Love's Labour's Lost: Act 1, Scene 2

Love's Labour's Lost: Act 1, Scene 2


DON ARMADO: Boy, what sign is it when a man of great spirit
grows melancholy?

MOTH: A great sign, sir, that he will look sad.

DON ARMADO: Why, sadness is one and the self-same
thing, dear imp.

MOTH: No, no; O Lord, sir, no.

DON ARMADO: How canst thou part sadness and melancholy, my
tender juvenal?

MOTH: By a familiar demonstration of the working, my tough senior.

DON ARMADO: Why tough senior? why tough senior?    [10]

MOTH: Why tender juvenal? why tender juvenal?

DON ARMADO: I spoke it, tender juvenal, as a congruent epitheton appertaining to thy young days, which we may
nominate tender.

MOTH: And I, tough senior, as an appertinent title to your
old time, which we may name tough.

ARMADO: Pretty and apt.

MOTH: How mean you, sir? I pretty, and my saying apt? or
I apt, and my saying pretty?                      [20]

DON ARMADO: Thou pretty, because little.

MOTH: Little pretty, because little. Wherefore apt?

DON ARMADO: And therefore apt, because quick.

MOTH: Speak you this in my praise, master?

DON ARMADO: In thy condign praise.

MOTH: I will praise an eel with the same praise.

DON ARMADO: What, that an eel is ingenious?

MOTH: That an eel is quick.

DON ARMADO: I do say thou art quick in answers:
thou heatest my blood.                      [30]

MOTH: I am answered, sir.

DON ARMADO: I love not to be crossed.

MOTH: [Aside] He speaks the mere contrary; crosses love not him.

DON ARMADO: I have promised to study three years
with the duke.

MOTH: You may do it in an hour, sir.

DON ARMADO: Impossible.

MOTH: How many is one thrice told?

DON ARMADO: I am ill at reckoning; it fitteth the spirit     [40]
of a tapster.

MOTH: You are a gentleman and a gamester, sir.

DON ARMADO: I confess both: they are both the varnish of a
complete man.

MOTH: Then, I am sure, you know how much the gross sum of
deuce-ace amounts to.

DON ARMADO: It doth amount to one more than two.

MOTH: Which the base vulgar do call three.


MOTH: Why, sir, is this such a piece of study? Now here    [50]
is three studied, ere ye'll thrice wink: and how
easy it is to put 'years' to the word 'three,' and
study three years in two words, the dancing horse
will tell you.

DON ARMADO: A most fine figure!

MOTH: To prove you a cipher.

DON ARMADO: 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                      [60]
thought of it, I would take Desire prisoner, and
ransom him to any French courtier for a new-devised
courtesy. I think scorn to sigh: methinks I should
outswear Cupid. Comfort, me, boy: what great men
have been in love?

MOTH: Hercules, master.

DON ARMADO: Most sweet Hercules! More authority,
dear boy, name more; and, sweet my child, let them be men of good
repute and carriage.

MOTH: Samson, master: he was a man of good carriage, great    [70]
carriage, for he carried the town-gates on his back
like a porter: and he was in love.

DON ARMADO: O well-knit Samson! strong-jointed Samson!
I do excel thee in my rapier as much as thou didst me in carrying
gates. I am in love too. Who was Samson's love, my dear Moth?

MOTH: A woman, master.

DON ARMADO: Of what complexion?

MOTH: Of all the four, or the three, or the two, or one of the four.

DON ARMADO: Tell me precisely of what complexion.

MOTH: Of the sea-water green, sir.    [80]

DON ARMADO: Is that one of the four complexions?

MOTH: As I have read, sir; and the best of them too.

DON ARMADO: Green indeed is the colour of lovers; but to
have a love of that colour, methinks Samson had small reason
for it. He surely affected her for her wit.

MOTH: It was so, sir; for she had a green wit.

DON ARMADO: My love is most immaculate white and red.

MOTH: Most maculate thoughts, master, are masked under
such colours.

