth and a day
    I'll mark no words that smooth-faced wooers say: 2770
    Come when the king doth to my lady come;
    Then, if I have much love, I'll give you some.
  • Dumain. I'll serve thee true and faithfully till then.
  • Katharine. Yet swear not, lest ye be forsworn again.
  • Longaville. What says Maria? 2775
  • Maria. At the twelvemonth's end
    I'll change my black gown for a faithful friend.
  • Longaville. I'll stay with patience; but the time is long.
  • Maria. The liker you; few taller are so young.
  • Biron. Studies my lady? mistress, look on me; 2780
    Behold the window of my heart, mine eye,
    What humble suit attends thy answer there:
    Impose some service on me for thy love.
  • Rosaline. Oft have I heard of you, my Lord Biron,
    Before I saw you; and the world's large tongue 2785
    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, 2790
    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, 2795
    With all the fierce endeavor of your wit
    To enforce the pained impotent to smile.
  • Biron. To move wild laughter in the throat of death?
    It cannot be; it is impossible:
    Mirth cannot move a soul in agony. 2800
  • Rosaline. Why, 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 2805
    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, 2810
    And I shall find you empty of that fault,
    Right joyful of your reformation.
  • Biron. A twelvemonth! well; befall what will befall,
    I'll jest a twelvemonth in an hospital.
  • Princess of France. [To FERDINAND] Ay, sweet my lord; and so I take my leave. 2815
  • Ferdinand. No, madam; we will bring you on your way.
  • Biron. Our wooing doth not end like an old play;
    Jack hath not Jill: these ladies' courtesy
    Might well have made our sport a comedy.
  • Ferdinand. Come, sir, it wants a twelvemonth and a day, 2820
    And then 'twill end.
  • Biron. That's too long for a play.


  • Don Adriano de Armado. Sweet majesty, vouchsafe me,—
  • Princess of France. Was not that Hector? 2825
  • Dumain. The worthy knight of Troy.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. I will kiss thy royal finger, and take leave. I am
    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 2830
    the two learned men have compiled in praise of the
    owl and the cuckoo? It should have followed in the
    end of our show.
  • Ferdinand. Call them forth quickly; we will do so.
  • Don Adriano de Armado. Holla! approach. 2835
    and others]
    This side is Hiems, Winter, this Ver, the Spring;
    the one maintained by the owl, the other by the
    cuckoo. Ver, begin. 2840
    [THE SONG]
    When daisies pied and violets blue
    And lady-smocks all silver-white
    And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue 2845
    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,
    Unpleasing to a married ear! 2850
    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
    The cuckoo then, on every tree, 2855
    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 2860
    And Dick the shepherd blows his nail
    And Tom bears logs into the hall
    And milk comes frozen home in pail,
    When blood is nipp'd and ways be foul,
    Then nightly sings the staring owl, . Tu-whit; 2865
    Tu-who, a merry note,
    While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
    When all aloud the wind doth blow
    And coughing drowns the parson's saw
    And birds sit brooding in the snow 2870
    And Marian's nose looks red and raw,
    When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
    Then nightly sings the staring owl, . Tu-whit;
    Tu-who, a merry note,
    While greasy Joan doth keel the pot. 2875
  • Don Adriano de Armado. The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of
    Apollo. You that way: we this way.