As You Like It Act III, Scene 2
by William Shakespeare

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Act III, Scene 2

SCENE II. The Forest of Arden.

[Enter ORLANDO, with a paper.]

Hang there, my verse, in witness of my love;
And thou, thrice-crowned queen of night, survey
With thy chaste eye, from thy pale sphere above,
Thy huntress' name, that my full life doth sway.
O Rosalind! these trees shall be my books,
And in their barks my thoughts I'll character,
That every eye which in this forest looks
Shall see thy virtue witness'd every where.
Run, run, Orlando; carve on every tree,
The fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she.



And how like you this shepherd's life, Master Touchstone?

Truly, shepherd, in respect of itself, it is a good
life; but in respect that it is a shepherd's life, it is naught.
In respect that it is solitary, I like it very well; but in
respect that it is private, it is a very vile life. Now in
respect it is in the fields, it pleaseth me well; but in respect
it is not in the court, it is tedious. As it is a spare life,
look you, it fits my humour well; but as there is no more
plenty in it, it goes much against my stomach. Hast any
philosophy in thee, shepherd?

No more but that I know the more one sickens, the worse at
ease he is; and that he that wants money, means, and content, is
without three good friends; that the property of rain is to wet,
and fire to burn; that good pasture makes fat sheep; and that a
great cause of the night is lack of the sun; that he that hath
learned no wit by nature nor art may complain of good breeding,
or comes of a very dull kindred.

Such a one is a natural philosopher. Wast ever in court,

No, truly.

Then thou art damned.

Nay, I hope,--

Truly, thou art damned, like an ill-roasted egg, all on one side.

For not being at court? Your reason.

Why, if thou never wast at court, thou never saw'st good
manners; if thou never saw'st good manners, then thy manners must
be wicked; and wickedness is sin, and sin is damnation. Thou art
in a parlous state, shepherd.

Not a whit, Touchstone; those that are good manners at the
court are as ridiculous in the country as the behaviour of the
country is most mockable at the court. You told me you salute not
at the court, but you kiss your hands; that courtesy would be
uncleanly if courtiers were shepherds.

Instance, briefly; come, instance.

Why, we are still handling our ewes; and their fells,
you know, are greasy.

Why, do not your courtier's hands sweat? and is not the
grease of a mutton as wholesome as the sweat of a man?
Shallow, shallow: a better instance, I say; come.

Besides, our hands are hard.

Your lips will feel them the sooner. Shallow again: a more
sounder instance; come.

And they are often tarred over with the surgery of our
sheep; and would you have us kiss tar? The courtier's hands
are perfumed with civet.

Most shallow man! thou worm's-meat in respect of a good
piece of flesh indeed!--Learn of the wise, and perpend: civet is
of a baser birth than tar,--the very uncleanly flux of a cat.
Mend the instance, shepherd.

You have too courtly a wit for me: I'll rest.

Wilt thou rest damned? God help thee, shallow man!
God make incision in thee! thou art raw.

Sir, I am a true labourer: I earn that I eat, get that I
wear, owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness, glad of other
men's good, content with my harm; and the greatest of my
pride is to see my ewes graze and my lambs suck.

That is another simple sin in you: to bring the ewes
and the rams together, and to offer to get your living by the
copulation of cattle; to be bawd to a bell-wether; and to betray
a she-lamb of a twelvemonth to crooked-pated, old, cuckoldly ram,
out of all reasonable match. If thou be'st not damned for this,
the devil himself will have no shepherds; I cannot see else how
thou shouldst 'scape.

Here comes young Master Ganymede, my new mistress's brother.

[Enter ROSALIND, reading a paper.]

'From the east to western Ind,
No jewel is like Rosalind.
Her worth, being mounted on the wind,
Through all the world bears Rosalind.
All the pictures fairest lin'd
Are but black to Rosalind.
Let no face be kept in mind
But the fair of Rosalind.'

