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Swear me to this, and I will ne'er say no.
King. These be the stops that hinder study quite,
Biron. Why, all delights are vain ; but that most vain,
To seek the light of truth; while truth the while
Light, seeking light, doth light of light beguile :
By fixing it upon a fairer eye;
And give him light that it was blinded by.
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,
Than those that walk, and wot not what they are.
King. How well he's read, to reason against reading!
Fit in his place and time.
Something, then, in rhyme.
That bites the first-born infants of the spring.
Before the birds have any cause to sing ?
King. Well, sit you out: go home, Biron : adieu !
Biron. No, my good lord ; I have sworn to stay with you:
Than for that angel knowledge you can say,
And bide the penance of each three years' day.
And to the strict'st decrees I 'll write my name.
Biron. [Reads.] “ Item, That no woman shall come within a mile of my court,”—Hath this been proclaim'd ?
Long. Four days ago.
Biron. Let's see the penalty. [Reads.] “On pain of losing her tongue.”—Who devised this penalty ?
Long. Marry, that did I.
Sweet lord, and why?
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 endure 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
A maid of grace and complete majesty,—
To her decrepit, sick, and bed-rid father:
Or vainly comes th' admirèd princess hither.
While it doth study to have what it would,
'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.
Three thousand times within this three years' space;
Not by might master'd, but by special grace :
And he that breaks them in the least degree,
Stands in attainder of eternal shame:
Suggestions are to others, as to me;
But is there no quick recreation granted ?
With a refined traveller of Spain;
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain ;
Doth ravish like enchanting harmony;
Have chose as umpire of their mutiny:
For interim to our studies, shall relate,
From tawny Spain, lost in the world's debate.
And I will use him for my minstrelsy.
A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight.
Enter Dull, with a letter, and Costard.
Dull. I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his grace's tharborough : but I would see his own person in flesh and blood.
Biron. This is he.
Dull. Signior Arm- Arm- cornmends you. There's villainy abroad : this letter will tell you more.
Cost. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me.
Long. To hear meekly, Sir, and to laugh moderately; or to forbear both.
Biron. Well, Sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to climb in the merriness.
Cost. The matter is to me, Sir, as concerning Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.
Biron. In what manner ?
Cost. In manner and form following, Sir; all those three : I was seen with her in the manor house, sitting with her upon the form, and taken following her into the park; which, put together, is, in manner and form following. Now, Sir, for the manner,—it is the manner of a man to speak to a woman : for the form,-in some form.
Biron. For the following, Sir ?
Cost. As it shall follow in my correction : and God defend the right!
King. Will you hear this letter with attention ?
King. [Reads.] “ Great deputy, the welkin 's vicegerent, and sole dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's God, and body's fostering patron,”—
Cost. Not a word of Costard yet.
Cost. It may be so; but if he say it is so, he is, in telling true, but so.
K'ing. [Reads.] “So it is, besieged with sable-coloured melancholy, I did commend the black-oppressing humour to the most wholesome physic of thy health-giving air ; and, as I am a gentleman, betook myself to walk. The time when? About the sixth hour; when beasts most graze, birds best peck, and men sit down to that nourishment which is called supper: so much for the time when. Now for the ground which ; which, I mean, I walked upon : it is ycleped thy park. Then for the place where; where, I mean, I did encounter that obscene and most preposterous event, that draweth from my snow-white pen the ebon-coloured ink, which here thou viewest, beholdest, surveyest, or seest : but to the place, where, -it standeth north-north-east and by east from the west corner of thy curious. knotted garden : there did I see that low-spirited swain, that base minnow of thy mirth," -—
Cost. O, me. King. [Reads.] “-sorted and consorted, contrary to thy established proclaimed edict and continent canon, with—with,—0, with - but with this I passion to say wherewith,”— Cost. With a wench.
King. [Reads.] “— with a child of our grandmother Eve, a female; or, for thy more sweet understanding, a woman. Him I (as my ever-esteemed duty pricks me on) have sent to thee, to receive the meed of punishment, by thy sweet grace's officer, Antony Dull; a man of good repute, carriage, bearing, and estimation.”
Dull. Me, an 't shall please you: I am Antony Dull.
King. [Reads.] “For Jaquenetta, (so is the weaker vessel called, which I apprehended with the aforesaid swain,) I keep her as a vessel of thy law's fury; and shall, at the least of thy sweet notice, bring her to trial. Thine, in all compliments of devoted and heart-burning heat of duty,
DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO.” Biron. This is not so well as I looked for, but the best that ever I heard.
King. Ay, the best for the worst.--But, sirrah, what say you to this?
Cost. Sir, I confess the wench.
Cost. I do confess much of the hearing it, but little of the marking of it.
King. It was proclaimed a year's imprisonment, to be taken with a wench.
Cost. I was taken with none, Sir: I was taken with a damosel.
King. Sir, I will pronounce your sentence : you shall fast a week with bran and water.
Cost. I had rather pray a month with mutton and porridge.
My lord Biron, see him deliver'd o'er :-
[Exeunt King, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAIN. Biron. I'll lay my head to any good man's hat,
These oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn.Sirrah, come on.