The King of Navarre’s park.
(Armado; Moth; Clown Costard; Constable Dull; Wench Jaquenetta)
Armado discusses melancholy with his witty page, Moth. Armado confesses that he is in love with the low-born milkmaid, Jaquenetta, however inappropriate this may be. The Constable brings in Costard, while Armado attempts to court Jaquenetta, not very successfully. Having sent Costard to be locked up by Moth, Armado prepares to write a (very long) love letter to the milkmaid. (100 lines)
Enter Armado and Moth, his page.
Boy, what sign is it when a man of great spirit grows melancholy?
A great sign, sir, that he will look sad.
Why, sadness is one and the self-same thing, dear imp.
No, no, O Lord, sir, no.
How canst thou part sadness and melancholy, my tender juvenal?
By a familiar demonstration of the working, my tough signior.
Why tough signior? Why tough signior?
Why tender juvenal? Why tender juvenal?
I spoke it tender juvenal as a congruent epitheton appertaining to thy young days, which we may nominate tender.
And I tough signior as an appertinent title to your old time, which we may name tough.
Pretty and apt.
How mean you, sir? I pretty, and my saying apt? Or I apt, and my saying pretty?
Thou pretty, because little.
Little pretty, because little. Wherefore apt?
And therefore apt, because quick.
Speak you this in my praise, master?
In thy condign praise.
I will praise an eel with the same praise.
What? That an eel is ingenious?
That an eel is quick.
I do say thou art quick in answers; thou heat’st my blood.
I am answer’d, sir.
I love not to be cross’d.
He speaks the mere contrary, crosses love not him.
I have promised to study three years with the Duke.
You may do it in an hour, sir.
How many is one thrice told?
I am ill at reck’ning, it fitteth the spirit of a tapster.
You are a gentleman and a gamester, sir.
I confess both, they are both the varnish of a complete man.
Then I am sure you know how much the gross sum of deuce-ace amounts to.
It doth amount to one more than two.
Which the base vulgar do call three.
Why, sir, is this such a piece of study? Now here is three studied ere ye’ll thrice wink; and how easy it is to put “years” to the word “three,” and study three years in two words, the dancing horse will tell you.
A most fine figure!
To prove you a cipher.
I will hereupon confess I am in love; and as it is base for a soldier to love, so am I in love with a base wench. If drawing my sword against the humor of affection would deliver me from the reprobate thought of it, I would take Desire prisoner, and ransom him to any French courtier for a new devis’d cur’sy. I think scorn to sigh; methinks I should outswear Cupid. Comfort me, boy: what great men have been in love?
Most sweet Hercules! More authority, dear boy, name more; and, sweet my child, let them be men of good repute and carriage.
Sampson, master; he was a man of good carriage, great carriage, for he carried the town gates on his back like a porter; and he was in love.
O well-knit Sampson, strong-jointed Sampson! I do excel thee in my rapier as much as thou didst me in carrying gates. I am in love too. Who was Sampson’s love, my dear Moth?
A woman, master.
Of what complexion?
Of all the four, or the three, or the two, or one of the four.
Tell me precisely of what complexion.
Of the sea-water green, sir.
Is that one of the four complexions?
As I have read, sir, and the best of them too.
Green indeed is the color of lovers; but to have a love of that color, methinks Sampson had small reason for it. He surely affected her for her wit.
It was so, sir, for she had a green wit.
My love is most immaculate white and red.
Most maculate thoughts, master, are mask’d under such colors.
Define, define, well-educated infant.
My father’s wit and my mother’s tongue assist me!
Sweet invocation of a child, most pretty and pathetical!
If she be made of white and red,
Her faults will ne’er be known,
For blush in cheeks by faults are bred,
And fears by pale white shown:
Then if she fear, or be to blame,
By this you shall not know,
For still her cheeks possess the same
Which native she doth owe.
A dangerous rhyme, master, against the reason of white and red.
Is there not a ballet, boy, of the King and the Beggar?
The world was very guilty of such a ballet some three ages since, but I think now ’tis not to be found; or if it were, it would neither serve for the writing nor the tune.
I will have that subject newly writ o’er, that I may example my digression by some mighty president. Boy, I do love that country girl that I took in the park with the rational hind Costard. She deserves well.
To be whipt; and yet a better love than my master.
Sing, boy, my spirit grows heavy in love.
And that’s great marvel, loving a light wench.
I say, sing.
Forbear till this company be past.
Enter Clown Costard, Constable Dull, and Wench Jaquenetta.
Sir, the Duke’s pleasure is that you keep Costard safe, and you must suffer him to take no delight nor no penance, but ’a must fast three days a week. For this damsel, I must keep her at the park; she is allow’d for the dey-woman. Fare you well.
I do betray myself with blushing. Maid.
I will visit thee at the lodge.
I know where it is situate.
Lord, how wise you are!
I will tell thee wonders.
With that face?
I love thee.
So I heard you say.
And so farewell.
Fair weather after you!
Come, Jaquenetta, away.
Exeunt Dull and Jaquenetta.
Villain, thou shalt fast for thy offenses ere thou be pardoned.
Well, sir, I hope when I do it I shall do it on a full stomach.
Thou shalt be heavily punished.
I am more bound to you than your fellows, for they are but lightly rewarded.
Take away this villain, shut him up.
Come, you transgressing slave, away.
Let me not be pent up, sir; I will fast, being loose.
No, sir, that were fast and loose; thou shalt to prison.
Well, if ever I do see the merry days of desolation that I have seen, some shall see.
What shall some see?
Nay, nothing, Master Moth, but what they look upon. It is not for prisoners to be too silent in their words, and therefore I will say nothing. I thank God I have as little patience as another man, and therefore I can be quiet.
Exit with Moth.
I do affect the very ground (which is base) where her shoe (which is baser) guided by her foot (which is basest) doth tread. I shall be forsworn (which is a great argument of falsehood) if I love. And how can that be true love, which is falsely attempted? Love is a familiar; Love is a devil; there is no evil angel but Love. Yet was Sampson so tempted, and he had an excellent strength; yet was Salomon so seduced, and he had a very good wit. Cupid’s butt-shaft is too hard for Hercules’ club, and therefore too much odds for a Spaniard’s rapier. The first and second cause will not serve my turn; the passado he respects not, the duello he regards not: his disgrace is to be called boy, but his glory is to subdue men. Adieu, valor, rust, rapier, be still, drum, for your manager is in love; yea, he loveth. Assist me, some extemporal god of rhyme, for I am sure I shall turn sonnet. Devise, wit, write, pen, for I am for whole volumes in folio.