Love's Labour's Lost

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Armado and Mote


Warble, child: make passionate my sense of



(singing) Concolinel.


Sweet air! Go, tenderness of years, take this key,

give enlargement to the swain, bring him festinately
enlargement (n.) 1 release, liberation, freeing
festinately (adv.) quickly, speedily, in a hurry
swain (n.) 1 [contemptuous] rustic, yokel, fellow

hither. I must employ him in a letter to my love.


Master, will you win your love with a French

brawl (n.) type of French dance


How meanest thou? Brawling in French?


No, my complete master; but to jig off a tune at
jig off (v.) sing in the style of a jig

the tongue's end, canary to it with your feet, humour it
canary (v.) dance in the style of the canary
humour (v.) like the mood of, find enjoyable, indulge

with turning up your eyelids, sigh a note and sing a

note, sometime through the throat as if you swallowed

love with singing love, sometime through the nose as if

you snuffed up love by smelling love, with your hat

penthouse-like o'er the shop of your eyes, with your
penthouse-like (adj.) like a projecting roof

arms crossed on your thin-belly doublet like a rabbit
thin-belly (adj.) with lower part unpadded

on a spit, or your hands in your pocket like a man after

the old painting; and keep not too long in one tune, but a

snip and away. These are compliments, these are humours,
compliment, complement (n.) 1 example of good manners, instance of proper behaviour
snip (n.) snatch, scrap, shred

these betray nice wenches, that would be betrayed
nice (adj.) 9 lustful, lecherous, lascivious, wanton

without these; and make them men of note – do you
note (n.) 7 reputation, distinction, standing

note me? – that most are affected to these.
affected (adj.) 1 disposed, inclined, minded


How hast thou purchased this experience?


By my penny of observation.


But O – but O –


‘ The hobby-horse is forgot.’


Callest thou my love ‘ hobby-horse ’?
hobby-horse (n.) 1 harlot, whore, prostitute


No, master. The hobby-horse is but a colt, (aside)

and your love perhaps a hackney. (To him) But have

you forgot your love?


Almost I had.


Negligent student! Learn her by heart.


By heart and in heart, boy.


And out of heart, master. All those three I will



What wilt thou prove?


A man, if I live; and this ‘ by,’ ‘ in,’ and ‘ without,’

upon the instant. ‘ By ’ heart you love her, because your

heart cannot come by her; ‘ in ’ heart you love her,

because your heart is in love with her; and ‘ out ’ of

heart you love her, being out of heart that you cannot

enjoy her.


I am all these three.


And three times as much more, and yet nothing at



Fetch hither the swain. He must carry me a
swain (n.) 1 [contemptuous] rustic, yokel, fellow



A message well sympathized – a horse to be ambassador
sympathized (adj.) 2 matched, paired, partnered

for an ass.


Ha, ha, what sayest thou?


Marry, sir, you must send the ass upon the horse,

for he is very slow-gaited. But I go.
slow-gaited (adj.) slow-moving, sluggish


The way is but short. Away!


As swift as lead, sir.


The meaning, pretty ingenious? Is not lead a

metal heavy, dull, and slow?


Minime, honest master; or rather, master, no.


I say lead is slow.


                         You are too swift, sir, to say so.

Is that lead slow which is fired from a gun?


Sweet smoke of rhetoric!

He reputes me a cannon; and the bullet, that's he.

I shoot thee at the swain.


                         Thump then, and I flee.

thump (v.) make a bang [as of a cannon]


A most acute juvenal, voluble and free of grace!
free (adj.) 1 liberal, lavish, generous
grace (n.) 4 gracefulness, charm, elegance
juvenal (n.) youth, young man
voluble (adj.) 1 fluent, eloquent, articulate

By thy favour, sweet welkin, I must sigh in thy face.
welkin (n.) sky, firmament, heavens

Most rude melancholy, valour gives thee place.
place (n.) 2 precedence, proper place
rude (adj.) 1 violent, harsh, unkind

My herald is returned.

Enter Mote with Costard
costard (n.) [jocular: large kind of apple] head


A wonder, master! Here's a Costard broken in a shin.


Some enigma, some riddle. Come, thy l'envoy – begin.
l'envoy (n.) explanation, exposition, address


No egma, no riddle, no l'envoy, no salve in the
egma (n.) malapropism for ‘enigma’
salve (n.) healing ointment

mail, sir! O, sir, plantain, a plain plantain! No l'envoy,
mail (n.) 2 wallet, pouch, travel bag
plantain (n.) variety of medicinal herb See Topics: Plants

no l'envoy, no salve, sir, but a plantain!


