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Scene 1

The King of Navarre’s park.

(Princess of France; Rosaline; Maria; Katherine; First French Lord; Second French Lord; Lords; Boyet; King of Navarre; Longaville; Dumaine; Berowne; Attendants)

Lord Boyet, sent to accompany the Princess of France on her embassy to Navarre, reminds her to act as her place demands before going to announce her arrival to Navarre. She and her ladies-in-waiting discuss the King’s companions — as it happens, each of them has met one of them before. Boyet returns and informs the Princess that, for the sake of keeping his vow, the King is going to make her sleep in the forest rather than allow her into the palace. The King arrives to welcome her; while he reads the petition she has brought, Berowne and one of the ladies spar. The King insists that he has never received payment for Aquitaine, but the Princess assures him it was sent. As the rest of the diplomatic papers will not arrive until the next day, the men take their leave, but each of the King’s three companions sneaks up to Boyet to ask the name of a particular lady. Boyet insists that the King has fallen in love with the Princess. (266 lines)

Enter the Princess of France with three attending Ladies (Rosaline, Maria, Katherine) and three Lords, one named Boyet.


Now, madam, summon up your dearest spirits;

Consider who the King your father sends,

To whom he sends, and what’s his embassy:

Yourself, held precious in the world’s esteem,

To parley with the sole inheritor

Of all perfections that a man may owe,

Matchless Navarre; the plea of no less weight

Than Aquitaine, a dowry for a queen.

Be now as prodigal of all dear grace

As Nature was in making graces dear,

When she did starve the general world beside

And prodigally gave them all to you.


Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,

Needs not the painted flourish of your praise:

Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye,

Not utt’red by base sale of chapmen’s tongues.

I am less proud to hear you tell my worth

Than you much willing to be counted wise

In spending your wit in the praise of mine.

But now to task the tasker: good Boyet,

You are not ignorant all-telling fame

Doth noise abroad Navarre hath made a vow,

Till painful study shall outwear three years,

No woman may approach his silent court;

Therefore to ’s seemeth it a needful course,

Before we enter his forbidden gates,

To know his pleasure; and in that behalf,

Bold of your worthiness, we single you

As our best-moving fair solicitor.

Tell him, the daughter of the King of France,

On serious business craving quick dispatch,

Importunes personal conference with his Grace.

Haste, signify so much, while we attend,

Like humble-visag’d suitors, his high will.


Proud of employment, willingly I go.

Exit Boyet.


All pride is willing pride, and yours is so.

Who are the votaries, my loving lords,

That are vow-fellows with this virtuous Duke?

1. FR. LORD.

Lord Longaville is one.


Know you the man?


I know him, madam; at a marriage-feast,

Between Lord Perigort and the beauteous heir

Of Jaques Falconbridge, solemnized

In Normandy, saw I this Longaville,

A man of sovereign parts, peerless esteem’d,

Well fitted in arts, glorious in arms;

Nothing becomes him ill that he would well.

The only soil of his fair virtue’s gloss,

If virtue’s gloss will stain with any soil,

Is a sharp wit match’d with too blunt a will,

Whose edge hath power to cut, whose will still wills

It should none spare that come within his power.


Some merry mocking lord belike, is’t so?


They say so most that most his humors know.


Such short-liv’d wits do wither as they grow.

Who are the rest?


The young Dumaine, a well-accomplish’d youth,

Of all that virtue love for virtue loved;

Most power to do most harm, least knowing ill;

For he hath wit to make an ill shape good,

And shape to win grace though he had no wit.

I saw him at the Duke Alanson’s once,

And much too little of that good I saw

Is my report to his great worthiness.


Another of these students at that time

Was there with him, if I have heard a truth.

Berowne they call him, but a merrier man,

Within the limit of becoming mirth,

I never spent an hour’s talk withal.

His eye begets occasion for his wit,

For every object that the one doth catch

The other turns to a mirth-moving jest,

Which his fair tongue, conceit’s expositor,

Delivers in such apt and gracious words

That aged ears play truant at his tales,

And younger hearings are quite ravished,

So sweet and voluble is his discourse.


God bless my ladies! Are they all in love,

That every one her own hath garnished

With such bedecking ornaments of praise?

1. FR. LORD.

Here comes Boyet.

Enter Boyet.


Now, what admittance, lord?


Navarre had notice of your fair approach,

And he and his competitors in oath

Were all address’d to meet you, gentle lady,

Before I came. Marry, thus much I have learnt:

He rather means to lodge you in the field,

Like one that comes here to besiege his court,

Than seek a dispensation for his oath,

To let you enter his unpeopled house.

Enter Ferdinand, King of Navarre, Longaville, Dumaine, and Berowne, and Attendants.

Here comes Navarre.

The ladies-in-waiting mask.


Fair Princess, welcome to the court of Navarre.


“Fair” I give you back again, and “welcome” I have not yet. The roof of this court is too high to be yours, and welcome to the wide fields too base to be mine.


You shall be welcome, madam, to my court.


I will be welcome then—conduct me thither.


Hear me, dear lady: I have sworn an oath.


Our Lady help my lord! He’ll be forsworn.


Not for the world, fair madam, by my will.


Why, will shall break it, will, and nothing else.


Your ladyship is ignorant what it is.


Were my lord so, his ignorance were wise,

Where now his knowledge must prove ignorance.

I hear your Grace hath sworn out house-keeping:

’Tis deadly sin to keep that oath, my lord,

And sin to break it.

But pardon me, I am too sudden bold;

To teach a teacher ill beseemeth me.

Vouchsafe to read the purpose of my coming,

And suddenly resolve me in my suit.

Giving a paper.


Madam, I will, if suddenly I may.


