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 witnessed everywhere.
Run, run, Orlando, carve on every tree
The fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she.
Enter Corin and Clown [Touchstone].
And how like you this shepherd's life, Master 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 humor well; but as there is no more plenty
in it, it goes much against my stomach. Hast any philosophy in thee, shepherd?
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.
Such a one is a natural philosopher. Wast ever in court, shepherd?
Then thou art damned.
Truly, thou art damned, like an ill-roasted egg, all on one side.
For not being at court? Your reason.
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.
Not a whit, Touchstone. Those that are good manners at the court are as ridiculous
in the country as the behavior 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.
Instance, briefly; come, instance.
Why, we are still handling our ewes, and their fells, you know, are greasy.
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.
Besides, our hands are hard.
Your lips will feel them the sooner. Shallow again. A more sounder instance. Come.
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.
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.
You have too courtly a wit for me. I'll rest.
Wilt thou rest damned? God help thee, shallow man! God make incision in thee! Thou
Sir, I am a true laborer: 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.
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 bellwether,
and to betray a she-lamb of a twelvemonth to crooked-pated old cuckoldly ram, out
of all reasonable match. If thou beest not damned for this, the devil himself will
have no shepherds; I cannot see else how thou shouldst scape.
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 lined
Are but black to Rosalind.
Let no face be kept in mind
But the fair of Rosalind."
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.
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.
Wintered garments must be lined,
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?
Peace, you dull fool! I found them on a tree.
Truly, the tree yields bad fruit.
I'll graft it with you, and then I shall graft 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 virtue of the medlar.
You have said; but whether wisely or no, let the forest judge.
Enter Celia, with a writing.
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 stretching 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 charged
That one body should be filled
With all graces wide-enlarged.
Nature presently distilled
Helen's cheek, but not her heart,
Atalanta's better part,
Sad Lucretia's modesty.
Thus Rosalind of many parts
By heavenly synod was devised
Of many faces, eyes, and hearts
To have the touches dearest prized.
Heaven would that she these gifts should have,
And I to live and die her slave."
O most gentle Jupiter, what tedious homily of love have you wearied your parishioners
withal, and never cried "Have patience, good people!"
How now? Back, friends. Shepherd, go off a little.
[To Touchstone] Go with him, sirrah.
[To Corin] Come, shepherd, let us make an honorable retreat, though not with bag and baggage,
yet with scrip and scrippage.
Exit [with Corin].
Didst thou hear these verses?
Oh, yes, I heard them all, and more too, for some of them had in them more feet than
the verses would bear.
That's no matter; the feet might bear the verses.
Ay, but the feet were lame, and could not bear themselves without the verse, and therefore
stood lamely in the verse.
But didst thou hear without wondering how thy name should be hanged and carved upon
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.
[Rosalind shows Celia the verse she found.]
Trow you who hath done this?
And a chain that you once wore about his neck. Change you color?
Oh, Lord, Lord, it is a hard matter for friends to meet; but mountains may be removed
with earthquakes, and so encounter.
Nay, but who is it?
Nay, I prithee now, with most petitionary vehemence, tell me who it is.
Oh, wonderful, wonderful, most wonderful wonderful, and yet again wonderful, and after
that, out of all hooping!
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 prithee 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-mouthed
bottle — either too much at once or none at all. I prithee take the cork out of thy
mouth, that I may drink thy tidings.
So you may put a man in your belly.
Is he of God's making? What manner of man? Is his head worth a hat, or his chin worth
Nay, he hath but a little beard.
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.
It is young Orlando, that tripped up the wrestler's heels and your heart both in an
Nay, but the devil take mocking! Speak sad brow and true maid.
I' faith, coz, 'tis he.
Alas the day, what shall I do with my doublet and hose? What did he when thou saw'st
him? What said he? How looked 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.
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
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?
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 dropped acorn.
It may well be called Jove's tree, when it drops forth such fruit.
Give me audience, good madam.
There lay he, stretched along like a wounded knight.
Though it be pity to see such a sight, it well becomes the ground.
Cry "Holla" to thy tongue, I prithee; it curvets unseasonably. He was furnished like
Oh, ominous! He comes to kill my heart.
I would sing my song without a burden. Thou bring'st me out of tune.
Do you not know I am a woman? When I think, I must speak. Sweet, say on.
Enter Orlando and Jaques.
You bring me out. — Soft, comes he not here?
'Tis he. Slink by, and note him.
[Rosalind and Celia stand aside and listen.]
[To Orlando] I thank you for your company, but, good faith, I had as lief have been myself alone.
And so had I; but yet, for fashion sake,
I thank you too for your society.
