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Love's Labour's Lost

Please see the bottom of the page for explanatory notes.

 Enter ARMADO and MOTH. 
ARMADO Warble, child; make passionate my sense of hearing. 
MOTH [Sings.] Concolinel. 
ARMADO Sweet air! Go, tenderness of years; take this key, 
 give enlargement to the swain, bring him festinately
 hither: I must employ him in a letter to my love. 
MOTH Master, will you win your love with a French brawl? 
ARMADO How meanest thou? brawling in French? 
MOTH No, my complete master: but to jig off a tune at 
 the tongue's end, canary to it with your feet, humour
 it with turning up your eyelids, sigh a note and 
 sing a note, sometime through the throat, as if you 
 swallowed love with singing love, sometime through 
 the nose, as if you snuffed up love by smelling 
 love; with your hat penthouse-like o'er the shop of
 your eyes; with your arms crossed on your thin-belly 
 doublet like a rabbit on a spit; or your hands in 
 your pocket like a man after the old painting; and 
 keep not too long in one tune, but a snip and away. 
 These are complements, these are humours; these
 betray nice wenches, that would be betrayed without 
 these; and make them men of note--do you note 
 me?--that most are affected to these. 21
ARMADO How hast thou purchased this experience? 
MOTH By my penny of observation.
ARMADO But O,--but O,-- 
MOTH 'The hobby-horse is forgot.' 
ARMADO Callest thou my love 'hobby-horse'? 
MOTH No, master; the hobby-horse is but a colt, and your

