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Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge.

      — Titus Andronicus, Act I Scene 2

As You Like It

Act IV

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Scene 1. The forest

Scene 2. The forest

Scene 3. The forest

---
       

Act IV, Scene 1

The forest

      next scene .
---

Enter ROSALIND, CELIA, and JAQUES

  • Jaques (lord). I prithee, pretty youth, let me be better acquainted with
    thee.
  • Rosalind. They say you are a melancholy fellow.
  • Rosalind. Those that are in extremity of either are abominable
    fellows, and betray themselves to every modern censure worse than
    drunkards.
  • Rosalind. Why then, 'tis good to be a post. 1805
  • Jaques (lord). I have neither the scholar's melancholy, which is
    emulation; nor the musician's, which is fantastical; nor the
    courtier's, which is proud; nor the soldier's, which is
    ambitious; nor the lawyer's, which is politic; nor the lady's,
    which is nice; nor the lover's, which is all these; but it is a 1810
    melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted
    from many objects, and, indeed, the sundry contemplation of my
    travels; in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous
    sadness.
  • Rosalind. A traveller! By my faith, you have great reason to be 1815
    sad. I fear you have sold your own lands to see other men's; then
    to have seen much and to have nothing is to have rich eyes and
    poor hands.

Enter ORLANDO

  • Rosalind. And your experience makes you sad. I had rather have a
    fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad- and to
    travel for it too.
  • Orlando. Good day, and happiness, dear Rosalind!
  • Jaques (lord). Nay, then, God buy you, an you talk in blank verse. 1825
  • Rosalind. Farewell, Monsieur Traveller; look you lisp and wear
    strange suits, disable all the benefits of your own country, be
    out of love with your nativity, and almost chide God for making
    you that countenance you are; or I will scarce think you have
    swam in a gondola. [Exit JAQUES] Why, how now, Orlando! where 1830
    have you been all this while? You a lover! An you serve me such
    another trick, never come in my sight more.
  • Orlando. My fair Rosalind, I come within an hour of my promise.
  • Rosalind. Break an hour's promise in love! He that will divide a
    minute into a thousand parts, and break but a part of the 1835
    thousand part of a minute in the affairs of love, it may be said
    of him that Cupid hath clapp'd him o' th' shoulder, but I'll
    warrant him heart-whole.
  • Orlando. Pardon me, dear Rosalind.
  • Rosalind. Nay, an you be so tardy, come no more in my sight. I had 1840
    as lief be woo'd of a snail.
  • Rosalind. Ay, of a snail; for though he comes slowly, he carries
    his house on his head- a better jointure, I think, than you make
    a woman; besides, he brings his destiny with him. 1845
  • Rosalind. Why, horns; which such as you are fain to be beholding to
    your wives for; but he comes armed in his fortune, and prevents
    the slander of his wife.
  • Orlando. Virtue is no horn-maker; and my Rosalind is virtuous. 1850
  • Celia. It pleases him to call you so; but he hath a Rosalind of a
    better leer than you.
  • Rosalind. Come, woo me, woo me; for now I am in a holiday humour,
    and like enough to consent. What would you say to me now, an I 1855
    were your very very Rosalind?
  • Orlando. I would kiss before I spoke.
  • Rosalind. Nay, you were better speak first; and when you were
    gravell'd for lack of matter, you might take occasion to kiss.
    Very good orators, when they are out, they will spit; and for 1860
    lovers lacking- God warn us!- matter, the cleanliest shift is to
    kiss.
  • Orlando. How if the kiss be denied?
  • Rosalind. Then she puts you to entreaty, and there begins new
    matter. 1865
  • Orlando. Who could be out, being before his beloved mistress?
  • Rosalind. Marry, that should you, if I were your mistress; or I
    should think my honesty ranker than my wit.
  • Rosalind. Not out of your apparel, and yet out of your suit. 1870
    Am not I your Rosalind?
  • Orlando. I take some joy to say you are, because I would be talking
    of her.
  • Rosalind. Well, in her person, I say I will not have you.
  • Orlando. Then, in mine own person, I die. 1875
  • Rosalind. No, faith, die by attorney. The poor world is almost six
    thousand years old, and in all this time there was not any man
    died in his own person, videlicet, in a love-cause. Troilus had
    his brains dash'd out with a Grecian club; yet he did what he
    could to die before, and he is one of the patterns of love. 1880
    Leander, he would have liv'd many a fair year, though Hero had
    turn'd nun, if it had not been for a hot midsummer night; for,
    good youth, he went but forth to wash him in the Hellespont, and,
    being taken with the cramp, was drown'd; and the foolish
