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Vow, alack, for youth unmeet,
Youth so apt to pluck a sweet!
Do not call it sin in me,
That I am forsworn for thee;
Thou for whom Jove would swear
Juno but an Ethiope were;

And deny himself for Jove,
Turning mortal for thy love.

This will I send and something else more plain,
That shall express my true love's fasting pain.
O, would the king, Biron, and Longaville,
Were lovers too! Ill, to example ill,

Would from my forehead wipe a perjured note;
For none offend where all alike do dote.

Long. [advancing]. Dumain, thy love is far
from charity,

That in love's grief desirest society:

You may look pale, but I should blush, I know,
To be o'erheard and taken napping so.

King [advancing]. Come, sir, you blush; as his your case is such ;



You chide at him, offending twice as much;
You do not love Maria; Longaville
Did never sonnet for her sake compile,
Nor never lay his wreathed arms athwart
His loving bosom to keep down his heart.
I have been closely shrouded in this bush
And mark'd you both and for you both did blush
I heard your guilty rhymes, observed your fashion,
Saw sighs reek from you, noted well your passion: 140
Ay me! says one; O Jove! the other cries;

One, her hairs were gold, crystal the other's eyes:

125. perjured note, stain of perjury.

142. one, etc., The hair of

one was gold.' F2 amends the metre by omitting one, Walker, less idiomatically, by substituting one's for one, her.

[To Long.] You would for paradise break faith

and troth;

[To Dum.] And Jove, for your love, would in-
fringe an oath.

What will Biron say when that he shall hear
Faith so infringed, which such zeal did swear?
How will he scorn! how will he spend his wit!
How will he triumph, leap and laugh at it!
For all the wealth that ever I did see,
I would not have him know so much by me.
Biron. Now step I forth to whip hypocrisy.

Ah, good my liege, I pray thee, pardon me!
Good heart, what grace hast thou, thus to reprove
These worms for loving, that art most in love?
Your eyes do make no coaches; in your tears
There is no certain princess that appears;
You'll not be perjured, 'tis a hateful thing;
Tush, none but minstrels like of sonneting!
But are you not ashamed? nay, are you not,
All three of you, to be thus much o'ershot?
You found his mote; the king your mote did see;
But I a beam do find in each of three.

O, what a scene of foolery have I seen,

Of sighs, of groans, of sorrow and of teen!
O me, with what strict patience have I sat,
To see a king transformed to a gnat!
To see great Hercules whipping a gig,
And profound Solomon to tune a jig,
And Nestor play at push-pin with the boys,
And critic Timon laugh at idle toys!

164. teen, vexation.

166. transformed to a gnat, i.e. to an insignificant creature that makes a sound-a mere minstrel.




167. gig, a kind of top. 169. push-pin, a child's game, in which pins were pushed alternately.

170. critic, cynical.

Where lies thy grief, O, tell me, good Dumain?
And, gentle Longaville, where lies thy pain?
And where my liege's? all about the breast:
A caudle, ho!


Too bitter is thy jest. Are we betray'd thus to thy over-view?

Biron. Not you to me, but I betray'd by you:
I, that am honest; I, that hold it sin

To break the vow I am engaged in ;
I am betray'd, by keeping company
With men like men of inconstancy.

When shall you see me write a thing in rhyme ?
Or groan for love? or spend a minute's time
In pruning me? When shall you hear that I

Will praise a hand, a foot, a face, an eye,
A gait, a state, a brow, a breast, a waist,
A leg, a limb?


Soft! whither away so fast?

A true man or a thief that gallops so?

Biron. I post from love: good lover, let me go.


Jaq. God bless the king!


What present hast thou there?

What makes treason here?

Cost. Some certain treason.

Cost. Nay, it makes nothing, sir.

If it mar nothing neither,

The treason and you go in peace away together.

180. This line has never been satisfactorily emended.


'with men like you, men of inconstancy,' gives the evident sense in a somewhat lame form.

185. a state, bearing' when at rest, as gait, when in motion. Cf. a 'Sonnet' of W. Browne's:

For her gait if she be walking,

Be she sitting I desire her

For her state's sake.



This shows that state does not mean standing, as Steevens explained it.

189. present, document for presentation.

Jaq. I beseech your

be read:

grace, let this letter

Our parson misdoubts it; 'twas treason, he said.

King. Biron, read it over.

Where hadst thou it?

Jaq. Of Costard.

[Giving him the paper

King. Where hadst thou it ?

Cost. Of Dun Adramadio, Dun Adramadio.

[Biron tears the letter.

King. How now! what is in you? why dost thou tear it?

Biron. A toy, my liege, a toy: your grace needs not fear it.

Long. It did move him to passion, and therefore let's hear it.


Dum. It is Biron's writing, and here is his [Gathering up the pieces. Biron. [To Costard] Ah, you whoreson loggerhead! you were born to do me shame.

Guilty, my lord, guilty! I confess, I confess.

King. What?

Biron. That you three fools lack'd me fool to

make up the mess:

He, he, and you, and you, my liege, and I,

Are pick-purses in love, and we deserve to die.


O, dismiss this audience, and I shall tell you more. 210 Dum. Now the number is even.

[blocks in formation]

Cost. Walk aside the true folk, and let the traitors stay.

[Exeunt Costard and Jaquenetta. Biron. Sweet lords, sweet lovers, O, let us embrace !

As true we are as flesh and blood can be:
The sea will ebb and flow, heaven show his face;
Young blood doth not obey an old decree:
We cannot cross the cause why we were born;
Therefore of all hands must we be forsworn.
King. What, did these rent lines show some
love of thine ?

Biron. Did they, quoth you? Who sees the heavenly Rosaline,

That, like a rude and savage man of Inde,

At the first opening of the gorgeous east, Bows not his vassal head and strucken blind Kisses the base ground with obedient breast? What peremptory eagle-sighted eye

Dares look upon the heaven of her brow,

That is not blinded by her majesty?

King. What zeal, what fury hath inspired thee now?

My love, her mistress, is a gracious moon;

She an attending star, scarce seen a light.
Biron. My eyes are then no eyes, nor I Biron :
O, but for my love, day would turn to night!
Of all complexions the cull'd sovereignty

Do meet, as at a fair, in her fair cheek,
Where several worthies make one dignity,
Where nothing wants that want itself doth seek.
Lend me the flourish of all gentle tongues,-

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Fie, painted rhetoric! O, she needs it not:
To things of sale a seller's praise belongs,
She passes praise; then praise too short doth blot.
219. of all hands, at all points, anyhow.




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