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existing work. Its incidents, however, are so simple, and in such entire conformity with the chivalric and romantic feeling of the sixteenth century, that they would readily present themselves to any mind imbued with the fashionable literature of the day.” Stevens, and one or two others, are not so ready to relinquish the idea of some possible original. Mr. Collier has stated the substance of their conjectures, on the probability of which the reader will judge for himself. After stating Coleridge's conviction that “the internal evidence was indisputable that this was one of Shakespeare's earliest dramas," and that the characters were such as he might have impersonated from his own mind and schoolboy observation, Mr. Collier adds:
" The only objection to this theory is, that at the time Love's Labour's Lost was composed, the author seems to have been acquainted in some degree with the nature of the Italian comic performances; but this acquaintance he might have acquired comparatively early in life. The character of Armado is that of a Spanish braggart, very much such a personage as was common on the Italian stage, and figures in ‘Gl’ Ingannati,' (which, as the Rev. Joseph Hunter was the first to point out, Shakespeare saw before he wrote his Twelfth Night,) under the name of Giglio. In the same comedy we have M. Piero Pedante, a not unusual character in pieces of that description. Holofernes is repeatedly called the ‘Pedant' in the old copies of Love's Labour's Lost, while Armado is more frequently introduced as the 'Braggart' than by his name. Stevens, after stating that he had not been able to discover any novel from which this comedy had been derived, adds that the story has most of the features of an ancient romance ;' but it is not at all impossible that Shakespeare found some corresponding incidents in an Italian play. However, after a long search, I have not met with any such production ; although, if used by Shakespeare, it most likely came into England in a printed form.”
FERDINAND, KING of NAVARRE.
Lords, attending on the PRINCESS of FRANCE
PRINCESS of FRANCE.
Ladies, attending on the PRINCESS.
Officers and others, Attendants on the KING and PRINCESS
SCENE I.--Navarre. A Park, with a Palace in it. Enter the King, Biron, LONGAVILLE, and
DUMAINE. 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, Th' 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 agaiust 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, Dumaine, and Longaville, Have sworn for three years' term to live with me, My fellow-scholars, and to keep those statutes,
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 pipe : Fat paunches bave 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,
Biron. Well, say I am: why should proud sumThe which, I hope, is not enrolled there :
mer boast, And then, to sleep but three hours in the night,
Before the birds have any cause to sing ? And not to be seen to wink of all the day,
Why should I joy in any abortive birth? When I was wont to think no harm all night,
At Christmas I no more desire a rose,
But like of each thing that in season grows.
Climb o'er the house to unlock the little gate. King. Your oath is pass’d to pass away from these. King. Well, sit you out: go home, Birop: Biron. Let me say no, my liege, an if you please.
adieu! I only swore to study with your grace,
Biron. No, my good lord; I have sworn to stay Ind stay here in your court for three years' space.
Long. You swore to that, Biron, and to the rest. And, though I have for barbarism spoke more, Biron. By yea, and nay, sir, then I swore in jest.
Than for that angel knowledge you can say, What is the end of study, let me know?
Yet confident I'll keep what I have swore, King. Why, that to know which else we should And bide the penance of each three years' day. not know.
Give me the paper: let me read the same; Biron. Things hid and barr’d, you mean, from
And to the strictst decrees I'll write my name. common sense?
King: How well this yielding rescues thee from King. Ay, that is study's god-like recompense.
shame! Biron. Come on, then: I will swear to study Biron. [Reads.] Item, “That no woman shall
come within a mile of my court."—Hath this been To know the thing I am forbid to know;
proclaim'd ? As thus,-to study where I well may dine,
Long. Four days ago. When I to feast expressly am forbid;
Biron. Let's see the penalty. [Reads.] "On Or study where to meet some mistress fine,
pain of losing her tongue."—Who devis'd this When mistresses from common sense are hid; penalty ? Or, having sworn too hard-a-keeping oath,
Long. Marry, that did I. Study to break it, and not break my troth.
Sweet lord, and why? If study's gain be thus, and this be so,
Long. To fright them hence with that dread Study knows that which yet it doth not know.
penalty. Swear me to this, and I will ne'er say no.
Biron. A dangerous law against gentility! King. These be the stops that hinder study quite, [Reads.] Item, “If any man be seen to talk with And train our intellects to vain delight.
a woman within the term of three years, he shall Biron. Why, all delights are vain; but that most endure such public shame as the rest of the court vain,
can possibly devise.”Which, with pain purchas’d, doth inherit pain: This article, my liege, yourself must break; As painfully to pore upon a book,
For, well you know, here comes in embassy
Therefore, this article is made in vain,
Or vainly comes th' admired princess hither. Who dazzling so, that eye shall be his beed,
King. What say you, lords ? why, this was quite And give him light that it was blinded by.
forgot. Study is like the heaven's glorious sun,
Biron. So study evermore is overshot: That will not be deep-search'd with saucy looks: While it doth study to have what it would, Small have continual plodders ever won,
It doth forget to do the thing it should; Save base authority from others' books.
And when it hath the thing it hunteth most, These earthly godfathers of heaven's lights,
'Tis won, as towns with fire; so won, so lost. That give a name to every fixed star,
King. We must of force dispense with this Have no more profit of their shining nights,
decree : Than those that walk, and wot not what they are. She must lie here on mere necessity. Too much to know is to know nought but fame; Biron. Necessity will make us all forsworn And every godfather can give a name.
Three thousand times within this three years' King. How well he's read, to reason against
For every man with his affects is born; Dum. Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding!
Not by might master'd, but by special grace. Long. He weeds the corn, and still lets grow the
If I break faith, this word shall speak for me, weeding.
I am forsworn on mere necessity.-Biron. The spring is near, when green geese are
So to the laws at large I write my name; a breeding.
[Subscribes. Dum. How follows that?
And he, that breaks them in the least degree, Biron.
Fit in his place and time. Stands in attainder of eternal shame. Dum. In reason nothing.
Suggestions are to others, as to me; Biron.
Something, then, in rhyme. But, I believe, although I seem so loth, King. Biron is like an envious sneaping frost, I am the last that will last keep his oath.
That bites the first-born infants of the spring. But is there no quick recreation granted ?
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,
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain :
Doth ravish like enchanting harmony;
Have chose as umpire of their mutiny:
For interim to our studies, shall relate
From tawny Spain, lost in the world's debate.
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
sport; And so to study, three years is but short.
Enter Dull, with a letter, and Costard. Dull. Which is the duke's own person? Biron. This, fellow. What would'st ?
Dull. I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his grace's tharborough: but I would see his own person in flesh and blood.
Biron. This is he.
Dull. Signior Arm-Arm-commends you. There's villainy abroad; this letter will tell you more.
Cost. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me.
King. A letter from the magnificent Armado.
Biron. How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.
Long. A high hope for a low having: God grant us patience!
Biron. To bear, or forbear hearing ?
Long. To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately; or to forbear both.
Biron. Well, sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to climb in the merriness.
Cost. The matter is to me, sir, as concerning Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.
Biron. In what manner ?
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. [Reads.) Great deputy, the welkin's vicegerent, and sole dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's God, and body's fostering patron,
Cost. Not a word of Costard yet.
Cost. It may be so; but if he say it is so, he is, in telling true, but so,
Cost. —be to me, and every man that dares pot fight. 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;