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As You Like It

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ACT IV  SCENE I The forest. 
JAQUESI prithee, pretty youth, let me be better acquainted
with thee.
ROSALINDThey say you are a melancholy fellow.
JAQUESI am so; I do love it better than laughing.
ROSALINDThose that are in extremity of either are abominable
fellows and betray themselves to every modern
censure worse than drunkards.7
JAQUESWhy, 'tis good to be sad and say nothing.
ROSALINDWhy then, 'tis good to be a post.
JAQUESI have neither the scholar's melancholy, which is
emulation, nor the musician's, which is fantastical,
nor the courtier's, which is proud, nor the
soldier's, which is ambitious, nor the lawyer's,
which is politic, nor the lady's, which is nice, nor
the lover's, which is all these: but it is a
melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples,
extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry's
contemplation of my travels, in which my often
rumination wraps me m a most humorous sadness.18
ROSALINDA traveller! By my faith, you have great reason to
be sad: I fear you have sold your own lands to see
other men's; then, to have seen much and to have
nothing, is to have rich eyes and poor hands.
JAQUESYes, I have gained my experience.
ROSALINDAnd your experience makes you sad: I had rather have
a fool to make me merry than experience to make me
sad; and to travel for it too!
ORLANDOGood day and happiness, dear Rosalind!
JAQUESNay, then, God be wi' you, an you talk in blank verse.29
ROSALINDFarewell, Monsieur Traveller: look you lisp and
wear strange suits, disable all the benefits of your
own country, be out of love with your nativity and
almost chide God for making you that countenance you
are, or I will scarce think you have swam in a
gondola. Why, how now, Orlando! where have you been
all this while? You a lover! An you serve me such
another trick, never come in my sight more.
ORLANDOMy fair Rosalind, I come within an hour of my promise.
ROSALINDBreak an hour's promise in love! He that will
divide a minute into a thousand parts and break but
a part of the thousandth part of a minute in the
affairs of love, it may be said of him that Cupid
hath clapped him o' the shoulder, but I'll warrant
him heart-whole.
ORLANDOPardon me, dear Rosalind.45
ROSALINDNay, an you be so tardy, come no more in my sight: I
had as lief be wooed of a snail.
ORLANDOOf a snail?
ROSALINDAy, of a snail; for though he comes slowly, he
carries his house on his head; a better jointure,
I think, than you make a woman: besides he brings
his destiny with him.
ORLANDOWhat's that?
ROSALINDWhy, horns, which such as you are fain to be
beholding to your wives for: but he comes armed in
his fortune and prevents the slander of his wife.
ORLANDOVirtue is no horn-maker; and my Rosalind is virtuous.
ROSALINDAnd I am your Rosalind.
CELIAIt pleases him to call you so; but he hath a
Rosalind of a better leer than you.
ROSALINDCome, woo me, woo me, for now I am in a holiday
humour and like enough to consent. What would you
say to me now, an I were your very very Rosalind?
ORLANDOI would kiss before I spoke.57
ROSALINDNay, you were better speak first, and when you were
gravelled for lack of matter, you might take
occasion to kiss. Very good orators, when they are

