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As You Like It

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Act III, Scene 3

The forest



  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
    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
  • 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.
    Wind away,
    Begone, I say,
    I will not to wedding with thee. 1590
  • Sir Oliver Martext. 'Tis no matter; ne'er a fantastical knave of them all
    shall flout me out of my calling. Exit