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Biron. Worthies, away; the scene begins to cloud.
Arm. For mine own part, I breathe free breath. I have seen the day of wrong through the little hole of discretion, and I will right myself like a soldier.
[Exeunt Worthies. King. How fares your majesty ? Prin. Boyet, prepare; I will away to-night. King. Madam, not so; I do beseech you, stay.
Prin. Prepare, I say.-I thank you, gracious lords,
For all your fair endeavors, and entreat,
Out of a new-sad soul, that you vouchsafe,
In your rich wisdom, to excuse, or hide,
The liberal opposition of our spirits.
If over-boldly we have borne ourselves
In the converse of breath, your gentleness
Was guilty of it.-Farewell, worthy lord !
A heavy heart bears not a humble tongue :
Excuse me so, coming so short of thanks
For my great suit so easily obtained.
King. The extreme parts of time extremely form
All causes to the purpose of his speed;
And often, at his very loose, decides
That which long process could not arbitrate.
And though the mourning brow of progeny
Forbid the smiling courtesy of love,
The holy suit which fain it would convince ;3
Yet, since love's argument was first on foot,
Let not the cloud of sorrow justle it
From what it purposed; since, to wail friends lost,
Is not by much so wholesome, profitable,
As to rejoice at friends but newly found.
Prin. I understand you not; my griefs are double.
Biron. Honest, plain words best pierce the ear of
grief; And by these badges understand the king.
For your fair sakes have we neglected time,
Played foul play with our oaths ; your beauty, ladies,
Hath much deformed us, fashioning our humors
Even to the opposed end of our intents;
And what in us hath seemed ridiculous,
As love is full of unbefitting strains;
All wanton as a child, skipping, and vain ;
Formed by the eye, and therefore, like the eye,
Full of strange shapes, of habits, and of forms,
Varying in subjects as the eye doth roll
To every varied object in his glance;
Which party-coated presence of loose love
Put on by us, if, in your heavenly eyes,
Have misbecomed our oaths and gravities,
Those heavenly eyes, that look into these faults,
Suggested us to make. Therefore, ladies,
Our love being yours, the error that love makes
Is likewise yours. We to ourselves prove false,
By being once false forever to be true
To those that make us both,—fair ladies, you ;
And even that falsehood, in itself a sin,
Thus purifies itself, and turns to grace.
Prin. We have received your letters, full of love;
Your favors, the ambassadors of love;
And, in our maiden council, rated them
At courtship, pleasant jest, and courtesy,
As bombast, and as lining to the time.
But more devout than this, in our respects,
Have we not been; and therefore met your loves
In their own fashion, like a merriment.
Dum. Our letters, madam, showed much more than
jest. Long. So did our looks.
We did not quote? them so. King. Now, at the latest minute of the hour, Grant us your loves. Prin.
A time methinks too short
To make a world-without-end bargain in.
No, no, my lord, your grace is perjured much,
Full of dear guiltiness; and, therefore this,-
If for my love (as there is no such cause)
You will do aught, this shall you do for me.
Your oath I will not trust; but go with speed
To some forlorn and naked hermitage,
Remote from all the pleasures of the world;
There stay, until the twelve celestial signs
Have brought about their annual reckoning.
If this austere, insociable life
Change not your offer made in heat of blood;
If frosts, and fasts, hard lodging, and thin weeds,
Nip not the gaudy blossoms of your love,
But that it bear this trial, and last love;
Then, at the expiration of the year,
Come challenge, challenge me by these deserts.
And, by this virgin palm, now kissing thine,
I will be thine; and, till that instant, shut
My woful self up in a mourning house;
Raining the tears of lamentation,
For the remembrance of my father's death.
If this thou do deny, let our hands part;
Neither entitled in the other's heart.
King. If this, or more than this, I would deny,
To flatter up these powers of mine with rest,
The sudden hand of death close up mine eye!
Hence ever, then, my heart is in thy breast.
Biron. And what to me, my love? and what to
Ros. You must be purged too ; your sins are rank;
You are attaint with faults and perjury;
Therefore, if you my favor mean to get,
A twelvemonth shall you spend, and never rest,
But seek the weary beds of people sick.
Dum. But what to me, my love ? but what to me?
Kath. A wife !—A beard, fair health, and honesty; With threefold love I wish you all these three.
Dum. O, shall I say, I thank you, gentle wife ?
Kath. Not so, my lord.—A twelvemonth and a day
I'll mark no words that smooth-faced wooers say.
Come when the king doth to my lady come;
Then, if I have much love, I'll give you some.
Dum. I'll serve thee true and faithfully till then.
Kath. Yet swear not, lest you be forsworn again.
Long. What says Maria ?
At the twelvemonth's end, I'll change my black gown for a faithful friend.
Long. I'll stay with patience; but the time is long.
Mar. The liker you ; few taller are so young.
Biron. Studies my lady? Mistress, look on me;
Behold the window of my heart, mine eye,
What humble suit attends thy answer there.
Impose some service on me for thy love.
Ros. Oft have I heard of you, my lord Birón,
Before I saw you; and the world's large tongue
Proclaims you for a man replete with mocks;
Full of comparisons and wounding flouts ;
Which you on all estates will execute,
That lie within the mercy of your wit.
To weed this wormwood from your fruitful brain,
And, therewithal, to win me, if you please,
(Without the which I am not to be won,)
You shall this twelvemonth term from day to day
Visit the speechless sick, and still converse
With groaning wretches; and your task shall be,
With all the fierce endeavor of your wit,
To enforce the pained impotent to smile.
Biron. To move wild laughter in the throat of
death? It cannot be ; it is impossible. Mirth cannot move a soul in agony.
Ros. Why, that's the way to choke a gibing spirit, Whose influence is begot of that loose grace, Which shallow, laughing hearers give to fools. A jest's prosperity lies in the ear Of him that hears it, never in the tongue Of him that makes it. Then, if sickly ears,
Deafed with the clamors of their own dear groans,
Will hear your idle scorns, continue then,
And I will have you, and that fault withal ;
But, if they will not, throw away that spirit,
And I shall find you empty of that fault,
Right joyful of your reformation.
Biron. A twelvemonth? Well, befall what will
befall, I'll jest a twelvemonth in an hospital. Prin. Ay, sweet my lord ; and so I take my leave.
[To the King. King. No, madam ; we will bring you on your way.
Biron. Our wooing doth not end like an old play; Jack hath not Jill : these ladies courtesy Might well have made our sport a comedy.
King. Come, sir, it wants a twelvemonth and a day, And then 'twill end. Biron.
That's too long for a play.
Arm. Sweet majesty, vouchsafe me;-
Prin. Was not that Hector ?
Dum. The worthy knight of Troy.
Arm. I will kiss thy royal finger and take leave. I am a votary; I have vowed to Jaquenetta to hold the plough for her sweet love three years. But, most esteemed greatness, will you hear the dialogue that the two learned men have compiled, in praise of the owl and the cuckoo ? it should have followed in the end of our show.
King. Call them forth quickly; we will do so.
Arm. Holla! Approach.
Enter HOLOFERNES, NATHANIEL, Moth, CoSTARD,
and others. This side is Hiems, winter; this Ver, the spring; the one maintained by the owl, the other by the cuckoo. Ver, begin.
1 Dear ; used by ancient writers to express pain, solicitude, &c.