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Love's Labor's Lost

Love's Labor's Lost Translation Act 4, Scene 2

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Enter HOLOFERNES, SIR NATHANIEL, and DULL

SIR NATHANIEL

Very reverend sport, truly; and done in the testimonyof a good conscience.

SIR NATHANIEL

A very good shot, really, and you did it with a clear conscience.

HOLOFERNES

The deer was, as you know, sanguis, in blood; ripe as the pomewater, who now hangeth like a jewel in the ear of caelo, the sky, the welkin, the heaven; and anon falleth like a crab on the face of terra, the soil, the land, the earth.

HOLOFERNES

The deer was, as you know, in prime condition, as ripe as a juicy apple. At one moment it hung like an earring in the ear of the sky, the air, the heavens, and then, a moment later it fell like a crab-apple onto the ground, the soil, the land, the earth.

SIR NATHANIEL

Truly, Master Holofernes, the epithets are sweetlyvaried, like a scholar at the least: but, sir, Iassure ye, it was a buck of the first head.

SIR NATHANIEL

Really, Master Holofernes, the variety of names you have used are lovely, similar to how a scholar would speak to say the least. However sir, I must correct you, it was a five-year-old male deer with its first antlers.

HOLOFERNES

Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.

HOLOFERNES

Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.

DULL

'Twas not an 'auld grey doe', 'twas a pricket.

DULL

It wasn't an old grey doe, it was a two-year-old deer.

HOLOFERNES

Most barbarous intimation! yet a kind of insinuation, as it were, in via, in way, of explication; facere, as it were, replication, or rather, ostentare, to show, as it were, his inclination, after his undressed, unpolished, uneducated, unpruned, untrained, or rather, unlettered, or ratherest, unconfirmed fashion, to insert again my haud credo for a deer.

HOLOFERNES

What a ridiculous announcement! Yet, it is a kind of suggestion, as it were, a means of symbolizing a more detailed description. To make, as it were, a reply, or rather, to show his opinion, in the best way he can, as a scruffy, untidy, stupid, uncontrolled, uninstructed, or rather, uneducated, or even better ignorant idiot, to swap again my haud credo for a deer.

DULL

I said the deer was not an 'auld grey doe', twas a pricket.

DULL

I just said that the deer was not an old grey doe, it was a two-year-old deer.

HOLOFERNES

Twice-sod simplicity, his coctus!O thou monster Ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!

HOLOFERNES

Oh twice-boiled simplicity, twice cooked! Oh, you monster Ignorance, you look so deformed.

SIR NATHANIEL

Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred in a book; he hath not eat paper, as it were; he hath not drunk ink: his intellect is not replenished; he is only an animal, only sensible in the duller parts: And such barren plants are set before us, that we thankful should be, Which we of taste and feeling are, for those parts that do fructify in us more than he. For as it would ill become me to be vain, indiscreet, or a fool, So were there a patch set on learning, to see him in a school: But omne bene, say I; being of an old father's mind, Many can brook the weather that love not the wind.

SIR NATHANIEL

Sir, he has never enjoyed the treats that can be found in a book; he hasn't eaten paper, as it were; he hasn't drunk the ink. His mind has not been filled with ideas, he is just an animal, only able to feel things physically. Remember sir, when boring people are put before us, we should be thankful, that we are full of different tastes and emotions, since those things keep developing in us, when they don't in him. For although I know I should never be vain, careless, or an idiot, if he went to a school it would be like teaching a fool! Anyway, all is well, I say, if I remember what they used to think in the past, you have to just put up with the things that you can't change.

DULL

You two are book-men: can you tell me by your witWhat was a month old at Cain's birth, that's not fiveweeks old as yet?

DULL

You two are book-men—are you clever enough to tell me what was a month old when Cain was born, but still isn't five weeks old yet?

HOLOFERNES

Dictynna, goodman Dull; Dictynna, goodman Dull.

HOLOFERNES

That would be Dictynna my goodman Dull, that would be Dictynna. 

DULL

What is Dictynna?

DULL

What is Dictynna?

SIR NATHANIEL

A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon.

SIR NATHANIEL

A title for the sister of Apollo, for Luna, the moon.