 love perhaps a hackney. But have you forgot your love?
ARMADO Almost I had. 
MOTH Negligent student! learn her by heart. 30
ARMADO By heart and in heart, boy. 
MOTH And out of heart, master: all those three I will prove. 
ARMADO What wilt thou prove?
MOTH A man, if I live; and this, by, in, and without, upon 
 the instant: by heart you love her, because your 
 heart cannot come by her; in heart you love her, 
 because your heart is in love with her; and out of 
 heart you love her, being out of heart that you
 cannot enjoy her. 
ARMADO I am all these three. 40
MOTH And three times as much more, and yet nothing at 
ARMADO Fetch hither the swain: he must carry me a letter.
MOTH A message well sympathized; a horse to be ambassador 
 for an ass. 
ARMADO Ha, ha! what sayest thou? 
MOTH Marry, sir, you must send the ass upon the horse, 
 for he is very slow-gaited. But I go.
ARMADO The way is but short: away! 50
MOTH As swift as lead, sir. 
ARMADO The meaning, pretty ingenious? 
 Is not lead a metal heavy, dull, and slow? 
MOTH Minime, honest master; or rather, master, no.
ARMADO I say lead is slow. 
MOTH You are too swift, sir, to say so: 
 Is that lead slow which is fired from a gun? 
ARMADO Sweet smoke of rhetoric! 
 He reputes me a cannon; and the bullet, that's he:
 I shoot thee at the swain. 
MOTH Thump then and I flee. 
ARMADO A most acute juvenal; voluble and free of grace! 
 By thy favour, sweet welkin, I must sigh in thy face: 
 Most rude melancholy, valour gives thee place. 62
 My herald is return'd. 
 Re-enter MOTH with COSTARD. 
MOTH A wonder, master! here's a costard broken in a shin. 
ARMADO Some enigma, some riddle: come, thy l'envoy; begin. 
COSTARD No enigma, no riddle, no l'envoy; no salve in the 
 mail, sir: O, sir, plantain, a plain plantain! no
 l'envoy, no l'envoy; no salve, sir, but a plantain! 
ARMADO By virtue, thou enforcest laughter; thy silly 
 thought my spleen; the heaving of my lungs provokes 
 me to ridiculous smiling. O, pardon me, my stars! 
 Doth the inconsiderate take salve for l'envoy, and
 the word l'envoy for a salve? 
MOTH Do the wise think them other? is not l'envoy a salve? 74
ARMADO No, page: it is an epilogue or discourse, to make plain 
 Some obscure precedence that hath tofore been sain. 
 I will example it:
 The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee, 
 Were still at odds, being but three.
 There's the moral. Now the l'envoy. 
MOTH I will add the l'envoy. Say the moral again. 
ARMADO The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee,
 Were still at odds, being but three. 
MOTH Until the goose came out of door, 
 And stay'd the odds by adding four. 
 Now will I begin your moral, and do you follow with 
 my l'envoy.
 The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee, 
 Were still at odds, being but three. 90
ARMADO Until the goose came out of door, 
 Staying the odds by adding four. 
MOTH A good l'envoy, ending in the goose: would you
 desire more? 
COSTARD The boy hath sold him a bargain, a goose, that's flat. 
 Sir, your pennyworth is good, an your goose be fat. 
 To sell a bargain well is as cunning as fast and loose: 
 Let me see -- a fat l'envoy; ay, that's a fat goose.
ARMADO Come hither, come hither. How did this argument begin? 
MOTH By saying that a costard was broken in a shin. 
 Then call'd you for the l'envoy. 
COSTARD True, and I for a plantain: thus came your 
 argument in;
 Then the boy's fat l'envoy, the goose that you bought; 
 And he ended the market. 
ARMADO But tell me; how was there a costard broken in a shin?
MOTH I will tell you sensibly. 
COSTARD Thou hast no feeling of it, Moth: I will speak that l'envoy:
 I Costard, running out, that was safely within, 110
 Fell over the threshold and broke my shin. 
ARMADO We will talk no more of this matter. 
COSTARD Till there be more matter in the shin. 
ARMADO Sirrah Costard, I will enfranchise thee.
COSTARD O, marry me to one Frances: I smell some l'envoy, 
 some goose, in this. 
ARMADO By my sweet soul, I mean setting thee at liberty, 
 enfreedoming thy person; thou wert immured, 
 restrained, captivated, bound.
COSTARD True, true; and now you will be my purgation and let me loose. 121
ARMADO I give thee thy liberty, set thee from durance; and, 
 in lieu thereof, impose on thee nothing but this: 
 bear this significant 
 [ Giving a letter. ] 
 to the country maid Jaquenetta:
 there is remuneration; for the best ward of mine 
 honour is rewarding my dependents. Moth, follow. 
MOTH Like the sequel, I. Signior Costard, adieu. 
COSTARD My sweet ounce of man's flesh! my incony Jew! 
 Exit MOTH 
COSTARD O' my troth, most sweet jests! most icony vulgar wit! 
COSTARD When it comes so smoothly off, so obscenely, as it were, so fit. 
COSTARD Armado o' th' one side, -- O, a most dainty man! 131
COSTARD To see him walk before a lady and to bear her fan! 
COSTARD To see him kiss his hand! and how most sweetly a' will swear! 
COSTARD And his page o' t' other saide, that handful of wit! 
COSTARD Ah, heavens, it is a most pathetical nit! -- 
 Now will I look to his remuneration. Remuneration!
 O, that's the Latin word for three farthings: three 
 farthings--remuneration.--'What's the price of this 
 inkle?'--'One penny.'--'No, I'll give you a 
 remuneration:' why, it carries it. Remuneration! 
 why, it is a fairer name than French crown. I will
 never buy and sell out of this word. 141
 Enter BIRON. 
BIRON O, my good knave Costard! exceedingly well met. 
COSTARD Pray you, sir, how much carnation ribbon may a man 
 buy for a remuneration? 
BIRON What is a remuneration?
COSTARD Marry, sir, halfpenny farthing. 
BIRON Why, then, three-farthing worth of silk. 
COSTARD I thank your worship: God be wi' you! 
BIRON Stay, slave; I must employ thee: 
 As thou wilt win my favour, good my knave, 150
 Do one thing for me that I shall entreat. 
COSTARD When would you have it done, sir? 
BIRON This afternoon. 
COSTARD Well, I will do it, sir: fare you well. 
BIRON Thou knowest not what it is.
COSTARD I shall know, sir, when I have done it. 
BIRON Why, villain, thou must know first. 
COSTARD I will come to your worship to-morrow morning. 
BIRON It must be done this afternoon. 
 Hark, slave, it is but this: 160
 The princess comes to hunt here in the park, 
 And in her train there is a gentle lady; 
 When tongues speak sweetly, then they name her name, 
 And Rosaline they call her: ask for her; 
 And to her white hand see thou do commend
 This seal'd-up counsel. There's thy guerdon; go. 
 [ Giving him a shilling. ] 
COSTARD Gardon, -- O sweet gardon! better than remuneration, 
 a'leven-pence farthing better: most sweet gardon! -- I 
 will do it sir, in print. -- Gardon! Remuneration! 
BIRON And I, forsooth, in love! I, that have been love's whip;
 A very beadle to a humorous sigh; 
 A critic, nay, a night-watch constable; 
 A domineering pedant o'er the boy; 
 Than whom no mortal so magnificent! 
 This whimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy;
 This senior-junior, giant-dwarf, Dan Cupid; 
 Regent of love-rhymes, lord of folded arms, 
 The anointed sovereign of sighs and groans, 
 Liege of all loiterers and malcontents, 180
 Dread prince of plackets, king of codpieces,
 Sole imperator and great general 
 Of trotting 'paritors:--O my little heart:-- 
 And I to be a corporal of his field, 
 And wear his colours like a tumbler's hoop! 
 What, I! I love! I sue! I seek a wife!
 A woman, that is like a German clock, 
 Still a-repairing, ever out of frame, 
 And never going aright, being a watch, 
 But being watch'd that it may still go right! 190
 Nay, to be perjured, which is worst of all;
 And, among three, to love the worst of all; 
 A wightly wanton with a velvet brow, 
 With two pitch-balls stuck in her face for eyes; 
 Ay, and by heaven, one that will do the deed 
 Though Argus were her eunuch and her guard:
 And I to sigh for her! to watch for her! 
 To pray for her! Go to; it is a plague 
 That Cupid will impose for my neglect 
 Of his almighty dreadful little might. 200
 Well, I will love, write, sigh, pray, sue and groan:
 Some men must love my lady and some Joan. 

