Love's Labour's Lost By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scene 1

ACT IV. SCENE I. The King of Navarre's park.


Was that the King that spurr'd his horse so hard
Against the steep uprising of the hill?

I know not; but I think it was not he.

Whoe'er a' was, a' show'd a mounting mind.
Well, lords, to-day we shall have our dispatch;
On Saturday we will return to France.
Then, forester, my friend, where is the bush
That we must stand and play the murderer in?

Hereby, upon the edge of yonder coppice;
A stand where you may make the fairest shoot.

I thank my beauty, I am fair that shoot,
And thereupon thou speak'st the fairest shoot.

Pardon me, madam, for I meant not so.

What, what? First praise me, and again say no?
O short-liv'd pride! Not fair? Alack for woe!

Yes, madam, fair.

Nay, never paint me now;
Where fair is not, praise cannot mend the brow.
Here, good my glass [Gives money]: — take this for telling true:

Fair payment for foul words is more than due.

Nothing but fair is that which you inherit.

See, see! my beauty will be sav'd by merit.
O heresy in fair, fit for these days!
A giving hand, though foul, shall have fair praise.
But come, the bow: now mercy goes to kill,
And shooting well is then accounted ill.
Thus will I save my credit in the shoot:
Not wounding, pity would not let me do't;
If wounding, then it was to show my skill,
That more for praise than purpose meant to kill.
And out of question so it is sometimes,
Glory grows guilty of detested crimes,
When, for fame's sake, for praise, an outward part,
We bend to that the working of the heart;
As I for praise alone now seek to spill
The poor deer's blood, that my heart means no ill.

Do not curst wives hold that self-sovereignty
Only for praise' sake, when they strive to be
Lords o'er their lords?

Only for praise; and praise we may afford
To any lady that subdues a lord.

[Enter COSTARD.]

Here comes a member of the commonwealth.

God dig-you-den all! Pray you, which is the head lady?

Thou shalt know her, fellow, by the rest that have no heads.

Which is the greatest lady, the highest?

The thickest and the tallest.

The thickest and the tallest! It is so; truth is truth.
An your waist, mistress, were as slender as my wit,
One o' these maids' girdles for your waist should be fit.
Are not you the chief woman? You are the thickest here.

What's your will, sir? What's your will?

I have a letter from Monsieur Berowne to one Lady Rosaline.

O! thy letter, thy letter; he's a good friend of mine.
Stand aside, good bearer. Boyet, you can carve;
Break up this capon.

I am bound to serve.
This letter is mistook; it importeth none here.
It is writ to Jaquenetta.

We will read it, I swear.
Break the neck of the wax, and every one give ear.

'By heaven, that thou art fair is most infallible;
true, that thou art beauteous; truth itself, that thou art
lovely. More fairer than fair, beautiful than beauteous, truer
than truth itself, have commiseration on thy heroical vassal! The
magnanimous and most illustrate king Cophetua set eye upon the
pernicious and indubitate beggar Zenelophon, and he it was that
might rightly say, Veni, vidi, vici; which to anatomize in
the vulgar — O base and obscure vulgar! — videlicet, he came, saw,
and overcame: he came, one; saw, two; overcame, three. Who came?
the king: Why did he come? to see: Why did he see? to overcome:
To whom came he? to the beggar: What saw he? the beggar. Who
overcame he? the beggar. The conclusion is victory; on whose
side? the king's; the captive is enriched: on whose side? the
beggar's. The catastrophe is a nuptial: on whose side? the
king's, no, on both in one, or one in both. I am the king, for so
stands the comparison; thou the beggar, for so witnesseth thy
lowliness. Shall I command thy love? I may: Shall I enforce thy
love? I could: Shall I entreat thy love? I will. What shalt thou
exchange for rags? robes; for tittles? titles; for thyself?
-me. Thus, expecting thy reply, I profane my lips on thy foot, my
eyes on thy picture, and my heart on thy every part.
Thine in the dearest design of industry,
'Thus dost thou hear the Nemean lion roar
'Gainst thee, thou lamb, that standest as his prey;
Submissive fall his princely feet before,
And he from forage will incline to play.
But if thou strive, poor soul, what are thou then?
Food for his rage, repasture for his den.'

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