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Love’s Labor’s Lost
Act 4, scene 3

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Scene 3
Enter Berowne with a paper in his hand, alone.

BEROWNE The King, he is hunting the deer; I am
 coursing myself. They have pitched a toil; I am
 toiling in a pitch—pitch that defiles. Defile! A foul
 word. Well, “set thee down, sorrow”; for so they
5 say the fool said, and so say I, and I the fool. Well
 proved, wit. By the Lord, this love is as mad as Ajax.
 It kills sheep, it kills me, I a sheep. Well proved
 again, o’ my side. I will not love. If I do, hang me. I’
 faith, I will not. O, but her eye! By this light, but for
10 her eye I would not love her; yes, for her two eyes.

109
Love’s Labor’s Lost
ACT 4. SC. 3

 Well, I do nothing in the world but lie, and lie in my
 throat. By heaven, I do love, and it hath taught me to
 rhyme, and to be melancholy. And here is part of my
 rhyme, and here my melancholy. Well, she hath one
15 o’ my sonnets already. The clown bore it, the fool
 sent it, and the lady hath it. Sweet clown, sweeter
 fool, sweetest lady. By the world, I would not care a
 pin, if the other three were in. Here comes one with
 a paper. God give him grace to groan.
He stands aside.

The King entereth with a paper.

KING 20Ay me!
BEROWNE, aside Shot, by heaven! Proceed, sweet
 Cupid. Thou hast thumped him with thy birdbolt
 under the left pap. In faith, secrets!
KING reads 
 So sweet a kiss the golden sun gives not
25  To those fresh morning drops upon the rose
 As thy eyebeams, when their fresh rays have smote
  The night of dew that on my cheeks down flows.
 Nor shines the silver moon one-half so bright
  Through the transparent bosom of the deep
30 As doth thy face, through tears of mine, give light.
  Thou shin’st in every tear that I do weep.
 No drop but as a coach doth carry thee;
  So ridest thou triumphing in my woe.
 Do but behold the tears that swell in me,
35  And they thy glory through my grief will show.
 But do not love thyself; then thou wilt keep
 My tears for glasses, and still make me weep.
 O queen of queens, how far dost thou excel
 No thought can think, nor tongue of mortal tell.


40 How shall she know my griefs? I’ll drop the paper.
 Sweet leaves, shade folly. Who is he comes here?

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ACT 4. SC. 3

Enter Longaville, with papers. The King steps aside.

 What, Longaville, and reading! Listen, ear.
BEROWNE, aside 
 Now, in thy likeness, one more fool appear!
LONGAVILLE Ay me! I am forsworn.
BEROWNE, aside 
45 Why, he comes in like a perjure, wearing papers!
KING, aside 
 In love, I hope! Sweet fellowship in shame.
BEROWNE, aside 
 One drunkard loves another of the name.
LONGAVILLE 
 Am I the first that have been perjured so?
BEROWNE, aside 
 I could put thee in comfort: not by two that I know.
50 Thou makest the triumviry, the corner-cap of
 society,
 The shape of love’s Tyburn, that hangs up simplicity.
LONGAVILLE 
 I fear these stubborn lines lack power to move.
 Reads. O sweet Maria, empress of my love—
55 These numbers will I tear and write in prose.
He tears the paper.
BEROWNE, aside 
 O, rhymes are guards on wanton Cupid’s hose.
 Disfigure not his shop!
LONGAVILLE, taking another paper  This same shall go.
(He reads the sonnet.)
 Did not the heavenly rhetoric of thine eye,
60  ’Gainst whom the world cannot hold argument,
 Persuade my heart to this false perjury?
  Vows for thee broke deserve not punishment.
 A woman I forswore, but I will prove,
  Thou being a goddess, I forswore not thee.
65 My vow was earthly, thou a heavenly love.

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ACT 4. SC. 3

  Thy grace being gained cures all disgrace in me.
 Vows are but breath, and breath a vapor is.
  Then thou, fair sun, which on my Earth dost
   shine,
70 Exhal’st this vapor-vow; in thee it is.
  If broken, then, it is no fault of mine.
 If by me broke, what fool is not so wise
 To lose an oath to win a paradise?

BEROWNE, aside 
 This is the liver vein, which makes flesh a deity,
75 A green goose a goddess. Pure, pure idolatry.
 God amend us, God amend. We are much out o’ th’
 way.
LONGAVILLE 
 By whom shall I send this?—Company? Stay.
He steps aside.

Enter Dumaine, with a paper.