I'll rhyme you so eight years together, dinners, and
suppers, and sleeping hours excepted. It is the right
butter-women's rank to market.

Out, fool!

For a taste:--
If a hart do lack a hind,
Let him seek out Rosalind.
If the cat will after kind,
So be sure will Rosalind.
Winter garments must be lin'd,
So must slender Rosalind.
They that reap must sheaf and bind,--
Then to cart with Rosalind.
Sweetest nut hath sourest rind,
Such a nut is Rosalind.
He that sweetest rose will find
Must find love's prick, and Rosalind.

This is the very false gallop of verses: why do you infect
yourself with them?

Peace, you dull fool! I found them on a tree.

Truly, the tree yields bad fruit.

I'll graff it with you, and then I shall graff it with a
medlar. Then it will be the earliest fruit in the country:
for you'll be rotten ere you be half ripe, and that's the right
virtue of the medlar.

You have said; but whether wisely or no, let the forest judge.

[Enter CELIA, reading a paper.]

Here comes my sister, reading: stand aside.

'Why should this a desert be?
For it is unpeopled? No;
Tongues I'll hang on every tree
That shall civil sayings show:
Some, how brief the life of man
Runs his erring pilgrimage,
That the streching of a span
Buckles in his sum of age.
Some, of violated vows
'Twixt the souls of friend and friend;
But upon the fairest boughs,
Or at every sentence end,
Will I Rosalinda write,
Teaching all that read to know
The quintessence of every sprite
Heaven would in little show.
Therefore heaven nature charg'd
That one body should be fill'd
With all graces wide-enlarg'd:
Nature presently distill'd
Helen's cheek, but not her heart;
Cleopatra's majesty;
Atalanta's better part;
Sad Lucretia's modesty.
Thus Rosalind of many parts
By heavenly synod was devis'd,
Of many faces, eyes, and hearts,
To have the touches dearest priz'd.
Heaven would that she these gifts should have,
And I to live and die her slave.'

O most gentle Jupiter!--What tedious homily of love have
you wearied your parishioners withal, and never cried 'Have
patience, good people!'

How now! back, friends; shepherd, go off a little:--go
with him, sirrah.

Come, shepherd, let us make an honourable retreat; though not
with bag and baggage, yet with scrip and scrippage.


Didst thou hear these verses?

O, yes, I heard them all, and more too; for some of
them had in them more feet than the verses would bear.

That's no matter; the feet might bear the verses.

Ay, but the feet were lame, and could not bear themselves
without the verse, and therefore stood lamely in the verse.

But didst thou hear without wondering how thy name
should be hanged and carved upon these trees?

I was seven of the nine days out of the wonder before you
came; for look here what I found on a palm-tree: I was never
so berhymed since Pythagoras' time, that I was an Irish rat,
which I can hardly remember.

Trow you who hath done this?

Is it a man?

And a chain, that you once wore, about his neck.
Change you colour?

I pray thee, who?

O lord, lord! it is a hard matter for friends to meet; but
mountains may be removed with earthquakes, and so encounter.

Nay, but who is it?

Is it possible?

Nay, I pr'ythee now, with most petitionary vehemence,
tell me who it is.

O wonderful, wonderful, most wonderful wonderful! and yet
again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping!

Good my complexion! dost thou think, though I am
caparisoned like a man, I have a doublet and hose in my
disposition? One inch of delay more is a South-sea of discovery.
I pr'ythee tell me who is it? quickly, and speak apace. I would
thou couldst stammer, that thou mightst pour this concealed man
out of thy mouth, as wine comes out of narrow-mouth'd bottle;
either too much at once or none at all. I pr'ythee take the cork
out of thy mouth that I may drink thy tidings.

So you may put a man in your belly.

Is he of God's making? What manner of man?
Is his head worth a hat or his chin worth a beard?

Nay, he hath but a little beard.

