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Love's Labor's Lost - Act 4, scene 2
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Navigate this workLove's Labor's Lost - Act 4, scene 2
Act 4, scene 2
The Pedant Holofernes, the Curate Nathaniel, and Constable Dull discuss the deer shot by the Princess. Costard and Jaquenetta enter with the letter from Berowne to Rosaline and are told to deliver it to the king.Enter Dull ⌜the Constable,⌝ Holofernes the Pedant, and
Nathaniel ⌜the Curate.⌝
NATHANIEL 1171 Very reverend sport, truly, and done in the
1172 testimony of a good conscience.
p. 97HOLOFERNES 1173 The deer was, as you know, sanguis, in
1174 blood, ripe as the pomewater, who now hangeth
1175 5 like a jewel in the ear of caelo, the sky, the welkin,
1176 the heaven, and anon falleth like a crab on the face
1177 of terra, the soil, the land, the earth.
NATHANIEL 1178 Truly, Master Holofernes, the epithets are
1179 sweetly varied, like a scholar at the least. But, sir, I
1180 10 assure you, it was a buck of the first head.
HOLOFERNES 1181 Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.
DULL 1182 ’Twas not a haud credo, ’twas a pricket.
HOLOFERNES 1183 Most barbarous intimation! Yet a kind of
1184 insinuation, as it were, in via, in way, of explication;
1185 15 facere, as it were, replication, or rather, ostentare, to
1186 show, as it were, his inclination, after his undressed,
1187 unpolished, uneducated, unpruned, untrained, or
1188 rather unlettered, or ratherest, unconfirmed fashion,
1189 to insert again my haud credo for a deer.
DULL 1190 20I said the deer was not a haud credo, ’twas a
HOLOFERNES 1192 Twice-sod simplicity, bis coctus!
1193 O thou monster ignorance, how deformed dost thou
1195 25 Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred
1196 in a book.
1197 He hath not eat paper, as it were; he hath not drunk
1198 ink. His intellect is not replenished. He is only an
1199 animal, only sensible in the duller parts.
1200 30 And such barren plants are set before us that we
1201 thankful should be—
1202 Which we ⌜of⌝ taste and feeling are—for those parts
1203 that do fructify in us more than he.
1204 For as it would ill become me to be vain, indiscreet,
1205 35 or a fool,
1206 So were there a patch set on learning, to see him in
1207 a school.
p. 991208 But omne bene, say I, being of an old father’s mind:
1209 Many can brook the weather that love not the wind.
1210 40 You two are bookmen. Can you tell me by your wit
1211 What was a month old at Cain’s birth that’s not
1212 five weeks old as yet?
HOLOFERNES 1213 Dictynna, goodman Dull, Dictynna,
1214 goodman Dull.
DULL 1215 45What is “dictima”?
1216 A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon.
1217 The moon was a month old when Adam was no
1219 And raught not to five weeks when he came to
1220 50 fivescore.
1221 Th’ allusion holds in the exchange.
DULL 1222 ’Tis true indeed. The collusion holds in the
HOLOFERNES 1224 God comfort thy capacity! I say, th’ allusion
1225 55 holds in the exchange.
DULL 1226 And I say the pollution holds in the exchange, for
1227 the moon is never but a month old. And I say besides
1228 that, ’twas a pricket that the Princess killed.
HOLOFERNES 1229 Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal
1230 60 epitaph on the death of the deer? And, to humor
1231 the ⌜ignorant, call I⌝ the deer the Princess killed a
NATHANIEL 1233 Perge, good Master Holofernes, perge, so it
1234 shall please you to abrogate scurrility.
HOLOFERNES 1235 65I will something affect the letter, for it
1236 argues facility.
1237 The preyful princess pierced and pricked
1238 a pretty pleasing pricket,
1239 Some say a sore, but not a sore till now made
1240 70 sore with shooting.
p. 1011241 The dogs did yell. Put “l” to “sore,” then sorel
1242 jumps from thicket,
1243 Or pricket sore, or else sorel. The people fall
1245 75 If sore be sore, then “L” to “sore” makes fifty
1246 sores o’ sorel.
1247 Of one sore I an hundred make by adding but one
1248 more “L.”
NATHANIEL 1249 A rare talent.
DULL, ⌜aside⌝ 1250 80If a talent be a claw, look how he claws
1251 him with a talent.
⌜HOLOFERNES⌝ 1252 This is a gift that I have, simple, simple—
1253 a foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms,
1254 figures, shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions,
1255 85 revolutions. These are begot in the ventricle
1256 of memory, nourished in the womb of ⌜pia mater,⌝
1257 and delivered upon the mellowing of occasion. But
1258 the gift is good in those ⟨in⟩ whom it is acute, and I
1259 am thankful for it.
⌜NATHANIEL⌝ 1260 90Sir, I praise the Lord for you, and so may
1261 my parishioners, for their sons are well tutored by
1262 you, and their daughters profit very greatly under
1263 you. You are a good member of the
⌜HOLOFERNES⌝ 1265 95Mehercle, if their sons be ⌜ingenious,⌝
1266 they shall want no instruction; if their daughters be
1267 capable, I will put it to them. But Vir sapis qui pauca
1268 loquitur. A soul feminine saluteth us.
Enter Jaquenetta and the Clown ⌜Costard.⌝
JAQUENETTA, ⌜to Nathaniel⌝ 1269 God give you good morrow,
1270 100 Master Person.
