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 V. Scene II.

Page: 1 2 3
Dum. [Aside to BOYET.] He may not by the
Arm. This Hector far surmounted Hanni-
Cost. The party is gone; fellow Hector, she is
gone; she is two months on her way.
Arm. What meanest thou?
Cost. Faith, unless you play the honest Troy-
an, the poor wench is cast away: she's quick;
the child brags in her belly already: 'tis yours.
Arm. Dost thou infamonize me among po-
tentates? Thou shalt die.
Cost. Then shall Hector be whipped for Ja-
quenetta that is quick by him, and hanged for
Pompey that is dead by him.
Dum. Most rare Pompey!
Boyet. Renowned Pompey!
Ber. Greater than great, great, great, great
Pompey! Pompey the Huge!
Dum. Hector trembles.
Ber. Pompey is moved. More Ates, more
Ates! stir them on! stir them on!
Dum. Hector will challenge him.
Ber. Ay, if a' have no more man's blood in's
belly than will sup a flea.
Arm. By the north pole, I do challenge thee.
Cost. I will not fight with a pole, like a
northern man: I'll slash; I'll do it by the
sword. I bepray you, let me borrow my arms
Dum. Room for the incensed Worthies!
Cost. I'll do it in my shirt.
Dum. Most resolute Pompey!
Moth. Master, let me take you a button-hole
lower. Do you not see Pompey is uncasing for
the combat? What mean you? you will lose
your reputation.
Arm. Gentlemen and soldiers, pardon me; I
will not combat in my shirt.
Dum. You may not deny it; Pompey hath
made the challenge.
Arm. Sweet bloods, I both may and will.
Ber. What reason have you for't?
Arm. The naked truth of it is, I have no
shirt. I go woolward for penance.
Boyet. True, and it was enjoined him in Rome
for want of linen; since when, I'll be sworn, he
wore none but a dish-clout of Jaquenetta's, and
that a' wears next his heart for a favour.

