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Love's Labour's Lost

Please see the bottom of the page for explanatory notes.

ACT I SCENE I The king of Navarre's park. 
 Enter FERDINAND king of Navarre, BIRON, LONGAVILLE and DUMAIN. 
FERDINAND Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives, 
 Live register'd upon our brazen tombs 
 And then grace us in the disgrace of death; 
 When, spite of cormorant devouring Time, 5
 The endeavor of this present breath may buy 
 That honour which shall bate his scythe's keen edge 
 And make us heirs of all eternity. 
 Therefore, brave conquerors,--for so you are, 
 That war against your own affections 10
 And the huge army of the world's desires,-- 
 Our late edict shall strongly stand in force: 
 Navarre shall be the wonder of the world; 
 Our court shall be a little Academe, 
 Still and contemplative in living art.
 You three, Biron, Dumain, and Longaville, 
 Have sworn for three years' term to live with me

 My fellow-scholars, and to keep those statutes 
 That are recorded in this schedule here: 
 Your oaths are pass'd; and now subscribe your names,
 That his own hand may strike his honour down 20
 That violates the smallest branch herein: 
 If you are arm'd to do as sworn to do, 
 Subscribe to your deep oaths, and keep it too. 
LONGAVILLE I am resolved; '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. 
DUMAIN My loving lord, Dumain is mortified: 
 The grosser manner of these world's delights
 He throws upon the gross world's baser slaves: 30
 To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die; 
 With all these living in philosophy. 
BIRON I can but say their protestation over; 
 So much, dear liege, I have already sworn,
 That is, to live and study here three years. 
 But there are other strict observances; 
 As, not to see a woman in that term, 
 Which I hope well is not enrolled there; 
 And one day in a week to touch no food
 And but one meal on every day beside, 40
 The which I hope is not enrolled there; 
 And then, to sleep but three hours in the night, 
 And not be seen to wink of all the day-- 
 When I was wont to think no harm all night
 And make a dark night too of half the day-- 
 Which I hope well is not enrolled there: 
 O, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep, 
 Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep! 
FERDINAND Your oath is pass'd to pass away from these.
BIRON Let me say no, my liege, an if you please: 50
 I only swore to study with your grace 
 And stay here in your court for three years' space. 
LONGAVILLE 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. 
FERDINAND Why, that to know, which else we should not know. 
BIRON Things hid and barr'd, you mean, from common sense? 
FERDINAND Ay, that is study's godlike recompense. 
BIRON Come on, then; I will swear to study so,
 To know the thing I am forbid to know: 60
 As thus,--to study where I well may dine, 
 When I to feast expressly am forbid; 
 Or study where to meet some mistress fine, 
 When mistresses from common sense are hid;
 Or, having sworn too hard a keeping oath, 
 Study to break it and not break my troth. 
 If study's gain be thus and this be so, 
 Study knows that which yet it doth not know: 
 Swear me to this, and I will ne'er say no.
FERDINAND These be the stops that hinder study quite 70
 And train our intellects to vain delight. 
BIRON Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain, 
 Which with pain purchased doth inherit pain: 
 As, painfully to pore upon a book
 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 80
 By fixing it upon a fairer eye, 
 Who dazzling so, that eye shall be his heed 
 And give him light that it was blinded by. 
 Study is like the heaven's glorious sun
 That will not be deep-search'd with saucy looks: 
 Small have continual plodders ever won 
 Save base authority from others' books 
 These earthly godfathers of heaven's lights 
 That give a name to every fixed star
 Have no more profit of their shining nights 90
 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. 
FERDINAND How well he's read, to reason against reading!
DUMAIN Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding! 
LONGAVILLE He weeds the corn and still lets grow the weeding. 
BIRON The spring is near when green geese are a-breeding. 
DUMAIN How follows that? 
BIRON Fit in his place and time.
DUMAIN In reason nothing. 
BIRON Something then in rhyme. 
FERDINAND Biron is like an envious sneaping frost, 100
 That bites the first-born infants of the spring. 
BIRON Well, say I am; why should proud summer boast
 Before the birds have any cause to sing? 
 Why should I joy in any abortive birth? 
 At Christmas I no more desire a rose 
 Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth; 
 But like of each thing that in season grows.
 So you, to study now it is too late, 
 Climb o'er the house to unlock the little gate. 
FERDINAND Well, sit you out: go home, Biron: adieu! 110
BIRON No, my good lord; I have sworn to stay with you: 
 And though I have for barbarism spoke more
 Than for that angel knowledge you can say, 
 Yet confident I'll keep what I have swore 
 And bide the penance of each three years' day. 
 Give me the paper; let me read the same; 
 And to the strict'st decrees I'll write my name.
FERDINAND How well this yielding rescues thee from shame! 
BIRON [Reads] 'Item, That no woman shall come within a mile of my court?  
 Hath this been proclaimed? 120
LONGAVILLE Four days ago. 
BIRON Let's see the penalty. 
 'On pain of losing her tongue.' Who devised this penalty?
LONGAVILLE Marry, that did I. 
BIRON Sweet lord, and why? 
LONGAVILLE To fright them hence with that dread penalty. 
BIRON A dangerous law against gentility! 
 '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.' 130
 This article, my liege, yourself must break; 
 For well you know here comes in embassy 
 The French king's daughter with yourself to speak--
 A maid of grace and complete majesty-- 
 About surrender up of Aquitaine 
 To her decrepit, sick and bedrid father: 
 Therefore this article is made in vain, 
 Or vainly comes the admired princess hither.
FERDINAND What say you, lords? Why, this was quite forgot. 
BIRON So study evermore is overshot: 140
