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D. Pedro. How dost thou, Benedick, the married man?
Bene. I'll tell thee what, Prince; a college of wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my humour. Dost thou think I care for a satire or an epigram? No; if a man will be beaten with brains, 'a shall wear nothing bandsome about him. In brief, since I do purpose to marry, (105 I will think nothing to any purpose that the world can say against it; and therefore never flout at me for what I have said against it, for man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion. For thy part, Claudio, I did think to have (110 beaten thee; but in that thou art like to be my kinsman, live unbruis'd and love my cousin.
Claud. I had well hop'd thou wouldst have denied Beatrice, that I might have cudgell'd thee out of thy single life, to make (115 thee a double-dealer; which, out of question,
thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look exceeding narrowly to thee.
Bene. Come, come, we are friends. Let's have a dance ere we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts and our wives' heels. 131 Leon. We'll have dancing afterward.
Bene. First, of my word ; therefore play, music. Prince, thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife. There is no staff more reverend than one tipp'd with horn.
Enter a MESSENGER. Mess. My lord, your brother John is ta'en in
flight, And brought with armed men back to Mes
sina. Bene. Think not on him till to-morrow. I 'U devise thee brave punishments for him. Strike up, pipers.
(Dance. (Exeunt.) a
AS YOU LIKE IT
THE earliest reference to the comedy of As You Like It is found in an entry in the Stationers' Register, under the date of August 4, 1600. How much earlier the play was composed is uncertain, but no modern critic of authority places it earlier than 1598. The reference in 11. v. 81, 82 to Marlowe's Hero and Leander (pub. 1598) has been taken as fixing the earlier limit, but the possibility of Shakespeare's having known the “dead shepherd's” poem in manuscript somewhat weakens the argument from this passage. The same limit, however, is suggested by the absence of the title from the list in Meres's Palladis Tamia. The evidence from metre, too, indicates 1599–1600 as a probable date, and, with slight variations, there is a general agreement in this.
Although the play was entered in the Stationers' Register in 1600, it does not seem to have been actually published before it appeared in the First Folio. From this edition the present text is taken, with a few modifications drawn chiefly from the later Folios and the emendations of modern editors.
"Stories which relate the fate of a younger brother who is deprived of his inheritance by the jealousy of a senior brother, and who nevertheless achieves great prosperity, are as old as the time of Joseph.” (Skeat.) To this class belongs an anonymous Middle English poem, found in several MSS. of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, into which it has been inserted with the title, The Coke's Tale of Gamelyn. The poem is not by Chancer, nor has it any relation to his fragmentary Cook's Tale, save in name. On the basis of this poem, Thomas Lodge composed a novel called Rosalynde, Euphues' Golden Legacie (1590), adding the female characters, and the love stories of Orlando and Silvius. Whether these are due to his own invention, or are drawn from some other source, is unknown. This novel Shakespeare in turn dramatized in As You Like It. It does not appear that Shakespeare knew the Tale of Gamelyn.
Lodge's romance is a euphuistic pastoral, and, in turning it into a play, Shakespeare dropped the euphuism, but retained many of the pastoral characteristics. In retaining these, he was following not only his source, but the example of other dramatists who had recently scored successes with pastorals on the stage. The more conventional pastoral features to be detected in As You Like It are these : the shepherds and foresters, both those who are actual rustics and those who are courtiers living in retirement; the love-sick shepherd and obdurate shepherdess ; the girl in the dress of a boy ; the hanging or carving of verses on trees; the hunting scene and song ; the figure of Hymen; and the suggested landscape of woodland, sheep-cote, and pasture. The forest life of the banished Duke, also, and his attitude towards adversity have been thought to show the influence of contemporary plays on Robin Hood.
