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    Loves Labours Lost

    by William Shakespeare
    MFFE script v5.03 CloudReader v1.05
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  • Act One Scene One

    >>>Start of play
    Enter Ferdinand King of Navarre, Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine.
    ---!!! First speech of play
    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,
    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, Berowne, 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 passed, 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 oaths, and keep it too.
    --- keep it too.
    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 bankrupt the wits.
    [He signs.]
    --- bankrupt the wits.
    My loving Lord, Dumaine 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, I pine and die,
    With all these living in Philosophy.
    [He signs.]
    --- living in Philosophie.
    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.
    O, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep:
    Not to see Ladies, study, fast, not sleep.
    --- fast, not sleep.
    Your oath is passed to pass away from these.
    --- away from these.
    Let me say no, my Liege, and if you please.
    I only swore to study with your grace
    And stay here in your Court for three years' space.
    --- three years space.
    You swore to that, Berowne, and to the rest.
    --- to the rest.
    By yea and nay, sir, then I swore in jest.
    What is the end of study, let me know?
    --- let me know?
    Why, that to know which else we should not know.
    --- should not know.
    Things hid and barred, you mean, from common sense.
    --- from common sense.
    Ay, that is study's god-like recompense.
    --- study's god-like recompense.
    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.
    --- ne'er say no.
    These be the stops that hinder study quite
    And train our intellects to vain delight.
    --- to vain delight.
    Why, all delights are vain, and 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,
    And give him light that it was blinded by.
    Study is like the heaven's glorious Sun,
    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,
    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 nought but fame,
    And every Godfather can give a name.
    --- give a name.
    How well he's read, to reason against reading.
    --- reason against reading.
    Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding.
    --- all good proceeding.
    He weeds the corn, and still lets grow the weeding.
    --- grow the weeding.
    The Spring is near when green geese are a-breeding.
    --- are a breeding.
    How follows that?
    --- How follows that?
    Fit in his place and time.
    --- place and time.
    In reason nothing.
    --- In reason nothing.
    Something then in rhyme.
    --- then in rhyme.
    Berowne is like an envious sneaping Frost,
    That bites the first-born infants of the Spring.
    --- of the Spring.
    Well, say I am. Why should proud Summer boast,
    Before the Birds have any cause to sing?
    Why should I joy in any abortive birth?
    At Christmas I no more desire a Rose
    Than wish a Snow in May's newfangled 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.
    --- the little gate.
    Well, sit you out. Go home, Berowne: adieu.
    --- home Berowne: adieu.
    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 sworn
    And bide the penance of each three years' day.
    Give me the paper, let me read the same;
    And to the strictest decrees I'll write my name.
    --- write my name.
    How well this yielding rescues thee from shame.
    --- thee from shame.
    Item. That no woman shall come within a mile
    of my Court -
     Hath this been proclaimed?
    --- this been proclaimed?
    Four days ago.
    --- Four days ago.
    Let's see the penalty - On pain of loosing her tongue. Who devised this penalty?
    --- devised this penalty?
    Marry, that did I.
    --- that did I.
    Sweet Lord, and why?
    --- Lord, and why?
    To fright them hence with that dread penalty.
    --- that dread penalty.
    A dangerous law against gentility.
    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 Aquitaine
    To her decrepit, sick, and bedrid Father.
    Therefore this Article is made in vain,
    Or vainly comes th' admired Princess hither.
    --- admired Princess hither.
    What say you Lords? Why, this was quite forgot.
    --- was quite forgot.
    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.
    --- won, so lost.
    We must of force dispense with this Decree.
    She must lie here on mere necessity.
    --- on mere necessity.
    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 mastered, but by special grace.
    If I break faith, this word shall break for me:
    I am forsworn 'on mere necessity'.
    So to the Laws at large I write my name,
    And he that breaks them in the least degree
    Stands in attainder of eternal shame.
    Suggestions are to other as to me;
    But I believe although I seem so loath,
    I am the last that will last keep his oath.
    [He signs.]
    But is there no quick recreation granted?
    --- quick recreation granted?
    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, who the music of his own vain tongue
    Doth ravish like enchanting harmony,
    A man of compliments, whom right and wrong
    Have chose as umpire of their mutiny.
    This child of fancy, that Armado hight,
    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,
    But I protest I love to hear him lie,
    And I will use him for my Minstrelsy.
    --- for my Minstrelsy.
    Armado is a most illustrious wight,
    A man of fire-new words, fashion's own Knight.
    --- fashion's own Knight.
    Costard the swain and he shall be our sport,
    And so to study three years is but short.
    >>> is but short.
    Enter Dull a Constable with a Letter, and Costard,  a Clown.
    --- is but short.
    Which is the Duke's own person?
    --- Duke's own person.
    This fellow. What would'st?
    --- fellow. What would'st?
    I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his grace's farborough. But I would see his own person in flesh and blood.
    --- flesh and blood.
    This is he.
    --- This is he.
    Senor Arm... Arm... commends you. There's villainy abroad. This letter will tell you more.
    --- tell you more.
    Sir, the Contempts thereof are as touching me.
    --- as touching me.
    A letter from the magnificent Armado.
    --- the magnificent Armado.
    How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.
    --- for high words.
