Love's Labour Lost In Plain and Simple English (Digital Download)
Unlock the Wit & Whimsy of "Love's Labour's Lost": A Tale of Oaths, Infatuations, and Unanticipated Twists

Dive headfirst into the playful world of Navarre, where four men's vows to renounce the delightful company of women come spectacularly undone! Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost" is acclaimed as one of his most humorous early creations. However, if its Elizabethan language has you more puzzled than amused, fear not.

Enter the vibrant court of Navarre, where the King and his loyal comrades pledge to immerse themselves in study, distancing themselves from the allure of the opposite sex. But when the enchanting Princess of France and her equally beguiling attendants enter the scene, all scholarly intentions are amusingly derailed. The story doesn't follow the expected trajectory of Shakespearean comedies. Instead, it weaves a tapestry of themes from the depths of masculine camaraderie, the battle between logic and love, to the delicate line separating dreams from reality. And in a surprising twist, the tale concludes not with immediate nuptials but with an unexpected turn of events, making us yearn for more.

For readers who've felt estranged from Shakespeare's brilliance because of the intricate language, BookCaps provides the perfect solution. Experience "Love's Labour's Lost" in a new light with this contemporary translation that captures the essence and wit of the original. The authentic script isn't left behind either—it sits side by side with its modern counterpart, allowing readers to flit between the two, comparing, learning, and most importantly, laughing!

Rediscover the magic, the romance, and the wit of Shakespeare's world, and let the comedy of errors in Navarre reignite your love for classic literature. With BookCaps as your guide, Shakespeare's genius is not just understood, but thoroughly enjoyed.






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SCENE I. The king of Navarre's park.


Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,

Let fame, which everyone seeks in their lives,
Live register'd upon our brazen tombs

Live carved upon our brass tombs
And then grace us in the disgrace of death;

And then honor us in the dishonor of death;
When, spite of cormorant devouring Time,

When, in spite of ravenous devouring Time,
The endeavor of this present breath may buy

The hard work of our lives may buy
That honour which shall bate his scythe's keen edge

That honor which blunts death’s sharp blade
And make us heirs of all eternity.

And make us all live forever.
Therefore, brave conquerors,--for so you are,

And so, brave conquerors, --for that’s what you are,
That war against your own affections

That war against your own feelings
And the huge army of the world's desires,--

And the huge army that is the world’s desires
Our late edict shall strongly stand in force:

Our most recent law will strongly uphold:
Navarre shall be the wonder of the world;

Navarre will be the wonder of the world;
Our court shall be a little Academe,

Our court will be like an academy,
Still and contemplative in living art.

Constant and thoughtful in living art.
You three, Biron, Dumain, and Longaville,

You three Biron, Dumain, and Longaville,
Have sworn for three years' term to live with me

Have sworn that you will live with me for three years
My fellow-scholars, and to keep those statutes

My scholar-men, and to uphold the laws
That are recorded in this schedule here:

That are recorded in this schedule here:
Your oaths are pass'd; and now subscribe your names,

You have said your oaths, and now write your names,

That his own hand may strike his honour down

So that his signature will be his downfall for
That violates the smallest branch herein:

Whoever violates the smallest part of the oath from here on out:
If you are arm'd to do as sworn to do,

If you are ready to do what you’ve sworn to do,
Subscribe to your deep oaths, and keep it too.

Sign here to affirm your oaths, and keep them.

I am resolved; 'tis but a three years' fast:

I am determined; it will be like a fast for only three years:
The mind shall banquet, though the body pine:

The mind will banquet, though the body will yearn:
Fat paunches have lean pates, and dainty bits

Fat stomachs have thin heads, and delicate bits
Make rich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits.

Make your ribs rich and completely bankrupt your wits.

My loving lord, Dumain is mortified:

My gracious lord, Dumain is humiliated:
The grosser manner of these world's delights

The abundance of these world’s delights
He throws upon the gross world's baser slaves:

He throws to this big world’s lesser people:
To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die;

To love, to wealth, to splendor, I yearn and die;
With all these living in philosophy.

All of these things will only be thoughts to me.

I can but say their protestation over;

I can only repeat what they have said;
So much, dear liege, I have already sworn,

I have already sworn so much, my dear liege,
That is, to live and study here three years.