BEROWNE, aside 
 All hid, all hid—an old infant play.
80 Like a demigod here sit I in the sky,
 And wretched fools’ secrets heedfully o’ereye.
 More sacks to the mill. O heavens, I have my wish.
 Dumaine transformed! Four woodcocks in a dish.
DUMAINE O most divine Kate!
BEROWNE, aside 85O most profane coxcomb!
DUMAINE 
 By heaven, the wonder in a mortal eye!
BEROWNE, aside 
 By Earth, she is not, corporal. There you lie.
DUMAINE 
 Her amber hairs for foul hath amber quoted.
BEROWNE, aside 
 An amber-colored raven was well noted.
DUMAINE 
90 As upright as the cedar.

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ACT 4. SC. 3

BEROWNE, aside  Stoop, I say.
 Her shoulder is with child.
DUMAINE  As fair as day.
BEROWNE, aside 
 Ay, as some days, but then no sun must shine.
DUMAINE 
95 O, that I had my wish!
LONGAVILLE, aside  And I had mine!
KING, aside And mine too, good Lord!
BEROWNE, aside 
 Amen, so I had mine. Is not that a good word?
DUMAINE 
 I would forget her, but a fever she
100 Reigns in my blood, and will remembered be.
BEROWNE, aside 
 A fever in your blood? Why, then incision
 Would let her out in saucers! Sweet misprision.
DUMAINE 
 Once more I’ll read the ode that I have writ.
BEROWNE, aside 
 Once more I’ll mark how love can vary wit.
DUMAINE reads his sonnet. 
105 On a day—alack the day!—
 Love, whose month is ever May,
 Spied a blossom passing fair,
 Playing in the wanton air.
 Through the velvet leaves the wind,
110 All unseen, can passage find;
 That the lover, sick to death,
 Wished himself the heaven’s breath.
 “Air,” quoth he, “thy cheeks may blow.
 Air, would I might triumph so!”
115 But, alack, my hand is sworn
 Ne’er to pluck thee from thy thorn.

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ACT 4. SC. 3

 Vow, alack, for youth unmeet,
 Youth so apt to pluck a sweet.
 Do not call it sin in me
120 That I am forsworn for thee—
 Thou for whom Jove would swear
 Juno but an Ethiope were,
 And deny himself for Jove,
 Turning mortal for thy love.

125 This will I send, and something else more plain
 That shall express my true love’s fasting pain.
 O, would the King, Berowne, and Longaville
 Were lovers too! Ill to example ill
 Would from my forehead wipe a perjured note,
130 For none offend where all alike do dote.
LONGAVILLE, coming forward 
 Dumaine, thy love is far from charity,
 That in love’s grief desir’st society.
 You may look pale, but I should blush, I know,
 To be o’er-heard and taken napping so.
KING, coming forward 
135 To Longaville. Come, sir, you blush! As his, your
 case is such.
 You chide at him, offending twice as much.
 You do not love Maria? Longaville
 Did never sonnet for her sake compile,
140 Nor never lay his wreathèd arms athwart
 His loving bosom to keep down his heart?
 I have been closely shrouded in this bush
 And marked you both, and for you both did blush.
 I heard your guilty rhymes, observed your fashion,
145 Saw sighs reek from you, noted well your passion.
 “Ay, me!” says one. “O Jove!” the other cries.
 One, her hairs were gold, crystal the other’s eyes.
 To Longaville. You would for paradise break faith
 and troth,

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ACT 4. SC. 3

150 To Dumaine. And Jove, for your love, would
 infringe an oath.
 What will Berowne say when that he shall hear
 Faith infringed, which such zeal did swear?
 How will he scorn, how will he spend his wit!
155 How will he triumph, leap, and laugh at it!
 For all the wealth that ever I did see,
 I would not have him know so much by me.
BEROWNE, coming forward 
 Now step I forth to whip hypocrisy.
 Ah, good my liege, I pray thee pardon me.
160 Good heart, what grace hast thou thus to reprove
 These worms for loving, that art most in love?
 Your eyes do make no coaches; in your tears
 There is no certain princess that appears.
 You’ll not be perjured, ’tis a hateful thing!
165 Tush, none but minstrels like of sonneting!
 But are you not ashamed? Nay, are you not,
 All three of you, to be thus much o’ershot?
 To Longaville. You found his mote, the King your
 mote did see,
170 But I a beam do find in each of three.
 O, what a scene of fool’ry have I seen,
 Of sighs, of groans, of sorrow, and of teen!
 O me, with what strict patience have I sat,
 To see a king transformèd to a gnat!
175 To see great Hercules whipping a gig,
 And profound Solomon to tune a jig,
 And Nestor play at pushpin with the boys,
 And critic Timon laugh at idle toys.
 Where lies thy grief, O tell me, good Dumaine?
180 And gentle Longaville, where lies thy pain?
 And where my liege’s? All about the breast!
 A caudle, ho!
KING  Too bitter is thy jest.
 Are we betrayed thus to thy overview?

