Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,
Live registered upon our brazen tombs,
And then grace us in the disgrace of death,
When, spite of cormorant devouring time,
Th’ endeavor of this present breath may buy
That honor which shall bate his scythe’s keen edge
And make us heirs of all eternity.
Therefore, brave conquerors, for so you are
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,
Still and contemplative in living art.
You three, Berowne, Dumaine, 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.
Your oaths are passed, and now subscribe your
That his own hand may strike his honor down
That violates the smallest branch herein.
If you are armed to do as sworn to do,
Subscribe to your deep oaths, and keep it too.
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 bankrout quite the wits.
My loving lord, Dumaine is mortified.
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.
I can but say their protestation over.
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 enrollèd there;
And one day in a week to touch no food,
And but one meal on every day besides,
The which I hope is not enrollèd there;
And then to sleep but three hours in the night,
And not be seen to wink of all the day—
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 enrollèd there.
O, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep,
Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep.
Your oath is passed to pass away from these.
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.
You swore to that, Berowne, and to the rest.
By yea and nay, sir. Then I swore in jest.
What is the end of study, let me know?
Why, that to know which else we should not know.
Things hid and barred, you mean, from common
Ay, that is study’s godlike recompense.
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
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.
Swear me to this, and I will ne’er say no.
These be the stops that hinder study quite,
And train our intellects to vain delight.
Why, all delights are vain, and that most vain
Which with pain purchased doth inherit pain:
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,
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.
Study is like the heaven’s glorious sun,
That will not be deep-searched with saucy looks.
Small have continual plodders ever won,
Save base authority from others’ books.
These earthly godfathers of heaven’s lights,
That give a name to every fixèd 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 naught but fame,
And every godfather can give a name.
How well he’s read to reason against reading.
Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding.
He weeds the corn, and still lets grow the weeding.
The spring is near when green geese are a-breeding.
How follows that?
Fit in his place and time.
In reason nothing.
Something then in rhyme.
Berowne is like an envious sneaping frost
That bites the firstborn infants of the spring.
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 shows,
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.
Well, sit you out. Go home, Berowne. Adieu.
No, my good lord, I have sworn to stay with you.
And though I have for barbarism spoke more
Than for that angel knowledge you can say,
Yet, confident, I’ll keep what I have sworn
And bide the penance of each three years’ day.
Give me the paper. Let me read the same,
And to the strictest decrees I’ll write my name.
How well this yielding rescues thee from shame.
Item, That no woman shall come within
a mile of my court. Hath this been proclaimed?
Four days ago.
Let’s see the penalty. On pain of
losing her tongue. Who devised this penalty?
Marry, that did I.
Sweet lord, and why?
To fright them hence with that dread penalty.
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 public shame as the rest of the court can possible
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—
About surrender up of Aquitaine
To her decrepit, sick, and bedrid father.
Therefore this article is made in vain,
Or vainly comes th’ admirèd princess hither.
What say you, lords? Why, this was quite forgot.
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.
We must of force dispense with this decree.
She must lie here on mere necessity.
Necessity will make us all forsworn
Three thousand times within this three years’
For every man with his affects is born,
Not by might mastered, 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,
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.
But is there no quick recreation granted?
Ay, that there is. Our court, you know, is haunted
With a refinèd traveler of Spain,
A man in all the world’s new fashion planted,
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain;
One who the music of his own vain tongue
Doth ravish like enchanting harmony,
A man of compliments, whom right and wrong
Have chose as umpire of their mutiny.
This child of fancy, that Armado hight,
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,
And I will use him for my minstrelsy.
Armado is a most illustrious wight,
A man of fire-new words, fashion’s own knight.
Costard the swain and he shall be our sport,
And so to study three years is but short.
Which is the Duke’s own person?
This, fellow. What wouldst?
I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his
Grace’s farborough. But I would see his own
person in flesh and blood.
This is he.
Signior Arm-, Arm-, commends you.
There’s villainy abroad. This letter will tell you
Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching
A letter from the magnificent Armado.
How low soever the matter, I hope in God
for high words.
A high hope for a low heaven. God grant
us patience!
To hear, or forbear hearing?
To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately,
or to forbear both.
Well, sir, be it as the style shall give us cause
to climb in the merriness.
The matter is to me, sir, as concerning
Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with
the manner.
In what manner?
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 following. Now, sir, for the manner.
It is the manner of a man to speak to a woman. For
the form—in some form.
For the following, sir?
As it shall follow in my correction, and God
defend the right.
Will you hear this letter with attention?
As we would hear an oracle.
Such is the sinplicity of man to hearken after
the flesh.
Great deputy, the welkin’s vicegerent and
sole dominator of Navarre, my soul’s earth’s god, and
body’s fost’ring patron—
Not a word of Costard yet.
So it is—
It may be so, but if he say it is so, he is, in
telling true, but so.
Be to me, and every man that dares not fight.
No words.
Of other men’s secrets, I beseech you.
So it is, besieged with sable-colored melancholy,
I did commend the black oppressing humor
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 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 yclept thy park. Then for the
place where—where, I mean, I did encounter that
obscene and most prepost’rous event that draweth
from my snow-white pen the ebon-colored 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-knotted
garden. There did I see that low-spirited swain, that
base minnow of thy mirth,—
that unlettered, small-knowing soul,—
that shallow vassal,—
Still me?
which, as I remember, hight Costard,—
O, me!
sorted and consorted, contrary to thy
established proclaimed edict and continent canon,
which with—O with—but with this I passion to say
With a wench.
with a child of our grandmother Eve, a
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
Me, an ’t shall please you. I am Anthony Dull.
For Jaquenetta—so is the weaker vessel
called which I apprehended with the aforesaid
swain—I keep her as a vessel of thy law’s fury, and
shall, at the least of thy sweet notice, bring her to trial.
Thine, in all compliments of devoted and heartburning
heat of duty,
Don Adriano de Armado.
This is not so well as I looked for, but the
best that ever I heard.
Ay, the best, for the worst. But,
sirrah, what say you to this?
Sir, I confess the wench.
Did you hear the proclamation?
I do confess much of the hearing it, but little
of the marking of it.
It was proclaimed a year’s imprisonment to be
taken with a wench.
I was taken with none, sir. I was taken with a
Well, it was proclaimed damsel.
This was no damsel neither, sir. She was a
It is so varied too, for it was proclaimed
If it were, I deny her virginity. I was taken
with a maid.
This maid will not serve your turn, sir.
This maid will serve my turn, sir.
Sir, I will pronounce your sentence: you shall
fast a week with bran and water.
I had rather pray a month with mutton and
And Don Armado shall be your keeper.
My Lord Berowne, see him delivered o’er,
And go we, lords, to put in practice that
Which each to other hath so strongly sworn.
I’ll lay my head to any goodman’s hat,
These oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn.
Sirrah, come on.
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 prosperity.
Affliction may one day smile again, and till
then, sit thee down, sorrow.
Boy, what sign is it when a man of great spirit
grows melancholy?
A great sign, sir, that he will look sad.
Why, sadness is one and the selfsame thing,
dear imp.
No, no. O Lord, sir, no!
How canst thou part sadness and melancholy,
my tender juvenal?
By a familiar demonstration of the working, my
tough signior.
Why tough signior? Why tough signior?
Why tender juvenal? Why tender juvenal?
I spoke it tender juvenal as a congruent
epitheton appertaining to thy young days, which
we may nominate tender.
And I tough signior as an appurtenant title to
your old time, which we may name tough.
Pretty and apt.
How mean you, sir? I pretty and my saying apt, or
I apt and my saying pretty?
Thou pretty because little.
Little pretty, because little. Wherefore apt?
And therefore apt, because quick.
Speak you this in my praise, master?
In thy condign praise.
I will praise an eel with the same praise.
What, that an eel is ingenious?
That an eel is quick.
I do say thou art quick in answers. Thou
heat’st my blood.
I am answered, sir.
I love not to be crossed.
He speaks the mere contrary; crosses love
not him.
I have promised to study three years with the
You may do it in an hour, sir.
How many is one thrice told?
I am ill at reckoning. It fitteth the spirit of a
You are a gentleman and a gamester, sir.
I confess both. They are both the varnish of a
complete man.
Then I am sure you know how much the gross
sum of deuce-ace amounts to.
It doth amount to one more than two.
Which the base vulgar do call three.
Why, sir, is this such a piece of study? Now here is
three studied ere you’ll thrice wink. And how
easy it is to put years to the word three and
study three years in two words, the dancing horse
will tell you.
A most fine figure.
To prove you a cipher.
I will hereupon confess I am in love; and as it
is base for a soldier to love, so am I in love with a
base wench. If drawing my sword against the
humor 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 curtsy. I think scorn to sigh; methinks
I should outswear Cupid. Comfort me, boy. What
great men have been in love?
Hercules, master.
Most sweet Hercules! More authority, dear
boy, name more; and, sweet my child, let them be
men of good repute and carriage.
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.
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 Mote?
A woman, master.
Of what complexion?
Of all the four, or the three, or the two, or one of
the four.
Tell me precisely of what complexion.
Of the sea-water green, sir.
Is that one of the four complexions?
As I have read, sir, and the best of them too.
Green indeed is the color of lovers. But to
have a love of that color, methinks Samson had
small reason for it. He surely affected her for her
It was so, sir, for she had a green wit.
My love is most immaculate white and red.
Most maculate thoughts, master, are masked
under such colors.
Define, define, well-educated infant.
My father’s wit and my mother’s tongue, assist
Sweet invocation of a child, most pretty and
If she be made of white and red,
Her faults will ne’er be known,
For blushing cheeks by faults are bred,
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.
A dangerous rhyme, master, against the reason of
white and red.
Is there not a ballad, boy, of The King and
the Beggar?
The world was very guilty of such a ballad some
three ages since, but I think now ’tis not to be found;
or if it were, it would neither serve for the writing
nor the tune.
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 park with the rational hind Costard. She deserves
To be whipped—and yet a better love than
my master.
