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Love's Labour's Lost

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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!
  • Rosaline. Much in the letters; nothing in the praise.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

[Enter BOYET]

  • Boyet. O, I am stabb'd with laughter! Where's her grace?
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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. Since you are strangers and come here by chance,
    We'll not be nice: take hands. We will not dance.
  • 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. 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.

[They converse apart]

  • Biron. White-handed mistress, one sweet word with thee.
  • 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.
  • Biron. One word in secret. 2135
  • Biron. Thou grievest my gall.

[They converse apart]

  • Dumain. Will you vouchsafe with me to change a word?
  • 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?
  • 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
  • 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
  • Rosaline. Well, better wits have worn plain statute-caps.
    But will you hear? the king is my love sworn. 2195
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Ferdinand. Construe my speeches better, if you may.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Ferdinand. That more than all the world I did respect her.
  • 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,—
  • 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
  • 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]

  • 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.
  • 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]

  • Boyet. You lie, you are not he.
  • 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—
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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,—
  • 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?
  • Dumain. The more shame for you, Judas.
  • Boyet. To make Judas hang himself.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Biron. False; we have given thee faces.
  • 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]

[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.
  • 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. 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,—
  • 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.
  • Boyet. [Aside to DUMAIN] Loves her by the foot,—
  • Dumain. [Aside to BOYET] He may not by the yard. 2610
  • Costard. The party is gone, fellow Hector, she is gone; she
    is two months on her way.
  • 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.
  • Costard. Then shall Hector be whipped for Jaquenetta that is 2620
    quick by him and hanged for Pompey that is dead by
  • Biron. Greater than great, great, great, great Pompey! 2625
    Pompey the Huge!
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Dumain. You may not deny it: Pompey hath made the challenge. 2645
  • Biron. What reason have you for't?
  • 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. I am sorry, madam; for the news I bring
    Is heavy in my tongue. The king your father—
  • 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. 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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.