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 II.

Scene II.—The Same.

and DULL.

Nath. Very reverend sport, truly: and done
in the testimony of a good conscience.
Hol. The deer was, as you know, sanguis, in
blood; ripe as a pomewater, who now hangeth
like a jewel in the ear of ccelo, the sky, the welkin,
the heaven; and anon falleth like a crab on the
face of terra, the soil, the land; the earth.
Nath. Truly, Master Holofernes, the epithets
are sweetly varied, like a scholar at the least: but,
sir, I assure ye, it was a buck of the first head.
Hol. Sir Nathaniel, haud credo,
Dull. 'Twas not a haud credo; 'twas a pricket.
Hol. Most barbarous intimation! yet a kind
of insinuation, as it were, in via, in way, of ex-
plication; facere, as it were, replication, or,
rather, ostentare, to show, as it were, his inclina-
tion,—after his undressed, unpolished, unedu-
cated, unpruned, untrained, or, rather, unlettered,
or, ratherest, unconfirmed fashion,—to insert
again my haud credo for a deer.
Dull. I said the deer was not a, haud credo;
'twas a pricket.
Hol. Twice sod simplicity, bis coctus!
O! thou monster Ignorance, how deformed dost
thou look!
Nath. Sir, he hath not fed of the dainties that
are bred of 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, indis-
creet, 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
Many can brook the weather that love not the wind.
Dull. You two are book-men: can you tell by
your wit,
What was a month old at Cain's birth, that's
not five weeks old as yet?
Hol. Dictynna, goodman Dull: Dictynna,
goodman Dull.
Dull. What is Dictynna?
Nath. A title to Phœbe, to Luna, to the moon.
Hol. The moon was a month old when Adam
was no more;
And raught not to five weeks when he came to
The allusion holds in the exchange.
Dull. 'Tis true indeed: the collusion holds in
the exchange.
Hol. God comfort thy capacity! I say, the
allusion holds in the exchange.
Dull. And I say the pollusion holds in the
exchange, for the moon is never but a month old;
and I say beside that 'twas a pricket that the
princess killed.
Hol. Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extem-
poral epitaph on the death of the deer? and, to
humour the ignorant, I have call'd the deer the
princess killed, a pricket
Nath. Perge, good Master Holofernes, perge;
so it shall please you to abrogate scurrility.
Hol. I will something affect the letter; for it
argues facility.
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.
The dogs did yell; put to sore, then sorel jumps
from thicket;
Or pricket, sore, or else sorel; the people fall a
If sore be sore, then to sore makes fifty sores
one sore!
Of one sore I a hundred make, by adding but
one more
Nath. A rare talent!
Dull. [Aside.] If a talent be a claw, look how
he claws him with a talent.
Hol. 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.
Nath. 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 commonwealth.
Hol. Mehercle! if their sons be ingenuous, they
shall want no instruction; if their daughters be
capable, I will put it to them. But, vir sapit qui
pauca loquitur. A soul feminine saluteth us.

Jaq. God give you good morrow, Master parson.
Hol. Master parson, quasi pers-on. An if
one should be pierced, which is the one?
Cost. Marry, Master schoolmaster, he that is
likest to a hogshead.
Hol. 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.
Jaq. Good Master parson [giving a letter to
NATHANIEL], 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.
Hol. Fauste, precor gelida quando pecus
omne sub umbra Ruminat, and so forth. Ah!
good old Mantuan. I may speak of thee as the
traveller doth of Venice:
—Venetia, Venetia,
Chi non te vede, non te pretia.
Old Mantuan! old Mantuan! Who under-
standeth thee not, loves thee not. Ut, re, sol,
la, mi, fa. Under pardon, sir, what are the con-
tents? or, rather, as Horace says in his—What,
my soul, verses?
Nath. Ay, sir, and very learned.
Hol. Let me hear a staff, a stanze, a verse:
lege, domine.
Nath. If love make me forsworn, how shall I
swear to love?
Ah! never faith could hold, if not to beauty
Though to myself forsworn, to thee I'll faithful
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
If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice.
Well learned is that tongue that well can thee
All ignorant that soul that sees thee without
Which is to me some praise that I thy parts
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
Hol. You find not the apostrophas, 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 odori-
ferous 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.
Jaq. Ay, sir; from one Monsieur Berowne,
one of the strange queen's lords.
Hol. I will overglance the superscript. To
the snow-white hand of the most beauteous
Lady Rosaline. I will look again on the intel-
lect of the letter, for the nomination of the party
writing to the person written unto: Your lady-
ship'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, acci-
dentally, or by the way of progression, hath mis-
carried. 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.
Jaq. Good Costard, go with me. Sir, God
save your life!
Cost. Have with thee, my girl.
Nath. Sir, you have done this in the fear of
God, very religiously; and, as a certain Father
Hol. Sir, tell not me of the Father; I do fear
colourable colours. But to return to the verses:
did they please you. Sir Nathaniel?
Nath. Marvellous well for the pen.
Hol. I do dine to-day 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 savouring of poetry,
wit, nor invention. I beseech your society.
Nath. And thank you too; for society—saith
the text—is the happiness of life.
Hol. And, certes, the text most infallibly con-
cludes 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 our
recreation. [Exeunt.
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