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As You Like It

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Act III, Scene 2

The forest


Enter ORLANDO, with a paper

  • Orlando. Hang there, my verse, in witness of my love;
    And thou, thrice-crowned Queen of Night, survey
    With thy chaste eye, from thy pale sphere above,
    Thy huntress' name that my full life doth sway. 1125
    O Rosalind! these trees shall be my books,
    And in their barks my thoughts I'll character,
    That every eye which in this forest looks
    Shall see thy virtue witness'd every where.
    Run, run, Orlando; carve on every tree, 1130
    The fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she. Exit


  • Corin. And how like you this shepherd's life, Master Touchstone?
  • Touchstone. Truly, shepherd, in respect of itself, it is a good
    life; but in respect that it is a shepherd's life, it is nought. 1135
    In respect that it is solitary, I like it very well; but in
    respect that it is private, it is a very vile life. Now in
    respect it is in the fields, it pleaseth me well; but in respect
    it is not in the court, it is tedious. As it is a spare life,
    look you, it fits my humour well; but as there is no more plenty 1140
    in it, it goes much against my stomach. Hast any philosophy in
    thee, shepherd?
  • Corin. No more but that I know the more one sickens the worse at
    ease he is; and that he that wants money, means, and content, is
    without three good friends; that the property of rain is to wet, 1145
    and fire to burn; that good pasture makes fat sheep; and that a
    great cause of the night is lack of the sun; that he that hath
    learned no wit by nature nor art may complain of good breeding,
    or comes of a very dull kindred.
  • Touchstone. Such a one is a natural philosopher. Wast ever in 1150
    court, shepherd?
  • Touchstone. Truly, thou art damn'd, like an ill-roasted egg, all on 1155
    one side.
  • Corin. For not being at court? Your reason.
  • Touchstone. Why, if thou never wast at court thou never saw'st good
    manners; if thou never saw'st good manners, then thy manners must
    be wicked; and wickedness is sin, and sin is damnation. Thou art 1160
    in a parlous state, shepherd.
  • Corin. Not a whit, Touchstone. Those that are good manners at the
    court are as ridiculous in the country as the behaviour of the
    country is most mockable at the court. You told me you salute not
    at the court, but you kiss your hands; that courtesy would be 1165
    uncleanly if courtiers were shepherds.
  • Corin. Why, we are still handling our ewes; and their fells, you
    know, are greasy.
  • Touchstone. Why, do not your courtier's hands sweat? And is not the 1170
    grease of a mutton as wholesome as the sweat of a man? Shallow,
    shallow. A better instance, I say; come.
  • Corin. Besides, our hands are hard.
  • Touchstone. Your lips will feel them the sooner. Shallow again. A
    more sounder instance; come. 1175
  • Corin. And they are often tarr'd over with the surgery of our
    sheep; and would you have us kiss tar? The courtier's hands are
    perfum'd with civet.
  • Touchstone. Most shallow man! thou worm's meat in respect of a good
    piece of flesh indeed! Learn of the wise, and perpend: civet is 1180
    of a baser birth than tar- the very uncleanly flux of a cat. Mend
    the instance, shepherd.
  • Corin. You have too courtly a wit for me; I'll rest.
  • Touchstone. Wilt thou rest damn'd? God help thee, shallow man! God
    make incision in thee! thou art raw. 1185
  • Corin. Sir, I am a true labourer: I earn that I eat, get that I
    wear; owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness; glad of other
    men's good, content with my harm; and the greatest of my pride is
    to see my ewes graze and my lambs suck.
  • Touchstone. That is another simple sin in you: to bring the ewes 1190
    and the rams together, and to offer to get your living by the
    copulation of cattle; to be bawd to a bell-wether, and to betray
    a she-lamb of a twelvemonth to crooked-pated, old, cuckoldly ram,
    out of all reasonable match. If thou beest not damn'd for this,
    the devil himself will have no shepherds; I cannot see else how 1195
    thou shouldst scape.
  • Corin. Here comes young Master Ganymede, my new mistress's brother.

