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Have sworn for three years' term to live with me,
My fellow Scholars ; and to keep those Statutes,
That are recorded in this fchedule here.
Your oaths are past, and now fubscribe your names :
That his own hand may strike his honour down,
That violates the smallest branch herein:
If you are arm’d to do, as sworn to do,
Subscribe to your deep oaths, and keep them too.
Long. I am resolv'd; 'tis but a three years fast:
The mind shall banquet tho' the body pine ;
Fat paunches have lean pates; and dainty bits
Make rich the ribs, but bankerout the wits.
Dum. My loving lord, Dumain is mortify'd:
The groffer manner of these world's delights
He throws upon the gross world's baser Naves :
To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die;
With all these living in philosophy.
Biron. I can but say their proteftation 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,
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
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 neep.
King. Your Oath is pafs’d to pass away from these
. Biron. 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.
Long. You swore to that, Biron, and to the rest.
Biron. By yea and nay, Sir, then I swore in jeft.
What is the end of study? let me know?
King. Why, that to know, which elle we fhould
Biron. Things hid and barrid (you mean) from
King. Ay, that is ftudy's god-like recompence.
Biron. Come on then, I will fwear to study to,
To know the thing I am forbid to know;
As thus; to study where I well may dine,
When I to (a) feast exprefly 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 this, and this be fo,
Study knows that, which yet it doth not know:
Swear me to this, and I will ne'er fay, no.
King. These be the stops, that hinder study quite;
And train our Intellects to vain delight.
Biron. Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain,
Which, with pain purchas'd, doth inherit pain;
As, painfully to pore upon a book,
To seek the light of truth; while truth the while
Doth falny blind the eye-sight 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.
Study me how to please the eye indeed,
By fixing it upon a fairer eye;
Who dazling so, that eye shall be his heed,
And give him light, that it was blinded by.
Study is like the Heavn’s glorious Sun,
That will not be deep search'd with fawcy looks;
Small have continual plodders ever won,
Save bafe authority from others' books.
[(a) Feat Mr. Theobald - Vulg. fast ]
These earthly godfathers of heaven's lights,
That give a name to every fixed star, 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
feign; " And every godfather can give a name.”
King. How well he's read, to reason against reading! Dum. Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding. Long. He weeds the corn, and still let's grow the
weeding Biron. The spring is near, when green geese are a
Dum. How follows that?
Biron. Fit in his place and time.
Dum. In reason nothing.
Biron. Something then in rhime.
Long. Biron is like an envious fncaping froff,
That bites the first-born infants of the spring. i Too much to know, is to know nought but FAME;.
And every Godfather can give a name.”] The first line in this reading is absurd and impertinent. There are two ways of setting it right. The first is to read it thus,
Too much to know, is to know nought but SHAME; This makes a fine sense, and alludes to Adam's Fall, which came from the inordinate passion of knowing too much. The other way is to read, and point it thus,
Too much to know, is to know nought: but peign, i. e. 10 feign. As much as to say, the affecting to know too much is the way to know nothing. The sense, in both these readings, is equally good: But with this difference; If we read the first way, the following line is impertinent; and to save the correction we must judge it fpurious. If we read it the second way, then the following line compleats the sense. Consequently the correction of feign is to be preferred. To know too much (says the speaker) is to know nothing; it is only feigning to know what we do not : giving names for things without knowing their natures; which is false
knowledge : And this was the peculiar defect of the Peripatetic Philosophy then in vogue. These philosophers, the poet, with the highest humour and good sense, calls the Godfathers of Nature, who could only give things a name, but had no manner of acquaintance with their effences,
Biron. Well; fay, I am; why should proud sum
Before the birds have any cause to sing?
Why should I joy in an abortive birth?
At Christmas I no more desire a rose,
Than with a snow. in May's new-fangled shows:
But like of each thing, that in season grows.
So you, to study now it is too late,
Climb o'er the house t’unlock the little gate.
King. Well, sit
you out-Go home, Biron: Adieu ! ! Biron. No, my good lord, I've sworn to stay with
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't decrees I'll write my name.
King. How well this yielding rescues thee from
Biron. Item, That no woman shall come within a
mile of my Court,
[reading Hath this been proclaimed ?
Long. Four days ago.
Biron. Let's see the penalty.
On pain of losing her tongue:
(reading Who devis'd this penalty ?
Long. Marry, that did I.
Biron. Sweet lord, and why?
Long. To fright them hence with that dread pe
Biron. A dangerous law against gentility!
Item, [reading:) If any man be seen to talk with a
woman within the term of three Years, he shall en-
dure such publick shame as the rest of the Court can
This article, my liege, your self must break;
For, well you know, here comes in embassy
The French King's daughter with your self to speak,
A maid of grace and compleat majesty,
About Surrender up of Aquitain
To her decrepit, sick, and bed-rid father :
Therefore this article is made in vain,
Or vainly comes th'admired Princess hither.
King. What say you, lords ? why, this was quite
Biron. So ftudy 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; fo won, fo loft.
King. We must, of force, dispense with this decree,
She must lye here on mere neceffity.
Biron. Necessity will make us all forsworn
Three thousand times within this three years'
For every man with his affects is born:
Not by might master'd, but by special grace,
If I break faith, this word shall speak for me:
I am forsworn on meer necessity.
So to the laws at large I write my name,
And he, that breaks them in the least degree,
Stands in Attainder of eternal shame.
Suggestions are to others, as to me ;
But, I believe, although I seem so loth,
I am the last that will last keep his oath.
But is there no quick recreation granted ?
King. Ay, that there is; our Court, you know, is
With a refined traveller of Spain,
A man in all the world's new fashion planted,
Thac hath a mint of phrases in his brain :