Love’s Labour’s Lost
Act IV, Scene 2
The King of Navarre’s park.
- Enter Dull, Holofernes the Pedant, and Nathaniel from
- watching the hunt.
Sir Nathaniel1 - 2
- Very reverent sport truly, and done in the testimony of a
- good conscience.
Holofernes3 - 6
The deer was (as you know) sanguis, in blood, ripe as the
Feb 27, 2019 Miko“Sanguis” is the Latin word for blood. Some scholars suspect Holofernes meant to say “sanguigno” - the Italian word for blood. Henry Irving actually made that change in his edition of Shakespeare. Feb 27, 2019 Miko“In blood” was a hunting term meaning a vigorous chase.
pomewater, who now hangeth like a jewel in the ear of caelo,
Feb 27, 2019 MikoA type of apple. Feb 27, 2019 MikoHolofernes probably means “cielo” - the Italian word for the sky. In his edition of Shakespeare, Henry Irving actually changed it to “cielo”. Whether Shakespeare intentionally had Holofernes say the wrong word or the error was in the production process is unknown.
the sky, the welkin, the heaven, and anon falleth like a
Feb 27, 2019 MikoThe sky.
crab on the face of terra, the soil, the land, the earth.
Feb 27, 2019 MikoA crabapple.
Sir Nathaniel7 - 9
- Truly, Master Holofernes, the epithites are sweetly varied,
- like a scholar at the least; but, sir, I assure ye it was a
buck of the first head.
Feb 27, 2019 MikoA male deer in its fifth year when it has a full set of antlers.
Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.
Feb 27, 2019 Miko“Haud credo” is Latin for “I don't believe it”. So Holofernes is expressing disagreement with Sir Nathaniel. In the next line, however, Dull misunderstands the phrase and thinks that the last syllable of “credo” refers to “doe” - a female deer. So he says it wasn't a “haud credo”, it was a pricket - a male deer.
’Twas not a haud credo, ’twas a pricket.
Feb 27, 2019 MikoA male deer in its second year when its antlers are still straight.
Holofernes12 - 18
- 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
Feb 27, 2019 MikoInexperienced.
- I said the deer was not a haud credo, ’twas a pricket.
Holofernes20 - 21
Twice sod simplicity, bis coctus!
Feb 27, 2019 Miko“Twice sod” means a food that has been boiled twice. “Bis coctus” is Latin for bread that is baked twice (we get our English word “biscuit” it). So Holofernes is expressing annoyance that Dull has twice disagreed with him.
- O thou monster Ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!
Sir Nathaniel22 - 36
- Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred in a
- 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
So were there a patch set on learning, to see him in a
Feb 27, 2019 MikoA fool.
- But omne bene, say I, being of an old father’s mind:
- Many can brook the weather that love not the wind.
Dull37 - 39
- You two are book-men: can you tell me by your wit
- What was a month old at Cain’s birth, that’s not five weeks
- old as yet?
- Dictynna, goodman Dull, Dictynna, goodman Dull.
- What is Dictynna?
- A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon.
Holofernes43 - 45
- The moon was a month old when Adam was no more,
And raught not to five weeks when he came to five-score.
Feb 27, 2019 MikoTo reach.
- Th’ allusion holds in the exchange.
- ’Tis true indeed, the collusion holds in the exchange.
Holofernes47 - 48
- God comfort thy capacity! I say, th’ allusion holds in the
Dull49 - 51
- And I say, the pollution holds in the exchange, for the moon
- is never but a month old; and I say beside that, ’twas a
- pricket that the Princess kill’d.
Holofernes52 - 54
- 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 kill’d a pricket.
Sir Nathaniel55 - 56
- Perge, good Master Holofernes, perge, so it shall please you
- to abrogate squirility.
Holofernes57 - 63
I will something affect the letter, for it argues facility.
Feb 27, 2019 MikoHolofernes is saying he will engage in alliteration, which he proceeds to do with different meanings and variations of the word “sore” and “sorel”.
- The preyful Princess pierc’d and prick’d a pretty pleasing pricket;
Some say a sore, but not a sore, till now made sore with shooting.
Feb 27, 2019 MikoIn this context, a sore (sometimes spelled “soare”) is a buck in its fourth year.
