Love's Labor's Lost Act III
by William Shakespeare

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Act III

ACT III.

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SCENE I. The King of Navarre's park.

[Enter ARMADO and MOTH.]

ARMADO.
Warble, child; make passionate my sense of hearing.

MOTH [Singing.]
Concolinel,--

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?

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.

ARMADO.
How hast thou purchased this experience?

MOTH.
By my penny of observation.

ARMADO.
But O--but O,--

MOTH.
'The hobby-horse is forgot.'

ARMADO.
Call'st 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?

ARMADO.
Almost I had.

MOTH.
Negligent student! learn her by heart.

ARMADO.
By heart and in heart, boy.

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

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.

ARMADO.
I am all these three.

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

ARMADO.
Fetch hither the swain: he must carry me a letter.

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

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.

ARMADO.
The way is but short: away!

MOTH.
As swift as lead, sir.

ARMADO.
The meaning, pretty ingenious?
Is not lead a metal heavy, dull, and slow?

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

ARMADO.
I say lead is slow.

MOTH.
You are too swift, sir, to say so:
Is that lead slow which is fir'd from a gun?

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.

[Exit.]

ARMADO.
A most acute juvenal; volable 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.

ARMADO.
Some enigma, some riddle: come, thy l'envoy; begin.

COSTARD.
No egma, 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.

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?

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.

ARMADO.
The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee,
Were still at odds, being but three.

MOTH.
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...

(The entire section is 1,614 words.)