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Love's Labour's Loft.
A c T 1.
Enter the King, Biron, Longaville and Dumain.
And then grace us in the disgrace of death:
That his own hand may strike his honour down,
Long: I am resolv'd; 'tis but a three
Dum. My loving Lord, Dumain is mortify’d:
Biron. I can but say their protestation over,
King. Your oath is pass’d to pass away from these.
Biron. Let me fay, no, my Liege, an if you please ;
Long. You swore to that, Biron, and to the rest.
(1) When I was wont to think no harm all night,] i. e. When I was
What is the end of study ? let me know?
King. Why, thattoknow, which elsewe should not know.
Biron. Come on then, I will swear in ftudy so,
When I to feast expresly am forbid ; (2)
When mistresses from common sense are hid :
King. These be the stops, that hinder study quite ;
Biron. Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain,
To seek the light of truth; while truth the while
Light, seeking light, doth light of light beguile ;
By fixing it upon a fairer eye ;
And give him light, that it was blinded by.
That will not be deep search'd with saucy looks; (2) When I 10 fast exprefly am forbid.] This is the reading of all the copies in general; but I would fain ask our accurate editors, if Biron ftudied where to get a good dinner, at a time when he was forbid to fas, how was this studying to know what he was forbid to know? common sense, and the whole tenour of the context require us to read, either as I have restor’d; or, to make a change in the last word of the verse, which will bring us to the same meaning;
Wben I to fast exprefly am for-bid; i. e. when I am enjoin'd before- hand to fast. H4
Small have continual plodders ever won,
Save basė 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,
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.
King. How well he's read, to reason against reading ?
, That bites the first-born infants of the spring. Biron. Well; say,Iam; why should proud summer boast,
Before the birds have any cause to fing?
Ai Christmas I no more desire a role,
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled shows :
But like of each thing, ibat in seafon grows.] As the greatest part of this scene (both what precedes, and follows ;) is strictly in. rhymes, either successive, alternate, or triple; I am persuaded, the copyists have made a nip here. For by making a triplet of the three Jalt lines quoted, birth in the close of the first line is quite deftitute of any rhyme to it. Besides, what a displeasing identity of sound recurs in the middle and close of this verse? Tban wish a snow in May's new
w-fangled shows. Again; new-fangled fows seems to have very little propriety. The flowers are not new-fangled; but the earth is new.fangled by the profufion and variety of the flowers, that spring on its bosom in May.. I have therefore ventur’d to substitute, earth, in the close of the third line, which restores the alternate measure. It was very easy for a negligent transcriber to be deceiv’d by the rhyme immediately preceding; fo, mistake the concluding word in the sequent line, and corrupt it into one that would chiide with the other.
So you, to study now it is too late,
King. Well, sit you out.-Go home, Biron : adieu !
Biron. No, my good Lord, I've sworn to stay with you. And though I have for barbarism spoke more,
Than for that angel knowledge you can say ;
And bide the penance of each three years day.
King. How well this yielding rescuesthee from shame!
Biron. Item, That no woman shall come within a mile of my court,
[reading. Hath this been proclaimed ?
Long. Four days ago.
Biron. Let's see the penalty. On pain of losing her tongue:
[reading Who devis'd this penalty ?
Long. Marry, that did I.
Item, [reading] If any man be seen to talk with a woman within the term of ihree years, he shall endure such publick shame as the rest of the court can posibly. devise.
This article, my liege, yourself muft break;
For, well you know, here comes in embally. (4) A dangerous law against gentility.] I have ventur’d to prefix the name of Biron to this line, it being evident, for two reasons, ihat it, by some accident or other, nipt out of the printed books. In the first place, Longaville confesses, he had devis’d the penalty: and why he should immediately arraign it as a dangerous law, seems to be very inconflent. In the next place it is much more natural for Biren to make ihis reflexion, who is cavilling at every thing; and then for him to pursue his reading over the remaining articles. gentility, here, it does not fignify that rank of people call’d, gentry; but what the French express by, gentilles, i. e elegancia, urbanitus. And then the meaning is this. Such a law, for baniihing women from the court, is dangerous, or injurious, to politeness, urbanity, and the more refin'd pleasures of life. For men without women would iurn brutal and lavage, is their batures and bchaviour,
As to the word