Love's Labour's Lost: Act 3, Scene 1

Love's Labour's Lost: Act 3, Scene 1


DON ARMADO: Warble, child; make passionate my sense
of hearing.

MOTH: Concolinel.


DON ARMADO: Sweet air! Go, tenderness of years; take this key,
give enlargement to the swain, bring him festinately
hither: I must employ him in a letter to my love.

MOTH: Master, will you win your love with a French brawl?

DON ARMADO: How meanest thou? brawling in French?

MOTH: No, my complete master: but to jig off a tune at
the tongue's end, canary to it with your feet, humour                      [10]
it with turning up your eyelids, sigh a note and
sing a note, sometime through the throat, as if you
swallowed love with singing love, sometime through
the nose, as if you snuffed up love by smelling
love; with your hat penthouse-like o'er the shop of
your eyes; with your arms crossed on your thin-belly
doublet like a rabbit on a spit; or your hands in
your pocket like a man after the old painting; and
keep not too long in one tune, but a snip and away.
These are complements, these are humours; these                      [20]
betray nice wenches, that would be betrayed without
these; and make them men of note--do you note
me?--that most are affected to these.

DON ARMADO: How hast thou purchased this experience?

MOTH: By my penny of observation.

DON ARMADO: But O,--but O,--

MOTH: 'The hobby-horse is forgot.'

DON ARMADO: Callest thou my love 'hobby-horse'?

MOTH: No, master; the hobby-horse is but a colt, and your
love perhaps a hackney. But have you forgot your love?                      [30]

DON ARMADO: Almost I had.

MOTH: Negligent student! learn her by heart.

DON ARMADO: By heart and in heart, boy.

MOTH: And out of heart, master: all those three I will prove.

DON ARMADO: What wilt thou prove?

MOTH: A man, if I live; and this, by, in, and without, upon
the instant: by heart you love her, because your
heart cannot come by her; in heart you love her,
because your heart is in love with her; and out of
heart you love her, being out of heart that you                      [40]
cannot enjoy her.

DON ARMADO: I am all these three.

MOTH: And three times as much more, and yet nothing at

DON ARMADO: Fetch hither the swain: he must carry me a letter.

MOTH: A message well sympathized; a horse to be ambassador
for an ass.

DON ARMADO: Ha, ha! what sayest thou?

MOTH: Marry, sir, you must send the ass upon the horse,
for he is very slow-gaited. But I go.                      [50]

DON ARMADO: The way is but short: away!

MOTH: As swift as lead, sir.

DON ARMADO: The meaning, pretty ingenious?
Is not lead a metal heavy, dull, and slow?

MOTH: Minime, honest master; or rather, master, no.

DON ARMADO: I say lead is slow.

MOTH: You are too swift, sir, to say so:
Is that lead slow which is fired from a gun?

DON ARMADO: Sweet smoke of rhetoric!
He reputes me a cannon; and the bullet, that's he:                      [60]
I shoot thee at the swain.

MOTH: Thump then and I flee.


DON ARMADO: A most acute juvenal; voluble and free of grace!
By thy favour, sweet welkin, I must sigh in thy face:
Most rude melancholy, valour gives thee place.
My herald is return'd.

[Re-enter MOTH with COSTARD]

MOTH: A wonder, master! here's a costard broken in a shin.

DON ARMADO: Some enigma, some riddle: come, thy l'envoy; begin.

COSTARD: No enigma, no riddle, no l'envoy; no salve in the
mail, sir: O, sir, plantain, a plain plantain! no                      [70]
l'envoy, no l'envoy; no salve, sir, but a plantain!

DON ARMADO: By virtue, thou enforcest laughter; thy silly
thought my spleen; the heaving of my lungs provokes
me to ridiculous smiling. O, pardon me, my stars!
Doth the inconsiderate take salve for l'envoy, and
the word l'envoy for a salve?

MOTH: Do the wise think them other? is not l'envoy a salve?

DON ARMADO: No, page: it is an epilogue or discourse, to make plain
Some obscure precedence that hath tofore been sain.
I will example it:                      [80]
The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee,
Were still at odds, being but three.
There's the moral. Now the l'envoy.

MOTH: I will add the l'envoy. Say the moral again.

DON ARMADO: The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee,
Were still at odds, being but three.

MOTH: Until the goose came out of door,
And stay'd the odds by adding four.
Now will I begin your moral, and do you follow with my l'envoy.
The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee,                      [90]
Were still at odds, being but three.

DON ARMADO: Until the goose came out of door,
Staying the odds by adding four.

MOTH: A good l'envoy, ending in the goose: would you
desire more?

COSTARD: The boy hath sold him a bargain, a goose, that's flat.
Sir, your pennyworth is good, an your goose be fat.
To sell a bargain well is as cunning as fast and loose:
Let me see; a fat l'envoy; ay, that's a fat goose.

