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FERDINAND, King of Navarre.
MERCADE, } Lords, attending on the Princess of France.
Don ADRIANO DE ARMADO, a fantastical Spaniard
Princess of France. ROSALINE, MARIA, Ladies, attending on the Princess. KATHARINE, JAQUENETTA, a Country Wench. Officers and Others, Attendants on the King and Princess.
This enumeration of Persons was made by Rowo
1 Berowone in all the oid editions
LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST.
SCENE I. Navarre. A Park with a Palace in it.
Enter the King, Biron, Longaville, and Dumain.
King. Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives, Live registered upon our brazen tombs, And then grace us in the disgrace of death ; When, spite of cormorant, devouring time, The endeavor of this present breath may buy That honor, 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, And the huge army of the world's desires,Our late edíct 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, Birón, 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 past, and now subscribe your names; That his own hand may strike his honor down, That violates the smallest branch herein. If you are armed to do, as sworn to do, Subscribe to your deep oath, and keep it too.
Long. 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
Dum. My loving lord, Dumain is mortified;
Biron. 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, 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. 0, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep; Not to see ladies-study-fast-not sleep. King. Your oath is passed 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, Birón, and to the rest. Biron. By yea and nay, sir, then I swore in jest. What is the end of study? Let me know. King. Why, that to know, which else we should
not know. Biron. Things hid and barred, you mean, from
Biron. Come on then; I will swear to study so,
When I to feast expressly am forbid;
Or, study where to meet some mistress fine,
When mistresses from common sense are hid;
King. These be the stops that hinder study quite,
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;
By fixing it upon a fairer eye;
And give him light that it was blinded by.
That will not be deep-searched 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, Hlave 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.3 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 lets grow the
1 Dishonestly, treacherously.
2 The sense of this declamation is only this, that a man by too close study may read himself b ind.
3 That is, too much k zowledge gives no real solution of doubts, out merely fame, or a name, a thing wlich every godfather can give.
weeding Biron. The spring is near, when green geese are
a-breeding. Dum. How follows that? Biron.
Fit in his place and time. Dum. In reason nothing. Biron.
Something then in rhyme. Long. Birón is like an envious sneaping frost,
That bites the first-born infants of the spring. Biron. Weh, say I am; why should proud summer
King. Well, sit you out. Go home, Birón, adieu !
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. King. How well this yielding rescues thee from
shame! Biron. [Reads.] Item, That no woman shall come within a mile of my court.-Hath this been proclaimed?
Long. Four days ago.
Biron. Let's see the penalty. [Reads.] On pain of losing her tongue.—Who devised this penalty?
Long. Marry, that did I.
1 i. e. nipping.
2 By these shows the poet means May-games, at which a snow would be very unwelcome and unexpected. It is only a periphrasis for May.