The length of time covered by the action is much shorter in the play than in the novel. Shakespeare summarizes the whole first section of Rosalynde in Orlando's opening speech, and, greatly to the advantage of the hero's refinement, cuts out a number of rowdy incidents between his wrestling and his setting out. The wrestling, indeed, is a survival of the merely muscular hero of the Tale of Gamelyn. Oliver's change of heart, which is used by Shakespeare to reflect credit on Orlando, is in Lodge due to the elder brother's meditations in prison. In Rosalynde, the restoration of the Duke is brought about by the overthrow and death of the usurper in battle, in contrast with the dramatist's milder device of conversion, which, however unplausible, suits better the mood of the play. The chief characters are all raised to a much higher spiritual level by Shakespeare, finer motives are introduced, Rosalind is given a sense of humor, and Phebe and Silvius are made much less the conventional figures of the artificial pastoral. The characters of Jaques, Touchstone, Audrey, William, Dennis, Le Beau, Amiens, the First Lord, and Sir Oliver Martext are all added, and with them the distinctive atmosphere of the play, its philosophy, its humor, its lyric beauty, and its landscape.
AS YOU LIKE IT
Duke, living in banishment.
TOUCHSTONE, a clown. FREDERICK, his brother, and usurper of his dominions. SIR OLIVER MARTEXT, & vicar. AMIENS,
CORIN, JAQUES, lords attending on the banished Duke.
shepherds. LE Beau, a courtier attending upon Frederick.
WILLIAM, a country fellow, in love with Audrey. CHARLES, wrestler to Frederick.
A person representing Hymen.
ROSALIND, daughter to the banished Duke.
CELIA, daughter to Frederick. ADAM,
PHEBE, a shepherdose. servants to Oliver. DENNIS,
AUDREY, a country wench.
Lorde, pages, attendants, etc.
Orl. Marry, sir, I am helping you to mar
that which God made, a poor unworthy brother SCENE I. (Orchard of Oliver's house.] of yours, with idleness.
Oli. Marry, sir, be better employed, and be Enter ORLANDO and ADAM.
naught awhile. Orl. As I remember, Adam, it was upon Orl. Shall I keep your hogs and eat husks this fashion: bequeathed me by will but poor a
with them? What prodigal portion have I thousand crowns, and, as thou sayest, charged spent, that I should come to such penury? my brother, on his blessing, to breed me well;
Oli. Know you where you are, sir? and there begins my sadness. My brother Orl. 0, sir, very well ; here in your orchard. Jaques he keeps at school, and report speaks [6
Oli. Know you before whom, sir ? goldenly of his profit. For my part, he keeps
Orl. Ay, better than him I am before knows me rustically at home, or, to speak more pro- me. I know you are my eldest brother; and, perly, stays me here at home unkept; for call in the gentle condition of blood, you should so you that keeping for a gentleman of my birth, know me. The courtesy of nations allows you that differs not from the stalling of an ox? [10 my better, in that you are the first-born; but His horses are bred better; for, besides that
the same tradition takes not away my blood, [50 they are fair with their feeding, they are taught were there twenty brothers betwixt us. I have their manage, and to that end riders dearly as much of my father in me as you; albeit, I hir'd; but I, his brother, gain nothing under him confess, your coming before me is nearer to his but growth; for the which his animals on 15 reverence. his dunghills are as much bound to him as I.
Oli. What, boy! Besides this nothing that he so plentifully gives
Orl. Come, come, elder brother, you are too me, the something that nature gave me his countenance seems to take from me. He lets me Oli. Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain ? feed with his hinds, bars me the place of a 20
Orl. I am no villain; I am the youngest son brother, and, as much as in him lies, mines my
of Sir Roland de Boys. He was my father, gentility with my education. This is it, Adam, and he is thrice a villain that says such a fa- (eo that grieves me; and the spirit of my father, ther begot villains. Wert thou not my brother, which I think is within me, begins to mutiny
I would not take this hand from thy throat till against this servitude. I will no longer en
this other had pull'd out thy tongue for saying dure it, though yet I know no wise remedy
so. Thou hast rail'd on thyself. how to avoid it.
Adam. Sweet masters, be patient; for your
father's remembrance, be at accord. Enter OLIVER.
