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Love's Labour's Lost

Please see the bottom of the page for explanatory notes.

ACT IV SCENE II The same. 
 Enter HOLOFERNES the Pedant, NATHANIEL, and DULL. 
SIR NATHANIEL Very reverend sport, truly; and done in the testimony 
 of a good conscience. 
HOLOFERNES The deer was, as you know, sanguis, in blood; ripe 
 as the pomewater, who now hangeth like a jewel in
 the ear of caelo, the sky, the welkin, the heaven; 
 and anon falleth like a crab on the face of terra, 
 the soil, the land, the earth. 
SIR NATHANIEL Truly, Master Holofernes, the epithets are sweetly 
 varied, like a scholar at the least: but, sir, I
 assure ye, it was a buck of the first head. 10
HOLOFERNES Sir Nathaniel, haud credo. 
DULL 'Twas not a haud credo; 'twas a pricket. 
HOLOFERNES Most barbarous intimation! yet a kind of 
 insinuation, as it were, in via, in way, of
 explication; facere, as it were, replication, or 
 rather, ostentare, to show, as it were, his  
 inclination, after his undressed, unpolished, 
 uneducated, unpruned, untrained, or rather,

 unlettered, or ratherest, unconfirmed fashion, to
 insert again my haud credo for a deer. 19
DULL I said the deer was not a haud credo; 't was a pricket. 
HOLOFERNES Twice-sod simplicity, bis coctus! -- 
 O thou monster Ignorance, how deformed dost thou look! 
SIR NATHANIEL Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred
 in a book; he hath not eat paper, as it were; he  
 hath not drunk ink: his intellect is not 
 replenished; he is only an animal, only sensible in 
 the duller parts: 
 And such barren plants are set before us, that we
 thankful should be, 
 Which we of taste and feeling are, for those parts that 
 do fructify in us more than he. 
 For as it would ill become me to be vain, indiscreet, or a fool, 
 So were there a patch set on learning, to see him in a school:
 But omne bene, say I; being of an old father's mind, 31
 Many can brook the weather that love not the wind. 
DULL You two are book-men: can you tell me by your wit 
 What was a month old at Cain's birth, that's not five 
 weeks old as yet?
HOLOFERNES Dictynna, goodman Dull; Dictynna, goodman Dull. 
DULL What is Dictynna? 
SIR NATHANIEL A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon. 
HOLOFERNES The moon was a month old when Adam was no more, 
 And raught not to five weeks when he came to
 The allusion holds in the exchange. 
DULL 'Tis true indeed; the collusion holds in the exchange. 40
HOLOFERNES God comfort thy capacity! I say, the allusion holds 
 in the exchange.
DULL And I say, the pollusion holds in the exchange; for 
 the moon is never but a month old: and I say beside 
 that, 't was a pricket that the princess killed. 
HOLOFERNES Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal epitaph 
 on the death of the deer? And, to humour the
 ignorant, call I the deer the princess killed a pricket. 
SIR NATHANIEL Perge, good Master Holofernes, perge; so it shall 
 please you to abrogate scurrility. 51
HOLOFERNES I will something affect the letter, for it argues facility. 
 The preyful princess pierced and prick'd a pretty
 pleasing pricket; 
 Some say a sore; but not a sore, till now made 
 sore with shooting. 
 The dogs did yell: put L to sore, then sorel jumps 
 from thicket;
 Or pricket sore, or else sorel; the people fall a-hooting. 
 If sore be sore, then L to sore makes fifty sores 
  O sore L. 
 Of one sore I an hundred make by adding but one more L. 
SIR NATHANIEL A rare talent! 60
DULL [ Aside. ] If a talent be a claw, look how he claws him with a talent. 
 him with a talent. 
HOLOFERNES This is a gift that I have, simple, simple; a 
 foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures, 
 shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions, 
 revolutions: these are begot in the ventricle of
 memory, nourished in the womb of pia mater, and 
 delivered upon the mellowing of occasion. But the 
 gift is good in those in whom it is acute, and I am 
 thankful for it. 
SIR NATHANIEL Sir, I praise the Lord for you; and so may my 70
 parishioners; for their sons are well tutored by 
 you, and their daughters profit very greatly under 
 you: you are a good member of the commonwealth. 
HOLOFERNES Mehercle, if their sons be ingenuous, they shall 
