William Shakespeare (15641616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.
Loves Labours Lost
Act IV. Scene II.
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 clo, 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.
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.
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:
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.
If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to love?
Ah! never faith could hold, if not to beauty vowd;
Though to myself forsworn, to thee Ill faithful prove;
Those thoughts to me were oaks, to thee like osiers bowd.
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 Joves 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 heavens 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 queens 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 ladyships, 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 queens, 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!
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 fathers 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.
Nath. And thank you too; for societysaith the textis 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.