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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:
Long. I am resolv'd; '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;
And but one meal on every day beside,
Biron. Well, say I am: why should proud sumThe which, I hope, is not enrolled there:
mer boast, And then, to sleep but three hours in the night,
Before the birds have any cause to sing? And not to be seen to wink of all the day,
Why should I joy in any abortive birth ? When I was wont to think no harm all night,
At Christmas I no more desire a rose,
But like of each thing that in season grows.
Climb o'er the house to unlock the little gate. King. Your oath is pass’d to pass away from these. King. Well, sit you out: go home, Biron: Biron. Let me say no, my liege, an if you please.
adieu! I only swore to study with your grace,
Biron. No, my good lord; I have sworn to stay And stay here in your court for three years' space.
Long. You swore to that, Biron, and to the rest. And, though I have for barbarism spoke more, Biron. By yea, and nay, sir, then I swore in jest.
Than for that angel knowledge you can say, What is the end of study, let me know?
Yet confident I'll keep what I have swore, King. Why, that to know which else we should And bide the penance of each three years' day. not know.
Give me the paper: let me read the same; Biron. Things hid and barr'd, you mean, from
And to the strict'st decrees I'll write my name. common sense?
King. How well this yielding rescues thee from King. Ay, that is study's god-like recompense.
shame! Biron. Come on, then: I will swear to study Biron. [Reads.] Item, " That no woman shall so,
come within a mile of my court."-Hath this been To know the thing I am forbid to know;
proclaim'd? As thus,—to study where I well may dine,
Long. Four days ago. When I to feast expressly am forbid;
Biron. Let's see the penalty. (Reads.] “On Or study where to meet some mistress fine,
pain of losing her tongue."—Who devis'd this When mistresses from common sense are hid; penalty? Or, having sworn too hard-a-keeping oath,
Long. Marry, that did I. Study to break it, and not break my troth.
Sweet lord, and why? If study's gain be thus, and this be so,
Lung. To fright them hence with that dread Study knows that which yet it doth not know.
penalty. Swear me to this, and I will ne'er say no.
Biron. A dangerous law against gentility! King. These be the stops that hinder study quite, [Reads.] Item, “If any man be seen to talk with And train our intellects to vain delight.
a woman within the term of three years, he shall Biron. Why, all delights are vain; but that most endure such public shame as the rest of the court vain,
can possibly devise."Which, with pain purchas’d, doth inherit pain: This article, my liege, yourself must break; As painfully to pore upon a book,
For, well you know, here comes in embassy
Therefore, this article is made in vain,
Or vainly comes th' admired princess hither. Who dazzling so, that eye shall be his heed,
King. What say you, lords ? why, this was quite And give him light that it was blinded by.
forgot. Study is like the heaven's glorious sun,
Biron. So study evermore is overshot: That will not be deep-search'd with saucy looks: While it doth study to have what it would, Small have continual plodders ever won,
It doth forget to do the thing it should; Save base authority from others' books.
And when it hath the thing it hunteth most, These earthly godfathers of heaven's lights,
'Tis won, as towns with fire; so won, so lost. That give a name to every fixed star,
King. We must of force dispense with this Have no more profit of their shining nights,
decree : Than those that walk, and wot pot what they are. She must lie here on mere necessity. Too much to know is to know nought but fame; Biron. Necessity will make us all forsworn And every godfather can give a name.
Three thousand times within this three years' King. How well he's read, to reason against
For every man with his affects is born; Dum. Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding! Not by might master'd, but by special grace. Long. He weeds the corn, and still lets grow the If I break faith, this word shall speak for me,' weeding.
I am forsworn on mere necessity.Biron. The spring is near, when green geese are
So to the laws at large I write my name; a breeding.
[Subscribes. Dum. How follows that?
And he, that breaks them in the least degree, Biron.
Fit in his place and time. Stands in attainder of eternal shame. Dum. In reason nothing.
