As You Like It

by William Shakespeare

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Act I, Scene II: A Lawn Before the Duke's Palace

[Enter ROSALIND and CELIA.] CELIA I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be merry.

ROSALIND Dear Celia, I show more mirth than I am mistress of; and would you yet I were merrier? Unless you could teach me to forget a banished father, you must not learn me how to remember any extraordinary pleasure.

CELIA Herein I see thou lov'st me not with the full weight that I love thee; if my uncle, thy banished father, had banished thy uncle, the duke my father, so thou hadst been still with me, I could have taught my love to take thy father for mine; so wouldst thou, if the truth of thy love to me were so righteously tempered as mine is to thee.

ROSALIND Well, I will forget the condition of my estate, to rejoice in yours.

CELIA You know my father hath no child but I, nor none is like to have; and, truly, when he dies thou shalt be his heir: for what he hath taken away from thy father perforce, I will render thee again in affection: by mine honour, I will; and when I break that oath, let me turn monster; therefore, my sweet Rose, my dear Rose, be merry.

ROSALIND From henceforth I will, coz, and devise sports: let me see; what think you of falling in love?

CELIA Marry, I pr'ythee, do, to make sport withal: but love no man in good earnest, nor no further in sport neither than with safety of a pure blush thou mayst in honour come off again.

ROSALIND What shall be our sport, then?

CELIA Let us sit and mock the good housewife Fortune from her wheel, that her gifts may henceforth be bestowed equally.

ROSALIND I would we could do so; for her benefits are mightily misplaced: and the bountiful blind woman doth most mistake in her gifts to women.

CELIA 'Tis true; for those that she makes fair she scarce makes honest; and those that she makes honest she makes very ill-favouredly.

ROSALIND Nay; now thou goest from Fortune's office to Nature's: Fortune reigns in gifts of the world, not in the lineaments of Nature.

CELIA No; when Nature hath made a fair creature, may she not by Fortune fall into the fire?—Though Nature hath given us wit to flout at Fortune, hath not Fortune sent in this fool to cut off the argument? [Enter TOUCHSTONE.] ROSALIND Indeed, there is Fortune too hard for Nature, when Fortune makes Nature's natural the cutter-off of Nature's wit.

CELIA Peradventure this is not Fortune's work neither, but Nature's, who perceiveth our natural wits too dull to reason of such goddesses, and hath sent this natural for our whetstone: for always the dullness of the fool is the whetstone of the wits.— How now, wit? whither wander you?

TOUCHSTONE Mistress, you must come away to your father.

CELIA Were you made the messenger?

TOUCHSTONE No, by mine honour; but I was bid to come for you.

ROSALIND Where learned you that oath, fool?

TOUCHSTONE Of a certain knight that swore by his honour they were good pancakes, and swore by his honour the mustard was naught: now, I'll stand to it, the pancakes were naught and the mustard was good: and yet was not the knight forsworn.

CELIA How prove you that, in the great heap of your knowledge?

ROSALIND Ay, marry; now unmuzzle your wisdom.

TOUCHSTONE Stand you both forth now: stroke your chins, and swear by your beards that I am a knave.

CELIA By our beards, if we had them, thou art.

TOUCHSTONE By my knavery, if I had it, then I were: but if you swear by that that is not, you are not forsworn: no more was this knight, swearing by his honour, for he never had any; or if he had, he had sworn it away before ever he saw those pancackes or that mustard.

CELIA Pr'ythee, who is't that thou mean'st?

TOUCHSTONE One that old Frederick, your father, loves.

CELIA My father's love is enough to honour him enough: speak no more of him: you'll be whipp'd for taxation one of these days.

TOUCHSTONE The more pity that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly.

CELIA By my troth, thou sayest true: for since the little wit that fools have was silenced, the little foolery that wise men have makes a great show. Here comes Monsieur Le Beau.

ROSALIND With his mouth full of news.

CELIA Which he will put on us as pigeons feed their young.

ROSALIND Then shall we be news-crammed.

CELIA All the better; we shall be the more marketable. [Enter LE BEAU.] Bon jour, Monsieur Le Beau. What's the news?

