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troduced as “the Braggart” than by his name. Steevens, after stating that he had not been able to discover any novel from which this comedy had been derived, adds that “the story has most of the features of an ancient romance;" but it is not at all impossible that Shakespeare found some corresponding incidents in an Italian play. However, after a long search, I have not met with any such production, although, if used by Shakespeare, it most likely came into this country in a printed form.
The question whether Shakespeare visited Italy, and at what period of his life, cannot properly be considered here; but it is a very important point in relation both to his biography and works. It was certainly a very general custom for our poets to travel thither towards the close of the reign of Elizabeth, and various instances of the kind are on record. Robert Greene tells us in his “Repentance," 1592, that he had been in Italy and Spain : Thomas Nash, about the same date, mentions what he had seen in France and Italy; and Daniel has several early sonnets on his “ going into Italy,” and on his residence there. Some of our most celebrated actors of that time also made journeys across the Alps; and Mr. Halliwell, in the notes to his “Coventry Mysteries, printed for the Shakespeare Society in 1841, has shown that Kemp, the comedian, who, as we have seen, performed Dogberry in “Much Ado about Nothing," was in Rome in 1601.
It is vain to attempt to fix with any degree of precision the date when “Love's Labour's Lost” came from the author's pen. It is very certain that Biron and Rosaline are early sketches of two characters to which Shakespeare subsequently gave greater force and effect - Benedick and Beatrice; but this only shows, what cannot be doubted, that “Love's Labour's Lost” was anterior in composition to "Much Ado about Nothing." "Love's Labour's Lost” was first printed, as far as we now know, in 1598, 4to, and then it professed on the title-page to have been “newly corrected and augmented :" we are likewise there told that it was presented before Queen Elizabeth “this last Christmas.” It was not uncommon for dramatists to revise and add to their plays when they were selected for exhibition at court, and such may have been the case with “ Love's Labour's Lost." “ This last Christmas”
probably meant Christmas, 1598; for the year at this period did not end until 25th March. It seems likely that the comedy had been written six or even eight years before, that it was revived in 1598, with certain corrections and augmentations for performance before the Queen'; and this circumstance may have led to its publication immediately afterwards.
3 One of these additions may have been the apparent allusion to the work of V. Saviolo “ Of Honour and Honourable Quarrels,” in the words near the end of
The evidence derived from passages and allusions in the piece, to which Malone refers in his “Chronological Order," is clearly of little value, and he does not himself place much confidence in it. “Love Labour Lost” is mentioned by Meres in 1598, and in the same year came out a poem by R[obert] T[ofte] entitled “ Alba,” in the commencement of one of the stanzas of which this comedy is introduced by name:-.
“ Love's Labour Lost I once did see, a play
Ycleped so." This does not read as if the writer intended to say that he had seen it recently. There is a coincidence in Act üi. sc. 1, which requires notice: Costard there jokes upon the difference between “ remuneration” and “guerdon;" and Steevens contended that Shakespeare was "certainly indebted for his vein of jocularity ' in this instance to a tract by Iservase] M[arkham), called, “A Health to the Gentlemanly Profession of Serving Men,” which Dr. Farmer informed his was published in 1578. The fact, however, is, that this tract did not appear until 1598, the year which “ Love's Labour's Lost” came from the press. It was, possibly, a current jest, and it will be found quoted correctly from the original, and not as Steevens inserted it, in a note upon the passage.
It is capable of proof that the play, as it stands in the folio of 1623, was reprinted from the 4to. of 1598, as it adopts various errors of the press, which could not have found their way into the folio, had it been taken from a distinct manuscript. There are, however, variations, which might show that the player-editors of the folio resorted occasionally to some authority besides the 4to. These differences are pointed out in the notes. The 4to. has no divisions into Acts and Scepes; and the folio only distinguishes the Acts, but with considerable inequality: thus, the third Act only occupies about a page and a half, while the fifth Act (misprinted Actus Quartus) fills nine pages. Nevertheless, it would have been taking too great a liberty to alter the arrangement in this respect, although, as the reader will perceive, it might be improved without much difficulty.
There is no entry of “Love's Labour's Lost" at Stationers' Hall, until 22nd Jan. 1606-7, when it was transferred by Burby (the publisher of it in 1598) to N. Ling, who perhaps contemplated a new edition. If it were printed in 1606 or 1607, no such impression has come down to us. Its next appearance was in the folio, 1623; but another quarto, of no authority, was published in 1631, the year before the date of the second folio. Act i., “the first and second cause will not serve my turn." It was originally printed in 1594, and again in 1595. See Bridgewater Cat. p. 275.
FERDINAND, King of Navarre.
Princess of France.
Ladies, attending on the Princess.
Officers and others, attendants on the King and Princess.
1 This list of characters was first printed by Rowe.
LOVE'S LABOUR’S LOST.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Navarre. A Park, with a Palace in it.
Enter the KING, BIRON, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAINE. King. Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives, Live register'd upon our brazen tombs, And then grace us in the disgrace of death ; When, spite of cormorant devouring time, Th' endeavour of this present breath may buy That honour, 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 edict 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, Biron ', Dumaine, 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 honour down, That violates the smallest branch herein.
1 You three, Biron,] “Biron ” must be pronounced, as in French, with the accent on the last syllable, for the sake of the verse; and in order to secure this, in the old copies, 4to. and folio, the name of Biron is invariably spelt Berowne. Such is also generally the case in Chapman's “ Biron’s Conspiracy,” 1608.
If you are arm’d to do, as sworn to do,
Long. I am resolvd : 'tis but a three years' fast. The mind shall banquet, though the body pine : Fat paunches have lean pates; and dainty bits Make rich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits'.
Dum. My loving lord, Dumaine is mortified.
Biron. I can but say their protestation over ;
King. Your oath is pass’d to pass away from these.
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 jest. What is the end of study, let me know ?
? Subscribe to your deep oath, and keep it too.] Modern editors have altered “ oaths” of the old copies to oath, and, though not absolutely necessary, it may be considered expedient, followed as it is by the words “ keep it too."
but bankrupt Quite the wits.] This is the reading of the 4to, 1598: the folio, 1623, omits “quite," and prints “ bankrupt” as a trisyllable,-bankerout. The couplet became proverbial, and it runs thus in “ Paremiologia Anglo-Latina, or Proverbs English and Latine, &c.” by John Clarke, 8vo, 1639.
“ Fat paunches make lean pates, and grosser bits
Enrich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits." Which is also an early authority for the insertion of the adverb.