Love's Labor's Lost "Your Wit's Too Hot, It Speeds Too Fast, 'twill Tire"

William Shakespeare

"Your Wit's Too Hot, It Speeds Too Fast, 'twill Tire"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Ferdinand, King of Navarre, has taken an oath along with several other men to study for three years and to have no association with women. It follows that certainly no woman could enter his courtyard and residence. When the daughter of the King of France arrives on a diplomatic mission, Ferdinand meets the group in the field outside his court so that he breaks his oath only partially. This situation is the setting for the above dialogue. While Ferdinand and the Princess of France converse, Berowne, one of the men taking the study oath with the king, addresses Katharine, one of the ladies attending the princess. Berowne asks Katharine if he had once danced with her. Instead of answering, she only mockingly and pertly repeats his question. When he states he knows he danced with her, she sarcastically points out, "How needless was it then to ask the question." After one more heated exchange of words between the two, Berowne admonishes her that her wit is too quickly sarcastic and it will not be long-lasting. More bickering follows before they part company.


BEROWNE
Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?
KATHARINE
Did not I dance with you in Brabant once?
BEROWNE
I know you did.
KATHARINE
How needless was it then
To ask the question.
BEROWNE
You must not be so quick.
KATHARINE
'Tis 'long of you that spur me with such questions.
BEROWNE
Your wit's too hot, it speeds too fast, 'twill tire.
KATHARINE
Not till it leave the rider in the mire.
BEROWNE
What time o' day?
KATHARINE
The hour that fools should ask.