As You Like It, by William Shakespeare


Act I

Scene I. Orchard of Oliver’s house.

Enter Orlando and Adam

Orlando As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion bequeathed me by will but poor a thousand crowns, and, as thou sayest, charged my brother, on his blessing, to breed me well: and there begins my sadness. My brother Jaques he keeps at school, and report speaks goldenly of his profit: for my part, he keeps me rustically at home, or, to speak more properly, stays me here at home unkept; for call you that keeping for a gentleman of my birth, that differs not from the stalling of an ox? His horses are bred better; for, besides that they are fair with their feeding, they are taught their manage, and to that end riders dearly hired: but I, his brother, gain nothing under him but growth; for the which his animals on his dunghills are as much bound to him as I. Besides this nothing that he so plentifully gives me, the something that nature gave me his countenance seems to take from me: he lets me feed with his hinds, bars me the place of a brother, and, as much as in him lies, mines my gentility with my education. This is it, Adam, that grieves me; and the spirit of my father, which I think is within me, begins to mutiny against this servitude: I will no longer endure it, though yet I know no wise remedy how to avoid it.

Adam Yonder comes my master, your brother.

Orlando Go apart, Adam, and thou shalt hear how he will shake me up.

Enter Oliver

Oliver Now, sir! what make you here?

Orlando Nothing: I am not taught to make any thing.

Oliver What mar you then, sir?

Orlando Marry, sir, I am helping you to mar that which God made, a poor unworthy brother of yours, with idleness.

Oliver Marry, sir, be better employed, and be naught awhile.

Orlando Shall I keep your hogs and eat husks with them? What prodigal portion have I spent, that I should come to such penury?

Oliver Know you where your are, sir?

Orlando O, sir, very well; here in your orchard.

Oliver Know you before whom, sir?

Orlando Ay, better than him I am before knows me. I know you are my eldest brother; and, in the gentle condition of blood, you should so know me. The courtesy of nations allows you my better, in that you are the first-born; but the same tradition takes not away my blood, were there twenty brothers betwixt us: I have as much of my father in me as you; albeit, I confess, your coming before me is nearer to his reverence.

Oliver What, boy!

Orlando Come, come, elder brother, you are too young in this.

Oliver Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain?

Orlando I am no villain; I am the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys; he was my father, and he is thrice a villain that says such a father begot villains. Wert thou not my brother, I would not take this hand from thy throat till this other had pulled out thy tongue for saying so: thou hast railed on thyself.

Adam Sweet masters, be patient: for your father’s remembrance, be at accord.

Oliver Let me go, I say.

Orlando I will not, till I please: you shall hear me. My father charged you in his will to give me good education: you have trained me like a peasant, obscuring and hiding from me all gentleman-like qualities. The spirit of my father grows strong in me, and I will no longer endure it: therefore allow me such exercises as may become a gentleman, or give me the poor allottery my father left me by testament; with that I will go buy my fortunes.

Oliver 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.

Orlando I will no further offend you than becomes me for my good.

Oliver 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

Oliver Is it even so? begin you to grow upon me? I will physic your rankness, and yet give no thousand crowns neither. Holla, Dennis!

Enter Dennis

Dennis Calls your worship?

Oliver Was not Charles, the duke’s wrestler, here to speak with me?

Dennis So please you, he is here at the door and importunes access to you.

Oliver Call him in.

Exit Dennis

’Twill be a good way; and to-morrow the wrestling is.

Enter Charles

Charles Good morrow to your worship.

Oliver Good Monsieur Charles, what’s the new news at the new court?

Charles 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 themselves into voluntary exile with him, whose lands and revenues enrich the new duke; therefore he gives them good leave to wander.

Oliver Can you tell if Rosalind, the duke’s daughter, be banished with her father?

Charles 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 of her uncle than his own daughter; and never two ladies loved as they do.

Oliver Where will the old duke live?

Charles They say he is already in the forest of Arden, and a 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.

Oliver What, you wrestle to-morrow before the new duke?