Sing, boy. My spirit grows heavy in love.
And that’s great marvel, loving a light
I say sing.
Forbear till this company be past.
Sir, the Duke’s pleasure is that you
keep Costard safe, and you must suffer him to take
no delight, nor no penance, but he must fast three
days a week. For this damsel, I must keep her at the
park. She is allowed for the dey-woman. Fare you
I do betray myself with blushing.—
I will visit thee at the lodge.
That’s hereby.
I know where it is situate.
Lord, how wise you are.
I will tell thee wonders.
With that face?
I love thee.
So I heard you say.
And so, farewell.
Fair weather after you.
Come, Jaquenetta, away.
Villain, thou shalt fast for thy
offenses ere thou be pardoned.
Well, sir, I hope when I do it I shall do it on
a full stomach.
Thou shalt be heavily punished.
I am more bound to you than your fellows,
for they are but lightly rewarded.
Take away this villain. Shut him up.
Come, you transgressing slave, away.
Let me not be pent up, sir. I will
fast being loose.
No, sir, that were fast and loose. Thou shalt to
Well, if ever I do see the merry days of
desolation that I have seen, some shall see.
What shall some see?
Nay, nothing, Master Mote, 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
therefore I can be quiet.
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 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 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 not.
His disgrace is to be called boy, but his glory is to
subdue men. Adieu, valor; 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, write pen, for I
am for whole volumes in folio.
Now, madam, summon up your dearest spirits.
Consider who the King your father sends,
To whom he sends, and what’s his embassy.
Yourself, held precious in the world’s esteem,
To parley with the sole inheritor
Of all perfections that a man may owe,
Matchless Navarre; the plea of no less weight
Than Aquitaine, a dowry for a queen.
Be now as prodigal of all dear grace
As nature was in making graces dear
When she did starve the general world besides
And prodigally gave them all to you.
Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,
Needs not the painted flourish of your praise.
Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye,
Not uttered by base sale of chapmen’s tongues.
I am less proud to hear you tell my worth
Than you much willing to be counted wise
In spending your wit in the praise of mine.
But now to task the tasker: good Boyet,
You are not ignorant all-telling fame
Doth noise abroad Navarre hath made a vow,
Till painful study shall outwear three years,
No woman may approach his silent court.
Therefore to ’s seemeth it a needful course,
Before we enter his forbidden gates,
To know his pleasure, and in that behalf,
Bold of your worthiness, we single you
As our best-moving fair solicitor.
Tell him the daughter of the King of France
On serious business craving quick dispatch,
Importunes personal conference with his Grace.
Haste, signify so much, while we attend,
Like humble-visaged suitors, his high will.
Proud of employment, willingly I go.
All pride is willing pride, and yours is so.
Who are the votaries, my loving lords,
That are vow-fellows with this virtuous duke?
Lord Longaville is one.
Know you the man?
I know him, madam. At a marriage feast
Between Lord Perigort and the beauteous heir
Of Jaques Falconbridge, solemnizèd
In Normandy, saw I this Longaville.
A man of sovereign parts he is esteemed,
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,
Whose edge hath power to cut, whose will still wills
It should none spare that come within his power.
Some merry mocking lord, belike. Is ’t so?
They say so most that most his humors know.
Such short-lived wits do wither as they grow.
Who are the rest?
The young Dumaine, 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,
And shape to win grace though he had no wit.
I saw him at the Duke Alanson’s once,
And much too little of that good I saw
Is my report to his great worthiness.
Another of these students at that time
Was there with him, if I have heard a truth.
Berowne 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,
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 agèd ears play truant at his tales,
And younger hearings are quite ravishèd,
So sweet and voluble is his discourse.
God bless my ladies, are they all in love,
That every one her own hath garnishèd
With such bedecking ornaments of praise?
Here comes Boyet.
Now, what admittance, lord?
Navarre had notice of your fair approach,
And he and his competitors in oath
Were all addressed to meet you, gentle lady,
Before I came. Marry, thus much I have learned:
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
To let you enter his unpeopled house.
Here comes Navarre.
Fair Princess, welcome to the court of Navarre.
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.
You shall be welcome, madam, to my court.
I will be welcome, then. Conduct me thither.
Hear me, dear lady. I have sworn an oath.
Our Lady help my lord! He’ll be forsworn.
Not for the world, fair madam, by my will.
Why, will shall break it, will and nothing else.
Your Ladyship is ignorant what it is.
Were my lord so, his ignorance were wise,
Where now his knowledge must prove ignorance.
I hear your Grace hath sworn out housekeeping.
’Tis deadly sin to keep that oath, my lord,
And sin to break it.
But pardon me, I am too sudden bold.
To teach a teacher ill beseemeth me.
Vouchsafe to read the purpose of my coming,
And suddenly resolve me in my suit.
Madam, I will, if suddenly I may.
You will the sooner that I were away,
For you’ll prove perjured if you make me stay.
Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?
Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?
I know you did.
How needless was it then
To ask the question.
You must not be so quick.
’Tis long of you that spur me with such questions.
Your wit’s too hot, it speeds too fast; ’twill tire.
Not till it leave the rider in the mire.
What time o’ day?
The hour that fools should ask.
Now fair befall your mask.
Fair fall the face it covers.
And send you many lovers.
Amen, so you be none.
Nay, then, will I be gone.
Madam, your father here doth intimate
The payment of a hundred thousand crowns,
Being but the one half of an entire sum
Disbursèd 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,
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.
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—
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
A yielding ’gainst some reason in my breast,
And go well satisfied to France again.
You do the King my father too much wrong,
And wrong the reputation of your name,
In so unseeming to confess receipt
Of that which hath so faithfully been paid.
I do protest I never heard of it;
And if you prove it, I’ll repay it back
Or yield up Aquitaine.
We arrest your word.—
Boyet, you can produce acquittances
For such a sum from special officers
Of Charles his father.
Satisfy me so.
So please your Grace, the packet is not come
Where that and other specialties are bound.
Tomorrow you shall have a sight of them.
It shall suffice me; at which interview
All liberal reason I will yield unto.
Meantime receive such welcome at my hand
As honor (without breach of honor) may
Make tender of to thy true worthiness.
You may not come, fair princess, within my gates,
But here without you shall be so received
As you shall deem yourself lodged in my heart,
Though so denied fair harbor in my house.
Your own good thoughts excuse me, and farewell.
Tomorrow shall we visit you again.
Sweet health and fair desires consort your Grace.
Thy own wish wish I thee in every place.
Lady, I will commend you to
my own heart.
Pray you, do my commendations. I would
be glad to see it.
I would you heard it groan.
Is the fool sick?
Sick at the heart.
Alack, let it blood.
Would that do it good?
My physic says ay.
Will you prick ’t with your eye?
No point, with my knife.
Now God save thy life.
And yours from long living.
I cannot stay thanksgiving.
Sir, I pray you, a word. What lady is that same?
The heir of Alanson, Katherine her name.
A gallant lady, monsieur. Fare you well.
I beseech you, a word. What is she in the white?
A woman sometimes, an you saw her in the light.
Perchance light in the light. I desire her name.
She hath but one for herself; to desire that were a
Pray you, sir, whose daughter?
Her mother’s, I have heard.
God’s blessing on your beard!
Good sir, be not offended. She is an heir of
Nay, my choler is ended. She is a most
sweet lady.
Not unlike, sir, that may be.
What’s her name in the cap?
Rosaline, by good hap.
Is she wedded or no?
To her will, sir, or so.
You are welcome, sir. Adieu.
Farewell to me, sir, and welcome to you.
That last is Berowne, the merry madcap lord.
Not a word with him but a jest.
And every jest but
a word.
It was well done of you to take him at his word.
I was as willing to grapple as he was to board.
Two hot sheeps, marry.
And wherefore not ships?
No sheep, sweet lamb, unless we feed on your lips.
You sheep and I pasture. Shall that finish the jest?
So you grant pasture for me.
Not so, gentle beast,
My lips are no common, though several they be.
Belonging to whom?
To my fortunes and me.
Good wits will be jangling; but, gentles, agree,
This civil war of wits were much better used
On Navarre and his bookmen, for here ’tis abused.
If my observation, which very seldom lies,
By the heart’s still rhetoric, disclosèd wi’ th’ eyes,
Deceive me not now, Navarre is infected.
With what?
With that which we lovers entitle affected.
Your reason?
Why, all his behaviors did make their retire
To the court of his eye, peeping thorough desire.
His heart like an agate with your print impressed,
Proud with his form, in his eye pride expressed.
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,
To feel only looking on fairest of fair.
Methought all his senses were locked in his eye,
As jewels in crystal for some prince to buy,
Who, tend’ring their own worth from where they
were glassed,
Did point you to buy them along as you passed.
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.
Come, to our pavilion. Boyet is disposed.
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.
Thou art an old lovemonger and speakest skillfully.
He is Cupid’s grandfather, and learns news of him.
Then was Venus like her mother, for her father is
but grim.
Do you hear, my mad wenches?
What then, do
you see?
Ay, our way to be gone.
You are too hard for me.
Warble, child, make passionate my sense of
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.
Master, will you win your love with a French
How meanest thou? Brawling in French?
No, my complete master, but to jig off a tune at the
tongue’s end, canary to it with your feet, humor it
with turning up your eyelids, sigh a note and sing a
note, sometimes through the throat as if you
swallowed love with singing love, sometimes
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 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 compliments, these are
humors; these betray nice wenches that would be
betrayed without these, and make them men of
note—do you note me?—that most are affected
to these.
How hast thou purchased this experience?
By my penny of observation.
But O— but O—.
The hobby-horse is forgot.
Call’st thou my love hobby-horse?
No, master. The hobby-horse is but a colt,
and your love perhaps a hackney.—But have you
forgot your love?
Almost I had.
Negligent student, learn her by heart.
By heart and in heart, boy.
And out of heart, master. All those three I will
What wilt thou prove?
A man, if I live; and this by, in, and without,
upon 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.
