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Gives us free scope; only doth backward pull,
Our slow designs, when we ourselves are dull.
Character of a noble Courtier.

In his youth

He had the wit, which I can well observe
To-day in our young lords; but they may jest
Till their own scorn return to them unnoted,
Ere they can hide their levity in honour.
So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness
Were in his pride or sharpness; if they were,
His equal had awaked them; and his honour,
Clock to itself, knew the true minute when
Exception bid him speak, and at this time,
His tongue obey'd his hand: * who were below him
He used as creatures of another place:

And bow'd his eminent top to their low ranks,

Making them proud of his humility,

In their poor praise he humbled; such a man
Might be a copy to these younger times.


The Count Rousillon cannot be my brother:
I am from humble, he from honour'd name;
No note upon my parents, his all noble :
My master, my dear lord he is; and I
His servant live, and will his vassal die.

Helena's Hopeless Love for Bertram.

Then, I confess,

Here on my knee, before high heaven and you,

That before you, and next unto high heaven,

* Hand of a clock; the word clock in a previous line being used metaphorically.

I love your son :—

My friends were poor, but honest; so's my
Be not offended; for it hurts not him,
That he is lov'd of me: I follow him not
By any token of presumptuous suit;


Nor would I have him, till I do deserve him;
Yet never know how that desert should be.
I know I love in vain, strive against hope;
Yet, in this captious and intenible sieve,*
I still pour in the waters of my love,
And lack not to lose still: thus, Indian like,
Religious in mine error, I adore

The sun, that looks upon his worshipper,
But knows of him no more.


Honour due to Personal Virtue, not to Birth.

From lowest place when virtuous things proceed,
The place is dignified by the doer's deed:
Where great additions† swell, and virtue none,
It is a dropsied honour: good alone

Is good, without a name; vileness is so :‡
property by what it is should go,


Not by the title. She is young, wise, fair;

In these to nature she's immediate heir;

And these breed honour; that is honour's scorn,
Which challenges itself as honour's born,

And is not like the sire: Honours best thrive,

*Captious and intenible sieve-able to receive, but not to


+ Titles.

Good is good in itself, and so is vileness vile, without reference to worldly considerations.

When rather from our acts we them derive
Than our fore-goers: the mere world's a slave,
Debauch'd on every tomb; on every grave,
A lying trophy, and as oft is dumb,

Where dust and damn'd oblivion is the tomb
Of honour'd bones indeed.


Self-accusation of too great Love.

Poor lord! is 't I

That chase thee from thy country, and expose
Those tender limbs of thine to the event

Of the non-sparing war? and is it I

That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou
Was shot at with fair eyes, to be the mark
Of smoky muskets? O you leaden messengers,
That ride upon the violent speed of fire,

Fly with false aim; move the still-piercing air,
That sings with piercing, do not touch my lord!
Whoever shoots at him, I set him there;
Whoever charges on his forward breast,
I am the caitiff that do hold him to it;
And, though I kill him not, I am the cause
His death was so effected: better 't were

I met the ravin* lion when he roar'd

With sharp constraint of hunger: better 't were

That all the miseries which nature owes

Were mine at once: No, come thou home, Roussillon,

Whence honour but of danger wins a scar,

As oft it loses all; I will be gone:

My being here it is that holds thee hence:
Shall I stay here to do't? no, no, although

* Voracious.

The air of paradise did fan the house,
And angels officed all: I will be gone;
That pitiful rumour may report my flight,
To consolate thine ear.


Life Chequered.

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together: our virtues would be proud if our faults whipped them not; and our crimes would despair if they were not cherished by our virtues.

A Cowardly Braggart.

Yet am I thankful: if my heart were great,
'Twould burst at this: captain I'll be no more!
But I will eat and drink, and sleep as soft
As captain shall: simply the thing I am

Shall make me live. Who knows himself a braggart,
Let him fear this; for it will come to pass

That every braggart shall be found an ass.
Rust, sword! cool, blushes! and, Parolles, live
Safest in shame! being fool'd, by foolery thrive!
There's place, and means, for every man alive.


Praise of a Lost Object.

Praising what is lost,

Makes the remembrance dear.

Against Delay.

Let's take the instant by the forward top; For we are old, and on our quick'st decrees

The inaudible and noiseless foot of time

Steals ere we can effect them.

At first

Excuse for Unreasonable Dislike.

I stuck my choice upon her, ere my heart
Durst make too bold a herald of my tongue :
Where the impression of mine eye infixing,
Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me,
Which warp'd the line of every other favour;
Scorn'd a fair colour, or express'd it stolen ;
Extended or contracted all proportions

To a most hideous object: thence it came,
That she, whom all men praised, and whom myself,
Since I have lost, have loved, was in mine eye
The dust that did offend it.



The play commences with a quarrel between the brothers Oliver and Orlando, sons of the deceased Sir Rowland de Bois, after which Orlando engages in a bout of wrestling with Charles, a noted wrestler, whom he overthrows. Rosalind and Celia, who are cousins, and inseparable friends, witness the combat, and the former falls in love with Orlando. The reigning Duke Frederick, father of Celia, has usurped the government and banished his brother, the rightful duke and father of Rosalind, from his dominions. The exiled duke retires with Jaques, a cynical lord, and other courtiers, to the forest of Arden, where he is followed by Rosalind and Celia, who are accompanied by Touchstone, a clownish servitor. Orlando, attended by Adam, an old and faithful servant,

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