Charles 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 disguised 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 to foil him, as I must, for my own honour, if he come in: therefore, 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 into, in that it is a thing of his own search and altogether against my will.

Oliver 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 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 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 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 so 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.

Charles 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!

Oliver Farewell, good Charles.

Exit 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 schooled 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 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.


Scene II. Lawn before the Duke’s palace.

Enter Celia and Rosalind

Celia I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be merry.

Rosalind 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 banished father, you must not learn me how to remember any extraordinary pleasure.

Celia Herein I see thou lovest 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 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 tempered as mine is to thee.

Rosalind Well, I will forget the condition of my estate, to rejoice in yours.

Celia 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 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.

Rosalind From henceforth I will, coz, and devise sports. Let me see; what think you of falling in love?

Celia Marry, I prithee, do, to make sport withal: but love no man in good earnest; nor no further in sport neither than with safety of a pure blush thou mayst in honour come off again.

Rosalind What shall be our sport, then?

Celia Let us sit and mock the good housewife Fortune from her wheel, that her gifts may henceforth be bestowed equally.

Rosalind 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.

Celia ’Tis true; for those that she makes fair she scarce makes honest, and those that she makes honest she makes very ill-favouredly.

Rosalind 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 Touchstone

Celia 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?

Rosalind Indeed, there is Fortune too hard for Nature, when Fortune makes Nature’s natural the cutter-off of Nature’s wit.

Celia Peradventure this is not Fortune’s work neither, but Nature’s; who perceiveth our natural wits too dull to reason of such goddesses and 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 you?

Touchstone Mistress, you must come away to your father.

Celia Were you made the messenger?

Touchstone No, by mine honour, but I was bid to come for you.

Rosalind Where learned you that oath, fool?

Touchstone Of a certain knight that swore by his honour they were good pancakes and swore by his honour the mustard was naught: now I’ll stand to it, the pancakes were naught and the mustard was good, and yet was not the knight forsworn.

Celia How prove you that, in the great heap of your knowledge?

Rosalind Ay, marry, now unmuzzle your wisdom.

Touchstone Stand you both forth now: stroke your chins, and swear by your beards that I am a knave.

Celia By our beards, if we had them, thou art.

Touchstone 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.

Celia Prithee, who is’t that thou meanest?

Touchstone One that old Frederick, your father, loves.

Celia My father’s love is enough to honour him: enough! speak no more of him; you’ll be whipped for taxation one of these days.

Touchstone The more pity, that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly.

Celia By my troth, thou sayest true; for since the little wit that fools have was silenced, the little foolery that wise men have makes a great show. Here comes Monsieur Le Beau.

Rosalind With his mouth full of news.

Celia Which he will put on us, as pigeons feed their young.

Rosalind Then shall we be news-crammed.

Celia All the better; we shall be the more marketable.

Enter Le Beau

Bon jour, Monsieur Le Beau: what’s the news?

Le Beau Fair princess, you have lost much good sport.

Celia Sport! of what colour?

Le Beau What colour, madam! how shall I answer you?

Rosalind As wit and fortune will.

Touchstone Or as the Destinies decree.

Celia Well said: that was laid on with a trowel.

Touchstone Nay, if I keep not my rank —

Rosalind Thou losest thy old smell.

Le Beau You amaze me, ladies: I would have told you of good wrestling, which you have lost the sight of.

Rosalind You tell us the manner of the wrestling.

Le Beau I will tell you the beginning; and, if it please your ladyships, you may see the end; for the best is yet to do; and here, where you are, they are coming to perform it.

Celia Well, the beginning, that is dead and buried.

Le Beau There comes an old man and his three sons  —

Celia I could match this beginning with an old tale.

Le Beau Three proper young men, of excellent growth and presence.

Rosalind 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 life in him: so he served 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.

Rosalind Alas!

Touchstone But what is the sport, monsieur, that the ladies have lost?

Le Beau Why, this that I speak of.

Touchstone Thus men may grow wiser every day: it is the first time that ever I heard breaking of ribs was sport for ladies.

Celia Or I, I promise thee.

