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Ferdinand, King of Navarre.
Princess of France.
Officers and others, Attendants on the King and
* This enumeration of the persons was made by Mr. Rowe.
LOVE'S LABOUR’S LOST.
ACT I. SCENE I. Navarre. A Park, with a Palace in it.
Enter the King, Biron, LONGAVILLE, and
King. Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives, 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 honour, which shall bate his scythe's keen edge, 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 edíct 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, Birón, Dumain, and Longaville, Have sworn for three years' term to live with me, My fellow-scholars, and to keep those statutes, That are recorded in this schedule here: Your oaths are past, and now subscribe your names; That his own hand may strike his honour down That violates the smallest branch herein:
If you are arm’d to do, as sworn to do,
Long. I am resolv'd : 'tis but a three years' fast; 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 wits.
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, 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, to study with your grace, And stay here in your court for three years' space. Long. You swore to that, Biron, and to the
rest. Biron. By yea and nay, sir, then I swore in jest.
" With all these - ] i. e. the King, Biron, &c.
What is the end of study? let me know.
common sense? King. Ay, that is study's god-like recompense.
Biron. Come on then, I will swear to study so,
When I to feast expressly am forbid;
When mistresses from common sense are hid :
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 :
By fixing it upon a fairer eye;
while truth the while Doth falsely blind —] Falsely is here, and in many other places, the same as dishonestly or treacherously. 3 Who dazzling so, that eye shall be his heed,
And give him light that was it blinded by.] This passage is unnecessarily obscure; the meaning is, that when he dazzles, that is, has his eye made weak, by firing his eye upon a fairer eye, that fairer eye shall be his heed, his direciion or lode-star, and give him light that was blinded by it. Johnson.
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 are. 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 gecse are
Fit in his place and time.
Something then in rhyme. Long. Biron is like an envious sneaping frost,
That bites the first-born infants of the spring. Biron. Well, say I am ; why should proud sum
mer 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, Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled shows;5 But like of each thing, that in season grows.
4- sneaping frost,] To sneap is to check, or rebuke.
5 - May's new-fungled show's;] By these shows the poet means Maygames, at which a snow would be very unwelcome and unexpected. It is only a periphrasis for May.