Love's Labour's Lost, Act 4, Scene 1


Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 1
From Love's Labour's Lost. Ed. William Rolfe. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Abbreviations Used in the Notes

Act III.

Scene I.

2. Concolinel. Evidently a scrap of a song, but whether the beginning or the burden of it, the title or the tune, it is impossible to determine. The songs in the old plays were often omitted in the manuscripts and printed copies, being indicated, as here, by some abbreviation, or merely by a stage-direction, as "Here they sing" or the Latin "Cantant."

4. Festinately. Hastily, quickly. Cf. festinate in Lear, iii. 7. 10.

6. Master. Not in the folios.

7. Brawl. A kind of dance (Fr. branle). "It was performed by several persons uniting hands in a circle and giving each other continual shakes, the steps changing with the time" (Douce). Steevens quotes B[en]. J[onson], Time Vindicated:
"The Graces did them footing teach;
And, at the old Idalian brawls,
They danc'd your mother down."
10. Canary to it. The canary was a lively dance. Cf. A. W. ii. 1. 77:
"make you dance canary
With spritely fire and motion."
11. Turning up your eye. The folio reading; the 1st quarto has "eye-lids" for eye. Sometime. Used by S. interchangeably with sometimes.

14. Penthouse-like. Like a penthouse, a porch with a sloping roof, common in the domestic architecture of the time of S. There was one on the house in which tradition says he was born. The accompanying cut is copied from an old print. For penthouse, cf. Much Ado, iii. 3. 110, and M. of V. ii. 6. 1.

