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About the Author
"He was not of an age, but for all time," declared Ben Jonson of his contemporary William Shakespeare (1564–1616). Jonson's praise is especially prescient, since at the turn of the 17th century Shakespeare was but one of many popular London playwrights and none of his dramas were printed in his lifetime. The reason so many of his works survive is because two of his actor friends, with the assistance of Jonson, assembled and published the First Folio edition of 1623.
Date of Death:2018
Place of Birth:Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom
Place of Death:Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom
Read an Excerpt
As You Like It
By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
Dover Publications, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
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.
Orl. Go apart, Adam, and thou shalt hear how he will shake me up.
Oli. Now, sir! what make you here?
Orl. Nothing: I am not taught to make any thing.
Oli. What mar you then, sir?
Orl. Marry, sir, I am helping you to mar that which God made, a poor unworthy brother of yours, with idleness.
Oli. Marry, sir, be better employed, and be naught awhile.
Orl. Shall I keep your hogs and eat husks with them? What prodigal portion have I spent, that I should come to such penury?
Oli. Know you where you are, sir?
Orl. O, sir, very well; here in your orchard.
Oli. Know you before whom, sir?
Orl. 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 firstborn; 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.
Oli. What, boy!
Orl. Come, come, elder brother, you are too young in this.
Oli. Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain?
Orl. 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.
Oli. Let me go, I say.
Orl. 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.
Oli. 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.
Orl. I will no further offend you than becomes me for my good.
Oli. 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.
Oli. Is it even so? begin you to grow upon me? I will physic your rankness, and yet give no thousand crowns neither. Holla, Dennis!
Den. Calls your worship?
Oli. Was not Charles, the Duke's wrestler, here to speak with me?
Den. So please you, he is here at the door and importunes access to you.
Oli. Call him in. [Exit Dennis.] 'T will be a good way; and tomorrow the wrestling is.
Cha. Good morrow to your worship.
Oli. Good Monsieur Charles, what's the new news at the new court?
Cha. 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.
Oli. Can you tell if Rosalind, the Dukes daughter, be banished with her father?
Cha. 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.
Oli. Where will the old Duke live?
Cha. 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.
Oli. What, you wrestle to-morrow before the new Duke?
Cha. 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.
Oli. 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.
Cha. 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!
Oli. 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 Rosalind and Celia
Cel. I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be merry.
Ros. 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.
Cel. 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.
Ros. Well, I will forget the condition of my estate, to rejoice in yours.
Cel. 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.
Ros. From henceforth I will, coz, and devise sports. Let me see; what think you of falling in love?
Cel. 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.
Ros. What shall be our sport, then?
Cel. Let us sit and mock the good housewife Fortune from her wheel, that her gifts may henceforth be bestowed equally.
Ros. 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.
Cel. 'T is true; for those that she makes fair she scarce makes honest; and those that she makes honest she makes very ill-favouredly.
Ros. Nay, now thou goest from Fortune's office to Nature's: Fortune reigns in gifts of the world, not in the lineaments of Nature.
Cel. 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?
Ros. Indeed, there is Fortune too hard for Nature, when Fortune makes Nature's natural the cutter-off of Nature's wit.
Cel. 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?
Touch. Mistress, you must come away to your father.
Cel. Were you made the messenger?
Touch. No, by mine honour, but I was bid to come for you.
Ros. Where learned you that oath, fool?
Touch. 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.
Cel. How prove you that, in the great heap of your knowledge?
Ros. Ay, marry, now unmuzzle your wisdom.
Touch. Stand you both forth now: stroke your chins, and swear by your beards that I am a knave.
Cel. By our beards, if we had them, thou art.
Touch. 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.
Cel. Prithee, who is't that thou meanest?
Touch. One that old Frederick, your father, loves.
Cel. My fathers love is enough to honour him: enough! speak no more of him; you'll be whipped for taxation one of these days.
Touch. The more pity, that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foOlishly.
Cel. 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.
Ros. With his mouth full of news.
Cel. Which he will put on us, as pigeons feed their young.
Ros. Then shall we be news-crammed.
Cel. 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.
Cel. Sport! of what colour?
Le Beau. What colour, madam! how shall I answer you?
Ros. As wit and fortune will.
Touch. Or as the Destinies decrees.
Cel. Well said: that was laid on with a trowel.
Touch. Nay, if I keep not my rank,—
Ros. 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.
Ros. Yet 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.
Cel. Well, the beginning, that is dead and buried.
Le Beau. There comes an old man and his three sons,—
Cel. I could match this beginning with an old tale.
Le Beau. Three proper young men, of excellent growth and presence.
Ros. 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.
Touch. But what is the sport, monsieur, that the ladies have lost?
Le Beau. Why, this that I speak of.
Touch. Thus men may grow wiser every day: it is the first time that ever I heard breaking of ribs was sport for ladies.
Cel. Or I, I promise thee.
Ros. 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.
Cel. Yonder, sure, they are coming: let us now stay and see it.
Flourish. Enter Duke Frederick, Lords, Orlando, Charles, and Attendants
Duke F. Come on: since the youth will not be entreated, his own peril on his forwardness.
Ros. Is yonder the man?
Le Beau. Even he, madam.
Cel. Alas, he is too young! yet he looks successfully.
Duke F. How now, daughter and cousin! are you crept hither to see the wrestling?
Ros. Ay, my liege, so please you give us leave.
Duke F. 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.
Cel. Call him hither, good Monsieur Le Beau.
Duke F. Do so: I'll not be by.
Le Beau. Monsieur the challenger, the princess calls for you.
Orl. I attend them with all respect and duty.
Ros. Young man, have you challenged Charles the wrestler?
Orl. No, fair princess; he is the general challenger: I come but in, as others do, to try with him the strength of my youth.
Cel. 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 judgement, 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.
Ros. 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.
Orl. 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 is 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.
Ros. The little strength that I have, I would it were with you.
Cel. And mine, to eke out hers.
Ros. Fare you well: pray heaven I be deceived in you!
Cel. Your heart's desires be with you!
Cha. Come, where is this young gallant that is so desirous to lie with his mother earth?
Orl. Ready, sir; but his will hath in it a more modest working.
Duke F. You shall try but one fall.
Cha. No, I warrant your Grace, you shall not entreat him to a second, that have so mightily persuaded him from a first.
Orl. You mean to mock me after; you should not have mocked me before: but come your ways.
Ros. Now Hercules be thy speed, young man!
Cel. I would I were invisible, to catch the strong fellow by the leg.
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