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SCENE I.Navarre. A Park, with a Palace in it. Enter the King, BIRON, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAIN.

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,
Th' 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,
Subscribe to your deep oath, and keep it too.

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 :

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To love, to wealth, to pomp, 1 pipe 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 :
0, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep ;
Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep.

King. Your oath is past to pass away from these.

Biron. Let me say no, iny 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.. 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 dine,

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 hard-a-keeping oath,
Study to break it, and not break my troth.
If study's gain he 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.
[1] By all these the poet seems to mean, all these gentlemen, who have sworn to

prosecute the same studies with me.


Biron. Whý, 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 eye-sight 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 other's 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.s

King. How well he's read, to reason against reading!
Dum. Proceodod woll, 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

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 frost,

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

[2] Falsely is here, and in many other places, the same as dishonestly or treacherously. The whole sense of this jingling declamation is only this, that a man by too close study may read himself blind. JOHNSON.

[3] The consequence, says Biron, of too much knowledge, is not any real solution of doubts, but mere empty reputation. That is, too much knonledge gives only fame, a name which every godfather can give likewise. JOHNSON.

[4] So sneaping winds in The Winter's Tale. To sneap is to check, to rebuke. Thus also, Falstatt, “I will not undergo this sneap, without reply." STEEVENS. 11

Vol. III,

Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled shows;
But like of each thing, that in season grows.
So you, to study now it is too late,
Climb o'er the house t’unlock the little gate.

King. Well, sit you out: go home, Biron ; adieu !

Biron. No, my good lord ; I've 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 year's day.
Give me the paper, let me read the same;
And to the strict’st decrees I'll write my name.

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 I.
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 endre such public shame as the rest 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.

[5] By shows the poet means Maygames, at which a snow would be very unwelcome and unexpected; it is only a periphrasis for May. T. WARTON.

(6) Lie here, means reside here, in the same sense as an ambassador is said to lit lieger. REED.

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 grace: If I break faith, this word shall speak for me, I am forsworn on mere 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 loth,
I am the last that will last keep his oath.
But is there no quick recreation granted ?9
King. Ay, that there is : our court, you know, is haunted

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 fancy, that Armado hight,

For interim to our studies, shall relate,
In high-born words, the worth of many a knight
From tawny Spain, fost in the world's debate.
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 a most illustrious wight,
A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight.

[7] Biron, amidst his extravagancies, speaks with great justness against the folly of vows. They are made without sufficient regard to the variations of life, and are therefore broken by some unforeseen necessity. They proceed commonly from a presumptuous confidence, and a false estimate of human power. JOHNSON.

[8] Suggestions--Temptations. JOHNSON.
(9) Quick recreation-Lively sport, spritely diversion. JOHNSON.

[1] This passage, I believe, means no more than that Don Armado was a man nicely versed in ceremonial distinctions, one who could distinguish in the most delicate questions of honour the exact boundaries of right and wrong. Compliment, in Shakespeare's time, did not signify, at least, did not only signify verbal civility, or phrases of courtesy, but, according to its original meaning, the trappings, or ornamental appendages of a character, in the same manner and on the same principles of speech with accomplishment. Compliment is, as Armado well expresses it, the varnish of a complete man. JOHNSON.

[2] i. 7. I will make a minstrel of him, whose occupation was to relate fabulous stories. DOUCE.

[3] i. e. (says an intelligent writer in the Edinburgh Magazine,) words newly coined, new from the forge. Fire new, new off the irons, and the Scottish express sion bren-new bave all the same origin.' STEVENS.

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