Enter the Princess of France, with three attending
Ladies (Rosaline, Maria, and Katherine), Boyet
and other Lords.
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 5
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 10
When she did starve the general world besides
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, 15Not uttered by base sale of chapmen’s tongues.I am less proud to hear you tell my worthThan you much willing to be counted wiseIn spending your wit in the praise of mine.
But now to task the tasker: good Boyet, 20
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, 25
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 30
On serious business craving quick dispatch,
Importunes personal conference with his Grace.
Haste, signify so much, while we attend,
Like humble-visaged suitors, his high will.
Proud of employment, willingly I go. 35
All pride is willing pride, and yours is so.
Who are the votaries, my loving lords,
That are vow-fellows with this virtuous duke?
Lord Longaville is one.
PRINCESS Know you the man? 40
I know him, madam. At a marriage feast
Between Lord Perigort and the beauteous heir
Of Jaques Falconbridge, solemnizèd
In Normandy, saw I this Longaville.
A man of sovereign parts he is esteemed, 45
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 matched with too blunt a will, 50
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-lived wits do wither as they grow. 55
Who are the rest?
The young Dumaine, a well-accomplished 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, 60
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 65
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, 70
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 agèd ears play truant at his tales, 75
And younger hearings are quite ravishèd,
So sweet and voluble is his discourse.
God bless my ladies, are they all in love,
That every one her own hath garnishèd
With such bedecking ornaments of praise? 80
Here comes Boyet.
PRINCESS Now, what admittance, lord?
Navarre had notice of your fair approach,
And he and his competitors in oath
Were all addressed to meet you, gentle lady, 85
Before I came. Marry, thus much I have learned:
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. 90
Enter King of Navarre, Longaville, Dumaine, and
Here comes Navarre.
KING Fair Princess, welcome to the court of Navarre.
PRINCESS “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 95
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. 100
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. 105
I hear your Grace hath sworn out housekeeping.
’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. 110
Vouchsafe to read the purpose of my coming,
And suddenly resolve me in my suit.
She gives him a paper.
Madam, I will, if suddenly I may.
PRINCESSYou will the sooner that I were away,For you’ll prove perjured if you make me stay. 115
They walk aside while the King reads the paper.
BEROWNE, to Rosaline
Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?
Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?
I know you did.
ROSALINE How needless was it then
To ask the question. 120
BEROWNE 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 o’ day? 125
ROSALINE The hour that fools should ask.
BEROWNE Now fair befall your mask.
ROSALINE Fair fall the face it covers.
BEROWNE And send you many lovers.
ROSALINE Amen, so you be none. 130
BEROWNE Nay, then, will I be gone.
KING, coming forward with the Princess
Madam, your father here doth intimate
The payment of a hundred thousand crowns,
Being but the one half of an entire sum
Disbursèd by my father in his wars. 135
But say that he or we, as neither have,
Received 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. 140
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; 145
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, 150
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, 155
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. 160
I do protest I never heard of it;
And if you prove it, I’ll repay it back
Or yield up Aquitaine.
PRINCESS We arrest your word.—
Boyet, you can produce acquittances 165
For such a sum from special officers
Of Charles his father.
KING Satisfy me so.
So please your Grace, the packet is not come
Where that and other specialties are bound. 170
Tomorrow you shall have a sight of them.
It shall suffice me; at which interview
All liberal reason I will yield unto.
Meantime receive such welcome at my hand
As honor (without breach of honor) may 175
Make tender of to thy true worthiness.
You may not come, fair princess, within my gates, ouse180Your 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.
He exits with Dumaine,
Longaville, and Attendants.
BEROWNE, to Rosaline Lady, I will commend you to 185
my own heart.
ROSALINE Pray you, do my commendations. I would
be glad to see it.
BEROWNE I would you heard it groan.
ROSALINE Is the fool sick? 190
BEROWNE Sick at the heart.
ROSALINE Alack, let it blood.
BEROWNE Would that do it good?
ROSALINE My physic says “ay.”
BEROWNE Will you prick ’t with your eye? 195
ROSALINE No point, with my knife.
BEROWNE Now God save thy life.
ROSALINE And yours from long living.
BEROWNE I cannot stay thanksgiving. He exits.
DUMAINE, to Boyet
Sir, I pray you, a word. What lady is that same? 200
The heir of Alanson, Katherine her name.
A gallant lady, monsieur. Fare you well. He exits.
LONGAVILLE, to Boyet
I beseech you, a word. What is she in the white?
A woman sometimes, an you saw her in the light.
Perchance light in the light. I desire her name. 205
She hath but one for herself; to desire that were a
LONGAVILLE Pray you, sir, whose daughter?
BOYET Her mother’s, I have heard.
LONGAVILLE God’s blessing on your beard! 210
BOYET Good sir, be not offended. She is an heir of
LONGAVILLE Nay, my choler is ended. She is a most
BOYET Not unlike, sir, that may be. 215
BEROWNE, to Boyet What’s her name in the cap?
BOYET Rosaline, by good hap.
BEROWNE Is she wedded or no?
BOYET To her will, sir, or so.
BEROWNE You are welcome, sir. Adieu. 220
BOYET Farewell to me, sir, and welcome to you.
That last is Berowne, the merry madcap lord.
Not a word with him but a jest.
BOYET And every jest but
a word. 225
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.
BOYET And wherefore not ships?
No sheep, sweet lamb, unless we feed on your lips. 230
You sheep and I pasture. Shall that finish the jest?
So you grant pasture for me. He tries to kiss her.
KATHERINE Not so, gentle beast,
My lips are no common, though several they be.
Belonging to whom? 235
KATHERINE To my fortunes and me.
Good wits will be jangling; but, gentles, agree,This civil war of wits were much better usedOn Navarre and his bookmen, for here ’tis abused.
If my observation, which very seldom lies, 240
By the heart’s still rhetoric, disclosèd wi’ th’ eyes,
Deceive me not now, Navarre is infected.
PRINCESS With what?
With that which we lovers entitle “affected.”
PRINCESS Your reason? 245
Why, all his behaviors did make their retireTo the court of his eye, peeping thorough desire.His heart like an agate with your print impressed,Proud with his form, in his eye pride expressed.His tongue, all impatient to speak and not see, 250Did 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 locked in his eye,
As jewels in crystal for some prince to buy, 255
Who, tend’ring their own worth from where they
Did point you to buy them along as you passed.
His face’s own margent did quote such amazes
That all eyes saw his eyes enchanted with gazes. 260
I’ll give you Aquitaine, and all that is his,
An you give him for my sake but one loving kiss.
PRINCESS, to her Ladies
Come, to our pavilion. Boyet is disposed.
But to speak that in words which his eye hath
I only have made a mouth of his eye
By adding a tongue which I know will not lie.
Thou art an old lovemonger and speakest skillfully.
He is Cupid’s grandfather, and learns news of him.
Then was Venus like her mother, for her father is 270
Do you hear, my mad wenches?
BOYET What then, do
you see? 275
Ay, our way to be gone.
BOYET You are too hard for me.
They all exit.