3. And then, etc. Pope puts this line in the margin as spurious.
6. Bate. Blunt; not to be printed "'bate," as by H. and some other
editors. Cf. bateless in R. of L. 9: "bateless edge;" and unbated in
Ham. iv. 7. 139: "A sword unbated;" and Id. v. 2. 328: "Unbated and envenom'd."
11. Edict. Accented by S. on either syllable, as suits the measure.
Cf. the present instance and M. N. D. i. 1. 151 with Rich. III. i. 4. 203,
13. Academe. The spelling of the 2d quarto and 2d folio; the 1st quarto and 1st folio have "Achademe," and the 3d and 4th folios "Academy."
14. Living art. "Immortal science" (Schmidt). For art=letters, learning in general, cf. iv. 2. 106 below.
23. Deep oaths. For the use of deep, cf. Sonn. 152. 9: "I have sworn deep oaths;" R. of L. 1847: "that deep vow " and K. John, iii. 1. 231: "deep-sworn faith."
Steevens changed oaths to "oath" on account of the following it; but, as the Camb. editors remark, we have here "an instance of the lax grammar of the time, which permitted the use of a singular pronoun referring
to a plural substantive, and vice versa." Cf. Two Noble Kinsmen, i. I:
"You cannot read it there; there, through my tears,
Like wrinkled pebbles in a glassy stream,
You may behold 'em."
The second folio changes it to "them." We may explain it as = "that which you have vowed to do" (Clarke).
27. Bankrupt quite. The 1st quarto has "bancrout quite," the folios only "bankerout." Pope was the first modern editor to restore quite. For the spelling of bankrupt, see R. and J.
29. These world's delights. These worldly delights. The Coll. MS. changes these to "this."
32. All these. That is, his companions, to whom he may be supposed to point. Johnson took these to refer to love, wealth, and pomp. Mr. P. A. Daniel conjectures "all three."
43. Wink. Shut the eyes; as often in S. Cf. Sonn. 43. 1, 56. 6, Temp. ii. 1. 216, C. of E. iii. 2. 58, etc.
62. Feast. The quartos and folios all have "fast;" corrected by Theo[bald]. Ile suggested as an alternative "fore-bid" ( = "enjoined beforehand") for forbid.
64. From common sense. That is, from ordinary sight or perception. Cf. "the sense of sense" (=the sight of the eye) in v. 2. 260 below.
65. Too hard a keeping oath. For the transposition of the article, cf. K. John, iv. 2. 27: "So new a fashion'd robe;" C. of E. iii. 2. 186: "so fair an offer'd chain;" T. and C. v. 6. 20: "much more a fresher man," etc. Gr. 422. Most editors follow Hanmer in printing "hard-a-keeping."
67. Be thus. Changed by Pope to "be this."
72. And that. The reading of the folios; the 1st quarto has "but that."
80. Study me. The me is the expletive pronoun, or "dativus ethicus," often used, as here, "with a slight dash of humour" (H[udson].). Cf. Gr. 220.
82. Who dazzling so, etc. "That when he dazzles, that is, has his eye made weak, by fixing his eye upon a fairer eye, that fairer eye shall be his heed, his direction or lodestar, and give him light that was blinded by it" (Johnson).
87. Base. Perhaps, as Walker conjectures, a misprint for "bare."
91. Wot. Know; used only in the present and the participle wotting, for which see W. T. p. 175.
92. Too much to know, etc. "The consequence, says Biron, of too much knowledge, is not any real solution of doubts, but mere reputation; that is, too much knowledge gives only fame, a name which every godfather can give likewise" (Johnson); or, as Clarke puts it: "To know overmuch is not to be wise, but to get the name of being wise: and every godfather (like these earthly godfathers that name the stars) can give a man a name for wisdom."
95. Proceeded well, etc. There is a play upon proceed, which, as Johnson notes, is "an academical term, meaning to take a degree, as he proceeded bachelor in physic."
100. Sneaping. Snipping, or nipping. Cf. W. T. 2. 13: "Sneaping winds;" and R. of L. 333: "the sneaped birds." For the noun sneap (=snubbing) see 2 Hen. IV. p. 161.
104. An abortive. The early eds. have "any" for an; corrected by Pope. The error was probably due to the any in the line above.
106. Mirth. The early eds. have "showes" or "shows." Theo. substituted "earth" for the sake of the rhyme, but we prefer Walker's conjecture of mirth. Malone thinks that a line rhyming with 104 may have
107. Like of. Cf. Much Ado, v. 4. 59: "I am your husband, if you like of me." See also iv. 3. 153 below. Gr. 177.
108. So you, to study, etc. This is the quarto reading, and is generally adopted, though we cannot help thinking that there is some corruption.
