SCENE IThe king of Navarre's park.
Enter FERDINAND, king of NAVARRE, BIRON, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAIN.
Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,
Live register'd upon our brazen tombs
And then grace us in the disgrace of death;
When, spite of cormorant devouring Time,
The endeavour of this present breath may buy
That honour which shall bate his scythe's keen edge
And make us heirs of all eternity.
Therefore, brave conquerors,--for so you are,
That war against your own affections (10)
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, Biron, Dumain, and Longaville,
Have sworn for three years' term to live with me
My fellow-scholars and to keep those statutes
That are recorded in this schedule here:
Your oaths are pass'd; and now subscribe your names,
That his own hand may strike his honour down (21)
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.
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.
My loving lord, Dumain is mortified:
The grosser manner of these world's delights (30)
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 enrolled there;
And one day in a week to touch no food (40)
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. (50)
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, Biron, 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 barr'd, you mean, from common sense?
Ay, that is study's god-like recompense.
Come on, then; I will swear to study so, (60)
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. (70)
These be the stops that hinder study quite
And train our intellects to vain delight.
Why, all delights are vain; but 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. (80)
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 (90)
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.
Biron is like an envious sneaping frost, (101)
That bites the first-born 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 mirth;
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. (110)
Well, sit you out: go home, Biron: 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 swore
And bide the penance of each three years' day.
Give me the paper; let me read the same;
And to the strict'st 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 (121)
this been proclaimed?
Four days ago.
Let's see the penalty. Reads 'On
pain of losing her tongue.' Who devised this
Marry, that did I.
Sweet lord, and why?
To fright them hence with that dread penalty.
A dangerous law against gentility!
Reads '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 possibly devise.'
This article, my liege, yourself must break;
For well you know here comes in embassy
The French king's daughter with yourself to speak--
A maid of grace and complete majesty--
About surrender up of Aquitaine
To her decrepit, sick and bedrid father: (140)
Therefore this article is made in vain,
Or vainly comes the admired 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 forsworn (151)
Three thousand times within this three years' space;
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:Subscribes.
And he that breaks them in the least degree
Stands in attainder of eternal shame:
Suggestions are to other as to me; (160)
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 refined traveller of Spain;
A man in all the world's new fashion planted,
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain;
One whom the music of his own vain tongue
Doth ravish like enchanting harmony;
A man of complements, whom right and wrong (170)
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. (180)
Costard the swain and he shall be our sport;
And so to study, three years is but short. Enter DULL with a letter, and COSTARD.
Which is the duke's own person?
This, fellow: what wouldst?
I myself reprehend his own person,
for I am his grace's tharborough; but I would
see his own person in flesh and blood.
This is he.
you. There's villany abroad: this letter will
tell you more.
Sir, the contempts thereof are as
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 laughing?
To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh (200)
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 simplicity of man to (220)
hearken after the flesh.
'Great deputy, the welkin's
vicegerent and sole dominator of Navarre, my
soul's earth's god, and body's fostering 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 (230)
Of other men's secrets, I beseech you.
'So it is, besieged with
sable-coloured melancholy, I did commend the
black-oppressing humour to the most wholesome
physic of thy health-giving air; and, as
I am a gentleman, betook myself to walk. The
time when. About the sixth hour; when
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 ycleped thy park. Then for the
place where; where, I mean, I did encounter
that obscene and preposterous 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-know-
'that shallow vassal,'--
'which, as I remember,
hight Costard,-- (260)
'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.
'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
'For Jaquenetta,--so is the
weaker vessel called which I apprehended
with the aforesaid swain,--I keep her as a
vessel of the law's fury; and shall, at the
least of thy sweet notice, bring her to trial.
Thine, in all compliments of devoted and
heart-burning heat of duty.
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, (290)
to be taken with a wench.
I was taken with none, sir: I was
taken with a damsel.
Well, it was proclaimed 'damsel.'
This was no damsel, neither, sir; she
was a virgin.
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,
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 porridge.
And Don Armado shall be your keeper.
My lord Biron, see him deliver'd o'er:
And go we, lords, to put in practice that
Which each to other hath so strongly sworn. (310)
I'll lay my head to any good man'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,
SCENE IIThe same.
Enter ARMADO and MOTH.
Boy, what sign is it when a man of
great spirit grows melancholy?
A great sign, sir, that he will look
Why, sadness is one and the self-same
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 (10)
working, my tough senior.
Why tough senior? why tough senior?
Why tender juvenal? why tender
I spoke it, tender juvenal, as a congruent
epitheton appertaining to thy young
days, which we may nominate tender.
And I, tough senior, as an appertinent
title to your old time, which we may
name tough. (19)
Pretty and apt.
How mean you, sir? I pretty, and
my saying apt? or I apt, and my saying
Thou pretty, because little.
Little pretty, because little. Wherefore
And therefore apt, because quick.
Speak you this in my praise, master?
In thy condign praise.
I will praise an eel with the same
What, that an eel is ingenious? (30)
That an eel is quick.
I do say thou art quick in answers:
thou heatest 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 duke.
You may do it in an hour, sir. (40)
How many is one thrice told?
I am ill at reckoning; it fitteth the
spirit of a tapster.
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 (49)
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 ye'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! (59)
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 humour of affection would
deliver me from the reprobate thought of it, I
would take Desire prisoner, and ransom him
to any French courtier for a new-devised
courtesy. I think scorn to sigh: methinks I
should outswear Cupid. Comfort, me, boy:
what great men have been in love? (69)
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 (80)
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
Green indeed is the colour of lovers;
but to have a love of that colour, methinks
Samson had small reason for it. He surely
affected her for her wit.
It was so, sir; for she had a green
My love is most immaculate white
Most maculate thoughts, master,
are masked under such colours.
Define, define, well-educated infant.
My father's wit and my mother's (101)
tongue, assist me!
Sweet invocation of a child; most
pretty and pathetical!
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 (111)
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 (119)
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 well.
To be whipped; and yet a
better love than my master.
Sing, boy; my spirit grows heavy in
And that's great marvel, loving a
light wench. (130)
I say, sing.
Forbear till this company be past. Enter DULL, COSTARD, and JAQUENETTA.
Sir, the duke's pleasure is, that you
keep Costard safe: and you must suffer him
to take no delight nor no penance; but a' must
fast three days a week. For this damsel, I
must keep her at the park: she is allowed for
the day-woman. Fare you well.
I do betray myself with blushing.
I will visit thee at the lodge.
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! (150)
Come, Jaquenetta, away! Exeunt Dull and Jaquenetta.
Villain, thou shalt fast for thy offences
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. (160)
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 prison.
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 Moth, but
what they look upon. It is not for prisoners to
be too silent in their words; and therefore I
will say nothing: I thank God I have as little
patience as another man; and therefore I can
be quiet. Exeunt Moth and Costard.
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, valour! rust, rapier! be
still, drum! for your manager is in love; yea,
he loveth. Assist me, some extemporal god
of rhyme, for I am sure I shall turn sonnet.
Devise, wit; write, pen; for I am for whole
volumes in folio. Exit.