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SHAKSPEARE'S first draught of this trifling play, (which all the editors have concurred in censuring, and som have rejected as unworthy of its author) was written in or before 1594, and some additions were probably made it between that year and 1597, when it was exhibited before Queen Elizabeth. Like the Taming of the Shrew, it was undoubtedly one of his earliest essays to dramatic writing; as the frequent rhymes, the imperfect versification, the artless and desultory dialogue, and the irregularity of the composition, sufficiently prove. The fable does not seem to be a work entirely of invention; and perhaps owes its birth to some novel which has yet to be discovered. The character of Armado bears some resemblance to Don Quixotte, but the play is older than the work of Cervantes; of Holofernes, another singular character, there are some traces in a masque of Sir Philip Sidney, presented before Queen Elizabeth at Wansted. Dr. Johnson says, that in this play "there are many passages mean, childish, and vulgar; and some which ought not to have been exhibited, as we are told they were, to a maiden Queen. But there are scattered through the whole many sparks of genius; nor is there any play that has more evident marks of the hand of Shakspeare."

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SCENE 1.-Navarre.-A Park, with a Palace That his own hand may strike his honour down,

in it.



King. Let fame, that all hunt after in their

Live register'd upon our brazen tombs,
And then grace us in the disgrace of death;
When, spite of cormorant devouring time,
The endeavour of this present breath may buy
That bonour, which shall bate his scythe's keen

And make us heirs of all eternity.
Therefore, brave conquerors !—for so you are,
That war against your own affections,
And the huge army of the world's desires,--
Our late edict shall strongly stand in force :
Navarre shall be the wonder of the world;
Our court shall be a little Academe,
Still and contemplative in living art.
You three, Biron, Dumain, and Longaville,
Have sworn for three years' term to live with

My fellow-scholars, and to keep those statutes
That are recorded in this schedule here:

That violates the smallest branch berein:
If you are arm'd to do, as sworn to do,
Subscribe to your deep oath, and keep it too.
Long. I am resolv'd: 'tis but a three years'


The mind shall banquet, though the body pine:
Fat paunches have lean pates; and dainty bits
Make rich the ribs, but bank'rout quite the


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, I 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:
O these are barren tasks, too hard to keep :
Not to see ladies, study, fast, nor 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, to study with your grace,
And stay here in your court for three years' space.
Long. You swore to that, Biron, and to the


Biron. By yea and nay, Sir, then I swore in 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.

Biron. Come on then, I will swear to study so To know the thing I am forbid to know: As thus-To study where I well may diue, 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 bard-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 beguile :

So, ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes.
Study me how to please the eye indeed,

By fixing it upon a fairer eye;
Who dazzling so, that eye shall be his heed,
And give him light that was it blinded by.
Study is like the heaven's glorious sun,

That will not be deep-search'd with saucy 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


Too much to know, is, to know nought but 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 proceeding!

Long. He weeds the corn, and still lets grow the weeding.

Biron. The spring is near when green geese are a breeding.

Dum. How follows that?

Biron. Fit in his place and time.
Dum. In reason nothing.
Biron. Something then in rhyme.
Long. Biron is like an envious sneaping +

That bites the first-born infants of the spring. Biron. Well, say I am; why should proud summer boast,

Before the birds bave any cause to sing?

• Dishonestly, treacherously. Nipping.

Why should I joy in an abortive birth?
At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May's new fangled

But like of each thing, that in season grows.
So you, to study now it is too late,
Climb o'er the house to unlock the little gate.
King. Well, sit you out: go home, Biron;
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 strict'st decrees I'll write my


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.

[Reads.]-On pain of losing her tongue.Who devis'd this?

Long. Marry, that did 1.

Biron. Sweet lord, and why?

Long. To fright them hence with that dread penalty.

Biron. A dangerous law against gentility. [Reads.] Item, If any man be seen to talk with a woman within the term of three years. he shall endure such public shame as the res. 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 when it hath the thing it hunteth 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

If I break faith, this word shall speak for me,
I am forsworn on meie 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 seem so loath, I am the last that will last keep his oath. But is there no quick recreation granted? King. Ay, that there is our court, you know, is baunted

With a refined traveller of Spain;

A man in all the world's new fashion planted,
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain:
One, whom the music of his own vain tongue
Doth ravish, like enchanting harmony;
A man of compliments, whom right and wrong
Have chose as umpire of their mutiny:
This child of faucy, that Armado hight,
For interim to our studies, shall relate,

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In high-born words, the worth of many a knight | curious-knotted garden: There did I see From tawny Spain, lost in the world's de- that low spirited swain, that base minnow of bate.

How you delight, my lords, I know not, I;
But, I protest, I love to hear him lie,
And I will use him for my minstrelsy.

