Imatges de pàgina

Have fworn for three years' term to live with me,
My fellow Scholars; and to keep thofe Statutes,
That are recorded in this fchedule here.

Your oaths are past, and now subscribe your names:
That his own hand may ftrike his honour down,
That violates the smalleft branch herein:
If you are arm'd to do, as fworn to do,
Subscribe to your deep oaths, and keep them too.
Long. I am refolv'd; 'tis but a three years faft:
The mind fhall banquet tho' the body pine;
Fat paunches have lean pates; and dainty bits
Make rich the ribs, but bankerout the wits.

Dum. My loving lord, Dumain is mortify'd:
The groffer manner of these world's delights
He throws upon the grofs world's bafer flaves:
To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die;
With all these living in philosophy.

Biron. I can but fay their proteftation over,
So much (dear liege) I have already sworn,
That is, to live and study here three years:
But there are other strict observances;
As, not to fee a woman in that term,
Which, I hope well, is not enrolled there.
And one day in a week to touch no food,
And but one meal on every day befide;
The which, I hope, is not enrolled there.
And then to fleep but three hours in the night,
And not be seen to wink of all the day;
(When I was wont to think no harm all night,
And make a dark night too of half the day ;)
Which, I hope well, is not enrolled there.
O, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep;
Not to fee ladies, ftudy, faft, not sleep.

King. Your Oath is pafs'd to pafs away from these.
Biron. Let me fay, no, my liege, an' if you please;
I only fwore to ftudy with your Grace,
And stay here in your Court for three years' space.


Long. You fwore to that, Biron, and to the reft. Biron. By yea and nay, Sir, then I fwore in jeft. What is the end of ftudy? let me know?

King. Why, that to know, which elfe we fhould not know.

Biron. Things hid and barr'd (you mean) from common fenfe.

King. Ay, that is ftudy's god-like recompence.
Biron. Come on then, I will fwear to study fo,
To know the thing I am forbid to know;
As thus; to ftudy where I well may dine,
When I to (a) feaft exprefly am forbid;
Or study where to meet fome mistress fine,
When miftreffes from common fense are hid:
Or, having fworn too hard-a-keeping oath,
Study to break it, and not break my troth.
If ftudy's gain be this, and this be fo,
Study knows that, which yet it doth not know:
Swear me to this, and I will ne'er fay, no.

King. These be the ftops, that hinder ftudy quite; And train our Intellects to vain delight.


Biron. Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain, Which, with pain purchas'd, doth inherit pain; As, painfully to pore upon a book,

To feek the light of truth; while truth the while Doth falfly blind the eye-fight of his look:

Light, feeking light, doth light of light beguile;
So, ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Your light grows dark by lofing of your eyes.
Study me how to please the eye indeed,
By fixing it upon a fairer eye;

Who dazling fo, that eye fhall be his heed,
And give him light, that it was blinded by.
Study is like the Heavn's glorious Sun,

That will not be deep fearch'd with fawcy looks;
Small have continual plodders ever won,
Save base authority from others' books.

(a) Feaft Mr. Theobald - Vulg. faft ]


Thefe earthly godfathers of heaven's lights,
That give a name to every fixed star,
Have no more profit of their shining nights,

Than those that walk and wot not what they are. "Too much to know, is to know nought: but feign;

"And every godfather can give a name.'

King. How well he's read, to reafon against reading! Dum. Proceeded well, to ftop all good proceeding. Long. He weeds the corn, and ftill let's grow the weeding.

Biron. The spring is near, when green geefe are a breeding.

Dum. How follows that?

Biron. Fit in his place and time.
Dum. In reafon nothing.

Biron. Something then in rhime.

Long: Biron is like an envious fneaping froft,
That bites the firft-born infants of the fpring.

1 Too much to know, is to know nought but FAME;

And every Godfather can give a name."] The first line in this reading is abfurd and impertinent. There are two ways of fetting it right. The firft is to read it thus,

Too much to know, is to know nought but SHAME;

This makes a fine fense, and alludes to Adam's Fall, which came from the inordinate paffion of knowing too much. The other way is to read, and point it thus,

Too much to know, is to know nought: but FEIGN, i. e. to feign. As much as to fay, the affecting to know too much is the way to know nothing. The fenfe, in both thefe readings, is equally good: But with this difference; If we read the first way, the following line is impertinent; and to fave the correction we muft judge it fpurious. If we read it the fecond way, then the following line compleats the fenfe. Confequently the correction of feign is to be preferred. To know too much (lays the fpeaker) is to know nothing; it is only feigning to know what we do not: giving names for things without knowing their natures; which is falfe knowledge: And this was the peculiar defect of the Peripatetic Philofophy then in vogue. Thefe philofophers, the poet, with the higheft humour and good fenfe, calls the Godfathers of Nature, who could only give things a name, but had no manner of acquaintance with their effences,

Biron. Well; fay, I am; why fhould proud fum

mer boaft,

Before the birds have any cause to fing?
Why fhould I joy in an abortive birth?
At Christmas I no more defire a rose,

Than wish a fnow. in May's new-fangled fhows:
But like of each thing, that in feafon grows.
So you, to study now it is too late,

Climb o'er the house t'unlock the little gate.

King. Well, fit you out-Go home, Biron: Adieu! Biron. No, my good lord, I've fworn to stay with



And though I have for barbarifm spoke more,
Than for that angel knowledge you can fay;
Yet confident I'll keep what I have swore,

And 'bide the penance of each three years' day.
Give me the paper, let me read the fame;
And to the ftrict'ft decrees I'll write my name.
King. How well this yielding refcues thee from

Biron. Item, That no woman fhall come within a

mile of my Court,

Hath this been proclaimed?

Long. Four days ago.

Biron. Let's fee the penalty.

On pain of lofing her tongue:
Who devis'd this penalty?

Long. Marry, that did I.

Biron. Sweet lord, and why?



Long. To fright them hence with that dread pe nalty.

Biron. A dangerous law againft gentility!

Item, [reading.] If any man be feen to talk with a woman within the term of three Years, he shall endure fuch publick shame as the rest of the Court can poffibly devife.




This article, my liege, your felf must break; For, well you know, here comes in embaffy The French King's daughter with your felf to speak, A maid of grace and compleat majesty, About Surrender up of Aquitain

To her decrepit, fick, and bed-rid father: Therefore this article is made in vain,

Or vainly comes th' admired Princess hither.

King. What fay you, lords? why, this was quite forgot.

Biron. So ftudy evermore is overshot;

While it doth study to have what it would,

It doth forget to do the thing it fhould:

And when it hath the thing it hunteth most,
'Tis won, as towns with Fire; fo won, so loft.
King. We muft, of force, difpenfe with this decree,
She muft lye here on mere neceffity.

Biron. Neceffity will make us all forfworn

Three thousand times within this three years' fpace:

For every man with his affects is born:

Not by might mafter'd, but by fpecial grace. If I break faith, this word fhall speak for me: I am forfworn on meer neceffity.

So to the laws at large I write my name,

And he, that breaks them in the least degree, Stands in Attainder of eternal shame.

Suggestions are to others, as to me;
But, I believe, although I feem fo loth,
I am the last that will last keep his oath.
But is there no quick recreation granted?

King. Ay, that there is; our Court, you know, is haunted

With a refined traveller of Spain,

A man in all the world's new fashion planted,
That hath a mint of phrafes in his brain:

£6 One,

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