The folio has:
So you to studie now it is too late,
That you were to clymbe ore the house to vnlocke the gate."
"So you to study now;— it is too late:
That were to climb the house o'er to unlock the gate;"
which he explains thus: "Birone, in justification of his ridicule of these literary pursuits, says that they are untimely, that he likes not roses at Christmas or snow in May, and adds, 'So it is too late for you to study
now: that were to climb over a house to unlock a gate; or, in other words, 'you are beginning at the wrong end — doing boys' work at men's years.' But, according to the quarto, he says, 'I like of each thing that in season grows; so you, now it is too late to study, climb o'er the house to unlock the little gate:' whereas it was not so (that is, like Birone) at all, but exactly not so." We take it, however, that to study now it is too
late is = in studying now that it is too late; the infinitive being used in the "indefinite" way, as Abbott calls it (Gr. 356), so common in S. But, as Lettsom has noted, the so is awkward in either case. He conjectures:
"But you'll to study, now it is too late:
That were to climb o'er the house to unlock the gate."
If the folio is to be followed, it is better to take it just as it is, making it
a line of five feet with slurred syllables, than to turn it into an alexandrine, as W[hite]. does. Alexandrines are extremely rare in the early plays of S[hakespeare]. Mr. Fleay (Dr. Ingleby's S. the Man and the Book, Part II. p. 71) finds only four in L. L. L., one of which is doubtful. The Coll. MS. has "by study" for to study, and "Climb o'er the house-top to unlock the gate."
110. Sit you out. The reading of the quartos and the later folios; the 1st folio has "fit" for sit. The expression is one used in card-playing for taking no part in the game.
114. Swore. The reading of the later folios, and required by the rhyme. The quartos and 1st folio have "sworne." Elsewhere S. has sworn for the participle, but we find broke for broken, froze for frozen, smote for smitten, etc. See Gr. 343. Cf. forgot in 139 below, and chose in 167.
127. Gentility. Refinement, courtesy. Theo. conjectures "garrulity," and St[aunton]. "scurrility." H[udson]. points thus: "A dangerous law, — against gentility." The early eds. make the line a part of Longaville's speech; but
Theo. is clearly right in transferring it to Biron.
134. Complete. Accented on the first syllable because preceding a noun
so accented. See M. for M. p. 139, and cf. Cymb. p. 174 (on Supreme)
or Cor. p. 255 (on Divine).
145. Of force. Perforce, of necessity.
146. Lie. Lodge, reside. See 2 Hen. IV. p. 185, or Oth. p. 193. Reed quotes Wotton's definition: "An ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country."
Mere. Absolute. See Temp. p. ill, note on We are merely cheated,
etc. Cf. i. 2. 33 below.
149. Affects. Affections, inclinations; as in Rich. II. 1. 4. 30 and Oth.
i, 3. 264.
156. Suggestions. Temptations; the usual meaning in S. See Temp. p. 127. Cf. the verb in v. 2. 760 below.
158. I am the last that will last keep his oath. Mr. P. A. Daniel conjectures "one" for the first last, on the ground that Biron is made to say the contrary of what he means; but S. sometimes twists the sense of a
word a little for the sake of a repetition like this. Walker would read "last will" for will last.
159. Quick. Lively, animated; as in i. 2. 23, 29, v. 1. 54, and v. 2. 284 below. Cf. its use = living; for which see Ham. p. 262.
164. One whom. The 1st folio has "One who," which might be retained. Cf. iv. 1. 71 below, and see Gr. 274.
166. Complements. Probably = accomplishments, as Johnson and others explain it. Schmidt takes it to be = external show. The early eds. make no distinction between complement and compliment.
168. Hight. Is called; used by S. only as an archaism. Cf. 245 below. See also M. N. D. v. 1. 140 and Per. iv. prol. 18.
171. Debate. Contest, quarrel; the only sense in S. Cf. M. N. D. ii. I. 116, 2 Hen. IV. iv. 4. 2, etc.
174. I will use him for my minstrelsy. "I will make a minstrel of him, whose occupation was to relate fabulous stories" (Douce).
176. Fire-new. Brand-new, fresh from the mint. Cf. Rich. III. I. 3. 256: " Your fire-new stamp of honour is scarce current;" T. N. iii. 2. 23: "fire-new from the mint," etc.
