A line-by-line translation

Love's Labor's Lost

Love's Labor's Lost Translation Act 1, Scene 2

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Enter DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO and MOTH

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Boy, what sign is it when a man of great spiritgrows melancholy?

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

What does it mean, Moth, when a happy man becomes melancholy? 

MOTH

A great sign, sir, that he will look sad.

MOTH

It simply means, sir, that he is sad.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Why, sadness is one and the self-same thing, dear imp.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Well then sadness is always the same, dear child.

MOTH

No, no; O Lord, sir, no.

MOTH

No no. Oh my Lord, sir, no. 

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

How canst thou part sadness and melancholy, mytender juvenal?

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

How can you understand sadness and melancholy, my dear boy?

MOTH

By a familiar demonstration of the working, my tough senor.

MOTH

I have often seen how it works, my tough master.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Why tough senor? why tough senor?

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Why "tough master?" Why "tough master?"

MOTH

Why tender juvenal? why tender juvenal?

MOTH

Why "dear boy?" Why "dear boy?"

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I spoke it, tender juvenal, as a congruent epithetonappertaining to thy young days, which we maynominate tender.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I said it, dear boy, as a suitable description for your youth, which I consider it dear.

MOTH

And I, tough senior, as an appertinent title to yourold time, which we may name tough.

MOTH

And I called you my tough master, as a suitable description for your old age, which we should think of as tough.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Pretty and apt.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Pretty appropriate.

MOTH

How mean you, sir? I pretty, and my saying apt? orI apt, and my saying pretty?

MOTH

What do you mean, sir? Am I pretty and my words appropriate or am I appropriate and my words pretty?

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Thou pretty, because little.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

You are pretty because you are little.

MOTH

Little pretty, because little. Wherefore apt?

MOTH

I am a little pretty, because I am little. So am I not appropriate at all?

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

And therefore apt, because quick.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

And indeed you are appropriate, because you are so quick.

MOTH

Speak you this in my praise, master?

MOTH

Are you praising me, my master?

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

In thy condign praise.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

It is well deserved.

MOTH

I will praise an eel with the same praise.

MOTH

An eel could be praised in the same way as you have praised me.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

What, that an eel is ingenious?

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

What, is an eel so clever?

MOTH

That an eel is quick.

MOTH

An eel is quick.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I do say thou art quick in answers: thou heatest my blood.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I meant that your wit is quick! You're making my blood boil.

MOTH

I am answered, sir.

MOTH

I understand now sir.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I love not to be crossed.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I do not like being contradicted.

MOTH

[Aside] He speaks the mere contrary; crosses love not him.

MOTH

[To himself] That's difficult when his very words are contradictions.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I have promised to study three years with the duke.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I have promised that I will study for three years with the Duke.

MOTH

You may do it in an hour, sir.

MOTH

You could do that in an hour, sir.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Impossible.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Impossible!

MOTH

How many is one thrice told?

MOTH

What is one times three? 

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I am ill at reckoning; it fitteth the spirit of a tapster.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I am not good at calculations, that is the job of the tavern-keeper.

MOTH

You are a gentleman and a gamester, sir.

MOTH

You are both a gentleman and a gambler, sir.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I confess both: they are both the varnish of acomplete man.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I admit to being both—they are the embellishments of a complete man.

MOTH

Then, I am sure, you know how much the gross sum ofdeuce-ace amounts to.

MOTH

Then you must know the total sum of a deuce-ace

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

It doth amount to one more than two.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

It amounts to one more than two.

MOTH

Which the base vulgar do call three.

MOTH

Which the common people would call three.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

True.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

True.

MOTH

Why, sir, is this such a piece of study? Now heret is three studied, ere ye'll thrice wink: and how easy it is to put 'years' to the word 'three,' and study three years in two words, the dancing horse will tell you.

MOTH

Why are you undertaking this difficult task sir? Here we have managed to work out three, before we have even blinked three times. How easy it would be to just add the word "years" onto the end of the word "three" and there you have it, three years of study in only two words, as the dancing horse would tell you.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

A most fine figure!

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

What an excellent figure of speech!

MOTH

[Aside] To prove you a cipher.

MOTH

[To himself] That means nothing.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I will hereupon confess I am in love: and as it is base for a soldier to love, so am I in love with a base wench. If drawing my sword against the humour of affection would deliver me from the reprobate thought of it, I would take Desire prisoner, and ransom him to any French courtier for a new-devised curtsy. I think scorn to sigh: methinks I should outswear Cupid. Comfort, me, boy: what great men have been in love?

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I must confess to you, Moth, that I am in love. As it is cheap of a soldier to fall in love, it is only fitting that I have fallen in love with a cheap girl. If I could fight against my desire to love and escape these corrupt thoughts, I would take Love as my prisoner and sell it off to the next French attendant that bows to me. It is disgraceful for me to sigh with love when I should abandon Cupid for good. Comfort me, my boy—what great men have been in love before?