Rosalind But is there any else longs to see this broken music in his sides? is there yet another dotes upon rib-breaking? Shall we see this wrestling, cousin?

Le Beau You must, if you stay here; for here is the place appointed for the wrestling, and they are ready to perform it.

Celia Yonder, sure, they are coming: let us now stay and see it.

Flourish. Enter Duke Frederick, Lords, Orlando, Charles, and Attendants

Duke Frederick Come on: since the youth will not be entreated, his own peril on his forwardness.

Rosalind Is yonder the man?

Le Beau Even he, madam.

Celia Alas, he is too young! yet he looks successfully.

Duke Frederick How now, daughter and cousin! are you crept hither to see the wrestling?

Rosalind Ay, my liege, so please you give us leave.

Duke Frederick You will take little delight in it, I can tell you; there is such odds in the man. In pity of the challenger’s youth I would fain dissuade him, but he will not be entreated. Speak to him, ladies; see if you can move him.

Celia Call him hither, good Monsieur Le Beau.

Duke Frederick Do so: I’ll not be by.

Le Beau Monsieur the challenger, the princesses call for you.

Orlando I attend them with all respect and duty.

Rosalind Young man, have you challenged Charles the wrestler?

Orlando No, fair princess; he is the general challenger: I come but in, as others do, to try with him the strength of my youth.

Celia Young gentleman, your spirits are too bold for your years. You have seen cruel proof of this man’s strength: if you saw yourself with your eyes or knew yourself with your judgment, the fear of your adventure would counsel you to a more equal enterprise. We pray you, for your own sake, to embrace your own safety and give over this attempt.

Rosalind Do, young sir; your reputation shall not therefore be misprised: we will make it our suit to the duke that the wrestling might not go forward.

Orlando I beseech you, punish me not with your hard thoughts; wherein I confess me much guilty, to deny so fair and excellent ladies any thing. But let your fair eyes and gentle wishes go with me to my trial: wherein if I be foiled, there is but one shamed that was never gracious; if killed, but one dead that was willing to be so: I shall do my friends no wrong, for I have none to lament me, the world no injury, for in it I have nothing; only in the world I fill up a place, which may be better supplied when I have made it empty.

Rosalind The little strength that I have, I would it were with you.

Celia And mine, to eke out hers.

Rosalind Fare you well: pray heaven I be deceived in you!

Celia Your heart’s desires be with you!

Charles Come, where is this young gallant that is so desirous to lie with his mother earth?

Orlando Ready, sir; but his will hath in it a more modest working.

Duke Frederick You shall try but one fall.

Charles No, I warrant your grace, you shall not entreat him to a second, that have so mightily persuaded him from a first.

Orlando An you mean to mock me after, you should not have mocked me before: but come your ways.

Rosalind Now Hercules be thy speed, young man!

Celia I would I were invisible, to catch the strong fellow by the leg.

They wrestle

Rosalind O excellent young man!

Celia If I had a thunderbolt in mine eye, I can tell who should down.

Shout. Charles is thrown

Duke Frederick No more, no more.

Orlando Yes, I beseech your grace: I am not yet well breathed.

Duke Frederick How dost thou, Charles?

Le Beau He cannot speak, my lord.

Duke Frederick Bear him away. What is thy name, young man?

Orlando Orlando, my liege; the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys.

Duke Frederick I would thou hadst been son to some man else:
The world esteem’d thy father honourable,
But I did find him still mine enemy:
Thou shouldst have better pleased me with this deed,
Hadst thou descended from another house.
But fare thee well; thou art a gallant youth:
I would thou hadst told me of another father.

Exeunt Duke Frederick, train, and Le Beau

Celia Were I my father, coz, would I do this?

Orlando I am more proud to be Sir Rowland’s son,
His youngest son; and would not change that calling,
To be adopted heir to Frederick.

Rosalind My father loved Sir Rowland as his soul,
And all the world was of my father’s mind:
Had I before known this young man his son,
I should have given him tears unto entreaties,
Ere he should thus have ventured.