179. Duke's. Changed by Theo. to "King's;" but cf. i. 2. 35 and 118 below, where Armado uses it in the same blundering way. We find it even in the mouth of the princess in ii. 1. 38 below. Dogberry applies the word to the prince in Much Ado, iii. 5. 22. Cf. M. N. D. p. 125.
182. Tharborough. For thirdborough, a kind of constable. See T of S. p. 125.
187. Contempts. Contents. Cf. M. W. p. 135.
191. Having. Possession. The early eds. have "heaven;" corrected
by Theo. The Coll. MS. has "hearing." The Camb. editors, St., and
Clarke retain "heaven." St. remarks: "The allusion may be to the
representations of heaven, and the attendant personifications of Faith,
Hope, etc., in the ancient pageants."
193. Laughing. The early eds. have "hearing;" corrected by Capell.
196. Style. There is an evident play on stile; as in iv. 1. 92 below.
See also Much Ado, v. 2. 6. The Coll. MS. has "chime" for climb.
199. Taken with the manner. A law term = taken in the fact, or in the
act. See W. T. p. 205, or 1 Hen. IV. p. 168.
203. Form. Bench. For the play upon the word, cf. R. and J. ii. 4.
36: "who stand so much on the new form that they cannot sit at ease on
the old bench."
220. But so. Equivalent to "but so-so," which Hanmer substituted.
232. Ycleped. Called; an archaism put only into the mouths of Armaclo and Holofernes. Cf. v. 2. 593 below.
237. Curious-knotted. Elaborately laid out in knots, or interlacing beds.
Cf. Rich. II. iii. 4. 46: "Her knots disorder'd ;" and Milton, P. L. iv. 242 :
"In beds and curious knots."
243. Vassal. The Coll. MS. has "vessel." Possibly there is a play
on the word.
247. Sorted. Associated; as in 2 Hen. IV. ii. 4. 162 and Ham. ii. 2.
274. Cf. Bacon, Essay 7: "Makes them sort with meane Company."
248. With — with. The early eds. have "which with;" corrected by
249. Passion. Sorrow, grieve. Cf. T. G. of V. iv. 4. 172: "Ariadne
passioning For Theseus' perjury;" and V. and A. 1059: "Dumbly she
passions, franticly she doteth." Cf. the noun in v. 2. 118 below.
258. The weaker vessel. Taken from I Peter, iii. 7 (cf. A. Y. L. ii. 4. 6,
2 Hen. IV. ii. 4. 66, and R. and J. i. I. 20), as vessel of thy law's fury from
Romans, ix. 22. In the latter passage Theo. changes vessel to "vassal."
274. Damosel. The folio has "damosell" here and in the next two
lines, the 1st quarto "damsel." Holofernes makes it "damosella" in iv.
2. 122 below.
290. Lay. Stake, wager. Cf. Hen. V. iv. 1. 242: "lay twenty French
crowns to one," etc. Capell conjectured "man's good hat."
296. Till then, sit thee, etc. The reading of the 1st quarto. The folio
has "vntill then sit thee," etc. The Coll. MS. reads "untill then set thee."
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Love's Labour's Lost. Ed. William Rolfe. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1899. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/LLL_1_1.html >.
How to cite the sidebar:
Mabillard, Amanda. Thoughts on Love's Labour's Lost. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2013. < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/LLL_1_1.html >.
Thoughts on Love's Labour's Lost
Ferdinand's opening passage in Love's Labour's Lost, Act 1, Scene 1, parallels Shakespeare's sonnets both in theme and imagery. In the sonnets the poet tries to save himself and his young man from the grip of "black night" by penning immortal verse and urging his young man (Mr. W. H.) to become a father. Here, Ferdinand will escape the finality of the grave through fame. He will become renowned for his ability to give up pleasures for three long years as his Court becomes an Academe of art.
The fear of devouring Time (which is also the opening phrase of Sonnet 19), seems always present in Shakespeare's mind. For more on this topic, please see the analysis of Sonnet 19 and Sonnet 55, and Hamlet (5.1).
Shakespeare's Early Style ... "If he found a pair of indistinguishable twins producing amusing confusion in a Roman play, he capped them with a second pair, to produce confusion worse confounded in the English Comedy of Errors. And so with love. Navarre (in Love's Labour's Lost) and his three lords, like the four horses of an antique quadriga, go through the same adventure side by side. All four have forsworn the sight of women; all four fall in love, not promiscuously but in order of rank, with the French princess and her ladies, whose numbers, by good fortune, precisely go round.
But love itself is not, as yet, drawn with any power. Berowne's magnificent account of its attributes and effects (IV, iii., mainly re-written in 1597) is not borne out by any representation of it in the play." C. H. Herford. Read on...