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Love’s Labor’s Lost
Act 2, scene 1

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Scene 1
Enter the Princess of France, with three attending
Ladies (Rosaline, Maria, and Katherine), Boyet
and other Lords.


BOYET 
 Now, madam, summon up your dearest spirits.
 Consider who the King your father sends,
 To whom he sends, and what’s his embassy.
 Yourself, held precious in the world’s esteem,
5 To parley with the sole inheritor
 Of all perfections that a man may owe,
 Matchless Navarre; the plea of no less weight
 Than Aquitaine, a dowry for a queen.
 Be now as prodigal of all dear grace
10 As nature was in making graces dear
 When she did starve the general world besides
 And prodigally gave them all to you.
PRINCESS 
 Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,
 Needs not the painted flourish of your praise.
15 Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye,
 Not uttered by base sale of chapmen’s tongues.
 I am less proud to hear you tell my worth
 Than you much willing to be counted wise
 In spending your wit in the praise of mine.
20 But now to task the tasker: good Boyet,
41

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Love’s Labor’s Lost
ACT 2. SC. 1

 You are not ignorant all-telling fame
 Doth noise abroad Navarre hath made a vow,
 Till painful study shall outwear three years,
 No woman may approach his silent court.
25 Therefore to ’s seemeth it a needful course,
 Before we enter his forbidden gates,
 To know his pleasure, and in that behalf,
 Bold of your worthiness, we single you
 As our best-moving fair solicitor.
30 Tell him the daughter of the King of France
 On serious business craving quick dispatch,
 Importunes personal conference with his Grace.
 Haste, signify so much, while we attend,
 Like humble-visaged suitors, his high will.
BOYET 
35 Proud of employment, willingly I go.
PRINCESS 
 All pride is willing pride, and yours is so.
Boyet exits.
 Who are the votaries, my loving lords,
 That are vow-fellows with this virtuous duke?
A LORD 
 Lord Longaville is one.
PRINCESS 40 Know you the man?
MARIA 
 I know him, madam. At a marriage feast
 Between Lord Perigort and the beauteous heir
 Of Jaques Falconbridge, solemnizèd
 In Normandy, saw I this Longaville.
45 A man of sovereign parts he is esteemed,
 Well fitted in arts, glorious in arms.
 Nothing becomes him ill that he would well.
 The only soil of his fair virtue’s gloss,
 If virtue’s gloss will stain with any soil,
50 Is a sharp wit matched with too blunt a will,
 Whose edge hath power to cut, whose will still wills
 It should none spare that come within his power.

45
Love’s Labor’s Lost
ACT 2. SC. 1

PRINCESS 
 Some merry mocking lord, belike. Is ’t so?
MARIA 
 They say so most that most his humors know.
PRINCESS 
55 Such short-lived wits do wither as they grow.
 Who are the rest?
KATHERINE 
 The young Dumaine, a well-accomplished youth,
 Of all that virtue love for virtue loved.
 Most power to do most harm, least knowing ill;
60 For he hath wit to make an ill shape good,
 And shape to win grace though he had no wit.
 I saw him at the Duke Alanson’s once,
 And much too little of that good I saw
 Is my report to his great worthiness.
ROSALINE 
65 Another of these students at that time
 Was there with him, if I have heard a truth.
 Berowne they call him, but a merrier man,
 Within the limit of becoming mirth,
 I never spent an hour’s talk withal.
70 His eye begets occasion for his wit,
 For every object that the one doth catch
 The other turns to a mirth-moving jest,
 Which his fair tongue, conceit’s expositor,
 Delivers in such apt and gracious words
75 That agèd ears play truant at his tales,
 And younger hearings are quite ravishèd,
 So sweet and voluble is his discourse.
PRINCESS 
 God bless my ladies, are they all in love,
 That every one her own hath garnishèd
80 With such bedecking ornaments of praise?
A LORD 
 Here comes Boyet.

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Love’s Labor’s Lost
ACT 2. SC. 1

Enter Boyet.

PRINCESS  Now, what admittance, lord?
BOYET 
 Navarre had notice of your fair approach,
 And he and his competitors in oath
85 Were all addressed to meet you, gentle lady,
 Before I came. Marry, thus much I have learned:
 He rather means to lodge you in the field,
 Like one that comes here to besiege his court,
 Than seek a dispensation for his oath
90 To let you enter his unpeopled house.

Enter King of Navarre, Longaville, Dumaine, and
Berowne.