I am all these three.
And three times as much more, and yet
nothing at all.
Fetch hither the swain. He must carry me a
A message well sympathized—a horse to be ambassador
for an ass.
Ha? Ha? What sayest thou?
Marry, sir, you must send the ass upon the horse,
for he is very slow-gaited. But I go.
The way is but short. Away!
As swift as lead, sir.
Thy meaning, pretty ingenious?
Is not lead a metal heavy, dull, and slow?
Minime, honest master, or rather, master, no.
I say lead is slow.
You are too swift, sir, to say so.
Is that lead slow which is fired from a gun?
Sweet smoke of rhetoric!
He reputes me a cannon, and the bullet, that’s
I shoot thee at the swain.
Thump, then, and I flee.
A most acute juvenal, voluble and free of grace.
By thy favor, sweet welkin, I must sigh in thy face.
Most rude melancholy, valor gives thee place.
My herald is returned.
A wonder, master!
Here’s a costard broken in a shin.
Some enigma, some riddle. Come, thy l’envoi begin.
No egma, no riddle, no l’envoi, no salve in
the mail, sir. O, sir, plantain, a plain plantain! No
l’envoi, no l’envoi, no salve, sir, but a plantain.
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! Doth the inconsiderate take salve for
l’envoi, and the word l’envoi for a salve?
Do the wise think them other? Is not l’envoi a salve?
No, page, it is an epilogue or discourse to make plain
Some obscure precedence that hath tofore been sain.
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’envoi.
I will add the l’envoi. Say the moral again.
The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee
Were still at odds, being but three.
Until the goose came out of door
And stayed the odds by adding four.
Now will I begin your moral, and do you follow with
my l’envoi.
The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee
Were still at odds, being but three.
Until the goose came out of door,
Staying the odds by adding four.
A good l’envoi, ending in the goose. Would you
desire more?
The boy hath sold him a bargain—a goose, that’s
Sir, your pennyworth is good, an your goose be fat.
To sell a bargain well is as cunning as fast and
Let me see: a fat l’envoi—ay, that’s a fat goose.
Come hither, come hither. How did this argument
By saying that a costard was broken in a shin.
Then called you for the l’envoi.
True, and I for a plantain. Thus came your
argument in. Then the boy’s fat l’envoi, the goose
that you bought; and he ended the market.
But tell me, how was there a costard broken
in a shin?
I will tell you sensibly.
Thou hast no feeling of it, Mote. I will speak
that l’envoi.
I, Costard, running out, that was safely within,
Fell over the threshold and broke my shin.
We will talk no more of this matter.
Till there be more matter in the shin.
Sirrah Costard, I will enfranchise thee.
O, marry me to one Frances! I smell some
l’envoi, some goose, in this.
By my sweet soul, I mean, setting thee at
liberty, enfreedoming thy person. Thou wert immured,
restrained, captivated, bound.
True, true; and now you will be my purgation,
and let me loose.
I give thee thy liberty, set thee from durance,
and, in lieu thereof, impose on thee nothing but
this: bear this significant to the country maid
Jaquenetta. There is remuneration
for the best ward of
mine honor is rewarding my dependents.—Mote,
Like the sequel, I. Signior Costard, adieu.
My sweet ounce of man’s flesh, my incony Jew!
Now will I look to his remuneration.
Remuneration! O, that’s the Latin word for
three farthings. Three 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.
My good knave Costard, exceedingly well
Pray you, sir, how much carnation ribbon
may a man buy for a remuneration?
What is a remuneration?
Marry, sir, halfpenny farthing.
Why then, three farthing worth of silk.
I thank your Worship. God be wi’ you.
Stay, slave, I must employ thee.
As thou wilt win my favor, good my knave,
Do one thing for me that I shall entreat.
When would you have it done, sir?
This afternoon.
Well, I will do it, sir. Fare you well.
Thou knowest not what it is.
I shall know, sir, when I have done it.
Why, villain, thou must know first.
I will come to your Worship tomorrow
It must be done this afternoon. Hark, slave,
it is but this:
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
And Rosaline they call her. Ask for her,
And to her white hand see thou do commend
This sealed-up counsel. There’s thy guerdon.
Gardon. O sweet
gardon! Better than remuneration, a ’levenpence
farthing better! Most sweet gardon. I will do it, sir,
in print. Gardon! Remuneration!
And I forsooth in love! I that have been love’s whip,
A very beadle to a humorous sigh,
A critic, nay, a nightwatch constable,
A domineering pedant o’er the boy,
Than whom no mortal so magnificent.
This wimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy,
This Signior Junior, giant dwarf, Dan Cupid,
Regent of love rhymes, lord of folded arms,
Th’ anointed sovereign of sighs and groans,
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
And wear his colors like a tumbler’s hoop!
What? 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,
But being watched 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 whitely wanton with a velvet brow,
With two pitch-balls stuck in her face for eyes.
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
Of his almighty dreadful little might.
Well, I will love, write, sigh, pray, sue, groan.
Some men must love my lady, and some Joan.
Was that the King that spurred his horse so hard
Against the steep uprising of the hill?
I know not, but I think it was not he.
Whoe’er he was, he showed a mounting mind.—
Well, lords, today we shall have our dispatch.
Or Saturday we will return to France.—
Then, forester, my friend, where is the bush
That we must stand and play the murderer in?
Hereby, upon the edge of yonder coppice,
A stand where you may make the fairest shoot.
I thank my beauty, I am fair that shoot,
And thereupon thou speakst the fairest shoot.
Pardon me, madam, for I meant not so.
What, what? First praise me, and again say no?
O short-lived pride. Not fair? Alack, for woe!
Yes, madam, fair.
Nay, never paint me now.
Where fair is not, praise cannot mend the brow.
Here, good my glass, take this for telling true.
Fair payment for foul words is more than due.
Nothing but fair is that which you inherit.
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.
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,
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;
As I for praise alone now seek to spill
The poor deer’s blood, that my heart means no ill.
Do not curst wives hold that self sovereignty
Only for praise’ sake when they strive to be
Lords o’er their lords?
Only for praise; and praise we may afford
To any lady that subdues a lord.
Here comes a member of the commonwealth.
God dig-you-den all! Pray you, which is the
head lady?
Thou shalt know her, fellow, by the rest that
have no heads.
Which is the greatest lady, the highest?
The thickest and the tallest.
The thickest and the tallest: it is so, truth is
An your waist, mistress, were as slender as my wit,
One o’ these maids’ girdles for your waist should be
Are not you the chief woman? You are the thickest
What’s your will, sir? What’s your will?
I have a letter from Monsieur Berowne to
one Lady Rosaline.
O, thy letter, thy letter! He’s a good friend of mine.
Stand aside, good bearer.—Boyet, you can carve.
Break up this capon.
I am bound to serve.
This letter is mistook; it importeth none here.
It is writ to Jaquenetta.
We will read it, I swear.
Break the neck of the wax, and everyone give ear.
By heaven, that thou art fair is most
infallible, true that thou art beauteous, truth itself
that 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 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, see, and overcame: He
came, one; see, two; overcame, three. Who came? The
King. Why did he 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
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 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
Thine, in the dearest design of industry,
Don Adriano de Armado.
Thus dost thou hear the Nemean lion roar
’Gainst thee, thou lamb, that standest as his prey.
Submissive fall his princely feet before,
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.
What plume of feathers is he that indited this letter?
What vane? What weathercock? Did you ever hear
I am much deceived but I remember the style.
Else your memory is bad, going o’er it erewhile.
This Armado is a Spaniard that keeps here in court,
A phantasime, a Monarcho, and one that makes
To the Prince and his bookmates.
Thou, fellow, a word.
Who gave thee this letter?
I told you: my lord.
To whom shouldst thou give it?
From my lord to my
From which lord to which lady?
From my Lord Berowne, a good master of mine,
To a lady of France that he called Rosaline.
Thou hast mistaken his letter. Come, lords, away.
Here, sweet, put up this; ’twill be
thine another day.
Who is the shooter? Who is the shooter?
Shall I
teach you to know?
Ay, my continent of beauty.
Why, she that bears the bow.
Finely put off.
My lady goes to kill horns, but if thou marry,
Hang me by the neck if horns that year miscarry.
Finely put on.
Well, then, I am the shooter.
And who is your deer?
If we choose by the horns, yourself come not near.
Finely put on, indeed.
You still wrangle with her, Boyet, and she strikes at
the brow.
But she herself is hit lower. Have I hit her now?
Shall I come upon thee with an old saying,
that was a man when King Pippen of France was a
little boy, as touching the hit it?
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.
Thou canst not hit it, hit it, hit it,
Thou canst not hit it, my good man.
An I cannot, cannot, cannot,
An I cannot, another can.
By my troth, most pleasant. How both did fit it!
A mark marvelous well shot, for they both did hit
A mark! O, mark but that mark. A mark, says my
Let the mark have a prick in ’t to mete at, if it may
Wide o’ the bow hand! I’ faith, your hand is out.
Indeed, he must shoot nearer, or he’ll ne’er hit the
An if my hand be out, then belike your hand is in.
Then will she get the upshoot by cleaving the pin.
Come, come, you talk greasily. Your lips grow foul.
She’s too hard for you at pricks, sir. Challenge her
to bowl.
I fear too much rubbing. Good night, my good owl.
By my soul, a swain, a most simple clown.
Lord, Lord, how the ladies and I have put him
O’ my troth, most sweet jests, most incony vulgar
When it comes so smoothly off, so obscenely, as it
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 he
will swear.
And his page o’ t’ other side, that handful of wit!
Ah heavens, it is a most pathetical nit.
Sola, sola!
Very reverend sport, truly, and done in the
testimony of a good conscience.
The deer was, as you know, sanguis, in
blood, ripe as the pomewater, who now hangeth
like a jewel in the ear of caelo, the sky, the welkin,
the heaven, and anon falleth like a crab on the face
of terra, the soil, the land, the earth.