By virtue, thou enforcest laughter; thy silly
enforce (v.) 4 gain by force, exact
silly (adj.) 3 foolish, stupid, ludicrous

thought, my spleen; the heaving of my lungs provokes
spleen (n.) 4 amusement, delight, merriment

me to ridiculous smiling! O, pardon me, my stars!
ridiculous (adj.) in ridicule, derisive

Doth the inconsiderate take salve for l'envoy and the
inconsiderate (n.) unthinking person, ignorant being

word ‘ l'envoy ’ for a salve?


Do the wise think them other? Is not l'envoy a



No, page; it is an epilogue or discourse to make plain

Some obscure precedence that hath tofore been sain.
precedence (n.) previous utterance, prior speech
sain (v.) [archaism] said See Topics: Archaisms
tofore (adv.) [archaism] earlier, beforehand See Topics: Archaisms

I will example it:
example (v.) 2 exemplify, illustrate

The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee
humble-bee (n.) bumble-bee

Were still at odds, being but three.
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

There's the moral. Now the l'envoy –


I will add the l'envoy. Say the moral again.


The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee

Were still at odds, being but three.


Until the goose came out of door,

And stayed the odds by adding four.
stay (v.) 8 stop, prevent, end

Now will I begin your moral, and do you follow with

my l'envoy.

The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee

Were still at odds, being but three.


Until the goose came out of door,

Staying the odds by adding four.


A good l'envoy, ending in the goose. Would you

desire more?


The boy hath sold him a bargain, a goose, that's flat.

Sir, your pennyworth is good, an your goose be fat.

To sell a bargain well is as cunning as fast and loose.
fast and loose type of cheating game [in which people bet on whether the end of a coiled rope is fastened or not]; not playing fairly

Let me see: a fat l'envoy – ay, that's a fat goose.


Come hither, come hither. How did this argument begin?
argument (n.) 1 subject of conversation, subject-matter, topic


By saying that a costard was broken in a shin.

Then called you for the l'envoy.


True, and I for a plantain – thus came your

argument in; then the boy's fat l'envoy, the goose that

you bought – and he ended the market.


But tell me, how was there a costard broken in a



I will tell you sensibly.
sensibly (adv.) 3 with common sense, intelligently


Thou hast no feeling of it, Mote. I will speak

that l'envoy.

I, Costard, running out, that was safely within,

Fell over the threshold and broke my shin.


We will talk no more of this matter.


Till there be more matter in the shin.
matter (n.) 7 pus, discharge, fluid [from a wound]


Sirrah Costard, I will enfranchise thee.
enfranchise (v.) set free, liberate


O, marry me to one Frances! I smell some

l'envoy, some goose, in this.
goose (n.) 1 prostitute, whore


By my sweet soul, I mean setting thee at liberty,

enfreedoming thy person. Thou wert immured,
enfreedom (v.) make free, liberate
immured (adj.) walled up, enclosed, confined

restrained, captivated, bound.
captivate (v.) make captive, capture, imprison


True, true, and now you will be my purgation
purgation (n.) 1 purging, cleansing, clearing away

and let me loose.


I give thee thy liberty, set thee from durance,
durance (n.) 1 confinement, imprisonment, incarceration

and, in lieu thereof impose on thee nothing but this:

(giving Costard a letter) bear this significant to the

country maid Jaquenetta. There is remuneration (giving

him a coin), for the best ward of mine honour is
ward (n.) 2 guard, protection, defence

rewarding my dependents. Mote, follow.


Like the sequel, I. Signor Costard, adieu.

Exeunt Armado and Mote


My sweet ounce of man's flesh! my incony Jew! – Now
incony (adj.) fine, darling, rare
jew (n.) [unclear meaning] jewel; juvenal; Jew

will I look to his remuneration. ‘ Remuneration ’! O,

that's the Latin word for three farthings. Three

farthings – remuneration. ‘ What's the price of this inkle?’
inkle (n.) kind of linen tape, yarn

‘ One penny.’ ‘ No, I'll give you a remuneration.’ Why,

it carries it! ‘ Remuneration ’! Why, it is fairer name
carry it (away) [from a falconry term ‘to fly away with the game’] win the day, have the advantage, succeed

than French crown. I will never buy and sell out of
crown (n.) 1 type of coin [usually bearing the imprint of a monarch's crown] See Topics: Money
out of (prep.) 3 outside of

this word.

