As You Like It

by William Shakespeare

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Act III, Scene III: Another Part of the Forest

[Enter TOUCHSTONE and AUDREY; JAQUES at a distance observing them.]

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 capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths.

JAQUES [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 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; 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 feign.

AUDREY Would you not have me honest?

TOUCHSTONE No, truly, unless thou wert hard-favoured; for honesty coupled to beauty is to have honey a sauce to sugar.

JAQUES [Aside] A material fool!

AUDREY Well, I am not fair; and therefore I pray the gods make me honest!

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.

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 promised to meet me in this place of the forest, and to couple us.

JAQUES [Aside] I would fain see this meeting.

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 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? Ever to poor men alone?—No, no; the noblest deer hath them as huge as the rascal. Is the single man therefore blessed? No: as a walled 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. [Enter SIR OLIVER MARTEXT.] Sir Oliver Martext, you are well met. Will you despatch us here under this tree, or shall we go with you to your chapel?

MARTEXT Is there none here to give the woman?

TOUCHSTONE I will not take her on gift of any man.

MARTEXT Truly, she must be given, or the marriage is not lawful.

JAQUES [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: God 'ild you for your last company: I am very glad to see you:—even a toy in hand here, sir:—nay; pray be covered.

JAQUES Will you be married, motley?

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.

JAQUES 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.

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.

JAQUES Go thou with me, and let me counsel thee.


Come, sweet Audrey; We must be married or we must live in bawdry.
Farewell, good Master Oliver!—Not—

"O sweet Oliver, O brave Oliver, Leave me not behind thee." But,— "Wind away,— Begone, I say, I will not to wedding with thee."


MARTEXT 'Tis no matter; ne'er a fantastical knave of them all shall flout me out of my calling.



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