As You Like It

by William Shakespeare

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Act III, Scene II: The Forest of Arden

[Enter ORLANDO, with a paper.]


Hang there, my verse, in witness of my love;
     And thou, thrice-crownèd queen of night, survey
With thy chaste eye, from thy pale sphere above,
     Thy huntress' name, that my full life doth sway.
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,
The fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she.


[Enter CORIN and TOUCHSTONE.] 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 naught. 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 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, 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 court, shepherd?

CORIN No, truly.

TOUCHSTONE Then thou art damned.

CORIN Nay, I hope,—

TOUCHSTONE Truly, thou art damned, like an ill-roasted egg, all on 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 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 uncleanly if courtiers were shepherds.

TOUCHSTONE Instance, briefly; come, instance.

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 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.

CORIN And they are often tarred over with the surgery of our sheep; and would you have us kiss tar? The courtier's hands are perfumed 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 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 damned? God help thee, shallow man! God make incision in thee! thou art raw.

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 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 be'st not damned for this, the devil himself will have no shepherds; I cannot see else how thou shouldst 'scape.

CORIN Here comes young Master Ganymede, my new mistress's brother.

[Enter ROSALIND, reading a paper.]


"From the east to western Ind,
         No jewel is like Rosalind.
         Her worth, being mounted on the wind,
         Through all the world bears Rosalind.
         All the pictures fairest lin'd
         Are but black to Rosalind.
         Let no face be kept in mind
         But the fair of Rosalind."

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.

ROSALIND Out, fool!

TOUCHSTONE For a taste:—

If a hart do lack a hind,
         Let him seek out Rosalind.
         If the cat will after kind,
         So be sure will Rosalind.
         Winter garments must be lin'd,
         So must slender Rosalind.
         They that reap must sheaf and bind,—
         Then to cart with Rosalind.
         Sweetest nut hath sourest rind,
         Such a nut is Rosalind.
         He that sweetest rose will find
         Must find love's prick, and Rosalind.

This is the very false gallop of verses: why do you infect yourself with them?

ROSALIND Peace, you dull fool! I found them on a tree.

TOUCHSTONE Truly, the tree yields bad fruit.

ROSALIND I'll graff it with you, and then I shall graff it with a medlar. Then it will be the earliest fruit in the country: for you'll be rotten ere you be half ripe, and that's the right virtue of the medlar.

TOUCHSTONE You have said; but whether wisely or no, let the forest judge. [Enter CELIA, reading a paper.] ROSALIND Peace! Here comes my sister, reading: stand aside.


"Why should this a desert be?
                For it is unpeopled? No;
            Tongues I'll hang on every tree
                That shall civil sayings show:
            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
                '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
            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:
                Nature presently distill'd
            Helen's cheek, but not her heart;
                Cleopatra's majesty;
            Atalanta's better part;
                Sad Lucretia's modesty.
            Thus Rosalind 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,
                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 him, sirrah.

TOUCHSTONE Come, shepherd, let us make an honourable retreat; though not with bag and baggage, yet with scrip and scrippage. [Exeunt CORIN and TOUCHSTONE.] CELIA Didst thou hear these verses?

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.

CELIA But didst thou hear without wondering how thy name should be hanged 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 berhymed since Pythagoras' time, that I was an Irish rat, which I can hardly remember.

CELIA Trow you who hath done this?

ROSALIND Is it a man?

CELIA And a chain, that you once wore, about his neck. Change you colour?

ROSALIND I pray thee, who?

CELIA O lord, lord! it is a hard matter for friends to meet; but mountains may be removed with earthquakes, and so encounter.

ROSALIND Nay, but who is it?

CELIA Is it possible?

ROSALIND Nay, I pr'ythee 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 caparisoned like a man, I have a doublet and hose in my disposition? One inch of delay more is a South-sea of discovery. I pr'ythee tell me who is it? quickly, and speak apace. I would thou couldst stammer, that thou mightst pour this concealed man out of thy mouth, as wine comes out of narrow-mouth'd bottle; either too much at once or none at all. I pr'ythee 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?

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 tripped up the wrestler's heels and your heart both in an instant.

ROSALIND Nay, but the devil take mocking: speak sad brow and true maid.

CELIA I' faith, coz, 'tis he.


CELIA Orlando.

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 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 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.

ROSALIND It may well be called Jove's tree, when it drops forth such fruit.

CELIA Give me audience, good madam.


CELIA There lay he, stretched along like a wounded knight.

ROSALIND Though it be pity to see such a sight, it well becomes the ground.

CELIA Cry, "holla!" to thy tongue, I pr'ythee; it curvets unseasonably. He was furnished like a hunter.

ROSALIND O, ominous! he comes to kill my heart.

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?

ROSALIND 'Tis he: slink by, and note him.

[CELIA and ROSALIND retire.]


JAQUES 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's sake, I thank you too for your society.

JAQUES God buy you: let's meet as little as we can.

ORLANDO I do desire we may be better strangers.

JAQUES I pray you, mar no more trees with writing love songs in their barks.

ORLANDO I pray you, mar no more of my verses with reading them ill-favouredly.

JAQUES Rosalind is your love's name?

ORLANDO Yes, just.

JAQUES I do not like her name.

ORLANDO There was no thought of pleasing you when she was christened.

JAQUES What stature is she of?

ORLANDO Just as high as my heart.

JAQUES You are full of pretty answers. Have you not been acquainted with goldsmiths' wives, and conned them out of rings?

ORLANDO Not so; but I answer you right painted cloth, from whence you have studied your questions.

JAQUES 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 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.

JAQUES The worst fault you have is to be in love.

ORLANDO 'Tis a fault I will not change for your best virtue. I am weary of you.

JAQUES By my troth, I was seeking for a fool when I found you.

ORLANDO He is drowned in the brook; look but in, and you shall see him.

JAQUES. There I shall see mine own figure.

ORLANDO Which I take to be either a fool or a cipher.

JAQUES I'll tarry no longer with you: farewell, good Signior Love.

ORLANDO I am glad of your departure: adieu, good Monsieur Melancholy. [Exit JAQUES.—CELIA and ROSALIND come forward.] ROSALIND I will speak to him like a saucy lacquey, and under that habit play the knave with him.— Do you hear, forester?

ORLANDO Very well: what would you?

ROSALIND I pray you, what is't o'clock?

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.

ORLANDO And why not the swift foot of time? had not that been as proper?

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 withal.

ORLANDO I pr'ythee, 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 solemnized; if the interim be but a se'nnight, time's pace is so hard that it seems the length of seven year.

ORLANDO Who ambles time withal?

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 lacking the burden of lean and wasteful learning, the other knowing no burden of heavy tedious penury. These time ambles withal.

ORLANDO Who doth he gallop withal?

ROSALIND With a thief to the gallows; for though he go as softly 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?

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 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 am not a woman, to be touched with so many giddy offences as he hath generally taxed 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 as halfpence are; every one fault seeming monstrous till his fellow fault came to match it.

ORLANDO I pr'ythee 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 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.

ORLANDO I am he that is so love-shaked: I pray you tell me your remedy.

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.

ORLANDO What were his marks?

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:— then your hose should be ungartered, your bonnet unbanded, your sleeve unbuttoned, 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.

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 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.

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 punished and cured is, that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers are in love too. Yet I profess curing it by counsel.

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, 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 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 cured 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.

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, 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?



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