Document:  All > Shakespeare > Comedies > Love's Labour's Lost > Act IV, scene II

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SIR NATHANIEL: Very reverend sport, truly; and done in the testimony
	of a good conscience.

HOLOFERNES: The deer was, as you know, sanguis, in blood; ripe
	as the pomewater, who now hangeth like a jewel in
	the ear of caelo, the sky, the welkin, the heaven;
	and anon falleth like a crab on the face of terra,
	the soil, the land, the earth.

SIR NATHANIEL: 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.

HOLOFERNES: Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.

DULL: 'Twas not a haud credo; 'twas a pricket.

HOLOFERNES: 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.

HOLOFERNES: Twice-sod simplicity, his coctus!
	O thou monster Ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!

SIR NATHANIEL: Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred
	in 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,
	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 me by your wit
	What was a month old at Cain's birth, that's not five
	weeks old as yet?

HOLOFERNES: Dictynna, goodman Dull; Dictynna, goodman Dull.

DULL: What is Dictynna?

SIR NATHANIEL: A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon.

HOLOFERNES: The moon was a month old when Adam was no more,
	And raught not to five weeks when he came to
	The allusion holds in the exchange.

DULL: 'Tis true indeed; the collusion holds in the exchange.

HOLOFERNES: 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.

HOLOFERNES: Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal epitaph
	on the death of the deer? And, to humour the
	ignorant, call I the deer the princess killed a pricket.

SIR NATHANIEL: Perge, good Master Holofernes, perge; so it shall
	please you to abrogate scurrility.

HOLOFERNES: I will something affect the letter, for it argues facility.
	The preyful princess pierced 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;
	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 an hundred make by adding but one more L.

SIR NATHANIEL: A rare talent!

DULL: [Aside]  If a talent be a claw, look how he claws
	him with a talent.

HOLOFERNES: 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.

SIR NATHANIEL: 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.

HOLOFERNES: Mehercle, if their sons be ingenuous, they shall
	want no instruction; if their daughters be capable,
	I will put it to them: but vir sapit qui pauca
	loquitur; a soul feminine saluteth us.


JAQUENETTA: God give you good morrow, master Parson.

HOLOFERNES: Master Parson, quasi pers-on. An if one should be
	pierced, which is the one?

COSTARD: Marry, master schoolmaster, he that is likest to a hogshead.

HOLOFERNES: Piercing a hogshead! a good lustre of conceit in a
	tuft of earth; fire enough for a flint, pearl enough
	for a swine: 'tis pretty; it is well.

JAQUENETTA: Good master Parson, 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.

HOLOFERNES: 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;
	Venetia, Venetia,
	Chi non ti vede non ti 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?

SIR NATHANIEL: Ay, sir, and very learned.

HOLOFERNES: Let me hear a staff, a stanze, a verse; lege, domine.


	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
	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.

HOLOFERNES: You find not the apostraphas, 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 odouriferous 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?

JAQUENETTA: Ay, sir, from one Monsieur Biron, one of the strange
	queen's lords.

HOLOFERNES: 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, BIRON.' Sir Nathaniel, this
	Biron 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.

JAQUENETTA: Good Costard, go with me. Sir, God save your life!

COSTARD: Have with thee, my girl.


SIR NATHANIEL: Sir, you have done this in the fear of God, very
	religiously; and, as a certain father saith,--

HOLOFERNES: Sir tell me not of the father; I do fear colourable
	colours. But to return to the verses: did they
	please you, Sir Nathaniel?

SIR NATHANIEL: Marvellous well for the pen.

HOLOFERNES: 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.

SIR NATHANIEL: And thank you too; for society, saith the text, is
	the happiness of life.

HOLOFERNES: 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.



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