Truly, Master Holofernes, the epithets are
sweetly varied, like a scholar at the least. But, sir, I
assure you, it was a buck of the first head.
Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.
’Twas not a haud credo, ’twas a pricket.
Most barbarous intimation! Yet a kind of
insinuation, as it were, in via, in way, of explication;
facere, as it were, replication, or rather, ostentare, to
show, as it were, his inclination, after his undressed,
unpolished, uneducated, unpruned, untrained, or
rather unlettered, or ratherest, unconfirmed fashion,
to insert again my haud credo for a deer.
I said the deer was not a haud credo, ’twas a
Twice-sod simplicity, bis coctus!
O thou monster ignorance, how deformed dost thou
Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred
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
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.
But omne bene, say I, being of an old father’s mind:
Many can brook the weather that love not the wind.
You two are bookmen. Can you tell me by your wit
What was a month old at Cain’s birth that’s not
five weeks old as yet?
Dictynna, goodman Dull, Dictynna,
goodman Dull.
What is dictima?
A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon.
The moon was a month old when Adam was no
And raught not to five weeks when he came to
Th’ allusion holds in the exchange.
’Tis true indeed. The collusion holds in the
God comfort thy capacity! I say, th’ allusion
holds in the exchange.
And I say the pollution holds in the exchange, for
the moon is never but a month old. And I say besides
that, ’twas a pricket that the Princess killed.
Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal
epitaph on the death of the deer? And, to humor
the ignorant, call I the deer the Princess killed a
Perge, good Master Holofernes, perge, so it
shall please you to abrogate scurrility.
I will something affect the letter, for it
argues facility.
The preyful princess pierced and pricked
a pretty pleasing pricket,
Some say a sore, but not a sore till now made
sore with shooting.
The dogs did yell. Put l to sore, then sorel
jumps from thicket,
Or pricket sore, or else sorel. The people fall
If sore be sore, then L to sore makes fifty
sores o’ sorel.
Of one sore I an hundred make by adding but one
more L.
A rare talent.
If a talent be a claw, look how he claws
him with a talent.
This is a gift that I have, simple, simple—
a foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms,
figures, shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions,
revolutions. These are begot in the ventricle
of memory, nourished in the womb of pia mater,
and delivered upon the mellowing of occasion. But
the gift is good in those in whom it is acute, and I
am thankful for it.
Sir, 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
Mehercle, if their sons be ingenious,
they shall want no instruction; if their daughters be
capable, I will put it to them. But Vir sapis qui pauca
loquitur. A soul feminine saluteth us.
God give you good morrow,
Master Person.
Master Person, quasi pierce one. And
if one should be pierced, which is the one?
Marry, Master Schoolmaster, he that is likeliest
to a hogshead.
Of piercing a hogshead! A good luster
of conceit in a turf of earth; fire enough for a flint,
pearl enough for a swine. ’Tis pretty, it is well.
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.
Facile precor gelida quando peccas omnia sub umbra.
and so forth. Ah, good old Mantuan! I may speak of
thee as the traveler doth of Venice:
Venetia, Venetia,
Chi non ti vede, non ti pretia.
Old Mantuan, old Mantuan! Who understandeth
thee not, loves thee not. Ut, re, sol, la,
mi, fa. Under pardon, sir, what are
the contents? Or rather, as Horace says in his—
What, my soul, verses?
Ay, sir, and very learned.
Let me hear a staff, a stanza, a verse,
Lege, domine.
If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to love?
Ah, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vowed!
Though to myself forsworn, to thee I’ll faithful prove.
Those thoughts to me were oaks, to thee like osiers
Study his bias leaves and makes his book thine eyes,
Where all those pleasures live that art would
If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice.
Well-learnèd is that tongue that well can thee
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
Which, not to anger bent, is music and sweet fire.
Celestial as thou art, O, pardon love this wrong,
That sings heaven’s praise with such an earthly tongue.
You find not the apostrophus, and so
miss the accent. Let me supervise the canzonet.
Here are only numbers ratified,
but, for the elegancy, facility, and golden cadence of
poesy—caret. Ovidius Naso was the man. And why
indeed Naso, but for smelling out the odoriferous
flowers of fancy, the jerks of invention? Imitari is
nothing: so doth the hound his master, the ape his
keeper, the tired horse his rider.—But damosella
virgin, was this directed to you?
Ay, sir, from one Monsieur Berowne, one
of the strange queen’s lords.
I will overglance the superscript: To
the snow-white hand of the most beauteous Lady
Rosaline. I will look again on the intellect of the
letter for the nomination of the party writing to
the person written unto: Your Ladyship’s in all
desired employment, Berowne. Sir Nathaniel, this
Berowne is one of the votaries with the King, and
here he hath framed a letter to a sequent of the
stranger queen’s: which accidentally, or by the way
of progression, hath miscarried.
Trip and go, my sweet. Deliver this paper into the
royal hand of the King. It may concern much. Stay
not thy compliment. I forgive thy duty. Adieu.
Good Costard, go with me.—Sir, God
save your life.
Have with thee, my girl.
Sir, you have done this in the fear of God
very religiously; and, as a certain Father saith—
Sir, tell not me of the Father. I do fear
colorable colors. But to return to the verses: did
they please you, Sir Nathaniel?
Marvelous well for the pen.
I do dine today at the father’s of a certain
pupil of mine, where if, before repast, it shall
please you to gratify the table with a grace, I will,
on my privilege I have with the parents of the
foresaid child or pupil, undertake your ben venuto;
where I will prove those verses to be very unlearned,
neither savoring of poetry, wit, nor invention.
I beseech your society.
And thank you too; for society, saith the
text, is the happiness of life.
And certes the text most infallibly concludes
it. Sir, I do invite you too. You shall
not say me nay. Pauca verba. Away! The gentles are
at their game, and we will to our recreation.
The King, he is hunting the deer; I am
coursing myself. They have pitched a toil; I am
toiling in 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. 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 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
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.
Ay me!
Shot, by heaven! Proceed, sweet
Cupid. Thou hast thumped him with thy birdbolt
under the left pap. In faith, secrets!
So sweet a kiss the golden sun gives not
To those fresh morning drops upon the rose
As thy eyebeams, 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
Through the transparent bosom of the deep
As doth thy face, through tears of mine, give light.
Thou shin’st in every tear that I do weep.
No drop but as a coach doth carry thee;
So ridest thou triumphing in my woe.
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
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?
What, Longaville, and reading! Listen, ear.
Now, in thy likeness, one more fool appear!
Ay me! I am forsworn.
Why, he comes in like a perjure, wearing papers!
In love, I hope! Sweet fellowship in shame.
One drunkard loves another of the name.
Am I the first that have been perjured so?
I could put thee in comfort: not by two that I know.
Thou makest the triumviry, the corner-cap of
The shape of love’s Tyburn, that hangs up simplicity.
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.
O, rhymes are guards on wanton Cupid’s hose.
Disfigure not his shop!
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?
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 gained cures all disgrace in me.
Vows are but breath, and breath a vapor is.
Then thou, fair sun, which on my Earth dost
Exhal’st this vapor-vow; in thee it is.
If broken, then, it is no fault of mine.
If by me broke, what fool is not so wise
To lose an oath to win a paradise?
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’ th’
By whom shall I send this?—Company? Stay.
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.
Dumaine transformed! Four woodcocks in a dish.
O most divine Kate!
O most profane coxcomb!
By heaven, the wonder in a mortal eye!
By Earth, she is not, corporal. There you lie.
Her amber hairs for foul hath amber quoted.
An amber-colored raven was well noted.
As upright as the cedar.
Stoop, I say.
Her shoulder is with child.
As fair as day.
Ay, as some days, but then no sun must shine.
O, that I had my wish!
And I had mine!
And mine too, good Lord!
Amen, so I had mine. Is not that a good word?
I would forget her, but a fever she
Reigns in my blood, and will remembered be.
A fever in your blood? Why, then incision
Would let her out in saucers! Sweet misprision.
Once more I’ll read the ode that I have writ.
Once more I’ll mark how love can vary wit.
On a day—alack the day!—
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;
That the lover, sick to death,
Wished himself the heaven’s breath.
Air, quoth he, thy cheeks may blow.
Air, would I might triumph so!
But, alack, my hand is sworn
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—
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
That shall express my true love’s fasting pain.
O, would the King, Berowne, 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.
Dumaine, thy love is far from charity,
That in love’s grief desir’st society.
You may look pale, but I should blush, I know,
To be o’er-heard and taken napping so.
Come, sir, you blush! As his, your
case is such.
You chide at him, offending twice as much.
You do not love Maria? Longaville
Did never sonnet for her sake compile,
Nor never lay his wreathèd arms athwart
His loving bosom to keep down his heart?
I have been closely shrouded in this bush
And marked 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.
You would for paradise break faith
and troth,
And Jove, for your love, would
infringe an oath.
What will Berowne say when that he shall hear
Faith 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.
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?
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,
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 fool’ry have I seen,
Of sighs, of groans, of sorrow, and of teen!
O me, with what strict patience have I sat,
To see a king transformèd to a gnat!
To see great Hercules whipping a gig,
And profound Solomon to tune a jig,
And Nestor play at pushpin with the boys,
And critic Timon laugh at idle toys.
Where lies thy grief, O tell me, good Dumaine?
And gentle Longaville, where lies thy pain?
And where my liege’s? All about the breast!
A caudle, ho!
Too bitter is thy jest.
Are we betrayed thus to thy overview?
Not you to me, but I betrayed by you.
I, that am honest, I, that hold it sin
To break the vow I am engagèd in.
I am betrayed by keeping company
With men like you, men of inconstancy.
When shall you see me write a thing in rhyme?
Or groan for Joan? or spend a minute’s time
In pruning me? When shall you hear that I
Will praise a hand, a foot, a face, an eye,
A gait, a state, a brow, a breast, a waist,
A leg, a limb—
Soft, whither away so fast?
A true man, or a thief, that gallops so?