Enter Berowne
knave (n.) 3 boy, lad, fellow


My good knave Costard, exceedingly well met.


Pray you, sir, how much carnation ribbon may
carnation (adj.) flesh-coloured, pink [as of carnations]

a man buy for a remuneration?


What is a remuneration?


Marry, sir, halfpenny farthing.


Why then, three-farthing worth of silk.


I thank your worship. God be wi' you.


Stay, slave. I must employ thee.

As thou wilt win my favour, good my knave,

Do one thing for me that I shall entreat.


When would you have it done, sir?


This afternoon.


Well, I will do it, sir. Fare you well.


Thou knowest not what it is.


I shall know, sir, when I have done it.


Why, villain, thou must know first.


I will come to your worship tomorrow morning.


It must be done this afternoon.

Hark, slave, it is but this:

The Princess comes to hunt here in the park,

And in her train there is a gentle lady;
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count

When tongues speak sweetly, then they name her name,

And Rosaline they call her. Ask for her,

And to her white hand see thou do commend
commend (v.) 2 commit, entrust, hand over

This sealed-up counsel.

He gives Costard a letter
counsel (n.) 6 confidential matter, private communication
guerdon (n.) [pron: 'gerdn] reward, recompense

                         There's thy guerdon – go.

He gives him money
gardon (n.) error for ‘guerdon’ [= reward]


Guerdon, O sweet guerdon! Better than

remuneration – elevenpence farthing better. Most sweet

guerdon! I will do it, sir, in print. Guerdon!
print, in in a precise way, by the letter, very carefully




And I, forsooth, in love!
forsooth (adv.) in truth, certainly, truly, indeed See Topics: Frequency count

I, that have been love's whip,

A very beadle to a humorous sigh,
beadle (n.) 2 punisher, chastiser, castigator
humorous (adj.) 1 capricious, moody, temperamental

A critic, nay, a night-watch constable,

A domineering pedant o'er the boy,
pedant (n.) schoolmaster, teacher

Than whom no mortal so magnificent!

This wimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy,

This Signor-Junior, giant-dwarf, Dan Cupid,
Dan, Don (n.) [don, short form of Latin ‘dominus’] master, sir

Regent of love-rhymes, lord of folded arms,
regent (n.) ruler, governor, sovereign

Th' anointed sovereign of sighs and groans,

Liege of all loiterers and malcontents,

Dread prince of plackets, king of codpieces,
codpiece, cod-piece (n.) 1 cloth case or pocket worn by a man at the front of breeches or hose; also: what it contains See Topics: Clothing
dread (adj.) 1 revered, deeply honoured, held in awe
placket (n.) 2 opening in the front of a skirt or petticoat

Sole imperator and great general
imperator (n.) emperor, absolute ruler, sovereign

Of trotting paritors – O my little heart!
paritor (n.) summoning officer for an ecclesiastical court

And I to be a corporal of his field,
field (n.) 1 field of battle, battleground, field of combat See Topics: Frequency count
field (n.) 3 field officer, general

And wear his colours like a tumbler's hoop!
colours (n.) 1 battle-flags, ensigns, standards, banners See Topics: Frequency count
tumbler (n.) acrobat

What? I love? I sue? I seek a wife?
sue (v.) 2 pay court, act as a suitor

A woman, that is like a German clock,

Still a-repairing, ever out of frame,
frame (n.) 3 order, definite form, regular shape
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

And never going aright, being a watch,

But being watched that it may still go right!

Nay, to be perjured, which is worst of all;

And among three to love the worst of all –

A whitely wanton with a velvet brow,
brow (n.) 4 forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]
wanton (n.) 4 wilful creature, obstinate individual
whitely (adj.) pale-complexioned, light-skinned

With two pitch-balls stuck in her face for eyes;
pitch-ball (n.) ball black as pitch

Ay, and, by heaven, one that will do the deed

Though Argus were her eunuch and her guard!

And I to sigh for her, to watch for her,
watch (v.) 1 stay awake, keep vigil

To pray for her! Go to, it is a plague

That Cupid will impose for my neglect

Of his almighty dreadful little might.

Well, I will love, write, sigh, pray, sue, and groan;

Some men must love my lady, and some Joan.


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