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existing work. Its incidents, however, are so simple, and in such entire conformity with the chivalric and romantic feeling of the sixteenth century, that they would readily present themselves to any mind imbued with the fashionable literature of the day." Stevens, and one or two others, are not so ready to relinquish the idea of some possible original. Mr. Collier has stated the substance of their conjectures, on the probability of which the reader will judge for himself. After stating Coleridge's conviction that "the internal evidence was indisputable that this was one of Shakespeare's earliest dramas," and that the characters were such as he might have impersonated from his own mind and schoolboy observation, Mr. Collier adds:
"The only objection to this theory is, that at the time LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST was composed, the author seems to have been acquainted in some degree with the nature of the Italian comic performances; but this acquaintance he might have acquired comparatively early in life. The character of Armado is that of a Spanish braggart, very much such a personage as was common on the Italian stage, and figures in 'Gl' Ingannati,' (which, as the Rev. Joseph Hunter was the first to point out, Shakespeare saw before he wrote his TWELFTH NIGHT,) under the name of Giglio. In the same comedy we have M. Piero Pedante, a not unusual character in pieces of that description. Holofernes is repeatedly called the 'Pedant' in the old copies of LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST, while Armado is more frequently introduced as the 'Braggart' than by his name. Stevens, after stating that he had not been able to discover any novel from which this comedy had been derived, adds that 'the story has most of the features of an ancient romance;' but it is not at all impossible that Shakespeare found some corresponding incidents in an Italian play. However, after a long search, I have not met with any such production; although, if used by Shakespeare, it most likely came into England in a printed form."
SCENE I.-Navarre. A Park, with a Palace in it.
Enter the KING, BIRON, LONGAVILLE, and
King. Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,
And make us heirs of all eternity.
Therefore, brave conquerors!-for so you are,
That are recorded in this schedule here:
If you are arm'd to do, as sworn to do,
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 bankrupt quite the wits.
Dum. My loving lord, Dumaine is mortified. The grosser manner of these world's delights He throws upon the gross world's baser slaves: To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die, With all these living, in philosophy.
Biron. I can but say their protestation over;
And but one meal on every day beside,
King. Your oath is pass'd to pass away from these. Biron. Let me say no, my 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
To know the thing I am forbid to know;
When I to feast expressly am forbid;
When mistresses from common sense are hid;
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
Which, with pain purchas'd, doth inherit pain:
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;
That will not be deep-search'd with saucy looks:
Small have continual plodders ever won,
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.
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
Dum. How follows that?
Biron. Well, say I am: why should proud sum
Before the birds have any cause to sing?
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled shows;
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,
And bide the penance of each three years' day.
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 devis'd this penalty?
Long. Marry, that did I.
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;
A maid of grace, and complete majesty,-
To her decrepit, sick, and bed-rid father: Therefore, this article is made in vain,
Or vainly comes th' 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.
Biron. Necessity will make us all forsworn Three thousand times within this three years'
King. Ay, that there is. Our court, you know,
With a refined traveller of Spain;
A man in all the world's new fashion planted,
For interim to our studies, shall relate
In high-born words the worth of many a knight
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
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. "So it is,-"
Cost. It may be so; but if he say it is so, he is, in telling true, but so,
Cost. -be to me, and every man that dares not fight.
King. No words.
Cost. of other men's secrets, I beseech you.
King. "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;