Biron. Armado is a most illustrious wight,
A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight.
Long. Costard the swain, and he, shall be our
And, so to study, three years is but short. [sport;
Enter DULL, with a letter, and COSTARD.
Dull. Which is the duke's own person?
Biron. This, fellow; What would'st?
Dull. I myself reprehend his own person,
for I am his grace's tharborough: But I would
see his own person in flesh and blood.
Biron. This is be.

Dull. Signior Arme-Arme-commends you. There's villany abroad; this letter will tell you more.

thy mirth.

Cost. Me.

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King. -with a child of our grandmother Eve, a female; or, for thy more sweet understanding, a woman. Him I (as my eversteemed duty pricks me on) have sent to thee, to receive the meed of punishment, by thy

Cost. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touch-sweet grace's officer, Antony Dull; a man of ing me. good repute, carriage, bearing, and estimation. Dull. Me, an't shall please you; I am Antony Dull.

King. A letter from the magnificent Armado. Biron. How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.

Long. A high hope for a low having: God grant us patience!

Biron. To hear? or forbear bearing? Long. To hear meekly, Sir, and to laugh moderately; or to forbear both.

Biron. Well, Sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to climb to the merriness.

Cost. The matter is to me, Sir, as concerning Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.t

Biron. In what manner?

King. For Jaquenetta, (so is the weaker vessel culled, which I apprehend with the aforesaid swain.) I keep her as a vessel of thy law's fury: and shall at the least of thy sweet notice bring her to trial. Thine, in all compliments of devoted and heart-burning heat of duty.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO. Biron. This is not so well as I looked for, but the best that ever I heard.

King. Ay, the best for the worst. But, sirrab, what say you to this?

Cost. In manner and form following, Sir; all
those three: I was seen with her in the manor
house, sitting with her upon the form, and taken
following her into the paik; which, put toge-but little of the marking of it.
ther, is, in manner and form following. Now,
Sir, for the manner,-it is the manner of a man
to speak to a woman; for the form,-in some

Cost. Sir, I confess the wench.
King. Did you hear the proclamation?
Cost. I do confess much of the hearing it,

Biron. For the following, Sir;
Cost. As it shall follow in my correction; And
God defend the right!

King. Will you hear this letter with attention?
Biron. As we would hear an oracle.
Cost. Such is the simplicity of man to hearken
after the flesh.

King. [Reads.] Great deputy, the welkin's vicegerent, and sole dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's God, and body's fostering patron,

Cost. Not a word of Costard yet.
King. So it is,-

Cost. It may be so: but if he say it is so, he is, in telling true, but so, so.

King. Peace.

Cost. -be to me, and every man that dares not fight!

King. No words.

King. It was proclaimed a year's imprisonment, to be taken with a wench.

Cost. I was taken with none, Sir, I was taken with a damosel.

King. Well it was proclaimed damosel. Cost. This was no damosel neither, Sir; she was a virgin.

King. It is so varied too; for it was proclaimed, virgin.

Cost. If it were, I deny her virginity; 1 was taken with a maid.

King. This maid will not serve your turn, Sir.
Cost. This maid will serve my turn, Sir.
King. Sir, I will pronounce your sentence;
You shall fast a week with bran and water.
Cost. I had rather pray a month with nutton
and porridge.

King. And Don Armado shall be your keeper.
-My lord Biron see him deliver'd o'er.-
And go we, lords, to put in practice that

Which each to other hath so strongly


[Exeunt KING, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAIN. Biron. I'll lay my head to any good man's bat, [scorn. These oaths and laws will prove au idle Sirrah, come on.

Cost. I suffer for the truth, Sir: for true it is, I was taken with Jaquenetta, and Jaquenetta is a true girl; and therefore, Welcome the sour cup of prosperity! Affliction may one day smile again, and till then, Sit thee down, sorrow!


Cost.-of other men's secrets, I beseech you. King. So it is, besieged with sable-coloured melancholy, I did commend the black-oppressing humour to the most wholesome physic of thy health-giving air; and, as I am a gentleman, betook myself to walk. The time when? About the sixth hour; when beasts most graze, birds best peck, and men sit down to that nourishment which is called supper. So much for the time when: Now for the ground which; which, I mean, I walked upon: it is ycleped thy park. Then SCENE II.-Another part of the same.—Arfor the place where; where, I mean, I did encounter that obscene and most preposterous event, that draweth from my snow white pen the ebon-coloured ink, which here thou viewest, beholdest, surveyest, or seest: But, to the place where,-It standeth north-north-east and by east from the west corner of thy

I. e. Third-Borough, a peace-officer. t In the fact.

MADO'S House.

Enter ARMADO and MOTH.

Arm. Boy what sign is it, when a man of great spirit grows melancholy?

Moth. A great sign, Sir, that he will look sad. Arm. Why, sadness is one and the self-same thing, dear imp.

Moth. No, no; O lord, Sir, no.

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