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The evidence derived from passages and allusions in the piece, to which Malone refers in his “Chronological Order," is clearly of little value, and he does not himself place much confidence in it. “Love Labour Lost” is mentioned by Meres in 1598, and in the same year came out a poem by R[obert] T[ofte] entitled “ Alba,” in the commencement of one of the stanzas of which this comedy is introduced by name :
“ Love's Labour Lost I once did see, a play
Ycleped so.” This does not read as if the writer intended to say that he had seen it recently. There is a coincidence in Act. iii. sc. 1, which requires notice : Costard there jokes upon the difference between remuneration” and “ guerdon;" and Steevens contended that Shakespeare was “ certainly indebted for his vein of jocularity ” in this instance to a tract by Iservase] Markham), called, " A Health to the Gentlemanly Profession of Serving Men,” which Dr. Farmer informed him was published in 1578. The fact, however, is, that this tract did not appear until 1598, the year in which “Love's Labour's Lost” came from the press. It was, possibly, a current jest, and it will be found quoted correctly from the original, and not as Steevens inserted it, in
the passage. It is capable of proof that the play, as it stands in the folio of 1623, was reprinted from the 4to. of 1598, as it adopts various errors of the press, which could not have found their way into the folio, had it been taken from a distinct manuscript. There are, however, variations, which might show that the player-editors of the folio resorted occasionally to some authority besides the 4to. These differences are pointed out in the notes. The 4to. has no divisions into Acts and Scenes; and the folio only distinguishes the Acts, but with considerable inequality : thus the third Act only occupies about a page and a half, while the fifth Act (misprinted Actus Quartus) fills nine pages. Nevertheless, it would have been taking too great a liberty to alter the arrangement in this respect, although, as the reader will perceive, it might be improved without much difficulty.
There is no entry of “Love's Labour's Lost” at Stationers' Hall, until 22d Jan. 1606-7, when it was transferred by Burby (the publisher of it in 1598) to Ling, who perhaps contemplated a new edition. If it were printed in 1606 or 1607, no such impression has come down to us. Its next appearance was in the folio, 1623; but another 4to, of no authority, was published in 1631, the year before the date of the second folio,
a note upon
FERDINAND, King of Navarre.
Lords, attending on the Princess of France.
Princess of France.
Ladies, attending on the Princess
Officers and others, attendants on the King and Princess.
This list of characters was first printed by Rowe.
LOVE'S LABOUR’S LOST.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Navarre. A Park, with a Palace in it.
Enter the KING, BIRON, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAINE.
King. Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives, Live register'd upon our brazen tombs, And then grace us in the disgrace of death ; When, spite of cormorant devouring time, Th' endeavour of this present breath may buy That honour, which shall bate his scythe's keen edge, And make us heirs of all eternity. Therefore, brave conquerors Sfor so you are, That war against your own affections, And the huge army of the world's desires,Our late edict shall strongly stand in force. Navarre shall be the wonder of the world : Our court shall be a little Academe, Still and contemplative in living art. You three, Biron', Dumaine, and Longaville, Have sworn for three years' term to live with me, My fellow-scholars, and to keep those statutes, That are recorded in this schedule here: Your oaths are past, and now subscribe your names,
1 You three, Biron,) “ Biron” must be pronounced, as in French, with the accent on the last syllable, for the sake of the verse; and in order to secure this, in the old copies, 4to. and folio, the name of Biron is invariably spelt Beroune.
That his own hand may strike his honour down,
Long. I am resolv’d: ’tis but a three years' fast. The mind shall banquet, though the body pine: Fat paunches have lean pates; and dainty bits Make rich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits 3.
Dum. My loving lord, Dumaine is mortified. The grosser manner of these world's delights He throws upon the gross world's baser slaves : To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die, With all these living in philosophy.
Biron. I can but say their protestation over; So much, dear liege, I have already sworn, That is, to live and study here three years. But there are other strict observances ; 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 beside, The which, I hope, is not enrolled there: And then, to sleep 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 see ladies, study, fast, not sleep.
? Subscribe to your deep oaths, and keep it too.) Modern editors have altered “ oaths” to oath, but unnecessarily : the meaning is, subscribe your oaths, and keep what you have sworn.
3-but bankrupt quite the wits.] This is the reading of the 4to, 1598: the folio omits “ quite,” and prints“ bankrupt ” as a trisyllable,-hankerout. The couplet was proverbial, and it runs thus in “ Paroemiologia Anglo-Latina, or Proverbs English and Latine, &c.” by John Clarke, 8vo, 1639.
“ Fat paunches make lean pates, and grosser bits
Enrich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits.” Which is also an early authority for the insertion of the adverb.
King. Your oath is pass’d to pass away from these.
Biron. Let me say no, my liege, an if you please.
Long. You swore to that, Biron, and to the rest.
Biron. By yea, and nay, sir, then I swore in jest. What is the end of study, let me know? King. Why, that to know which else we should not
know. Biron. Things hid and barr’d, you mean, from common
Biron. Come on, then: I will swear to study so,
When I to feast expressly am forbido;
When mistresses from common sense are hid;
King. These be the stops that hinder study quite,
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 seek the light of truth ; while truth the while
Light, seeking light, doth light of light beguile.
4 When I to feast expressly am forbid ;] All the old editions read fast for “ feast.” Theobald made the change, which seems necessary.
BUT that most vain,] The folio substitutes and for" but,” as it stands in the old 4to.