 Here comes Navarre.
KING Fair Princess, welcome to the court of Navarre.
PRINCESS “Fair” I give you back again, and “welcome”
 I have not yet. The roof of this court is too
95 high to be yours, and welcome to the wide fields too
 base to be mine.
KING 
 You shall be welcome, madam, to my court.
PRINCESS 
 I will be welcome, then. Conduct me thither.
KING 
 Hear me, dear lady. I have sworn an oath.
PRINCESS 
100 Our Lady help my lord! He’ll be forsworn.
KING 
 Not for the world, fair madam, by my will.
PRINCESS 
 Why, will shall break it, will and nothing else.
KING 
 Your Ladyship is ignorant what it is.

49
Love’s Labor’s Lost
ACT 2. SC. 1

PRINCESS 
 Were my lord so, his ignorance were wise,
105 Where now his knowledge must prove ignorance.
 I hear your Grace hath sworn out housekeeping.
 ’Tis deadly sin to keep that oath, my lord,
 And sin to break it.
 But pardon me, I am too sudden bold.
110 To teach a teacher ill beseemeth me.
 Vouchsafe to read the purpose of my coming,
 And suddenly resolve me in my suit.
She gives him a paper.
KING 
 Madam, I will, if suddenly I may.
PRINCESS 
 You will the sooner that I were away,
115 For you’ll prove perjured if you make me stay.
They walk aside while the King reads the paper.
BEROWNE, to Rosaline 
 Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?
ROSALINE 
 Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?
BEROWNE 
 I know you did.
ROSALINE  How needless was it then
120 To ask the question.
BEROWNE  You must not be so quick.
ROSALINE 
 ’Tis long of you that spur me with such questions.
BEROWNE 
 Your wit’s too hot, it speeds too fast; ’twill tire.
ROSALINE 
 Not till it leave the rider in the mire.
BEROWNE 
125 What time o’ day?
ROSALINE  The hour that fools should ask.
BEROWNE Now fair befall your mask.

51
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ACT 2. SC. 1

ROSALINE Fair fall the face it covers.
BEROWNE And send you many lovers.
ROSALINE 130Amen, so you be none.
BEROWNE Nay, then, will I be gone.
KING, coming forward with the Princess 
 Madam, your father here doth intimate
 The payment of a hundred thousand crowns,
 Being but the one half of an entire sum
135 Disbursèd by my father in his wars.
 But say that he or we, as neither have,
 Received that sum, yet there remains unpaid
 A hundred thousand more, in surety of the which
 One part of Aquitaine is bound to us,
140 Although not valued to the money’s worth.
 If then the King your father will restore
 But that one half which is unsatisfied,
 We will give up our right in Aquitaine,
 And hold fair friendship with his Majesty.
145 But that, it seems, he little purposeth;
 For here he doth demand to have repaid
 A hundred thousand crowns, and not demands,
 On payment of a hundred thousand crowns,
 To have his title live in Aquitaine—
150 Which we much rather had depart withal,
 And have the money by our father lent,
 Than Aquitaine, so gelded as it is.
 Dear Princess, were not his requests so far
 From reason’s yielding, your fair self should make
155 A yielding ’gainst some reason in my breast,
 And go well satisfied to France again.
PRINCESS 
 You do the King my father too much wrong,
 And wrong the reputation of your name,
 In so unseeming to confess receipt
160 Of that which hath so faithfully been paid.

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Love’s Labor’s Lost
ACT 2. SC. 1

KING 
 I do protest I never heard of it;
 And if you prove it, I’ll repay it back
 Or yield up Aquitaine.
PRINCESS  We arrest your word.—
165 Boyet, you can produce acquittances
 For such a sum from special officers
 Of Charles his father.
KING  Satisfy me so.
BOYET 
 So please your Grace, the packet is not come
170 Where that and other specialties are bound.
 Tomorrow you shall have a sight of them.
KING 
 It shall suffice me; at which interview
 All liberal reason I will yield unto.
 Meantime receive such welcome at my hand
175 As honor (without breach of honor) may
 Make tender of to thy true worthiness.
 You may not come, fair princess, within my gates,
 But here without you shall be so received
 As you shall deem yourself lodged in my heart,
180 Though so denied fair harbor in my house.
 Your own good thoughts excuse me, and farewell.
 Tomorrow shall we visit you again.
PRINCESS 
 Sweet health and fair desires consort your Grace.
KING 
 Thy own wish wish I thee in every place.
He exits with Dumaine,
Longaville, and Attendants.

BEROWNE, to Rosaline 185Lady, I will commend you to
 my own heart.
ROSALINE Pray you, do my commendations. I would
 be glad to see it.
BEROWNE I would you heard it groan.

