home contact

Love's Labour's Lost

Please see the bottom of the page for explanatory notes.

ACT V SCENE I The Park. 
HOLOFERNES Satis quod sufficit. 
SIR NATHANIEL I praise God for you, sir: your reasons at dinner 
 have been sharp and sententious; pleasant without 
 scurrility, witty without affection, audacious without
 impudency, learned without opinion, and strange with- 
 out heresy. I did converse this quondam day with 
 a companion of the king's, who is intituled, nomi- 
 nated, or called, Don Adriano de Armado. 
HOLOFERNES Novi hominem tanquam te: his humour is lofty, his
 discourse peremptory, his tongue filed, his eye 
 ambitious, his gait majestical, and his general 
 behavior vain, ridiculous, and thrasonical. He is 
 too picked, too spruce, too affected, too odd, as it 
 were, too peregrinate, as I may call it.
SIR NATHANIEL A most singular and choice epithet. 15
 Draws out his table-book 
HOLOFERNES He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer 
 than the staple of his argument. I abhor such 
 fanatical phantasimes, such insociable and 
 point-devise companions; such rackers of
 orthography, as to speak dout, fine, when he should 
 say doubt; det, when he should pronounce debt,--d, 
 e, b, t, not d, e, t: he clepeth a calf, cauf; 
 half, hauf; neighbour vocatur nebor; neigh 
 abbreviated ne. This is abhominable,--which he
 would call abbominable: it insinuateth me of