 want no instruction; if their daughters be capable,
 I will put it to them: but vir sapit qui pauca 
 loquitur; a soul feminine saluteth us. 
JAQUENETTA God give you good morrow, master Parson. 
HOLOFERNES Master Parson, quasi pers-on. An if one should be 
 pierced, which is the one? 80
COSTARD Marry, master schoolmaster, he that is likest to a hogshead. 
HOLOFERNES Piercing a hogshead! a good lustre of conceit in a 
 tuft of earth; fire enough for a flint, pearl enough 
 for a swine: 'tis pretty; it is well. 
JAQUENETTA Good master Parson, be so good as read me this
 letter: it was given me by Costard, and sent me 
 from Don Armado: I beseech you, read it. 
HOLOFERNES Fauste, precor gelida quando pecus omne sub umbra 
 Ruminat, and so forth. Ah, good old Mantuan! I 
 may speak of thee as the traveller doth of Venice;
 Venetia, Venetia, 
 Chi non ti vede non ti pretia. 
 Old Mantuan, old Mantuan! who understandeth thee 
 not, loves thee not. Ut, re, sol, la, mi, fa. 
 Under pardon, sir, what are the contents? or rather,
 as Horace says in his--What, my soul, verses? 
SIR NATHANIEL Ay, sir, and very learned. 
HOLOFERNES Let me hear a staff, a stanze, a verse; lege, domine. 100
SIR NATHANIEL [ Reads. ]  
 If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to love? 
 Ah, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vow'd!
 Though to myself forsworn, to thee I'll faithful prove: 
 Those thoughts to me were oaks, to thee like 
 osiers bow'd. 
 Study his bias leaves and makes his book thine eyes, 
 Where all those pleasures live that art would
 If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice; 
 Well learned is that tongue that well can thee commend, 
 All ignorant that soul that sees thee without wonder; 
 Which is to me some praise that I thy parts admire: 110
 Thy eye Jove's lightning bears, thy voice his dreadful thunder, 
 Which not to anger bent, is music and sweet fire. 
 Celestial as thou art, O, pardon, love, this wrong, 
 That sings heaven's praise with such an earthly tongue. 
HOLOFERNES You find not the apostraphas, and so miss the
 accent: let me supervise the canzonet. Here are 
 only numbers ratified; but, for the elegancy, 
 facility, and golden cadence of poesy, caret. 
 Ovidius Naso was the man: and why, indeed, Naso, 
 but for smelling out the odouriferous flowers of
 fancy, the jerks of invention? Imitari is nothing: 
 so doth the hound his master, the ape his keeper, 
 the tired horse his rider. But, damosella virgin, 
 was this directed to you? 
JAQUENETTA Ay, sir, from one Monsieur Biron, one of the strange 123
 queen's lords. 
HOLOFERNES I will overglance the superscript: 'To the 
 snow-white hand of the most beauteous Lady 
 Rosaline.' I will look again on the intellect of 
 the letter, for the nomination of the party writing
 to the person written unto: 'Your ladyship's in all 
 desired employment, Biron.' Sir Nathaniel, this 
 Biron is one of the votaries with the king; and here 
 he hath framed a letter to a sequent of the stranger 
 queen's, which accidentally, or by the way of
 progression, hath miscarried. -- Trip and go, my 
 sweet; deliver this paper into the royal hand of the 
 king: it may concern much. Stay not thy 
 compliment; I forgive thy duty; adieu. 
JAQUENETTA Good Costard, go with me. Sir, God save your life!
COSTARD Have with thee, my girl. 
SIR NATHANIEL Sir, you have done this in the fear of God, very 
 religiously; and, as a certain father saith,-- 140
HOLOFERNES Sir tell me not of the father; I do fear colourable 
 colours. But to return to the verses: did they
 please you, Sir Nathaniel? 
SIR NATHANIEL Marvellous well for the pen. 
HOLOFERNES I do dine to-day at the father's of a certain pupil 
 of mine; where, if, before repast, it shall please 
 you to gratify the table with a grace, I will, on my
 privilege I have with the parents of the foresaid 
 child or pupil, undertake your ben venuto; where I 
 will prove those verses to be very unlearned, 
 neither savouring of poetry, wit, nor invention: I 
 beseech your society. 151
SIR NATHANIEL And thank you too; for society, saith the text, is 
 the happiness of life. 
HOLOFERNES And, certes, the text most infallibly concludes it. 
 Sir, I do invite you too; you shall not 
 say me nay: pauca verba. Away! the gentles are at
 their game, and we will to our recreation. 