Which is to live and study here for three years
But there are other strict observances;

But there are other strict rules;
As, not to see a woman in that term,

Like, not being able to see a woman during that time,
Which I hope well is not enrolled there;

Which I really hope is not required there;

And one day in a week to touch no food

And for one day a week not to touch any food
And but one meal on every day beside,

And only one meal on every day besides that,
The which I hope is not enrolled there;

Which I also hope is not required there;
And then, to sleep but three hours in the night,

And another, to only sleep three hours a night
And not be seen to wink of all the day--

And not being able to close your eyes all day--
When I was wont to think no harm all night

When I have been used to sleeping all night
And make a dark night too of half the day--

And also into half of the day--
Which I hope well is not enrolled there:

Which I really hope is not required there
O, these are barren tasks, too hard to keep,

O, these are empty tasks, too hard to keep,
Not to see ladies, study, fast, not sleep!

To not see any ladies, study, not eat, not sleep!

Your oath is pass'd to pass away from these.

You’ve sworn an oath to give up these things.

Let me say no, my liege, an if you please:

Let me say no, my liege, if you’ll permit me to say:
I only swore to study with your grace

I only swore to study with your grace
And stay here in your court for three years' space.

And stay here in your court for three years’ time.

You swore to that, Biron, and to the rest.

You did swear to that, Biron, and to everything else.

By yea and nay, sir, then I swore in jest.

Earnestly, sir, then I swore as a joke
What is the end of study? let me know.

What is the purpose of the study? Tell me.

Why, that to know, which else we should not know.

Well, so that we can know things we wouldn’t know otherwise.

Things hid and barr'd, you mean, from common sense?

You mean things that are hidden and barred from common sense?

Ay, that is study's godlike recompense.

Yes, that is the godlike reward of the study.

Come on, then; I will swear to study so,

Alright, then; I will swear to study this way,
To know the thing I am forbid to know:

So that I can know the thing I am forbidden to know;
As thus,--to study where I well may dine,

So that, --I can learn where I can dine,
When I to feast expressly am forbid;

When I am expressly forbid to eat;
Or study where to meet some mistress fine,

Or learn where to meet a fine lady,
When mistresses from common sense are hid;

When ladies are hidden from common sense;
Or, having sworn too hard a keeping oath,

Or, if I’ve sworn to keep an oath that’s too hard to keep,
Study to break it and not break my troth.

Learn how to break it and not break my loyalty to the pledge.
If study's gain be thus and this be so,

If that is what I will gain by studying,
Study knows that which yet it doth not know:

Study knows the things that it doesn’t know yet:
Swear me to this, and I will ne'er say no.

Swear me to this and I will never say no.

These be the stops that hinder study quite

These are the obstacles that greatly impede studying
And train our intellects to vain delight.

And allure our intellects to selfish delights.

Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain,

Well all delights are selfish; but the most selfish,

Which with pain purchased doth inherit pain:

Which as it is acquired with hard labor, it inherits pain:
As, painfully to pore upon a book

Like, poring laboriously over a book
To seek the light of truth; while truth the while

To seek the light of truth; and all the while truth
Doth falsely blind the eyesight of his look:

Treacherously blinds his eyesight and his power to see:
Light seeking light doth light of light beguile:

Searching for truth by excessive study takes your eyes’ ability to see,:
So, ere you find where light in darkness lies,

Like, when you stare at a bright light,
Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes.

It eventually blinds you.
Study me how to please the eye indeed

Teach me how to please the eye indeed
By fixing it upon a fairer eye,

By looking at the eyes of a beautiful woman,
Who dazzling so, that eye shall be his heed

That dazzles so much that it will be his safety
And give him light that it was blinded by.

And it will give him the light that his eye was blinded by.
Study is like the heaven's glorious sun

Study is like the heaven’s glorious sun
That will not be deep-search'd with saucy looks:

That will not be scrutinized by insolent looks:
Small have continual plodders ever won

People who trudge on continuously win very little
Save base authority from others' books

Except for the lowest power from others’ books
These earthly godfathers of heaven's lights

These earthly guardians of heaven’s lights
That give a name to every fixed star

That namde every immovable star
Have no more profit of their shining nights

Get no more benefit from their starlit nights
Than those that walk and wot not what they are.

Than those that walk around not knowing what stars are.
Too much to know is to know nought but fame;

To know too much is to know nothing but secondhand information;
And every godfather can give a name.

And every child’s godfather can give a name.

How well he's read, to reason against reading!

How well informed he is, to argue against learning!

Proceeded well, to stop all good proceeding!

He is very advanced, to stop all advancement!


He weeds the corn and still lets grow the weeding.

He pulls out the wheat and allows weeds to grow.

The spring is near when green geese are a-breeding.

We know that spring is coming when the geese start breeding.

How follows that?

What does that have to do with anything?