 insanie: anne intelligis, domine? to make frantic, lunatic. 
SIR NATHANIEL Laus Deo, bene intelligo. 
HOLOFERNES Bon, bon, fort bon, Priscian! a little scratch'd, 
 'twill serve.
SIR NATHANIEL Videsne quis venit? 
HOLOFERNES Video, et gaudeo. 30
ARMADO Chirrah! 
HOLOFERNES Quare chirrah, not sirrah? 
ARMADO Men of peace, well encountered.
HOLOFERNES Most military sir, salutation. 
MOTH [ Aside to COSTARD. ] They have been at a great feast 
 of languages, and stolen the scraps. 
COSTARD O, they have lived long on the alms-basket of words. 
 I marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word; 
 for thou art not so long by the head as 39
 honorificabilitudinitatibus: thou art easier 
 swallowed than a flap-dragon. 
MOTH Peace! the peal begins. 
MOTH Yes, yes; he teaches boys the hornbook. What is a, 
 b, spelt backward, with the horn on his head?
HOLOFERNES Ba, pueritia, with a horn added. 
MOTH Ba, most silly sheep with a horn. You hear his learning. 
HOLOFERNES Quis, quis, thou consonant? 
MOTH The third of the five vowels, if you repeat them; or 
 the fifth, if I. 50
HOLOFERNES I will repeat them,--a, e, i,-- 
MOTH The sheep: the other two concludes it,--o, u. 
ARMADO Now, by the salt wave of the Mediterraneum, a sweet 
 touch, a quick venue of wit! snip, snap, quick and 
 home! it rejoiceth my intellect: true wit!
MOTH Offered by a child to an old man; which is wit-old. 
HOLOFERNES What is the figure? what is the figure? 
MOTH Horns. 
HOLOFERNES Thou disputest like an infant: go, whip thy gig. 
MOTH Lend me your horn to make one, and I will whip about 61
 your infamy circum circa,--a gig of a cuckold's horn. 
COSTARD An I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst 
 have it to buy gingerbread: hold, there is the very 
 remuneration I had of thy master, thou halfpenny 
 purse of wit, thou pigeon-egg of discretion. O, an
 the heavens were so pleased that thou wert but my 
 bastard, what a joyful father wouldst thou make me! 
 Go to; thou hast it ad dunghill, at the fingers' 
 ends, as they say. 
HOLOFERNES O, I smell false Latin; dunghill for unguem. 70
ARMADO Arts-man, preambulate, we will be singled from the 
 barbarous. Do you not educate youth at the 
 charge-house on the top of the mountain? 
HOLOFERNES Or mons, the hill. 
ARMADO At your sweet pleasure, for the mountain.
HOLOFERNES I do, sans question. 
ARMADO Sir, it is the king's most sweet pleasure and 
 affection to congratulate the princess at her 
 pavilion in the posteriors of this day, which the 
 rude multitude call the afternoon. 80
HOLOFERNES The posterior of the day, most generous sir, is 
 liable, congruent and measurable for the afternoon: 
 the word is well culled, chose, sweet and apt, I do 
 assure you, sir, I do assure. 
ARMADO Sir, the king is a noble gentleman, and my familiar,
 I do assure ye, very good friend: for what is 
 inward between us, let it pass. I do beseech thee, 
 remember thy courtesy; I beseech thee, apparel thy 
 head: and among other important and most serious 
 designs, and of great import indeed, too, but let 90
 that pass: for I must tell thee, it will please his 
 grace, by the world, sometime to lean upon my poor 
 shoulder, and with his royal finger, thus, dally 
 with my excrement, with my mustachio; but, sweet 
 heart, let that pass. By the world, I recount no
 fable: some certain special honours it pleaseth his 
 greatness to impart to Armado, a soldier, a man of 
 travel, that hath seen the world; but let that pass. 
 The very all of all is,--but, sweet heart, I do 
 implore secrecy,--that the king would have me
 present the princess, sweet chuck, with some 
 delightful ostentation, or show, or pageant, or 
 antique, or firework. Now, understanding that the 
 curate and your sweet self are good at such 
 eruptions and sudden breaking out of mirth, as it 103
 were, I have acquainted you withal, to the end to
 crave your assistance. 
HOLOFERNES Sir, you shall present before her the Nine Worthies. 
 Sir, as concerning some entertainment of time, some 
 show in the posterior of this day, to be rendered by
 our assistants, at the king's command, and this most 
 gallant, illustrate, and learned gentleman, before 
 the princess; I say none so fit as to present the 
 Nine Worthies. 
SIR NATHANIEL Where will you find men worthy enough to present them?
HOLOFERNES Joshua, yourself; myself and this gallant gentleman, 
 Judas Maccabaeus; this swain, because of his great 
 limb or joint, shall pass Pompey the Great; the 
 page, Hercules,-- 
ARMADO Pardon, sir; error: he is not quantity enough for
 that Worthy's thumb: he is not so big as the end of his club. 119
HOLOFERNES Shall I have audience? he shall present Hercules in 
 minority: his enter and exit shall be strangling a 
 snake; and I will have an apology for that purpose. 
MOTH An excellent device! so, if any of the audience
 hiss, you may cry 'Well done, Hercules! now thou 
 crushest the snake!' that is the way to make an 
 offence gracious, though few have the grace to do it. 
ARMADO For the rest of the Worthies?-- 
HOLOFERNES I will play three myself.
MOTH Thrice-worthy gentleman! 
ARMADO Shall I tell you a thing? 130
HOLOFERNES We attend. 
ARMADO We will have, if this fadge not, an antique. I 
 beseech you, follow.
HOLOFERNES Via! -- goodman Dull! thou hast spoken no word all this while. 
DULL Nor understood none neither, sir. 
HOLOFERNES Allons! we will employ thee. 
DULL I'll make one in a dance, or so; or I will play 
 On the tabour to the Worthies, and let them dance the hay.
HOLOFERNES Most dull, honest Dull! To our sport, away! 

Love's Labour's Lost, Act 5, Scene 2


Explanatory Notes for Act 5, Scene 1
From Love's Labour's Lost. Ed. William Rolfe. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Abbreviations Used in the Notes

Act V.

Scene I.

1. Satis quod sufficit. "Enough's as good as a feast" (Steevens).

2. Reasons. Arguments; or, perhaps, as Johnson and others explain it, "discourse, conversation."

4. Affection. " Affectation" (2d folio). In Ham. ii. 2. 464, the quartos have "affection," the folios "affectation." See also on v. 2.409 below. Affectioned (= affected) occurs in T. N. ii. 3. 160.

