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Act IV

Act IV, Scene 1


SCENE I. The Forest of Arden.


I pr'ythee, 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.

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 contemplation of my
travels; in which my often 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.

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.

[Exit JAQUES.]

Why, how now, Orlando! where have you been all this while?
You a lover!--An you serve me such another trick, never come
in 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
thousand 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.

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 him.

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 humour,
and like enough to consent.--What would you say to me now, an
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 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 I would be talking of

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
chroniclers 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.

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 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 her

So do all thoughts; they are winged.

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

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 are inclined to sleep.

But will my Rosalind do so?

By my life, she will do as I do.

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 it will out at the keyhole;
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 neighbour's bed.

And what wit could wit have to excuse that?

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 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 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, and keep your promise.

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

Well, Time is the old justice that examines all such
offenders, and let time try: adieu!


You have simply misus'd 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 nest.

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.


Act IV, Scene 2

SCENE II. Another part of the Forest.

[Enter JAQUES and Lords, in the habit of Foresters.]

Which is he that killed the deer?

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 tune, so it make noise


1. What shall he have that kill'd the deer?
2. His leather skin and horns to wear.
1. 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.
1. Thy father's father wore it;
2. And thy father bore it;
All. The horn, the horn, the lusty horn,
Is not a thing to laugh to scorn.


Act IV, Scene 3

SCENE III. Another part of 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 did bid me give you this:

[Giving a letter.]

I know not the contents; but, as I guess
By the stern brow and waspish action
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,
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-colour'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.

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 Ethiop 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.
'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.--

'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
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 love 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


[Enter OLIVER.]

Good morrow, fair ones: pray you, if you know,
Where in the purlieus of this forest stands
A sheep-cote fenc'd about with olive trees?

West of this place, down in the neighbour bottom:
The rank of osiers, by the murmuring stream,
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 favour, and bestows himself
Like a ripe sister: the woman low,
And browner than her brother.' Are not you
The owner of the house I did inquire 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 handkerchief was stain'd.

I pray you, tell it.

When last the young Orlando parted from you,
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 befell! 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 wreath'd itself,
Who, with her head nimble in threats, approach'd
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 couching, head on ground, with cat-like 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:
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 liv'd 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 purpos'd so;
But kindness, nobler ever than revenge,
And nature, stronger than his just occasion,
Made him give battle to the lioness,
Who quickly fell before him; in which hurtling
From miserable slumber I awak'd.

Are you his brother?

Was it 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.
When from the first to last, betwixt us two,
Tears our recountments had most kindly bath'd,
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,
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,
Dy'd in his blood, unto the shepherd-youth
That he in sport doth call his Rosalind.

[ROSALIND faints.]

Why, how now, Ganymede! sweet Ganymede!

Many will swoon when they do look on blood.

There is more in it:--Cousin--Ganymede!

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, sir, a body would think
this was well counterfeited. I pray you tell your brother how
well I counterfeited.--Heigh-ho!--

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.

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?