The dogs did yell: put l to sore, then sorel jumps from thicket,
Feb 27, 2019 MikoIn this context, “sorel” (also spelled “sorrel”) is a buck in its third year.
- Or pricket sore, or else sorel; the people fall a-hooting.
- 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.
Feb 27, 2019 Miko“Talent” was a variant of “talon”, which is a synonym for “claw”. So in this case Dull is making puns on the similarity of the two words. Feb 27, 2019 MikoOne definition of “claw” was to flatter someone. So Dull is saying that Sir Nathaniel flatters Holofernes.
Holofernes66 - 72
- 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, nourish’d in the womb of pia
Feb 27, 2019 MikoBy Shakespeare's time it was already understood that the human brain is divided into sections called “ventricles”. It was believed that one of those ventricles was devoted to memory.
mater, and delivered upon the mellowing of occasion. But the
Feb 27, 2019 MikoHolofernes accurately describes the pia mater, a membrane that encases the brain.
- gift is good in those in whom it is acute, and I am thankful
- for it.
Sir Nathaniel73 - 76
- Sir, I praise the Lord for you, and so may my parishioners,
- for their sons are well tutor’d by you, and their daughters
- profit very greatly under you. You are a good member of the
Holofernes77 - 80
Mehercle, if their sons be ingenious, they shall want no
Feb 27, 2019 MikoAn interjection of agreement meaning “By Hercules!”.
- instruction; if their daughters be capable, I will put it to
them: but vir sapit qui pauca loquitur. A soul feminine
Feb 27, 2019 Miko“A wise man speaks little” - an ironic thing for someone who talks as much as Holofernes to say.
- saluteth us.
- Enter Jaquenetta and the Clown Costard.
- God give you good morrow, Master Person.
Holofernes82 - 83
- Master Person, quasi pers-one. And if one should be pierc’d,
- which is the one?
Costard84 - 85
- Marry, Master Schoolmaster, he that is likel’est to a
Holofernes86 - 88
- Of piercing a hogshead! A good lustre of conceit in a turf
- of earth; fire enough for a flint, pearl enough for a swine:
- ’tis pretty; it is well.
Jaquenetta89 - 91
- Good Master Person, 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.
Holofernes92 - 100
- Facile, precor gelida quando pecus omne sub umbra ruminat,
- and so forth. Ah, good old Mantuan! I may speak of thee as
- the traveler doth of Venice:
- Venechia, Venechia,
- Che non te vede, che non te prechia.
- 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 stanze, a verse; lege, domine.
Sir Nathaniel103 - 116
- “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 bowed.
- Study his bias leaves, and makes his book thine eyes,
- Where all those pleasures live that art would comprehend.
- If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice;
- Well learned is that tongue that well can thee commend,
- All ignorant that soul that sees thee without wonder;
- Which is to me some praise that I thy parts admire.
- Thy eye Jove’s lightning bears, thy voice his dreadful thunder,
- Which, not to anger bent, is music and sweet fire.
- Celestial as thou art, O, pardon love this wrong,
- That sings heaven’s praise with such an earthly tongue.”
Holofernes117 - 125
- You find not the apostraphus, and so miss the accent. Let me
- supervise the canzonet.
- He takes the letter.
- 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?
Jaquenetta126 - 127
- Ay, sir, from one Monsieur Berowne, one of the strange
- queen’s lords.
Holofernes128 - 138
- 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
- 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
Feb 27, 2019 MikoStrong admirers, in this case of the king.
- 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.
- Exit with Jaquenetta.
Sir Nathaniel141 - 142
- Sir, you have done this in the fear of God, very
- religiously; and as a certain father saith—
Holofernes143 - 145
- Sir, tell not me of the father, I do fear colorable colors.
- But to return to the verses: did they please you, Sir
- Marvelous well for the pen.
Holofernes147 - 153
- 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 bien
- venuto; where I will prove those verses to be very
- unlearned, neither savoring of poetry, wit, nor invention. I
- beseech your society.
Sir Nathaniel154 - 155
- And thank you too; for society, saith the text, is the
- happiness of life.
Holofernes156 - 159
- And certes the text most infallibly concludes it.
- To Dull.
- Sir, I do invite you too, you shall not say me nay: pauca
verba. Away, the gentles are at their game, and we will to
Feb 27, 2019 Miko“Few words” - again, an ironic thing for the wordy Holofernes to say.
- our recreation.