Love's Labour's Lost

by William Shakespeare

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ACT IV - Scene II.

The park

From the shooting within, enter HOLOFERNES, SIR NATHANIEL, and DULL

Very reverent sport, truly; and done in the testimony of
a good conscience.

The deer was, as you know, sanguis, in blood; ripe as
the pomewater, who now hangeth like a jewel in the ear of caelo,
the sky, the welkin, the heaven; and anon falleth like a crab on
the face of terra, the soil, the land, the earth.

Truly, Master Holofernes, the epithets are sweetly
varied, like a scholar at the least; but, sir, I assure ye it was
a buck of the first head.

Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.

'Twas not a haud credo; 'twas a pricket.

Most barbarous intimation! yet a kind of insinuation,
as it were, in via, in way, of explication; facere, as it were,
replication, or rather, ostentare, to show, as it were, his
inclination, after his undressed, unpolished, uneducated,
unpruned, untrained, or rather unlettered, or ratherest
unconfirmed fashion, to insert again my haud credo for a deer.

I Said the deer was not a haud credo; 'twas a pricket.

Twice-sod simplicity, bis coctus!
O thou monster Ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!

Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred in
a book;
He hath not eat paper, as it were; he hath not drunk ink; his
intellect is not replenished; he is only an animal, only sensible
in the duller parts;
And such barren plants are set before us that we thankful should
Which we of taste and feeling are- for those parts that do
fructify in us more than he.
For as it would ill become me to be vain, indiscreet, or a fool,
So, were there a patch set on learning, to see him in a school.
But, omne bene, say I, being of an old father's mind:
Many can brook the weather that love not the wind.

You two are book-men: can you tell me by your wit
What was a month old at Cain's birth that's not five weeks old as

Dictynna, goodman Dull; Dictynna, goodman Dull.

What is Dictynna?

A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon.

The moon was a month old when Adam was no more,
And raught not to five weeks when he came to five-score.
Th' allusion holds in the exchange.

'Tis true, indeed; the collusion holds in the exchange.

God comfort thy capacity! I say th' allusion holds in
the exchange.

And I say the polusion holds in the exchange; for the moon is
never but a month old; and I say, beside, that 'twas a pricket
that the Princess kill'd.

Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal epitaph on
the death of the deer? And, to humour the ignorant, call the deer
the Princess kill'd a pricket.

Perge, good Master Holofernes, perge, so it shall please
you to abrogate scurrility.

I Will something affect the letter, for it argues
The preyful Princess pierc'd and prick'd a pretty pleasing
Some say a sore; but not a sore till now made sore with shooting.
The dogs did yell; put el to sore, then sorel jumps from thicket-
Or pricket sore, or else sorel; the people fall a-hooting.
If sore be sore, then L to sore makes fifty sores o' sorel.
Of one sore I an hundred make by adding but one more L.

A rare talent!

[Aside] If a talent be a claw, look how he claws him with a

This is a gift that I have, simple, simple; a foolish
extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures, shapes, objects,
ideas, apprehensions, motions, revolutions. These are begot in
the ventricle of memory, nourish'd in the womb of pia mater, and
delivered upon the mellowing of occasion. But the gift is good in
those in whom it is acute, and I am thankful for it.

Sir, I praise the Lord for you, and so may my
parishioners; for their sons are well tutor'd by you, and their
daughters profit very greatly under you. You are a good member of
the commonwealth.

Mehercle, if their sons be ingenious, they shall want
no instruction; if their daughters be capable, I will put it to
them; but, vir sapit qui pauca loquitur. A soul feminine saluteth


God give you good morrow, Master Person.

Master Person, quasi pers-one. And if one should be
pierc'd which is the one?

Marry, Master Schoolmaster, he that is likest to a

Piercing a hogshead! A good lustre of conceit in a turf
of earth; fire enough for a flint, pearl enough for a swine; 'tis
pretty; it is well.

Good Master Parson, be so good as read me this letter;
it was given me by Costard, and sent me from Don Armado. I
beseech you read it.

Fauste, precor gelida quando pecus omne sub umbra
and so forth. Ah, good old Mantuan! I may speak of thee as
the traveller doth of Venice:
Venetia, Venetia,
Chi non ti vede, non ti pretia.
Old Mantuan, old Mantuan! Who understandeth thee not,
loves thee not-
Ut, re, sol, la, mi, fa.
Under pardon, sir, what are the contents? or rather as
Horace says in his- What, my soul, verses?

Ay, sir, and very learned.

Let me hear a staff, a stanze, a verse; lege, domine.

[Reads] 'If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to
Ah, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vowed!
Though to myself forsworn, to thee I'll faithful prove;
Those thoughts to me were oaks, to thee like osiers bowed.
Study his bias leaves, and makes his book thine eyes,
Where all those pleasures live that art would comprehend.
If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice;
Well learned is that tongue that well can thee commend;
All ignorant that soul that sees thee without wonder;
Which is to me some praise that I thy parts admire.
Thy eye Jove's lightning bears, thy voice his dreadful thunder,
Which, not to anger bent, is music and sweet fire.
Celestial as thou art, O, pardon love this wrong,
That singes heaven's praise with such an earthly tongue.'

You find not the apostrophas, and so miss the accent:
let me supervise the canzonet. Here are only numbers ratified;
but, for the elegancy, facility, and golden cadence of poesy,
caret. Ovidius Naso was the man. And why, indeed, 'Naso' but for
smelling out the odoriferous flowers of fancy, the jerks of
invention? Imitari is nothing: so doth the hound his master, the
ape his keeper, the tired horse his rider. But, damosella virgin,
was this directed to you?

Ay, sir, from one Monsieur Berowne, one of the strange
queen's lords.

I will overglance the superscript: 'To the snow-white
hand of the most beauteous Lady Rosaline.' I will look again on
the intellect of the letter, for the nomination of the party
writing to the person written unto: 'Your Ladyship's in all
desired employment, Berowne.' Sir Nathaniel, this Berowne is one
of the votaries with the King; and here he hath framed a letter
to a sequent of the stranger queen's which accidentally, or by
the way of progression, hath miscarried. Trip and go, my sweet;
deliver this paper into the royal hand of the King; it may
concern much. Stay not thy compliment; I forgive thy duty. Adieu.

Good Costard, go with me. Sir, God save your life!

Have with thee, my girl.


Sir, you have done this in the fear of God, very
religiously; and, as a certain father saith-

Sir, tell not me of the father; I do fear colourable
colours. But to return to the verses: did they please you, Sir

Marvellous well for the pen.

I do dine to-day at the father's of a certain pupil of
mine; where, if, before repast, it shall please you to gratify
the table with a grace, I will, on my privilege I have with the
parents of the foresaid child or pupil, undertake your ben
venuto; where I will prove those verses to be very unlearned,
neither savouring of poetry, wit, nor invention. I beseech your

And thank you too; for society, saith the text, is the
happiness of life.

And certes, the text most infallibly concludes it.
[To DULL] Sir, I do invite you too; you shall not say me nay:
pauca verba. Away; the gentles are at their game, and we will to
our recreation.


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