 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. 
FERDINAND 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' space;
 For every man with his affects is born, 
 Not by might master'd but by special grace. 150
 If I break faith, this word shall speak for me; 
 I am forsworn on 'mere necessity.' 
 So to the laws at large I write my name:
 And he that breaks them in the least degree 
 Stands in attainder of eternal shame: 
 Suggestions are to other as to me; 
 But I believe, although I seem so loath, 
 I am the last that will last keep his oath.
 But is there no quick recreation granted? 
FERDINAND Ay, that there is. Our court, you know, is haunted 
 With a refined traveller of Spain; 161
 A man in all the world's new fashion planted, 
 That hath a mint of phrases in his brain;
 One whom the music of his own vain tongue 
 Doth ravish like enchanting harmony; 
 A man of complements, whom right and wrong 
 Have chose as umpire of their mutiny: 
 This child of fancy, that Armado hight,
 For interim to our studies shall relate 
 In high-born words the worth of many a knight 170
 From tawny Spain lost in the world's debate. 
 How you delight, my lords, I know not, I; 
 But, I protest, I love to hear him lie
 And I will use him for my minstrelsy. 
BIRON Armado is a most illustrious wight, 
 A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight. 
LONGAVILLE Costard the swain and he shall be our sport; 
 And so to study, three years is but short.
 Enter DULL with a letter, and COSTARD. 
DULL Which is the duke's own person? 
BIRON This, fellow: what wouldst? 180
DULL I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his 
 grace's tharborough: but I would see his own person 
 in flesh and blood.
BIRON This is he. 
DULL Signior Arme--Arme--commends you. There's villany 
 abroad: this letter will tell you more. 
COSTARD Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me. 
FERDINAND A letter from the magnificent Armado.
BIRON How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words. 190
LONGAVILLE A high hope for a low heaven: God grant us patience! 
BIRON To hear? or forbear laughing? 
LONGAVILLE To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately; or to 
 forbear both.
BIRON Well, sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to 
 climb in the merriness. 
COSTARD The matter is to me, sir, as concerning Jaquenetta. 
 The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner. 
BIRON In what manner? 200
COSTARD 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? 
COSTARD As it shall follow in my correction: and God defend 
 the right! 210
FERDINAND Will you hear this letter with attention? 
BIRON As we would hear an oracle. 
COSTARD Such is the simplicity of man to hearken after the flesh. 
FERDINAND [Reads] 'Great deputy, the weklin's vicegerent and 
 sole dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's god, 
 and body's fostering patron.'
COSTARD Not a word of Costard yet. 
FERDINAND [Reads] 'So it is.' -- 
COSTARD It may be so: but if he say it is so, he is, in 
 telling true, but so. 220
COSTARD Be to me and every man that dares not fight!
FERDINAND No words! 
COSTARD Of other men's secrets, I beseech you. 
FERDINAND Reads. '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 y-cleped thy park. Then
 for the place where; where, I mean, I did encounter 
 that obscene and preposterous event, that draweth 
 from my snow-white pen the ebon-coloured ink, which 
 here thou viewest, beholdest, surveyest, or seest; 
 but to the place where; it standeth north-north-east 235
 and by east from the west corner of thy curious- 
 knotted garden: there did I see that low-spirited 
 swain, that base minnow of thy mirth,'-- 
FERDINAND [Reads.] 'that unlettered small-knowing soul,' -- 
FERDINAND [Reads.] 'that shallow vassel'-- 
COSTARD Still me. 
FERDINAND [Reads.] 'which, as I remember, high Costard,'-- 
FERDINAND [Reads.] 'sorted and consorted, contrary to thy 
 established proclaimed edict and continent canon, 
 which with,--O, with--but with this I passion to say 
 wherewith,' --
COSTARD With a wench. 250
FERDINAND [Reads.] 'with a child of our grandmother Eve, a 
 female; or, for thy more sweet understanding, a 
 woman. Him I, as my ever-esteemed duty pricks me on, 
 have sent to thee, to receive the meed of 
 punishment, by thy sweet grace's officer, Anthony
 Dull; a man of good repute, carriage, bearing, and 
DULL 'Me, an't shall please you; I am Anthony Dull. 
FERDINAND [Reads.] 'For Jaquenette, -- so is the weaker essel 
 called which I apprehended with the aforesaid 
 swain,--I keep her as a vessel of the law's fury;
 and shall, at the least of thy sweet notice, bring 
 her to trial. Thine, in all compliments of devoted 
 and heart-burning heat of duty. 
BIRON This is not so well as I looked for, but the best 264
 that ever I heard. 
FERDINAND Ay, the best for the worst. But, sirrah, what say 
 you to this? 
COSTARD Sir, I confess the wench. 
FERDINAND Did you hear the proclamation?
COSTARD I do confess much of the hearing it but little of 
 the marking of it. 270
FERDINAND It was proclaimed a year's imprisonment, to be taken 
 with a wench. 
COSTARD I was taken with none, sir: I was taken with a damosel.
FERDINAND Well, it was proclaimed 'damosel.' 
COSTARD This was no damosel, neither, sir; she was a virgin. 
FERDINAND It is so varied, too; for it was proclaimed 'virgin.' 
COSTARD If it were, I deny her virginity: I was taken with a maid. 
FERDINAND This maid will not serve your turn, sir. 280
COSTARD This maid will serve my turn, sir. 
FERDINAND Sir, I will pronounce your sentence: you shall fast 
 a week with bran and water. 
COSTARD I had rather pray a month with mutton and porridge. 
FERDINAND And Don Armado shall be your keeper.
 My Lord Biron, see him deliver'd o'er: 
 And go we, lords, to put in practise that 
 Which each to other hath so strongly sworn. 
BIRON I'll lay my head to any good man's hat, 290
 These oaths and laws will prove an idle scorn.
 Sirrah, come on. 
COSTARD I suffer for the truth, sir; for true it is, I was 
 taken with Jaquenetta, and Jaquenetta is a true 
 girl; and therefore welcome the sour cup of 
 prosperity! Affliction may one day smile again; and 290
 till then, sit thee down, sorrow! 

