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0, what a scene of foolery I have seen,
Of sighs, of groans, of sorrow, and of teen!
O me, with what strict patience have I sat,
To see a king transformed to a gnat!?
To see great Hercules whipping a gig,
And profound Solomon to tune a jig,
And Nestor play at push-pin with the boys,
And critic Timon laugh at idle toys!
Where lies thy grief, O tell me, good Dumain ?
And gentle Longaville, where lies thy pain ?
And where my liege's? All about the breast.—
A caudle, ho!

King Too bitter is thy jest.
Are we betrayed thus to thy over-view ?

Biron. Not you by me, but I betrayed to you.
I, that am honest; I, that hold it sin
To break the vow I am engaged in;
I am betrayed, by keeping company
With moon-like men, of strange inconstancy.
When shall you see me write a thing in rhyme,
Or groan for Joan, or spend a minute's time
In pruning 3 me? When shall

When shall you hear that I
Will praise a hand, a foot, a face, an eye,
A gait, a state, a brow, a breast, a waist,
A leg, a limb?-

King. Soft ; whither away so fast ?
A true man, or a thief, that gallops so ?

Biron. I post from love; good lover, let me go.

Jag. God bless the king !

What present hast thou there?
Cost. Some certain treason.

What makes treason here ? ?

1 Grief.

2 Gnat is the reading of the old copy, and there seems no necessity for changing it to knot or any other word, as some of the editors have been desirous of doing

3 A bird is said to be pruning himself when he picks and sleeks his feathers.

4 That is—66 What does treason here?

Cost. Nay, it makes nothing, sir.

If it mar nothing neither, The treason, and you, go

you, go in peace away together. Jaq. I beseech your grace, let this letter be read; Our parson misdoubts it; 'twas treason, he said.

King. Biron, read it over. [Giving him the letter. Where hadst thou it?

Jaq. Of Costard.
King. Where hadst thou it ?
Cost. Of dun Adramadio, dun Adramadio.
King. How now! what is in you? why dost thou

tear it
Biron. A toy, my liege, a toy; your grace needs

not fear it. Long. It did move him to passion, and therefore

let's hear it. Dum. It is Biron’s writing, and here is his name.

[Picks up

the pieces. Biron. Ah, you whoreson loggerhead. [To Cos

TARD.] You were born to do me shame.Guilty, my lord, guilty; I confess, I confess.

King. What?
Biron. That you three fools lacked me fool to make

up the mess.
He, he, and you, my liege, and I,
Are pickpurses in love, and we deserve to die.
O, dismiss this audience, and I shall tell you more.

Dum. Now the number is even.

True, true; we are four.--
Will these turtles be gone?

Hence, sirs; away. Cost. Walk aside the true folk, and let the traitors stay.

Exeunt Cost, and JAQ. Biron. Sweet lords, sweet lovers, O let us embrace!

As true we are as flesh and blood can be.
The sea will ebb and flow, heaven show his face ;

Young blood will not obey an old decree.
We cannot cross the cause why we were born ;
Therefore, of all hands,' must we be forsworn.

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I i. e. at any rate, at all events.

King. What, did these rent lines show some love of

thine ? Biron. Did they, quoth you? Who sees the heav

enly Rosaline, That, like a rude and savage man of Inde,

At the first opening of the gorgeous east, Bows not his vassal head ; and, strucken blind,

Kisses the base ground with obedient breast ? What peremptory eagle-sighted eye

Dares look upon the heaven of her brow, "That is not blinded by her majesty ?

King. What zeal, what fury hath inspired thee now? My love, her mistress, is a gracious moon;

She, an attending star, scarce seen a light. Biron. My eyes are then no eyes, nor I Birón.

