Enter Rosalind, Celia, and Jaques
Jaques I prithee, pretty youth, let me be better acquainted with thee.
Rosalind They say you are a melancholy fellow.
Jaques I am so; I do love it better than laughing.
Rosalind Those that are in extremity of either are abominable fellows and betray themselves to every modern censure worse than drunkards.
Jaques Why, ’tis good to be sad and say nothing.
Rosalind Why then, ’tis good to be a post.
Jaques I have neither the scholar’s melancholy, which is emulation, nor the musician’s, which is fantastical, nor the courtier’s, which is proud, nor the soldier’s, which is ambitious, nor the lawyer’s, which is politic, nor the lady’s, which is nice, nor the lover’s, which is all these: but it is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry’s contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me m a most humorous sadness.
Rosalind A traveller! By my faith, you have great reason to be sad: I fear you have sold your own lands to see other men’s; then, to have seen much and to have nothing, is to have rich eyes and poor hands.
Jaques Yes, I have gained my experience.
Rosalind And your experience makes you sad: I had rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad; and to travel for it too!
Orlando Good day and happiness, dear Rosalind!
Jaques Nay, then, God be wi’ you, an you talk in blank verse.
Rosalind Farewell, Monsieur Traveller: look you lisp and wear strange suits, disable all the benefits of your own country, be out of love with your nativity and almost chide God for making you that countenance you are, or I will scarce think you have swam in a gondola. Why, how now, Orlando! where have you been all this while? You a lover! An you serve me such another trick, never come in my sight more.
Orlando My fair Rosalind, I come within an hour of my promise.
Rosalind Break an hour’s promise in love! He that will divide a minute into a thousand parts and break but a part of the thousandth part of a minute in the affairs of love, it may be said of him that Cupid hath clapped him o’ the shoulder, but I’ll warrant him heart-whole.
Orlando Pardon me, dear Rosalind.
Rosalind Nay, an you be so tardy, come no more in my sight: I had as lief be wooed of a snail.
Orlando Of a snail?
Rosalind Ay, of a snail; for though he comes slowly, he carries his house on his head; a better jointure, I think, than you make a woman: besides he brings his destiny with him.
Orlando What’s that?
Rosalind Why, horns, which such as you are fain to be beholding to your wives for: but he comes armed in his fortune and prevents the slander of his wife.
Orlando Virtue is no horn-maker; and my Rosalind is virtuous.
Rosalind And I am your Rosalind.
Celia It pleases him to call you so; but he hath a Rosalind of a better leer than you.
Rosalind Come, woo me, woo me, for now I am in a holiday humour and like enough to consent. What would you say to me now, an I were your very very Rosalind?
Orlando I would kiss before I spoke.
Rosalind Nay, you were better speak first, and when you were gravelled for lack of matter, you might take occasion to kiss. Very good orators, when they are out, they will spit; and for lovers lacking — God warn us! — matter, the cleanliest shift is to kiss.
Orlando How if the kiss be denied?
Rosalind Then she puts you to entreaty, and there begins new matter.
Orlando Who could be out, being before his beloved mistress?
Rosalind Marry, that should you, if I were your mistress, or I should think my honesty ranker than my wit.
Orlando What, of my suit?
Rosalind Not out of your apparel, and yet out of your suit. Am not I your Rosalind?
Orlando I take some joy to say you are, because I would be talking of her.
Rosalind Well in her person I say I will not have you.
Orlando Then in mine own person I die.
Rosalind No, faith, die by attorney. The poor world is almost six thousand years old, and in all this time there was not any man died in his own person, videlicit, in a love-cause. Troilus had his brains dashed out with a Grecian club; yet he did what he could to die before, and he is one of the patterns of love. Leander, he would have lived many a fair year, though Hero had turned nun, if it had not been for a hot midsummer night; for, good youth, he went but forth to wash him in the Hellespont and being taken with the cramp was drowned and the foolish coroners of that age found it was ‘Hero of Sestos.’ But these are all lies: men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for love.
Orlando I would not have my right Rosalind of this mind, for, I protest, her frown might kill me.
