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SCENE I.-Navarre. A Park, with a Palace in it.
Enter the KING, BIRON, LONGAVILLE, and
King. Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,
And make us heirs of all eternity.
Therefore, brave conquerors!-for so you are,
That are recorded in this schedule here:
Long. I am resolv'd; '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 quite the wits.
Dum. 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.
Biron. I can but say their protestation over;
And but one meal on every day beside,
King. Your oath is pass'd to pass away from these. Biron. Let me say no, my liege, an if you please. I only swore to study with your grace,
And stay here in your court for three years' space. Long. You swore to that, Biron, and to the rest. Biron. By yea, and nay, sir, then I swore in jest. What is the end of study, let me know?
King. Why, that to know which else we should
Biron. Things hid and barr'd, you mean, from common sense?
King. Ay, that is study's god-like recompense. Biron. Come on, then: I will swear to study
To know the thing I am forbid to know;
When I to feast expressly am forbid;
When mistresses from common sense are hid;
King. These be the stops that hinder study quite, And train our intellects to vain delight.
Biron. Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain,
Which, with pain purchas'd, doth inherit pain:
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;
That will not be deep-search'd with saucy looks:
Small have continual plodders ever won,
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.
King. How well he's read, to reason against reading!
Dum. Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding! Long. He weeds the corn, and still lets grow the weeding.
Biron. The spring is near, when green geese are a breeding.
Dum. How follows that?
Biron. Well, say I am: why should proud sum
Before the birds have any cause to sing?
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled shows;
So you, to study now it is too late,
Climb o'er the house to unlock the little gate. King. Well, sit you out: go home, Biron : adieu!
Biron. No, my good lord; I have sworn to stay with you:
And, though I have for barbarism spoke more,
And bide the penance of each three years' day.
Biron. [Reads.] Item, "That no woman shall come within a mile of my court."-Hath this been proclaim'd?
Long. Four days ago.
Biron. Let's see the penalty. [Reads.] "On pain of losing her tongue."-Who devis'd this penalty?
Long. Marry, that did I.
Biron. A dangerous law against gentility!
[Reads.] 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 Aquitain
To her decrepit, sick, and bed-rid father: Therefore, this article is made in vain,
Or vainly comes th' admired princess hither. King. What say you, lords? why, this was quite forgot.
Biron. 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. King. We must of force dispense with this decree:
She must lie here on mere necessity.
Biron. Necessity will make us all forsworn Three thousand times within this three years'
For every man with his affects is born;
Not by might master'd, but by special grace. If I break faith, this word shall speak 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 others, as to me;
King. 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,
For interim to our studies, shall relate
In high-born words the worth of many a knight
Biron. Armado is a most illustrious wight,
A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight. Long. Costard, the swain, and he shall be our
Cost. 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. Biron. For the following, sir?
Cost. As it shall follow in my correction; and God defend the right!
King. Will you hear this letter with attention? Biron. As we would hear an oracle.
Cost. Such is the simplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.
King. No words.
Cost.-of other men's secrets, I beseech you.
King. "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;
King."-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 thy sweet grace's officer, Antony Dull, a man of good repute, carriage, bearing, and estimation."
Dull. Me, an't shall please you: I am Antony Dull.
King. "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 complements of devoted and heart-burning heat of duty,
"DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO."
Biron. This is not so well as I looked for, but the best that ever I heard.
King. Ay, the best for the worst.-But, sirrah, what say you to this?
Cost. Sir, I confess the wench.
King. Did you hear the proclamation?
Cost. I do confess much of the hearing it, but little of the marking of it.
King. It was proclaimed a year's imprisonment to be taken with a wench.
Cost. I was taken with none, sir: I was taken with a damsel.
King. Well, it was proclaimed damsel.
Cost. This was no damsel neither, sir: she was a virgin.
King. It is so varied, too, for it was proclaimed virgin.
Cost. If it were, I deny her virginity: I was taken with a maid.
King. This maid will not serve your turn, sir. Cost. This maid will serve my turn, sir. King. Sir, I will pronounce your sentence: you shall fast a week with bran and water.
Cost. I had rather pray a month with mutton and porridge.
King. And Don Armado shall be your keeper.— My lord Biron, see him deliver'd o'er: And go we, lords, to put in practice that
Which each to other hath so strongly sworn.
[Exeunt KING, Longaville, and DUMAINE. Biron. I'll lay my head to any good man's hat, These oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn.— Sirrah, come on.
Cost. 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 till then, set thee down, sorrow! [Exeunt.
SCENE II.-ARMADO'S House in the Park.
Enter ARMADO and Moтн, his Page. Arm. Boy, what sign is it, when a man of great spirit grows melancholy?
Moth. A great sign, sir, that he will look sad. Arm. Why? sadness is one and the self-same thing, dear imp.
Moth. No, no; O lord! sir, no.
Arm. How canst thou part sadness and melancholy, my tender juvenal?
Moth. By a familiar demonstration of the working, my tough senior.
Arm. Why tough senior? why tough senior? Moth. Why tender juvenal? why tender juvenal? Arm. 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. Arm. Pretty, and apt.
Moth. How mean you, sir? I pretty, and my saying apt; or I apt, and my saying pretty? Arm. Thou pretty, because little.
Moth. Little pretty, because little. Wherefore apt?
Arm. And therefore apt, because quick.
Moth. I will praise an eel with the same praise.
Moth. That an eel is quick.
Arm. I do say, thou art quick in answers. Thou heatest my blood.
Moth. I am answered, sir.
Arm. I love not to be crossed.
Moth. [Aside.] He speaks the mere contrary: crosses love not him?
Arm. I have promised to study three years with the duke.
Moth. You may do it in an hour, sir.
Moth. How many is one thrice told?
Arm. I am ill at reckoning: it fitteth the spirit of a tapster.
Moth. You are a gentleman, and a gamester, sir. Arm. 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.
Arm. It doth amount to one more than two
Moth. Why, sir, is this such a piece of study? Now, here is three studied ere you'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.
Arm. A most fine figure!
Moth. [Aside.] To prove you a cypher.
Arm. 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 thought of it, I would take desire prisoner, and ransom him to any French courtier for a new de