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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 every where. Run, run, Orlando; carve, on every tree, The fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she. [Exit.
Enter CORIN and TOUCHSTONE. Corin. And how like you this shepherd's life, master Touchstone ?
Touch. 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
? Cor. 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.
Touch. Such a one is a natural philosopher. Wast ever in court, shepherd ?
Cor. No, truly
1 i. e. inerpressible.
2 « Of good breeding,” &c. The anomalous use of this preposition has been remarked on many occasions in these plays.
Touch. Truly, thou art damned; like an ill-roasted egg, all on one side.
Cor. For not being at court? Your reason.
Touch. 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.
Cor. 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.
Touch. Instance, briefly; come, instance.
Cor. Why, we are still handling our ewes ; and their fells, you know, are greasy.
Touch. 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.
Cor. Besides, our hands are hard.
Touch. Your lips will feel them the sooner. Shallow, again. A more sounder instance, come.
Cor. 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.
Touch. Most shallow man! Thou worms-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
Cor. You have too courtly a wit for me; I'll rest.
Touch. Wilt thou rest damned ? God help thee, shallow man! God make incision in thee! thou art raw.
Cor. Sir, I am a true laborer. I earn that I eat, get that I wear; owe no man hate, envy no man's
1 i. e. ignorant, unexperienced.
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.
Touch. That is another simple sin in you; to bring the ewes and 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 a crooked-pated, old, cuckoldy 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.
Cor. Here comes young master Ganymede, my new mistress's brother.
Enter Rosalind, reading a paper.
No jewel is like Rosalind ;
But the fair of Rosalind. Touch. I'll rhyme you so, eight years together, dinners, and suppers, and sleeping hours excepted; it is the right butter-woman's ranks to market.
Ros. Out, fool!
If a hart do lack a hind,
1 i. e. most fairly delineated. 2 Fair is beauty
3 « The right butter-woman's rank to market” means the jog-trot rate (as it is vulgarly called) with which butter women uniformly travel, one after another, in their road to market. In its application to Orlando's poetry, it means a set or string of verses in the same coarse cadence and vulgar uniformity of rhythm.
Winter-garments must be lined,
This is the very false gallop of verses. Why do you infect yourself with them?
Ros. Peace, you dull fool ; I found them on a tree. Touch. Truly, the tree yields bad fruit. Ros. 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.
Touch. You have said ; but whether wisely or no, let the forest judge.
Enter Celia, reading a paper.
For it is unpeopled ? No;
That shall civil? sayings show.
Runs his erring pilgrimage ;
Buckles in his sum of age.
1 The word silent is not in the old copy. Pope corrected the passage by reading
“Why should this a desert be?” The present reading was proposed by Tyrwhitt, who observes that the hanging of tongues on every tree would not make it less a desert.
2 " Civil,” says Johnson, “ is here used in the same sense as when we say, civil wisdom, and civil life, in opposition to a solitary state. This desert shall not appear unpeopled, for every tree shall teach the maxims or incidents of social life.” VOL. II.
Some, of violated vows
'Twixt the souls of friend and friend ;
Or at every sentence end,
Teaching all that read, to know
Heaven would in little show.
That one body should be filled
Nature presently distilled
Sad Lucretia's modesty.
By heavenly synod was devised;
To have the touches dearest prized.
And I to live and die her slave.
Ros. O most gentle Jupiter !—What tedious homily of love have you wearied your parishioners withal, and never cried, Have patience, good people!
Cel. How now! back, friends ;-Shepherd, go off a little.-Go with him, sirrah.
Touch. Come, shepherd, let us make an honorable retreat; though not with bag and baggage, yet with scrip and scrippage.
[Exeunt Corin and TOUCHSTONE. Cel. Didst thou hear these verses ?
Ros. O, yes, I heard them all, and more too; for some of them had in them more feet than the verses would bear.
1 i. e. in miniature. 2 There is a great diversity of opinion among the commentators about what is meant by the better part of Atalanta, for which the reader, who is desirous of seeing this knotty point discussed, is referred to the Variorum editions of Shakspeare.