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With groaning wretches; and your task shall be,
With all the fierce endeavour 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.

Rosa. 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,
Deaf'd with the clamours 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, befal what will befal,

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.

I

King. Come, sir, it wants a twelvemonth and a

day,

And then 'twill end.

Biron.

That's too long for a play.

Enter Armado.

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 maintain'd by the owl, the other by the cuckoo. Ver, begin.

SONG.

Spring. When daisies pied, and violets blue,

And lady-smocks all silver-white,
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue,

Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men, for thus sings he,
Cuckoo;

Cuckoo, cuckoo,-O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!

II.

When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,
And merry larks are ploughmen's clocks,
When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws,

And maidens bleach their summer smocks,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men, for thus sings he,
Cuckoo;
Cuckoo, cuckoo,-O word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!

III.
Winter. When icicles hang by the wall,

And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,

And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp'd, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
To-who;

Tu-whit, to-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

IV.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,

And Marian's nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
To-who;

Tu-whit, to-who, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

Arm. The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of Apollo. You, that way; we, this way.

[Exeunt.

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