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


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

Abbreviations Used in the Notes

Scene I.

3. And then, etc. Pope puts this line in the margin as spurious.

6. Bate. Blunt; not to be printed "'bate," as by H. and some other editors. Cf. bateless in R. of L. 9: "bateless edge;" and unbated in Ham. iv. 7. 139: "A sword unbated;" and Id. v. 2. 328: "Unbated and envenom'd."

11. Edict. Accented by S. on either syllable, as suits the measure. Cf. the present instance and M. N. D. i. 1. 151 with Rich. III. i. 4. 203, etc.

13. Academe. The spelling of the 2d quarto and 2d folio; the 1st quarto and 1st folio have "Achademe," and the 3d and 4th folios "Academy."

14. Living art. "Immortal science" (Schmidt). For art=letters, learning in general, cf. iv. 2. 106 below.

23. Deep oaths. For the use of deep, cf. Sonn. 152. 9: "I have sworn deep oaths;" R. of L. 1847: "that deep vow " and K. John, iii. 1. 231: "deep-sworn faith." Steevens changed oaths to "oath" on account of the following it; but, as the Camb. editors remark, we have here "an instance of the lax grammar of the time, which permitted the use of a singular pronoun referring to a plural substantive, and vice versa." Cf. Two Noble Kinsmen, i. I:
"You cannot read it there; there, through my tears,
Like wrinkled pebbles in a glassy stream,
You may behold 'em."
The second folio changes it to "them." We may explain it as = "that which you have vowed to do" (Clarke).