    chroniclers of that age found it was- Hero of Sestos. But these 1885
    are all lies: men have died from time to time, and worms have
    eaten them, but not for love.
  • Orlando. I would not have my right Rosalind of this mind; for, I
    protest, her frown might kill me.
  • Rosalind. By this hand, it will not kill a fly. But come, now I 1890
    will be your Rosalind in a more coming-on disposition; and ask me
    what you will, I will grant it.
  • Rosalind. Yes, faith, will I, Fridays and Saturdays, and all.
  • Orlando. And wilt thou have me? 1895
  • Rosalind. Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing? Come, 1900
    sister, you shall be the priest, and marry us. Give me your hand,
    Orlando. What do you say, sister?
  • Celia. I cannot say the words.
  • Rosalind. You must begin 'Will you, Orlando'- 1905
  • Celia. Go to. Will you, Orlando, have to wife this Rosalind?
  • Orlando. Why, now; as fast as she can marry us.
  • Rosalind. Then you must say 'I take thee, Rosalind, for wife.' 1910
  • Orlando. I take thee, Rosalind, for wife.
  • Rosalind. I might ask you for your commission; but- I do take thee,
    Orlando, for my husband. There's a girl goes before the priest;
    and, certainly, a woman's thought runs before her actions.
  • Orlando. So do all thoughts; they are wing'd. 1915
  • Rosalind. Now tell me how long you would have her, after you have
    possess'd her.
  • Rosalind. Say 'a day' without the 'ever.' No, no, Orlando; men are
    April when they woo, December when they wed: maids are May when 1920
    they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives. I will
    be more jealous of thee than a Barbary cock-pigeon over his hen,
    more clamorous than a parrot against rain, more new-fangled than
    an ape, more giddy in my desires than a monkey. I will weep for
    nothing, like Diana in the fountain, and I will do that when you 1925
    are dispos'd to be merry; I will laugh like a hyen, and that when
    thou are inclin'd to sleep.
  • Orlando. But will my Rosalind do so?
  • Rosalind. By my life, she will do as I do.
  • Rosalind. Or else she could not have the wit to do this. The wiser,
    the waywarder. Make the doors upon a woman's wit, and it will out
    at the casement; shut that, and 'twill out at the key-hole; stop
    that, 'twill fly with the smoke out at the chimney.
  • Orlando. A man that had a wife with such a wit, he might say 'Wit, 1935
    whither wilt?'
  • Rosalind. Nay, you might keep that check for it, till you met your
    wife's wit going to your neighbour's bed.
  • Orlando. And what wit could wit have to excuse that?
  • Rosalind. Marry, to say she came to seek you there. You shall never 1940
    take her without her answer, unless you take her without her
    tongue. O, that woman that cannot make her fault her husband's
    occasion, let her never nurse her child herself, for she will
    breed it like a fool!
  • Orlando. For these two hours, Rosalind, I will leave thee. 1945
  • Rosalind. Alas, dear love, I cannot lack thee two hours!
  • Orlando. I must attend the Duke at dinner; by two o'clock I will be
    with thee again.
  • Rosalind. Ay, go your ways, go your ways. I knew what you would
    prove; my friends told me as much, and I thought no less. That 1950
    flattering tongue of yours won me. 'Tis but one cast away, and
    so, come death! Two o'clock is your hour?
  • Rosalind. By my troth, and in good earnest, and so God mend me, and
    by all pretty oaths that are not dangerous, if you break one jot 1955
    of your promise, or come one minute behind your hour, I will
    think you the most pathetical break-promise, and the most hollow
    lover, and the most unworthy of her you call Rosalind, that may
    be chosen out of the gross band of the unfaithful. Therefore
    beware my censure, and keep your promise. 1960
  • Orlando. With no less religion than if thou wert indeed my
    Rosalind; so, adieu.
  • Rosalind. Well, Time is the old justice that examines all such
    offenders, and let Time try. Adieu. Exit ORLANDO
  • Celia. You have simply misus'd our sex in your love-prate. We must 1965
    have your doublet and hose pluck'd over your head, and show the
    world what the bird hath done to her own nest.
  • Rosalind. O coz, coz, coz, my pretty little coz, that thou didst
    know how many fathom deep I am in love! But it cannot be sounded;
    my affection hath an unknown bottom, like the Bay of Portugal. 1970
  • Celia. Or rather, bottomless; that as fast as you pour affection
    in, it runs out.
  • Rosalind. No; that same wicked bastard of Venus, that was begot of
    thought, conceiv'd of spleen, and born of madness; that blind
    rascally boy, that abuses every one's eyes, because his own are 1975
    out- let him be judge how deep I am in love. I'll tell thee,
    Aliena, I cannot be out of the sight of Orlando. I'll go find a
    shadow, and sigh till he come.
  • Celia. And I'll sleep. Exeunt
---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 2

