Love's Labour's Lost: Act 5, Scene 2a

Love's Labour's Lost: Act 5, Scene 2a


PRINCESS: Sweet hearts, we shall be rich ere we depart,
If fairings come thus plentifully in:
A lady wall'd about with diamonds!
Look you what I have from the loving king.

ROSALINE: Madame, came nothing else along with that?

PRINCESS: Nothing but this! yes, as much love in rhyme
As would be cramm'd up in a sheet of paper,
Writ o' both sides the leaf, margent and all,
That he was fain to seal on Cupid's name.

ROSALINE: That was the way to make his godhead wax,    [10]
For he hath been five thousand years a boy.

KATHARINE: Ay, and a shrewd unhappy gallows too.

ROSALINE: You'll ne'er be friends with him; a' kill'd your sister.

KATHARINE: He made her melancholy, sad, and heavy;
And so she died: had she been light, like you,
Of such a merry, nimble, stirring spirit,
She might ha' been a grandam ere she died:
And so may you; for a light heart lives long.

ROSALINE: What's your dark meaning, mouse, of this light word?

KATHARINE: A light condition in a beauty dark.    [20]

ROSALINE: We need more light to find your meaning out.

KATHARINE: You'll mar the light by taking it in snuff;
Therefore I'll darkly end the argument.

ROSALINE: Look what you do, you do it still i' the dark.

KATHARINE: So do not you, for you are a light wench.

ROSALINE: Indeed I weigh not you, and therefore light.

KATHARINE: You weigh me not? O, that's you care not for me.

ROSALINE: Great reason; for 'past cure is still past care.'

PRINCESS: Well bandied both; a set of wit well play'd.
But Rosaline, you have a favour too:                      [30]
Who sent it? and what is it?

ROSALINE: I would you knew:
An if my face were but as fair as yours,
My favour were as great; be witness this.
Nay, I have verses too, I thank Berowne:
The numbers true; and, were the numbering too,
I were the fairest goddess on the ground:
I am compared to twenty thousand fairs.
O, he hath drawn my picture in his letter!

PRINCESS: Any thing like?    [40]

ROSALINE: Much in the letters; nothing in the praise.

PRINCESS: Beauteous as ink; a good conclusion.

KATHARINE: Fair as a text B in a copy-book.

ROSALINE: 'Ware pencils, ho! let me not die your debtor,
My red dominical, my golden letter:
O, that your face were not so full of O's!

KATHARINE: A pox of that jest! and I beshrew all shrows.

PRINCESS: But, Katharine, what was sent to you from fair Dumain?

KATHARINE: Madam, this glove.

PRINCESS:            Did he not send you twain?

KATHARINE: Yes, madam, and moreover    [50]
Some thousand verses of a faithful lover,
A huge translation of hypocrisy,
Vilely compiled, profound simplicity.

MARIA: This and these pearls to me sent Longaville:
The letter is too long by half a mile.

PRINCESS: I think no less. Dost thou not wish in heart
The chain were longer and the letter short?

MARIA: Ay, or I would these hands might never part.

PRINCESS: We are wise girls to mock our lovers so.

ROSALINE: They are worse fools to purchase mocking so.    [60]
That same Berowne I'll torture ere I go:
O that I knew he were but in by the week!
How I would make him fawn and beg and seek
And wait the season and observe the times
And spend his prodigal wits in bootless rhymes
And shape his service wholly to my hests
And make him proud to make me proud that jests!
So perttaunt-like would I o'ersway his state
That he should be my fool and I his fate.

PRINCESS: None are so surely caught, when they are catch'd,    [70]
As wit turn'd fool: folly, in wisdom hatch'd,
Hath wisdom's warrant and the help of school
And wit's own grace to grace a learned fool.

ROSALINE: The blood of youth burns not with such excess
As gravity's revolt to wantonness.

MARIA: Folly in fools bears not so strong a note
As foolery in the wise, when wit doth dote;
Since all the power thereof it doth apply
To prove, by wit, worth in simplicity.

PRINCESS: Here comes Boyet, and mirth is in his face.    [80]

[Enter BOYET]

BOYET: O, I am stabb'd with laughter! Where's her grace?