⌜HOLOFERNES⌝ 1271 Master Person, quasi ⌜pierce one.⌝ And
1272 if one should be pierced, which is the one?
COSTARD 1273 Marry, Master Schoolmaster, he that is likeliest
1274 to a hogshead.
p. 103⌜HOLOFERNES⌝ 1275 105Of piercing a hogshead! A good luster
1276 of conceit in a turf of earth; fire enough for a flint,
1277 pearl enough for a swine. ’Tis pretty, it is well.
JAQUENETTA, ⌜to Nathaniel⌝ 1278 Good Master Parson, be so
1279 good as read me this letter. It was given me by
1280 110 Costard, and sent me from Don Armado. I beseech
1281 you, read it.
⌜She hands Nathaniel a paper, which he looks at.⌝
1282 Facile precor gelida quando peccas omnia sub umbra.
1284 and so forth. Ah, good old Mantuan! I may speak of
1285 115 thee as the traveler doth of Venice:
1286 Venetia, Venetia,
1287 Chi non ti vede, non ti pretia.
1288 Old Mantuan, old Mantuan! Who understandeth
1289 thee not, loves thee not. (⌜He sings.⌝) Ut, re, sol, la,
1290 120 mi, fa. (⌜To Nathaniel.⌝) Under pardon, sir, what are
1291 the contents? Or rather, as Horace says in his—
1292 (⌜Looking at the letter.⌝) What, my soul, verses?
⌜NATHANIEL⌝ 1293 Ay, sir, and very learned.
⌜HOLOFERNES⌝ 1294 Let me hear a staff, a stanza, a verse,
1295 125 Lege, domine.
1296 If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to love?
1297 Ah, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vowed!
1298 Though to myself forsworn, to thee I’ll faithful prove.
1299 Those thoughts to me were oaks, to thee like osiers
1300 130 bowed.
1301 Study his bias leaves and makes his book thine eyes,
1302 Where all those pleasures live that art would
1304 If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice.
1305 135 Well-learnèd is that tongue that well can thee
p. 1051307 All ignorant that soul that sees thee without wonder;
1308 Which is to me some praise that I thy parts admire.
1309 Thy eye Jove’s lightning bears, thy voice his dreadful
1310 140 thunder,
1311 Which, not to anger bent, is music and sweet fire.
1312 Celestial as thou art, O, pardon love this wrong,
1313 That sings heaven’s praise with such an earthly tongue.
HOLOFERNES 1314 You find not the apostrophus, and so
1315 145 miss the accent. Let me supervise the ⌜canzonet.⌝
1316 ⌜He takes the paper.⌝ Here are only numbers ratified,
1317 but, for the elegancy, facility, and golden cadence of
1318 poesy—caret. Ovidius Naso was the man. And why
1319 indeed “Naso,” but for smelling out the odoriferous
1320 150 flowers of fancy, the jerks of invention? Imitari is
1321 nothing: so doth the hound his master, the ape his
1322 keeper, the tired horse his rider.—But damosella
1323 virgin, was this directed to you?
JAQUENETTA 1324 Ay, sir, from one Monsieur Berowne, one
1325 155 of the strange queen’s lords.
⌜HOLOFERNES⌝ 1326 I will overglance the superscript: “To
1327 the snow-white hand of the most beauteous Lady
1328 Rosaline.” I will look again on the intellect of the
1329 letter for the nomination of the party ⌜writing⌝ to
1330 160 the person written unto: “Your Ladyship’s in all
1331 desired employment, Berowne.” Sir ⌜Nathaniel,⌝ this
1332 Berowne is one of the votaries with the King, and
1333 here he hath framed a letter to a sequent of the
1334 stranger queen’s: which accidentally, or by the way
1335 165 of progression, hath miscarried. ⌜To Jaquenetta.⌝
1336 Trip and go, my sweet. Deliver this paper into the
1337 royal hand of the King. It may concern much. Stay
1338 not thy compliment. I forgive thy duty. Adieu.
JAQUENETTA 1339 Good Costard, go with me.—Sir, God
1340 170 save your life.
COSTARD 1341 Have with thee, my girl.
⌜Costard and Jaquenetta⌝ exit.
p. 107⌜NATHANIEL⌝ 1342 Sir, you have done this in the fear of God
1343 very religiously; and, as a certain Father saith—
HOLOFERNES 1344 Sir, tell not me of the Father. I do fear
1345 175 colorable colors. But to return to the verses: did
1346 they please you, Sir Nathaniel?
NATHANIEL 1347 Marvelous well for the pen.
HOLOFERNES 1348 I do dine today at the father’s of a certain
1349 pupil of mine, where if, before repast, it shall
1350 180 please you to gratify the table with a grace, I will,
1351 on my privilege I have with the parents of the
1352 foresaid child or pupil, undertake your ben venuto;
1353 where I will prove those verses to be very unlearned,
1354 neither savoring of poetry, wit, nor invention.
1355 185 I beseech your society.
NATHANIEL 1356 And thank you too; for society, saith the
1357 text, is the happiness of life.
HOLOFERNES 1358 And certes the text most infallibly concludes
1359 it. ⌜To Dull.⌝ Sir, I do invite you too. You shall
1360 190 not say me nay. Pauca verba. Away! The gentles are
1361 at their game, and we will to our recreation.