    A high hope for a low heaven. God grant us patience.
    --- grant us patience.
    To hear, or forbear hearing?
    --- or forbear hearing.
    To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately, or to forbear both.
    --- to forbear both.
    Well, sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to climb in the merriness.
    --- in the merriness.
    The matter is to me sir, as concerning Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.
    --- with the manner.
    In what manner?
    --- In what manner?
    In manner and form following, sir, all those three. 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.
    --- in some form.
    For the 'following' sir?
    --- the following sir?
    As it shall follow in my correction, and God defend the right!
    --- defend the right!
    Will you hear this Letter with attention?
    --- Letter with attention?
    As we would hear an Oracle.
    --- hear an Oracle.
    Such is the simplicity of man to harken after the flesh.
    --- after the flesh.
    Great Deputy, the Welkin's Vicegerent, and sole dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's God, and body's fostering patron -
    --- body's fostering patron -
    Not a word of Costard yet.
    --- of Costard yet.
    So it is -
    --- So it is -
    It may be so, but if he say it is so, he is, in telling true, but so.
    --- true, but so.
    --- Peace,
    Be to me and every man that dares not fight.
    --- dares not fight.
    No words!
    --- No words,
    Of other men's secrets, I beseech you.
    --- I beseech you.
    So it is, besieged with sable-coloured melancholy, I did commend the black oppressing humour to the most wholesome Physic of thy health-giving air; And, as I am a Gentleman, betook myself to walk. The time; When? About the sixth hour, When beasts most graze, birds best peck, and men sit down to that nourishment which is called supper. So much for the time When. Now for the ground, Which? Which, I mean, I walked upon. It is ycleped, Thy Park. Then for the place, Where? Where, I mean, I did encounter that obscene and most preposterous event that draweth from my snow-white pen the ebon-coloured Ink, which here thou viewest, beholdest, surveyest, or seest. But to the place, Where? It standeth North-North-east and by East from the West corner of thy curious-knotted garden. There did I see that low-spirited Swain, that base Minnow of thy mirth, -
    --- of thy mirth, -
    --- Me?
    That unlettered small-knowing soul -
    --- unlettered small-knowing soul -
    --- Me?
    that shallow vassal -
    --- That shallow vassal -
    Still me?
    --- Still me?
    which as I remember, hight Costard -
    --- remember, hight Costard -
    O me!
    --- O me!
    Sorted and consorted, contrary to thy established proclaimed Edict and Continent Canon, Which with, O, with - but with this I passion to say wherewith -
    --- to say wherewith -
    With a Wench.
    --- With a Wench.
    With a child of our Grandmother Eve, a female, or, for thy more sweet understanding, a woman. Him, I, as my ever-esteemed duty pricks me on - have sent to thee, to receive the meed of punishment, by the sweet Grace's Officer, Anthony Dull, a man of good repute, carriage, bearing, and estimation.
    --- bearing, & estimation.
    Me, an't shall please you. I am Anthony Dull.
    --- am Anthony Dull.
    For Jaquenetta, so is the weaker vessel called, which I apprehended with the aforesaid Swain, I keep her as a vessel of thy Law's fury, and shall, at the least of thy sweet notice, bring her to trial. Thine in all compliments of devoted and heart-burning heat of duty.
    Don Adriano de Armado.
    --- Adriano de Armado.
    This is not so well as I looked for, but the best that ever I heard.
    --- ever I heard.
    Ay, the best for the worst. But sirrah, What say you to this?
    --- you to this?
    Sir I confess the Wench.
    --- confess the Wench.
    Did you hear the Proclamation?
    --- hear the Proclamation?
    I do confess much of the hearing it, but little of the marking of it.
    --- marking of it.
    It was proclaimed a year's imprisonment to be taken with a Wench.
    --- with a Wench.
    I was taken with none sir, I was taken with a Damsel.
    --- with a Damsel.
    Well, it was proclaimed Damsel.
    --- was proclaimed Damsel.
    This was no Damsel neither, sir, she was a Virgin.
    --- was a Virgin.
    It is so varied too, for it was proclaimed Virgin.
    --- was proclaimed Virgin.
    If it were, I deny her Virginity: I was taken with a Maid.
    --- with a Maid.
    This Maid will not serve your turn, sir.
    --- your turn, sir.
    This Maid will serve my turn, sir.
    --- my turn, sir.
    Sir, I will pronounce your sentence: You shall fast a Week with Bran and water.
    --- Bran and water.
    I had rather pray a Month with Mutton and Porridge.
    --- Mutton and Porridge.
    And Don Armado shall be your keeper.
    My Lord Berowne, see him delivered o'er,
    And go we, Lords, to put in practice that
    Which each to other hath so strongly sworn.
    >>> so strongly sworn.
    Exeunt Ferdinand King of Navarre, Longaville, and Dumaine.
    --- so strongly sworn.
    I'll lay my head to any good man's hat,
    These oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn.
    Sirrah, come on.
    --- Sirrah, come on.
    I suffer for the truth, sir, for true it is, I was taken with Jaquenetta, and Jaquenetta is a true girl, and therefore welcome the sour cup of prosperity! Affliction may one day smile again, and until then, sit down sorrow.
    >>> sit down sorrow.
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