PRINCESS: Thy news Boyet?

BOYET:            Prepare, madam, prepare!
Arm, wenches, arm! encounters mounted are
Against your peace: Love doth approach disguised,
Armed in arguments; you'll be surprised:
Muster your wits; stand in your own defence;
Or hide your heads like cowards, and fly hence.

PRINCESS: Saint Denis to Saint Cupid! What are they
That charge their breath against us? say, scout, say.                      [90]

BOYET: Under the cool shade of a sycamore
I thought to close mine eyes some half an hour;
When, lo! to interrupt my purposed rest,
Toward that shade I might behold addrest
The king and his companions: warily
I stole into a neighbour thicket by,
And overheard what you shall overhear,
That, by and by, disguised they will be here.
Their herald is a pretty knavish page,
That well by heart hath conn'd his embassage:                      [100]
Action and accent did they teach him there;
'Thus must thou speak,' and 'thus thy body bear:'
And ever and anon they made a doubt
Presence majestical would put him out,
'For,' quoth the king, 'an angel shalt thou see;
Yet fear not thou, but speak audaciously.'
The boy replied, 'An angel is not evil;
I should have fear'd her had she been a devil.'
With that, all laugh'd and clapp'd him on the shoulder,
Making the bold wag by their praises bolder:                      [110]
One rubb'd his elbow thus, and fleer'd and swore
A better speech was never spoke before;
Another, with his finger and his thumb,
Cried, 'Via! we will do't, come what will come;'
The third he caper'd, and cried, 'All goes well;'
The fourth turn'd on the toe, and down he fell.
With that, they all did tumble on the ground,
With such a zealous laughter, so profound,
That in this spleen ridiculous appears,
To cheque their folly, passion's solemn tears.                      [120]

PRINCESS: But what, but what, come they to visit us?

BOYET: They do, they do: and are apparell'd thus.
Like Muscovites or Russians, as I guess.
Their purpose is to parle, to court and dance;
And every one his love-feat will advance
Unto his several mistress, which they'll know
By favours several which they did bestow.

PRINCESS: And will they so? the gallants shall be task'd;
For, ladies, we shall every one be mask'd;
And not a man of them shall have the grace,                      [130]
Despite of suit, to see a lady's face.
Hold, Rosaline, this favour thou shalt wear,
And then the king will court thee for his dear;
Hold, take thou this, my sweet, and give me thine,
So shall Berowne take me for Rosaline.
And change your favours too; so shall your loves
Woo contrary, deceived by these removes.

ROSALINE: Come on, then; wear the favours most in sight.

KATHARINE: But in this changing what is your intent?

PRINCESS: The effect of my intent is to cross theirs:    [140]
They do it but in mocking merriment;
And mock for mock is only my intent.
Their several counsels they unbosom shall
To loves mistook, and so be mock'd withal
Upon the next occasion that we meet,
With visages displayed, to talk and greet.

ROSALINE: But shall we dance, if they desire to't?

PRINCESS: No, to the death, we will not move a foot;
Nor to their penn'd speech render we no grace,
But while 'tis spoke each turn away her face.                      [150]

BOYET: Why, that contempt will kill the speaker's heart,
And quite divorce his memory from his part.

PRINCESS: Therefore I do it; and I make no doubt
The rest will ne'er come in, if he be out
There's no such sport as sport by sport o'erthrown,
To make theirs ours and ours none but our own:
So shall we stay, mocking intended game,
And they, well mock'd, depart away with shame.

[Trumpets sound within]

BOYET: The trumpet sounds: be mask'd; the maskers come.

[The Ladies mask]

[Enter Blackamoors with music; MOTH; FERDINAND,
BEROWNE, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAIN, in Russian habits,                      [160]
and masked]

MOTH: All hail, the richest beauties on the earth!--

BOYET: Beauties no richer than rich taffeta.

MOTH: A holy parcel of the fairest dames.

[The Ladies turn their backs to him]

That ever turn'd their--backs--to mortal views!

BEROWNE: [Aside to MOTH] Their eyes, villain, their eyes!