Oli. Let me go, I say. Adam. Yonder comes my master, your bro- Orl. I will not, till I please. You shall hear ther.
me. My father charg'd you in his will to give [ve Orl. Go apart, Adam, and thou shalt hear me good education. You have train'd me like how he will shake me up.
a peasant, obscuring and hiding from me all Oli. Now, sir! what make you here?
gentleman-like qualities. The spirit of my faOrl. Nothing. I am not taught to make any ther grows strong in me, and I will no longer thing:
endure it; therefore allow me such exercises Oli. What mar you then, sir?
as may become a gentleman, or give me the (76
young in this.
poor allottery my father left me by testament. With that I will go buy my fortunes.
Oli. And what wilt thou do? Beg, when that is spent? Well, sir, get you in. I will not long be troubled with you; you shall have some part of your will. I pray you, leave me.
Orl. I will no further offend you than becomes me for my good.
Oli. Get you with him, you old dog:
Adam. Is "old dog my reward ? Most true, I have lost my teeth in your service. God be with my old master! He would not have spoke such a word,
(Exeunt Orlando and Adam. Oli. Is it even so ? Begin you to grow upon me? I will physic your rankness, and yet give Do thousand crowns neither. Holla, Dennis !
Enter DENNIS. Den. Calls your worship?
Oli. Was not Charles, the Duke's wrestler, here to speak with me?
Den. So please you, he is here at the door and importunes access to you.
Oli. Call him in. [Exit Dennis.] 'T will be a good way; and to-morrow the wrestling is.
Oli. Good Monsieur Charles, what's the new news at the new court?
Cha. There's no news at the court, sir, but the old news: that is, the old Duke is banished by his younger brother the new Duke ; and three or four loving lords have put them- (105 selves into voluntary exile with him, whose lands and revenues enrich the new Duke ; therefore he gives them good leave to wander.
Oli. Can you tell if Rosalind, the Duke's daughter, be banished with her father ?
Cha. O, no; for the Duke's daughter, her cousin, so loves her, being ever from their cradles bred together, that she would have followed her exile, or have died to stay behind her. She is at the court, and no less beloved (116 of her uncle than his own daughter; and never two ladies loved as they do.
Oli. Where will the old Duke live?
Cha. They say he is already in the forest of Arden, and à many merry men with him ; and there they live like the old Robin Hood of England. They say many young gentlemen flock to him every day, and fleet the time carelessly, as they did in the golden world.
Oli.' What, you wrestle to-morrow before the new Duke?
Cha. Marry, do I, sir; and I came to acquaint you with a matter. I am given, sir, secretly to understand that your younger brother, Orlando, hath a disposition to come in (180 disguis'd against me to try a fall. To-morrow, sir, I wrestle for my credit; and he that escapes me without some broken limb shall acquit him well. Your brother is but young and tender; and, for your love, I would be loath (135 to foil him, as I must, for my own honour, if he come in; therefor out of my love to you, I
came hither to acquaint you withal, that either you might stay him from his intendment, or brook such disgrace well as he shall run (140 into, in that it is a thing of his own search, and altogether against my will.
oli. Charles, I thank thee for thy love to me, which thou shalt find I will most kindly requite. I had myself notice of my brother's purpose herein, and have by underhand means (195 laboured to dissuade him from it, but he is resolute. I'll tell thee, Charles, it is the stubbornest young fellow of France; full of ambition, an envious emulator of every man's good parts, a secret and villanous contriver against 100 me his natural brother; therefore use thy discretion. I had as lief thou didst break his neck as his finger. And thou wert best look to't; for if thou dost him any slight disgrace, or if he do not mightily grace himself on (165 thee, he will practise against thee by poison, entrap thee by some treacherous device, and never leave thee till he hath ta'en thy life by some indirect means or other; for, I assure thee, and almost with tears I speak it, there is not one 160 80 young and so villanous this day living. I speak but brotherly of him; but should I anatomize him to thee as he is, I must blush and weep, and thou must look pale and wonder. 164
Cha. I am heartily glad I came hither to you. If he come to-morrow, I'll give him his payment. If ever he go alone again, I'll never wrestle for prize more. And so, God keep your worship!
TÈxit. Oli. Farewell, good Charles.