Love's Labour's Lost, Act 4, Scene 3


Explanatory Notes for Act 4, Scene 2
From Love's Labour's Lost. Ed. William Rolfe. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Abbreviations Used in the Notes

Act IV.

Scene II.

3. Sanguis in blood. Changed by Capell to "in sanguis, blood." In blood was a term of the chase = in full vigour. Cf. 1 Hen. VI. iv. 2. 48: "If we be English deer, be then in blood," etc.

4. Pomewater. A kind of apple. Steevens quotes an old ballad: "Whose cheeks did resemble two rosting pomewaters." In The Puritan, "the pomewater of his eye" is = the apple of his eye.

10. A buck of the first head. According to The Return from Parnassus, 1606 (quoted by Steevens) "a buck is the first year, a fawn; the second year, a pricket; the third year, a sorrell; the fourth year, a soare; the fifth, a buck of the first head; the sixth year, a compleat buck."

17. Unconfirmed. Inexperienced, ignorant; as in Much Ado, iii. 3. 124: "That shows thou art unconfirmed."

21. Twice-sod. Sod, like sodden, is the participle of seethe. Cf. R. of L. 1592: "sod in tears," etc. Twice-sod simplicity = concentrated stupidity, as if boiled down.

28. Which we, etc. In the folio this reads: "which we taste and feeling, are for those parts," etc. Various emendations have been proposed, of which Tyrwhitt's in the text seems the best, and is adopted by the majority of recent editors.

30. Patch. A play on the word in its sense of fool, for which see M. of V. p. 142, or M. N. D. p. 160. Johnson says: "The meaning is, to be in a school would as ill become a patch as folly would become me." The Coll. M S. has "set" for see.

35. Dictynna. One of the names of Diana. The early eds. have "Dictisima" or "Dictissima" here, and "Dictima" or "Dictinna" in the next line. Steevens suggests that S. may have found the word in Golding's Ovid: "Dictynna garded with her traine, and proud of killing deere."

39. Raught. An old past, tense and participle of reach. For its use as the former, cf. Hen. V. iv. 6. 21; and as the latter, A. and C. iv. 9. 30. The folios have "wrought" here, the 1st quarto "rought."

40. The allusion holds in the exchange. "The riddle is as good when I use the name of Adam as when I use the name of Cain" (Warb.). Mr. Brae takes allusion to be used in the strict Latin sense of "play, joke, or jest," and makes exchange = "the changing of the moon."

52. Affect the letter. "Practise alliteration" (Mason). For another satire on this affectation of the time, cf. M. N. D. v. 1. 145 fol.; and see our ed. p. 184.

54. Preyful. The 2d folio has "praysfull."

55. Some say a sore. For sore, or soare, as applied to a deer "of the fourth year," see on 10 above; also for sorel in the next line.

58. O sore L. The 1st quarto has "o sorell," and the folios "O sorell." The reading in the text is Capell's, and is generally adopted. The Camb. ed. has "makes fifty sores one sorel," which is plausible and perhaps favoured by the next line.

61. If a talent be a claw. The play on talent and talon is obvious. The latter word was sometimes written talent. Malone cites, among other instances, Marlowe's Tamburlaine, 1590:
"and now doth ghastly death
With greedy tallents gripe my bleeding heart."
Claw was sometimes = humour, flatter. Cf. Much Ado, 1.3. 18: "claw no man in his humour;" and see our ed. p. 126.

67. Pia mater. The membrane covering the brain, used for the brain itself; as in T. N. i. 5. 123 and T. and C.. ii. 1. 77. Here the early eds. have "primater;" corrected by Rowe. Upon the mellowing of occasion. At "the very riping of the time" (M. of V. ii. 8. 40), or when the fit occasion comes.