15. Thin-belly doublet. Many of the modern eds. have "thin belly-doublet;" but the 1st quarto reads "thin bellies" and the folios "thin-bellie," "thinebellie," or "thin-belly." Cf. the description of the thick-bellied doublets in Stubbes's Anatomie of Abuses, 1583: "Their dublettes are noe lesse monstrous than the reste; For now the fashion is to haue them hang downe to the middest of their theighes . . . beeing so harde-quilted, and stuffed, bombasted and sewed, as they can verie hardly eyther stoupe downe, or decline them selues to the grounde, soe styffe and sturdy they stand about them . . . Now, what handsomnes can be in these dubblettes whiche stand on their bellies like, ... (so as their bellies are thicker than all their bodyes besyde) let wise men judge; For for my parte, handsomnes in them I see none, and muche lesse profyte. . . . Certaine I am there was neuer any kinde of apparell euer inuented that could more disproportion the body of man than these Dublets with great bellies, . . . stuffed with foure, hue or six pound of Bombast at the least." For bombast, as here used, see on v. 2. 771 below.

17. After the old painting. "It was a common trick among some of the most indolent of the ancient masters, to place the hands in the bosom or the pockets, or conceal them in some other part of the drapery, to avoid the labour of representing them, or to disguise their own want of skill to employ them with grace and propriety" (Steevens).

18. Complements. Changed by Hanmer to "'complishments;" but that was a common meaning of the word. See on i. 1. 166 above.

20. Do you note me? Hanmer's reading. The folio has "and make them men of note: do you note men that most are affected to these?"

23. By my penny of observation. Alluding to the famous old piece called A Penniworth of Wit (Fanner). The Coll. MS. changes penny ("penne" in the 1st quarto and 1st folio) to "paine."

25. The hobby-horse is forgot. Moth follows up the "But O, but O — " with the remainder of a line in an old song bewailing the omission of the hobby-horse from the May games. Cf. Ham. iii. 2. 142: "or else shall he suffer not thinking on, with the hobby-horse, whose epitaph is 'For, O, for, O, the hobby-horse is forgot !'" See also B. J., Entertaimnent at Althorpe: "But see, the hobby-horse is forgot;" B[eamount]. and F[letcher]., Women Pleased, iv. I: "Shall the hobby-horse be forgot then?" etc. This omission is said to have been due to the opposition made by the Puritans to the morris-dances of the May festivities. For a full account of these games, see Douce's Illustrations or Brand's Popular Antiquities. The hobby-horse, says Toilet, "is a spirited horse of pasteboard, in which the master dances and displays tricks of legerdemain." A ladle was hung from the horse's mouth for receiving money given by the lookers-on.

45. Message. Changed in the Coll. MS. to "messenger;" but the meaning seems to be that the foolish message is well sympathized (or has its appropriate counterpart) in the foolish messenger.

60. Voluble. The folio reading; the 1st quarto has "volable," which the Camb. ed. retains. For free the Coll. MS. has "fair."

61. By thy favour, etc. "Welkin is the sky, to which Armado, with the false dignity of a Spaniard, makes an apology for sighing in its face" (Johnson).

62. Most rude. The Coll. MS. has "moist-eyed."

64. A costard broken, etc. He plays on the word costard, which was used jocosely for head. See Lear, p. 248, or Rich. III. p. 195.

66. No salve in them all. The early eds. have "in thee male" or "in the male." Capell reads "in the matter," and Johnson conjectured "in the mail" (that is, in the bag) or "in the vale." The reading in the text was suggested by Tyrwhitt. It may be noted that mail is not used by S, except in T. and C. iii. 3. 52, where it is = armour. As Clarke says, Costard seems to take enigma, riddle, and l'envoy to be various kinds of salve. On the virtue of the plantain for a broken shin, cf. R. and J. i. 2. 52:
"Romeo. Your plantain-leaf is excellent for that.
Benvolio. For what, I pray thee?
Romeo. For your broken shin."
Broken, by the way, means bruised so as to be bloody. See R. and J. p. 51, note on the passage just quoted.

