As You Like It

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Act III, Scene 3

The forest

       
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Enter TOUCHSTONE and AUDREY; JAQUES behind

  • Touchstone. Come apace, good Audrey; I will fetch up your goats,
    Audrey. And how, Audrey, am I the man yet? Doth my simple feature
    content you?
  • Audrey. Your features! Lord warrant us! What features?
  • Touchstone. I am here with thee and thy goats, as the most 1510
    capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths.
  • Jaques (lord). [Aside] O knowledge ill-inhabited, worse than Jove in a
    thatch'd house!
  • Touchstone. When a man's verses cannot be understood, nor a man's
    good wit seconded with the forward child understanding, it 1515
    strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.
    Truly, I would the gods had made thee poetical.
  • Audrey. I do not know what 'poetical' is. Is it honest in deed and
    word? Is it a true thing?
  • Touchstone. No, truly; for the truest poetry is the most feigning, 1520
    and lovers are given to poetry; and what they swear in poetry may
    be said as lovers they do feign.
  • Audrey. Do you wish, then, that the gods had made me poetical?
  • Touchstone. I do, truly, for thou swear'st to me thou art honest;
    now, if thou wert a poet, I might have some hope thou didst 1525
    feign.
  • Audrey. Would you not have me honest?
  • Touchstone. No, truly, unless thou wert hard-favour'd; for honesty
    coupled to beauty is to have honey a sauce to sugar.
  • Audrey. Well, I am not fair; and therefore I pray the gods make me
    honest.
  • Touchstone. Truly, and to cast away honesty upon a foul slut were
    to put good meat into an unclean dish.
  • Audrey. I am not a slut, though I thank the gods I am foul. 1535
  • Touchstone. Well, praised be the gods for thy foulness;
    sluttishness may come hereafter. But be it as it may be, I will
    marry thee; and to that end I have been with Sir Oliver Martext,
    the vicar of the next village, who hath promis'd to meet me in
    this place of the forest, and to couple us. 1540
  • Audrey. Well, the gods give us joy!
  • Touchstone. Amen. A man may, if he were of a fearful heart, stagger
    in this attempt; for here we have no temple but the wood, no
    assembly but horn-beasts. But what though? Courage! As horns are 1545
    odious, they are necessary. It is said: 'Many a man knows no end
    of his goods.' Right! Many a man has good horns and knows no end
    of them. Well, that is the dowry of his wife; 'tis none of his
    own getting. Horns? Even so. Poor men alone? No, no; the noblest
    deer hath them as huge as the rascal. Is the single man therefore 1550
    blessed? No; as a wall'd town is more worthier than a village, so
    is the forehead of a married man more honourable than the bare
    brow of a bachelor; and by how much defence is better than no
    skill, by so much is horn more precious than to want. Here comes
    Sir Oliver. 1555
    [Enter SIR OLIVER MARTEXT]
    Sir Oliver Martext, you are well met. Will you dispatch us here
    under this tree, or shall we go with you to your chapel?
  • Touchstone. I will not take her on gift of any man. 1560
  • Jaques (lord). [Discovering himself] Proceed, proceed; I'll give her.
  • Touchstone. Good even, good Master What-ye-call't; how do you, sir?
    You are very well met. Goddild you for your last company. I am
    very glad to see you. Even a toy in hand here, sir. Nay; pray be 1565
    cover'd.
  • Touchstone. As the ox hath his bow, sir, the horse his curb, and
    the falcon her bells, so man hath his desires; and as pigeons
    bill, so wedlock would be nibbling. 1570
  • Jaques (lord). And will you, being a man of your breeding, be married
    under a bush, like a beggar? Get you to church and have a good
    priest that can tell you what marriage is; this fellow will but
    join you together as they join wainscot; then one of you will
    prove a shrunk panel, and like green timber warp, warp. 1575
  • Touchstone. [Aside] I am not in the mind but I were better to be
    married of him than of another; for he is not like to marry me
    well; and not being well married, it will be a good excuse for me
    hereafter to leave my wife.
  • Touchstone. Come, sweet Audrey;
    We must be married or we must live in bawdry.
    Farewell, good Master Oliver. Not-
    O sweet Oliver,
    O brave Oliver, 1585
    Leave me not behind thee.
    But-
    Wind away,
    Begone, I say,
    I will not to wedding with thee. 1590
    Exeunt JAQUES, TOUCHSTONE, and AUDREY
  • Sir Oliver Martext. 'Tis no matter; ne'er a fantastical knave of them all
    shall flout me out of my calling. Exit

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