Fit in his place and time.

Exactly in its place and time.

In reason nothing.

It makes no sense.

Something then in rhyme.

Maybe if I made it rhyme.

Biron is like an envious sneaping frost,

Biron is like a malicious nipping frost,
That bites the first-born infants of the spring.

That kills the first-born buds of the spring.

Well, say I am; why should proud summer boast

Well, say I am; why should glorious summer boast
Before the birds have any cause to sing?

Before the birds have any cause to sing?
Why should I joy in any abortive birth?

Why should I take joy in a failed birth?

At Christmas I no more desire a rose

At Christmas I don’t wish that roses would grow
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth;

Any more than I wish for snow to ruin the new joy of spring in May;

But like of each thing that in season grows.

But each things grows in its own season.
So you, to study now it is too late,

Just like you, to study now is too late,
Climb o'er the house to unlock the little gate.

Climb over the house and unlock the little gate.

Well, sit you out: go home, Biron: adieu.

Well, you sit out: go home Biron; goodbye.

No, my good lord; I have sworn to stay with you:

No, my good lord; I have sworn to stay with you:
And though I have for barbarism spoke more

And though I have been speaking more for the uncultured
Than for that angel knowledge you can say,

Than for the angel that is knowledge,
Yet confident I'll keep what I have swore

Yet I’m confident that I will keep my oaths
And bide the penance of each three years' day.

And stay for the three years of penance.
Give me the paper; let me read the same;

Give me the paper; let me read the oaths;
And to the strict'st decrees I'll write my name.
And sign myself to the strictest rules.

How well this yielding rescues thee from shame!

How well you’ve rescued yourself from shame by giving in!

[Reads] 'Item, That no woman shall come within a

‘Note, That no woman will come within a
mile of my court:' Hath this been proclaimed?

mile of my court:’ Has this been proclaimed?

Four days ago.

Four days ago.

Let's see the penalty.

Let’s see what the penalty is.


'On pain of losing her tongue.' Who devised this penalty?

‘If caught, she will lose her tongue.’ Who came up with this penalty?

Marry, that did I.

That was me.

Sweet lord, and why?

Why, sweet lord?

To fright them hence with that dread penalty.

To frighten them away form such a horrible penalty.

A dangerous law against gentility!

A dangerous law against nobility!


'Item, If any man be seen to talk with a woman

‘Note, If any man be seen to talk with a woman
within the term of three years, he shall endure such

within the term of three years, he will suffer whatever
public shame as the rest of the court can possibly devise.'

public shame that the rest of the court can possibly come up with.’
This article, my liege, yourself must break;

This rule, my liege, you yourself are going to have to break;
For well you know here comes in embassy

You know very well that on their way in embassy
The French king's daughter with yourself to speak--

Is the The French king’s daughter, to speak with you--
A maid of grace and complete majesty--

A graceful and majestic woman--
About surrender up of Aquitaine

About the surrender of Aquitaine

To her decrepit, sick and bedrid father:

To her sick, dying, bedridden father:

Therefore this article is made in vain,

Therefore this rule is useless,
Or vainly comes the admired princess hither.

Or it’s useless for the beautiful princess to come here.

What say you, lords? Why, this was quite forgot.

What do you say lords? We seem to have completely forgotten this.

So study evermore is overshot:

And so study is always overshot:
While it doth study to have what it would

While it studies to learn what it can
It doth forget to do the thing it should,

It forgets to do what it’s supposed to,
And when it hath the thing it hunteth most,

And what it has the thing it seeks the most,
'Tis won as towns with fire, so won, so lost.

It’s won like towns with fire, won and then lost.

We must of force dispense with this decree;

We are going to have to do away with this decree;
She must lie here on mere necessity.

She comes here for a necessity.

Necessity will make us all forsworn

Necessity will make us all break our vows
Three thousand times within this three years' space;

Three thousand times within these three years;
For every man with his affects is born,

For every man is born with feelings,
Not by might master'd but by special grace:

That are not mastered by strength, but by a special grace:
If I break faith, this word shall speak for me;

If I break my vows, this word will defend me;
I am forsworn on 'mere necessity.'

I broke them because of ‘necessity’
So to the laws at large I write my name:

So with the laws at large, I write my name:



And he that breaks them in the least degree

And whoever breaks them in the smallest degree

Stands in attainder of eternal shame:

Will be disgraced by eternal shame:
Suggestions are to other as to me;

Suggestions are to others as well as me;
But I believe, although I seem so loath,

But I think, although I seem so reluctant,
I am the last that will last keep his oath.