74. Is not l'envoy a salve? Some see here a pun on salve and the Latin salve, which was used sometimes as a parting salutation.

77. Tofore. Cf. T. A. iii. 1. 294: "as thou tofore hast been." Sain is Armado's rhyming "license" for said. The folio has "faine."

86. Adding. Here and in 92 below the Coll. MS. reads "making."

95. The boy hath sold him a bargain. "This comedy is running over with allusions to country sports — one of the many proofs that, in its original shape, it may be assigned to the author's greenest years. The sport which so delights Costard, about the fox, the ape, and the humble-bee, has been explained by Capell, whose lumbering and obscure comments upon Shakespeare have been pillaged and sneered at by the other commentators. In this instance, they take no notice of him. It seems, according to Capell, that 'selling a bargain' consisted in drawing a person in, by some stratagem, to proclaim himself fool, by his own lips; and thus, when Moth makes his master repeat the I envoy, ending in the goose, he proclaims himself a goose, according to the rustic wit, which Costard calls selling a bargain well" (K[night]).

97. Fast and loose. A cheating game. See on i. 2. 147 above.

104. And he ended the market. Alluding to the proverb "Three women and a goose make a market" (Steevens).

108. No feeling of it. Costard plays on sensibly, which sometimes meant feelingly in the literal sense. Cf. Cor. p. 207.

114. Marry, Costard, etc. The folio has "Sirra, Costard," etc. Marry is the conjecture of K. and is favoured by the reply. The Coll. MS. has "Sirrah Costard, marry," etc.

118. Immured. As in 2d folio, the earlier eds. having "emured."

121, 122. Let me loose . . . set thee from durance. H. adopts Brae's transposition of let and set. The Coll. MS. has "let me be loose" and "set thee free from durance." The style of Costard and Armado hardly calls for such tinkering.

125. Ward. Guard, preservation. For its use as a term in fencing ( = posture of defence), see Temp. p. 122.

127. Like the sequel. That is, like the sequel of a story. Some have fancied an allusion to the French sequelle, a gang of followers.

128. Incony. Apparently = fine, delicate. Nares cites examples of the word from B. J., Marlowe, and others. [C. H. Hart gives the intended meaning as 'delicious.' -- Shk. Online]

129-135. O! my troth . . . nit! In the early eds. these lines are printed in iv. 1, after line 136: "Lord, lord, how the ladies and I have put him down!" There they are evidently out of place, and St[aunton] conjectured that they belong here. H[udson]. was the first to make the transposition. There is no line rhyming to 133, and some suppose one to have been lost; but it is quite as probable, as H. suggests, that 133 is either an interpolation, or a line struck out by the poet in revising the play, but accidentally retained by the transcriber or printer. See on iv. 3. 294 below.

131. Armado o' th' one side. The 1st quarto has "Armatho ath too then side," and the folio "Armathor ath to the side." The text is due to Rowe. W[hite]. reads "Armado o' th' to side" — "the to side" being an old expression for "the hither side."

133. To see him, etc. The Coll. MS. fills out the couplet with "Looking babies in her eyes his passion to declare."

135. Pathetical. The word has already been used by Armado in i. 2. 92 above. Just what either he or Costard means by it must be matter of conjecture. S. has it nowhere else, except in A. Y. L. iv. 1. 196, where it appears to be also an affectation. See our ed. p. 187. For the personal use of nit, cf. T. of S. iv. 3. no, the only other instance of the word in S.

138. Inkle. Tape. Cf. W. T. p. 196.

150. Good my knave. My good boy. See on i. 2. 65 above. For knave = boy, servant, ct. A. and C. p. 207, or M. of V. p. 137.