Enter ROSALIND, reading a paper

  • Rosalind. 'From the east to western Inde,
    No jewel is like Rosalinde. 1200
    Her worth, being mounted on the wind,
    Through all the world bears Rosalinde.
    All the pictures fairest lin'd
    Are but black to Rosalinde.
    Let no face be kept in mind 1205
    But the fair of Rosalinde.'
  • Touchstone. I'll rhyme you so eight years together, dinners, and
    suppers, and sleeping hours, excepted. It is the right
    butter-women's rank to market.
  • Touchstone. For a taste:
    If a hart do lack a hind,
    Let him seek out Rosalinde.
    If the cat will after kind,
    So be sure will Rosalinde. 1215
    Winter garments must be lin'd,
    So must slender Rosalinde.
    They that reap must sheaf and bind,
    Then to cart with Rosalinde.
    Sweetest nut hath sourest rind, 1220
    Such a nut is Rosalinde.
    He that sweetest rose will find
    Must find love's prick and Rosalinde.
    This is the very false gallop of verses; why do you infect
    yourself with them? 1225
  • Rosalind. Peace, you dull fool! I found them on a tree.
  • Rosalind. I'll graff it with you, and then I shall graff it with a
    medlar. Then it will be the earliest fruit i' th' country; for
    you'll be rotten ere you be half ripe, and that's the right 1230
    virtue of the medlar.
  • Touchstone. You have said; but whether wisely or no, let the forest
    Enter CELIA, with a writing
  • Rosalind. Peace! 1235
    Here comes my sister, reading; stand aside.
  • Celia. 'Why should this a desert be?
    For it is unpeopled? No;
    Tongues I'll hang on every tree
    That shall civil sayings show. 1240
    Some, how brief the life of man
    Runs his erring pilgrimage,
    That the streching of a span
    Buckles in his sum of age;
    Some, of violated vows 1245
    'Twixt the souls of friend and friend;
    But upon the fairest boughs,
    Or at every sentence end,
    Will I Rosalinda write,
    Teaching all that read to know 1250
    The quintessence of every sprite
    Heaven would in little show.
    Therefore heaven Nature charg'd
    That one body should be fill'd
    With all graces wide-enlarg'd. 1255
    Nature presently distill'd
    Helen's cheek, but not her heart,
    Cleopatra's majesty,
    Atalanta's better part,
    Sad Lucretia's modesty. 1260
    Thus Rosalinde of many parts
    By heavenly synod was devis'd,
    Of many faces, eyes, and hearts,
    To have the touches dearest priz'd.
    Heaven would that she these gifts should have, 1265
    And I to live and die her slave.'
  • Rosalind. O most gentle Jupiter! What tedious homily of love have
    you wearied your parishioners withal, and never cried 'Have
    patience, good people.'
  • Celia. How now! Back, friends; shepherd, go off a little; go with 1270
    him, sirrah.
  • Touchstone. Come, shepherd, let us make an honourable retreat;
    though not with bag and baggage, yet with scrip and scrippage.


  • Celia. Didst thou hear these verses? 1275
  • Rosalind. O, yes, I heard them all, and more too; for some of them
    had in them more feet than the verses would bear.
  • Celia. That's no matter; the feet might bear the verses.
  • Rosalind. Ay, but the feet were lame, and could not bear themselves
    without the verse, and therefore stood lamely in the verse. 1280
  • Celia. But didst thou hear without wondering how thy name should be
    hang'd and carved upon these trees?
  • Rosalind. I was seven of the nine days out of the wonder before you
    came; for look here what I found on a palm-tree. I was never so
    berhym'd since Pythagoras' time that I was an Irish rat, which I 1285
    can hardly remember.
  • Celia. Trow you who hath done this?
  • Celia. And a chain, that you once wore, about his neck.
    Change you colour? 1290
  • Celia. O Lord, Lord! it is a hard matter for friends to meet; but
    mountains may be remov'd with earthquakes, and so encounter.
  • Celia. Is it possible? 1295
  • Rosalind. Nay, I prithee now, with most petitionary vehemence, tell
    me who it is.
  • Celia. O wonderful, wonderful, most wonderful wonderful, and yet
    again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping!
  • Rosalind. Good my complexion! dost thou think, though I am 1300
    caparison'd like a man, I have a doublet and hose in my
    disposition? One inch of delay more is a South Sea of discovery.
    I prithee tell me who is it quickly, and speak apace. I would
    thou could'st stammer, that thou mightst pour this conceal'd man
    out of thy mouth, as wine comes out of narrow-mouth'd bottle- 1305
    either too much at once or none at all. I prithee take the cork
    out of thy mouth that I may drink thy tidings.
  • Celia. So you may put a man in your belly.
  • Rosalind. Is he of God's making? What manner of man?
    Is his head worth a hat or his chin worth a beard? 1310
  • Celia. Nay, he hath but a little beard.
  • Rosalind. Why, God will send more if the man will be thankful. Let
    me stay the growth of his beard, if thou delay me not the
    knowledge of his chin.
  • Celia. It is young Orlando, that tripp'd up the wrestler's heels 1315
    and your heart both in an instant.
  • Rosalind. Nay, but the devil take mocking! Speak sad brow and true
  • Celia. I' faith, coz, 'tis he.
  • Rosalind. Alas the day! what shall I do with my doublet and hose?
    What did he when thou saw'st him? What said he? How look'd he?
    Wherein went he? What makes he here? Did he ask for me? Where
    remains he? How parted he with thee? And when shalt thou see him 1325
    again? Answer me in one word.
  • Celia. You must borrow me Gargantua's mouth first; 'tis a word too
    great for any mouth of this age's size. To say ay and no to these
    particulars is more than to answer in a catechism.
  • Rosalind. But doth he know that I am in this forest, and in man's 1330
    apparel? Looks he as freshly as he did the day he wrestled?
  • Celia. It is as easy to count atomies as to resolve the
    propositions of a lover; but take a taste of my finding him, and
    relish it with good observance. I found him under a tree, like a
    dropp'd acorn. 1335
  • Rosalind. It may well be call'd Jove's tree, when it drops forth
    such fruit.
  • Celia. Give me audience, good madam.
  • Celia. There lay he, stretch'd along like a wounded knight. 1340
  • Rosalind. Though it be pity to see such a sight, it well becomes
    the ground.
  • Celia. Cry 'Holla' to thy tongue, I prithee; it curvets
    unseasonably. He was furnish'd like a hunter.
  • Rosalind. O, ominous! he comes to kill my heart. 1345
  • Celia. I would sing my song without a burden; thou bring'st me out
    of tune.
  • Rosalind. Do you not know I am a woman? When I think, I must speak.
    Sweet, say on.
  • Celia. You bring me out. Soft! comes he not here? 1350