Now will I stir this gamester. I hope I shall see an end of him; for my soul, yet I know not why, hates nothing more than he. Yet he 's gentle; never school'd, and yet learned ; full of noble device; of all sorts enchantingly beloved ; and indeed so much in the heart of the world, and especially of my own people, who best (175 know him, that I am altogether misprised. But it shall not be so long; this wrestler shall clear all. Nothing remains but that I kindle the boy thither, which now I'll go about. [Exit. 180 SCENE II. (Lawn before the Duke's palace.]
Enter ROSALIND and CELIA. Cel. I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be merry.
Ros. 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 [5 banished father, you must not learn me how to remember any extraordinary pleasure.
Cel. 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 (10 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 temper'd as mine is to thee.
Ros. Well, I will forget the condition of my estate, to rejoice in yours,
Cel. 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 (20 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.
Ros. From henceforth I will, coz, and devise sports. Let me see; what think you of falling in love?
Cel. Marry, I prithee, do, to make sport withal. But love no man in good earnest, nor no further in sport neither than with safety (30 of a pure blush thou mayst in honour come off again. Ros. What shall be our sport, then ?
Cel. Let us sit and inock the good housewife Fortune from her wheel, that her gifts may henceforth be bestowed equally.
Ros. 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.
Cel. 'Tis true; for those that she makes fair she scarce makes honest, and those that she makes honest she makes very ill-favouredly.
Ros. Nay, now thou goest from Fortune's office to Nature's. Fortune reigns in gifts of the world, not in the lineaments of Nature.
Enter Clown (TOUCHSTONE). Cel. 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 ?
Ros. Indeed, there is Fortune too hard for Nature, when Fortune makes Nature's natural the cutter-off of Nature's wit.
Cel, Peradventure this is not Fortune's work neither, but Nature's; who, perceiving our natural wits too dull to reason of such god- (855 desses, hath sent this natural for our whetstone ; for always the dulness of the fool is the whetstone of the wits. How now, wit! whither wander yon? Touch. Mistress, you must come away to Cel. Were you made the messenger ?
Touch. No, by mine honour, but I was bid to come for you.
Ros. Where learned you that oath, fool ?
Touch. Of a certain knight that swore by his honour they were good pancakes, and swore hy his honour the mustard was naught. Now I'll stand to it, the pancakes were nanght and the mustard was good, and yet was not the knight forsworn.
Cel. How prove you that, in the great heap of your knowledge ?
Ros. Ay, marry, now inmuzzle your wisdom.
Touch. Stand you both forth now. Stroke (75 your chins, and swear by your beards that I am a knave.
Cel. By our beards, if we had them, thou art.
Touch. 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 pancakes or that mustard.
Cel. Prithee, who is 't that thou meanest ?
Touch. One that old Frederick, your father, loves.
Cel. My father's love is enough to honour him. Enough I speak no more of him. You 'll be whipp'd
for taxation one of these days. Touch. The more pity, that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly.
Cel. By my troth, thou sayest true; for since the little wit that fools have was silenced, the as little foolery that wise men have makes a great show. Here comes Monsieur the Beau.
Enter LE BEAU.
Cel. Which he will put on us, as pigeons feed their young Ros. Then shall we be news-cramm'd.
Cel. All the better; we shall be the more marketable. Bon jour, Monsieur Le Bean. What's the news ?
Le Beau. Fair princess, you have lost much good sport.
Cel. Sport! Of what colour ?
Le Beau. What colour, madam ? How shall I answer you?
Ros. As wit and fortune will.
Cel. Well said. That was laid on with a trowel. Touch.
Nay, if I keep not my rank, Ros. Thou losest thy old smell.
Le Beau. You amaze me, ladies. I would (115 have told you of good wrestling, which you have lost the sight of.
Ros. Yet tell us the manner of the wrestling.
Le Beau. I will tell you the beginning; and, if please your ladyships, you may see the end. For the best is yet to do; and here, (190 where you are, they are coming to perform it.
Cel. Well, the beginning, that is dead and buried.
Le Beau. There comes an old man and his three sons,
Cel. I could match this beginning with an old tale.
Le Beau. Three proper young men, of excellent growth and presence.
Ros. With bills on their necks, “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 186 life in him. So he serv'd 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, 140
Touch. But what is the sport, monsieur, that the ladies have lost?
Le Beau. Why, this that I speak of.