You will the sooner, that I were away,

For you’ll prove perjur’d if you make me stay.


Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?


Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?


I know you did.


How needless was it then

To ask the question?


You must not be so quick.


’Tis long of you that spur me with such questions.


Your wit’s too hot, it speeds too fast, ’twill tire.


Not till it leave the rider in the mire.


What time a’ day?


The hour that fools should ask.


Now fair befall your mask!


Fair fall the face it covers!


And send you many lovers!


Amen, so you be none.


Nay then will I be gone.


Madam, your father here doth intimate

The payment of a hundred thousand crowns,

Being but the one half of an entire sum

Disbursed by my father in his wars.

But say that he, or we, as neither have,

Receiv’d that sum, yet there remains unpaid

A hundred thousand more, in surety of the which

One part of Aquitaine is bound to us,

Although not valued to the money’s worth.

If then the King your father will restore

But that one half which is unsatisfied,

We will give up our right in Aquitaine,

And hold fair friendship with his Majesty.

But that, it seems, he little purposeth:

For here he doth demand to have repaid

A hundred thousand crowns, and not demands,

On payment of a hundred thousand crowns,

To have his title live in Aquitaine;

Which we much rather had depart withal,

And have the money by our father lent,

Than Aquitaine, so gelded as it is.

Dear Princess, were not his requests so far

From reason’s yielding, your fair self should make

A yielding ’gainst some reason in my breast,

And go well satisfied to France again.


You do the King my father too much wrong,

And wrong the reputation of your name,

In so unseeming to confess receipt

Of that which hath so faithfully been paid.


I do protest I never heard of it;

And, if you prove it, I’ll repay it back,

Or yield up Aquitaine.


We arrest your word.

Boyet, you can produce acquittances

For such a sum from special officers

Of Charles his father.


Satisfy me so.


So please your Grace, the packet is not come

Where that and other specialties are bound:

Tomorrow you shall have a sight of them.


It shall suffice me; at which interview

All liberal reason I will yield unto.

Mean time receive such welcome at my hand

As honor (without breach of honor) may

Make tender of to thy true worthiness.

You may not come, fair Princess, within my gates,

But here without you shall be so receiv’d

As you shall deem yourself lodg’d in my heart,

Though so denied fair harbor in my house.

Your own good thoughts excuse me, and farewell.

Tomorrow shall we visit you again.


Sweet health and fair desires consort your Grace!


Thy own wish wish I thee in every place.

Exit with Longaville, Dumaine, and Attendants.


Lady, I will commend you to mine own heart.


Pray you, do my commendations—I would be glad to see it.


I would you heard it groan.


Is the fool sick?


Sick at the heart.


Alack, let it blood.


Would that do it good?


My physic says ay.


Will you prick’t with your eye?


No point, with my knife.


Now God save thy life!


And yours from long living!


I cannot stay thanksgiving.


Enter Dumaine.


Sir, I pray you a word. What lady is that same?


The heir of Alanson, Katherine her name.


A gallant lady. Monsieur, fare you well.


Enter Longaville.


I beseech you a word. What is she in the white?


A woman sometimes, and you saw her in the light.


Perchance light in the light. I desire her name.


She hath but one for herself, to desire that were a shame.


Pray you, sir, whose daughter?


Her mother’s, I have heard.


God’s blessing on your beard!


Good sir, be not offended,

She is an heir of Falconbridge.


Nay, my choler is ended.

She is a most sweet lady.


Not unlike, sir, that may be.

Exit Longaville.

Enter Berowne.


What’s her name in the cap?


Rosaline, by good hap.


Is she wedded or no?


To her will, sir, or so.


O, you are welcome, sir, adieu.


Farewell to me, sir, and welcome to you.

Exit Berowne.


That last is Berowne, the merry madcap lord.

Not a word with him but a jest.


And every jest but a word.


It was well done of you to take him at his word.


I was as willing to grapple as he was to board.


Two hot sheeps, marry.


And wherefore not ships?

No sheep, sweet lamb, unless we feed on your lips.


You sheep, and I pasture: shall that finish the jest?


So you grant pasture for me.

Offering to kiss her.


Not so, gentle beast.

My lips are no common, though several they be.


Belonging to whom?


To my fortunes and me.


Good wits will be jangling, but, gentles, agree:

This civil war of wits were much better used

On Navarre and his book-men, for here ’tis abused.


If my observation (which very seldom lies),

By the heart’s still rhetoric, disclosed with eyes,

Deceive me not now, Navarre is infected.


With what?


With that which we lovers entitle “affected.”


Your reason?


Why, all his behaviors did make their retire

To the court of his eye, peeping thorough desire:

His heart like an agot with your print impressed,

Proud with his form, in his eye pride expressed;

His tongue, all impatient to speak and not see,

Did stumble with haste in his eyesight to be;

All senses to that sense did make their repair,

To feel only looking on fairest of fair:

Methought all his senses were lock’d in his eye,

As jewels in crystal for some prince to buy,

Who tend’ring their own worth from where they were glass’d,

Did point you to buy them, along as you pass’d;

His face’s own margent did quote such amazes

That all eyes saw his eyes enchanted with gazes.

I’ll give you Aquitaine and all that is his,

And you give him for my sake but one loving kiss.


Come to our pavilion—Boyet is dispos’d.


But to speak that in words which his eye hath disclos’d.

I only have made a mouth of his eye,

By adding a tongue which I know will not lie.


Thou art an old love-monger and speakest skillfully.


He is Cupid’s grandfather, and learns news of him.


Then was Venus like her mother, for her father is but grim.


Do you hear, my mad wenches?




What then, do you see?


Ay, our way to be gone.


You are too hard for me.

Exeunt omnes.


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