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Love’s Labor’s Lost
ACT 2. SC. 1

ROSALINE 190Is the fool sick?
BEROWNE Sick at the heart.
ROSALINE Alack, let it blood.
BEROWNE Would that do it good?
ROSALINE My physic says “ay.”
BEROWNE 195Will you prick ’t with your eye?
ROSALINE No point, with my knife.
BEROWNE Now God save thy life.
ROSALINE And yours from long living.
BEROWNE I cannot stay thanksgiving.He exits.

Enter Dumaine.

DUMAINE, to Boyet 
200 Sir, I pray you, a word. What lady is that same?
BOYET 
 The heir of Alanson, Katherine her name.
DUMAINE 
 A gallant lady, monsieur. Fare you well.He exits.

Enter Longaville.

LONGAVILLE, to Boyet 
 I beseech you, a word. What is she in the white?
BOYET 
 A woman sometimes, an you saw her in the light.
LONGAVILLE 
205 Perchance light in the light. I desire her name.
BOYET 
 She hath but one for herself; to desire that were a
 shame.
LONGAVILLE Pray you, sir, whose daughter?
BOYET Her mother’s, I have heard.
LONGAVILLE 210God’s blessing on your beard!
BOYET Good sir, be not offended. She is an heir of
 Falconbridge.
LONGAVILLE Nay, my choler is ended. She is a most
 sweet lady.

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Love’s Labor’s Lost
ACT 2. SC. 1

BOYET 215Not unlike, sir, that may be.
Longaville exits.

Enter Berowne.

BEROWNE, to Boyet What’s her name in the cap?
BOYET Rosaline, by good hap.
BEROWNE Is she wedded or no?
BOYET To her will, sir, or so.
BEROWNE 220You are welcome, sir. Adieu.
BOYET Farewell to me, sir, and welcome to you.
Berowne exits.
MARIA 
 That last is Berowne, the merry madcap lord.
 Not a word with him but a jest.
BOYET  And every jest but
225 a word.
PRINCESS 
 It was well done of you to take him at his word.
BOYET 
 I was as willing to grapple as he was to board.
KATHERINE 
 Two hot sheeps, marry.
BOYET  And wherefore not ships?
230 No sheep, sweet lamb, unless we feed on your lips.
KATHERINE 
 You sheep and I pasture. Shall that finish the jest?
BOYET 
 So you grant pasture for me.He tries to kiss her.
KATHERINE  Not so, gentle beast,
 My lips are no common, though several they be.
BOYET 
235 Belonging to whom?
KATHERINE  To my fortunes and me.
PRINCESS 
 Good wits will be jangling; but, gentles, agree,
 This civil war of wits were much better used
 On Navarre and his bookmen, for here ’tis abused.

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Love’s Labor’s Lost
ACT 2. SC. 1

BOYET 
240 If my observation, which very seldom lies,
 By the heart’s still rhetoric, disclosèd wi’ th’ eyes,
 Deceive me not now, Navarre is infected.
PRINCESS With what?
BOYET 
 With that which we lovers entitle “affected.”
PRINCESS 245Your reason?
BOYET 
 Why, all his behaviors did make their retire
 To the court of his eye, peeping thorough desire.
 His heart like an agate with your print impressed,
 Proud with his form, in his eye pride expressed.
250 His tongue, all impatient to speak and not see,
 Did stumble with haste in his eyesight to be;
 All senses to that sense did make their repair,
 To feel only looking on fairest of fair.
 Methought all his senses were locked in his eye,
255 As jewels in crystal for some prince to buy,
 Who, tend’ring their own worth from where they
 were glassed,
 Did point you to buy them along as you passed.
 His face’s own margent did quote such amazes
260 That all eyes saw his eyes enchanted with gazes.
 I’ll give you Aquitaine, and all that is his,
 An you give him for my sake but one loving kiss.
PRINCESS, to her Ladies 
 Come, to our pavilion. Boyet is disposed.
BOYET 
 But to speak that in words which his eye hath
265 disclosed.
 I only have made a mouth of his eye
 By adding a tongue which I know will not lie.
MARIA 
 Thou art an old lovemonger and speakest skillfully.

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ACT 2. SC. 1

KATHERINE 
 He is Cupid’s grandfather, and learns news of him.
ROSALINE 
270 Then was Venus like her mother, for her father is
 but grim.
BOYET 
 Do you hear, my mad wenches?
MARIA  No.
BOYET  What then, do
275 you see?
MARIA 
 Ay, our way to be gone.
BOYET  You are too hard for me.
They all exit.