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Love's Labour's Lost

Please see the bottom of the page for explanatory notes.

ACT I SCENE II The same. 
 Enter ARMADO and MOTH. 
ARMADO Boy, what sign is it when a man of great spirit 
 grows melancholy? 
MOTH A great sign, sir, that he will look sad. 
ARMADO Why, sadness is one and the self-same thing, dear imp.
MOTH No, no; O Lord, sir, no! 
ARMADO How canst thou part sadness and melancholy, my 
 tender juvenal? 
MOTH By a familiar demonstration of the working, my tough senior. 
ARMADO Why tough senior? why tough senior? 10
MOTH Why tender juvenal? why tender juvenal? 
ARMADO I spoke it, tender juvenal, as a congruent epitheton 
 appertaining to thy young days, which we may 
 nominate tender. 
MOTH And I, tough senior, as an appertinent title to your
 old time, which we may name tough. 
ARMADO Pretty and apt. 
MOTH How mean you, sir? I pretty, and my saying apt? or 
 I apt, and my saying pretty?  20
ARMADO Thou pretty, because little.
MOTH Little pretty, because little. Wherefore apt? 
ARMADO And therefore apt, because quick. 
MOTH Speak you this in my praise, master? 
ARMADO In thy condign praise. 
MOTH I will praise an eel with the same praise.

