Kin. Saint Cupid then, and Souldiers to the field

Ber. Aduance your standards, & vpon them Lords, Pell, mell, downe with them: but be first aduis'd, In conflict that you get the Sunne of them

Long. Now to plaine dealing, Lay these glozes by, Shall we resolue to woe these girles of France? Kin. And winne them too, therefore let vs deuise, Some entertainment for them in their Tents

Ber. First from the Park let vs conduct them thither, Then homeward euery man attach the hand Of his faire Mistresse, in the afternoone We will with some strange pastime solace them: Such as the shortnesse of the time can shape, For Reuels, Dances, Maskes, and merry houres, Fore-runne faire Loue, strewing her way with flowres

Kin. Away, away, no time shall be omitted, That will be time, and may by vs be fitted

Ber. Alone, alone sowed Cockell, reap'd no Corne, And Iustice alwaies whirles in equall measure: Light Wenches may proue plagues to men forsworne, If so, our Copper buyes no better treasure.


Dum. Some salue for periurie, Ber. O 'tis more then neede. Haue at you then affections men at armes, Consider what you first did sweare vnto: To fast, to study, and to see no woman: Flat treason against the Kingly state of youth. Say, Can you fast? your stomacks are too young: And abstinence ingenders maladies. And where that you haue vow'd to studie (Lords) In that each of you haue forsworne his Booke. Can you still dreame and pore, and thereon looke. For when would you my Lord, or you, or you, Haue found the ground of studies excellence, Without the beauty of a womans face; From womens eyes this doctrine I deriue, They are the Ground, the Bookes, the Achadems, From whence doth spring the true Promethean fire. Why, vniuersall plodding poysons vp The nimble spirits in the arteries, As motion and long during action tyres The sinnowy vigour of the trauailer. Now for not looking on a womans face, You haue in that forsworne the vse of eyes: And studie too, the causer of your vow. For where is any Author in the world, Teaches such beauty as a womans eye: Learning is but an adiunct to our selfe, And where we are, our Learning likewise is. Then when our selues we see in Ladies eyes, With our selues. Doe we not likewise see our learning there? O we haue made a Vow to studie, Lords, And in that vow we haue forsworne our Bookes: For when would you (my Leege) or you, or you? In leaden contemplation haue found out Such fiery Numbers as the prompting eyes, Of beauties tutors haue inrich'd you with: Other slow Arts intirely keepe the braine: And therefore finding barraine practizers, Scarce shew a haruest of their heauy toyle. But Loue first learned in a Ladies eyes, Liues not alone emured in the braine: But with the motion of all elements, Courses as swift as thought in euery power, And giues to euery power a double power, Aboue their functions and their offices. It addes a precious seeing to the eye: A Louers eyes will gaze an Eagle blinde. A Louers eare will heare the lowest sound. When the suspicious head of theft is stopt. Loues feeling is more soft and sensible, Then are the tender hornes of Cockle Snayles. Loues tongue proues dainty, Bachus grosse in taste, For Valour, is not Loue a Hercules? Still climing trees in the Hesperides. Subtill as Sphinx, as sweet and musicall, As bright Apollo's Lute, strung with his haire. And when Loue speakes, the voyce of all the Gods, Make heauen drowsie with the harmonie. Neuer durst Poet touch a pen to write, Vntill his Inke were tempred with Loues sighes: O then his lines would rauish sauage eares, And plant in Tyrants milde humilitie. From womens eyes this doctrine I deriue. They sparcle still the right promethean fire, They are the Bookes, the Arts, the Achademes, That shew, containe, and nourish all the world. Else none at all in ought proues excellent. Then fooles you were these women to forsweare: Or keeping what is sworne, you will proue fooles, For Wisedomes sake, a word that all men loue: Or for Loues sake, a word that loues all men. Or for Mens sake, the author of these Women: Or Womens sake, by whom we men are Men. Let's once loose our oathes to finde our selues, Or else we loose our selues, to keepe our oathes: It is religion to be thus forsworne. For Charity it selfe fulfills the Law: And who can seuer loue from Charity

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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