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That his own hand may strike his honour down,
Dum. My loving Lord, Dumain 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, pine and die; With all these living in philosophy.
Biron. I can but, say their protestation over, So much, dear liege, I have already sworn, That is, to live and study here three years. But there are other strict observances : As, not to see a woman in that term; Which, I hope well, is not enrolled there : And, one day in a week to touch no food; And but one meal on every day beside; The which, I hope, is not enrolled there : And then, to sleep but three hours in the night, And not be seen to wink of all the day; (When I was wont to think no harm all night, And make a dark night too of half the day;) Which , I hope well, is not enrolled there. 0, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep; Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep. King. Your Oath is pass’d to pass away from
these. Biron. Let me say, no, my liege, an if you
please ; I only swore, so study with your Grace, And stay here in your court for shree years' space.
'Zong. You swore to that, Biron, and to the
jest. What is the end of study? let me know. King. Why, that to know, which else we
should not know. Biron. Things hid and barr'd, you mean, from
common sense? King. Ay, that is study's god-like recompense.
Bi n. Come on then, I will swear to study so, To know the thing I am forbid to know: As this, To study where I well may dine,
When I to feast expressly am forbid; Or, study where to meet some mistress fine,
When mistresses from common sense are hid: Or, having sworn too hard.a-keeping oath, Study to break it, and not break my troth. If study's gain be thus, and this be so, Study knows that, which yet it doth not know : Swear me to this, and I will ne'er say, no. King. These be the stops that hinder study
quite, And train our intellects to vain delight. Biron. Why, all delights are vain; but that
most 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
By fixing it upon a fairer eye;
And give him light that was it blinded by.
looks ; Small have continual plodders ever won,
Save base authority from others' books. These earthly godfathers of heaven's lights,
That give a name to every fixed star, Have no more profit of their shining nights, Than those that walk, and wot not what
they are. Too much to know, is, to know nought buc
fame : And every godfather can give a name. . King. How well he's read, to reason against
reading! Dum. Proceeded well, to stop all good pro
ceeding! Long. He weeds the corn, and still lets grow
the weeding. Biron. The spring is near, when green geese
are a breeding.
Biron. Fit in his place and time.
spring. Biron. Well, say I am; why should proud
summer boast, Before the birds have any cause to sing? Why should I joy in an abortive birth?
At Christmas I no more desire a rose,
Max's new - fangled shows;
adieu ! Biron. No, my good Lord ; I have sworn to
stay with you: And, though I have for barbarism spoke more,
Than for that angel knowledge you can say, Yet confident I'll keep what I have swore, And bide the penance of each three years'
day. Give me the paper, let me read the same ; And to the strick'st degrees I'll write my name. King. How well this yielding rescues thee from
shame! Biron. [Reads.] Item, That no woman shall come within a mile of my court. And hath this been proclaim'd ?
Long. Four days ago.
Biron. Let's see the penalty.
Long. Marry, that did I.
[Reads.] Item, If any man be seen to talk with a woman within the term of three years, he shall endure such publick shame as the rest of the court can possibly devise. This article, my liege, yourself must break;
For, well you know, here comes in embassy
The French King's daughter, with yourself to
speak, A maid of grace, and complete majesty, About surrender up of Aquitain
To her decrepit, sick, and bed . rid father : Therefore this article is made in vain.
Or vainly comes the admired Princess hither. King. What say you, Lords? why, this was
quite forgot. Biron. So study evermore is overshot; While it doth study to have what it would, It doth forget to do the thing it should : And wben it hath the thing it hurteth most, 'Tis won, as towns, with fire; so won, so lost. King. We must, of force, dispense with this
decree; She must lie here on mere necessity. Biron. Necessity will make us all forsworn Three thousand times within this three years'
space : For every man with his affects' is born;
Not by might master'd, but by special grace: if I break faith, this word shall speak for me, I am forsworn on mere necessity. So to the laws at large I write my name :
[Subscribes, And he, that breaks them in the least degree, Stands in attainder of eternal shame :
Suggestions are to others, as to'me; But, I believe, although I am so loth, I am the last that will last keep his oath. Bnt 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,