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Ferdinand, king of Navarre.
Princess of France.
Officers and others, attendants on the king and princess.
*This enumeration of the persons was made by Mr. Rowe.
ACT I.....SCENE I.
A Park, with a Palace in it.
Enter the King, BIRON, LONGAVILLE, and DUMAIN.
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, The 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 !--for so you are, That war against your own affections, And the huge army of the world's desires Our late edíct 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, Birón, Dumain, 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; That his own hand may strike his honour down, That violates the smallest branch herein: If you are arm’d to do, as sworn to do, Subscribe to your deep oath, 2 and keep it too.
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 bank’rout quite the wits.
1 I suspect that there is an error in the title of this play, which I believe, should be—“ Love's Labours Lost.” M. Mason.
2 — your deep oath,] The old copies have-oaths. Corrected by Mr. Steevens. Malone.
Dum. My loving lord, Dumain is mortified;
Biron. I can but say their protestation over,
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.
3 With all these living in philosophy.) The style of the rhyming scenes in this play is often entangled and obscure. I know not certainly to what all these is to be referred; I suppose he means, that he finds love, pomp, and wealth, in philosophy. Fohnson.
By all these, Dumain means the King, Biron, &c. to whom he may be supposed to point, and with whom he is going to live in philosophical retirement. A. C.
4 Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep. The words as they stand, will express the meaning intended, if pointed thus:
Not to see ladies-study-fast-not sleep. Biron is recapitulating the several tasks imposed upon him, viz. not to see ladies, to study, to fast, and not to sleep; but Shakspeare, by a common poetical licence, though in this pas. sage injudiciously exercised, omits the article to, before the three last verbs, and from hence the obscurity arises.