ARMADO What, that an eel is ingenious? 
MOTH That an eel is quick. 
ARMADO I do say thou art quick in answers: thou heatest my blood. 30
MOTH I am answered, sir. 
ARMADO I love not to be crossed.
MOTH [Aside.] He speaks the mere contrary; crosses love not him. 
ARMADO I have promised to study three years with the duke. 
MOTH You may do it in an hour, sir. 
ARMADO Impossible. 
MOTH How many is one thrice told? 
ARMADO I am ill at reckoning; it fitteth the spirit of a tapster. 40
MOTH You are a gentleman and a gamester, sir. 
ARMADO I confess both: they are both the varnish of a 
 complete man. 
MOTH Then, I am sure, you know how much the gross sum of 
 deuce-ace amounts to.
ARMADO It doth amount to one more than two. 
MOTH Which the base vulgar do call three. 
MOTH Why, sir, is this such a piece of study? Now here 
 is three studied, ere ye'll thrice wink: and how
 easy it is to put 'years' to the word 'three,' and 
 study three years in two words, the dancing horse 
 will tell you. 52
ARMADO A most fine figure! 
MOTH [Aside.] To prove you a cipher.
ARMADO I will hereupon confess I am in love: and as it is 
 base for a soldier to love, so am I in love with a 
 base wench. If drawing my sword against the humour 
 of affection would deliver me from the reprobate 
 thought of it, I would take Desire prisoner, and
 ransom him to any French courtier for a new-devised 
 courtesy. I think scorn to sigh: methinks I should 
 outswear Cupid. Comfort, me, boy: what great men 
 have been in love? 
MOTH Hercules, master. 63
ARMADO Most sweet Hercules! -- More authority, dear boy, name 
 more; and, sweet my child, let them be men of good 
 repute and carriage. 
MOTH Samson, master: he was a man of good carriage, great 
 carriage, for he carried the town-gates on his back
 like a porter: and he was in love. 69
ARMADO O well-knit Samson! strong-jointed Samson! I do 
 excel thee in my rapier as much as thou didst me in 
 carrying gates. I am in love too. Who was Samson's 
 love, my dear Moth?
MOTH A woman, master. 
ARMADO Of what complexion? 
MOTH Of all the four, or the three, or the two, or one of the four. 
ARMADO Tell me precisely of what complexion. 
MOTH Of the sea-water green, sir. 81
ARMADO Is that one of the four complexions? 
MOTH As I have read, sir; and the best of them too. 
ARMADO Green indeed is the colour of lovers; but to have a 
 love of that colour, methinks Samson had small reason 
 for it. He surely affected her for her wit.
MOTH It was so, sir; for she had a green wit. 
ARMADO My love is most immaculate white and red. 
MOTH Most maculate thoughts, master, are masked under 
 such colours. 
ARMADO Define, define, well-educated infant.
MOTH My father's wit and my mother's tongue, assist me! 
ARMADO Sweet invocation of a child; most pretty and 
 pathetical! 92
MOTH If she be made of white and red, 
 Her faults will ne'er be known,
 For blushing cheeks by faults are bred 
 And fears by pale white shown: 
 Then if she fear, or be to blame, 
 By this you shall not know, 
 For still her cheeks possess the same
 Which native she doth owe. 100
 A dangerous rhyme, master, against the reason of 
 white and red. 
ARMADO Is there not a ballad, boy, of the King and the Beggar? 
MOTH The world was very guilty of such a ballad some
 three ages since: but I think now 'tis not to be 
 found; or, if it were, it would neither serve for 
 the writing nor the tune. 
ARMADO I will have that subject newly writ o'er, that I may 
 example my digression by some mighty precedent.
 Boy, I do love that country girl that I took in the 
 park with the rational hind Costard: she deserves well. 111
MOTH [Aside.] To be whipped, -- and yet a better love han my master. 
 my master. 
ARMADO Sing, boy; my spirit grows heavy in love. 
MOTH And that's great marvel, loving a light wench.
ARMADO I say, sing. 
MOTH Forbear till this company be past. 
DULL Sir, the duke's pleasure is, that you keep Costard 
 safe: and you must suffer him to take no delight 
 nor no penance; but a' must fast three days a week.
 For this damsel, I must keep her at the park: she 
 is allowed for the day-woman. Fare you well. 122
ARMADO I do betray myself with blushing. -- Maid! 
ARMADO I will visit thee at the lodge.
JAQUENETTA That's hereby. 
ARMADO I know where it is situate. 
JAQUENETTA Lord, how wise you are! 
ARMADO I will tell thee wonders. 
JAQUENETTA With that face? 130
ARMADO I love thee. 
JAQUENETTA So I heard you say. 
ARMADO And so, farewell. 
JAQUENETTA Fair weather after you! 
DULL Come, Jaquenetta, away!
ARMADO Villain, thou shalt fast for thy offences ere thou 
 be pardoned. 
COSTARD Well, sir, I hope, when I do it, I shall do it on a 
 full stomach. 
ARMADO Thou shalt be heavily punished. 140
COSTARD I am more bound to you than your fellows, for they 
 are but lightly rewarded. 
ARMADO Take away this villain; shut him up. 
MOTH Come, you transgressing slave; away! 
COSTARD Let me not be pent up, sir: I will fast, being loose.
MOTH No, sir; that were fast and loose: thou shalt to prison. 
COSTARD Well, if ever I do see the merry days of desolation 
 that I have seen, some shall see. 150
MOTH What shall some see? 
COSTARD Nay, nothing, Master Moth, but what they look upon.
 It is not for prisoners to be too silent in their 
 words; and therefore I will say nothing: I thank 
 God I have as little patience as another man; and 
 therefore I can be quiet. 
 Exeunt MOTH and COSTARD. 
ARMADO I do affect the very ground, which is base, where
 her shoe, which is baser, guided by her foot, which 
 is basest, doth tread. I shall be forsworn, which 
 is a great argument of falsehood, if I love. And 
 how can that be true love which is falsely 
 attempted? Love is a familiar; Love is a devil:
 there is no evil angel but Love. Yet was Samson so 
 tempted, and he had an excellent strength; yet was 
 Solomon so seduced, and he had a very good wit. 
 Cupid's butt-shaft is too hard for Hercules' club; 
 and therefore too much odds for a Spaniard's rapier.
 The first and second cause will not serve my turn; 
 the passado he respects not, the duello he regards 
 not: his disgrace is to be called boy; but his 
 glory is to subdue men. Adieu, valour! rust rapier! 
 be still, drum! for your manager is in love; yea, 170
 he loveth. Assist me, some extemporal god of rhyme, 
 for I am sure I shall turn sonnet. Devise, wit! 
 write, pen! for I am for whole volumes in folio. 