HOLOFERNES

The moon was a month old when Adam was no more,And raught not to five weeks when he came tofive-score.The allusion holds in the exchange.

HOLOFERNES

The moon was only a month old when Adam was the same age, and it hadn't reached five weeks old, even when Adam was a hundred! The riddle works for Adam as well.

DULL

'Tis true indeed; the collusion holds in the exchange.

DULL

It's true indeed, the word play still works, even when the riddle has been changed.

HOLOFERNES

God comfort thy capacity! I say, the allusion holdsin the exchange.

HOLOFERNES

May God help your intelligence! I said already, that the riddle works for Adam as well.

DULL

And I say, the pollusion holds in the exchange; forthe moon is never but a month old: and I say besidethat, 'twas a pricket that the Princess killed.

DULL

And I say that there has been a mistake in your conversation, for the moon can never be more than a month old, and more than that, I am telling you that it was a two-year-old deer that the Princess killed.

HOLOFERNES

Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal epitaphon the death of the deer? And, to humour theignorant, call I the deer the princess killed a pricket.

HOLOFERNES

Sir Nathaniel, would you like to hear an improvised eulogy about the death of the deer? To please the stupid listeners, I will even call the deer the Princess killed, only two-years-old.

SIR NATHANIEL

Perge, good Master Holofernes, perge; so it shallplease you to abrogate scurrility.

SIR NATHANIEL

Go on, good Master Holofernes, go on. Make sure you stay away from indecent language.

HOLOFERNES

I will something affect the letter, for it argues facility. The preyful princess pierced and prick'd a pretty pleasing pricket; Some say a sore; but not a sore, till now made sore with shooting. The dogs did yell: put L to sore, then sorel jumps from thicket; Or pricket sore, or else sorel; the people fall a-hooting. If sore be sore, then L to sore makes fifty sores one sorel. Of one sore I an hundred make by adding but one more L.

HOLOFERNES

I will focus on using alliteration, as it will help the flow of it.

The preying Princess hit and killed a very lovely deer.
Some say it was a sore, an older deer, but it wasn't sore until it was made to be by being shot.
The dogs yelled, to add an "l" onto sore, and then it is a sorrel, a three-year-old deer that jumps out of the bushes.
Whatever kind of deer it was, the people started shouting.
If the deer is hurt, then adding an "l" to sore, makes fifty injured deer,
Or if there is one sore, one deer, I can make a hundred of them by adding one more "l."

SIR NATHANIEL

A rare talent!

SIR NATHANIEL

He has a rare talent!

DULL

[Aside] If a talent be a claw, look how he clawshim with a talent.

DULL

[To himself] Only if a talent is a claw, because look at how he flatters him with his talent.

HOLOFERNES

This is a gift that I have, simple, simple; a foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures, shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions, revolutions: these are begot in the ventricle of memory, nourished in the womb of pia mater, and delivered upon the mellowing of occasion. But the gift is good in those in whom it is acute, and I am thankful for it.

HOLOFERNES

It's a gift that I have, it's as simple as that. I am a silly, over-the top person, full of words, figures of speech, shapes, objects outside of the mind, ideas, views, inner feelings, reflections. These are made in the depths of memory, they grow in the outskirts of the brain, and are spoken when the time is just right. But a gift like this is good for a clever person, and I am thankful for it.

SIR NATHANIEL

Sir, I praise the Lord for you; and so may myparishioners; for their sons are well tutored byyou, and their daughters profit very greatly underyou: you are a good member of the commonwealth.

SIR NATHANIEL

Sir, I thank the Lord for you, and so do the people in my parish as well, since their sons are taught very well by you and their daughters make progress too. You are a very good member of the community.

HOLOFERNES

Mehercle, if their sons be ingenuous, they shallwant no instruction; if their daughters be capable,I will put it to them: but vir sapit qui paucaloquitur; a soul feminine saluteth us.

HOLOFERNES

By Hercules, if their sons are intelligent, I will teach them everything I know; if their daughters are able to understand, I will set them to work as well! But it is a wise man who says very little, a woman is coming over to talk to us.

Enter JAQUENETTA and COSTARD

JAQUENETTA

God give you good morrow, master Person.

JAQUENETTA

Good day to you, master Person.