169. print. To the letter. Cf. T. G. of V. p. 131. Schmidt explains it as "sad." Hanmer reads "amorous."

173. Critic. Carper; the only sense in S. Cf. Sonn. 112. and T and C. v. 2. 131. See also on iv. 3. 165 below.

174. Pedant. Pedagogue; the only meaning in S. Cf. T. N. iii. 2. 80: "A pedant that keeps a school i' the church," etc.

175. Magnificent. Pompous, boastful; used by S. only here and in i. I. 188 above.

176. Wimpled. Hoodwinked, blindfolded. Cf. Spenser, F. Q. i. 1. 4:
"Yet she much whiter; but the same did hide
Under a veil that wimpled was full low;"
that is, drawn close about her face, like a wimple, a kind of veil. Cf. F. Q. i. 12. 22:
"For she had layd her moumefull stole aside,
And widow-like sad wimple thrown away."
[177. Dan Cupid. Dan = Don, meaning master. -- Shk. Online]

181. Plackets. Explained by some as stomachers; by others as = petticoats, or the slit or opening in those garments. Placket-hole (cf. Wb.) is still used for the slit in a petticoat. The codpiece was a part of the breeches in front, made very conspicuous in the olden time.

183. Paritors. The same as apparitors, officers of ecclesiastical courts whose duty it was to serve citations. Johnson says that they are put under Cupid's government because the citations were most frequently issued for offences against chastity.

184. A corporal of his field. Farmer says: "Giles Clayton, in his Martial Discipline, 1591, has a chapter on the office and duty of a corporal of the field." According to Tyrwhitt, his duties were similar to those of an aide-de-camp now.

185. Like a tumbler's hoop. Alluding to its being adorned with coloured ribbons.

187. A German clock. Clocks were then chiefly imported from Germany, and the dramatists of the time were fond of comparing the feminine "make-up" to their intricate machinery. Steevens cites, among other passages, Westward Hoe, 1607: "no German clock, no mathematical engine whatsoever, requires so much reparation;" and A Mad World, my Masters, 1608:
"She consists of a hundred pieces,
Much like your German clock, and near allied:
Both are so nice they cannot go for pride."
188. Out of frame. Out of order; as in Ham. i. 2. 20: "disjoint and out of frame."

189. Going right. The early eds. have "aright ;" corrected by Capell.

193. Wightly. The early eds. have "whitly" or "whitely." which some explain as = whitish, pale (D. makes it = sallow); but Rosaline was dark. It seems probable that the word was a misspelling of wightly, which the Camb. editors substitute, and which means nimble, sprightly. Spenser has both wightly and wight in this sense, and the latter is found in Chaucer; as in C. T. 14273 (Tyrwhitt's ed.): "With any yong man, were he never so wight," etc. The Coll. MS. has "witty."

195. Do the deed. Cf. M. of V. i. 3. 86: "And in the doing of the deed of kind," etc.

196. Argus. For other allusions to the hundred-eyed guardian of Io, see M. of V. v. 1. 230 and T. and C. I. 2. 31.

201. Sue, and groan. The 1st quarto and 1st folio omit and.

202. Joan. Often = a peasant, or a woman in humble life. Cf. v. 2. 908 below. See also K. John, i. 1. 184: "now can I make any Joan a lady."

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. < >.

How to cite the sidebars:
Mabillard, Amanda. Notes on Love's Labour's Lost. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2013. < >.


Notes on the Globe Theatre

microsoft images It is no coincidence that in all of Shakespeare's plays, the scene, no matter how dramatic or climatic, ends on a denumount, with the actors walking off or being carried off the stage. If the play required a change of place in the next scene, most times the actors would not leave the stage at all, and it would be up to the audience to imagine the change had occurred. If props were used, they were usually placed at the beginning of the play, and oftentimes would become unnecessary as the performance went on, but would remain on the stage regardless. Read on....

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