Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Love’s Labour’s Lost
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
Love’s Labour’s Lost
 
Act IV. Scene II.
 
The Same.
 
Enter HOLOFERNES, SIR NATHANIEL, and DULL.
  Nath.  Very reverend sport, truly: and done in the testimony of a good conscience.
  Hol.  The deer was, as you know, sanguis, in blood; ripe as a pomewater, who now hangeth like a jewel in the ear of cœlo, the sky, the welkin, the heaven; and anon falleth like a crab on the face of terra, the soil, the land, the earth.
  Nath.  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.        5
  Hol.  Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.
  Dull.  ’Twas not a haud credo; ’twas a pricket.
  Hol.  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.
  Dull.  I said the deer was not a haud credo; ’twas a pricket.
  Hol.  Twice sod simplicity, bis coctus!        10
O! thou monster Ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!
  Nath.  Sir, he hath not fed of the dainties that are bred of 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:        15
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,
Many can brook the weather that love not the wind.
  Dull.  You two are book-men: can you tell by your wit,
What was a month old at Cain’s birth, that’s not five weeks old as yet?        20
  Hol.  Dictynna, goodman Dull: Dictynna, goodman Dull.
  Dull.  What is Dictynna?
  Nath.  A title to Phœbe, to Luna, to the moon.
  Hol.  The moon was a month old when Adam was no more;
And raught not to five weeks when he came to five-score.        25
The allusion holds in the exchange.
  Dull.  ’Tis true indeed: the collusion holds in the exchange.
  Hol.  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 ’twas a pricket that the princess killed.
  Hol.  Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal epitaph on the death of the deer? and, to humour the ignorant, I have call’d the deer the princess killed, a pricket.        30
  Nath.  Perge, good Master Holofernes, perge; so it shall please you to abrogate scurrility.
  Hol.  I will something affect the letter; for it argues facility.
The preyful princess pierc’d 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;        35
  Or pricket, sore, or else sorel; the people fall a hooting.
If sore be sore, then L to sore makes fifty sores one sorel!
Of one sore I a hundred make, by adding but one more L.
  Nath.  A rare talent!
  Dull.  [Aside.]  If a talent be a claw, look how he claws him with a talent.        40
  Hol.  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.
  Nath.  Sir, I praise the Lord for you, and so may my 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.
  Hol.  Mehercle! if their sons be ingenuous, they shall want to instruction; if their daughters be capable, I will put it to them. But, vir sapit qui pauca loquitur. A soul feminine saluteth us.
 
Enter JAQUENETTA and COSTARD.
  Jaq.  God give you good morrow, Master parson.        45
  Hol.  Master parson, quasi pers-on. An if one should be pierced, which is the one?
  Cost.  Marry, Master schoolmaster, he that is likest to a hogshead.
  Hol.  Piercing a hogshead! a good lustre of conceit in a turf of earth; fire enough for a flint, pearl enough for a swine: ’tis pretty; it is well.
  Jaq.  Good Master parson  [giving a letter to NATHANIEL], 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.
  Hol.  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:        50
        —Venetia, Venetia,
        Chi non te vede, non te 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?
  Nath.  Ay, sir, and very learned.
  Hol.  Let me hear a staff, a stanze, a verse: lege, domine.        55
  Nath.
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 comprehend:
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.
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!
  Hol.  You find not the apostrophas, 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 odoriferous 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?
  Jaq.  Ay; sir; from one Monsieur Berowne, one of the strange queen’s lords.
  Hol.  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, BEROWNE.—Sir Nathaniel, this Berowne 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.
  Jaq.  Good Costard, go with me. Sir, God save your life!        60
  Cost.  Have with thee, my girl.  [Exeunt COSTARD and JAQUENETTA.
  Nath.  Sir, you have done this in the fear of God, very religiously; and, as a certain Father saith—
  Hol.  Sir, tell not me of the Father; I do fear colourable colours. But to return to the verses: did they please you, Sir Nathaniel?
  Nath.  Marvellous well for the pen.
  Hol.  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.        65
  Nath.  And thank you too; for society—saith the text—is the happiness of life.
  Hol.  And, certes, the text most infallibly concludes it.—[To DULL.]  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.  [Exeunt.
 
 
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