DON ARMADO: Define, define, well-educated infant.    [90]

MOTH: My father's wit and my mother's tongue, assist me!

DON ARMADO: Sweet invocation of a child; most pretty
and pathetical!

MOTH:    If she be made of white and red,
Her faults will ne'er be known,
For blushing cheeks by faults are bred
And fears by pale white shown:
Then if she fear, or be to blame,
By this you shall not know,
For still her cheeks possess the same
Which native she doth owe.                      [100]
A dangerous rhyme, master, against the reason of
white and red.

DON ARMADO: Is there not a ballad, boy, of the King and
the Beggar?

MOTH: The world was very guilty of such a ballad some
three ages since: but I think now 'tis not to be
found; or, if it were, it would neither serve for
the writing nor the tune.

DON ARMADO: I will have that subject newly writ o'er,
that I mayexample my digression by some mighty precedent.                      [110]
Boy, I do love that country girl that I took in the park with the
rational hind Costard: she deserves well.

MOTH: [Aside] To be whipped; and yet a better love than
my master.

DON ARMADO: Sing, boy; my spirit grows heavy in love.

MOTH: And that's great marvel, loving a light wench.

DON ARMADO: I say, sing.

MOTH: Forbear till this company be past.


DULL: Sir, the duke's pleasure is, that you keep Costard
safe: and you must suffer him to take no delight                      [120]
nor no penance; but a' must fast three days a week.
For this damsel, I must keep her at the park: she
is allowed for the day-woman. Fare you well.

DON ARMADO: I do betray myself with blushing. Maid!


DON ARMADO: I will visit thee at the lodge.

JAQUENETTA: That's hereby.

DON ARMADO: I know where it is situate.

JAQUENETTA: Lord, how wise you are!

DON ARMADO: I will tell thee wonders.    [130]

JAQUENETTA: With that face?

DON ARMADO: I love thee.

JAQUENETTA: So I heard you say.

DON ARMADO: And so, farewell.

JAQUENETTA: Fair weather after you!

DULL: Come, Jaquenetta, away!


DON ARMADO: Villain, thou shalt fast for thy offences ere thou
be pardoned.

COSTARD: Well, sir, I hope, when I do it, I shall do it on a
full stomach.                      [140]

DON ARMADO: Thou shalt be heavily punished.

COSTARD: I am more bound to you than your fellows, for they
are but lightly rewarded.

DON ARMADO: Take away this villain; shut him up.

MOTH: Come, you transgressing slave; away!

COSTARD: Let me not be pent up, sir: I will fast, being loose.

MOTH: No, sir; that were fast and loose: thou shalt to prison.

COSTARD: Well, if ever I do see the merry days of desolation
that I have seen, some shall see.

MOTH: What shall some see?    [150]

COSTARD: Nay, nothing, Master Moth, but what they look upon.
It is not for prisoners to be too silent in their
words; and therefore I will say nothing: I thank
God I have as little patience as another man; and
therefore I can be quiet.

[Exeunt MOTH and COSTARD]

DON ARMADO: I do affect the very ground, which is base, where
her shoe, which is baser, guided by her foot, which
is basest, doth tread. I shall be forsworn, which
is a great argument of falsehood, if I love. And
how can that be true love which is falsely                      [160]
attempted? Love is a familiar; Love is a devil:
there is no evil angel but Love. Yet was Samson so
tempted, and he had an excellent strength; yet was
Solomon so seduced, and he had a very good wit.
Cupid's butt-shaft is too hard for Hercules' club;
and therefore too much odds for a Spaniard's rapier.
The first and second cause will not serve my turn;
the passado he respects not, the duello he regards
not: his disgrace is to be called boy; but his
glory is to subdue men. Adieu, valour! rust rapier!                      [170]
be still, drum! for your manager is in love; yea,
he loveth. Assist me, some extemporal god of rhyme,
for I am sure I shall turn sonnet. Devise, wit;
write, pen; for I am for whole volumes in folio.

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This page last updated April 24, 1997. Enquiries to Michael Best,