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• Love's LA BOUR'S Lost.] I have not hitherto discovered any novel on which this comedy appears to have been founded; and yet the story of it has most of the features of an ancient romance. STEEVENS.
I suspect that there is an error in the title of this play, which I believe, should be" Love's Labours Lost.” M. Mason. Love's Labour's Lost, I conjecture to have been written in 1594.
Ferdinand, King of Navarre.
Princess of France.
* This enumeration of the persons was made by Mr. Rowe.
LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST.
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;
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.