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Love’s Labor’s Lost
Act 4, scene 1

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Scene 1
Enter the Princess, a Forester, her Ladies, Boyet and
her other Lords.


PRINCESS 
 Was that the King that spurred his horse so hard
 Against the steep uprising of the hill?
FORESTER 
 I know not, but I think it was not he.
PRINCESS 
 Whoe’er he was, he showed a mounting mind.—
5 Well, lords, today we shall have our dispatch.
 Or Saturday we will return to France.—
 Then, forester, my friend, where is the bush
 That we must stand and play the murderer in?
FORESTER 
 Hereby, upon the edge of yonder coppice,
10 A stand where you may make the fairest shoot.
PRINCESS 
 I thank my beauty, I am fair that shoot,
 And thereupon thou speakst “the fairest shoot.”
FORESTER 
 Pardon me, madam, for I meant not so.
PRINCESS 
 What, what? First praise me, and again say no?
15 O short-lived pride. Not fair? Alack, for woe!
83

85
Love’s Labor’s Lost
ACT 4. SC. 1

FORESTER 
 Yes, madam, fair.
PRINCESS  Nay, never paint me now.
 Where fair is not, praise cannot mend the brow.
 Here, good my glass, take this for telling true.
She gives him money.
20 Fair payment for foul words is more than due.
FORESTER 
 Nothing but fair is that which you inherit.
PRINCESS 
 See, see, my beauty will be saved by merit.
 O heresy in fair, fit for these days!
 A giving hand, though foul, shall have fair praise.
25 But come, the bow. He hands her a bow. Now
 mercy goes to kill,
 And shooting well is then accounted ill.
 Thus will I save my credit in the shoot:
 Not wounding, pity would not let me do ’t;
30 If wounding, then it was to show my skill,
 That more for praise than purpose meant to kill.
 And out of question so it is sometimes:
 Glory grows guilty of detested crimes,
 When for fame’s sake, for praise, an outward part,
35 We bend to that the working of the heart;
 As I for praise alone now seek to spill
 The poor deer’s blood, that my heart means no ill.
BOYET 
 Do not curst wives hold that self sovereignty
 Only for praise’ sake when they strive to be
40 Lords o’er their lords?
PRINCESS 
 Only for praise; and praise we may afford
 To any lady that subdues a lord.

Enter Clown Costard.


87
Love’s Labor’s Lost
ACT 4. SC. 1

BOYET 
 Here comes a member of the commonwealth.
COSTARD God dig-you-den all! Pray you, which is the
45 head lady?
PRINCESS Thou shalt know her, fellow, by the rest that
 have no heads.
COSTARD Which is the greatest lady, the highest?
PRINCESS The thickest and the tallest.
COSTARD 
50 The thickest and the tallest: it is so, truth is
 truth.
 An your waist, mistress, were as slender as my wit,
 One o’ these maids’ girdles for your waist should be
 fit.
55 Are not you the chief woman? You are the thickest
 here.
PRINCESS What’s your will, sir? What’s your will?
COSTARD I have a letter from Monsieur Berowne to
 one Lady Rosaline.
PRINCESS 
60 O, thy letter, thy letter! He’s a good friend of mine.
 Stand aside, good bearer.—Boyet, you can carve.
 Break up this capon.
BOYET, taking the letter  I am bound to serve.
 This letter is mistook; it importeth none here.
65 It is writ to Jaquenetta.
PRINCESS  We will read it, I swear.
 Break the neck of the wax, and everyone give ear.
BOYET reads. By heaven, that thou art fair is most
 infallible, true that thou art beauteous, truth itself
70 that thou art lovely. More fairer than fair, beautiful
 than beauteous, truer than truth itself, have commiseration
 on thy heroical vassal. The magnanimous and
 most illustrate King Cophetua set eye upon the pernicious
 and indubitate beggar Zenelophon; and he it
75 was that might rightly say “Veni, vidi, vici,” which to

89
Love’s Labor’s Lost
ACT 4. SC. 1

 annothanize in the vulgar (O base and obscure vulgar!)
 videlicet, “He came, see, and overcame”: He
 came, one; see, two; overcame, three. Who came? The
 King. Why did he come? To see. Why did he see? To
80 overcome. To whom came he? To the beggar. What
 saw he? The beggar. Who overcame he? The beggar.
 The conclusion is victory. On whose side? The
 King’s. The captive is enriched. On whose side? The
 beggar’s. The catastrophe is a nuptial. On whose side?
85 The King’s—no, on both in one, or one in both. I am
 the King, for so stands the comparison; thou the
 beggar, for so witnesseth thy lowliness. Shall I command
 thy love? I may. Shall I enforce thy love? I could.
 Shall I entreat thy love? I will. What shalt thou
90 exchange for rags? Robes. For tittles? Titles. For thyself?
 Me. Thus expecting thy reply, I profane my lips on thy
 foot, my eyes on thy picture, and my heart on thy every
 part.
 Thine, in the dearest design of industry,
95 Don Adriano de Armado.
 Thus dost thou hear the Nemean lion roar
  ’Gainst thee, thou lamb, that standest as his prey.
 Submissive fall his princely feet before,
  And he from forage will incline to play.
100 But if thou strive, poor soul, what art thou then?
 Food for his rage, repasture for his den.