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ACT 4. SC. 3

BEROWNE 
185 Not you to me, but I betrayed by you.
 I, that am honest, I, that hold it sin
 To break the vow I am engagèd in.
 I am betrayed by keeping company
 With men like you, men of inconstancy.
190 When shall you see me write a thing in rhyme?
 Or groan for Joan? or spend a minute’s time
 In pruning me? When shall you hear that I
 Will praise a hand, a foot, a face, an eye,
 A gait, a state, a brow, a breast, a waist,
195 A leg, a limb—

Enter Jaquenetta, with a paper, and Clown Costard.
Berowne begins to exit.

KING  Soft, whither away so fast?
 A true man, or a thief, that gallops so?
BEROWNE 
 I post from love. Good lover, let me go.
JAQUENETTA 
 God bless the King.
KING 200 What present hast thou there?
COSTARD 
 Some certain treason.
KING  What makes treason here?
COSTARD 
 Nay, it makes nothing, sir.
KING  If it mar nothing neither,
205 The treason and you go in peace away together.
JAQUENETTA 
 I beseech your Grace, let this letter be read.
 Our person misdoubts it. ’Twas treason, he said.
KING 
 Berowne, read it over.
Berowne reads the letter.
To Jaquenetta.  Where hadst thou it?

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ACT 4. SC. 3

JAQUENETTA 210Of Costard.
KING, to Costard Where hadst thou it?
COSTARD Of Dun Adramadio, Dun Adramadio.
Berowne tears the paper.
KING, to Berowne 
 How now, what is in you? Why dost thou tear it?
BEROWNE 
 A toy, my liege, a toy. Your Grace needs not fear it.
LONGAVILLE 
215 It did move him to passion, and therefore let’s hear
 it.
DUMAINE, picking up the papers 
 It is Berowne’s writing, and here is his name.
BEROWNE, to Costard 
 Ah, you whoreson loggerhead, you were born to do
 me shame.—
220 Guilty, my lord, guilty. I confess, I confess.
KING What?
BEROWNE 
 That you three fools lacked me fool to make up
 the mess.
 He, he, and you—and you, my liege—and I
225 Are pickpurses in love, and we deserve to die.
 O, dismiss this audience, and I shall tell you more.
DUMAINE 
 Now the number is even.
BEROWNE  True, true, we are four.
 Pointing to Jaquenetta and Costard. Will these
230 turtles be gone?
KING  Hence, sirs. Away.
COSTARD 
 Walk aside the true folk, and let the traitors stay.
Jaquenetta and Costard exit.
BEROWNE 
 Sweet lords, sweet lovers, O, let us embrace.
  As true we are as flesh and blood can be.

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ACT 4. SC. 3

235 The sea will ebb and flow, heaven show his face;
  Young blood doth not obey an old decree.
 We cannot cross the cause why we were born;
 Therefore of all hands must we be forsworn.
KING 
 What, did these rent lines show some love of thine?
BEROWNE 
240 Did they, quoth you? Who sees the heavenly
 Rosaline
 That, like a rude and savage man of Ind
  At the first op’ning of the gorgeous East,
 Bows not his vassal head and, strucken blind,
245  Kisses the base ground with obedient breast?
 What peremptory eagle-sighted eye
  Dares look upon the heaven of her brow
 That is not blinded by her majesty?
KING 
  What zeal, what fury, hath inspired thee now?
250 My love, her mistress, is a gracious moon,
  She an attending star scarce seen a light.
BEROWNE 
 My eyes are then no eyes, nor I Berowne.
  O, but for my love, day would turn to night!
 Of all complexions the culled sovereignty
255  Do meet as at a fair in her fair cheek.
 Where several worthies make one dignity,
  Where nothing wants that want itself doth seek.
 Lend me the flourish of all gentle tongues—
  Fie, painted rhetoric! O, she needs it not!
260 To things of sale a seller’s praise belongs.
  She passes praise. Then praise too short doth blot.
 A withered hermit, fivescore winters worn,
  Might shake off fifty, looking in her eye.
 Beauty doth varnish age, as if newborn,

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ACT 4. SC. 3

265  And gives the crutch the cradle’s infancy.
 O, ’tis the sun that maketh all things shine!
KING 
  By heaven, thy love is black as ebony.
BEROWNE 
 Is ebony like her? O word divine!
  A wife of such wood were felicity.
270 O, who can give an oath? Where is a book,
  That I may swear beauty doth beauty lack
 If that she learn not of her eye to look?
  No face is fair that is not full so black.
KING 
 O, paradox! Black is the badge of hell,
275  The hue of dungeons and the school of night,
 And beauty’s crest becomes the heavens well.
BEROWNE 
  Devils soonest tempt, resembling spirits of light.
 O, if in black my lady’s brows be decked,
  It mourns that painting and usurping hair
280 Should ravish doters with a false aspect:
  And therefore is she born to make black fair.
 Her favor turns the fashion of the days,
  For native blood is counted painting now.
 And therefore red, that would avoid dispraise,
285  Paints itself black to imitate her brow.
DUMAINE 
 To look like her are chimney-sweepers black.
LONGAVILLE 
  And since her time are colliers counted bright.
KING 
 And Ethiopes of their sweet complexion crack.
DUMAINE 
  Dark needs no candles now, for dark is light.
BEROWNE 
290 Your mistresses dare never come in rain,
  For fear their colors should be washed away.

