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The play cannot be later than , when it was mentioned by Francis Meres in Palladis Tamia and published in the first surviving quarto. There is little other evidence with which to date it. The play may have been performed at court during the Christmas season or even earlier.
However, the play could also have been played initially in the public theatre rather than at court. It has been suggested that the comedian William Kemp first played the role of Costard. The first quarto was printed in by William White for Cuthbert Burby. Less than a year later, on 19 November , the play was transferred from Ling to John Smethwick.
The second quarto was printed by William Stansby for John Smethwick in British Library copies of Love's Labour's Lost contains detailed bibliographic descriptions of all the quarto copies of the play. General influences on the play and its language include the works of Sir Philip Sidney and John Lyly. The French wars of religion, and particularly events surrounding Henri de Navarre later King Henry IV of France and his first wife Marguerite de Valois, have been investigated by scholars.
The cultural life of the English court, including the School of Night and its opponents, have also been explored. However, neither French politics nor English literary and philosophical debate seem to have more than tangential relationships to the play. April, with a scene of ladies in the countryside. Edmund Spenser, The Shepheardes Calender , British Library, G. Larger image.
Act 1 Ferdinand, King of Navarre, and his companions Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine swear to devote themselves to study for three years. They vow to see no women during that time. The clown Costard is brought before the King for breaking his decree forbidding women to come near the court.
Costard has been found with the dairymaid Jacquenetta. The Spanish knight Armado arrives. He is in love with Jacquenetta. They are granted an audience with King Ferdinand and his companions. Act 3 Armado employs Costard to send a love-letter to Jacquenetta. Berowne gives Costard a love-letter for Rosaline. He admits that he was to deliver a letter from Berowne to Rosaline. Berowne enters, alone, and confesses he is in love with Rosaline. He hides as King Ferdinand enters reading a love-poem for the Princess. The King hides in his turn, as Longaville arrives with a love-sonnet to Maria.
Then Longaville hides as Dumaine enters declaring his love for Katherine. Each lord is revealed as having broken his oath against women. Berowne finally comes forward, protesting his own innocence until Jacquenetta and Costard arrive with his letter to Rosaline. All four men resolve to forget their vows and woo their ladies. Act 5 The King and his companions, disguised, visit the Princess and her ladies.
The women see through their disguise and make fun of them. When the men return, having shed their disguise, they are forced to admit they are in love. Armado, Costard, and other locals put on a ant of the nine worthies to entertain the King, the Princess and their followers. Before the ant is over, a messenger arrives with news of the death of the King of France. The Princess, now Queen, and her ladies must return home.
The King and his companions, and the Princess and her ladies, part. First quarto, It is thought that the first quarto was printed from this predecessor, which itself was printed from a manuscript originating with Shakespeare. First folio, Printed from the first quarto. Variations between the folio and quarto texts suggest that a theatrical manuscript of some sort was also consulted for the folio.
Second quarto, Printed from the first folio. Second folio,Southampton love lost
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