Celia Gentle cousin,
Let us go thank him and encourage him:
My father’s rough and envious disposition
Sticks me at heart. Sir, you have well deserved:
If you do keep your promises in love
But justly, as you have exceeded all promise,
Your mistress shall be happy.

Rosalind Gentleman,

Giving him a chain from her neck

Wear this for me, one out of suits with fortune,
That could give more, but that her hand lacks means.
Shall we go, coz?

Celia Ay. Fare you well, fair gentleman.

Orlando Can I not say, I thank you? My better parts
Are all thrown down, and that which here stands up
Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.

Rosalind He calls us back: my pride fell with my fortunes;
I’ll ask him what he would. Did you call, sir?
Sir, you have wrestled well and overthrown
More than your enemies.

Celia Will you go, coz?

Rosalind Have with you. Fare you well.

Exeunt Rosalind and Celia

Orlando What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue?
I cannot speak to her, yet she urged conference.
O poor Orlando, thou art overthrown!
Or Charles or something weaker masters thee.

Re-enter Le Beau

Le Beau Good sir, I do in friendship counsel you
To leave this place. Albeit you have deserved
High commendation, true applause and love,
Yet such is now the duke’s condition
That he misconstrues all that you have done.
The duke is humorous; what he is indeed,
More suits you to conceive than I to speak of.

Orlando I thank you, sir: and, pray you, tell me this:
Which of the two was daughter of the duke
That here was at the wrestling?

Le Beau Neither his daughter, if we judge by manners;
But yet indeed the lesser is his daughter
The other is daughter to the banish’d duke,
And here detain’d by her usurping uncle,
To keep his daughter company; whose loves
Are dearer than the natural bond of sisters.
But I can tell you that of late this duke
Hath ta’en displeasure ’gainst his gentle niece,
Grounded upon no other argument
But that the people praise her for her virtues
And pity her for her good father’s sake;
And, on my life, his malice ’gainst the lady
Will suddenly break forth. Sir, fare you well:
Hereafter, in a better world than this,
I shall desire more love and knowledge of you.

Orlando I rest much bounden to you: fare you well.

Exit Le Beau

Thus must I from the smoke into the smother;
From tyrant duke unto a tyrant brother:
But heavenly Rosalind!


Scene III. A room in the palace.

Enter Celia and Rosalind

Celia Why, cousin! why, Rosalind! Cupid have mercy! not a word?

Rosalind Not one to throw at a dog.

Celia No, thy words are too precious to be cast away upon curs; throw some of them at me; come, lame me with reasons.

Rosalind Then there were two cousins laid up; when the one should be lamed with reasons and the other mad without any.

Celia But is all this for your father?

Rosalind No, some of it is for my child’s father. O, how full of briers is this working-day world!

Celia They are but burs, cousin, thrown upon thee in holiday foolery: if we walk not in the trodden paths our very petticoats will catch them.

Rosalind I could shake them off my coat: these burs are in my heart.

Celia Hem them away.

Rosalind I would try, if I could cry ‘hem’ and have him.

Celia Come, come, wrestle with thy affections.

Rosalind O, they take the part of a better wrestler than myself!

Celia O, a good wish upon you! you will try in time, in despite of a fall. But, turning these jests out of service, let us talk in good earnest: is it possible, on such a sudden, you should fall into so strong a liking with old Sir Rowland’s youngest son?

Rosalind The duke my father loved his father dearly.

Celia Doth it therefore ensue that you should love his son dearly? By this kind of chase, I should hate him, for my father hated his father dearly; yet I hate not Orlando.

Rosalind No, faith, hate him not, for my sake.

Celia Why should I not? doth he not deserve well?

Rosalind Let me love him for that, and do you love him because I do. Look, here comes the duke.

Celia With his eyes full of anger.

Enter Duke Frederick, with Lords

Duke Frederick Mistress, dispatch you with your safest haste
And get you from our court.

Rosalind Me, uncle?

Duke Frederick You, cousin
Within these ten days if that thou be’st found
So near our public court as twenty miles,
Thou diest for it.