Love's Labour's Lost, Act 2, Scene 1


Explanatory Notes for Act 1, Scene 2
From Love's Labour's Lost. Ed. William Rolfe. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Abbreviations Used in the Notes

Scene II.

5. Imp. Youngling; used only by Armado, Holofernes, and Pistol. The word originally meant an offshoot or scion of a tree; thence, figuratively, offspring or child; finally becoming limited to a young devil. Johnson remarks that Lord Cromwell, in his last letter to Henry VIII., prays for the imp his son. Spenser in the prologue to F. Q. addresses Cupid as
"most dreaded impe of highest Jove,
Faire Venus sonne"
Cf. F. Q. iii. 5. 53:
"Fayre ympes of beauty, whose bright shining beames
Adorne the world with like to heavenly light," etc
8. Juvenal. Juvenile, youth; used only by Armado, Flute (M. N. D. iii. 1. 97), and in jest by Falstaff (2 Hen. IV. i. 2. 22).

11. Senior. The 1st quarto has "signeor," and the folio "signeur."

13. Epitheton. Epithet; the reading of 2d folio. The 1st folio has "apathaton," and the quarto "apethaton."

33. Crosses love not him. The boy plays on crosses as applied to coin. We have the same pun in A. Y. L. ii. 4. 12 and 2 Hen. IV. i. 2. 253 (see our ed. p. 156). Mere = absolute, very. See on i. 1. 146 above.

40. A tapster. For other allusions to the tapster's reckoning, or keeping account with customers, cf. 2 Hen. IV. i. 2. 193 and T. and C. i. 2. 123.

43. Complete. Accomplished. Cf. Hen. VIII. i. 2. 118: "This man so complete," etc.

52. The dancing horse. A famous horse of the time, often called "Bankes' horse" from his owner, who had trained him to perform many remarkable feats. Raleigh, in his Hist. of the World, says: "If Banks had lived in older times, he would have shamed all the inchanters in the world; for whosoever was most famous among them could never master or instruct any beast as he did his horse." Steevens quotes, among other allusions to the animal, B. J[onson]., Every Man Out of His Humour: "He keeps more ado with this monster than ever Bankes did with his horse;" and the same author's Epigrams:
"Old Banks the jugler, our Pythagoras,
Grave tutor to the learned horse."
In France, according to Bishop Morton, Bankes "was brought into suspition of magicke, because of the strange feates which his horse Morocco plaied at Orieance;" but Bankes having made the beast kneel down to a crucifix and kiss it, "his adversaries rested satisfied, conceiving (as it might seeme) that the divell had no power to come neare the crosse." In Rome he was less fortunate, if we may believe Reed, who says that both horse and owner were there burned by order of the Pope. According to other authorities, however, Bankes came back safe to London, and was still living in King Charles's time, a jolly vintner in Cheapside. For fuller accounts of him and his horse, see Douce's Illustrations, Chambers's Book of Days, or Halliwell's folio ed.

60. Courtesy. Curtsy; used by men as well as women. See Much Ado, p. 159.

65. Sweet my child. My sweet child. See Gr. 13.

82. Green indeed is the colour of lovers. Some say, because of its association with jealousy, "the green-eyed monster;" others, as being the colour of the willow, "worn of forlorn paramours" (cf. Much Ado, p. 169).

85. A green wit. Probably, as the Camb. editors remark, there is an allusion to the green withes with which Samson was bound. See p. 128 above (on Dramatis Persons).

87. Maculate. The reading of the 1st quarto; the other early eds. have "immaculate."

92. Pathetical. The Coll. MS. has "poetical."

100. Native she doth owe. She possesses by nature. For owe = own, cf. ii. 1. 6 below. Gr. 290.

103. The King and the Beggar. The ballad of King Cophetua and the Beggar-maid, which may be found in Percy's Reliques. For other allusions to it, see iv. 1. 64 below, R. and J. ii. 1. 14, and Rich. II. v. 3. 80.