I post from love. Good lover, let me go.
God bless the King.
What present hast thou there?
Some certain treason.
What makes treason here?
Nay, it makes nothing, sir.
If it mar nothing neither,
The treason and you go in peace away together.
I beseech your Grace, let this letter be read.
Our person misdoubts it. ’Twas treason, he said.
Berowne, read it over.
Where hadst thou it?
Of Costard.
Where hadst thou it?
Of Dun Adramadio, Dun Adramadio.
How now, what is in you? Why dost thou tear it?
A toy, my liege, a toy. Your Grace needs not fear it.
It did move him to passion, and therefore let’s hear
It is Berowne’s writing, and here is his name.
Ah, you whoreson loggerhead, you were born to do
me shame.—
Guilty, my lord, guilty. I confess, I confess.
That you three fools lacked me fool to make up
the mess.
He, he, and you—and you, my liege—and I
Are pickpurses in love, and we deserve to die.
O, dismiss this audience, and I shall tell you more.
Now the number is even.
True, true, we are four.
Will these
turtles be gone?
Hence, sirs. Away.
Walk aside the true folk, and let the traitors stay.
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;
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.
What, did these rent lines show some love of thine?
Did they, quoth you? Who sees the heavenly
That, like a rude and savage man of Ind
At the first op’ning of the gorgeous East,
Bows not his vassal head and, strucken blind,
Kisses the base ground with obedient breast?
What peremptory eagle-sighted eye
Dares look upon the heaven of her brow
That is not blinded by her majesty?
What zeal, what fury, hath inspired thee now?
My love, her mistress, is a gracious moon,
She an attending star scarce seen a light.
My eyes are then no eyes, nor I Berowne.
O, but for my love, day would turn to night!
Of all complexions the culled sovereignty
Do meet as at a fair in her fair cheek.
Where several worthies make one dignity,
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.
A withered hermit, fivescore winters worn,
Might shake off fifty, looking in her eye.
Beauty doth varnish age, as if newborn,
And gives the crutch the cradle’s infancy.
O, ’tis the sun that maketh all things shine!
By heaven, thy love is black as ebony.
Is ebony like her? O word 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
If that she learn not of her eye to look?
No face is fair that is not full so black.
O, paradox! Black is the badge of hell,
The hue of dungeons and the school of night,
And beauty’s crest becomes the heavens well.
Devils soonest tempt, resembling spirits of light.
O, if in black my lady’s brows be decked,
It mourns that painting and usurping hair
Should ravish doters with a false aspect:
And therefore is she born to make black fair.
Her favor 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.
To look like her are chimney-sweepers black.
And since her time are colliers counted bright.
And Ethiopes of their sweet complexion crack.
Dark needs no candles now, for dark is light.
Your mistresses dare never come in rain,
For fear their colors should be washed away.
’Twere good yours did, for, sir, to tell you plain,
I’ll find a fairer face not washed today.
I’ll prove her fair, or talk till doomsday here.
No devil will fright thee then so much as she.
I never knew man hold vile stuff so dear.
Look, here’s thy love; my foot and her face see.
O, if the streets were pavèd with thine eyes.
Her feet were much too dainty for such tread.
O vile! Then as she goes, what upward lies
The street should see as she walked overhead.
But what of this? Are we not all in love?
Nothing so sure, and thereby all forsworn.
Then leave this chat, and, good Berowne, now prove
Our loving lawful, and our faith not torn.
Ay, marry, there, some flattery for this evil.
O, some authority how to proceed,
Some tricks, some quillets, how to cheat the devil.
Some salve for perjury.
O, ’tis more than need.
Have at you, then, affection’s men-at-arms!
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,
In leaden contemplation have found out
Such fiery numbers as the prompting eyes
Of beauty’s tutors have enriched you with?
Other slow arts entirely keep the brain
And therefore, finding barren practicers,
Scarce show a harvest of their heavy toil.
But love, first learnèd in a lady’s eyes,
Lives not alone immurèd in the brain,
But with the motion of all elements
Courses as swift as thought in every power,
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,
When the suspicious head of theft is stopped.
Love’s feeling is more soft and sensible
Than are the tender horns of cockled snails.
Love’s tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste.
For valor, is not love a Hercules,
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
Make heaven drowsy with the harmony.
Never durst poet touch a pen to write
Until his ink were tempered 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.
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,
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,
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?
Saint Cupid, then, and, soldiers, to the field!
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.
Now to plain dealing. Lay these glozes by.
Shall we resolve to woo these girls of France?
And win them, too. Therefore let us devise
Some entertainment for them in their tents.
First, from the park let us conduct them thither.
Then homeward every man attach the hand
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, masques, and merry hours
Forerun fair love, strewing her way with flowers.
Away, away! No time shall be omitted
That will betime and may by us be fitted.
Allons! Allons! Sowed cockle reaped no corn,
And justice always whirls in equal measure.
Light wenches may prove plagues to men forsworn;
If so, our copper buys no better treasure.
Satis quid sufficit.
I praise God for you, sir. Your reasons at
dinner have been sharp and sententious, pleasant
without scurrility, witty without affection, audacious
without impudency, learned without opinion,
and strange without heresy. I did converse this
quondam day with a companion of the King’s, who
is intituled, nominated, or called Don Adriano de
Novi hominem tanquam te. His humor
is lofty, his discourse peremptory, his tongue filed,
his eye ambitious, his gait majestical, and his general
behavior vain, ridiculous, and thrasonical. He is
too picked, too spruce, too affected, too odd, as it
were, too peregrinate, as I may call it.
A most singular and choice epithet.
He draweth out the thread of his verbosity
finer than the staple of his argument. I abhor
such fanatical phantasimes, such insociable and
point-devise companions, such rackers of orthography,
as to speak dout, fine, when he should
say doubt; det when he should pronounce
debt—d, e, b, t, not d, e, t. He clepeth a calf
cauf, half hauf, neighbor vocatur nebor;
neigh abbreviated ne. This is abhominable—which
he would call abominable. It insinuateth me of
insanie. Ne intelligis, domine? To make frantic,
Laus Deo, bone intelligo.
Bone? Bone for bene? Priscian a little
scratched; ’twill serve.
Videsne quis venit?
Video, et gaudeo.
Quare chirrah, not sirrah?
Men of peace, well encountered.
Most military sir, salutation.
They have been at a great feast
of languages and stolen the scraps.
O, they have lived long on the
almsbasket of words. I marvel thy master hath not
eaten thee for a word, for thou art not so long by the
head as honorificabilitudinitatibus. Thou art easier
swallowed than a flapdragon.
Peace, the peal begins.
Monsieur, are you not
Yes, yes, he teaches boys the hornbook.—What is
a, b spelled backward, with the horn on his head?
Ba, pueritia, with a horn added.
Ba, most silly sheep, with a horn.—You hear his
Quis, quis, thou consonant?
The last of the five vowels, if you repeat them; or
the fifth, if I.
I will repeat them: a, e, i—
The sheep. The other two concludes it: o, u.
Now by the salt wave of the Mediterraneum,
a sweet touch, a quick venue of wit! Snip, snap,
quick and home. It rejoiceth my intellect. True
Offered by a child to an old man—which is
What is the figure? What is the figure?
Thou disputes like an infant. Go whip thy
Lend me your horn to make one, and I will whip
about your infamy—unum cita—a gig of a cuckold’s
An I had but one penny in the world, thou
shouldst have it to buy gingerbread! Hold, there is
the very remuneration I had of thy master, thou
halfpenny purse of wit, thou pigeon egg of discretion.
O, an the heavens were
so pleased that thou wert but my bastard, what a
joyful father wouldest thou make me! Go to, thou
hast it ad dunghill, at the fingers’ ends, as they say.
Oh, I smell false Latin! Dunghill for
Arts-man, preambulate. We will be singuled
from the barbarous. Do you not educate youth at
the charge-house on the top of the mountain?
Or mons, the hill.
At your sweet pleasure, for the mountain.
I do, sans question.
Sir, it is the King’s most sweet pleasure and
affection to congratulate the Princess at her pavilion
in the posteriors of this day, which the rude
multitude call the afternoon.
The posterior of the day, most generous
sir, is liable, congruent, and measurable for
the afternoon; the word is well culled, chose,
sweet, and apt, I do assure you, sir, I do assure.
Sir, the King is a noble gentleman, and my
familiar, I do assure you, very good friend. For
what is inward between us, let it pass. I do beseech
thee, remember thy courtesy; I beseech thee apparel
thy head. And among other important and most
serious designs, and of great import indeed, too—
but let that pass; for I must tell thee, it will please his
Grace, by the world, sometimes to lean upon my
poor shoulder and with his royal finger thus dally
with my excrement, with my mustachio—but,
sweetheart, let that pass. By the world, I recount no
fable! Some certain special honors it pleaseth his
Greatness to impart to Armado, a soldier, a man of
travel, that hath seen the world—but let that pass.
The very all of all is—but sweetheart, I do implore
secrecy—that the King would have me present the
Princess, sweet chuck, with some delightful ostentation,
or show, or pageant, or antic, or firework.
Now, understanding that the curate and your sweet
self are good at such eruptions and sudden breaking
out of mirth, as it were, I have acquainted you
withal to the end to crave your assistance.
Sir, you shall present before her the Nine
Worthies.—Sir Nathaniel, as concerning some
entertainment of time, some show in the posterior
of this day, to be rendered by our assistance, the
King’s command, and this most gallant, illustrate,
and learned gentleman, before the Princess—I say,
none so fit as to present the Nine Worthies.
Where will you find men worthy enough to
present them?
Joshua, yourself; myself; and this gallant
gentleman, Judas Maccabaeus. This swain, because
of his great limb or joint, shall pass Pompey
the Great; the page, Hercules—
Pardon, sir—error. He is not quantity
enough for that Worthy’s thumb; he is not so big as
the end of his club!
Shall I have audience? He shall present
Hercules in minority. His enter and exit shall be
strangling a snake; and I will have an apology for
that purpose.