LE BEAU Fair princess, you have lost much good sport.

CELIA Sport! of what colour?

LE BEAU What colour, madam? How shall I answer you?

ROSALIND As wit and fortune will.

TOUCHSTONE Or as the destinies decrees.

CELIA Well said: that was laid on with a trowel.

TOUCHSTONE Nay, if I keep not my rank,—

ROSALIND Thou losest thy old smell.

LE BEAU You amaze me, ladies; I would have told you of good wrestling, which you have lost the sight of.

ROSALIND Yet tell us the manner of the wrestling.

LE BEAU I will tell you the beginning, and, if it please your ladyships, you may see the end; for the best is yet to do; and here, where you are, they are coming to perform it.

CELIA Well,—the beginning, that is dead and buried.

LE BEAU There comes an old man and his three sons,—

CELIA I could match this beginning with an old tale.

LE BEAU Three proper young men, of excellent growth and presence, with bills on their necks,—

ROSALIND "Be it known unto all men by these presents,"—

LE BEAU The eldest of the three wrestled with Charles, the duke's wrestler; which Charles in a moment threw him, and broke three of his ribs, that there is little hope of life in him: so he served the second, and so the third. Yonder they lie; the poor old man, their father, making such pitiful dole over them that all the beholders take his part with weeping.


TOUCHSTONE But what is the sport, monsieur, that the ladies have lost?

LE BEAU Why, this that I speak of.

TOUCHSTONE Thus men may grow wiser every day! It is the first time that ever I heard breaking of ribs was sport for ladies.

CELIA Or I, I promise thee.

ROSALIND But is there any else longs to see this broken music in his sides? is there yet another dotes upon rib-breaking?— Shall we see this wrestling, cousin?

LE BEAU You must, if you stay here: for here is the place appointed for the wrestling, and they are ready to perform it.

CELIA Yonder, sure, they are coming: let us now stay and see it. [Flourish. Enter DUKE FREDERICK, Lords, ORLANDO, CHARLES, and Attendants.] DUKE FREDERICK Come on; since the youth will not be entreated, his own peril on his forwardness.

ROSALIND Is yonder the man?

LE BEAU Even he, madam.

CELIA Alas, he is too young: yet he looks successfully.

DUKE FREDERICK How now, daughter and cousin? are you crept hither to see the wrestling?

ROSALIND Ay, my liege; so please you give us leave.

DUKE FREDERICK You will take little delight in it, I can tell you, there is such odds in the men. In pity of the challenger's youth I would fain dissuade him, but he will not be entreated. Speak to him, ladies; see if you can move him.

CELIA Call him hither, good Monsieur Le Beau.

DUKE FREDERICK Do so; I'll not be by. [DUKE FREDERICK goes apart.] LE BEAU Monsieur the challenger, the princesses call for you.

ORLANDO I attend them with all respect and duty.

ROSALIND Young man, have you challenged Charles the wrestler?

ORLANDO No, fair princess; he is the general challenger: I come but in, as others do, to try with him the strength of my youth.

CELIA Young gentleman, your spirits are too bold for your years. You have seen cruel proof of this man's strength: if you saw yourself with your eyes, or knew yourself with your judgment, the fear of your adventure would counsel you to a more equal enterprise. We pray you, for your own sake, to embrace your own safety and give over this attempt.

ROSALIND Do, young sir; your reputation shall not therefore be misprised: we will make it our suit to the duke that the wrestling might not go forward.

ORLANDO I beseech you, punish me not with your hard thoughts: wherein I confess me much guilty to deny so fair and excellent ladies anything. But let your fair eyes and gentle wishes go with me to my trial: wherein if I be foiled there is but one shamed that was never gracious; if killed, but one dead that is willing to be so: I shall do my friends no wrong, for I have none to lament me: the world no injury, for in it I have nothing; only in the world I fill up a place, which may be better supplied when I have made it empty.

ROSALIND The little strength that I have, I would it were with you.

CELIA And mine to eke out hers.

ROSALIND Fare you well. Pray heaven, I be deceived in you!

