Explain the song sung by Amiens in act 2, scene 7 of As You Like It and its importance.

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Amiens's song helps close out Act Two as a whole. In the song, the singer speaks to nature and winter, claiming that the harshness of the natural world is not nearly as cruel as humans can be when they forget one another or betray a friendship.

The song is interesting...

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Amiens's song helps close out Act Two as a whole. In the song, the singer speaks to nature and winter, claiming that the harshness of the natural world is not nearly as cruel as humans can be when they forget one another or betray a friendship.

The song is interesting for many reasons. Firstly, it offers a kind of opposition to Duke Senior's view of nature as wholly benevolent and good. Nature can be harsh and inhospitable to the unwary, unprepared person.

Secondly, the song criticizes the fragility of human relationships, which relates to the current position of the Duke and his retainers who have been banished from court. They are essentially forgotten men who have lost everything, including the "benefits forgot" of living in the court.

The song blends melancholy and joy in a strange way. The refrain "Most friendship is feigning, most loving, mere folly./Then hey-ho, the holly;/This life is most jolly" is a good example of this element, praising the constancy and honesty of the often harsh natural world while deriding the false pomp of civilization. The song goes over both what the banished men have gained, but also the things they've lost.

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This scene is the second scene in the play to feature the courtier Amiens (from banished Duke Senior's court) singing about the country life, of nature.  He enters first with Jaques in Act II, scene v, singing about an idealized pastoral life.  It is probable that Shakespeare meant this song, in scene five, to assist in the transition from the court scenes to the forest scenes.

The song in scene seven comes at the end of a scene with much action and just following Jaques famous speech about the seven ages of man, which is a speech that highlights the passage of time and its effect.

Once the characters in the scene gather for the meal at the end of the scene, Amiens reinforces this emphasis on time by singing of winter and how the winter's frost and cold is not as harsh as forgetting friends and events gone by.  This "remembering" is important for Duke Senior and his courtiers who have been banished from their old life and old friends at court to the Forest, where they must endure the harsh elements, including those of winter.

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