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

Love's Labour's Lost: Act 5, Scene 2d (continued)


MERCADE: God save you, madam!    [730]

PRINCESS: Welcome, Mercade;
But that thou interrupt'st our merriment.

MERCADE: I am sorry, madam; for the news I bring
Is heavy in my tongue. The king your father--

PRINCESS: Dead, for my life!

MERCADE: Even so; my tale is told.

BEROWNE: Worthies, away! the scene begins to cloud.

DON ARMADO: For mine own part, I breathe free breath. I have
seen the day of wrong through the little hole of
discretion, and I will right myself like a soldier.                      [740]

[Exeunt Worthies]

FERDINAND: How fares your majesty?

PRINCESS: Boyet, prepare; I will away tonight.

FERDINAND: Madam, not so; I do beseech you, stay.

PRINCESS: Prepare, I say. I thank you, gracious lords,
For all your fair endeavors; and entreat,
Out of a new-sad soul, that you vouchsafe
In your rich wisdom to excuse or hide
The liberal opposition of our spirits,
If over-boldly we have borne ourselves
In the converse of breath: your gentleness                      [750]
Was guilty of it. Farewell worthy lord!
A heavy heart bears not a nimble tongue:
Excuse me so, coming too short of thanks
For my great suit so easily obtain'd.

FERDINAND: The extreme parts of time extremely forms
All causes to the purpose of his speed,
And often at his very loose decides
That which long process could not arbitrate:
And though the mourning brow of progeny
Forbid the smiling courtesy of love                      [760]
The holy suit which fain it would convince,
Yet, since love's argument was first on foot,
Let not the cloud of sorrow justle it
From what it purposed; since, to wail friends lost
Is not by much so wholesome-profitable
As to rejoice at friends but newly found.

PRINCESS: I understand you not: my griefs are double.

BEROWNE: Honest plain words best pierce the ear of grief;
And by these badges understand the king.
For your fair sakes have we neglected time,                      [770]
Play'd foul play with our oaths: your beauty, ladies,
Hath much deform'd us, fashioning our humours
Even to the opposed end of our intents:
And what in us hath seem'd ridiculous,--
As love is full of unbefitting strains,
All wanton as a child, skipping and vain,
Form'd by the eye and therefore, like the eye,
Full of strange shapes, of habits and of forms,
Varying in subjects as the eye doth roll
To every varied object in his glance:                      [780]
Which parti-coated presence of loose love
Put on by us, if, in your heavenly eyes,
Have misbecomed our oaths and gravities,
Those heavenly eyes, that look into these faults,
Suggested us to make. Therefore, ladies,
Our love being yours, the error that love makes
Is likewise yours: we to ourselves prove false,
By being once false for ever to be true
To those that make us both,--fair ladies, you:
And even that falsehood, in itself a sin,                      [790]
Thus purifies itself and turns to grace.

PRINCESS: We have received your letters full of love;
Your favours, the ambassadors of love;
And, in our maiden council, rated them
At courtship, pleasant jest and courtesy,
As bombast and as lining to the time:
But more devout than this in our respects
Have we not been; and therefore met your loves
In their own fashion, like a merriment.

DUMAIN: Our letters, madam, show'd much more than jest.    [800]

LONGAVILLE: So did our looks.

ROSALINE:            We did not quote them so.

FERDINAND: Now, at the latest minute of the hour,
Grant us your loves.

PRINCESS: A time, methinks, too short
To make a world-without-end bargain in.
No, no, my lord, your grace is perjured much,
Full of dear guiltiness; and therefore this:
If for my love, as there is no such cause,
You will do aught, this shall you do for me:
Your oath I will not trust; but go with speed                      [810]
To some forlorn and naked hermitage,
Remote from all the pleasures of the world;
There stay until the twelve celestial signs
Have brought about the annual reckoning.
If this austere insociable life
Change not your offer made in heat of blood;
If frosts and fasts, hard lodging and thin weeds
Nip not the gaudy blossoms of your love,
But that it bear this trial and last love;
Then, at the expiration of the year,                      [820]
Come challenge me, challenge me by these deserts,
And, by this virgin palm now kissing thine
I will be thine; and till that instant shut
My woeful self up in a mourning house,
Raining the tears of lamentation
For the remembrance of my father's death.
If this thou do deny, let our hands part,
Neither entitled in the other's heart.

FERDINAND: If this, or more than this, I would deny,
To flatter up these powers of mine with rest,                      [830]
The sudden hand of death close up mine eye!
Hence ever then my heart is in thy breast.

