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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.

Biron. Why, 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 eyesight 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 it was 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 others' 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 naught but fame;
And every godfather can give a name.

King. How well he's read, to reason against reading!
Dum. Proceeded well, 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 breeding.
Dum. How follows that ?

Fit in his place and time.
Dum. In reason nothing.

Something, then, in rhyme.
King. 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,
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 to unlock the little gate.

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


Biron. No, my good lord ; I have 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 to what I swore,

And bide the penance of each three years' 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,”—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?
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 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
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 th' admirèd 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.
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 loath,
I am the last that will last keep his oath.

But is there no quick recreation granted ?
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 complements, 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, lost 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 is a most illustrious wight,

A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight.
Long. Costard the swain, and he, shall be our sport;
And, so to study, three years is but short.

Enter Dull, with a letter, and Costard.
Dull. Which is the duke's own person ?
Biron. This, fellow : what wouldst ?

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.
King. A letter from the magnificent Armado.
Biron. How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.
Long. A high hope for a low heaven: God grant us patience!
Biron. To hear, or forbear laughing?

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 ?
Biron. As we would hear an oracle.
Cost. Such is the simplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.

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.
King. [Reads.] “So it is,—”

Cost. It may be so; but if he say it is so, he is, in telling true, but so.

King. Peace!
Cost. —be to me, and every man that dares not fight.
King. No words !
Cost. —of other men's secrets, I beseech you.

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. Me.
King. [Reads.] “—that unlettered small-knowing soul,” —
Cost. Me.
King. [Reads.] “ --that shallow vassal," —
Cost. Still me.
King. [Reads.] “ —which, as I remember, hight Costard,” —

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.
King. Did you hear the proclamation ?

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. Well, it was proclaimed damosel.
Cost. This was no damosel neither, Sir: she was a virgin.
King. It is so varied too; for it was proclaimed virgin.
Cost. If it were, I deny her virginity: I was taken with a maid.
King. This maid will not serve your turn, Sir.
Cost. This maid will serve my turn, Sir.

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.
King. And Don Armado shall be your keeper. -

My lord Biron, see him deliver'd o'er :-
And go we, lords, to put in practice that
Which each to other hath so strongly sworn.

[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.

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