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As You Like It

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ACT III  SCENE V Another part of the forest. 
SILVIUSSweet Phebe, do not scorn me; do not, Phebe;
Say that you love me not, but say not so
In bitterness. The common executioner,
Whose heart the accustom'd sight of death makes hard,
Falls not the axe upon the humbled neck
But first begs pardon: will you sterner be
Than he that dies and lives by bloody drops?
[Enter ROSALIND, CELIA, and CORIN, behind]
PHEBEI would not be thy executioner:
I fly thee, for I would not injure thee.
Thou tell'st me there is murder in mine eye:10
'Tis pretty, sure, and very probable,
That eyes, that are the frail'st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be call'd tyrants, butchers, murderers!
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart;
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee:
Now counterfeit to swoon; why now fall down;
Or if thou canst not, O, for shame, for shame,
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers!
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee:20
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
Some scar of it; lean but upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps; but now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,
Nor, I am sure, there is no force in eyes
That can do hurt.
SILVIUSO dear Phebe,
If ever,--as that ever may be near,--
You meet in some fresh cheek the power of fancy,
Then shall you know the wounds invisible30
That love's keen arrows make.
PHEBEBut till that time
Come not thou near me: and when that time comes,
Afflict me with thy mocks, pity me not;
As till that time I shall not pity thee.
ROSALINDAnd why, I pray you? Who might be your mother,
That you insult, exult, and all at once,
Over the wretched? What though you have no beauty,--
As, by my faith, I see no more in you
Than without candle may go dark to bed--
Must you be therefore proud and pitiless?40
Why, what means this? Why do you look on me?
I see no more in you than in the ordinary
Of nature's sale-work. 'Od's my little life,
I think she means to tangle my eyes too!
No, faith, proud mistress, hope not after it:
'Tis not your inky brows, your black silk hair,
Your bugle eyeballs, nor your cheek of cream,
That can entame my spirits to your worship.
You foolish shepherd, wherefore do you follow her,
Like foggy south puffing with wind and rain?50
You are a thousand times a properer man
Than she a woman: 'tis such fools as you
That makes the world full of ill-favour'd children:
'Tis not her glass, but you, that flatters her;
And out of you she sees herself more proper
Than any of her lineaments can show her.
But, mistress, know yourself: down on your knees,
And thank heaven, fasting, for a good man's love:
For I must tell you friendly in your ear,
Sell when you can: you are not for all markets:60
Cry the man mercy; love him; take his offer:
Foul is most foul, being foul to be a scoffer.
So take her to thee, shepherd: fare you well.
PHEBESweet youth, I pray you, chide a year together:

