Love’s Labour ’s Lost, by William Shakespeare


Scene I. The same.

Enter Don Adriano de Armado and Moth


Don Adriano de Armado Warble, child; make passionate my sense of hearing.

Moth Concolinel.


Don Adriano de Armado Sweet air! Go, tenderness of years; take this key, give enlargement to the swain, bring him festinately hither: I must employ him in a letter to my love.

Moth Master, will you win your love with a French brawl?

Don Adriano de Armado How meanest thou? brawling in French?

Moth No, my complete master: but to jig off a tune at the tongue’s end, canary to it with your feet, humour it 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 arms crossed on your thin-belly doublet like a rabbit 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 complements, these are humours; these betray nice wenches, that would be betrayed without these; and make them men of note — do you note me? — that most are affected to these.

Don Adriano de Armado How hast thou purchased this experience?

Moth By my penny of observation.

Don Adriano de Armado But O— but O —

Moth ‘The hobby-horse is forgot.’

Don Adriano de Armado Callest thou my love ’hobby-horse’?

Moth No, master; the hobby-horse is but a colt, and your love perhaps a hackney. But have you forgot your love?

Don Adriano de Armado Almost I had.

Moth Negligent student! learn her by heart.

Don Adriano de Armado By heart and in heart, boy.

Moth And out of heart, master: all those three I will prove.

Don Adriano de Armado What wilt thou prove?

Moth 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.

Don Adriano de Armado I am all these three.

Moth And three times as much more, and yet nothing at all.

Don Adriano de Armado Fetch hither the swain: he must carry me a letter.

Moth A message well sympathized; a horse to be ambassador for an ass.

Don Adriano de Armado Ha, ha! what sayest thou?

Moth Marry, sir, you must send the ass upon the horse, for he is very slow-gaited. But I go.

Don Adriano de Armado The way is but short: away!

Moth As swift as lead, sir.

Don Adriano de Armado The meaning, pretty ingenious?
Is not lead a metal heavy, dull, and slow?

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

Don Adriano de Armado I say lead is slow.

Moth You are too swift, sir, to say so:
Is that lead slow which is fired from a gun?

Don Adriano de Armado Sweet smoke of rhetoric!
He reputes me a cannon; and the bullet, that’s he:
I shoot thee at the swain.

Moth Thump then and I flee.


Don Adriano de Armado A most acute juvenal; voluble and free of grace!
By thy favour, sweet welkin, I must sigh in thy face:
Most rude melancholy, valour gives thee place.
My herald is return’d.

Re-enter Moth with Costard

Moth A wonder, master! here’s a costard broken in a shin.

Don Adriano de Armado Some enigma, some riddle: come, thy l’envoy; begin.

Costard No enigma, no riddle, no l’envoy; no salve in the mail, sir: O, sir, plantain, a plain plantain! no l’envoy, no l’envoy; no salve, sir, but a plantain!

Don Adriano de Armado By virtue, thou enforcest laughter; thy silly thought my spleen; the heaving of my lungs provokes me to ridiculous smiling. O, pardon me, my stars! Doth the inconsiderate take salve for l’envoy, and the word l’envoy for a salve?

Moth Do the wise think them other? is not l’envoy a salve?

Don Adriano de Armado No, page: it is an epilogue or discourse, to make plain
Some obscure precedence that hath tofore been sain.
I will example it:

The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee,

Were still at odds, being but three.

There’s the moral. Now the l’envoy.

Moth I will add the l’envoy. Say the moral again.

Don Adriano de Armado

The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee,

Were still at odds, being but three.


Until the goose came out of door,

And stay’d the odds by adding four.

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.

Don Adriano de Armado

Until the goose came out of door,

Staying the odds by adding four.

Moth A good l’envoy, ending in the goose: would you desire more?

Costard 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:
Let me see; a fat l’envoy; ay, that’s a fat goose.

Don Adriano de Armado Come hither, come hither. How did this argument begin?

Moth By saying that a costard was broken in a shin.
Then call’d you for the l’envoy.

Costard 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.

Don Adriano de Armado But tell me; how was there a costard broken in a shin?

Moth I will tell you sensibly.

Costard Thou hast no feeling of it, Moth: I will speak that l’envoy:
I Costard, running out, that was safely within,
Fell over the threshold and broke my shin.

Don Adriano de Armado We will talk no more of this matter.

Costard Till there be more matter in the shin.

Don Adriano de Armado Sirrah Costard, I will enfranchise thee.

Costard O, marry me to one Frances: I smell some l’envoy, some goose, in this.

Don Adriano de Armado By my sweet soul, I mean setting thee at liberty, enfreedoming thy person; thou wert immured, restrained, captivated, bound.

Costard True, true; and now you will be my purgation and let me loose.

Don Adriano de Armado I give thee thy liberty, set thee from durance; and, in lieu thereof, impose on thee nothing but this: bear this significant

Giving a letter

to the country maid Jaquenetta: there is remuneration; for the best ward of mine honour is rewarding my dependents. Moth, follow.


Moth Like the sequel, I. Signior Costard, adieu.

Costard My sweet ounce of man’s flesh! my incony Jew!

Exit Moth

Now 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?’—‘One penny.’—‘No, I’ll give you a remuneration:’ why, it carries it. Remuneration! why, it is a fairer name than French crown. I will never buy and sell out of this word.

Enter Biron

Biron O, my good knave Costard! exceedingly well met.

Costard Pray you, sir, how much carnation ribbon may a man buy for a remuneration?

Biron What is a remuneration?

Costard Marry, sir, halfpenny farthing.

Biron Why, then, three-farthing worth of silk.

Costard I thank your worship: God be wi’ you!

Biron Stay, slave; I must employ thee:
As thou wilt win my favour, good my knave,
Do one thing for me that I shall entreat.

Costard When would you have it done, sir?

Biron This afternoon.

Costard Well, I will do it, sir: fare you well.

Biron Thou knowest not what it is.

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

Biron Why, villain, thou must know first.

Costard I will come to your worship to-morrow morning.

Biron 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;
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
This seal’d-up counsel. There’s thy guerdon; go.

Giving him a shilling

Costard Gardon, O sweet gardon! better than remuneration, a’leven-pence farthing better: most sweet gardon! I will do it sir, in print. Gardon! Remuneration!


Biron And I, forsooth, in love! I, that have been love’s whip;
A very beadle to a humorous sigh;
A critic, nay, a night-watch constable;
A domineering pedant o’er the boy;
Than whom no mortal so magnificent!
This whimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy;
This senior-junior, giant-dwarf, Dan Cupid;
Regent of love-rhymes, lord of folded arms,
The anointed sovereign of sighs and groans,
Liege of all loiterers and malcontents,
Dread prince of plackets, king of codpieces,
Sole imperator and great general
Of trotting ’paritors:— O my little heart:—
And I to be a corporal of his field,
And wear his colours like a tumbler’s hoop!
What, I! I love! I sue! I seek a wife!
A woman, that is like a German clock,
Still a-repairing, ever out of frame,
And never going aright, being a watch,
But being watch’d 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 wightly wanton with a velvet brow,
With two pitch-balls stuck in her face for eyes;
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!
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.


Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:59