HOLOFERNES

Master Parson, quasi pers-on. An if one should bepierced, which is the one?

HOLOFERNES

She says Parson, as if the word was piers-on. If someone should be pierced, who will it be?

COSTARD

Marry, master schoolmaster, he that is likest to a hogshead.

COSTARD

Well, master schoolmaster, it will be the person that is the most similar to a barrel of ale.

HOLOFERNES

Piercing a hogshead! a good lustre of conceit in atuft of earth; fire enough for a flint, pearl enoughfor a swine: 'tis pretty; it is well.

HOLOFERNES

Breaking open an ale barrel! A good moment of wit from someone so stupid, enough of a spark to light a fire, enough of a jewel to interest a villain. It is a good line.

JAQUENETTA

Good master Parson, be so good as read me thisletter: it was given me by Costard, and sent mefrom Don Armado: I beseech you, read it.

JAQUENETTA

Good master Parson, would you be so kind as to read this letter to me? It was given to me by Costard and has been sent to me from Don Armado. I beg you, please read it to me.

HOLOFERNES

Fauste, precor gelida quando pecus omne sub umbra Ruminat,—and so forth. Ah, good old Mantuan! I may speak of thee as the traveller doth of Venice; Venetia, Venetia, Chi non ti vede non ti pretia. Old Mantuan, old Mantuan! who understandeth thee not, loves thee not. Ut, re, sol, la, mi, fa. Under pardon, sir, what are the contents? or rather, as Horace says in his—What, my soul, verses?

 

HOLOFERNES

"Faustus, while all of the cattle are chewing the fat in the cool shade, I beg you"and so on! Oh good old Mantua! I will speak about you, like a traveler speaks about Venice, "Venice, Venice, he that does not see you, will not admire you". Old Mantua, old Mantua, people who do not understand you, do not love you. [He sings] Do, re, mi, fa, so, la.
Excuse me sir, what are the contents of the letter? Or rather, as Horace would say, What is my ability in? Is it verses?

SIR NATHANIEL

Ay, sir, and very learned.

SIR NATHANIEL

Yes sir, and you are very good at them.

HOLOFERNES

Let me hear a staff, a stanze, a verse; lege, domine.

HOLOFERNES

Let's hear a paragraph of it, or a stanza, or a verse. Read, master.

SIR NATHANIEL

[Reads] If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to love? Ah, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vow'd! Though to myself forsworn, to thee I'll faithful prove: Those thoughts to me were oaks, to thee like osiers bow'd. Study his bias leaves and makes his book thine eyes, Where all those pleasures live that art would comprehend: If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice; Well learned is that tongue that well can thee commend, All ignorant that soul that sees thee without wonder; Which is to me some praise that I thy parts admire: Thy eye Jove's lightning bears, thy voice his dreadful thunder, Which not to anger bent, is music and sweet fire. Celestial as thou art, O, pardon, love, this wrong, That sings heaven's praise with such an earthly tongue.

SIR NATHANIEL

[Reading] If loving you will break my oath, then how can I swear on my oath that I love you? Oh faith could never hold onto me, if I was not so attached to your beauty! Even though I have broken the promises I made to myself, I will prove to you that I can be faithful. The thoughts I had that I thought were as strong as oaks, under your influence they were like a bending willow tree, constantly changing. The student now must abandon his studies and make your eyes his next book, the place where all the desires that knowledge understands live. If knowledge is the target, then to know you should be enough to hit ityour tongue is so clever that you can praise me. A person who sees you and isn't amazed is stupid, which means I must be at least a bit clever, because I admire everything about you. Your eyes shine like Jupiter's lightning, your voice echoes like his dreadful thunder which, as it is not often angry, sounds like music and sweet fire. You are so heavenly, please forgive all that I have done wrong for love, a love that praises you, a thing from heaven, with just a simple voice.

HOLOFERNES

You find not the apostraphas, and so miss the accent: let me supervise the canzonet. Here are only numbers ratified; but, for the elegancy, facility, and golden cadence of poesy, caret. Ovidius Naso was the man: and why, indeed, Naso, but for smelling out the odouriferous flowers of fancy, the jerks of invention? Imitari is nothing: so doth the hound his master, the ape his keeper, the tired horse his rider. But, damosella virgin, was this directed to you?

