William Shakespeare: Love's Labor's Lost, Act IV
Enter the Princess, and her train, a Forester, Boyet, Rosaline, Maria, and Katharine
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?
Nay, never paint me now: Where fair is not, praise cannot mend the brow. Here, good my glass, take this for telling true: Fair payment for foul words is more than due.
See see, my beauty will be saved 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?
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.
O, thy letter, thy letter! he's a good friend of mine: Stand aside, good bearer. Boyet, you can carve; Break up this capon.
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 annothanize 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, Don Adriano de Armado.
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 art thou then? Food for his rage, repasture for his den.
What plume of feathers is he that indited this letter? What vane? what weathercock? did you ever hear better?
This Armado is a Spaniard, that keeps here in court; A phantasime, a Monarcho, and one that makes sport To the prince and his bookmates.
Thou hast mistaken his letter. Come, lords, away.
Here, sweet, put up this: 'twill be thine another day.
Exeunt Princess and train
My lady goes to kill horns; but, if thou marry, Hang me by the neck, if horns that year miscarry. Finely put on!
Shall I come upon thee with an old saying, that was a man when King Pepin of France was a little boy, as touching the hit it?
So I may answer thee with one as old, that was a woman when Queen Guinover of Britain was a little wench, as touching the hit it.
Exeunt Rosaline and Katharine
A mark! O, mark but that mark! A mark, says my lady! Let the mark have a prick in't, to mete at, if it may be.
Exeunt Boyet and Maria
By my soul, a swain! a most simple clown! Lord, Lord, how the ladies and I have put him down! O' my troth, most sweet jests! most incony vulgar wit! When it comes so smoothly off, so obscenely, as it were, so fit. Armado o' th' one side,—O, a most dainty man! To see him walk before a lady and to bear her fan! To see him kiss his hand! and how most sweetly a' will swear! And his page o' t' other side, that handful of wit! Ah, heavens, it is a most pathetical nit! Sola, sola!
Exit Costard, running