Enter Monsieur MARCADE, a Messenger.
Mar. God save you, madam!
Prin. Welcome, Marcade;
But that thou interrupt'st our merriment.
Mar. I am sorry, madam; for the news I
Is heavy in my tongue. The king your father—
Prin. Dead, for my life!
Mar. Even so: my tale is told.
Ber. Worthies, away! The scene begins to
Arm. For my own part, I breathe free breath.
I have seen the day of wrong through the little
hole of discretion, and I will right myself like a
soldier. [Exeunt Worthies.
King. How fares your majesty?
Prin. Boyet, prepare: I will away to-night.
King. Madam, not so: I do beseech you,
Prin. Prepare, I say. I thank you, gracious
For all your fair endeavours; and entreat,
Out of a new-sad soul, that you vouchsafe
In your rich wisdom to excuse or hide
The liberal opposition of our spirits,
If over-boldly we have borne ourselves
In the converse of breath; your gentleness
Was guilty of it. Farewell, worthy lord!
A heavy heart bears not a nimble tongue,
Excuse me so, coming so short of thanks
For my great suit so easily obtain'd.
King. The extreme part of time extremely
All causes to the purpose of his speed,
And often, at his very loose, decides
That which long process could not arbitrate:
And though the mourning brow of progeny
Forbid the smiling courtesy of love
The holy suit which fain it would convince;
Yet, since love's argument was first on foot,
Let not the cloud of sorrow justle it
From what it purpos'd; since, to wail friends lost
Is not by much so wholesome-profitable
As to rejoice at friends but newly found.
Prin. I understand you not: my griefs are
Ber. Honest plain words best pierce the ear
of grief;
And by these badges understand the king.
For your fair sakes have we neglected time,
Play'd foul play with our oaths. Your beauty,
Hath much deform'd us, fashioning our humours
Even to the opposed end of our intents;
And what in us hath seem'd ridiculous,—
As love is full of unbefitting strains;
All wanton as a child, skipping and vain;
Form'd by the eye, and, therefore, like the eye,
Full of stray shapes, of habits and of forms,
Varying in subjects, as the eye doth roll
To every varied object in his glance:
Which; parti-coated presence of loose love
Put on by us, if, in your heavenly eyes,
Have misbecome our oaths and gravities,
Those heavenly eyes, that look into these faults,
Suggested us to make. Therefore, ladies,
Our love being yours, the error that love makes
Is likewise yours: we to ourselves prove false,
By being once false for ever to be true
To those that make us both,—fair ladies, you:
And even that falsehood, in itself a sin,
Thus purifies itself and turns to grace.
Prin. We have receiv'd your letters full of
Your favours, the embassadors of love;
And, in our maiden council, rated them
At courtship, pleasant jest, and courtesy,
As bombast and as lining to the time.
But more devout than this in our respects
Have we not been; and therefore met your loves
In their own fashion, like a merriment.
Dum. Our letters, madam, show'd much more
than jest.
Long. So did our looks.
Ros. We did not quote them so.
King. Now, at the latest minute of the hour,
Grant us your loves.
Prin. A time, methinks, too short
To make a world-without-end bargain in.
No, no, my lord, your Grace is perjur'd much,
Full of dear guiltiness; and therefore this:
If for my love,—as there is no such cause,—
You will da aught, this shall you do for me:
Your oath I will not trust; but go with speed
To some forlorn and naked hermitage,
Remote from all the pleasures of the world;
There stay, until the twelve celestial signs
Have brought about their annual reckoning.
If this austere insociable life
Change not your offer made in heat of blood;
If frosts and fasts, hard lodging and thin weeds,
Nip not the gaudy blossoms of your love,
But that it bear this trial and last love;
Then, at the expiration of the year,
Come challenge me, challenge me by these de-
And, by this virgin palm now kissing thine,
I will be thine; and, till that instant, shut
My woful self up in a mourning house,
Raining the tears of lamentation
For the remembrance of my father's death.
If this thou do deny, let our hands part;
Neither intitled in the other's heart.
King. If this, or more than this, I would deny,
To flatter up these powers of mine with rest,
The sudden hand of death close up mine eye?
Hence ever then my heart is in thy breast.
Ber. And what to me, my love? and what to
Ros. You must be purged too, your sins are
You are attaint with faults and perjury;
Therefore, if you my favour mean to get,
A twelvemonth shall you spend, and never rest,
But seek the weary beds of people sick.
Dum. But what to me, my love? but what to
Kath. A wife I A beard, fair health, and
With three-fold love I wish you all these three.
Dum. O! shall I say, I thank you, gentle wife?
Kath. Not so, my lord. A twelvemonth and a
I'll mark no words that smooth-faced wooers say:
Come when the king doth to my lady come;
Then, if I have much love, I'll give you some.
Dum. I'll serve thee true and faithfully till
Kath. Yet swear not, lest you be forsworn
Long. What says Maria?
Mar. At the twelvemonth's end
I'll change my black gown for a faithful friend.
Long. I'll stay with patience; but the time
is long.
Mar. The liker you; few taller are so young.
Ber. Studies my lady? mistress, look on me.
Behold the window of my heart, mine eye,
What humble suit attends thy answer there;
Impose some service on me for thy love.
Ros. Oft have I heard of you, my Lord
Before I saw you, and the world's large tongue
Proclaims you for a man replete with mocks;
Full of comparisons and wounding flouts,
Which you on all estates will execute
That lie within the mercy of your wit:
To weed this wormwood from your fruitful brain,
And therewithal to win me, if you please,—
Without the which I am not to be won,—
You shall this twelvemonth term, from day to
Visit the speechless sick, and still converse
With groaning wretches; and your task shall be,
With all the fierce endeavour of your wit
To enforce the pained impotent to smile.
Ber. To move wild laughter in the throat of
It cannot be; it is impossible:
Mirth cannot move a soul in agony.
Ros. Why, that's the way to choke a gibing
Whose influence is begot of that loose grace
Which shallow laughing hearers give to fools.
A jest's prosperity lies in the ear
Of him that hears it, never in the tongue
Of him that makes it: then, if sickly ears,
Deaf'd with the clamours of their own dear groans,
Will hear your idle scorns, continue them,
And I will have you and that fault withal;
But if they will not, throw away that spirit,
And I shall find you empty of that fault,
Right joyful of your reformation.
Ber. A twelvemonth! well, befall what will
I'll jest a twelvemonth in a hospital.
Prin. [To the KING.] Ay, sweet my lord; and
so I take my leave.
King. No, madam; we will bring you on your
Ber. Our wooing doth not end like an old
Jack hath not Jill; these ladies' courtesy
Might well have made our sport a comedy.
King. Come, sir, it wants a twelvemonth and
a day,
And then 'twill end.
Ber. That's too long for a play.

Arm. Sweet majesty, vouchsafe me,—
Prin. Was not that Hector?
Dum. The worthy knight of Troy.
Arm. I will kiss thy royal finger, and take
leave. I am a votary; I have vowed to Jaque-
netta to hold the plough for her sweet love three
years. But, most esteemed greatness, will you
hear the dialogue that the two learned men have
compiled in praise of the owl and the cuckoo? it
should have followed in the end of our show.
King. Call them forth quickly; we will do so.
Arm. Holla! approach.

COSTARD, and others.
This side is Hiems, Winter; this Ver, the Spring;
the one maintained by the owl, the other by the
cuckoo. Ver, begin.

When daisies pied and violets blue
And lady-smocks all silver-white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he,
Cuckoo, cuckoo: O, word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!

When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,
And merry larks are ploughmen's clocks,
When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws,
And maidens bleach their summer smocks,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he,
Cuckoo, cuckoo: O, word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!

When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp'd, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-whit, tu-who—a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian's nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-whit, tu-who—a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.
Arm. The words of Mercury are harsh after
the songs of Apollo. You, that way: we, this
way. [Exeunt.
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