William Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost in the complete original text.
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Love's Labour's Lost

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Act IV. Scene I.

Act IV. Scene I.—The KING OF

KATHARINE, BOYET, Lords, Attendants,
and a Forester.

Prin. Was that the king, that spurr'd his
horse so hard
Against the steep uprising of the hill?;
Boyet. I know not; but I think it was, not he.
Prin. Whoe'er a' was, a' show'd a mounting
Well, lords, to-day we shall have our dispatch;
On Saturday we will return to France.
Then, forester, my friend, where is the bush
That .we must stand and play the murderer in?
For. Hereby, upon the edge of yonder coppice;
A stand where you may make the fairest shoot.
Prin. I thank my beauty, I am fair that
And thereupon thou speak'st the fairest shoot.
For. Pardon me, madam, for I meant not so.
Prin. What, what? first praise me, and again
say no?
O short-liv'd pride! Not fair? alack for woe!
For. Yes, madam, fair.
Prin. Nay, never paint me now:
Where fair is not, praise cannot mend the brow.
Here, good my glass:—[Gives money.] Take this
for telling true:
Fair payment for foul words is more than due.
For. Nothing but fair is that which you in-
Prin. See, see! my beauty will be sav'd by
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
And out of question so it is sometimes,
Glory grows guilty of detested crimes,
When, for fame's sake, for praise, an outward
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
Boyet. Do not curst wives hold that self-
Only for praise' sake, when they strive to be
Lords o'er their lords?
Prin. Only for praise; and praise we may
To any lady that subdues a lord.

Boyet. Here comes a member of the common-
Cost. God dig-you-den all! Pray you, which
is the head lady?
Prin. Thou shall know her, fellow, by the
rest that have no heads.
Cost. Which is the greatest lady, the highest?
Prin. The thickest, and the tallest.
Cost. The thickest, and the tallest! it is so;
truth is truth.
An vour waist, mistress, were as slender as my
One o' these maids' girdles for your waist should
Are not you the chief woman? you are the
thickest here.
Prin. What's your will, sir? what's your will?
Cost. I have a letter from Monsieur Berowne
to one Lady Rosaline.
Prin. O! thy letter, thy letter; he's a good
friend of mine.
Stand aside, good bearer. Boyet, you can carve;
Break up this capon.
Boyet. I am bound to serve.
This letter is mistook; it importeth none here:
It is writ to Jaquenetta.
Prin. We will read it, I swear.
Break the neck of the wax, and every one give
Boyet. 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 vas-
sal! The magnanimous and most illustrate
king Cophetua set eye upon the pernicious and
indubitate beggar Zenelophon, and he it way
that might rightly say veni, vidi, vici; which to
anatomize in the vulgar—O base and obscure
vulgar!—videlicet, he came, saw, and overcame:
he came, one; saw, 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. Whom
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 shaIt thou exchange for rags? robes;
for tittles? titles; for thyself? me. Thus, ex-
pecting thy reply, I profane my lips on thy foot,
my eyes on thy picture, and my heart on thy
every part. 88
Thine, in the dearest design of Industry,
Thus dost thou hear the Nemean lion roar
'Gainst thee, thou lamb, that standest as his
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.
Prin. What plume of feathers is he that in-
dited this letter?
What vane? what weathercock? did you ever
hear better?
Boyet. I am much deceived but I remember
the style.
Prin. Else your memory is bad, going o'er it
Boyet. This Armado is a Spaniard, that keeps
here in court;
A phantasime, a Monarcho, and one that makes
To the prince and his book-mates.
Prin. Thou, fellow, a word.
Who gave thee this letter?
Cost. I told you; my lord.
Prin. To whom shouldst thou give it?
Cost. From my lord to my lady.
Prin. From which lord, to which lady?
Cost. From my lord Berowne, a good master
of mine,
To a lady of France, that he call'd Rosaline.
Prin. Thou hast mistaken his letter. Come,
lords, away.
Here, sweet, put up this: 'twill be thine another
day. [Exeunt PRINCESS and Train.
Boyet. Who is the suitor? who is the suitor?
Ros. Shall I teach you to know?
Boyet. Ay, my continent of beauty.
Ros. Why, she that bears the bow.
Finely put off!
Boyet. My lady goes to kill horns; but, if thou
Hang me by the neck if horns that year mis-
Finely put on!
Ros. Well then, I am the shooter.
Boyet. And who is your deer?
Ros. If we choose by the horns, yourself:
come not near.
Finely put on, indeed!
Mar. You still wrangle with her, Boyet, and
she strikes at the brow.
Boyet. But she herself is hit lower: have I hit
her now?
Ros. Shall I come upon thee with an old say-
ing, that was a man when King Pepin of France
was a little boy, as touching the hit it?
Boyet. So may I answer thee with one as
old, that was a woman when Queen Guinever
of Britain was a little wench, as touching the
hit it.
Ros. Thou canst not hit it, hit it, hit if,
Thou canst not hit it, my good man.
Boyet: An I cannot, cannot, cannot,
An I cannot, another can.
Cost. By my troth, most pleasant: how both
did fit it!
Mar. A mark marvellous well shot, for they
both did hit it.
Boyet. A mark! O! mark but that mark; a
mark, says my lady!
Let the mark have a prick in't, to mete at, if it
may be.
Mar. Wide o' the bow hand! i' faith your
hand is out.
Cost. Indeed a' must shoot nearer, or he'll
ne'er hit the clout.
Boyet. An' if my hand be out, then belike
your hand is in.
Cost. Then will she get the upshoot by cleav-
ing the pin.
Mar. Come, come, you talk greasily; your
lips grow foul.
Cost. She's too hard for you at pricks, sir:
challenge her to bowl.
Boyet. I fear too much rubbing. Good night,
my good owl. [Exeunt BOYET and MARIA.
Cost. By my soul,aswain! a most simple clown!
Lord, lord how the ladies and I have put him down!
O' my troth, most sweet jests! most incony vul-
gar wit!
When it comes so smoothly off, so obscenely, as
it were, so fit,
Armado, o' the 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
a' will swear!
And his page o' t' other side, that handful of wit!
Ah! heavens, it is a most pathetical nit.
[Shouting within.] Sola, sola! [Exit running.
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