Why, God will send more if the man will be thankful: let me stay
the growth of his beard, if thou delay me not the knowledge of
his chin.

It is young Orlando, that tripped up the wrestler's
heels and your heart both in an instant.

Nay, but the devil take mocking: speak sad brow and true maid.

I' faith, coz, 'tis he.



Alas the day! what shall I do with my doublet and hose?--
What did he when thou saw'st him? What said he? How look'd he?
Wherein went he? What makes he here? Did he ask for me? Where
remains he? How parted he with thee? and when shalt thou see
him again? Answer me in one word.

You must borrow me Gargantua's mouth first: 'tis a word too
great for any mouth of this age's size. To say ay and no to
these particulars is more than to answer in a catechism.

But doth he know that I am in this forest, and in
man's apparel? Looks he as freshly as he did the day he wrestled?

It is as easy to count atomies as to resolve the propositions of
a lover:--but take a taste of my finding him, and relish it with
good observance. I found him under a tree, like a dropp'd acorn.

It may well be called Jove's tree, when it drops forth such

Give me audience, good madam.


There lay he, stretched along like a wounded knight.

Though it be pity to see such a sight, it well
becomes the ground.

Cry, "holla!" to thy tongue, I pr'ythee; it curvets
unseasonably. He was furnished like a hunter.

O, ominous! he comes to kill my heart.

I would sing my song without a burden: thou bring'st me
out of tune.

Do you not know I am a woman? when I think, I must speak.
Sweet, say on.

You bring me out.--Soft! comes he not here?

'Tis he: slink by, and note him.

{CELIA and ROSALIND retire.]


I thank you for your company; but, good faith, I had as
lief have been myself alone.

And so had I; but yet, for fashion's sake, I thank you
too for your society.

God buy you: let's meet as little as we can.

I do desire we may be better strangers.

I pray you, mar no more trees with writing love songs in
their barks.

I pray you, mar no more of my verses with reading them

Rosalind is your love's name?

Yes, just.

I do not like her name.

There was no thought of pleasing you when she was christened.

What stature is she of?

Just as high as my heart.

You are full of pretty answers. Have you not been
acquainted with goldsmiths' wives, and conned them out of

Not so; but I answer you right painted cloth, from
whence you have studied your questions.

You have a nimble wit: I think 'twas made of Atalanta's
heels. Will you sit down with me? and we two will rail
against our mistress the world, and all our misery.

I will chide no breather in the world but myself, against
whom I know most faults.

The worst fault you have is to be in love.

'Tis a fault I will not change for your best virtue. I am
weary of you.

By my troth, I was seeking for a fool when I found you.

He is drowned in the brook; look but in, and you shall see him.

There I shall see mine own figure.

Which I take to be either a fool or a cipher.

I'll tarry no longer with you: farewell, good Signior Love.

I am glad of your departure: adieu, good Monsieur Melancholy.

[Exit JAQUES.--CELIA and ROSALIND come forward.]

I will speak to him like a saucy lacquey,
and under that habit play the knave with him.--Do you hear,

Very well: what would you?

I pray you, what is't o'clock?

You should ask me what time o' day; there's no clock in the

Then there is no true lover in the forest, else sighing
every minute and groaning every hour would detect the lazy foot
of time as well as a clock.

And why not the swift foot of time? had not that been as proper?

By no means, sir. Time travels in divers paces with divers
persons. I'll tell you who time ambles withal, who time trots
withal, who time gallops withal, and who he stands still withal.

I pr'ythee, who doth he trot withal?

Marry, he trots hard with a young maid between the
contract of her marriage and the day it is solemnized; if the
interim be but a se'nnight, time's pace is so hard that it
seems the length of seven year.

Who ambles time withal?

With a priest that lacks Latin and a rich man that hath
not the gout: for the one sleeps easily because he cannot study,
and the other lives merrily because he feels no pain; the one
lacking the burden of lean and wasteful learning, the other
knowing no burden of heavy tedious penury. These time ambles

Who doth he gallop withal?

