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FERDINAND, King of Navarre. COSTARD, a Clown.

MOTH, Page to Armado.

ords, attending DUMAIN, I


on the King. BOYET, Lords, attending on | PRINCESS OF FRANCE. MERCADE. the Princess of ROSALINE, Ladies, attending France.


KATHARINE. I on the Princess. fantastical Spaniard.

JAQUENETTA, a Country Wench. SIR NATHANIEL, a Curate. HOLOFERNES, a Schoolmaster. OFFICERS and Others, ATTENDANTS DULL, a Constable.

on the KING and PRINCESS.

Ladies, attendin,



SCENE I.Navarre. A Park, with a Palace in it.

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,
The endeavour of this present breath may buy
That honour, which shall
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, 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 pass'd, and now subscribe 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 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
Make rich the ribs, but bank'rout quite the wits.

Dum. My loving lord, Dumain is mortified;
The grosser manner of these world's delights
He throws upon the gross world's baser slaves :
To love, to wealth, to pomp, / pine and die;
With all these* living in philosophy.

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 pass'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 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 barr'd, you mean, from common sense?
King. Ay, that is study's god-like recompense.

Biron. Come on then, I will swear to study so
To know the thing I am forbid to know:
As thus—To study where I well may dine,

When I to feast expressly 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 thus, and this be so,
Study knows that, which yet it doth not know: }
Swear me to this, and I will ne'er say, no.

* 1.e. the king, Biron, &c.

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 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 :
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 dazzling so, that eye shall be his heed,t

And give him light that was it blinded by.
Study is like the heaven's glorious sun,

That will not be deep-search'd 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,
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 nonght but fame;
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 lets grow the 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. Biron is like an envious sneapingt frost,
That bites the first-born infants of the spring.

Biron. Well, say I am; why should proud summer boast,
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 wish 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 to unlock the little gate.

King. Well, sit you out :// go home, Biron; adieu !

Biron. No, my good lord; I have sworn to stay with you: 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!}
honestly, treacherously.

† Direction, aim. Nipping. Games, sports. | A term of the card -table : give up your place.

. Biron. [Reads.] Item, That no woman shall come within a mile of my court.And hath this been proclaim'd ?

Long. Four days ago.

Biron. Let's see the penalty. [Reads]-On pain of losing her tongue. Who devised this ?

Long. Marry, that did I. Biron. Sweet lord, and why ? Long. To fright them hence with that dread penalty. Biron. A dangerous law against gentility.* [Reads.] Item, If any man be seen to talk with a woman within the term of three years, he shall endure such public shame as the rest of the court can possibly devise. This article, my liege, yourself must break;

For, well you know, here comes in embassy
The French king's daughter, with yourself to speak,-

A maid of grace, and complete majesty, -
About surrender-up of Aquitain

To her decrepit, sick, and bed-rid father:
Therefore this article is made in vain,
Or vainly comes the admired princess hither.
King. What say you, lords ? why, this was quite forgot.

Biron. So study 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; so won, so lost.

King. We must, of force, dispense with this decree;
She must liet here on mere necessity.
Biron. Necessity will make us all forsworn

Three thousand times within this three years' space:
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 mere necessity. -
So to the laws at large I write my name:

[Subscribes And he that breaks theni in the least degree, Stands in attainder of eternal shame:

Suggestions are to others, as to me;
But, I believe, although I seem so loath,
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 haunted

With a refined traveller of Spain;.
A man in all the world's new fashion planted,

That hath a mint of phrases in his brain:
One, whom the music of his own vain tongue

Doth ravish, like enchanting harmony;
A man of complements, whom right and wrong
Have chose as umpire of their mutiny:
* Urbanity.

+ Reside.


This child of fancy* that Armado hight,t

For interim to our studies, shall relate,
In high-born words, the worth of many a knight

From tawny Spain lost in the world's debate.
How you delight, my lords, I know not, I; 1
But, I protest, I love to hear him lie,
And I will use him for my minstrelsy. I

Biron. Armado is a most illustrious wight,
A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight.

Long. Costard the swain, and he, shall be our sport;
And, so to study; three years is but short.

Enter DULL, with a letter, and COSTARD.
Dull. Which is the duke's own person ?
Biron. This fellow; What wouldst ?

Dull. I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his grace's tharborough :|| but I would see his own person in flesh and blood.

Biron. This is he.

Dull. Signior Arme-Arme-commends you. There's villany abroad; this letter will tell you more.

Cost. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me.
King. A letter from the magnificent Armado.

Biron. How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.

Long. A high hope for a low having: God grant us patience ! Biron. To hear ? or forbear hearing ?

Long. To hear meekly, Sir, and to laugh moderately; or to forbear both.

Biron. Well, Sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to climb to the merriness.

Cost. The matter is to me, Sir, as concerning Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner. T

Biron. In what manner?

Cost. In manner and form following, Sir; all those thres: I was seen with her in the manor-house, sitting with her upon the form, and taken following her into the park; which, put together, is, in manner and form following. Now, Sir, for the manner, it is the manner of a man to speak to a woman: for the form,in some form. .

Biron. For the following, Sir?

Cost. As it shall follow in my correction: And God defend the right.

King. Will you hear this letter with attention ?
Biron. As we would hear an oracle.
Cost. Such is the simplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.

King. [Reads.] “ Great deputy, the welkin's vicegerent, and sole dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's God, and body's fostering patron,Cost. Not a word of Costard yet. * I. e. fanciful invention.

+ Is called. As my minstrel, or story-teller.

$ Bran new. | I.e. Third-borough, a peace-officer.

In the fact.

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