Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > As You Like It
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
As You Like It
 
Act I. Scene II.
 
A 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.        5
  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?        10
  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 mightly misplaced, and the bountiful blind woman doth most mistake in her gifts to women.
  Cel.  ’Tis 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.
 
Enter TOUCHSTONE.
        15
  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, perceiving our natural wits too dull to reason of such goddesses, 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?        20
  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.        25
  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.        30
  Cel.  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.
  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.        35
  Ros.  Then we shall be news-cramm’d.
  Cel.  All the better; we shall be more marketable.
 
Enter LE BEAU.
Bon jour, Monsieur Le Beau: what’s the news?
  Le Beau.  Fair princess, you have lost much good sport.        40
  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 decree.
  Cel.  Well said: that was laid on with a trowel.        45
  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.        50
  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.’        55
  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.
  Ros.  Alas!
  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.        60
  Cel.  Or I, I promise thee.
  Ros.  But is there any else longs to feel 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.
        65
  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?        70
  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.  [DUKE goes apart.
  Le Beau.  Monsieur the challenger, the princes call for you.        75
  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 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.
  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.        80
  Orl.  I beseech you, punish me not with your hard thoughts, wherein I confess me much guilty, to deny so fair and excellent ladies anything. 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!        85
  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.        90
  Ros.  Now Hercules be thy speed, young man!
  Cel.  I would I were invisible, to catch the strong fellow by the leg.  [CHARLES and ORLANDO wrestle.
  Ros.  O excellent young man!
  Cel.  If I had a thunderbolt in mine eye, I can tell who should down.  [CHARLES is thrown.  Shout.
  Duke F.  No more, no more.        95
  Orl.  Yes, I beseech your Grace: I am not yet well breathed.
  Duke F.  How dost thou, Charles?
  Le Beau.  He cannot speak, my lord.
  Duke F.  Bear him away. What is thy name, young man?  [CHARLES is borne out.
  Orl.  Orlando, my liege; the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys.        100
  Duke F.  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 pleas’d me with this deed,
Hadst thou descended from another house.        105
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.
  Cel.  Were I my father, coz, would I do this?
  Orl.  I am more proud to be Sir Rowland’s son,
His youngest son; and would not change that calling,        110
To be adopted heir to Frederick.
  Ros.  My father lov’d 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,        115
Ere he should thus have ventur’d.
  Cel.        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 deserv’d:        120
If you do keep your promises in love
But justly, as you have exceeded all promise,
Your mistress shall be happy.
  Ros.        Gentleman,  [Giving him a chain from her neck.
Wear this for me, one out of suits with fortune,        125
That could give more, but that her hand lacks means.
Shall we go, coz?
  Cel.        Ay. Fare you well, fair gentleman.
  Orl.  Can I not say, I thank you? My better parts
Are all thrown down, and that which here stands up        130
Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.
  Ros.  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.        135
  Cel.        Will you go, coz?
  Ros.  Have with you. Fare you well.  [Exeunt ROSALIND and CELIA.
  Orl.  What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue?
I cannot speak to her, yet she urg’d conference.
O poor Orlando, thou art overthrown!        140
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 deserv’d
High commendation, true applause and love,        145
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.
  Orl.  I thank you, sir; and pray you, tell me this;        150
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 smaller is his daughter:
The other is daughter to the banish’d duke,        155
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,        160
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:        165
Hereafter, in a better world than this,
I shall desire more love and knowledge of you.
  Orl.  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.        170
But heavenly Rosalind!  [Exit.
 
 
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