5. Opinion. Dogmatism; or, perhaps, self-conceit. Cf. I Hen. IV. p. 175.

9. Novi hominem tanguam te. I know the man as well as I do you.

10. His tongue filed. His speech is polished or refined. Cf. Sonn. 85. 4: "And precious phrase by all the Muses fil'd," etc.

12. Thrasonical. Boastful; like Thraso in Terence's Eunuchns. Cf. A. Y. L. p. 193. Picked. Over-refined, fastidious. Cf. Ham. v. i. 151: "the age is grown so picked;" and K. John, i. I. 193: "My picked man of countries." Travellers were much given to this affectation; which explains peregrinate here.

18. Phantasimes. Fantastics. See on iv. 1.94 above. Point-device = finical "up to the best mark devisable;" as in A. Y. L. iii. 2. 401: "you are rather point-device in your accoutrements." For companions used contemptuously (= fellows), see Temp. p. 131, note on Your fellow.

19. Rackers of orthography, etc. W[hite]. remarks: "This passage has especial interest on account of its testimony to the condition of our language when it was written. In his pedagoguish wrath, the Pedant lets us know that consonants now silent were then heard on the lips of purists, that compound words preserved ihe forms and sounds of their elements, and that vowels were pronounced more purely and openly than they now are. The change from the ancient to what may be called the modern pronunciation appears to have begun, among the more cultivated classes, just before S. commenced his career, and to have been completed in the course of about fifty years -- that is, from about 1575 to about 1625 . . . With regard to the completion of this change, the following passages from Charles Butler's English Grammar, Oxford, 1633, are decisive: 'Another use of the letters is to show the derivation of a word: namely, when we keep a letter in the derivative, &c. . . . also when a letter not sounded in the English is yet written, because it is in the language from which the word came: as b in debt, doubt; e in George; g in deseign, flegme, reign, signe; h in Thomas, authoriti; I in salve, &c. . . . L after a and before f, v, k, or m is vulgarly sounded like u (or, with the a, like the diphthong au); before f as in calf, half; before v as in salv, calvs, halvs, etc.'"

23. Abhominable. The old spelling, and evidently also the pronunciation, of the word.

Insinuatheth me. Intimates or suggests to me. Hanmer reads "to me," and the Coll. MS. "one" for me.

24. For insanire the early eds. have "infamie," for which Theo. reads "insanie," Warb. "insanity," and the Coll. MS. "insania." Insanire, which is favoured by the use of the infinitive in defining it, was suggested by Walker.

Ne intelligis? Do you understand? Johnson conjectures "nonne" for ne.

26. Laus Deo, etc. The folio reads here:
"Cura. Laus Deo, bene intelligo.
Peda. Borne boon for boon prescian, a little scratcht, 'twil serue."
The reading in the text is due to Theo., who says: "The curate, addressing with complaisance his brother pedant, says bone to him, as we frequently in Terence find bone vir; but the pedant, thinking he had mistaken the adverb, thus descants on it: 'Bone -- bone for bene: Priscian a little scratched: 'twill serve.' Alluding to the common phrase, Diminuis Prisciani caput, applied to such as speak false Latin." This is ingenious, but we have our doubts whether it is anything more than a plausible mending of a hopelessly corrupt passage. It is, however, much to be preferred to the modification of it in the modern editions that have adopted it. These, without exception (at least, so. far as we are aware), read "bone intelligo," making Nathaniel actually wrong in the use of the adverb. It is hardly conceivable that he should be guilty of a blunder for which a schoolboy ought to be whipped ; and besides he has used the correct form in "omne bene," in iv. 2. 31 above a fact which all the editors appear to have overlooked. It is certainly more reasonable to suppose, as Theo. does, that Nathaniel's bone is the vocative of the adjective, and that Holofernes takes it to be a slip for the adverb; which is natural enough, as bene intelligo is a common phrase. Being a pedagogue, and used to hearing such blunders from his pupils, it does not occur to him that Nathaniel would not be likely to make them.