God b'wi' you. Let's meet as little as we can.
I do desire we may be better strangers.
I pray you, mar no more trees with writing love songs in their barks.
I pray you, mar no more of my verses with reading them ill-favoredly.
Rosalind is your love's name?
I do not like her name.
There was no thought of pleasing you when she was christened.
What stature is she of?
Just as high as my heart.
You are full of pretty answers. Have you not been acquainted with goldsmiths' wives,
and conned them out of rings?
Not so; but I answer you right painted cloth, from whence you have studied your questions.
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.
I will chide no breather in the world but myself, against whom I know most faults.
The worst fault you have is to be in love.
'Tis a fault I will not change for your best virtue. I am weary of you.
By my troth, I was seeking for a fool when I found you.
He is drowned in the brook. Look but in, and you shall see him.
There I shall see mine own figure.
Which I take to be either a fool or a cipher.
I'll tarry no longer with you. Farewell, good Signior Love.
I am glad of your departure. Adieu, good Monsieur Melancholy.
[Aside to Celia] I will speak to him like a saucy lackey, and under that habit play the knave with
him. — Do you hear, forester?
Very well. What would you?
I pray you, what is't o'clock?
You should ask me what time o' day. There's no clock in the forest.
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.
And why not the swift foot of Time? Had not that been as proper?
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.
I prithee, who doth he trot withal?
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.
Who ambles Time withal?
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.
Who doth he gallop withal?
With a thief to the gallows, for though he go as softly as foot can fall, he thinks
himself too soon there.
Who stays it still withal?
With lawyers in the vacation; for they sleep between term and term, and then they
perceive not how Time moves.
Where dwell you, pretty youth?
With this shepherdess, my sister, here in the skirts of the forest, like fringe upon
Are you native of this place?
As the coney that you see dwell where she is kindled.
Your accent is something finer than you could purchase in so removed a dwelling.
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.
Can you remember any of the principal evils that he laid to the charge of women?
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.
I prithee, recount some of them.
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.
I am he that is so love-shaked. I pray you, tell me your remedy.
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.
What were his marks?
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 everything 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.
Fair youth, I would I could make thee believe I love.
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?
I swear to thee, youth, by the white hand of Rosalind, I am that he, that unfortunate
But are you so much in love as your rhymes speak?
Neither rhyme nor reason can express how much.
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.
Did you ever cure any so?
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 color;
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 humor of love to a
living humor 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.
I would not be cured, youth.
I would cure you, if you would but call me Rosalind, and come every day to my cote
and woo me.
Now, by the faith of my love, I will. Tell me where it is.
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?
With all my heart, good youth.
Nay, you must call me Rosalind. — Come, sister, will you go?
Enter [Touchstone the] Clown, Audrey, and Jaques [behind].
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?
Your features! Lord warrant us, what features?
I am here with thee and thy goats, as the most capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among
[Aside] Oh, knowledge ill-inhabited, worse than Jove in a thatched house!
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.
I do not know what "poetical" is. Is it honest in deed and word? Is it a true thing?
No, truly; for the truest poetry is the most feigning, and lovers are given to poetry,
and what they swear in poetry it may be said as lovers they do feign.
Do you wish, then, that the gods had made me poetical?
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.
Would you not have me honest?
No, truly, unless thou wert hard-favored; for honesty coupled to beauty is to have
honey a sauce to sugar.
[Aside] A material fool!
Well, I am not fair, and therefore I pray the gods make me honest.
Truly, and to cast away honesty upon a foul slut were to put good meat into an unclean
I am not a slut, though I thank the gods I am foul.
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 Mar-text,
the vicar of the next village, who hath promised to meet me in this place of the forest,
and to couple us.
[Aside] I would fain see this meeting.
Well, the gods give us joy!
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? Even so. 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 honorable than the bare brow of a bachelor; and by how much
defense is better than no skill, by so much is a horn more precious than to want.
Enter Sir Oliver Mar-text. Here comes Sir Oliver. — Sir Oliver Mar-text, you are well met. Will you dispatch
us here under this tree, or shall we go with you to your chapel?
SIR OLIVER MAR-TEXT
Is there none here to give the woman?
I will not take her on gift of any man.
SIR OLIVER MAR-TEXT
Truly, she must be given, or the marriage is not lawful.
[Coming forward] Proceed, proceed. I'll give her.
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.
Will you be married, motley?
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.
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.
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.
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,"
Begone, I say,
I will not to wedding with thee."
[Exeunt Jaques, Touchstone, and Audrey.]
SIR OLIVER MAR-TEXT
'Tis no matter. Ne'er a fantastical knave of them all shall flout me out of my calling.