That I will be the last man to keep his oath.
But is there no quick recreation granted?

But will permission not be granted for some quick enjoyment before we start?

Ay, that there is. Our court, you know, is haunted

Yes, there will be. Our court, you know, is haunted
With a refined traveller of Spain;

By an elegant traveler from Spain;
A man in all the world's new fashion planted,

A man who is very knowledgeable of the world,
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain;

That has a store of phrases in his brain;
One whom the music of his own vain tongue

Whose musical native language
Doth ravish like enchanting harmony;

Enraptures like an enchanting harmony;
A man of complements, whom right and wrong

A man who gives out compliments, whom right and wrong
Have chose as umpire of their mutiny:

Have chosen to be the judge of their mutiny:
This child of fancy, that Armado hight,

This child of fancy called Armado,
For interim to our studies shall relate

In the meantime during our studies will tell us
In high-born words the worth of many a knight

In eloquent words the worth of many a knight
From tawny Spain lost in the world's debate.

From tan-colored Spain that were killed in the world’s wars.
How you delight, my lords, I know not, I;

I don’t know how much he will delight you;
But, I protest, I love to hear him lie

But I must say that I love to hear him lie

And I will use him for my minstrelsy.

And I will use him for my troupe of entertainers.

Armado is a most illustrious wight,

Armado is a very famous creature,
A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight.

A man with new words like fire, a knight of making shapes and forms.

Costard the swain and he shall be our sport;

The young man Costard and he will entertain us;
And so to study, three years is but short.

And so let’s get to studying, three years is a short time.

Enter DULL with a letter, and COSTARD

Which is the duke's own person?

Which one of you is the duke’s person?

This, fellow: what wouldst?

That’s me: what do you want?

I myself reprehend his own person, for I am his

I myself am above his person, since I am
grace's tharborough: but I would see his own person

The King’s officer: but I must see the duke himself,
in flesh and blood.

His own flesh and blood.

This is he.

I am the duke.

Signior Arme--Arme--commends you. There's villany

Mister Arme—Arme—writes to you. There’s foul work
abroad: this letter will tell you more.

abroad: this letter will tell you more.

Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me.

Sir, the contemptuous things it mentions are regarding me.

A letter from the magnificent Armado.

A letter from the magnificent Armado.

How low soever the matter, I hope in God for high words.

However bad the matter is, I hope to God for good words.

A high hope for a low heaven: God grant us patience!

A high hope for a low heaven: God grant us patience!

To hear? or forbear laughing?

To hear the letter? or to keep from laughing?

To hear meekly, sir, and to laugh moderately; or to

To hear submissively, sir, and to laugh in moderation; or to
forbear both.

Do neither.

Well, sir, be it as the style shall give us cause to

Well, sir, hopefully the manner of it will give us cause to
climb in the merriness.

Be more cheerful.

The matter is to me, sir, as concerning Jaquenetta.

The matter is about me sir, concerning Jaquenetta,
The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.

The manner of it is that I was taken with the manner.

In what manner?

In what manner?

In manner and form following, sir; all those three:

In manner and form following, sir; all those three:

I was seen with her in the manor-house, sitting with

I was seen with her in the manor-house, sitting with
her upon the form, and taken following her into the

Her on the frame, and taken when I was following her into the
park; which, put together, is in manner and form

park; which put together is in the manner and form
following. Now, sir, for the manner,--it is the

following. Now, sir, for the manner,-- it is the
manner of a man to speak to a woman: for the form,--

nature of a man to speak to a woman: now for the form,--
in some form.

In some form.

For the following, sir?

And what about the following?

As it shall follow in my correction: and God defend

It will follow that I will be corrected: and God defend
the right!

The right!

Will you hear this letter with attention?

Will you hear this letter with consideration?

As we would hear an oracle.

Like we would hear an oracle.

Such is the simplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.

Such is the simplicity of a man following his desires of the flesh.

[Reads] 'Great deputy, the welkin's vicegerent and

[Reads] ‘Great deputy, Heaven’s agent and
sole dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's god,

sole dominator of Navarre, the god of my soul’s earth,
and body's fostering patron.'

And the one who guards and fosters my body.’

Not a word of Costard yet.

He hasn’t even mentioned me yet.

[Reads] 'So it is,'--

[Reads] 'So it is,'--

It may be so: but if he say it is so, he is, in

It may be so: but if he says it’s so, then he is,
telling true, but so.

Truly, only so.



Be to me and every man that dares not fight!

Peace to me and every man that doesn’t dare fight!

No words!

I mean no more words!
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