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The forest.

I prithee, pretty youth, let me be better
acquainted with thee.

They say you are a melancholy fellow.

I am so; I do love it better than laughing.

Those that are in extremity of either
are abominable fellows and betray themselves
to every modern censure worse than drunkards.

Why, 'tis good to be sad and say nothing. (9)

Why then, 'tis good to be a post.

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 (20)
rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness.

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.

Yes, I have gained my experience.

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! Enter ORLANDO.

Good day and happiness, dear Rosalind!

Nay, then, God be wi' you, an you
talk in blank verse. [Exit.

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 (41)
my sight more.

My fair Rosalind, I come within an
hour of my promise.

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. (50)

Pardon me, dear Rosalind.

Nay, an you be so tardy, come no
more in my sight: I had as lief be wooed of
a snail.

Of a snail?

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

What's that?

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.

Virtue is no horn-maker; and my
Rosalind is virtuous.

And I am your Rosalind.

It pleases him to call you so; but he
hath a Rosalind of a better leer than you.

Come, woo me, woo me, for now I
am in a holiday humor and like enough to
consent. What would you say to me now, an (71)
I were your very very Rosalind?

I would kiss before I spoke.

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.

How if the kiss be denied?

Then she puts you to entreaty, and (81)
there begins new matter.

Who could be out, being before his
beloved mistress?

Marry, that should you, if I were
your mistress, or I should think my honesty
ranker than my wit.

What, of my suit?

Not out of your apparel, and yet out
of your suit. Am not I your Rosalind?

I take some joy to say you are, because (91)
I would be talking of her.

Well, in her person I say I will not
have you.

Then in mine own person I die.

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, videlicet, 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.

I would not have my right Rosalind
of this mind, for, I protest, her frown might
kill me.

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.

Then love me, Rosalind.

Yes, faith, will I, Fridays and Saturdays
and all.

And wilt thou have me?

Ay, and twenty such. (120)

What sayest thou?

Are you not good?

I hope so.

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?

Pray thee, marry us.

I cannot say the words.

You must begin, 'Will you, Orlando--'

Go to. Will you, Orlando, have to (131)
wife this Rosalind?

I will.

Ay, but when?

Why now; as fast as she can marry us.

Then you must say 'I take thee,
Rosalind, for wife.'

I take thee, Rosalind, for wife.

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 (141)
her actions.

So do all thoughts; they are winged.

Now tell me how long you would
have her after you have possessed her.

For ever and a day.

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.

But will my Rosalind do so?

By my life, she will do as I do. (160)

O, but she is wise.

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.

A man that had a wife with such a
wit, he might say 'Wit, whither wilt?'

Nay, you might keep that check for
it till you met your wife's wit going to your (171)
neighbor's bed.

And what wit could wit have to excuse

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!

For these two hours, Rosalind, I will (181)
leave thee.

Alas! dear love, I cannot lack thee two hours.

I must attend the duke at dinner: by
two o'clock I will be with thee again.

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 (190)
is your hour?

Ay, sweet 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 (200)
and keep your promise.

With no less religion than if thou wert
indeed my Rosalind: so adieu.

Well, Time is the old justice that examines
all such offenders, and let Time try:
adieu. [Exit Orlando.

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

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.

Or rather, bottomless, that as fast as
you pour affection in, it runs out.

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.

And I'll sleep. [Exeunt.


The forest.
Enter JAQUES, Lords, and Foresters.

Which is he that killed the deer?

A Lord.
Sir, it was I.

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?

Yes, sir.

Sing it: 'tis no matter how it be in (10)
tune, so it make noise enough. SONG.

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,

Any thy father bore it:

The horn, the horn, the lusty horn

Is not a thing to laugh to scorn. [Exeunt.


The forest.

How say you now? Is it not past two
o'clock? and here much Orlando!

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. Enter 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 (10)

Which she did use as she was writing of it,

It bears an angry tenor: pardon me:

I am but as a guiltless messenger.

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, (20)

This is a letter of your own device.

No, I protest, I know not the contents:

Phebe did write it.

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-color'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. (30)

Sure, it is hers.

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?

So please you, for I never heard it yet;

Yet heard too much of Phebe's cruelty.

She Phebes me: mark how the tyrant writes. [Reads.

Art thou god to shepherd turn'd,

That a maiden's heart hath burn'd?

Can a woman rail thus?

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. (50)

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 (60)

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.

Call you this chiding?

Alas, poor shepherd!

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 loves 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. [Exit Silvius. Enter 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?

West of this place, down in the neighbor bottom:

The rank of osiers by the murmuring stream (81)

Left on your right hand brings you to the place.

But at this hour the house doth keep itself;

There's none within.

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 favor, and bestows himself

Like a ripe sister: the woman low

And browner than her brother.' Are not you (90)

The owner of the house I did enquire for?

It is no boast, being ask'd, to say we are.

Orlando doth commend him to you both,

And to that youth he calls his Rosalind

He sends this bloody napkin. Are you he?

I am: what must we understand by this?

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.

I pray you, tell it.

When last the young Orlando parted from you (100)

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 befel! 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 (111)

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 crouching, 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: (120)

This seen, Orlando did approach the man

And found it was his brother, his elder brother.

O, I have heard him speak of that same brother;

And he did render him the most unnatural

That lived amongst men.

And well he might so do,

For well I know he was unnatural.

But, to Orlando: did he leave him there,

Food to the suck'd and hungry lioness?

Twice did he turn his back and purposed so;

But kindness, nobler ever than revenge,

And nature, stronger than his just occasion, (131)

Made him give battle to the lioness,

Who quickly fell before him: in which hurtling

From miserable slumber I awaked.

Are you his brother?

Was't you he rescued?

Was't you that did so oft contrive to kill him?

'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.

But, for the bloody napkin?

By and by. (140)

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 (150)

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. [Rosalind swoons.

Why, how now, Ganymede! sweet Ganymede!

Many will swoon when they do look on blood.

There is more in it. Cousin Ganymede! (161)

Look, he recovers.

I would I were at home.

We'll lead you thither.

I pray you, will you take him by the arm?

Be of good cheer, youth: you a man!
you lack a man's heart.

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. (169)

This was not counterfeit: there is too
great testimony in your complexion that it was
a passion of earnest.

Counterfeit, I assure you.

Well then, take a good heart and
counterfeit to be a man.

So I do: but, i' faith, I should have
been a woman by right.

Come, you look paler and paler:
pray you, draw homewards. Good sir, go with us. (180)

That will I, for I must bear answer back

How you excuse my brother, Rosalind.

I shall devise something: but, I pray
you, commend my counterfeiting to him. Will
you go? [Exeunt.

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