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
offense gracious, though few have the grace to do it.
For the rest of the Worthies?
I will play three myself.
Thrice-worthy gentleman!
Shall I tell you a thing?
We attend.
We will have, if this fadge not, an antic. I
beseech you, follow.
Via, goodman Dull. Thou hast spoken no
word all this while.
Nor understood none neither, sir.
Allons! We will employ thee.
I’ll make one in a dance, or so; or I will play on
the tabor to the Worthies and let them dance the
Most dull, honest Dull. To our sport!
Sweethearts, we shall be rich ere we depart,
If fairings come thus plentifully in.
A lady walled about with diamonds!
Look you what I have from the loving king.
Madam, came nothing else along with that?
Nothing but this? Yes, as much love in rhyme
As would be crammed 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.
That was the way to make his godhead wax,
For he hath been five thousand year a boy.
Ay, and a shrewd unhappy gallows, too.
You’ll ne’er be friends with him. He killed your
He made her melancholy, sad, and heavy,
And so she died. Had she been light like you,
Of such a merry, nimble, stirring spirit,
She might ha’ been a grandam ere she died.
And so may you, for a light heart lives long.
What’s your dark meaning, mouse, of this light
A light condition in a beauty dark.
We need more light to find your meaning out.
You’ll mar the light by taking it in snuff;
Therefore I’ll darkly end the argument.
Look what you do, you do it still i’ th’ dark.
So do not you, for you are a light wench.
Indeed, I weigh not you, and therefore light.
You weigh me not? O, that’s you care not for me.
Great reason: for past care is still past cure.
Well bandied both; a set of wit well played.
But, Rosaline, you have a favor too.
Who sent it? And what is it?
I would you knew.
An if my face were but as fair as yours,
My favor were as great. Be witness this.
Nay, I have verses too, I thank Berowne;
The numbers true; and were the numb’ring 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.
Anything like?
Much in the letters, nothing in the praise.
Beauteous as ink: a good conclusion.
Fair as a text B in a copybook.
Ware pencils, ho! Let me not die your debtor,
My red dominical, my golden letter.
O, that your face were not so full of O’s!
A pox of that jest! And I beshrew all shrows.
But, Katherine, what was sent to you
From fair Dumaine?
Madam, this glove.
Did he not send you twain?
Yes, madam, and moreover,
Some thousand verses of a faithful lover,
A huge translation of hypocrisy,
Vilely compiled, profound simplicity.
This, and these pearls, to me sent Longaville.
The letter is too long by half a mile.
I think no less. Dost thou not wish in heart
The chain were longer and the letter short?
Ay, or I would these hands might never part.
We are wise girls to mock our lovers so.
They are worse fools to purchase mocking so.
That same Berowne I’ll torture ere I go.
O, that I knew he were but in by th’ week,
How I would make him fawn, and beg, and seek,
And wait the season, and observe the times,
And spend his prodigal wits in bootless rhymes,
And shape his service wholly to my hests,
And make him proud to make me proud that jests!
So pair-taunt-like would I o’ersway his state,
That he should be my fool, and I his fate.
None are so surely caught, when they are catched,
As wit turned fool. Folly in wisdom hatched
Hath wisdom’s warrant and the help of school,
And wit’s own grace to grace a learnèd fool.
The blood of youth burns not with such excess
As gravity’s revolt to wantonness.
Folly in fools bears not so strong a note
As fool’ry in the wise, when wit doth dote,
Since all the power thereof it doth apply
To prove, by wit, worth in simplicity.
Here comes Boyet, and mirth is in his face.
O, I am stabbed with laughter. Where’s her Grace?
Thy news, Boyet?
Prepare, madam, prepare.
Arm, wenches, arm. Encounters mounted are
Against your peace. Love doth approach, disguised,
Armèd in arguments. You’ll be surprised.
Muster your wits, stand in your own defense,
Or hide your heads like cowards, and fly hence.
Saint Denis to Saint Cupid! What are they
That charge their breath against us? Say, scout, say.
Under the cool shade of a sycamore,
I thought to close mine eyes some half an hour.
When, lo, to interrupt my purposed rest,
Toward that shade I might behold addressed
The King and his companions. Warily
I stole into a neighbor thicket by,
And overheard what you shall overhear:
That, by and by, disguised, they will be here.
Their herald is a pretty knavish page
That well by heart hath conned 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
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 feared her had she been a devil.
With that, all laughed and clapped him on the
Making the bold wag by their praises bolder.
One rubbed his elbow thus, and fleered, and swore
A better speech was never spoke before.
Another with his finger and his thumb,
Cried Via! We will do ’t, come what will come.
The third he capered and cried All goes well!
The fourth turned on the toe, and down he fell.
With that, they all did tumble on the ground
With such a zealous laughter so profound
That in this spleen ridiculous appears,
To check their folly, passion’s solemn tears.
But what, but what? Come they to visit us?
They do, they do; and are appareled thus,
Like Muscovites, or Russians, as I guess.
Their purpose is to parley, to court, and dance,
And every one his love-feat will advance
Unto his several mistress—which they’ll know
By favors several which they did bestow.
And will they so? The gallants shall be tasked,
For, ladies, we will every one be masked,
And not a man of them shall have the grace,
Despite of suit, to see a lady’s face.
Hold, Rosaline, this favor thou shalt wear,
And then the King will court thee for his dear.
Hold, take thou this, my sweet, and give me thine.
So shall Berowne take me for Rosaline.
And change you favors too. So shall your loves
Woo contrary, deceived by these removes.
Come on, then, wear the favors most in sight.
But in this changing, what is your intent?
The effect of my intent is to cross theirs.
They do it but in mockery merriment,
And mock for mock is only my intent.
Their several counsels they unbosom shall
To loves mistook, and so be mocked withal
Upon the next occasion that we meet,
With visages displayed, to talk and greet.
But shall we dance, if they desire us to ’t?
No, to the death we will not move a foot,
Nor to their penned speech render we no grace,
But while ’tis spoke each turn away her face.
Why, that contempt will kill the speaker’s heart,
And quite divorce his memory from his part.
Therefore I do it, and I make no doubt
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 mocked, depart away with shame.
The trumpet sounds. Be masked; the maskers come.
All hail, the richest beauties on the Earth!
Beauties no richer than rich taffeta.
A holy parcel of the fairest dames
That ever turned their—backs—to mortal views.
Their eyes, villain, their eyes!
That ever turned their eyes to mortal views.
True; out indeed.
Out of your favors, heavenly spirits, vouchsafe
Not to behold—
Once to behold, rogue!
Once to behold with your sun-beamèd eyes—
With your sun-beamèd eyes—
They will not answer to that epithet.
You were best call it daughter-beamèd eyes.
They do not mark me, and that brings me out.
Is this your perfectness? Begone, you rogue!
What would these strangers? Know their minds,
If they do speak our language, ’tis our will
That some plain man recount their purposes.
Know what they would.
What would you with the
Nothing but peace and gentle visitation.
What would they, say they?
Nothing but peace and gentle visitation.
Why, that they have, and bid them so be gone.
She says you have it, and you may be gone.
Say to her we have measured many miles
To tread a measure with her on this grass.
They say that they have measured many a mile
To tread a measure with you on this grass.
It is not so. Ask them how many inches
Is in one mile. If they have measured many,
The measure then of one is eas’ly told.
If to come hither you have measured miles,
And many miles, the Princess bids you tell
How many inches doth fill up one mile.
Tell her we measure them by weary steps.
She hears herself.
How many weary steps
Of many weary miles you have o’ergone
Are numbered in the travel of one mile?
We number nothing that we spend for you.
Our duty is so rich, so infinite,
That we may do it still without account.
Vouchsafe to show the sunshine of your face
That we, like savages, may worship it.
My face is but a moon, and clouded too.
Blessèd are clouds, to do as such clouds do!
Vouchsafe, bright moon, and these thy stars, to
Those clouds removed, upon our watery eyne.
O vain petitioner, beg a greater matter!
Thou now requests but moonshine in the water.
Then in our measure do but vouchsafe one change.
Thou bidd’st me beg; this begging is not strange.
Play music, then. Nay, you must do it soon.
Not yet? No dance! Thus change I like the moon.
Will you not dance? How come you thus estranged?
You took the moon at full, but now she’s changed.
Yet still she is the moon, and I the man.
The music plays. Vouchsafe some motion to it.
Our ears vouchsafe it.
But your legs should do it.
Since you are strangers and come here by chance,
We’ll not be nice. Take hands. We will not dance.
Why take we hands then?
Only to part friends.—
Curtsy, sweethearts—and so the measure ends.
More measure of this measure! Be not nice.
We can afford no more at such a price.
Prize you yourselves. What buys your company?
Your absence only.
That can never be.
Then cannot we be bought. And so adieu—
Twice to your visor, and half once to you.
If you deny to dance, let’s hold more chat.
In private, then.
I am best pleased with that.
White-handed mistress, one sweet word with thee.
Honey, and milk, and sugar—there is three.
Nay then, two treys, an if you grow so nice,
Metheglin, wort, and malmsey. Well run, dice!
There’s half a dozen sweets.
Seventh sweet, adieu.
Since you can cog, I’ll play no more with you.
One word in secret.
Let it not be sweet.
Thou grievest my gall.
Gall! Bitter.
Therefore meet.
Will you vouchsafe with me to change a word?
Name it.
Fair lady—
Say you so? Fair lord!
Take that for your fair lady.
Please it you
As much in private, and I’ll bid adieu.
What, was your vizard made without a tongue?
I know the reason, lady, why you ask.
O, for your reason! Quickly, sir, I long.
You have a double tongue within your mask,
And would afford my speechless vizard half.
Veal, quoth the Dutchman. Is not veal a calf?
A calf, fair lady?
No, a fair Lord Calf.
Let’s part the word.
No, I’ll not be your half.
Take all and wean it. It may prove an ox.
Look how you butt yourself in these sharp mocks.
