As You Like It
Act 1, SCENE II. Lawn before the Duke’s palace.
Enter CELIA and ROSALIND
I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be merry.
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.
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.
Well, I will forget the condition of my estate, to
rejoice in yours.
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.
From henceforth I will, coz, and devise sports. Let
me see; what think you of falling in love?
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.
What shall be our sport, then?
Let us sit and mock the good housewife Fortune from
her wheel, that her gifts may henceforth be bestowed equally.
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.
‘Tis true; for those that she makes fair she scarce
makes honest, and those that she makes honest she
makes very ill-favouredly.
Nay, now thou goest from Fortune’s office to
Nature’s: Fortune reigns in gifts of the world,
not in the lineaments of Nature.
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?
Indeed, there is Fortune too hard for Nature, when
Fortune makes Nature’s natural the cutter-off of
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?
Mistress, you must come away to your father.
Were you made the messenger?
No, by mine honour, but I was bid to come for you.
Where learned you that oath, fool?
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.
How prove you that, in the great heap of your
Ay, marry, now unmuzzle your wisdom.
Stand you both forth now: stroke your chins, and
swear by your beards that I am a knave.
By our beards, if we had them, thou art.
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.
Prithee, who is’t that thou meanest?
One that old Frederick, your father, loves.
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.
The more pity, that fools may not speak wisely what
wise men do foolishly.
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.
With his mouth full of news.
Which he will put on us, as pigeons feed their young.
Then shall we be news-crammed.
All the better; we shall be the more marketable.
Enter LE BEAU
Bon jour, Monsieur Le Beau: what’s the news?
Fair princess, you have lost much good sport.
Sport! of what colour?
What colour, madam! how shall I answer you?
As wit and fortune will.
Or as the Destinies decree.
Well said: that was laid on with a trowel.
Nay, if I keep not my rank,–
Thou losest thy old smell.
You amaze me, ladies: I would have told you of good
wrestling, which you have lost the sight of.
You tell us the manner of the wrestling.
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.
Well, the beginning, that is dead and buried.
There comes an old man and his three sons,–
I could match this beginning with an old tale.
Three proper young men, of excellent growth and presence.
With bills on their necks, ‘Be it known unto all men
by these presents.’
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.
But what is the sport, monsieur, that the ladies
Why, this that I speak of.
Thus men may grow wiser every day: it is the first
time that ever I heard breaking of ribs was sport
Or I, I promise thee.
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?
You must, if you stay here; for here is the place
appointed for the wrestling, and they are ready to
Yonder, sure, they are coming: let us now stay and see it.
Flourish. Enter DUKE FREDERICK, Lords, ORLANDO, CHARLES, and Attendants
Come on: since the youth will not be entreated, his
own peril on his forwardness.
Is yonder the man?
Even he, madam.
Alas, he is too young! yet he looks successfully.
How now, daughter and cousin! are you crept hither
to see the wrestling?
Ay, my liege, so please you give us leave.
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.
Call him hither, good Monsieur Le Beau.
Do so: I’ll not be by.
Monsieur the challenger, the princesses call for you.
I attend them with all respect and duty.
Young man, have you challenged Charles the wrestler?
No, fair princess; he is the general challenger: I
come but in, as others do, to try with him the
strength of my youth.
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.
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.
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 was 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.
The little strength that I have, I would it were with you.
And mine, to eke out hers.
Fare you well: pray heaven I be deceived in you!
Your heart’s desires be with you!
Come, where is this young gallant that is so
desirous to lie with his mother earth?
Ready, sir; but his will hath in it a more modest working.
You shall try but one fall.
No, I warrant your grace, you shall not entreat him
to a second, that have so mightily persuaded him
from a first.
An you mean to mock me after, you should not have
mocked me before: but come your ways.
Now Hercules be thy speed, young man!
I would I were invisible, to catch the strong
fellow by the leg.
O excellent young man!
If I had a thunderbolt in mine eye, I can tell who
Shout. CHARLES is thrown
No more, no more.
Yes, I beseech your grace: I am not yet well breathed.
How dost thou, Charles?
He cannot speak, my lord.
Bear him away. What is thy name, young man?
Orlando, my liege; the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys.
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 pleased me with this deed,
Hadst thou descended from another house.
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
Were I my father, coz, would I do this?
I am more proud to be Sir Rowland’s son,
His youngest son; and would not change that calling,
To be adopted heir to Frederick.
My father loved 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,
Ere he should thus have ventured.
Let us go thank him and encourage him:
My father’s rough and envious disposition
Sticks me at heart. Sir, you have well deserved:
If you do keep your promises in love
But justly, as you have exceeded all promise,
Your mistress shall be happy.
Giving him a chain from her neck
Wear this for me, one out of suits with fortune,
That could give more, but that her hand lacks means.
Shall we go, coz?
Ay. Fare you well, fair gentleman.
Can I not say, I thank you? My better parts
Are all thrown down, and that which here stands up
Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.
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.
Will you go, coz?
Have with you. Fare you well.
Exeunt ROSALIND and CELIA
What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue?
I cannot speak to her, yet she urged conference.
O poor Orlando, thou art overthrown!
Or Charles or something weaker masters thee.
Re-enter LE BEAU
Good sir, I do in friendship counsel you
To leave this place. Albeit you have deserved
High commendation, true applause and love,
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.
I thank you, sir: and, pray you, tell me this:
Which of the two was daughter of the duke
That here was at the wrestling?
Neither his daughter, if we judge by manners;
But yet indeed the lesser is his daughter
The other is daughter to the banish’d duke,
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,
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:
Hereafter, in a better world than this,
I shall desire more love and knowledge of you.
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:
But heavenly Rosalind!