MOTH

Hercules, master.

MOTH

Hercules has, master.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Most sweet Hercules! More authority, dear boy, namemore; and, sweet my child, let them be men of goodrepute and carriage.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Oh most sweet Hercules! Tell me more, dear boy, tell me more! And my sweet child, let them be men with good reputations and behavior.

MOTH

Samson, master: he was a man of good carriage, greatcarriage, for he carried the town-gates on his backlike a porter: and he was in love.

MOTH

What about Samson, master? He was a man who carried a lot of power, immense power in fact, for he carried the burden of the town-gates on his back and he was in love.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

O well-knit Samson! strong-jointed Samson! I do excel thee in my rapier as much as thou didst me in carrying gates. I am in love too. Who was Samson's love, my dear Moth?

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Oh worthy Samson! Oh strong Samson! I may be better than you with my sword but you are better than me at carrying town-gates. I am in love too. Who was Samson's love, my dear Moth?

MOTH

A woman, master.

MOTH

A woman, Master.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Of what complexion?

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

What was she like?

MOTH

Of all the four, or the three, or the two, or one of the four.

MOTH

She was of all the four, or three, or two, or maybe one of the four.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Tell me precisely of what complexion.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Tell me precisely what she was like.

MOTH

Of the sea-water green, sir.

MOTH

She was green like sea-water.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Is that one of the four complexions?

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Is that related to one of the four humors?

MOTH

As I have read, sir; and the best of them too.

MOTH

That's what I've read sir, and apparently it's the best of them too.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Green indeed is the colour of lovers; but to have alove of that colour, methinks Samson had small reasonfor it. He surely affected her for her wit.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Green is certainly the color of lovers, but it would seem strange for Samson to have chosen a green lover. He must have loved her for her cleverness.

MOTH

It was so, sir; for she had a green wit.

MOTH

I'm sure he did sir, for she had a childish wit.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

My love is most immaculate white and red.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

My own love is the color of purest white and red.

MOTH

Most maculate thoughts, master, are masked undersuch colours.

MOTH

Yet dirty thoughts are hidden under these colors, master.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Define, define, well-educated infant.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Explain what you mean, my clever child.

MOTH

My father's wit and my mother's tongue, assist me!

MOTH

May my father's wit and my mother's tongue help me!

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Sweet invocation of a child; most pretty andpathetical!

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Speak my child, with sweet and moving words!

MOTH

If she be made of white and red, Her faults will ne'er be known, For blushing cheeks by faults are bred And fears by pale white shown: Then if she fear, or be to blame, By this you shall not know, For still her cheeks possess the same Which native she doth owe. A dangerous rhyme, master, against the reason of white and red.

MOTH

If she is the color of white and red,
No-one will ever know her flaws,
For cheeks blush when people make mistakes
And fear makes a person turn white.
So even if she is scared or does something wrong,
You will never know this by her face,
For her cheeks will always keep the same color
That they have naturally.
A dangerous poem, master, warning against a woman of white and red.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Is there not a ballad, boy, of the King and the Beggar?

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Is there not a ballad you can sing instead boy, about the King and the Beggar?

MOTH

The world was very guilty of such a ballad somethree ages since: but I think now 'tis not to befound; or, if it were, it would neither serve forthe writing nor the tune.

MOTH

There used to be a ballad on that subject a long time ago, but by now it has either been lost or, if found, would not be an acceptable subject for such a tale.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I will have that subject newly writ o'er, that I mayexample my digression by some mighty precedent.Boy, I do love that country girl that I took in thepark with the rational hind Costard: she deserves well.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I will have this story written out again, so that I can justify my own actions with a previous example. Boy, I do love that country girl that I found in the park with the rational servant Costard; she deserves great things.

MOTH

[Aside] To be whipped; and yet a better love thanmy master.

MOTH

[To himself] She deserves to be whipped more like. Although she also deserves to be loved by someone better than my master.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Sing, boy; my spirit grows heavy in love.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Sing for me Moth, my heart burns with love.

MOTH

[Aside] And that's great marvel, loving a light wench.

MOTH

[To himself] And that's quite incredible, when you love a fiery wench.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I say, sing.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I said sing!

MOTH

Forbear till this company be past.

MOTH

Wait until these people have gone.

Enter DULL, COSTARD, and JAQUENETTA

DULL

Sir, the Duke's pleasure is, that you keep Costard safe: and you must suffer him to take no delight nor no penance; but a' must fast three days a week. For this damsel, I must keep her at the park: she is allowed for the day-woman. Fare you well.