MOTH: That ever turn'd their eyes to mortal views!--Out--

BOYET: True; out indeed.

MOTH: Out of your favours, heavenly spirits, vouchsafe
Not to behold--                      [170]

BEROWNE: [Aside to MOTH] Once to behold, rogue.

MOTH: Once to behold with your sun-beamed eyes,
--with your sun-beamed eyes--

BOYET: They will not answer to that epithet;
You were best call it 'daughter-beamed eyes.'

MOTH: They do not mark me, and that brings me out.

BEROWNE: Is this your perfectness? be gone, you rogue!

[Exit MOTH]

ROSALINE: What would these strangers? know their minds, Boyet:
If they do speak our language, 'tis our will:
That some plain man recount their purposes                      [180]
Know what they would.

BOYET: What would you with the princess?

BEROWNE: Nothing but peace and gentle visitation.

ROSALINE: What would they, say they?

BOYET: Nothing but peace and gentle visitation.

ROSALINE: Why, that they have; and bid them so be gone.

BOYET: She says, you have it, and you may be gone.

FERDINAND: Say to her, we have measured many miles
To tread a measure with her on this grass.

BOYET: They say, that they have measured many a mile    [190]
To tread a measure with you on this grass.

ROSALINE: It is not so. Ask them how many inches
Is in one mile: if they have measured many,
The measure then of one is easily told.

BOYET: If to come hither you have measured miles,
And many miles, the princess bids you tell
How many inches doth fill up one mile.

BEROWNE: Tell her, we measure them by weary steps.

BOYET: She hears herself.

ROSALINE:            How many weary steps,
Of many weary miles you have o'ergone,                      [200]
Are number'd in the travel of one mile?

BEROWNE: We number nothing that we spend for you:
Our duty is so rich, so infinite,
That we may do it still without accompt.
Vouchsafe to show the sunshine of your face,
That we, like savages, may worship it.

ROSALINE: My face is but a moon, and clouded too.

FERDINAND: Blessed are clouds, to do as such clouds do!
Vouchsafe, bright moon, and these thy stars, to shine,
Those clouds removed, upon our watery eyne.                      [210]

ROSALINE: O vain petitioner! beg a greater matter;
Thou now request'st but moonshine in the water.

FERDINAND: Then, in our measure do but vouchsafe one change.
Thou bid'st me beg: this begging is not strange.

ROSALINE: Play, music, then! Nay, you must do it soon.

[Music plays]

Not yet! no dance! Thus change I like the moon.

FERDINAND: Will you not dance? How come you thus estranged?

ROSALINE: You took the moon at full, but now she's changed.

FERDINAND: Yet still she is the moon, and I the man.
The music plays; vouchsafe some motion to it.                      [220]

ROSALINE: Our ears vouchsafe it.

FERDINAND: But your legs should do it.

ROSALINE: Since you are strangers and come here by chance,
We'll not be nice: take hands. We will not dance.

FERDINAND: Why take we hands, then?

ROSALINE: Only to part friends:
Curtsy, sweet hearts; and so the measure ends.

FERDINAND: More measure of this measure; be not nice.

ROSALINE: We can afford no more at such a price.

FERDINAND: Prize you yourselves: what buys your company?    [230]

ROSALINE: Your absence only.

FERDINAND:            That can never be.

ROSALINE: Then cannot we be bought: and so, adieu;
Twice to your visor, and half once to you.

FERDINAND: If you deny to dance, let's hold more chat.

ROSALINE: In private, then.

FERDINAND:            I am best pleased with that.

[They converse apart]

BEROWNE: White-handed mistress, one sweet word with thee.

PRINCESS: Honey, and milk, and sugar; there is three.

BEROWNE: Nay then, two treys, and if you grow so nice,
Metheglin, wort, and malmsey: well run, dice!
There's half-a-dozen sweets.                      [240]

PRINCESS: Seventh sweet, adieu:
Since you can cog, I'll play no more with you.

BEROWNE: One word in secret.

PRINCESS: Let it not be sweet.

BEROWNE: Thou grievest my gall.

PRINCESS: Gall! bitter.

BEROWNE: Therefore meet.

[They converse apart]

DUMAIN: Will you vouchsafe with me to change a word?