27. Bankrupt quite. The 1st quarto has "bancrout quite," the folios only "bankerout." Pope was the first modern editor to restore quite. For the spelling of bankrupt, see R. and J.

29. These world's delights. These worldly delights. The Coll. MS. changes these to "this."

32. All these. That is, his companions, to whom he may be supposed to point. Johnson took these to refer to love, wealth, and pomp. Mr. P. A. Daniel conjectures "all three."

43. Wink. Shut the eyes; as often in S. Cf. Sonn. 43. 1, 56. 6, Temp. ii. 1. 216, C. of E. iii. 2. 58, etc.

62. Feast. The quartos and folios all have "fast;" corrected by Theo[bald]. Ile suggested as an alternative "fore-bid" ( = "enjoined beforehand") for forbid.

64. From common sense. That is, from ordinary sight or perception. Cf. "the sense of sense" (=the sight of the eye) in v. 2. 260 below.

65. Too hard a keeping oath. For the transposition of the article, cf. K. John, iv. 2. 27: "So new a fashion'd robe;" C. of E. iii. 2. 186: "so fair an offer'd chain;" T. and C. v. 6. 20: "much more a fresher man," etc. Gr. 422. Most editors follow Hanmer in printing "hard-a-keeping."

67. Be thus. Changed by Pope to "be this."

72. And that. The reading of the folios; the 1st quarto has "but that."

80. Study me. The me is the expletive pronoun, or "dativus ethicus," often used, as here, "with a slight dash of humour" (H[udson].). Cf. Gr. 220.

82. Who dazzling so, etc. "That when he dazzles, that is, has his eye made weak, by fixing his eye upon a fairer eye, that fairer eye shall be his heed, his direction or lodestar, and give him light that was blinded by it" (Johnson).

87. Base. Perhaps, as Walker conjectures, a misprint for "bare."

91. Wot. Know; used only in the present and the participle wotting, for which see W. T. p. 175.

92. Too much to know, etc. "The consequence, says Biron, of too much knowledge, is not any real solution of doubts, but mere reputation; that is, too much knowledge gives only fame, a name which every godfather can give likewise" (Johnson); or, as Clarke puts it: "To know overmuch is not to be wise, but to get the name of being wise: and every godfather (like these earthly godfathers that name the stars) can give a man a name for wisdom."

95. Proceeded well, etc. There is a play upon proceed, which, as Johnson notes, is "an academical term, meaning to take a degree, as he proceeded bachelor in physic."

100. Sneaping. Snipping, or nipping. Cf. W. T. 2. 13: "Sneaping winds;" and R. of L. 333: "the sneaped birds." For the noun sneap (=snubbing) see 2 Hen. IV. p. 161.

104. An abortive. The early eds. have "any" for an; corrected by Pope. The error was probably due to the any in the line above.

106. Mirth. The early eds. have "showes" or "shows." Theo. substituted "earth" for the sake of the rhyme, but we prefer Walker's conjecture of mirth. Malone thinks that a line rhyming with 104 may have been lost.

107. Like of. Cf. Much Ado, v. 4. 59: "I am your husband, if you like of me." See also iv. 3. 153 below. Gr. 177.

108. So you, to study, etc. This is the quarto reading, and is generally adopted, though we cannot help thinking that there is some corruption. The folio has:
So you to studie now it is too late,
That you were to clymbe ore the house to vnlocke the gate."
W. reads:
"So you to study now;— it is too late:
That were to climb the house o'er to unlock the gate;"
which he explains thus: "Birone, in justification of his ridicule of these literary pursuits, says that they are untimely, that he likes not roses at Christmas or snow in May, and adds, 'So it is too late for you to study now: that were to climb over a house to unlock a gate; or, in other words, 'you are beginning at the wrong end — doing boys' work at men's years.' But, according to the quarto, he says, 'I like of each thing that in season grows; so you, now it is too late to study, climb o'er the house to unlock the little gate:' whereas it was not so (that is, like Birone) at all, but exactly not so." We take it, however, that to study now it is too late is = in studying now that it is too late; the infinitive being used in the "indefinite" way, as Abbott calls it (Gr. 356), so common in S. But, as Lettsom has noted, the so is awkward in either case. He conjectures:
"But you'll to study, now it is too late:
That were to climb o'er the house to unlock the gate."
If the folio is to be followed, it is better to take it just as it is, making it a line of five feet with slurred syllables, than to turn it into an alexandrine, as W[hite]. does. Alexandrines are extremely rare in the early plays of S[hakespeare]. Mr. Fleay (Dr. Ingleby's S. the Man and the Book, Part II. p. 71) finds only four in L. L. L., one of which is doubtful. The Coll. MS. has "by study" for to study, and "Climb o'er the house-top to unlock the gate."