DULL

Sir, the Duke wants you to keep Costard safe and ensure that he has no pleasures and no punishments. He must fast for three days a week. I will keep this maid at the park, she is going to be the dairy-woman. Goodbye.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I do betray myself with blushing. Maid!

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I reveal my true feelings by blushing. Maid!

JAQUENETTA

Man.

JAQUENETTA

Man.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I will visit thee at the lodge.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I will visit you at the house in the forest.

JAQUENETTA

That's hereby.

JAQUENETTA

That's near here.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I know where it is situate.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I know where it is.

JAQUENETTA

Lord, how wise you are!

JAQUENETTA

Lord, you are so wise!

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I will tell thee wonders.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I will tell you wonderful things.

JAQUENETTA

With that face?

JAQUENETTA

Really?

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I love thee.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I love you.

JAQUENETTA

So I heard you say.

JAQUENETTA

You have said that before.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

And so, farewell.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Goodbye then.

JAQUENETTA

Fair weather after you!

JAQUENETTA

May the sun shine for you!

DULL

Come, Jaquenetta, away!

DULL

Come Jaquenetta, let's go!

Exeunt DULL and JAQUENETTA

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Villain, thou shalt fast for thy offences ere thoube pardoned.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Villain, you will fast for your offenses before you are forgiven.

COSTARD

Well, sir, I hope, when I do it, I shall do it on afull stomach.

COSTARD

Well then I hope, when I do it, I can do it on a full stomach.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Thou shalt be heavily punished.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

You will be heavily punished.

COSTARD

I am more bound to you than your fellows, for theyare but lightly rewarded.

COSTARD

I am closer to you than your servants, for they are only lightly rewarded when I am heavily punished.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Take away this villain; shut him up.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

Take away this villain, shut him up.

MOTH

Come, you transgressing slave; away!

MOTH

Come on, you misbehaving slave. Let's go!

COSTARD

Let me not be pent up, sir: I will fast, being loose.

COSTARD

Don't let me be imprisoned sir! I can fast and be free.

MOTH

No, sir; that were fast and loose: thou shalt to prison.

MOTH

No sir, that would be unfair. You must go to prison.

COSTARD

Well, if ever I do see the merry days of desolationthat I have seen, some shall see.

COSTARD

Well if I ever get to feel the happiness that I have felt before, then some people shall see.

MOTH

What shall some see?

MOTH

What shall people see?

COSTARD

Nay, nothing, Master Moth, but what they look upon.It is not for prisoners to be too silent in theirwords; and therefore I will say nothing: I thankGod I have as little patience as another man; andtherefore I can be quiet.

COSTARD

No, nothing, Master Moth, except what they are looking at. It is not right for a prisoner to be that free with their words, and so I won't say anything at all. I am grateful that I have as much patience as any other men and so can easily be quiet.

Exeunt MOTH and COSTARD

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I do affect the very ground, which is base, where her shoe, which is baser, guided by her foot, which is basest, doth tread. I shall be forsworn, which is a great argument of falsehood, if I love. And how can that be true love which is falsely attempted? Love is a familiar; Love is a devil: there is no evil angel but Love. Yet was Samson so tempted, and he had an excellent strength; yet was Solomon so seduced, and he had a very good wit. Cupid's butt-shaft is too hard for Hercules' club; and therefore too much odds for a Spaniard's rapier. The first and second cause will not serve my turn; the passado he respects not, the duello he regards not: his disgrace is to be called boy; but his glory is to subdue men. Adieu, valour! rust rapier! be still, drum! for your manager is in love; yea, he loveth. Assist me, some extemporal god of rhyme, for I am sure I shall turn sonnet. Devise, wit; write, pen; for I am for whole volumes in folio.

DON ADRIANO DE ARMADO

I now love even the common ground where her shoe, and indeed her common foot have walked. I am going to break my oath and prove myself to be a liar, if I love her. Can it be true love if it is started under false pretenses? Love is an evil spirit, it is a devil; Love is the only evil angel. Yet even Samson was tempted by this evil angel, and he was incredibly strong; Solomon too was seduced by love, and he was incredibly clever. Cupid's arrow is even more powerful than Hercules' club and so what hope do I have with my sword? He doesn't follow any of the rules of fighting—there is no passado, there is no duello. He may be seen as a boy, but he has the power to destroy men. Goodbye courage! My sword might as well rust, the war drums might as well stop sounding! For your master is in love. Yes, he is in love. Help me, some god of poetry, for I must now become a love poet. Think, brain; write, pen. I must write folios of my love.

Exit

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Lani strange
About the Translator: Lani Strange

Lani is currently studying for an MA in Shakespeare Studies at King's College London and Shakespeare's Globe. She has a BA in English and Latin Literature from the University of Warwick and worked as a Teacher of Drama for a year in between her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. She has a love for all things theatrical and spends all of her free time either watching theatre or taking part in it herself.