78. Person. "Parson" (the reading of the 2d folio). Steevens quotes Holinshed: "Jerom was vicar of Stepnie, and Garrard was person of Honielane," etc. St. adds from Selden, Table Talk: "Though we write Parson differently, yet 't is but Person; that is, the individual Person set apart for the service of the Church, and 't is in Latin Persona, and Personatus is a Personage" For the play on pierce (which was perhaps pronounced perse), cf. I Hen. IV. p. 201, note on I'll pierce him.

90. Mantuan. Giovanni Battista Spagnuoli (or Spagnoli), named Mantuanus from uis birthplace, who died in 1516, was the author of certain Eclogues which the pedants of that day preferred to Virgil's, and which were read in schools. The 1st Eclogue begins with the passage quoted by Holofernes. Malone quotes references to Mantuanus from Nash and Drayton. A translation of his Latin poems by George Turbervile was printed in 1567.

92. Venelia, etc. In the folio this reads: "vemchie, vencha, que non te vnde, qne non te perreche," which exactly follows the 1st quarto. The text is taken by the Camb. editors from Florio's Second Frutes, 1591, whence the poet probably got it. There it has the second line, "Ma chi te vede, ben gli costa." In Howell's Letters, it appears with a translation, thus:
"Venetia, Venetia, chi non te vede, non te pregia,
Ma chi t' ha troppo veduto te dispregia.
Venice, Venice, none thee unseen can prize;
Who thee hath seen too much, will thee despise."
It is usually printed in the form in which Theo. gives it:
"Vinegia, Vinegia,
Chi non te vede, ei non te pregia."
105. Bias. Originally a term in bowling, See Ham. p. 200 (on Assays the bias), or T. of S. p. 167 (on Against the bias).

111. Thy voice, etc. Malone compares A. and C. v. 2. 83:
"his voice was propertied
As all the tuned spheres, and that to friends;
But when he meant to quail and shake the orb,
He was as rattling thunder."
115. You find not the apostrophas. K. understands this to refer to the apostrophes in vow'd and bow'd (102 and 104 above), and therefore prints these "vowed" and "bowed."

116-122. Here are only, etc. The early eds. give this to Nathaniel; corrected by Theo.

120. Imitari. To imitate. The early eds. have "imitarie," with no point before it, and the Coll. MS. reads "imitating."

121. The tired horse. The early eds. have "tyred" for tired. Theo. reads "try'd," and Capell "tired." Heath conjectures "trained." It is probably another allusion to Bankes's horse (see on i. 2. 52 above), as Farmer explains it; tired being = "adorned with ribbons."

123. Ay, sir, from one Monsieur Biron. " S. forgot himself in this passage. Jaquenetta knew nothing of Biron, and had said just before that the letter had been sent to her from Don Armado and given to her by Costard" (Mason).

133. Royal. The word is only in the 1st quarto.

134. Stay not thy compliment; I forgive thy duty. That is, do not tarry to make any formal obeisance; I excuse you from that. Cf. M. N. D. iv. I. 21: "Pray you, leave your courtesy, good mounsieur." Cf. p. 155, note on 87.

141. Colourable colours. "That is, specious or fair-seeming appearances" (Johnson); or "false pretexts" (Schmidt).

146. Before repast. As in 1st quarto; "beins; repast" in folios, has "bien vonuto," and the Camb. editors conjecture "bien venu too."

154. Certes. Certainly. Cf. Temp. iii. 3. 30, C. of E. iv. 4. 78, etc. Schmidt considers it monosyllabic in Hen. VIII, i. i. 48 and Oth. i. 1. 16.

156. Pauca verba. Few words (Latin).

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:
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. Essays and Lectures on Shakespeare. London: J. M. Dent, 1907. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2013. < >.


Coleridge on Love's Labour's Lost

microsoft images "This sort of story, too, was admirably suited to Shakspeare's times, when the Enghsh court was still the foster-mother of the state, and the muses; and when, in consequence, the courtiers, and men of rank and fashion, affected a display of wit, point, and sententious observation, that would be deemed intolerable at present, -- but in which a hundred years of controversy, involving every great political, and every dear domestic, interest, had trained all but the lowest classes to participate. Add to this the very style of the sermons of the time, and the eagerness of the Protestants to distinguish themselves by long and frequent preaching, and it will be found that, from the reign of Henry VIII. to the abdication of James II. no country ever received such a national education as England." (Coleridge, Essays and Lectures on Shakespeare, p. 72)

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