110. Sit you out. The reading of the quartos and the later folios; the 1st folio has "fit" for sit. The expression is one used in card-playing for taking no part in the game.

114. Swore. The reading of the later folios, and required by the rhyme. The quartos and 1st folio have "sworne." Elsewhere S. has sworn for the participle, but we find broke for broken, froze for frozen, smote for smitten, etc. See Gr. 343. Cf. forgot in 139 below, and chose in 167.

127. Gentility. Refinement, courtesy. Theo. conjectures "garrulity," and St[aunton]. "scurrility." H[udson]. points thus: "A dangerous law, — against gentility." The early eds. make the line a part of Longaville's speech; but Theo. is clearly right in transferring it to Biron.

134. Complete. Accented on the first syllable because preceding a noun so accented. See M. for M. p. 139, and cf. Cymb. p. 174 (on Supreme) or Cor. p. 255 (on Divine).

145. Of force. Perforce, of necessity.

146. Lie. Lodge, reside. See 2 Hen. IV. p. 185, or Oth. p. 193. Reed quotes Wotton's definition: "An ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country." Mere. Absolute. See Temp. p. ill, note on We are merely cheated, etc. Cf. i. 2. 33 below.

149. Affects. Affections, inclinations; as in Rich. II. 1. 4. 30 and Oth. i, 3. 264.

156. Suggestions. Temptations; the usual meaning in S. See Temp. p. 127. Cf. the verb in v. 2. 760 below.

158. I am the last that will last keep his oath. Mr. P. A. Daniel conjectures "one" for the first last, on the ground that Biron is made to say the contrary of what he means; but S. sometimes twists the sense of a word a little for the sake of a repetition like this. Walker would read "last will" for will last.

159. Quick. Lively, animated; as in i. 2. 23, 29, v. 1. 54, and v. 2. 284 below. Cf. its use = living; for which see Ham. p. 262.

164. One whom. The 1st folio has "One who," which might be retained. Cf. iv. 1. 71 below, and see Gr. 274.

166. Complements. Probably = accomplishments, as Johnson and others explain it. Schmidt takes it to be = external show. The early eds. make no distinction between complement and compliment.

168. Hight. Is called; used by S. only as an archaism. Cf. 245 below. See also M. N. D. v. 1. 140 and Per. iv. prol. 18.

171. Debate. Contest, quarrel; the only sense in S. Cf. M. N. D. ii. I. 116, 2 Hen. IV. iv. 4. 2, etc.

174. I will use him for my minstrelsy. "I will make a minstrel of him, whose occupation was to relate fabulous stories" (Douce).

176. Fire-new. Brand-new, fresh from the mint. Cf. Rich. III. I. 3. 256: " Your fire-new stamp of honour is scarce current;" T. N. iii. 2. 23: "fire-new from the mint," etc.

179. Duke's. Changed by Theo. to "King's;" but cf. i. 2. 35 and 118 below, where Armado uses it in the same blundering way. We find it even in the mouth of the princess in ii. 1. 38 below. Dogberry applies the word to the prince in Much Ado, iii. 5. 22. Cf. M. N. D. p. 125.

182. Tharborough. For thirdborough, a kind of constable. See T of S. p. 125.

187. Contempts. Contents. Cf. M. W. p. 135.

191. Having. Possession. The early eds. have "heaven;" corrected by Theo. The Coll. MS. has "hearing." The Camb. editors, St., and Clarke retain "heaven." St. remarks: "The allusion may be to the representations of heaven, and the attendant personifications of Faith, Hope, etc., in the ancient pageants."