The Camb. editors (followed by H[udson].) retain the bene intelligo, and make Holofernes reply: "Bon, bon, fort bon, Priscian! a little scratched; ' t will serve." They say: "Holofernes patronizingly calls Sir Nathaniel Priscian, but, pedagogue-like, will not admit his perfect accuracy." It seems improbable, however, that he would play the critic in a case like this, where the construction is so simple that no possible question could be raised about it. Besides, the pedant does not elsewhere quote French, and Latin might naturally be expected from him here.

29. Videsne quis venit? Do you see who is coming?

30. Video, et gaudeo. I see, and rejoice.

37. Alms-basket of words. The refuse of words. As Malone notes, the refuse meat of families was put into a basket and given to the poor. He cites Florio's Second Frutes, 1591 "Take away the table, fould up the cloth, and put all these pieces of broken meat into a basket for the poor."

39. Honorificabililiidinitatibus. "This word, vvhencesoever it comes, is often mentioned as the longest word known" (Johnson).

40. Flap-dragon. "Some small combustible body, rued at one end, and put afloat in a glass of liquor" (Johnson). Cf. 2 Hen. IV. ii. 4. 267: "drinks off candle-ends for flap-dragons." Almonds, plums, or raisins were commonly used for the purpose.

43. Horn-book. The child's primer, the pages of which were covered with thin horn, to keep them from being soiled or torn. S. uses the word only here.

45. Pueritia. Literally, boyhood; used affectedly for puer, boy.

48. Quis. Who.

50. The fifth, if I. K[night] says: "The pedant asks who is the silly sheep quis, quis? 'The third of the five vowels if you repeat them,' says Moth; and the pedant does repeat them a, e, I; the other two clinches it, says Moth, o, u (O you). This may appear a poor conundrum, and a low conceit, as Theobald has it, but the satire is in opposing the pedantry of the boy to the pedantry of the man, and making the pedant have the worst of it in what he calls 'a quick venew of wit.'"

53. Longaville. Here rhyming with mile, as above (iv. 3. 128) with compile. Cf. p. 128 above.

54. Venue. Touch, hit; a fencing term. It is the same as veney in M. W. i. 296. See our ed. p. 135.

55. Home. That is, a home thrust. Cf. v. 2. 628 below.

56. Wit-old. A play upon wittol (= cuckold), for which see M. W. p. 148.

62. Circum circa. That is, round and round.

71. Preambulate. The early eds. have "preambulat," for which Theo. reads "praeambula." Preambulate is from the Camb. ed.

72. Charge-house. A word not found elsewhere, and possibly a corruption. Steevens thought it might be = "a free school" (apparently on the lucus a non lucendo principle), but it is more likely one at which a fee was charged. Theo. conjectures "church-house," and the Coll. MS. has "large house." Capell takes it to be a corruption of Charter-house, as that word is of Chartreuse. This is not improbable. H. reads "Chartreuse;" but, even it' that is the meaning, the corruption may have been put intentionally into the mouth of Armado.

83. Choice. The quartos and 1st folio have "chose," the 2d folio "choise," and the other folios "choice."

86. Inward. Confidential, private. Cf. Rich. III. iii. 4-8: "Who is most inward with the royal duke?" See also the noun in M. for M. iii. 2. 138.

87. Remember thy courtesy. This was a phrase of the time, bidding a person who had taken off his hat as an act of courtesy, to put it on again. See p. 147. Dr. Ingleby (Shakes, Hermeneutics, p. 74) is probably right in his explanation of the origin of the phrase: "It arose, we think, as follows: the courtesy was the temporary removal of the hat from the head, and that was finished as soon as the hat was replaced. If any one from ill-breeding or over-politeness stood uncovered for a longer time than was necessary to perform the simple act of courtesy, the person so saluted reminded him of the fact that the removal of the hat was a courtesy: and this was expressed by the euphemism 'Remember thy courtesy,' which thus implied 'Complete your courtesy, and replace your hat.'"