  • Rosalind. 'Tis he; slink by, and note him.
  • Jaques (lord). I thank you for your company; but, good faith, I had as
    lief have been myself alone.
  • Orlando. And so had I; but yet, for fashion sake, I thank you too 1355
    for your society.
  • Orlando. I do desire we may be better strangers.
  • Jaques (lord). I pray you mar no more trees with writing love songs in
    their barks. 1360
  • Orlando. I pray you mar no more of my verses with reading them
  • Orlando. There was no thought of pleasing you when she was
  • Orlando. Just as high as my heart.
  • Jaques (lord). You are full of pretty answers. Have you not been 1370
    acquainted with goldsmiths' wives, and conn'd them out of rings?
  • Orlando. Not so; but I answer you right painted cloth, from whence
    you have studied your questions.
  • Jaques (lord). You have a nimble wit; I think 'twas made of Atalanta's
    heels. Will you sit down with me? and we two will rail against 1375
    our mistress the world, and all our misery.
  • Orlando. I will chide no breather in the world but myself, against
    whom I know most faults.
  • Orlando. 'Tis a fault I will not change for your best virtue. I am 1380
    weary of you.
  • Jaques (lord). By my troth, I was seeking for a fool when I found you.
  • Orlando. He is drown'd in the brook; look but in, and you shall see
  • Orlando. Which I take to be either a fool or a cipher.
  • Jaques (lord). I'll tarry no longer with you; farewell, good Signior Love.
  • Orlando. I am glad of your departure; adieu, good Monsieur