Rosalind By this hand, it will not kill a fly. But come, now I will be your Rosalind in a more coming-on disposition, and ask me what you will. I will grant it.
Orlando Then love me, Rosalind.
Rosalind Yes, faith, will I, Fridays and Saturdays and all.
Orlando And wilt thou have me?
Rosalind Ay, and twenty such.
Orlando What sayest thou?
Rosalind Are you not good?
Orlando I hope so.
Rosalind Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing? Come, sister, you shall be the priest and marry us. Give me your hand, Orlando. What do you say, sister?
Orlando Pray thee, marry us.
Celia I cannot say the words.
Rosalind You must begin, ‘Will you, Orlando —’
Celia Go to. Will you, Orlando, have to wife this Rosalind?
Orlando I will.
Rosalind Ay, but when?
Orlando Why now; as fast as she can marry us.
Rosalind Then you must say ‘I take thee, Rosalind, for wife.’
Orlando I take thee, Rosalind, for wife.
Rosalind I might ask you for your commission; but I do take thee, Orlando, for my husband: there’s a girl goes before the priest; and certainly a woman’s thought runs before her actions.
Orlando So do all thoughts; they are winged.
Rosalind Now tell me how long you would have her after you have possessed her.
Orlando For ever and a day.
Rosalind Say ‘a day,’ without the ’ever.’ No, no, Orlando; men are April when they woo, December when they wed: maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives. I will be more jealous of thee than a Barbary cock-pigeon over his hen, more clamorous than a parrot against rain, more new-fangled than an ape, more giddy in my desires than a monkey: I will weep for nothing, like Diana in the fountain, and I will do that when you are disposed to be merry; I will laugh like a hyen, and that when thou art inclined to sleep.
Orlando But will my Rosalind do so?
Rosalind By my life, she will do as I do.
Orlando O, but she is wise.
Rosalind Or else she could not have the wit to do this: the wiser, the waywarder: make the doors upon a woman’s wit and it will out at the casement; shut that and ’twill out at the key-hole; stop that, ’twill fly with the smoke out at the chimney.
Orlando A man that had a wife with such a wit, he might say ‘Wit, whither wilt?’
Rosalind Nay, you might keep that cheque for it till you met your wife’s wit going to your neighbour’s bed.
Orlando And what wit could wit have to excuse that?
Rosalind Marry, to say she came to seek you there. You shall never take her without her answer, unless you take her without her tongue. O, that woman that cannot make her fault her husband’s occasion, let her never nurse her child herself, for she will breed it like a fool!
Orlando For these two hours, Rosalind, I will leave thee.
Rosalind Alas! dear love, I cannot lack thee two hours.
Orlando I must attend the duke at dinner: by two o’clock I will be with thee again.
Rosalind Ay, go your ways, go your ways; I knew what you would prove: my friends told me as much, and I thought no less: that flattering tongue of yours won me: ’tis but one cast away, and so, come, death! Two o’clock is your hour?
Orlando Ay, sweet Rosalind.
Rosalind By my troth, and in good earnest, and so God mend me, and by all pretty oaths that are not dangerous, if you break one jot of your promise or come one minute behind your hour, I will think you the most pathetical break-promise and the most hollow lover and the most unworthy of her you call Rosalind that may be chosen out of the gross band of the unfaithful: therefore beware my censure and keep your promise.
Orlando With no less religion than if thou wert indeed my Rosalind: so adieu.
Rosalind Well, Time is the old justice that examines all such offenders, and let Time try: adieu.
Celia You have simply misused our sex in your love-prate: we must have your doublet and hose plucked over your head, and show the world what the bird hath done to her own nest.
Rosalind O coz, coz, coz, my pretty little coz, that thou didst know how many fathom deep I am in love! But it cannot be sounded: my affection hath an unknown bottom, like the bay of Portugal.
Celia Or rather, bottomless, that as fast as you pour affection in, it runs out.
Rosalind No, that same wicked bastard of Venus that was begot of thought, conceived of spleen and born of madness, that blind rascally boy that abuses every one’s eyes because his own are out, let him be judge how deep I am in love. I’ll tell thee, Aliena, I cannot be out of the sight of Orlando: I’ll go find a shadow and sigh till he come.