O, but for my love, day would turn to night! Of all complexions the culled sovereignty

Do meet, as at a fair, in her fair cheek; Where several worthies make one dignity;

Where nothing wants; that want itself doth seek. Lend me the flourish of all gentle tongues,

Fie, painted rhetoric ! O, she needs it not. To things of sale a seller's praise belongs;

She passes praise; then praise too short doth blot. A withered hermit, five-score winters worn,

Might shake off fifty, looking in her eye. Beauty doth varnish age, as if new-born,

And gives the crutch the cradle's infancy.
O, 'tis the sun, that maketh all things shine !

King. By Heaven, thy love is black as ebony.
Biron. Is ebony like her? O wood divine !

A wife of such wood were felicity.
0, who can give an oath? Where is a book ?

That I may swear, beauty doth beauty lack,
If that she learn not of her eye to look ;

No face is fair, that is not full so black.
King. O paradox! Black is the badge of hell,

The hue of dungeons, and the scowl of night;
And beauty's crest becomes the heavens well.
Biron. Devils soonest tempt, resembling spirits of


O, if in black my lady's brows be decked,

It mourns, that painting, and usurping hair, Should ravish doters with a false aspect;

And therefore is she born to make black fair. Her favor turns the fashion of the days;

For native blood is counted painting now;
And therefore red, that would avoid dispraise,

Paints itself black, to imitate her brow.
Dum. To look like her, are chimney-sweepers black.
Long. And since her time, are colliers counted

bright. King. And Ethiops of their sweet complexion crack. Dum. Dark needs no candles now, for dark is light.

Biron. Your mistresses dare never come in rain, For fear their colors should be washed away. King. "Twere good yours did; for, sir, to tell you

plain, I'll find a fairer face not washed to-day. Biron. I'll prove her fair, or talk till doomsday

here. King. No devil will fright thee then so much as she. Dum. I never knew man hold vile stuff so dear. Long. Look, here's thy love; my foot and her face

[Showing his shoe. Biron. O, if the streets were paved with thine eyes,

Her feet were much too dainty for such tread! Dum. O vile! Then as she goes, what upward lies

The street should see as she walked overhead. King. But what of this ? Are we not all in love? Biron. O, nothing so sure; and thereby all forsworn. King. Then leave this chat; and, good Birón, now

prove Our loving lawful, and our faith not torn. Dum. Ay, marry, there,—some flattery for this evil.

Long: O, some authority how to proceed;
Some tricks, some quillets, how to cheat the devil.

Dum. Some salve for perjury.


O, 'tis more than need!

1 A quillet is a sly trick or turn in argument, or excuse.

Have at you, then, affection's men at arms!
Consider what you first did swear unto ;-
To fast,--to study,---and to see no woman ;-
Flat treason 'gainst the kingly state of youth.
Say, can you fast? Your stomachs are too young;
And abstinence engenders maladies.
And where that you have vowed to study, lords,
In that each of you hath forsworn his book,

you still dream, and pore, and thereon look ?
For when would you, my lord, or you, or you,
Have found the ground of study's excellence,
Without the beauty of a woman's face?
From women's eyes this doctrine I derive :
They are the ground, the books, the academes,
From whence doth spring the true Promethean fire.
Why, universal plodding prisons up
The nimble spirits in the arteries;
As motion, and long-during action, tires
The sinewy vigor of the traveller.
Now, for not looking on a woman's face,
You have in that forsworn the use of eyes;
And study too, the causer of your vow ;
For where is any author in the world,
Teaches such beauty as a woman's eye?
Learning is but an adjunct to ourself;
And where we are, our learning likewise is.
Then, when ourselves we see in ladies' eyes,
With ourselves,
Do we not likewise see our learning there?
O, we have made a vow to study, lords ;
And in that vow we have forsworn our books ;?
For when would you, my liege, or you, or you,
In leaden contemplation, have found out
Such fiery numbers, as the prompting eyes
Of beauteous tutors have enriched you with ?
Other slow arts entirely keep the brain ;


1 This hemistich is omitted in all the modern editions except that by Mr. Boswell. It is found in the first quarto and first folio.

2 i. e. our true books, from which we derive most information; the eyes of woman.

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