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ACT 4. SC. 3

KING 
 ’Twere good yours did, for, sir, to tell you plain,
  I’ll find a fairer face not washed today.
BEROWNE 
 I’ll prove her fair, or talk till doomsday here.
KING 
295  No devil will fright thee then so much as she.
DUMAINE 
 I never knew man hold vile stuff so dear.
LONGAVILLE, showing his shoe 
  Look, here’s thy love; my foot and her face see.
BEROWNE 
 O, if the streets were pavèd with thine eyes.
  Her feet were much too dainty for such tread.
DUMAINE 
300 O vile! Then as she goes, what upward lies
  The street should see as she walked overhead.
KING 
 But what of this? Are we not all in love?
BEROWNE 
  Nothing so sure, and thereby all forsworn.
KING 
 Then leave this chat, and, good Berowne, now prove
305  Our loving lawful, and our faith not torn.
DUMAINE 
 Ay, marry, there, some flattery for this evil.
LONGAVILLE 
  O, some authority how to proceed,
 Some tricks, some quillets, how to cheat the devil.
DUMAINE 
  Some salve for perjury.
BEROWNE 310  O, ’tis more than need.
 Have at you, then, affection’s men-at-arms!
 O, we have made a vow to study, lords,
 And in that vow we have forsworn our books.

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 For when would you, my liege, or you, or you,
315 In leaden contemplation have found out
 Such fiery numbers as the prompting eyes
 Of beauty’s tutors have enriched you with?
 Other slow arts entirely keep the brain
 And therefore, finding barren practicers,
320 Scarce show a harvest of their heavy toil.
 But love, first learnèd in a lady’s eyes,
 Lives not alone immurèd in the brain,
 But with the motion of all elements
 Courses as swift as thought in every power,
325 And gives to every power a double power,
 Above their functions and their offices.
 It adds a precious seeing to the eye.
 A lover’s eyes will gaze an eagle blind.
 A lover’s ear will hear the lowest sound,
330 When the suspicious head of theft is stopped.
 Love’s feeling is more soft and sensible
 Than are the tender horns of cockled snails.
 Love’s tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste.
 For valor, is not love a Hercules,
335 Still climbing trees in the Hesperides?
 Subtle as Sphinx, as sweet and musical
 As bright Apollo’s lute strung with his hair.
 And when love speaks, the voice of all the gods
 Make heaven drowsy with the harmony.
340 Never durst poet touch a pen to write
 Until his ink were tempered with love’s sighs.
 O, then his lines would ravish savage ears
 And plant in tyrants mild humility.
 From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive.
345 They sparkle still the right Promethean fire.
 They are the books, the arts, the academes
 That show, contain, and nourish all the world.
 Else none at all in ought proves excellent.

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 Then fools you were these women to forswear,
350 Or, keeping what is sworn, you will prove fools.
 For wisdom’s sake, a word that all men love,
 Or for love’s sake, a word that loves all men,
 Or for men’s sake, the authors of these women,
 Or women’s sake, by whom we men are men,
355 Let us once lose our oaths to find ourselves,
 Or else we lose ourselves to keep our oaths.
 It is religion to be thus forsworn,
 For charity itself fulfills the law,
 And who can sever love from charity?
KING 
360 Saint Cupid, then, and, soldiers, to the field!
BEROWNE 
 Advance your standards, and upon them, lords.
 Pell-mell, down with them. But be first advised
 In conflict that you get the sun of them.
LONGAVILLE 
 Now to plain dealing. Lay these glozes by.
365 Shall we resolve to woo these girls of France?
KING 
 And win them, too. Therefore let us devise
 Some entertainment for them in their tents.
BEROWNE 
 First, from the park let us conduct them thither.
 Then homeward every man attach the hand
370 Of his fair mistress. In the afternoon
 We will with some strange pastime solace them,
 Such as the shortness of the time can shape;
 For revels, dances, masques, and merry hours
 Forerun fair love, strewing her way with flowers.
KING 
375 Away, away! No time shall be omitted
 That will betime and may by us be fitted.

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BEROWNE 
 Allons! Allons! Sowed cockle reaped no corn,
  And justice always whirls in equal measure.
 Light wenches may prove plagues to men forsworn;
380  If so, our copper buys no better treasure.
They exit.