Love's Labor's Lost Monologue
|Love's Labor's Lost Monologue by William Shakespeare|
- BEROWNE: Have at you, then, affection's men-at-arms!
- Consider what you first did swear unto:
- To fast, to study, and to see no woman--
- Flat treason 'gainst the kingly state of youth.
- Say, can you fast? Your stomachs are too young,
- And abstinence engenders maladies.
- O, we have made a vow to study, lords,
- And in that vow we have forsworn our books;
- For when would you, my liege, or you, or you,
- In leaden contemplation have found out
- Such fiery numbers as the prompting eyes
- Of beauty's tutors have enriched you with?
- Others slow arts entirely keep the brain,
- And therefore, finding the barren practisers,
- Scarce show a harvest of their heavy toil;
- But love, first learnèd in a lady's eyes,
- Lives not alone immurèd in the brain,
- But, with the motion of all elements,
- Courses as swift as thought in every power,
- And gives to every power a double power,
- Above their functions and their offices.
- It adds a precious seeing to the eye:
- A lover's eyes will gaze an eagle blind.
- A lover's ear will hear the lowest sound,
- When the suspicious head of theft is stopped.
- Love's feeling is more soft and sensible
- Than are the tender horns of cockled snails.
- Love's tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste.
- For valor, is not Love a Hercules,
- Still climbing trees in the Hesperides?
- Subtle as Sphinx; as sweet and musical
- As bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair.
- And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods
- Make heaven drowsy with the harmony.
- Never durst poet touch a pen to write
- Until his ink were temp'red with Love's sighs;
- O, then his lines would ravish savage ears
- And plant in tyrants mild humility.
- From women's eyes this doctrine I derive.
- They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
- They are the books, the arts, the academes,
- That show, contain, and nourish all the world;
- Else none at all in aught proves excellent.
- Then fools you were these women to forswear,
- Or, keeping what is sworn, you will prove fools.
- For wisdom's sake, a word that all men love,
- Or for love's sake, a word that loves all men,
- Or for men's sake, the authors of these women,
- Or women's sake, by whom we men are men,
- Let us once lose our oaths to find ourselves,
- Or else we lose ourselves to keep our oaths.
- It is religion to be thus forsworn,
- For charity itself fulfils the law
- And who can sever love from charity?