DON ARMADO: Come hither, come hither. How did     [100]
this argument begin?

MOTH: By saying that a costard was broken in a shin.
Then call'd you for the l'envoy.

COSTARD: True, and I for a plantain: thus came your
argument in;
Then the boy's fat l'envoy, the goose that you bought;
And he ended the market.

DON ARMADO: But tell me; how was there a costard
broken in a shin?

MOTH: I will tell you sensibly.    [110]

COSTARD: Thou hast no feeling of it, Moth: I will speak that l'envoy:
I Costard, running out, that was safely within,
Fell over the threshold and broke my shin.

DON ARMADO: We will talk no more of this matter.

COSTARD: Till there be more matter in the shin.

DON ARMADO: Sirrah Costard, I will enfranchise thee.

COSTARD: O, marry me to one Frances: I smell some l'envoy,
some goose, in this.

DON ARMADO: By my sweet soul, I mean setting thee at liberty,
enfreedoming thy person; thou wert immured,                      [120]
restrained, captivated, bound.

COSTARD: True, true; and now you will be my purgation and let me loose.

DON ARMADO: I give thee thy liberty, set thee from durance;
and, in lieu thereof, impose on thee nothing but this:
bear this significant

[Giving a letter]

                          to the country maid Jaquenetta:
there is remuneration; for the best ward of mine
honour is rewarding my dependents. Moth, follow.


MOTH: Like the sequel, I. Signior Costard, adieu.    [130]

COSTARD: My sweet ounce of man's flesh! my incony Jew!

[Exit MOTH]

Now will I look to his remuneration. Remuneration!
O, that's the Latin word for three farthings: three
farthings--remuneration.--'What's the price of this
inkle?'--'One penny.'--'No, I'll give you a
remuneration:' why, it carries it. Remuneration!
why, it is a fairer name than French crown. I will
never buy and sell out of this word.


BEROWNE: O, my good knave Costard! exceedingly well met.

COSTARD: Pray you, sir, how much carnation ribbon may a man    [140]
buy for a remuneration?

BEROWNE: What is a remuneration?

COSTARD: Marry, sir, halfpenny farthing.

BEROWNE: Why, then, three-farthing worth of silk.

COSTARD: I thank your worship: God be wi' you!

BEROWNE: Stay, slave; I must employ thee:
As thou wilt win my favour, good my knave,
Do one thing for me that I shall entreat.

COSTARD: When would you have it done, sir?

BEROWNE: This afternoon.    [150]

COSTARD: Well, I will do it, sir: fare you well.

BEROWNE: Thou knowest not what it is.

COSTARD: I shall know, sir, when I have done it.

BEROWNE: Why, villain, thou must know first.

COSTARD: I will come to your worship to-morrow morning.

BEROWNE: It must be done this afternoon.
Hark, slave, it is but this:
The princess comes to hunt here in the park,
And in her train there is a gentle lady;
When tongues speak sweetly, then they name her name,                      [160]
And Rosaline they call her: ask for her;
And to her white hand see thou do commend
This seal'd-up counsel. There's thy guerdon; go.

[Giving him a shilling]

COSTARD: Gardon, O sweet gardon! better than remuneration,
a'leven-pence farthing better: most sweet gardon! I
will do it sir, in print. Gardon! Remuneration!


BEROWNE: And I, forsooth, in love! I, that have been love's whip;
A very beadle to a humorous sigh;
A critic, nay, a night-watch constable;
A domineering pedant o'er the boy;                      [170]
Than whom no mortal so magnificent!
This whimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy;
This senior-junior, giant-dwarf, Dan Cupid;
Regent of love-rhymes, lord of folded arms,
The anointed sovereign of sighs and groans,
Liege of all loiterers and malcontents,
Dread prince of plackets, king of codpieces,
Sole imperator and great general
Of trotting paritors:--O my little heart:--
And I to be a corporal of his field,                      [180]
And wear his colours like a tumbler's hoop!
What, I! I love! I sue! I seek a wife!
A woman, that is like a German clock,
Still a-repairing, ever out of frame,
And never going aright, being a watch,
But being watch'd that it may still go right!
Nay, to be perjured, which is worst of all;
And, among three, to love the worst of all;
A wightly wanton with a velvet brow,
With two pitch-balls stuck in her face for eyes;                      [190]
Ay, and by heaven, one that will do the deed
Though Argus were her eunuch and her guard:
And I to sigh for her! to watch for her!
To pray for her! Go to; it is a plague
That Cupid will impose for my neglect
Of his almighty dreadful little might.
Well, I will love, write, sigh, pray, sue and groan:
Some men must love my lady and some Joan.

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