With a thief to the gallows; for though he go as softly
as foot can fall, he thinks himself too soon there.

Who stays it still withal?

With lawyers in the vacation; for they sleep between term
and term, and then they perceive not how time moves.

Where dwell you, pretty youth?

With this shepherdess, my sister; here in the skirts of
the forest, like fringe upon a petticoat.

Are you native of this place?

As the coney, that you see dwell where she is kindled.

Your accent is something finer than you could purchase in
so removed a dwelling.

I have been told so of many: but indeed an old religious
uncle of mine taught me to speak, who was in his youth an inland
man; one that knew courtship too well, for there he fell in love.
I have heard him read many lectures against it; and I thank God I
am not a woman, to be touched with so many giddy offences as he
hath generally taxed their whole sex withal.

Can you remember any of the principal evils that he laid
to the charge of women?

There were none principal; they were all like one another
as halfpence are; every one fault seeming monstrous till his
fellow fault came to match it.

I pr'ythee recount some of them.

No; I will not cast away my physic but on those that are
sick. There is a man haunts the forest that abuses our young
plants with carving "Rosalind" on their barks; hangs odes upon
hawthorns, and elegies on brambles; all, forsooth, deifying the
name of Rosalind: if I could meet that fancy-monger, I would give
him some good counsel, for he seems to have the quotidian of love
upon him.

I am he that is so love-shaked: I pray you tell me your remedy.

There is none of my uncle's marks upon you; he taught me how to
know a man in love; in which cage of rushes I am sure you are not

What were his marks?

A lean cheek; which you have not: a blue eye and sunken;
which you have not: an unquestionable spirit; which you have not:
a beard neglected; which you have not: but I pardon you for that,
for simply your having in beard is a younger brother's revenue:--
then your hose should be ungartered, your bonnet unbanded, your
sleeve unbuttoned, your shoe untied, and every thing about you
demonstrating a careless desolation. But you are no such man; you
are rather point-device in your accoutrements, as loving yourself
than seeming the lover of any other.

Fair youth, I would I could make thee believe I love.

Me believe it! you may as soon make her that you love
believe it; which, I warrant, she is apter to do than to confess
she does: that is one of the points in the which women still give
the lie to their consciences. But, in good sooth, are you he that
hangs the verses on the trees, wherein Rosalind is so admired?

I swear to thee, youth, by the white hand of Rosalind, I
am that he, that unfortunate he.

But are you so much in love as your rhymes speak?

Neither rhyme nor reason can express how much.

Love is merely a madness; and, I tell you, deserves as
well a dark house and a whip as madmen do: and the reason why
they are not so punished and cured is, that the lunacy is so
ordinary that the whippers are in love too. Yet I profess curing
it by counsel.

Did you ever cure any so?

Yes, one; and in this manner. He was to imagine me his
love, his mistress; and I set him every day to woo me: at which
time would I, being but a moonish youth, grieve, be effeminate,
changeable, longing and liking; proud, fantastical, apish,
shallow, inconstant, full of tears, full of smiles; for every
passion something and for no passion truly anything, as boys and
women are for the most part cattle of this colour; would now like
him, now loathe him; then entertain him, then forswear him; now
weep for him, then spit at him; that I drave my suitor from his
mad humour of love to a living humour of madness; which was, to
forswear the full stream of the world and to live in a nook
merely monastic. And thus I cured him; and this way will I take
upon me to wash your liver as clean as a sound sheep's heart,
that there shall not be one spot of love in 't.

I would not be cured, youth.

I would cure you, if you would but call me Rosalind, and
come every day to my cote and woo me.

Now, by the faith of my love, I will: tell me where it is.

Go with me to it, and I'll show it you: and, by the way,
you shall tell me where in the forest you live. Will you go?

With all my heart, good youth.

Nay, you must call me Rosalind.--Come, sister, will you go?