Love’s Labour’s Lost
Act I, Scene 1
The King of Navarre’s park.
- Enter Ferdinand, King of Navarre, Berowne, Longaville, and
King1 - 23
- Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,
- Live regist’red 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 pass’d, and now subscribe your names,
- That his own hand may strike his honor down
- That violates the smallest branch herein.
- If you are arm’d to do, as sworn to do,
- Subscribe to your deep oaths, and keep it too.
Longaville24 - 27
- I am resolved, ’tis but a three years’ fast:
- The mind shall banquet, though the body pine;
- Fat paunches have lean pates; and dainty bits
- Make rich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits.
Dumaine28 - 32
- 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.
Berowne33 - 48
- 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 enrolled there;
- And one day in a week to touch no food,
- And but one meal on every day beside,
- The which I hope is not enrolled there;
- And then to sleep but three hours in the night,
- And not be seen to wink of all the day—
- When I was wont to think no harm all night,
- And make a dark night too of half the day—
- Which I hope well is not enrolled there.
- O, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep,
- Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep.
- Your oath is pass’d to pass away from these.
Berowne50 - 52
- Let me say no, my liege, and 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.
Berowne54 - 55
- 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 barr’d (you mean) from common sense.
- Ay, that is study’s godlike recompense.
Berowne59 - 69
- Com’ 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.
King70 - 71
- These be the stops that hinder study quite,
- And train our intellects to vain delight.
Berowne72 - 93
- Why? All delights are vain, but that most vain
- Which, with pain purchas’d, 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 search’d 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 fixed star,
- Have no more profit of their shining nights
- Than those that walk and wot not what they are.
- Too much to know is to know nought but fame;
- And every godfather can give a name.
- 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.
King102 - 103
- Berowne is like an envious sneaping frost
- That bites the first-born infants of the spring.
Berowne104 - 111
- 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.
Berowne113 - 119
- 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!
Berowne121 - 122
- “Item, That no woman shall come within a mile of my
- court”—Hath this been proclaim’d?
- Four days ago.
Berowne124 - 125
- Let’s see the penalty.
- “—on pain of losing her tongue.” Who devis’d this penalty?
- Marry, that did I.
- Sweet lord, and why?
- To fright them hence with that dread penalty.
Berowne129 - 140
- 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 devise.”
- This article, my liege, yourself must break,
- For well you know here comes in embassy
- The French king’s daughter with yourself to speak—
- A maid of grace and complete majesty—
- About surrender up of Aquitaine
- To her decrepit, sick, and bedred father;
- Therefore this article is made in vain,
- Or vainly comes th’ admired Princess hither.
- What say you, lords? Why, this was quite forgot.
Berowne142 - 146
- 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.
King147 - 148
- We must of force dispense with this decree,
- She must lie here on mere necessity.
Berowne149 - 161
- Necessity will make us all forsworn
- Three thousand times within this three years’ space;
- For every man with his affects is born,
- Not by might mast’red, 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?
King162 - 176
- Ay, that there is. Our court you know is haunted
- With a refined 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 complements, whom right and wrong
- Have chose as umpeer of their mutiny.
- This child of fancy, that Armado hight,
- For interim to our studies shall relate,
- In high-borne 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.
Berowne177 - 178
- Armado is a most illustrious wight,
- A man of fire-new words, fashion’s own knight.
Longaville179 - 180
- Costard the swain and he shall be our sport,
- And so to study three years is but short.
- Enter a Constable Dull with a letter, with Costard.
- Which is the Duke’s own person?
- This, fellow. What wouldst?
Dull183 - 185
- I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his Grace’s
- farborough; but I would see his own person in flesh and
- This is he.
Dull187 - 188
- Signior Arme—Arme—commends you. There’s villainy abroad;
- this letter will tell you more.
- Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me.
- 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?
Longaville194 - 195
- To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately; or to forbear
Berowne196 - 197
- Well, sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to climb
- in the merriness.
Costard198 - 199
- The matter is to me, sir, as concerning Jaquenetta: the
- manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.
- In what manner?
Costard201 - 206
- 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?
Costard208 - 209
- As it shall follow in my correction, and God defend the
- Will you hear this letter with attention?
- As we would hear an oracle.
- Such is the simplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.
King213 - 215
- “Great deputy, the welkin’s viceregent, and sole dominator
- of Navarre, my soul’s earth’s god, and body’s fost’ring
- Not a word of Costard yet.
- “So it is”—
Costard218 - 219
- 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.
King224 - 238
- “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 walk’d
- upon: it is ycliped 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.
King246 - 248
- “sorted and consorted, contrary to thy established
- proclaimed edict and continent canon; which with—O, with—but
- with this I passion to say wherewith”—
- With a wench.
King250 - 255
- “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 estimation.”
- Me, an’t shall please you: I am Anthony Dull.
King257 - 262
- “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 complements of
- devoted and heart-burning heat of duty,
- Don Adriano de Armado.”
Berowne263 - 264
- This is not so well as I look’d for, but the best that ever
- I heard.
King265 - 266
- Ay, the best for the worst. But, sirrah, what say you to
- Sir, I confess the wench.
- Did you hear the proclamation?
Costard269 - 270
- I do confess much of the hearing it, but little of the
- marking of it.
King271 - 272
- It was proclaim’d a year’s imprisonment to be taken with a
- I was taken with none, sir, I was taken with a damsel.
- Well, it was proclaim’d damsel.
- This was no damsel neither, sir, she was a virgin.
- It is so varied too, for it was proclaim’d virgin.
- 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.
King280 - 281
- Sir, I will pronounce your sentence: you shall fast a week
- with bran and water.
- I had rather pray a month with mutton and porridge.
King283 - 286
- 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.
- Exeunt King, Longaville, and Dumaine.
Berowne287 - 289
- I’ll lay my head to any good man’s hat,
- These oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn.
- Sirrah, come on.
Costard290 - 293
- 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!