Suggestions are to others, as to me; Biron.
Something, then, in rhyme. But, I believe, although I seem so loth, King. Biron is like art envious sneaping frost, I am the last that will last keep his oath. That bites the first-born infants of the spring. But is there no quick recreation granted ?
King. Ay, that there is. Our court, you know, Biron. Well, sir, be it as the style shall give us is haunted
cause to climb in the merriness. With a refined traveller of Spain;
Cost. The matter is to me, sir, as concerning A man in all the world's new fashion planted, Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with That hath a mint of phrases in his brain :
the manner. One, whom the music of his own vain tongue
Biron. In what manner? Doth ravish like enchanting harmony;
Cost. In manner and form following, sir; all A man of complements, whom right and wrong those three: I was seen with her in the manor Have chose as umpire of their mutiny:
house, sitting with her upon the form, and taken This child of fancy, that Armado hight,
following her into the park; which, put together, For interim to our studies, shall relate
is, in manner and form following. Now, sir, for In high-born words the worth of many a knight the manner, it is the manner of a man to speak to
From tawny Spain, lost in the world's debate. a woman; for the form,-in some form. How you delight, my lords, I know not, I,
Biron. For the following, sir ? But, I protest, I love to hear him lie,
Cost. As it shall follow in my correction; and And I will use him for my minstrelsy.
God defend the right! Biron. Armado is a most illustrious wight,
King. Will you hear this letter with attention ? A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight. Biron. As we would hear an oracle. Long. Costard, the swain, and he shall be our Cost. Such is the simplicity of man to hearken sport;
after the flesh. And so to study, three years is but short.
King. (Reads.] “Great deputy, the welkin's viceEnter Dull, with a letter, and Costard.
gerent, and sole dominator of Navarre, my soul's
earth's God, and body's fostering patron,-". Dull. Which is the duke's own person ?
Cost. Not a word of Costard yet. Biron. This, fellow. What would'st ?
King. “ So it is, -" Dull. I myself reprehend his own person, for I Cost. It may be so; but if he say it is so, he is, am his grace's tharborough: but I would see his in telling true, but so, own person in flesh and blood.
King. Peace! Biron. This is he.
Cost. —be to me, and every man that dares not Dull. Signior Arm-Arm-commends you. fight. There's villainy abroad; this letter will tell you King. No words.
Cost. -of other men's secrets, I beseech you. Cost. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching King. “So it is, besieged with sable-coloured
melancholy, I did commend the black-oppressing King. A letter from the magnificent Armado. humour to the most wholesome physic of thy
Biron. How low soever the matter, I hope in health-giving air; and, as I am a gentleman, betook God for high words.
myself to walk. The time when ? About the sixth Long. A high hope for a low having: God grant hour; when beasts most graze, birds best peck, and us patience!
men sit down to that nourishment which is called Biron. To hear, or forbear hearing?
supper. So much for the time when. Now for Long. To bear meekly, sir, and to laugh mode- the ground which; which, I mean, I walked upon : rately; or to forbear both.
it is ycleped thy park. Then for the place where;
where, I mean, I did encounter that obscene and was taken with Jaquenetta, and Jaquenetta is a true most preposterous event, that draweth from my girl; and, therefore, welcome the sour cup of prossnow-white pen the ebon-coloured ink, which here perity! Affliction may one day smile again, and till thou viewest, beholdest, surveyest, or seest. But then, set thee down, sorrow!
(Ereunt. to the place, where :-it standeth north-north-east and by east from the west corner of thy curious- SCENE II.--ARMADO's House in the Park. knotted garden: there did I see that low-spirited swain, that base minnow of thy mirth,”
Enter ARMADO and Moth, his Page. Cost. Me.
Arm. Boy, what sign is it, when a man of great King. "—that unletter'd small-knowing soul,” spirit grows melancholy? Cost. Me.