MARIA: Name it.

DUMAIN:      Fair lady,--

MARIA: Say you so? Fair lord,--    [250]
Take that for your fair lady.

DUMAIN: Please it you,
As much in private, and I'll bid adieu.

[They converse apart]

KATHARINE: What, was your vizard made without a tongue?

LONGAVILLE: I know the reason, lady, why you ask.

KATHARINE: O for your reason! quickly, sir; I long.

LONGAVILLE: You have a double tongue within your mask,
And would afford my speechless vizard half.

KATHARINE: Veal, quoth the Dutchman. Is not 'veal' a calf?

LONGAVILLE: A calf, fair lady!    [260]

KATHARINE:            No, a fair lord calf.

LONGAVILLE: Let's part the word.

KATHARINE: No, I'll not be your half
Take all, and wean it; it may prove an ox.

LONGAVILLE: Look, how you butt yourself in these sharp mocks!
Will you give horns, chaste lady? do not so.

KATHARINE: Then die a calf, before your horns do grow.

LONGAVILLE: One word in private with you, ere I die.

KATHARINE: Bleat softly then; the butcher hears you cry.

[They converse apart]

BOYET: The tongues of mocking wenches are as keen
As is the razor's edge invisible,                      [270]
Cutting a smaller hair than may be seen,
Above the sense of sense; so sensible
Seemeth their conference; their conceits have wings
Fleeter than arrows, bullets, wind, thought, swifter things.

ROSALINE: Not one word more, my maids; break off, break off.

BEROWNE: By heaven, all dry-beaten with pure scoff!

FERDINAND: Farewell, mad wenches; you have simple wits.

PRINCESS: Twenty adieus, my frozen Muscovits.

[Exeunt FERDINAND, Lords, and Blackamoors]

Are these the breed of wits so wonder'd at?

BOYET: Tapers they are, with your sweet breaths puff'd out.    [280]

ROSALINE: Well-liking wits they have; gross, gross; fat, fat.

PRINCESS: O poverty in wit, kingly-poor flout!
Will they not, think you, hang themselves tonight?
Or ever, but in vizards, show their faces?
This pert Berowne was out of countenance quite.

ROSALINE: O, they were all in lamentable cases!
The king was weeping-ripe for a good word.

PRINCESS: Berowne did swear himself out of all suit.

MARIA: Dumain was at my service, and his sword:
No point, quoth I; my servant straight was mute.                      [290]

KATHARINE: Lord Longaville said, I came o'er his heart;
And trow you what he called me?

PRINCESS: Qualm, perhaps.

KATHARINE: Yes, in good faith.

PRINCESS: Go, sickness as thou art!

ROSALINE: Well, better wits have worn plain statute-caps.
But will you hear? the king is my love sworn.

PRINCESS: And quick Berowne hath plighted faith to me.

KATHARINE: And Longaville was for my service born.

MARIA: Dumain is mine, as sure as bark on tree.    [300]

BOYET: Madam, and pretty mistresses, give ear:
Immediately they will again be here
In their own shapes; for it can never be
They will digest this harsh indignity.

PRINCESS: Will they return?

BOYET:            They will, they will, God knows,
And leap for joy, though they are lame with blows:
Therefore change favours; and, when they repair,
Blow like sweet roses in this summer air.

PRINCESS: How blow? how blow? speak to be understood.    [310]

BOYET: Fair ladies mask'd are roses in their bud;
Dismask'd, their damask sweet commixture shown,
Are angels vailing clouds, or roses blown.

PRINCESS: Avaunt, perplexity! What shall we do,
If they return in their own shapes to woo?

ROSALINE: Good madam, if by me you'll be advised,
Let's, mock them still, as well known as disguised:
Let us complain to them what fools were here,
Disguised like Muscovites, in shapeless gear;
And wonder what they were and to what end                      [320]
Their shallow shows and prologue vilely penn'd
And their rough carriage so ridiculous,
Should be presented at our tent to us.

BOYET: Ladies, withdraw: the gallants are at hand.

PRINCESS: Whip to our tents, as roes run o'er land.


[The scene continues . . .]

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