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Before the King of Navarre's Palace. Enter the Princess
of France, ROSALINE, MARIA, KATHARINE, BoYET, Lords, and other Attendants.
Now, madam, summon up your dearest spirits :
Consider who the king your father sends;
To whom he sends; and what's his embassy :
Yourself, held precious in the world's esteem;
To parley with the sole inheritor
Of all perfections that a man may owe,
Matchless Navarre; the plea of no less weight
Than Aquitain, a dowry for a queen.
Be now as prodigal of all dear grace,
As nature was in making graces dear,
When she did starve the general world beside,
And prodigally gave them all to you.
Prin. Good lord Boyet, my beauty, though but
Needs not the painted flourish of your praise ;
Beauty is bought by judgment of t!e eye,
Not utter'd by base sale of chapmen's tongues :
I am less proud to hear you tell my worth,
Than you much willing to be counted wise
In spending thus your wit in praise of mine.
But now to tak the tasker,-Good Boyet,
You are not ignorant, all-telling fame
Doth noise abroad, Navarre hath made a vow,
'Till painful study shall out-wear three years,
No woman may approach his silent court :
Therefore to us seemeth it a needful course,
Before we enter his forbidden gates,
To know his pleasure ; and, in that behalf,
Bold of your worthiness, we single you
As our best-moving fair solicitor:
Tell him, the daughter of the king of France,
On serious business, craving quick dispatch,
Importunes personal conference with his grace.
Haste, signify so much ; while we attend,
Like humble-visag'd suitors, his high will.
Boyet. Proud of employment, willingly I go.
Prin. All pride is willing pride, and yours is so.--
Who are the votaries, my loving lords,
That are vow-fellows with this virtuous duke?
Lord. Longaville is one.
Prin. Know you the man?
Mar. I knew him, madam ; at a marriage-feasta
Between lord Perigort and the beauteous heir
Of Jaques Faulconbridge solemnized,
In Normandy saw I this Longaville :
A man of sovereign parts he is esteem'd;
Well fitted in the arts, glorious in arms :
Nothing becomes him ill, that he would well.
The only soil of his fair virtue's gloss
(If virtue's gloss will stain with any soil),
Is a sharp wit match'd with too blunt a will;
Whose edge hath power to cut, whose will still wills It should none spare that come within his power.
Prin. Some merry mocking lord, belike; is't so? Mar. They say so most, that most his humours
Prin. Such short-liv'd wits do wither as they grow.
Who are the rest?
Kath. The young Dumain, a well-accomplish'd
Of all that virtue love for virtue lov'd :
Most power to do most harm, least knowing ill;
For he hath wit to make an ill shape good,
And shape to win grace though he had no wit.
I saw him at the duke Alençon's once ;
And much too little, of that good I saw,
Is my report to his great worthiness.
Rosa. Another of these students at that time
Was there with him, as I have heard a truth;
Biron they call him; but a merrier man,
Within the limit of becoming mirth,
Laever spent an hour's talk withal :
His eye begets occasion for his wit;
For every object that the one doth catch,
The other turns to a mirth-moving jest:
Which his fair tongue (conceit's expositor)
Delivers in such apt and gracious words,
That aged ears play truant at his tales,
And younger hearings are quite ravished;
So sweet and voluble is his discourse.
Prin. God bless my ladies! are they all in love;
That every one her own hath garnished
With such bedecking ornaments of praise?
Mar. Here comes Boyet.
Re-enter Boyet. Prin. Now, what admittance, lord ?
Boyet. Navarre had notice of your fair approach ; And he and his competitors in oath Were all address'd to meet you, gentle lady, Before I came. Marry, thus much I have learnt, He rather means to lodge you in the field (Like one that comes here to besiege his court), Than seek a dispensation for his oath, To let you enter his unpeopled house.
90 Here comes Navarre,
Enter the King, LONGAVILLE, DUMAIN, BIRON,
King. Fair princess, welcome to the court of Na
Prin. Fair, I give you back again ; and, welcome I have not yet : the roof of this court is too high to be yours; and welcome to the wide fields too base to be mine.
King. You shall be welcome, madam, to my court. Prin. I will be welcome then ; conduct me thither. King. Hear me, dear lady, I have sworn an oath. Prin. Our Lady help my lordt he'll be forsworn. King. Not for the world, fair madam, by my will.
Prin. Why, will shall break it; will, and nothing
else. King. Your ladyship is ignorant what it is.
Prin. Were my lord so, his ignorance were wise, Where now his knowledge must prove ignorance. I hear, your grace hath sworn-out house-keeping: 'Tis deadly sin to keep that oath, my lord, And sin to break it :: But pardon me, I am too sudden bold; To teach a teacher ill beseemeth me. Vouchsafe to read the purpose of my coming, And suddenly resolve me in my suit.
King. Madam, I will, if suddenly I may.
Prin. You will the sooner, that I were away ; For you'll prove perjur'd, if you make me stay.
Biron. Did not I dance with you in Brabant once? Ros. Did not I dance with you in Brabant once ? Biron. I know, you did.
Ros. How needless was it then
To ask the question !
Biron. You must not be so quick.
Ros. 'Tis long of you, that spur me with such
questions. Biron. Your wit's too hot, it speeds too fast, 'twill
Ros. Not 'till it leave the rider in the mire.
Biron, What time o’day?
Ros. The hour that fools should ask.
Biron. Now fair befall your mask!