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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 dull 3.
Biron. 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, ladies,
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 strangeness*;
All wanton as a child, skipping, and vain;
Form'd by the eye, and, therefore, like the eye,
Full of strange shapes, of habits, and of forms,
Varying in subjects, as the eye doth roll
To every varied object in his glance:
Which party-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 your's, the error that love makes
Is likewise your's: 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 so base,
Thus purifies itself, and turns to grace.

3 — my griefs are DULL.] In the old copies it is "my griefs are double:" the compositor or the scribe misheard "dull" double, and made nonsense of the line. This excellent correction is in MS. in the corr. fo. 1632.

As love is full of unbefitting STRANGENESS;] There can be as little hesitation about this emendation of "strangeness" for strains. Mr. Singer is mistaken when he says that the corr. fo. 1632 reads strayings for strains. In the next line but two it certainly alters "straying" to "strange," but that alteration seems also indisputable. Still lower we might read " suggested us to make them," to the improvement of the line, but without warrant.

3 — in itself so BASE,] Biron meant to conclude his speech with four rhyming lines, but he has been defeated by a corruption which crept into the old text, viz. a sin for "so base." The jingle leads to the detection of the error, pointed out in the corr. fo. 1632, which in this part of the comedy has been of singular use in restoring the language of the poet. In the next speech, it shows Sir T. Hanmer to have been right in reading "in our respects for "our respects" of the 4to, 1598, and "are our respects" of the folio, 1623.

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Prin. We have receiv'd your letters full of love;
Your favours, the ambassadors 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
In their own fashion, like a merriment.

Dum. Our letters, madam, show'd much more than jest.
Long. So did our looks.
We did not quote them so.
King. Now, at the latest minute of the hour,
Grant us your loves.


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 do 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 deserts',
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,

AS BOMBAST, and as lining to the time:] i. e. To fill up the time, as bombast was formerly used to fill up and stuff out dress.


challenge ME by these deserts,] "Me" might possibly be omitted.

The sudden hand of death close


mine eye.
Hence ever then my heart is in thy breast.
Biron. And what to me, my love? and what to me?
Ros. You must be purged too, your sins are rank':
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 me?
Kath. A wife!-A beard, fair health, and honesty;
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 day
I'll mark no words that smooth-fac'd 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 then.
Kath. Yet swear not, lest you be forsworn again.
Long. What says Maria?

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.
Biron. 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 Biron,
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:


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your sins are RANK:] "Your sins are rack'd," is the reading of the old editions, and it may be strained to a meaning; but it is more probable that rackt was misprinted for "rank." In "Hamlet," A. iii. sc. 3, we have, "O! my offence is rank." This and the four following lines are struck out in the corr. fo. 1632, but we have not been able to make up our minds to the omission, although it is not unlikely that the author himself left them out here, and applied them, with some enlargement, afterwards. They may have formed part of the first draught of the comedy, and are therefore worth preservation.


for THY love.] So the 4to: the folio reads "for my love."

10 Which you on all estates will EXECUTE,] Exercise in the corr. fo. 1632; but still, as the old printed text affords not only a clear sense, but one entirely in accordance with what precedes and follows, we do not disturb it.



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 day,
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.

Biron. To move wild laughter in the throat of death?
It cannot be; it is impossible:

Mirth cannot move a soul in agony.

Ros. Why, that's the way to choke a gibing spirit,
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 dire 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.

Biron. A twelvemonth? well, befal what will befal, I'll jest a twelvemonth in an hospital.

Prin. Ay, sweet, my lord; and so I take my leave. [To the KING.

King. No, madam; we will bring you on your way.
Biron. Our wooing doth not end like an old play;
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.


That's too long for a play.


Arm. Sweet majesty, vouchsafe me,-
Prin. Was not that Hector?


continue THEM,] In all ancient and modern editions, "them" is misprinted then the indisputable emendation is that of the corr. fo. 1632. In the preceding


line it reads "dire" for dear; and the epithet is so much more applicable to


groans," that we adopt it, bearing in mind that in short-hand (which was perhaps used in the original text of the play) the same letters spelt the two different words. This is a source of frequent confusion.

Dum. The worthy knight of Troy.

Arm. I will kiss thy royal finger, and take leave. I am a votary: I have vowed to Jaquenetta 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.

Enter HOLOFERNES, NATHANIEL, MOTH, 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.


Spring. 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.


Winter. When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,

? And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue,] The rhymes of the first four lines of the other stanzas are alternate; but in the old copies, in the first stanza, they are mistakenly arranged as couplets. Theobald made the necessary change.

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