Moth. A great sign, sir, that he will look sad. King. "—that shallow vassal,”
Arm. Why? sadness is one and the self-same Cost. Still me.
thing, dear imp. King. "—which, as I remember, hight Costard," Moth. No, no; O lord! sir, no, Cost. O! me.
Arm. How canst thou part sadness and melanKing. "-sorted and consorted, contrary to thy choly, my tender juvenal ? established proclaimed edict and continent canon, Moth. By a familiar demonstration of the working, with-with, -0! with—but with this I passion to my tough senior. say wherewith.”
Arm. Why tough senior? why tough senior ? Cost. With a wench.
Moth. Why tender juvenal ? why tender juvenal? King. "—with a child of our grandmother Eve, Arm. I spoke it, tender juvenal, as a congruent a female; or, for thy more sweet understanding, a epitheton appertaining to thy young days, which we
Him I (as my ever-esteemed duty pricks may nominate tender. me on) have sent to thee, to receive the meed of Moth. And I, tough senior, as an appertinent title punishment, by thy sweet grace's officer, Antony to your old time, which we may name tough. Dull, a man of good repute, carriage, bearing, and Arm. Pretty, and apt. estimation."
Möth. How mean you, sir? I pretty, and my Dull. Me, an’t shall please you: I am Antony saying apt; or I apt, and my saying pretty ? Dull.
Arm. Thou pretty, because little. King. “For Jaquenetta, (so is the weaker vessel Moth. Little pretty, because little. Wherefore called,) which I apprehended with the aforesaid apt? swain, I keep her as a vessel of thy law's fury; and Arm. And therefore apt, because quick. shall, at the least of thy sweet notice, bring her to Moth. Speak you this in my praise, master? trial. Thine, in all complements of devoted and Arm. In thy condign praise. heart-burning heat of duty,
Moth. I will praise an eel with the same praise. " Don ADRIANO DE ARMADO."
Arm. What, that an eel is ingenious ?
Moth. That an eel is quick. Biron. This is not so well as I looked for, but Arm. I do say, thou art quick in answers. Thou the best that ever I heard.
heatest my blood. King. Ay, the best for the worst.-But, sirrah, Moth. I am answered, sir. what say you to this?
Arm. I love not to be crossed. Cost. Sir, I confess the wench.
Moth. (Aside.] He speaks the mere contrary: King. Did you hear the proclamation ?
crosses love not him ? Cost. I do confess much of the hearing it, but Arm. I have promised to study three years with little of the marking of it.
the duke. King. It was proclaimed a year's imprisonment Moth. You may do it in an hour, sir. to be taken with a wench.
Arm. Impossible. Cost. I was taken with none, sir: I was taken Moth. How many is one thrice told? with a damsel.
Arm. I am ill at reckoning: it fitteth the spirit of King. Well, it was proclaimed damsel.
a tapster. Cost. This was no damsel neither, sir: she was Moth. You are a gentleman, and a gamester, sir. a virgin.
Arm. I confess both: they are both the varnish King. It is so varied, too, for it was proclaimed of a complete man. virgin.
Moth. Then, I am sure, you know how much Cost. If it were, I deny her virginity: I was taken the gross sum of deuce-ace amounts to. with a maid.
Arm. It doth amount to one more than two King. This maid will not serve your turn, sir. Moth. Which the base vulgar do call three.
King. Sir, I will pronounce your sentence: you Moth. Why, sir, is this such a piece of study ?
shall fast a week with bran and water.
Cost. I had rather pray a month with mutton and porridge.
King. And Don Armado shall be your keeper.-
(Ereunt King, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAINE. Biron. I'll lay my head to any good man's hat,
These oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn.-
Now, here is three studied ere you'll thrice wink;
Arm. A most fine figure!
Arm. I will hereupon confess I am in love; and, as it is base for a soldier to love, so am I in love with a base wench. If drawing my sword against the humour of affection would deliver me from the reprobate thought of it, I would take desire prisoner, and ransom him to any French courtier for a new de