Celia And I’ll sleep.
Enter Jaques, Lords, and Foresters
Jaques Which is he that killed the deer?
A Lord Sir, it was I.
Jaques Let’s present him to the duke, like a Roman conqueror; and it would do well to set the deer’s horns upon his head, for a branch of victory. Have you no song, forester, for this purpose?
Forester Yes, sir.
Jaques Sing it: ’tis no matter how it be in tune, so it make noise enough.
What shall he have that kill’d the deer?
His leather skin and horns to wear.
Then sing him home;
(The rest shall bear this burden)
Take thou no scorn to wear the horn;
It was a crest ere thou wast born:
Thy father’s father wore it,
And thy father bore it:
The horn, the horn, the lusty horn
Is not a thing to laugh to scorn.
Enter Rosalind and Celia
Rosalind How say you now? Is it not past two o’clock? and here much Orlando!
Celia I warrant you, with pure love and troubled brain, he hath ta’en his bow and arrows and is gone forth to sleep. Look, who comes here.
Silvius My errand is to you, fair youth;
My gentle Phebe bid me give you this:
I know not the contents; but, as I guess
By the stern brow and waspish action
Which she did use as she was writing of it,
It bears an angry tenor: pardon me:
I am but as a guiltless messenger.
Rosalind Patience herself would startle at this letter
And play the swaggerer; bear this, bear all:
She says I am not fair, that I lack manners;
She calls me proud, and that she could not love me,
Were man as rare as phoenix. ‘Od’s my will!
Her love is not the hare that I do hunt:
Why writes she so to me? Well, shepherd, well,
This is a letter of your own device.
Silvius No, I protest, I know not the contents:
Phebe did write it.
Rosalind Come, come, you are a fool
And turn’d into the extremity of love.
I saw her hand: she has a leathern hand.
A freestone-colour’d hand; I verily did think
That her old gloves were on, but ’twas her hands:
She has a huswife’s hand; but that’s no matter:
I say she never did invent this letter;
This is a man’s invention and his hand.
Silvius Sure, it is hers.
Rosalind Why, ’tis a boisterous and a cruel style.
A style for-challengers; why, she defies me,
Like Turk to Christian: women’s gentle brain
Could not drop forth such giant-rude invention
Such Ethiope words, blacker in their effect
Than in their countenance. Will you hear the letter?
Silvius So please you, for I never heard it yet;
Yet heard too much of Phebe’s cruelty.
Rosalind She Phebes me: mark how the tyrant writes.
Art thou god to shepherd turn’d,
That a maiden’s heart hath burn’d?
Can a woman rail thus?
Silvius Call you this railing?
Why, thy godhead laid apart,
Warr’st thou with a woman’s heart?
Did you ever hear such railing?
Whiles the eye of man did woo me,
That could do no vengeance to me.
Meaning me a beast.
If the scorn of your bright eyne
Have power to raise such love in mine,
Alack, in me what strange effect
Would they work in mild aspect!
Whiles you chid me, I did love;
How then might your prayers move!
He that brings this love to thee
Little knows this love in me:
And by him seal up thy mind;
Whether that thy youth and kind
Will the faithful offer take
Of me and all that I can make;
Or else by him my love deny,
And then I’ll study how to die.
Silvius Call you this chiding?
Celia Alas, poor shepherd!
Rosalind Do you pity him? no, he deserves no pity. Wilt thou love such a woman? What, to make thee an instrument and play false strains upon thee! not to be endured! Well, go your way to her, for I see love hath made thee a tame snake, and say this to her: that if she love me, I charge her to love thee; if she will not, I will never have her unless thou entreat for her. If you be a true lover, hence, and not a word; for here comes more company.
Oliver Good morrow, fair ones: pray you, if you know,
Where in the purlieus of this forest stands
A sheep-cote fenced about with olive trees?
Celia West of this place, down in the neighbour bottom:
The rank of osiers by the murmuring stream
Left on your right hand brings you to the place.
But at this hour the house doth keep itself;
There’s none within.
