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Shakespere's poem, "Under the Greenwood Tree," extolls the values of a simple country life, away from all of the ambitions and stresses of feudal courts. As the poem notes, it's a happy man
Who doth ambition shun
And loves to live i' the sun,
Seeking the food he eats
And pleased with what he gets
The poem is not just a poem it's a song sung by a local nobleman, Amien, in Act 2, Scene 5 of Shakespere's play As You Like it. In the play several members of the court are beign exiled to the countryside. While this at first seems like a punishment, the characters find freedom in their exile to the forest. Women dress like men and all sorts of love matches are made.
As Amiens notes in a refrain that appears twice "Under The Greenwood Tree," while in courts each nobleperson has to watch out for potential usurpers of his property, in the countryside the only thing to fear is "winter and rough weather."
In a second, paired song "Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind, " also sung by Amiens, rough weather is presented as preferable to the inner sadness and frustration caused by overambition and lack of gratitude. Even the worst aspects of the country life, thus, appear preferable to the stressful life of feudal courts.
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