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The play is now nearing its first climax. Biron enters holding a paper in his hand that contains part of a love poem that he has written. While he is raving and ranting in the throes of passion, the King enters with a paper in his hand. Biron quickly takes cover so that the King believes himself to be alone. He begins to read aloud a sonnet he has composed for the Princess. As he finishes, Longaville enters with sheets of verse in his hand. Now the King takes to hiding, and Longaville reveals his feelings for Maria in his sonnet. Soon enough, Dumain arrives on the scene and bares his heart, thinking he is alone. Barely has he finished when Longaville emerges from his shelter to taunt Dumain for having weakened in his vows. The King then comes forth to chastise Longaville, explaining that he has witnessed his shocking avowal of love from his hiding place. But the King is also put to shame when Biron shows up to expose them all, and gloats as he taunts them for having submitted to love. The icing on the cake comes next, when Jaquenetta and Costard arrive bearing Biron's confession of love. Although Biron tears the letter up, Dumain recognizes the writing as Biron's and thus his own hypocrisy is revealed. The lords then quickly forgive each other and set about courting their loves by organizing a masked ball for them, asking Holofernes and Armado to organize the event. The lords also decide to visit the ladies in the guise of Russians, not wanting the ladies to know they have failed in their vows.
Costard now enters, bringing news that the actors follow; soon the 'Masque of the Nine Worthies' begins. A great deal of jeering and merry-making goes on until Mercade, the messenger from France, breaks in with news of the death of the Princess' father. The Princess decides to leave immediately for home. When the King requests that she declare her love for him, she tells him he must first prove his own love for her over a twelve-month period. Maria and Katherine tell their lords the same thing. Rosaline metes out the severest task of all to Biron, sentencing him to work in a hospital amusing the sick for twelve months while he waits for her.
The play then ends with a song that celebrates the seasons of spring and winter, represented by the cuckoo and the owl respectively.