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Your oaths are paft, and now subscribe your names;
That his own hand may ftrike his honour down,
That violates the fmalleft branch herein:
If you are arm'd to do as fworn to do,
Subscribe to your deep oaths, and keep them too.
Long. I am refolv'd; 'tis but a three years' faft:
The mind fhall banquet, though the body pine;
Fat paunches have lean pates; and dainty bits
Make rich the ribs, but bankrout quite the wits.
Dum. My loving lord, Dumain is mortify'd:
The groffer manner of these world's delights
He throws upon the grofs world's bafer flaves:
To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die;
With all these living in philofophy.
Biron. I can but fay their proteftation over,
So much, dear liege, I have already fworn,
That is, to live and study here three
But there are other ftrict obfervances:
As, not to see a woman in that term ;
Which, I hope well, is not enrolled there.
And one day in a week to touch no food;
And but one meal on every day befide;
The which, I hope, is not enrolled there.
And then, to fleep but three hours in the night,
And not be seen to wink of all the day;
When I was wont to think no harm all night,
And make a dark night too of half the day;
Which, I hope well, is not enrolled there.
O, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep;
Not to fee ladies, ftudy, faft, not Дleep.
King. Your oath is paft to pass away from these.
Biron. Let me fay, no, my liege, an if you please;
I only swore, to study with your grace,
And stay here in your court for three years' space.
Long. You fwore to that, Biron, and to the reft.
Biron. By yea and nay, fir, then I fwore in jest.
What is the end of ftudy? let me know.
King. Why, that to know which else we should not know.
Biron. Things hid and barr'd, you mean, from common sense.
King. Ay, that is ftudy's godlike recompence.
Biron. Come on then, I will fwear to ftudy fo,
To know the thing I am forbid to know:
As thus; to study where I well may dine,
When I to faft expressly am fore-bid;
Or, study where to meet fome mistress fine,
When miftreffes from common sense are hid:
Or, having fworn too hard-a-keeping oath,
Study to break it, and not break my troth.
If study's gain be this, and this be fo,
Study knows that which yet it doth not know :
Swear me to this, and I will ne'er fay, no.
King. These be the stops that hinder study quite,
And train our intellects to vain delight.
Biron. Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain
Which, with pain purchas'd, doth inherit pain;
As, painfully to pore upon a book
To feek the light of truth, while truth the while Doth falfly blind the eyefight of his look:
Light, feeking light, doth light of light beguile;
So ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Your light grows dark by lofing of your eyes.
Study me how to please the eye indeed,
By fixing it upon a fairer eye;
Who dazling fo, that eye fhall be his heed,
And give him light that it was blinded by.
Study is like the heaven's glorious fun,
That will not be deep fearch'd with faucy looks;
Small have continual plodders ever won,
Save bafe authority from others' books. These earthly godfathers of heaven's lights, That give a name to every fixed star, VOL. II.
Have no more profit of their shining nights,
Than thofe that walk, and wot not what they are.
Too much to know, is to know nought but fame;
And every godfather can give a name.
King. How well he's read, to reason against reading!
Dum. Proceeded well, to ftop all good proceeding.
Long. He weeds the corn, and ftill lets grow the weeding.
Biron. The fpring is near, when green geefe are a breeding.
Dum. How follows that?
Biron. Fit in his place and time.
Dum. In reason nothing.
Biron. Something then in rhyme.
Long. Biron is like an envious fneaping froft,
That bites the firft-born infants of the fpring.
Biron. Well, fay, I am; why should proud fummer boast,
Before the birds have any caufe to fing?
Why fhould I joy in an abortive birth?
At chriftmas I no more defire a rofe,
Than wish a snow in may's newfangled earth:
But like of each thing that in season grows.
So you, to study now it is too late,
Climb o'er the house t'unlock the little gate.
King. Well, fit you out. Go home, Biron: adieu.
Biron. No, my good lord, I've fworn to stay with you. And though I have for barbarism spoke more,
Than for that angel knowledge you can say, Yet confident I'll keep what I have swore,
And bide the penance of each three years' day.
Give me the paper, let me read the fame,
And to the ftrict'ft decrees I'll write my name.
King. How well this yielding refcues thee from shame!
Biron. Item, That no woman fhall come within a mile of my
Hath this been proclaimed?
Long. Four days ago.
Biron. Let's fee the penalty.
On pain of lofing her tongue.
Who devis'd this penalty?
Long. Marry, that did I.
Biron. Sweet lord, and why?
Long. To fright them hence with that dread penalty.
Biron. A dangerous law against gentility!
Item, [reading.] If any man be feen to talk with a woman
within the term of three years, he fhall endure fuch publick shame
as the rest of the court can poffibly devise.
This article, my liege, yourself must break;
For, well you know, here comes in embassy
The French king's daughter, with yourself to speak,
A maid of grace and complete majesty,
About furrender up of Aquitain
To her decrepit, fick, and bedrid father:
Therefore this article is made in vain,
Or vainly comes th' admired princefs hither.
King. What fay you, lords? why, this was quite forgot.
Biron. So ftudy evermore is overshot ;
While it doth ftudy to have what it would,
It doth forget to do the thing it should:
And when it hath the thing it hunteth most,
'Tis won, as towns with fire; fo won, so loft.
King. We muft of force difpenfe with this decree,
She muft lie here on mere neceffity.
Biron. Neceffity will make us all forfworn
Three thousand times within this three years' space:
For every man with his affects is born:
Not by might mafter'd, but by special grace.
If I break faith, this word shall speak for me,
I am forfworn on mere neceffity.
So to the laws at large I write my name;
And he, that breaks them in the leaft degree,
Stands in attainder of eternal fhame.
Suggestions are to others, as to me;
But, I believe, although I seem so loath,
I am the last that will last keep his oath.
But is there no quick recreation granted?
King. Ay, that there is; our court, you know, is haunted
With a refined traveller of Spain,
A man in all the world's new fashions planted,
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain :
One, whom the mufick of his own vain tongue
Doth ravish like enchanting harmony:
A man of compliments, whom right and wrong
Have chofe as umpire of their mutiny.
This child of fancy, that Armado hight,
For interim to our ftudies, fhall relate
In high-born words the worth of many a knight
From tawny Spain, loft in the world's debate.
How you delight, my lords, I know not, I;
But, I proteft, I love to hear him lie,
And I will use him for my minstrelsy.
Biron. Armado is a moft illustrious wight,
A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight.
Long. Coftard the swain, and he, fhall be our sport;
And, fo to study, three years are but short.
Enter Dull, and Coftard, with a letter.
Dull. Which is the king's own perfon?
Biron. This, fellow; what would'st?
Dull. I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his grace's tharborough: but I would see his own person in flesh and blood.
Biron. This is he.
Dull. Signior Arme, Arme, commends you. There's villany abroad; this letter will tell you more.
Coft. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me.
King. A letter from the magnificent Armado.