  • Rosalind. [Aside to CELIA] I will speak to him like a saucy lackey,
    and under that habit play the knave with him.- Do you hear,
  • Orlando. Very well; what would you?
  • Rosalind. I pray you, what is't o'clock? 1395
  • Orlando. You should ask me what time o' day; there's no clock in
    the forest.
  • Rosalind. Then there is no true lover in the forest, else sighing
    every minute and groaning every hour would detect the lazy foot
    of Time as well as a clock. 1400
  • Orlando. And why not the swift foot of Time? Had not that been as
  • Rosalind. By no means, sir. Time travels in divers paces with
    divers persons. I'll tell you who Time ambles withal, who Time
    trots withal, who Time gallops withal, and who he stands still 1405
  • Orlando. I prithee, who doth he trot withal?
  • Rosalind. Marry, he trots hard with a young maid between the
    contract of her marriage and the day it is solemniz'd; if the
    interim be but a se'nnight, Time's pace is so hard that it seems 1410
    the length of seven year.
  • Rosalind. With a priest that lacks Latin and a rich man that hath
    not the gout; for the one sleeps easily because he cannot study,
    and the other lives merrily because he feels no pain; the one 1415
    lacking the burden of lean and wasteful learning, the other
    knowing no burden of heavy tedious penury. These Time ambles
  • Orlando. Who doth he gallop withal?
  • Rosalind. With a thief to the gallows; for though he go as softly 1420
    as foot can fall, he thinks himself too soon there.
  • Orlando. Who stays it still withal?
  • Rosalind. With lawyers in the vacation; for they sleep between term
    and term, and then they perceive not how Time moves.
  • Orlando. Where dwell you, pretty youth? 1425
  • Rosalind. With this shepherdess, my sister; here in the skirts of
    the forest, like fringe upon a petticoat.
  • Orlando. Are you native of this place?
  • Rosalind. As the coney that you see dwell where she is kindled.
  • Orlando. Your accent is something finer than you could purchase in 1430
    so removed a dwelling.
  • Rosalind. I have been told so of many; but indeed an old religious
    uncle of mine taught me to speak, who was in his youth an inland
    man; one that knew courtship too well, for there he fell in love.
    I have heard him read many lectures against it; and I thank God I 1435
    am not a woman, to be touch'd with so many giddy offences as he
    hath generally tax'd their whole sex withal.
  • Orlando. Can you remember any of the principal evils that he laid
    to the charge of women?
  • Rosalind. There were none principal; they were all like one another 1440
    as halfpence are; every one fault seeming monstrous till his
    fellow-fault came to match it.
  • Orlando. I prithee recount some of them.
  • Rosalind. No; I will not cast away my physic but on those that are
    sick. There is a man haunts the forest that abuses our young 1445
    plants with carving 'Rosalind' on their barks; hangs odes upon
    hawthorns and elegies on brambles; all, forsooth, deifying the
    name of Rosalind. If I could meet that fancy-monger, I would give
    him some good counsel, for he seems to have the quotidian of love
    upon him. 1450
  • Orlando. I am he that is so love-shak'd; I pray you tell me your
  • Rosalind. There is none of my uncle's marks upon you; he taught me
    how to know a man in love; in which cage of rushes I am sure you
    are not prisoner. 1455
  • Rosalind. A lean cheek, which you have not; a blue eye and sunken,
    which you have not; an unquestionable spirit, which you have not;
    a beard neglected, which you have not; but I pardon you for that,
    for simply your having in beard is a younger brother's revenue. 1460
    Then your hose should be ungarter'd, your bonnet unbanded, your
    sleeve unbutton'd, your shoe untied, and every thing about you
    demonstrating a careless desolation. But you are no such man; you
    are rather point-device in your accoutrements, as loving yourself
    than seeming the lover of any other. 1465
  • Orlando. Fair youth, I would I could make thee believe I love.
  • Rosalind. Me believe it! You may as soon make her that you love
    believe it; which, I warrant, she is apter to do than to confess
    she does. That is one of the points in the which women still give
    the lie to their consciences. But, in good sooth, are you he that 1470
    hangs the verses on the trees wherein Rosalind is so admired?
  • Orlando. I swear to thee, youth, by the white hand of Rosalind, I
    am that he, that unfortunate he.
  • Rosalind. But are you so much in love as your rhymes speak?
  • Orlando. Neither rhyme nor reason can express how much. 1475
  • Rosalind. Love is merely a madness; and, I tell you, deserves as
    well a dark house and a whip as madmen do; and the reason why
    they are not so punish'd and cured is that the lunacy is so
    ordinary that the whippers are in love too. Yet I profess curing
    it by counsel. 1480
  • Orlando. Did you ever cure any so?
  • Rosalind. Yes, one; and in this manner. He was to imagine me his
    love, his mistress; and I set him every day to woo me; at which
    time would I, being but a moonish youth, grieve, be effeminate,
    changeable, longing and liking, proud, fantastical, apish, 1485
    shallow, inconstant, full of tears, full of smiles; for every
    passion something and for no passion truly anything, as boys and
    women are for the most part cattle of this colour; would now like
    him, now loathe him; then entertain him, then forswear him; now
    weep for him, then spit at him; that I drave my suitor from his 1490
    mad humour of love to a living humour of madness; which was, to
    forswear the full stream of the world and to live in a nook
    merely monastic. And thus I cur'd him; and this way will I take
    upon me to wash your liver as clean as a sound sheep's heart,
    that there shall not be one spot of love in 't. 1495
  • Orlando. I would not be cured, youth.
  • Rosalind. I would cure you, if you would but call me Rosalind, and
    come every day to my cote and woo me.
  • Orlando. Now, by the faith of my love, I will. Tell me where it is.
  • Rosalind. Go with me to it, and I'll show it you; and, by the way, 1500
    you shall tell me where in the forest you live. Will you go?
  • Orlando. With all my heart, good youth.
  • Rosalind. Nay, you must call me Rosalind. Come, sister, will you
    go? Exeunt