193. Laughing. The early eds. have "hearing;" corrected by Capell.

196. Style. There is an evident play on stile; as in iv. 1. 92 below. See also Much Ado, v. 2. 6. The Coll. MS. has "chime" for climb.

199. Taken with the manner. A law term = taken in the fact, or in the act. See W. T. p. 205, or 1 Hen. IV. p. 168.

203. Form. Bench. For the play upon the word, cf. R. and J. ii. 4. 36: "who stand so much on the new form that they cannot sit at ease on the old bench."

220. But so. Equivalent to "but so-so," which Hanmer substituted.

232. Ycleped. Called; an archaism put only into the mouths of Armaclo and Holofernes. Cf. v. 2. 593 below.

237. Curious-knotted. Elaborately laid out in knots, or interlacing beds. Cf. Rich. II. iii. 4. 46: "Her knots disorder'd ;" and Milton, P. L. iv. 242 : "In beds and curious knots."

243. Vassal. The Coll. MS. has "vessel." Possibly there is a play on the word.

247. Sorted. Associated; as in 2 Hen. IV. ii. 4. 162 and Ham. ii. 2.

274. Cf. Bacon, Essay 7: "Makes them sort with meane Company."

248. With — with. The early eds. have "which with;" corrected by Theo.

249. Passion. Sorrow, grieve. Cf. T. G. of V. iv. 4. 172: "Ariadne passioning For Theseus' perjury;" and V. and A. 1059: "Dumbly she passions, franticly she doteth." Cf. the noun in v. 2. 118 below.

258. The weaker vessel. Taken from I Peter, iii. 7 (cf. A. Y. L. ii. 4. 6, 2 Hen. IV. ii. 4. 66, and R. and J. i. I. 20), as vessel of thy law's fury from Romans, ix. 22. In the latter passage Theo. changes vessel to "vassal."

274. Damosel. The folio has "damosell" here and in the next two lines, the 1st quarto "damsel." Holofernes makes it "damosella" in iv. 2. 122 below.

290. Lay. Stake, wager. Cf. Hen. V. iv. 1. 242: "lay twenty French crowns to one," etc. Capell conjectured "man's good hat."

296. Till then, sit thee, etc. The reading of the 1st quarto. The folio has "vntill then sit thee," etc. The Coll. MS. reads "untill then set thee."

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. Thoughts on Love's Labour's Lost. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2013. < >.

Thoughts on Love's Labour's Lost

microsoft images Ferdinand's opening passage in Love's Labour's Lost, Act 1, Scene 1, parallels Shakespeare's sonnets both in theme and imagery. In the sonnets the poet tries to save himself and his young man from the grip of "black night" by penning immortal verse and urging his young man (Mr. W. H.) to become a father. Here, Ferdinand will escape the finality of the grave through fame. He will become renowned for his ability to give up pleasures for three long years as his Court becomes an Academe of art. The fear of devouring Time (which is also the opening phrase of Sonnet 19), seems always present in Shakespeare's mind. For more on this topic, please see the analysis of Sonnet 19 and Sonnet 55, and Hamlet (5.1).

More to Explore

 Love's Labour's Lost: The Play with Commentary
 Quotations from Love's Labour's Lost
 Love's Labour's Lost: Plot Summary
 Shakespeare Quotations (by Theme)

 Introduction to Shakespeare's Sonnets
 Shakespearean Sonnet Style
 How to Analyze a Shakespearean Sonnet
 The Rules of Shakespearean Sonnets
 The Contents of the Sonnets in Brief


Shakespeare's Early Style ... "If he found a pair of indistinguishable twins producing amusing confusion in a Roman play, he capped them with a second pair, to produce confusion worse confounded in the English Comedy of Errors. And so with love. Navarre (in Love's Labour's Lost) and his three lords, like the four horses of an antique quadriga, go through the same adventure side by side. All four have forsworn the sight of women; all four fall in love, not promiscuously but in order of rank, with the French princess and her ladies, whose numbers, by good fortune, precisely go round. But love itself is not, as yet, drawn with any power. Berowne's magnificent account of its attributes and effects (IV, iii., mainly re-written in 1597) is not borne out by any representation of it in the play." C. H. Herford. Read on...

 Shakespeare's Treatment of Love in the Plays
 Shakespeare's Dramatic Use of Songs
 Shakespeare Quotations on Love
 Shakespeare Wedding Readings
 Shakespeare on Sleep