Will you give horns, chaste lady? Do not so.
Then die a calf before your horns do grow.
One word in private with you ere I die.
Bleat softly, then. The butcher hears you cry.
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
Fleeter than arrows, bullets, wind, thought, swifter
Not one word more, my maids. Break off, break off!
By heaven, all dry-beaten with pure scoff!
Farewell, mad wenches. You have simple wits.
Twenty adieus, my frozen Muskovits.—
Are these the breed of wits so wondered at?
Tapers they are, with your sweet breaths puffed
Well-liking wits they have; gross, gross; fat, fat.
O poverty in wit, kingly-poor flout!
Will they not, think you, hang themselves tonight?
Or ever but in vizards show their faces?
This pert Berowne was out of count’nance quite.
They were all in lamentable cases.
The King was weeping ripe for a good word.
Berowne did swear himself out of all suit.
Dumaine was at my service, and his sword.
No point, quoth I. My servant straight was
Lord Longaville said I came o’er his heart.
And trow you what he called me?
Qualm, perhaps.
Yes, in good faith.
Go, sickness as thou art!
Well, better wits have worn plain statute-caps.
But will you hear? The King is my love sworn.
And quick Berowne hath plighted faith to me.
And Longaville was for my service born.
Dumaine is mine as sure as bark on tree.
Madam, and pretty mistresses, give ear.
Immediately they will again be here
In their own shapes, for it can never be
They will digest this harsh indignity.
Will they return?
They will, they will, God knows,
And leap for joy, though they are lame with blows.
Therefore change favors, and when they repair,
Blow like sweet roses in this summer air.
How blow? How blow? Speak to be understood.
Fair ladies masked are roses in their bud.
Dismasked, their damask sweet commixture shown,
Are angels vailing clouds, or roses blown.
Avaunt, perplexity!—What shall we do
If they return in their own shapes to woo?
Good madam, if by me you’ll be advised,
Let’s mock them still, as well known as disguised.
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 penned,
And their rough carriage so ridiculous,
Should be presented at our tent to us.
Ladies, withdraw. The gallants are at hand.
Whip to our tents, as roes runs o’er land.
Fair sir, God save you. Where’s the Princess?
Gone to her tent. Please it your Majesty
Command me any service to her thither?
That she vouchsafe me audience for one word.
I will, and so will she, I know, my lord.
This fellow pecks up wit as pigeons peas,
And utters it again when God doth please.
He is wit’s peddler, and retails his wares
At wakes and wassails, meetings, markets, fairs.
And we that sell by gross, the Lord doth know,
Have not the grace to grace it with such show.
This gallant pins the wenches on his sleeve.
Had he been Adam, he had tempted Eve.
He can carve too, and lisp. Why, this is he
That kissed his hand away in courtesy.
This is the ape of form, Monsieur the Nice,
That, when he plays at tables, chides the dice
In honorable terms. Nay, he can sing
A mean most meanly; and in ushering
Mend him who can. The ladies call him sweet.
The stairs, as he treads on them, kiss his feet.
This is the flower that smiles on everyone
To show his teeth as white as whale’s bone;
And consciences that will not die in debt
Pay him the due of honey-tongued Boyet.
A blister on his sweet tongue, with my heart,
That put Armado’s page out of his part!
See where it comes! Behavior, what wert thou
Till this madman showed thee? And what art thou
All hail, sweet madam, and fair time of day.
Fair in all hail is foul, as I conceive.
Construe my speeches better, if you may.
Then wish me better. I will give you leave.
We came to visit you, and purpose now
To lead you to our court. Vouchsafe it, then.
This field shall hold me, and so hold your vow.
Nor God nor I delights in perjured men.
Rebuke me not for that which you provoke.
The virtue of your eye must break my oath.
You nickname virtue; vice you should have spoke,
For virtue’s office never breaks men’s troth.
Now by my maiden honor, 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
Of heavenly oaths vowed with integrity.
O, you have lived in desolation here,
Unseen, unvisited, much to our shame.
Not so, my lord. It is not so, I swear.
We have had pastimes here and pleasant game.
A mess of Russians left us but of late.
How, madam? Russians?
Ay, in truth, my lord.
Trim gallants, full of courtship and of state.
Madam, speak true.—It is not so, my lord.
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 stayed an hour
And talked apace; and in that hour, my lord,
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.
This jest is dry to me. Gentle sweet,
Your wits makes wise things foolish. When we greet,
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.
This proves you wise and rich, for in my eye—
I am a fool, and full of poverty.
But that you take what doth to you belong,
It were a fault to snatch words from my tongue.
O, I am yours, and all that I possess!
All the fool mine?
I cannot give you less.
Which of the vizards was it that you wore?
Where? When? What vizard? Why demand you this?
There; then; that vizard; that superfluous case
That hid the worse and showed the better face.
We were descried. They’ll mock us now downright.
Let us confess and turn it to a jest.
Amazed, my lord? Why looks your Highness sad?
Help, hold his brows! He’ll swoon!—Why look you
Seasick, I think, coming from Muscovy.
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.
Cut me to pieces with thy keen conceit,
And I will wish thee nevermore to dance,
Nor nevermore in Russian habit wait.
O, never will I trust to speeches penned,
Nor to the motion of a schoolboy’s tongue,
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
Have blown me full of maggot ostentation.
I do forswear them, and I here protest
By this white glove—how white the hand, God
Henceforth my wooing mind shall be expressed
In russet yeas and honest kersey noes.
And to begin: Wench, so God help me, law,
My love to thee is sound, sans crack or flaw.
Sans sans, I pray you.
Yet I have a trick
Of the old rage. Bear with me, I am sick;
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,
For the Lord’s tokens on you do I see.
No, they are free that gave these tokens to us.
Our states are forfeit. Seek not to undo us.
It is not so, for how can this be true,
That you stand forfeit, being those that sue?
Peace, for I will not have to do with you.
Nor shall not, if I do as I intend.
Speak for yourselves. My wit is at an end.
Teach us, sweet madam, for our rude transgression
Some fair excuse.
The fairest is confession.
Were not you here but even now, disguised?
Madam, I was.
And were you well advised?
I was, fair madam.
When you then were here,
What did you whisper in your lady’s ear?
That more than all the world I did respect her.
When she shall challenge this, you will reject her.
Upon mine honor, no.
Peace, peace, forbear!
Your oath once broke, you force not to forswear.
Despise me when I break this oath of mine.
I will, and therefore keep it.—Rosaline,
What did the Russian whisper in your ear?
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.
God give thee joy of him! The noble lord
Most honorably doth uphold his word.
What mean you, madam? By my life, my troth,
I never swore this lady such an oath.
By heaven, you did! And to confirm it plain,
You gave me this. But take it,
sir, again.
My faith and this the Princess I did give.
I knew her by this jewel on her sleeve.
Pardon me, sir. This jewel did she wear.
And Lord Berowne, I thank him, is my dear.
What, will you have me, or your pearl
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
Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some
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 favors; and then we,
Following the signs, wooed but the sign of she.
Now, to our perjury to add more terror,
We are again forsworn in will and error.
Much upon this ’tis. And might not you
Forestall our sport, to make us thus untrue?
Do not you know my lady’s foot by th’ squier?
And laugh upon the apple of her eye?
And stand between her back, sir, and the fire,
Holding a trencher, jesting merrily?
You put our page out. Go, you are allowed.
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.
Full merrily
Hath this brave manage, this career been run.
Lo, he is tilting straight! Peace, I have done.
Welcome, pure wit. Thou part’st a fair fray.
O Lord, sir, they would know
Whether the three Worthies shall come in or no.
What, are there but three?
No, sir; but it is vara fine,
For every one pursents three.
And three times thrice
is nine.
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—
Is not nine?
Under correction, sir, we know whereuntil it
doth amount.
By Jove, I always took three threes for nine.
O Lord, sir, it were pity you should get your
living by reckoning, sir.
How much is it?
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.
Art thou one of the Worthies?
It pleased them to think me worthy of Pompey
the Great. For mine own part, I know not the
degree of the Worthy, but I am to stand for him.
Go bid them prepare.
We will turn it finely off, sir. We will take some
Berowne, they will shame us. Let them not
We are shame-proof, my lord; and ’tis some policy
To have one show worse than the King’s and his
I say they shall not come.
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.
Their form confounded makes most form in mirth,
When great things laboring perish in their birth.
A right description of our sport, my lord.
Anointed, I implore so much expense
of thy royal sweet breath as will utter a brace
of words.
Doth this man serve God?
Why ask you?
He speaks not like a man of God his making.
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
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 these four Worthies in their first show thrive,
These four will change habits and present the other
There is five in the first show.
You are deceived. ’Tis not so.
The pedant, the braggart, the hedge
priest, the fool, and the boy.
Abate throw at novum, and the whole world again
Cannot pick out five such, take each one in his vein.
The ship is under sail, and here she comes amain.
I Pompey am—
You lie; you are not he.
I Pompey am—
With leopard’s head on knee.
Well said, old mocker. I must needs be friends with
I Pompey am, Pompey, surnamed the Big—
The Great.
It is Great, sir.—Pompey, surnamed the
That oft in field, with targe and shield, did make my
foe to sweat.
And traveling along this coast, I here am come by
And lay my arms before the legs of this sweet lass of
If your Ladyship would say Thanks, Pompey, I
had done.
Great thanks, great Pompey.
’Tis not so much worth, but I hope I was
perfect. I made a little fault in Great.
My hat to a halfpenny, Pompey proves the
best Worthy.
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—
Your nose says no, you are not, for it stands too
Your nose smells no in this, most tender-smelling
The conqueror is dismayed.—Proceed, good
When in the world I lived, I was the world’s
Most true; ’tis right. You were so, Alisander.
Pompey the Great—
Your servant, and Costard.
Take away the conqueror. Take away
O sir, you have overthrown
Alisander the Conqueror. You will be scraped out of
the painted cloth for this. Your lion, that holds his
polax 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.