89. Importunate. The folio reading. The ist quarto has "importune," and the Camb. ed. "important."

93. Excrement. The word is applied to the hair or beard in five out of six passages in which S. uses it. See Ham. p. 238.

99. Chuck. A term of endearment. See Macb. p. 212.

100. Antique. The early eds. use antique and antick indiscriminately, but with the accent always on the first syllable. Cf. A. Y. L. p. 152, or Macb. p. 234. See also 132 below.

105. The Nine Worthies. Famous personages, often alluded to, and classed somewhat arbitrarily, like the Seven Wonders of the World. They were commonly said to be three Gentiles Hector, Alexander, Julius Caesar; three Jews Joshua, David, Judas Maccabaeus; and three Christians Arthur, Charlemagne, Godfrey of Bouillon. In the present play we find Pompey and Hercules among the number. Cf. 2 Hen. IV. ii. 4. 238: "ten times better than the Nine Worthies.

106. Sir Nathaniel. The early eds. have "Sir Holofernes;" corrected by Capell.

113. Myself or. The early eds. have "myself and;" corrected by Capell. The passage is probably otherwise corrupt.

115. Pass. Pass as, represent.

120. Present. Represent; as in Temp. iv. I. 167: "When I presented Ceres," etc. See also many instances of the word below.

125. Make an offence gracious. "Convert an offence against yourselves into a dramatic propriety" (Steevens).

132. Fadge. Suit, or turn out well; as in T. N. ii. 2. 34: "How will this fadge?"

134. Via. Away (Italian); used as "an adverb of encouragement" (Florio).

137. Allans. The early eds. have "Alone," as in iv. 3. 378 above.

139. The hay. Some say that to dance the hay was to dance in a ring; others that hay was the name of a country-dance.

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 Shakespeare. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2013. < >.


Notes on Shakespeare's Education

microsoft images Shakespeare probably began his education at the age of six or seven at the Stratford grammar school, which is still standing only a short distance from his house on Henley Street. Although we have no record of Shakespeare attending the school, due to the official position held by John Shakespeare it seems likely that he would have decided to educate young William at the school which was under the care of Stratford's governing body. The Stratford grammar school had been built some two hundred years before Shakespeare was born and in that time the lessons taught there were, of course, dictated primarily by the beliefs of the reigning monarch. In 1553, due to a charter by King Edward VI, the school became known as the King's New School of Stratford-upon-Avon. Read on...

More to Explore

 Love's Labour's Lost: The Play with Commentary
 Quotations from Love's Labour's Lost
 Love's Labour's Lost: Plot Summary
 Shakespeare Quotations (by Theme)

 Introduction to Shakespeare's Sonnets
 Shakespearean Sonnet Style
 How to Analyze a Shakespearean Sonnet
 The Rules of Shakespearean Sonnets
 The Contents of the Sonnets in Brief


Bard Bites ... The word honorificabilitudinitatibus (13 syllables) is the conjugation of a real medieval Latin word honorificabilitudinitate. Dante actually used it more than once, as did other writers of the period. A translation of it would be "the state of being able to achieve honors."

Elizabethan playhouses were open to the public eye at every turn, and scenery could not be changed in between scenes because there was no curtain to drop. Read on...

Most early editors removed five lines from Romeo and Juliet for the sake of common decency. Which lines caused such scandal? Find out...

The Elizabethans tried to cure this frightening disease with the inhalation of vaporized mercury salts. Read on...


 Shakespeare's Treatment of Love in the Plays
 Shakespeare's Dramatic Use of Songs
 Shakespeare Quotations on Love
 Shakespeare Wedding Readings
 Shakespeare on Sleep

Did You Know? ... An invaluable work from a celebrated head-master in the early seventeenth century gives us a wealth of information regarding what was being taught in the primary schools in Shakespeare's day. Charles Hoole, one of England's most respected and popular teachers wrote a thesis on the state of English schools entitled A New Discovery of the Old Art of Teaching Schoole. Read on...