The Forest of Arden.
(Orlando; Corin; Touchstone; Rosalind; Celia; Orlando; Jaques)
Orlando hangs love poems to Rosalind from the trees. Touchstone and Corin argue over which life is better, that of the courtier or of the shepherd, but Corin finds Touchstone’s wit impossible to get around and gives up. Finding Orlando’s verses, Rosalind is horrified at their dreadful quality, and Touchstone quickly improvises more in the same style. Celia enters, reading yet another of Orlando’s poems, and teasingly lets Rosalind know who their author is. The ladies overhear Jaques and Orlando discussing love and melancholy. Protected by her disguise, Rosalind mocks Orlando for not looking the part of a lover, and offers to cure him of his affection. Orlando agrees to practice wooing Rosalind on “Ganymede”, not realizing that they are one and the same. (203 lines)
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.
Enter Corin and Clown (Touchstone).
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 vild 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 humor 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 learn’d 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, shepherd?
Then thou art damn’d.
Nay, I hope.
Truly, thou art damn’d, 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 behavior 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 tarr’d over with the surgery of our sheep; and would you have us kiss tar? The courtier’s hands are perfum’d 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 damn’d? God help thee, shallow man! God make incision in thee, thou art raw.
Sir, I am a true laborer: 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 a crooked-pated old cuckoldly ram, out of all reasonable match. If thou beest not damn’d 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 with a paper, reading.
“From the east to western Inde,
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.
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.
Wint’red 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 i’ th’ 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 with a writing.
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 stretching 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,
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 honorable retreat, though not with bag and baggage, yet with scrip and scrippage.
Exit with Corin.
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 hang’d and carv’d 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 berhym’d 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 color?
I prithee who?
O Lord, Lord, it is a hard matter for friends to meet; but mountains may be remov’d with earthquakes, and so encounter.
Nay, but who is it?
Is it possible?
Nay, I prithee now, with most petitionary vehemence, tell me who it is.
O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! And yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all hooping!
Good my complexion, dost thou think, though I am caparison’d like a man, I have a doublet and hose in my disposition? One inch of delay more is a South-sea of discovery. I prithee tell me who is it quickly, and speak apace. I would thou couldst stammer, that thou mightst pour this conceal’d man out of thy mouth, as wine comes out of a narrow-mouth’d bottle, either too much at once, or none at all. I prithee 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 tripp’d 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 call’d Jove’s tree, when it drops such fruit.
Give me audience, good madam.
There lay he, stretch’d 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 prithee; it curvets unseasonably. He was furnish’d 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.
Enter Orlando and Jaques.
You bring me out. Soft, comes he not here?
’Tis he. Slink by, and note him.
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 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 ill-favoredly.
Rosalind is your love’s name?
I do not like her name.
There was no thought of pleasing you when she was christen’d.
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 conn’d them out of rings?
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 drown’d 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.
Aside to Celia.
I will speak to him like a saucy lackey, and under that habit play the knave with him.—Do you hear, forester?
Very well. What would you?
I pray you, what is’t a’ clock?
You should ask me what time o’ day; there’s no clock in the forest.
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 prithee, who doth he trot withal?
Marry, he trots hard with a young maid between the contract of her marriage and the day it is solemniz’d. 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 withal.
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 cony that you see dwell where she is kindled.
Your accent is something finer than you could purchase in so remov’d 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 touch’d with so many giddy offenses as he hath generally tax’d 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 prithee 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-shak’d, 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 prisoner.
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 ungarter’d, your bonnet unbanded, your sleeve unbutton’d, 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 accoustrements, 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 admir’d?
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 punish’d and cur’d 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 any thing, as boys and women are for the most part cattle of this color; 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 humor of love to a living humor of madness, which was, to forswear the full stream of the world, and to live in a nook merely monastic. And thus I cur’d 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 cur’d, 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?