109. Digression. "Going out of the right way, transgression" (Steevens). Cf. R. of L. 202:
"Then my digression is so vile, so base,
That it will live engraven in my face."
Cf. also digressing in Rich. II. v. 3. 66.

111. Rational hind. Perhaps Armado's fantastic way of expressing "human hind," hind being a beast (a deer), as well as a boor; but rational may be a misprint for "irrational," as Hanmer regarded it. Farmer objects to the former interpretation, that it makes Costard a female animal; but Steevens quotes in reply J. C. i. 3. 106: "He were no lion, were not Romans hinds."

115. A light wench. S. is fond of playing upon the different senses of light. Cf. M. of V. v. I. 130:
"Let me give light, but let me not be light;
For a light wife doth make a heavy husband."
See also ii. 1. 197 and v. 2. 25 below; and for light = wanton, iv. 3. 380.

119. Let him. The folio reading; the 1st quarto has "suffer him to," and in the next line "a" for he.

121. Day-woman. Dairy-woman.

126. That's hereby. "Hereby is used by her (as among the vulgar in some countries) to signify as it may happen; he takes it in the sense of just by" (Steevens). We have it in the latter sense in iv. 1.9 below. The only other instance of the word in S. is in Rich. III. i. 4. 94.

127. Situate. For the form, see Gr. 342.

130. With that face? Steevens says: "This cant phrase has oddly lasted till the present time; and is used by people who have no more meaning annexed to it than Fielding had, who, putting it into the mouth of Beau Didapper, thinks it necessary to apologize (in a note) for its want of sense, by adding that 'it was taken verbatim from very polite conversation.'"

135. Come, Jaqnenetta, away! Given by the quartos and the folio to "Clo. (that is, Clown, or Costard); corrected by Theo. The next speech is given by the 1st quarto to "Ar." by the 1st folio to "Clo." and by the later folios to "Con."

141. Fellows. D[yce]. and H[aliwell]. follow Capell in reading "followers."

147. last and loose. A quibbling reference to the cheating game so called. See K. John, p. 156, and cf. iii. 1. 97 below.

157. Affect. Love; as in 84 above. Cf. Much Ado, i. I. 298: "Dost thou affect her?" etc.

159. Argument. Proof; as in Much Ado, ii. 3. 243, T. N. iii. 2. 12, etc.

161. Familiar. "Familiar spirit," or demon; as in 2 Hen. VI. iv. 7. 114: "he has a familiar under his tongue," etc. Cf. also the adjective in Sonn. 86. 9:
"that affable familiar ghost
Which nightly gulls him with intelligence."
164. Butt-shaft. A kind of arrow used for shooting at butts, or targets. Cf. R. and J.. p. 171. [Also, of course, in the bawdy sense. - Sh. Online.]

166. The first and second cause, etc. Alluding to the classified causes of quarrel in the elaborate duelling science of the time. Cf. Touchstone's ridicule of them in A. Y. L. v. 4. 52 fol.; and see our ed. p. 198, note on By the book. As Saviolo's book, evidently alluded to here, was printed in 1594, this passage is one of the indications of the revision of the play before the publication of the 1st quarto. See p. 10 above.

167. Passado. A thrust in fencing. See R.and J. p. 171.

170. Manager. Changed in the Coll. MS. to "Armiger;" but manage is often used of arms. Cf. Rich. II. iii. 2. 118, 2 Hen. IV. iii. 2. 292, 301, R.and J. i. I. 76, etc.

171. Sonnet. The reading of all the early eds. changed by Hanmer to "sonneteer," by Capell to "sonneter," by the Coll. MS. to "sonnet-maker," and by D. to "sonnetist." V. and W. read "turn sonnets." Turn sonnet is not unlike Armado. Cf. Much Ado, ii. 3. 21: "now is he turned orthography;" where some read "orthographer" or "orthographist."

How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Love's Labour's Lost. Ed. William Rolfe. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1899. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2013. < >.

How to cite the sidebar:
Mabillard, Amanda. Shakespeare's Theatres: Blackfriars. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2013. < >.

Shakespeare's Theatres: Blackfriars

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