There, an ’t shall please you, a foolish mild man, an
honest man, look you, and soon dashed. He is a
marvelous good neighbor, faith, and a very good
bowler. But, for Alisander—alas, you see how ’tis—
a little o’erparted. But there are Worthies a-coming
will speak their mind in some other sort.
Stand aside, good Pompey.
Great Hercules is presented by this imp,
Whose club killed Cerberus, that three-headed canus,
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.
Judas I am—
A Judas!
Not Iscariot, sir.
Judas I am, yclept Maccabaeus.
Judas Maccabaeus clipped is plain Judas.
A kissing traitor.—How art thou proved
Judas I am—
The more shame for you, Judas.
What mean you, sir?
To make Judas hang himself.
Begin, sir, you are my elder.
Well followed. Judas was hanged on an
I will not be put out of countenance.
Because thou hast no face.
What is this?
A cittern-head.
The head of a bodkin.
A death’s face in a ring.
The face of an old Roman coin, scarce
The pommel of Caesar’s falchion.
The carved-bone face on a flask.
Saint George’s half-cheek in a brooch.
Ay, and in a brooch of lead.
Ay, and worn in the cap of a tooth-drawer.
And now forward, for we have put thee in
You have put me out of countenance.
False. We have given thee faces.
But you have outfaced them all.
An thou wert a lion, we would do so.
Therefore, as he is an ass, let him go.—
And so adieu, sweet Jude. Nay, why dost thou stay?
For the latter end of his name.
For the ass to the Jude? Give it him.—Jud-as,
This is not generous, not gentle, not humble.
A light for Monsieur Judas! It grows dark; he may
Alas, poor Maccabaeus, how hath he been baited!
Hide thy head, Achilles. Here comes Hector
in arms.
Though my mocks come home by me, I will
now be merry.
Hector was but a Troyan in respect of this.
But is this Hector?
I think Hector was not so clean-timbered.
His leg is too big for Hector’s.
More calf, certain.
No, he is best endued in the small.
This cannot be Hector.
He’s a god or a painter, for he makes faces.
The armipotent Mars, of lances the almighty,
Gave Hector a gift—
A gilt nutmeg.
A lemon.
Stuck with cloves.
No, cloven.
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.
I am that flower—
That mint.
That columbine.
Sweet Lord Longaville, rein thy tongue.
I must rather give it the rein, for it runs
against Hector.
Ay, and Hector’s a greyhound.
The sweet warman is dead and rotten. Sweet
chucks, beat not the bones of the buried. When he
breathed, he was a man. But I will forward with my
device. Sweet royalty, bestow on me
the sense of hearing.
Speak, brave Hector. We are much delighted.
I do adore thy sweet Grace’s slipper.
Loves her by the foot.
He may not by the yard.
This Hector far surmounted Hannibal.
The party is gone—
Fellow Hector, she is gone; she is two
months on her way.
What meanest thou?
Faith, unless you play the honest Troyan, the
poor wench is cast away. She’s quick; the child
brags in her belly already. ’Tis yours.
Dost thou infamonize me among potentates?
Thou shalt die!
Then shall Hector be whipped for Jaquenetta,
that is quick by him, and hanged for Pompey,
that is dead by him.
Most rare Pompey!
Renowned Pompey!
Greater than Great! Great, great, great
Pompey. Pompey the Huge!
Hector trembles.
Pompey is moved. More Ates, more Ates!
Stir them on, stir them on.
Hector will challenge him.
Ay, if he have no more man’s blood in his
belly than will sup a flea.
By the North Pole, I do challenge
I will not fight with a pole like a northern
man! I’ll slash. I’ll do it by the sword.—I bepray
you, let me borrow my arms again.
Room for the incensed Worthies!
I’ll do it in my shirt.
Most resolute Pompey!
Master, let me take you a buttonhole
lower. Do you not see Pompey is uncasing for the
combat? What mean you? You will lose your
Gentlemen and soldiers, pardon me. I will
not combat in my shirt.
You may not deny it. Pompey hath made the
Sweet bloods, I both may and will.
What reason have you for ’t?
The naked truth of it is, I have no shirt. I go
woolward for penance.
True, and it was enjoined him in Rome for want
of linen; since when, I’ll be sworn, he wore none
but a dishclout of Jaquenetta’s, and that he wears
next his heart for a favor.
God save you, madam.
Welcome, Marcade,
But that thou interruptest our merriment.
I am sorry, madam, for the news I bring
Is heavy in my tongue. The King your father—
Dead, for my life.
Even so. My tale is told.
Worthies, away! The scene begins to cloud.
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.
How fares your Majesty?
Boyet, prepare. I will away tonight.
Madam, not so. I do beseech you stay.
Prepare, I say.—I thank you, gracious lords,
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 overboldly we have borne ourselves
In the converse of breath; your gentleness
Was guilty of it. Farewell, worthy lord.
A heavy heart bears not a humble tongue.
Excuse me so, coming too short of thanks
For my great suit so easily obtained.
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
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 jostle it
From what it purposed, since to wail friends lost
Is not by much so wholesome-profitable
As to rejoice at friends but newly found.
I understand you not. My griefs are double.
Honest plain words best pierce the ear of grief,
And by these badges understand the King:
For your fair sakes have we neglected time,
Played foul play with our oaths. Your beauty, ladies,
Hath much deformed us, fashioning our humors
Even to the opposèd end of our intents.
And what in us hath seemed ridiculous—
As love is full of unbefitting strains,
All wanton as a child, skipping and vain,
Formed 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;
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,
Our love being yours, the error that love makes
Is likewise yours. We to ourselves prove false
By being once false forever to be true
To those that make us both—fair ladies, you.
And even that falsehood, in itself a sin,
Thus purifies itself and turns to grace.
We have received your letters full of love;
Your favors, the ambassadors of love;
And in our maiden council rated them
At courtship, pleasant jest, and courtesy,
As bombast and as lining to the time.
But more devout than this in our respects
Have we not been, and therefore met your loves
In their own fashion, like a merriment.
Our letters, madam, showed much more than jest.
So did our looks.
We did not quote them so.
Now, at the latest minute of the hour,
Grant us your loves.
A time, methinks, too short
To make a world-without-end bargain in.
No, no, my lord, your Grace is perjured much,
Full of dear guiltiness, and therefore this:
If for my love—as there is no such cause—
You will do aught, this shall you do for me:
Your oath I will not trust, but go with speed
To some forlorn and naked hermitage,
Remote from all the pleasures of the world.
There stay until the twelve celestial signs
Have brought about the annual reckoning.
If this austere insociable life
Change not your offer made in heat of blood;
If frosts and fasts, hard lodging, and thin weeds
Nip not the gaudy blossoms of your love,
But that it bear this trial, and last love;
Then, at the expiration of the year,
Come challenge me, challenge me by these deserts,
And by this virgin palm now kissing thine,
I will be thine. And till that instant shut
My woeful self up in a mourning house,
Raining the tears of lamentation
For the remembrance of my father’s death.
If this thou do deny, let our hands part,
Neither entitled in the other’s heart.
If this, or more than this, I would deny,
To flatter up these powers of mine with rest,
The sudden hand of death close up mine eye!
Hence hermit, then. My heart is in thy breast.
But what to me, my love? But what to me?
A wife?
A beard, fair health, and honesty.
With threefold love I wish you all these three.
O, shall I say I thank you, gentle wife?
Not so, my lord. A twelvemonth and a day
I’ll mark no words that smooth-faced wooers say.
Come when the King doth to my lady come;
Then, if I have much love, I’ll give you some.
I’ll serve thee true and faithfully till then.
Yet swear not, lest you be forsworn again.
What says Maria?
At the twelvemonth’s end
I’ll change my black gown for a faithful friend.
I’ll stay with patience, but the time is long.
The liker you; few taller are so young.
Studies my lady? Mistress, look on me.
Behold the window of my heart, mine eye,
What humble suit attends thy answer there.
Impose some service on me for thy love.
Oft have I heard of you, my Lord Berowne,
Before I saw you; and the world’s large tongue
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,
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,
With all the fierce endeavor of your wit,
To enforce the painèd impotent to smile.
To move wild laughter in the throat of death?
It cannot be, it is impossible.
Mirth cannot move a soul in agony.
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
Of him that makes it. Then if sickly ears,
Deafed with the clamors 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,
And I shall find you empty of that fault,
Right joyful of your reformation.
A twelvemonth? Well, befall what will befall,
I’ll jest a twelvemonth in an hospital.
Ay, sweet my lord, and so I take my leave.
No, madam, we will bring you on your way.
Our wooing doth not end like an old play.
Jack hath not Jill. These ladies’ courtesy
Might well have made our sport a comedy.
Come, sir, it wants a twelvemonth and a day,
And then ’twill end.
That’s too long for a play.
Sweet Majesty, vouchsafe me—
Was not that Hector?
The worthy knight of Troy.
I will kiss thy royal finger, and take leave. I
am a votary; I have vowed to Jaquenetta to hold the
plow for her sweet love three year. But, most
esteemed Greatness, will you hear the dialogue that
the two learned men have compiled in praise of the
owl and the cuckoo? It should have followed in the
end of our show.
Call them forth quickly. We will do so.
Holla! Approach.
This side is Hiems, Winter; this Ver, the Spring; the
one maintained by the owl, th’ other by the cuckoo.
Ver, begin.
When daisies pied and violets blue,
And lady-smocks all silver-white,
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then on every tree
Mocks married men; for thus sings he:
Cuckoo, cuckoo! O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear.
When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,
And merry larks are plowmen’s clocks;
When turtles tread, and rooks and daws,
And maidens bleach their summer smocks;
The cuckoo then on every tree
Mocks married men, for thus sings he:
Cuckoo, cuckoo! O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear.
When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail;
When blood is nipped, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl
Tu-whit to-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,
And Marian’s nose looks red and raw;
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl
Tu-whit to-who. A merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
The words of Mercury are harsh after the
songs of Apollo. You that way; we this way.