HOLOFERNES

You didn't notice the apostrophes and so you have put emphasis on the wrong words, let me look at this poem. Here are lines which have the right meter to them, but they lack elegancy, fluency, and the required flow of poetry. Ovid was the best man at doing this, and why was his surname Naso, why, because he could smell out the best parts of love to write about, the best witty speeches from his imagination. Imitation is pointless, it is like comparing a dog to its master, a monkey to its keep, a tired horse to its rider. But my virgin girl, was this letter given to you?

JAQUENETTA

Ay, sir, from one Monsieur Biron, one of the strangequeen's lords.

JAQUENETTA

Yes sir, from someone called Monsieur Biron, one of the foreign queen's lords.

HOLOFERNES

I will overglance the superscript: 'To the snow-white hand of the most beauteous Lady Rosaline.' I will look again on the intellect of the letter, for the nomination of the party writing to the person written unto: 'Your ladyship's in all desired employment, BIRON.' Sir Nathaniel, this Biron is one of the votaries with the king; and here he hath framed a letter to a sequent of the stranger queen's, which accidentally, or by the way of progression, hath miscarried. Trip and go, my sweet; deliver this paper into the royal hand of the king: it may concern much. Stay not thy compliment; I forgive thy duty; adieu.

HOLOFERNES

I will look again at who the letter is addressed to: "To the pure, white hand of the most beautiful Lady Rosaline." I will now look again at the signature of the letter, to find the name of the person who has written it: "Yours, in any way you want me to be, BIRON." Sir Nathaniel, this Biron is one of the lords who has sworn the oath with the king, and yet here he has written a letter to one of the foreign queen's ladies, which, either accidentally, or as a result of its journey, has failed to get to the right person. Get going, my sweet girl. Deliver this letter into the King's hand, it may be very important. Don't hang around to thank me, you don't need to show your appreciation. Goodbye now.

JAQUENETTA

Good Costard, go with me. Sir, God save your life!

JAQUENETTA

Good Costard, come with me! Sir, God's thanks to you!

COSTARD

Have with thee, my girl.

COSTARD

I'll go with you, my girl.

Exeunt COSTARD and JAQUENETTA

SIR NATHANIEL

Sir, you have done this in the fear of God, veryreligiously; and, as a certain father saith,—

SIR NATHANIEL

Sir, you have acted in fear of God, very religiously, and as a certain father said.

HOLOFERNES

Sir tell me not of the father; I do fear colourablecolours. But to return to the verses: did theyplease you, Sir Nathaniel?

HOLOFERNES

Sir don't tell me what this father said, I am scared of these displays of reason. To return to the verses of that letter, did you enjoy them, Nathaniel?

SIR NATHANIEL

Marvellous well for the pen.

SIR NATHANIEL

The handwriting was very nice.

HOLOFERNES

I do dine to-day at the father's of a certain pupil of mine; where, if, before repast, it shall please you to gratify the table with a grace, I will, on my privilege I have with the parents of the foresaid child or pupil, undertake your ben venuto; where I will prove those verses to be very unlearned, neither savouring of poetry, wit, nor invention: I beseech your society.

HOLOFERNES

I am going to have dinner today at the house of one of my student's fathers, where I hope before the meal, you will be able to say grace. I will use the relationship that I have with the parents of this child, or pupil, to make sure that you are welcome for the meal. When we are there, I will prove that these verses are very simple, and contain no poetry, wit, or imagination. I hope you with come with me.

SIR NATHANIEL

And thank you too; for society, saith the text, isthe happiness of life.

SIR NATHANIEL

Thank you kindly. For friendship, the text says, is the happiness of life.

HOLOFERNES

And, certes, the text most infallibly concludes it.

HOLOFERNES

And certainly, the text truly settles the matter.

To DULL

HOLOFERNES

Sir, I do invite you too; you shall notsay me nay: pauca verba. Away! the gentles are attheir game, and we will to our recreation.

HOLOFERNES

[To DULL] Sir, you are invited as well and you will not turn me down. Fewer words are best. Let's go! The lords are hunting, and now it's time for our entertainment.

Exeunt

Loves labors lost
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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.