CELIA Your heart's desires be with you.

CHARLES Come, where is this young gallant that is so desirous to lie with his mother earth?

ORLANDO Ready, sir; but his will hath in it a more modest working.

DUKE FREDERICK You shall try but one fall.

CHARLES No; I warrant your grace, you shall not entreat him to a second, that have so mightily persuaded him from a first.

ORLANDO You mean to mock me after; you should not have mocked me before; but come your ways.

ROSALIND Now, Hercules be thy speed, young man!

CELIA I would I were invisible, to catch the strong fellow by the leg. [CHARLES and ORLANDO wrestle.] ROSALIND O excellent young man!

CELIA If I had a thunderbolt in mine eye, I can tell who should down. [CHARLES is thrown. Shout.] DUKE FREDERICK No more, no more.

ORLANDO Yes, I beseech your grace; I am not yet well breathed.

DUKE FREDERICK How dost thou, Charles?

LE BEAU He cannot speak, my lord.

DUKE FREDERICK Bear him away. [CHARLES is borne out.] What is thy name, young man?

ORLANDO Orlando, my liege; the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Bois.

DUKE FREDERICK I would thou hadst been son to some man else. The world esteem'd thy father honourable, But I did find him still mine enemy: Thou shouldst have better pleas'd me with this deed Hadst thou descended from another house. But fare thee well; thou art a gallant youth; I would thou hadst told me of another father. [Exeunt DUKE FREDERICK, Train, and LE BEAU.] CELIA Were I my father, coz, would I do this?

ORLANDO I am more proud to be Sir Rowland's son, His youngest son;—and would not change that calling To be adopted heir to Frederick.

ROSALIND My father loved Sir Rowland as his soul, And all the world was of my father's mind: Had I before known this young man his son, I should have given him tears unto entreaties Ere he should thus have ventur'd.

CELIA Gentle cousin, Let us go thank him, and encourage him: My father's rough and envious disposition Sticks me at heart.—Sir, you have well deserv'd: If you do keep your promises in love But justly, as you have exceeded promise, Your mistress shall be happy.

ROSALIND Gentleman, [Giving him a chain from her neck.] Wear this for me; one out of suits with fortune, That could give more, but that her hand lacks means.— Shall we go, coz?

CELIA Ay.—Fare you well, fair gentleman.

ORLANDO Can I not say, I thank you? My better parts Are all thrown down; and that which here stands up Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.

ROSALIND He calls us back: my pride fell with my fortunes: I'll ask him what he would.—Did you call, sir?— Sir, you have wrestled well, and overthrown More than your enemies.

CELIA Will you go, coz?

ROSALIND Have with you.—Fare you well. [Exeunt ROSALIND and CELIA.] ORLANDO What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue? I cannot speak to her, yet she urg'd conference. O poor Orlando! thou art overthrown: Or Charles, or something weaker, masters thee. [Re-enter LE BEAU.] LE BEAU Good sir, I do in friendship counsel you To leave this place. Albeit you have deserv'd High commendation, true applause, and love, Yet such is now the duke's condition, That he miscónstrues all that you have done. The Duke is humorous; what he is, indeed, More suits you to conceive than I to speak of.

ORLANDO I thank you, sir: and pray you tell me this; Which of the two was daughter of the duke That here was at the wrestling?

LE BEAU Neither his daughter, if we judge by manners; But yet, indeed, the smaller is his daughter: The other is daughter to the banish'd duke, And here detain'd by her usurping uncle, To keep his daughter company; whose loves Are dearer than the natural bond of sisters. But I can tell you that of late this duke Hath ta'en displeasure 'gainst his gentle niece, Grounded upon no other argument But that the people praise her for her virtues And pity her for her good father's sake; And, on my life, his malice 'gainst the lady Will suddenly break forth.—Sir, fare you well! Hereafter, in a better world than this, I shall desire more love and knowledge of you.

ORLANDO I rest much bounden to you: fare you well!

[Exit LE BEAU.]

Thus must I from the smoke into the smother; From tyrant duke unto a tyrant brother:— But heavenly Rosalind! [Exit.]


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