Oliver If that an eye may profit by a tongue,
Then should I know you by description;
Such garments and such years: ‘The boy is fair,
Of female favour, and bestows himself
Like a ripe sister: the woman low
And browner than her brother.’ Are not you
The owner of the house I did inquire for?
Celia It is no boast, being ask’d, to say we are.
Oliver Orlando doth commend him to you both,
And to that youth he calls his Rosalind
He sends this bloody napkin. Are you he?
Rosalind I am: what must we understand by this?
Oliver Some of my shame; if you will know of me
What man I am, and how, and why, and where
This handkercher was stain’d.
Celia I pray you, tell it.
Oliver When last the young Orlando parted from you
He left a promise to return again
Within an hour, and pacing through the forest,
Chewing the food of sweet and bitter fancy,
Lo, what befell! he threw his eye aside,
And mark what object did present itself:
Under an oak, whose boughs were moss’d with age
And high top bald with dry antiquity,
A wretched ragged man, o’ergrown with hair,
Lay sleeping on his back: about his neck
A green and gilded snake had wreathed itself,
Who with her head nimble in threats approach’d
The opening of his mouth; but suddenly,
Seeing Orlando, it unlink’d itself,
And with indented glides did slip away
Into a bush: under which bush’s shade
A lioness, with udders all drawn dry,
Lay couching, head on ground, with catlike watch,
When that the sleeping man should stir; for ’tis
The royal disposition of that beast
To prey on nothing that doth seem as dead:
This seen, Orlando did approach the man
And found it was his brother, his elder brother.
Celia O, I have heard him speak of that same brother;
And he did render him the most unnatural
That lived amongst men.
Oliver And well he might so do,
For well I know he was unnatural.
Rosalind But, to Orlando: did he leave him there,
Food to the suck’d and hungry lioness?
Oliver Twice did he turn his back and purposed so;
But kindness, nobler ever than revenge,
And nature, stronger than his just occasion,
Made him give battle to the lioness,
Who quickly fell before him: in which hurtling
From miserable slumber I awaked.
Celia Are you his brother?
Rosalind Wast you he rescued?
Celia Was’t you that did so oft contrive to kill him?
Oliver ’Twas I; but ’tis not I I do not shame
To tell you what I was, since my conversion
So sweetly tastes, being the thing I am.
Rosalind But, for the bloody napkin?
Oliver By and by.
When from the first to last betwixt us two
Tears our recountments had most kindly bathed,
As how I came into that desert place:—
In brief, he led me to the gentle duke,
Who gave me fresh array and entertainment,
Committing me unto my brother’s love;
Who led me instantly unto his cave,
There stripp’d himself, and here upon his arm
The lioness had torn some flesh away,
Which all this while had bled; and now he fainted
And cried, in fainting, upon Rosalind.
Brief, I recover’d him, bound up his wound;
And, after some small space, being strong at heart,
He sent me hither, stranger as I am,
To tell this story, that you might excuse
His broken promise, and to give this napkin
Dyed in his blood unto the shepherd youth
That he in sport doth call his Rosalind.
Celia Why, how now, Ganymede! sweet Ganymede!
Oliver Many will swoon when they do look on blood.
Celia There is more in it. Cousin Ganymede!
Oliver Look, he recovers.
Rosalind I would I were at home.
Celia We’ll lead you thither.
I pray you, will you take him by the arm?
Oliver Be of good cheer, youth: you a man! you lack a man’s heart.
Rosalind I do so, I confess it. Ah, sirrah, a body would think this was well counterfeited! I pray you, tell your brother how well I counterfeited. Heigh-ho!
Oliver This was not counterfeit: there is too great testimony in your complexion that it was a passion of earnest.
Rosalind Counterfeit, I assure you.
Oliver Well then, take a good heart and counterfeit to be a man.
Rosalind So I do: but, i’ faith, I should have been a woman by right.
Celia Come, you look paler and paler: pray you, draw homewards. Good sir, go with us.
Oliver That will I, for I must bear answer back
How you excuse my brother, Rosalind.
Rosalind I shall devise something: but, I pray you, commend my counterfeiting to him. Will you go?
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:54