The forest

      next scene .
---

Enter JAQUES and LORDS, in the habit of foresters

  • Lord. Sir, it was I.
  • Jaques (lord). Let's present him to the Duke, like a Roman conqueror; and
    it would do well to set the deer's horns upon his head for a
    branch of victory. Have you no song, forester, for this purpose? 1985
  • Jaques (lord). Sing it; 'tis no matter how it be in tune, so it make noise
    enough.
    SONG.
    What shall he have that kill'd the deer? 1990
    His leather skin and horns to wear.
    [The rest shall hear this burden:]
    Then sing him home.
    Take thou no scorn to wear the horn;
    It was a crest ere thou wast born. 1995
    Thy father's father wore it;
    And thy father bore it.
    The horn, the horn, the lusty horn,
    Is not a thing to laugh to scorn. Exeunt
---
. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 3

The forest

       
---

Enter ROSALIND and CELIA

  • Rosalind. How say you now? Is it not past two o'clock?
    And here much Orlando!
  • Celia. I warrant you, with pure love and troubled brain, he hath
    ta'en his bow and arrows, and is gone forth- to sleep. Look, who
    comes here. 2005

Enter SILVIUS

  • Silvius. My errand is to you, fair youth;
    My gentle Phebe did bid me give you this.
    I know not the contents; but, as I guess
    By the stern brow and waspish action 2010
    Which she did use as she was writing of it,
    It bears an angry tenour. Pardon me,
    I am but as a guiltless messenger.
  • Rosalind. Patience herself would startle at this letter,
    And play the swaggerer. Bear this, bear all. 2015
    She says I am not fair, that I lack manners;
    She calls me proud, and that she could not love me,
    Were man as rare as Phoenix. 'Od's my will!
    Her love is not the hare that I do hunt;
    Why writes she so to me? Well, shepherd, well, 2020
    This is a letter of your own device.
  • Silvius. No, I protest, I know not the contents;
    Phebe did write it.
  • Rosalind. Come, come, you are a fool,
    And turn'd into the extremity of love. 2025
    I saw her hand; she has a leathern hand,
    A freestone-colour'd hand; I verily did think
    That her old gloves were on, but 'twas her hands;
    She has a huswife's hand- but that's no matter.
    I say she never did invent this letter: 2030
    This is a man's invention, and his hand.
  • Rosalind. Why, 'tis a boisterous and a cruel style;
    A style for challengers. Why, she defies me,
    Like Turk to Christian. Women's gentle brain 2035
    Could not drop forth such giant-rude invention,
    Such Ethiope words, blacker in their effect
    Than in their countenance. Will you hear the letter?
  • Silvius. So please you, for I never heard it yet;
    Yet heard too much of Phebe's cruelty. 2040
  • Rosalind. She Phebes me: mark how the tyrant writes. [Reads]
    'Art thou god to shepherd turn'd,
    That a maiden's heart hath burn'd?'
    Can a woman rail thus?
  • Silvius. Call you this railing? 2045
  • Rosalind. 'Why, thy godhead laid apart,
    Warr'st thou with a woman's heart?'
    Did you ever hear such railing?
    'Whiles the eye of man did woo me,
    That could do no vengeance to me.' 2050
    Meaning me a beast.
    'If the scorn of your bright eyne
    Have power to raise such love in mine,
    Alack, in me what strange effect
    Would they work in mild aspect! 2055
    Whiles you chid me, I did love;
    How then might your prayers move!
    He that brings this love to the
    Little knows this love in me;
    And by him seal up thy mind, 2060
    Whether that thy youth and kind
    Will the faithful offer take
    Of me and all that I can make;
    Or else by him my love deny,
    And then I'll study how to die.' 2065
  • Celia. Alas, poor shepherd!
  • Rosalind. Do you pity him? No, he deserves no pity. Wilt thou love
    such a woman? What, to make thee an instrument, and play false
    strains upon thee! Not to be endur'd! Well, go your way to her, 2070
    for I see love hath made thee tame snake, and say this to her-
    that if she love me, I charge her to love thee; if she will not,
    I will never have her unless thou entreat for her. If you be a
    true lover, hence, and not a word; for here comes more company.

