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Your oaths are past, and now subscribe your names;
That his own hand may strike his honour down,
That violates the smallest branch herein:
If you are arm’d to do as sworn to do,
Subscribe to your deep oaths, and keep them too.
Long. I am resolv'd ; '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 bankrout quite the wits.
Dum. My loving lord, Dumain is mortify’d:
The grosser manner of these world's delights
He throws upon the gross world's baser Naves :
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;
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 deep.
King. Your oath is past to pass away from these.
Biron. Let ine fay, no, my liege, an if
I only swore, to study with your grace,
And stay here in your court for three years' space.
Long. You swore to that, Biron, and to the rest.
Biron. By yea and nay, fir, then I swore in jeft.
What is the end of study ? let me know.
King. Why, that to know which else we should not know.
Biron. Things hid and barr’d, you mean, from common sense.
King. Ay, that is study's godlike recompence.
Biron. Come on then, I will swear to study so,
To know the thing I am forbid to know:
As thus; to study where I well may dine,
When I to fast expressly am fore-bid;
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 this, and this be so,
Study knows that which yet it doth not know :
Swear me to this, and I will ne'er say, no.
King. These be the stops that hinder study quite,
And train our intellects to vain delight.
Biron. Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain
Which, with pain purchas’d, doth inherit pain ;
As, painfully to pore upon a book
To seek the light of truth, while truth the while
Doth falsly blind the eyesight of his look :
Light, seeking light, doth light of light beguile;
find where light in darkness lies, Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes. Study me how to please the
By fixing it upon a fairer eye;
Who dazling 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, VOL. II.
Have no more profit of their shining nights,
Than thofe 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!
Dum. Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding.
Long. He weeds the corn, and ftill lets grow the weeding.
Biron. The spring is near, when green geese are a breeding.
Dum. How follows that?
Biron. Fit in his place and time.
Dum. In reason nothing.
Biron. Something then in rhyme.
Long. Biron is like an envious fneaping frost,
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 fing?
Why should I joy in an abortive birth?
At christmas I no more desire a rose,
Than wish a snow in may’s newfangled earth:
But like of each thing that in season grows.
So you, to study now it is too late,
Climb o'er the house t’unlock the little gate.
King. Well, fit 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,
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 fame,
And to the strict'st decrees I'll write my name.
King. How well this yielding rescues thee from shame!
Biron. Item, That no woman shall come within a mile of my
[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.
Biron. Sweet lord, and why?
Long. To fright them hence with that dread penalty.
Biron. A dangerous law against gentility!
Item, [reading.) If any man be seen to talk with a woman
within the term of three years, he shall endure such publick shame
as the rest of the court can possibly devise.
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 Aquitain
To her decrepit, fick, and bedrid father :
Therefore this article is made in vain,
Or vainly comes th’admired princess hither.
King. What say you, lords ? why, this was quite forgot.
Biron. So study evermore is overshot;
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.
King. 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.
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 others, 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 ?
King. Ay, that there is; our court, you know, is haunted
With a refined traveller of Spain,
A man in all the world's new fashions planted,
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain :
One, whom the musick of his own vain tongue
Doth ravish like enchanting harmony:
A man of compliments, 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
From tawny Spain, loft 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.
Long. Costard the swain, and he, shall be our sport;
And, so to study, three years are but short.
Enter Dull, and Costard, with a letter.
Dull. Which is the king's own person?
Biron. This fellow; what would't?
Dull. I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his grace's tharborough: but I would see his own person in Alesh and blood.
Biron. This is he.
Dull. Signior Arme, Arme, commends you. There's villany abroad; this letter will tell you more.
. Coft. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me. King. A letter from the magnificent Armado.