PRINCESS 
 What plume of feathers is he that indited this letter?
 What vane? What weathercock? Did you ever hear
 better?
BOYET 
105 I am much deceived but I remember the style.
PRINCESS 
 Else your memory is bad, going o’er it erewhile.
BOYET 
 This Armado is a Spaniard that keeps here in court,

91
Love’s Labor’s Lost
ACT 4. SC. 1

 A phantasime, a Monarcho, and one that makes
 sport
110 To the Prince and his bookmates.
PRINCESS, to Costard  Thou, fellow, a word.
 Who gave thee this letter?
COSTARD  I told you: my lord.
PRINCESS 
 To whom shouldst thou give it?
COSTARD 115 From my lord to my
 lady.
PRINCESS From which lord to which lady?
COSTARD 
 From my Lord Berowne, a good master of mine,
 To a lady of France that he called Rosaline.
PRINCESS 
120 Thou hast mistaken his letter. Come, lords, away.
 To Rosaline. Here, sweet, put up this; ’twill be
 thine another day.
The Princess, Katherine, Lords, and
Forester exit. Boyet, Rosaline, Maria,
and Costard remain.

BOYET 
 Who is the shooter? Who is the shooter?
ROSALINE  Shall I
125 teach you to know?
BOYET 
 Ay, my continent of beauty.
ROSALINE  Why, she that bears the bow.
 Finely put off.
BOYET 
 My lady goes to kill horns, but if thou marry,
130 Hang me by the neck if horns that year miscarry.
 Finely put on.
ROSALINE 
 Well, then, I am the shooter.
BOYET  And who is your deer?

93
Love’s Labor’s Lost
ACT 4. SC. 1

ROSALINE 
 If we choose by the horns, yourself come not near.
135 Finely put on, indeed.
MARIA 
 You still wrangle with her, Boyet, and she strikes at
 the brow.
BOYET 
 But she herself is hit lower. Have I hit her now?
ROSALINE Shall I come upon thee with an old saying,
140 that was a man when King Pippen of France was a
 little boy, as touching the hit it?
BOYET So I may answer thee with one as old, that was a
 woman when Queen Guinover of Britain was a little
 wench, as touching the hit it.
ROSALINE sings 
145 Thou canst not hit it, hit it, hit it,
 Thou canst not hit it, my good man.

BOYET sings 
 An I cannot, cannot, cannot,
 An I cannot, another can.

Rosaline exits.
COSTARD 
 By my troth, most pleasant. How both did fit it!
MARIA 
150 A mark marvelous well shot, for they both did hit
 it.
BOYET 
 A mark! O, mark but that mark. “A mark,” says my
 lady.
 Let the mark have a prick in ’t to mete at, if it may
155 be.
MARIA 
 Wide o’ the bow hand! I’ faith, your hand is out.
COSTARD 
 Indeed, he must shoot nearer, or he’ll ne’er hit the
 clout.

95
Love’s Labor’s Lost
ACT 4. SC. 2

BOYET, to Maria 
 An if my hand be out, then belike your hand is in.
COSTARD 
160 Then will she get the upshoot by cleaving the pin.
MARIA 
 Come, come, you talk greasily. Your lips grow foul.
COSTARD, to Boyet 
 She’s too hard for you at pricks, sir. Challenge her
 to bowl.
BOYET 
 I fear too much rubbing. Good night, my good owl.
Boyet and Maria exit.
COSTARD 
165 By my soul, a swain, a most simple clown.
 Lord, Lord, how the ladies and I have put him
 down.
 O’ my troth, most sweet jests, most incony vulgar
 wit,
170 When it comes so smoothly off, so obscenely, as it
 were, so fit.
 Armado o’ th’ one side, O, a most dainty man!
 To see him walk before a lady and to bear her fan.
 To see him kiss his hand, and how most sweetly he
175 will swear.
 And his page o’ t’ other side, that handful of wit!
 Ah heavens, it is a most pathetical nit.
Shout within.
 Sola, sola!
He exits.