I had rather hear you chide than this man woo.
ROSALINDHe's fallen in love with your foulness and she'll
fall in love with my anger. If it be so, as fast as
she answers thee with frowning looks, I'll sauce her
with bitter words. Why look you so upon me?
PHEBEFor no ill will I bear you.70
ROSALINDI pray you, do not fall in love with me,
For I am falser than vows made in wine:
Besides, I like you not. If you will know my house,
'Tis at the tuft of olives here hard by.
Will you go, sister? Shepherd, ply her hard.
Come, sister. Shepherdess, look on him better,
And be not proud: though all the world could see,
None could be so abused in sight as he.
Come, to our flock.
PHEBEDead Shepherd, now I find thy saw of might,80
'Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?'
SILVIUSSweet Phebe,--
PHEBEHa, what say'st thou, Silvius?
SILVIUSSweet Phebe, pity me.
PHEBEWhy, I am sorry for thee, gentle Silvius.
SILVIUSWherever sorrow is, relief would be:
If you do sorrow at my grief in love,
By giving love your sorrow and my grief
Were both extermined.
PHEBEThou hast my love: is not that neighbourly?
SILVIUSI would have you.
PHEBEWhy, that were covetousness.
Silvius, the time was that I hated thee,
And yet it is not that I bear thee love;
But since that thou canst talk of love so well,
Thy company, which erst was irksome to me,
I will endure, and I'll employ thee too:95
But do not look for further recompense
Than thine own gladness that thou art employ'd.
SILVIUSSo holy and so perfect is my love,
And I in such a poverty of grace,
That I shall think it a most plenteous crop
To glean the broken ears after the man
That the main harvest reaps: loose now and then
A scatter'd smile, and that I'll live upon.
PHEBEKnow'st now the youth that spoke to me erewhile?
SILVIUSNot very well, but I have met him oft;
And he hath bought the cottage and the bounds
That the old carlot once was master of.
PHEBEThink not I love him, though I ask for him:
'Tis but a peevish boy; yet he talks well;
But what care I for words? yet words do well110
When he that speaks them pleases those that hear.
It is a pretty youth: not very pretty:
But, sure, he's proud, and yet his pride becomes him:
He'll make a proper man: the best thing in him
Is his complexion; and faster than his tongue
Did make offence his eye did heal it up.
He is not very tall; yet for his years he's tall:
His leg is but so so; and yet 'tis well:
There was a pretty redness in his lip,
A little riper and more lusty red120
Than that mix'd in his cheek; 'twas just the difference
Between the constant red and mingled damask.
There be some women, Silvius, had they mark'd him
In parcels as I did, would have gone near
To fall in love with him; but, for my part,
I love him not nor hate him not; and yet
I have more cause to hate him than to love him:
For what had he to do to chide at me?
He said mine eyes were black and my hair black:
And, now I am remember'd, scorn'd at me:130
I marvel why I answer'd not again:
But that's all one; omittance is no quittance.
I'll write to him a very taunting letter,
And thou shalt bear it: wilt thou, Silvius?
SILVIUSPhebe, with all my heart.
PHEBEI'll write it straight;
The matter's in my head and in my heart:
I will be bitter with him and passing short.
Go with me, Silvius.

Next: As You Like It, Act 4, Scene 1

Explanatory notes for Act 3, Scene 5
From As You Like It. Ed. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922.
(Line numbers have been altered.)

Shakespeare follows the novel here, but subordinates Phebe. Rosalind seizes at once this opportunity to indulge her desire to act her part.

Line 5. Falls: lets fall.

7. dies and lives: Certainly a peculiar order but the meaning is clear enough.

11. Phebe adopts irony as the surest means of making herself understood.

13. who: indicates personification.

23. cicatrice: mark. capable impressure: impression that can be seen.

29. fancy: love.

31. love's keen arrows: Can you see Cupid?

33. Phebe seems to court love's wounds and they come at once.

36. all at once: all at the same time.

39. dark: in the dark.

40. These questions give us the key to Phebe's change of expression.

43. sale-work: ready-made. Note Rosalind's enjoyment of the oath she uses.

47. bugle: like a black bead.

50. A perfect simile.

51. properer: handsomer.

59. friendly: like a friend.

61. Cry: ask.

62. The ugly person is the most ugly to one who scorns.

74. tuft of olives: We are reminded of the palm-tree which we have already found in this strange forest.

80. Dead shepherd: The dead shepherd was Christopher Marlowe, the father of English tragedy, and creator of English blank verse, who was born in 1564, the same year with Shakespeare, and who died in 1593, six or seven years before the composition of "As You Like It." The saw is from one of Marlowe's poems.

88. extermined: exterminated.

92. The line means: "And even now I do not really love you."

94. erst: once.

99. grace: favor.

107. carlot: peasant.

108. The speech which follows again illustrates Shakespeare's skill in introducing a description of one character through the words of another.

109. peevish: silly.

120. lusty: lively.

122. constant: uniform. Has Rosalind, upon learning that Orlando is in the forest, washed the umber off?

124. in parcels: bit by bit.

132. omittance is no quittance: an old proverb.

137. passing: exceedingly.


1. Do you like Silvius as a lover or do you sympathize with Phebe?

2. Why does Rosalind take a hand in this love affair?

3. Does she direct her invitation to Silvius or to Phebe? Why?

4. Why does she change her attitude towards Silvius?

5. Describe Rosalind in detail as Phebe does.

6. Do you anticipate the letter?

7. Why is this scene put in here?

How to cite the explanatory notes:

Shakespeare, William. As You Like It. Eds. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < >.


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