Exit SILVIUS

[Enter OLIVER]

  • Oliver. Good morrow, fair ones; pray you, if you know,
    Where in the purlieus of this forest stands
    A sheep-cote fenc'd about with olive trees?
  • Celia. West of this place, down in the neighbour bottom. 2080
    The rank of osiers by the murmuring stream
    Left on your right hand brings you to the place.
    But at this hour the house doth keep itself;
    There's none within.
  • Oliver. If that an eye may profit by a tongue, 2085
    Then should I know you by description-
    Such garments, and such years: 'The boy is fair,
    Of female favour, and bestows himself
    Like a ripe sister; the woman low,
    And browner than her brother.' Are not you 2090
    The owner of the house I did inquire for?
  • Celia. It is no boast, being ask'd, to say we are.
  • Oliver. Orlando doth commend him to you both;
    And to that youth he calls his Rosalind
    He sends this bloody napkin. Are you he? 2095
  • Rosalind. I am. What must we understand by this?
  • Oliver. Some of my shame; if you will know of me
    What man I am, and how, and why, and where,
    This handkercher was stain'd.
  • Celia. I pray you, tell it. 2100
  • Oliver. When last the young Orlando parted from you,
    He left a promise to return again
    Within an hour; and, pacing through the forest,
    Chewing the food of sweet and bitter fancy,
    Lo, what befell! He threw his eye aside, 2105
    And mark what object did present itself.
    Under an oak, whose boughs were moss'd with age,
    And high top bald with dry antiquity,
    A wretched ragged man, o'ergrown with hair,
    Lay sleeping on his back. About his neck 2110
    A green and gilded snake had wreath'd itself,
    Who with her head nimble in threats approach'd
    The opening of his mouth; but suddenly,
    Seeing Orlando, it unlink'd itself,
    And with indented glides did slip away 2115
    Into a bush; under which bush's shade
    A lioness, with udders all drawn dry,
    Lay couching, head on ground, with catlike watch,
    When that the sleeping man should stir; for 'tis
    The royal disposition of that beast 2120
    To prey on nothing that doth seem as dead.
    This seen, Orlando did approach the man,
    And found it was his brother, his elder brother.
  • Celia. O, I have heard him speak of that same brother;
    And he did render him the most unnatural 2125
    That liv'd amongst men.
  • Oliver. And well he might so do,
    For well I know he was unnatural.
  • Rosalind. But, to Orlando: did he leave him there,
    Food to the suck'd and hungry lioness? 2130
  • Oliver. Twice did he turn his back, and purpos'd so;
    But kindness, nobler ever than revenge,
    And nature, stronger than his just occasion,
    Made him give battle to the lioness,
    Who quickly fell before him; in which hurtling 2135
    From miserable slumber I awak'd.
  • Celia. Are you his brother?
  • Celia. Was't you that did so oft contrive to kill him?
  • Oliver. 'Twas I; but 'tis not I. I do not shame 2140
    To tell you what I was, since my conversion
    So sweetly tastes, being the thing I am.
  • Oliver. By and by.
    When from the first to last, betwixt us two, 2145
    Tears our recountments had most kindly bath'd,
    As how I came into that desert place-
    In brief, he led me to the gentle Duke,
    Who gave me fresh array and entertainment,
    Committing me unto my brother's love; 2150
    Who led me instantly unto his cave,
    There stripp'd himself, and here upon his arm
    The lioness had torn some flesh away,
    Which all this while had bled; and now he fainted,
    And cried, in fainting, upon Rosalind. 2155
    Brief, I recover'd him, bound up his wound,
    And, after some small space, being strong at heart,
    He sent me hither, stranger as I am,
    To tell this story, that you might excuse
    His broken promise, and to give this napkin, 2160
    Dy'd in his blood, unto the shepherd youth
    That he in sport doth call his Rosalind.

[ROSALIND swoons]

  • Celia. Why, how now, Ganymede! sweet Ganymede!
  • Oliver. Many will swoon when they do look on blood. 2165
  • Celia. There is more in it. Cousin Ganymede!
  • Celia. We'll lead you thither.
    I pray you, will you take him by the arm? 2170
  • Oliver. Be of good cheer, youth. You a man!
    You lack a man's heart.
  • Rosalind. I do so, I confess it. Ah, sirrah, a body would think
    this was well counterfeited. I pray you tell your brother how
    well I counterfeited. Heigh-ho! 2175
  • Oliver. This was not counterfeit; there is too great testimony in
    your complexion that it was a passion of earnest.
  • Oliver. Well then, take a good heart and counterfeit to be a man.
  • Rosalind. So I do; but, i' faith, I should have been a woman by 2180
    right.
  • Celia. Come, you look paler and paler; pray you draw homewards.
    Good sir, go with us.
  • Oliver. That will I, for I must bear answer back
    How you excuse my brother, Rosalind. 2185
  • Rosalind. I shall devise something; but, I pray you, commend my
    counterfeiting to him. Will you go? Exeunt

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