Rosalind I do beseech your grace,
Let me the knowledge of my fault bear with me:
If with myself I hold intelligence
Or have acquaintance with mine own desires,
If that I do not dream or be not frantic —
As I do trust I am not — then, dear uncle,
Never so much as in a thought unborn
Did I offend your highness.

Duke Frederick Thus do all traitors:
If their purgation did consist in words,
They are as innocent as grace itself:
Let it suffice thee that I trust thee not.

Rosalind Yet your mistrust cannot make me a traitor:
Tell me whereon the likelihood depends.

Duke Frederick Thou art thy father’s daughter; there’s enough.

Rosalind So was I when your highness took his dukedom;
So was I when your highness banish’d him:
Treason is not inherited, my lord;
Or, if we did derive it from our friends,
What’s that to me? my father was no traitor:
Then, good my liege, mistake me not so much
To think my poverty is treacherous.

Celia Dear sovereign, hear me speak.

Duke Frederick Ay, Celia; we stay’d her for your sake,
Else had she with her father ranged along.

Celia I did not then entreat to have her stay;
It was your pleasure and your own remorse:
I was too young that time to value her;
But now I know her: if she be a traitor,
Why so am I; we still have slept together,
Rose at an instant, learn’d, play’d, eat together,
And wheresoever we went, like Juno’s swans,
Still we went coupled and inseparable.

Duke Frederick She is too subtle for thee; and her smoothness,
Her very silence and her patience
Speak to the people, and they pity her.
Thou art a fool: she robs thee of thy name;
And thou wilt show more bright and seem more virtuous
When she is gone. Then open not thy lips:
Firm and irrevocable is my doom
Which I have pass’d upon her; she is banish’d.

Celia Pronounce that sentence then on me, my liege:
I cannot live out of her company.

Duke Frederick You are a fool. You, niece, provide yourself:
If you outstay the time, upon mine honour,
And in the greatness of my word, you die.

Exeunt Duke Frederick and Lords

Celia O my poor Rosalind, whither wilt thou go?
Wilt thou change fathers? I will give thee mine.
I charge thee, be not thou more grieved than I am.

Rosalind I have more cause.

Celia Thou hast not, cousin;
Prithee be cheerful: know’st thou not, the duke
Hath banish’d me, his daughter?

Rosalind That he hath not.

Celia No, hath not? Rosalind lacks then the love
Which teacheth thee that thou and I am one:
Shall we be sunder’d? shall we part, sweet girl?
No: let my father seek another heir.
Therefore devise with me how we may fly,
Whither to go and what to bear with us;
And do not seek to take your change upon you,
To bear your griefs yourself and leave me out;
For, by this heaven, now at our sorrows pale,
Say what thou canst, I’ll go along with thee.

Rosalind Why, whither shall we go?

Celia To seek my uncle in the forest of Arden.

Rosalind Alas, what danger will it be to us,
Maids as we are, to travel forth so far!
Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold.

Celia I’ll put myself in poor and mean attire
And with a kind of umber smirch my face;
The like do you: so shall we pass along
And never stir assailants.

Rosalind Were it not better,
Because that I am more than common tall,
That I did suit me all points like a man?
A gallant curtle-axe upon my thigh,
A boar-spear in my hand; and — in my heart
Lie there what hidden woman’s fear there will —
We’ll have a swashing and a martial outside,
As many other mannish cowards have
That do outface it with their semblances.

Celia What shall I call thee when thou art a man?

Rosalind I’ll have no worse a name than Jove’s own page;
And therefore look you call me Ganymede.
But what will you be call’d?

Celia Something that hath a reference to my state
No longer Celia, but Aliena.

Rosalind But, cousin, what if we assay’d to steal
The clownish fool out of your father’s court?
Would he not be a comfort to our travel?

Celia He’ll go along o’er the wide world with me;
Leave me alone to woo him. Let’s away,
And get our jewels and our wealth together,
Devise the fittest time and safest way
To hide us from pursuit that will be made
After my flight. Now go we in content
To liberty and not to banishment.


Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:59