Love's Labor's Lost "Bright Apollo's Lute, Strung With His Hair"
by William Shakespeare

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"Bright Apollo's Lute, Strung With His Hair"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

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Context: The Court of Navarre shall become "a little Academe" pledge King Ferdinand and his lords, Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine, as they vow for three years to forsake women, to fast, and to study. The arrival of the Princess of France and three attractive attendants on a diplomatic mission upsets the academicians, who fall in love with the ladies, forsake their former vows, and pledge themselves to pursue love and happiness. Love, says Berowne, which enhances the senses, is "as sweet and musical" as the golden lyre of Apollo, a favorite god of the Greeks associated with light, truth, and beauty:

BEROWNE. . .Love's feeling is more soft and sensibleThan are the tender horns of cockled snails.Love's tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste.For valour, is not Love a Hercules,Still climbing trees in the Hesperides?Subtle as Sphinx, as sweet and musicalAs bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair.And when Love speaks, the voice of all the godsMake heaven drowsy with the harmony.Never durst poet touch a pen to writeUntil his ink were tempered with Love's sighs.O then his lines would ravish savage earsAnd plant in tyrants mild humility.. . .