BEROWNE: [And what to me, my love? and what to me?

ROSALINE: You must be purged too, your sins are rack'd,
You are attaint with faults and perjury:
Therefore if you my favour mean to get,
A twelvemonth shall you spend, and never rest,
But seek the weary beds of people sick]

DUMAIN: But what to me, my love? but what to me? A wife?

KATHARINE: A beard, fair health, and honesty;
With three-fold love I wish you all these three.                      [840]

DUMAIN: O, shall I say, I thank you, gentle wife?

KATHARINE: Not so, my lord; a twelvemonth and a day
I'll mark no words that smooth-faced wooers say:
Come when the king doth to my lady come;
Then, if I have much love, I'll give you some.

DUMAIN: I'll serve thee true and faithfully till then.

KATHARINE: Yet swear not, lest ye be forsworn again.

LONGAVILLE: What says Maria?

MARIA:            At the twelvemonth's end
I'll change my black gown for a faithful friend.                      [850]

LONGAVILLE: I'll stay with patience; but the time is long.

MARIA: The liker you; few taller are so young.

BEROWNE: Studies my lady? mistress, look on me;
Behold the window of my heart, mine eye,
What humble suit attends thy answer there:
Impose some service on me for thy love.

ROSALINE: Oft have I heard of you, my Lord Berowne,
Before I saw you; and the world's large tongue
Proclaims you for a man replete with mocks,
Full of comparisons and wounding flouts,                      [860]
Which you on all estates will execute
That lie within the mercy of your wit.
To weed this wormwood from your fruitful brain,
And therewithal to win me, if you please,
Without the which I am not to be won,
You shall this twelvemonth term from day to day
Visit the speechless sick and still converse
With groaning wretches; and your task shall be,
With all the fierce endeavor of your wit
To enforce the pained impotent to smile.                      [870]

BEROWNE: To move wild laughter in the throat of death?
It cannot be; it is impossible:
Mirth cannot move a soul in agony.

ROSALINE: Why, that's the way to choke a gibing spirit,
Whose influence is begot of that loose grace
Which shallow laughing hearers give to fools:
A jest's prosperity lies in the ear
Of him that hears it, never in the tongue
Of him that makes it: then, if sickly ears,
Deaf'd with the clamours of their own dear groans,                      [880]
Will hear your idle scorns, continue then,
And I will have you and that fault withal;
But if they will not, throw away that spirit,
And I shall find you empty of that fault,
Right joyful of your reformation.

BEROWNE: A twelvemonth! well; befall what will befall,
I'll jest a twelvemonth in an hospital.

PRINCESS: [To FERDINAND] Ay, sweet my lord; and so I take my leave.

FERDINAND: No, madam; we will bring you on your way.    [890]

BEROWNE: Our wooing doth not end like an old play;
Jack hath not Jill: these ladies' courtesy
Might well have made our sport a comedy.

FERDINAND: Come, sir, it wants a twelvemonth and a day,
And then 'twill end.

BEROWNE: That's too long for a play.

[Re-enter DON ARMADO]

DON ARMADO: Sweet majesty, vouchsafe me,--

PRINCESS: Was not that Hector?

DUMAIN: The worthy knight of Troy.

DON ARMADO: I will kiss thy royal finger, and take leave. I am    [900]
a votary; I have vowed to Jaquenetta to hold the
plough for her sweet love three years. But, most
esteemed greatness, will you hear the dialogue that
the two learned men have compiled in praise of the
owl and the cuckoo? It should have followed in the
end of our show.

FERDINAND: Call them forth quickly; we will do so.

DON ARMADO: Holla! approach.

and others]

This side is Hiems, Winter, this Ver, the Spring;
the one maintained by the owl, the other by the                      [910]
cuckoo. Ver, begin.


When daisies pied and violets blue
And lady-smocks all silver-white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he, : Cuckoo;
Cuckoo, cuckoo: O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!                      [920]

When shepherds pipe on oaten straws
And merry larks are ploughmen's clocks,
When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws,
And maidens bleach their summer smocks
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he, : Cuckoo;
Cuckoo, cuckoo: O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!

When icicles hang by the wall                      [930]
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail
And Tom bears logs into the hall
And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp'd and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl, : Tu-whit;
Tu-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow
And coughing drowns the parson's saw
And birds sit brooding in the snow                      [940]
And Marian's nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl, : Tu-whit;
Tu-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

DON ARMADO: The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of
Apollo. You that way: we this way.

Previous page | Table of Contents
This page last updated April 24, 1997. Enquiries to Michael Best,