previous next


The forest.

Come apace, good Audrey: I will
fetch up your goats, Audrey. And how, Audrey?
am I the man yet? doth my simple
feature content you?

Your features! Lord warrant us!
what features?

I am here with thee and thy goats,
as the most capricious poet, honest Ovid, was
among the Goths.

O knowledge ill-inhabited, (11)
worse than Jove in a thatched house!

When a man's verses cannot be
understood, nor a man's good wit seconded
with the forward child Understanding, it strikes
a man more dead than a great reckoning in a
little room. Truly, I would the gods had made
thee poetical.

I do not know what 'poetical' is: is
it honest in deed and word? is it a true thing?

No, truly; for the truest poetry is
the most feigning; and lovers are given to
poetry, and what they swear in poetry may be
said as lovers they do feign.

Do you wish then that the gods had
made me poetical?

I do, truly; for thou swearest to
me thou art honest: now, if thou wert a poet,
I might have some hope thou didst feign.

Would you not have me honest?

No, truly, unless thou wert hard-
favored; for honesty coupled to beauty is to (31)
have honey a sauce to sugar.

A material fool!

Well, I am not fair; and therefore I
pray the gods make me honest.

Truly, and to cast away honesty
upon a foul slut were to put good meat into an
unclean dish.

I am not a slut, though I thank the (39)
gods I am foul.

Well, praised be the gods for thy
foulness! sluttishness may come hereafter.
But be it as it may be, I will marry thee, and
to that end I have been with Sir Oliver Martext,
the vicar of the next village, who hath
promised to meet me in this place of the
forest and to couple us.

I would fain see this meeting.

Well, the gods give us joy!

Amen. A man may, if he were of
a fearful heart, stagger in this attempt; for
here we have no temple but the wood, no assembly
but horn-beasts. But what though?
Courage! As horns are odious, they are necessary.
It is said, 'many a man knows no end
of his goods:' right; many a man has good
horns, and knows no end of them. Well, that is
the dowry of his wife; 'tis none of his own
getting. Horns? Even so. Poor men alone?
No, no; the noblest deer hath them as huge as
the rascal. Is the single man therefore blessed?
No: as a walled town is more worthier than
a village, so is the forehead of a married man
more honorable than the bare brow of a
bachelor; and by how much defence is better
than no skill, by so much is a horn more
precious than to want. Here comes Sir Oliver. Enter SIR OLIVER MARTEXT.
Sir Oliver Martext, you are well met: will you
dispatch us here under this tree, or shall we
go with you to your chapel?

Sir Oli.
Is there none here to give the woman ?

I will not take her on gift of any man.

Sir Oli.
Truly, she must be given, or (71)
the marriage is not lawful.

Proceed, proceed: I'll
give her.

Good even, good Master What-ye-
call't: how do you, sir? You are very well
met: God 'ild you for your last company: I
am very glad to see you: even a toy in hand
here, sir: nay, pray be covered. (79)

Will you be married, motley?

As the ox hath his bow, sir, the
horse his curb and the falcon her bells, so
man hath his desires; and as pigeons bill, so
wedlock would be nibbling.

And will you, being a man of your
breeding, be married under a bush like a beggar?
Get you to church, and have a good
priest that can tell you what marriage is: this
fellow will but join you together as they join
wainscot; then one of you will prove a (90)
shrunk panel and, like green timber, warp, warp.

I am not in the mind but I
were better to be married of him than of another:
for he is not like to marry me well;
and not being well married, it will be a good
excuse for me hereafter to leave my wife.

Go thou with me, and let me counsel thee.

Come, sweet Audrey:

We must be married, or we must live in bawdry. (100)

Farewell, good Master Oliver: not,--

O sweet Oliver,

O brave Oliver,

Leave me not behind thee: but,--

Wind away,

Begone, I say,

I will not to wedding with thee. [Exeunt Jaques, Touchstone and Audrey.

Sir Oli.
'Tis no matter: ne'er a fantastical
knave of them all shall flout me out of my (109)
calling. [Exit.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (20 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: