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} Lords, attending on the Princess of France
FERDINAND, king of Navarre.
PRINCESS of France.
Ladies, attending on the Princess.
Officers and others, attendants on the King and
LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST.
Navarre. A Park with a Palace in it.
Enter the KING, BIRON, LONGAVILLE, and
DUMAIN. King. Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives, Live register'd upon our brazen tombs, And then grace us in the disgrace of death ; When, spite of cormorant devouring Time, The endeavour of this present breath may buy That honour, which shall bate his scythe's keen
edge, And make us heirs of all eternity. Therefore, brave conquerors ! — for so you are, That war against your own affections, And the huge army of the world's desires, Our late edict shall strongly stand in force: Navarre shall be the wonder of the world; Our court shall be a little Academe, Still and contemplative in living art. You three, Biron,' Dumain, and Longaville, Have sworn for three years' term to live with me My fellow-scholars, and to keep those statutes,
1 In the old copies this name is uniforınly spelt Beroune, thus giving the proper pronunciation of the French Biron. Of course the verse requires that the accent be ou the last syllable.
That are recorded in this schedule here :
Lon. 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, Dumain is mortified:
Bir. I can but say their protestation over ;
? It evidently refers, not to oaths, but to the preceding clause keep your subscription, or what you have sworn. So that the changing of oaths into outh, or of it into them, is quite unneces sary
King. Your oath is pass’d to pass away from
these. Bir. 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.
Lon. You swore to that, Biron, and to the rest.
Bir. 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
not know. Bir. Things hid and barr’d, you mean, from
common sense ? King. Ay, that is study's god-like recompense.
Bir. Come on, then; I will swear to study so,
King. These be the stops that hinder study quite,
vain, Which, with pain purchas'd, doth inherit pain : As, painfully to pore upon a book, 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 :
3 Dishonestly, treacherously.
So, ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Lon. He weeds the corn, and still lets grow the
weeding Bir. The spring is near, when green geese are
a-breeding Dum. How follows that ? Bir.
Fit in his place and time. Dum. In reason nothing. Bir.
Something then in rhyme King. Biron is like an envious sneaping ® frost, That bites the first-born infants of the spring.
• The meaning is, that when his eye is dazzled, or made weak, by fixing it upon a fairer eye, the latter shall be his heed or guide his lode-star, and give light to him that was blinded by it.
6 Proceed was an academical term for taking a degree; as, to proceed master of arts.
6 That is, nipping. In The Winter's Tale, Act i. sc. 1, we have sneaping winds. To sneap is also to check, to rebuke.