out, they will spit; and for lovers lacking--God
warn us!--matter, the cleanliest shift is to kiss.
ORLANDOHow if the kiss be denied?
ROSALINDThen she puts you to entreaty, and there begins new matter.
ORLANDOWho could be out, being before his beloved mistress?
ROSALINDMarry, that should you, if I were your mistress, or
I should think my honesty ranker than my wit.
ORLANDOWhat, of my suit?
ROSALINDNot out of your apparel, and yet out of your suit.
Am not I your Rosalind?
ORLANDOI take some joy to say you are, because I would be
talking of her.
ROSALINDWell in her person I say I will not have you.
ORLANDOThen in mine own person I die.69
ROSALINDNo, faith, die by attorney. The poor world is
almost six thousand years old, and in all this time
there was not any man died in his own person,
videlicit, in a love-cause. Troilus had his brains
dashed out with a Grecian club; yet he did what he
could to die before, and he is one of the patterns
of love. Leander, he would have lived many a fair
year, though Hero had turned nun, if it had not been
for a hot midsummer night; for, good youth, he went
but forth to wash him in the Hellespont and being
taken with the cramp was drowned and the foolish
coroners of that age found it was 'Hero of Sestos.'
But these are all lies: men have died from time to
time and worms have eaten them, but not for love.
ORLANDOI would not have my right Rosalind of this mind,
for, I protest, her frown might kill me.84
ROSALINDBy this hand, it will not kill a fly. But come, now
I will be your Rosalind in a more coming-on
disposition, and ask me what you will. I will grant
ORLANDOThen love me, Rosalind.
ROSALINDYes, faith, will I, Fridays and Saturdays and all.
ORLANDOAnd wilt thou have me?
ROSALINDAy, and twenty such.
ORLANDOWhat sayest thou?
ROSALINDAre you not good?
ORLANDOI hope so.95
ROSALINDWhy then, can one desire too much of a good thing?
Come, sister, you shall be the priest and marry us.
Give me your hand, Orlando. What do you say, sister?
ORLANDOPray thee, marry us.
CELIAI cannot say the words.
ROSALINDYou must begin, 'Will you, Orlando--'
CELIAGo to. Will you, Orlando, have to wife this Rosalind?
ORLANDOI will.105
ROSALINDAy, but when?
ORLANDOWhy now; as fast as she can marry us.
ROSALINDThen you must say 'I take thee, Rosalind, for wife.'
ORLANDOI take thee, Rosalind, for wife.
ROSALINDI might ask you for your commission; but I do take
thee, Orlando, for my husband: there's a girl goes
before the priest; and certainly a woman's thought
runs before her actions.
ORLANDOSo do all thoughts; they are winged.115
ROSALINDNow tell me how long you would have her after you
have possessed her.
ORLANDOFor ever and a day.
ROSALINDSay 'a day,' without the 'ever.' No, no, Orlando;
men are April when they woo, December when they wed:
maids are May when they are maids, but the sky
changes when they are wives. I will be more jealous
of thee than a Barbary cock-pigeon over his hen,
more clamorous than a parrot against rain, more
new-fangled than an ape, more giddy in my desires
than a monkey: I will weep for nothing, like Diana
in the fountain, and I will do that when you are
disposed to be merry; I will laugh like a hyen, and
that when thou art inclined to sleep.
ORLANDOBut will my Rosalind do so?130
ROSALINDBy my life, she will do as I do.
ORLANDOO, but she is wise.
ROSALINDOr else she could not have the wit to do this: the
wiser, the waywarder: make the doors upon a woman's
wit and it will out at the casement; shut that and
'twill out at the key-hole; stop that, 'twill fly
with the smoke out at the chimney.
ORLANDOA man that had a wife with such a wit, he might say
'Wit, whither wilt?'
ROSALINDNay, you might keep that cheque for it till you met
your wife's wit going to your neighbour's bed.
ORLANDOAnd what wit could wit have to excuse that?
ROSALINDMarry, to say she came to seek you there. You shall
never take her without her answer, unless you take
her without her tongue. O, that woman that cannot
make her fault her husband's occasion, let her
never nurse her child herself, for she will breed
it like a fool!
ORLANDOFor these two hours, Rosalind, I will leave thee.140
ROSALINDAlas! dear love, I cannot lack thee two hours.
ORLANDOI must attend the duke at dinner: by two o'clock I
will be with thee again.
ROSALINDAy, go your ways, go your ways; I knew what you
would prove: my friends told me as much, and I
thought no less: that flattering tongue of yours
won me: 'tis but one cast away, and so, come,
death! Two o'clock is your hour?
ORLANDOAy, sweet Rosalind.
ROSALINDBy my troth, and in good earnest, and so God mend150
me, and by all pretty oaths that are not dangerous,
if you break one jot of your promise or come one
minute behind your hour, I will think you the most
pathetical break-promise and the most hollow lover
and the most unworthy of her you call Rosalind that
may be chosen out of the gross band of the
unfaithful: therefore beware my censure and keep
your promise.
ORLANDOWith no less religion than if thou wert indeed my
Rosalind: so adieu.
ROSALINDWell, Time is the old justice that examines all such
offenders, and let Time try: adieu.
CELIAYou have simply misused our sex in your love-prate:
we must have your doublet and hose plucked over your
head, and show the world what the bird hath done to
her own nest.165
ROSALINDO coz, coz, coz, my pretty little coz, that thou
didst know how many fathom deep I am in love! But
it cannot be sounded: my affection hath an unknown
bottom, like the bay of Portugal.
CELIAOr rather, bottomless, that as fast as you pour
affection in, it runs out.
ROSALINDNo, that same wicked bastard of Venus that was begot
of thought, conceived of spleen and born of madness,
that blind rascally boy that abuses every one's eyes174
because his own are out, let him be judge how deep I
am in love. I'll tell thee, Aliena, I cannot be out
of the sight of Orlando: I'll go find a shadow and
sigh till he come.
CELIAAnd I'll sleep.

Next: As You Like It, Act 4, Scene 2

Explanatory notes for Act 4, Scene 1
From As You Like It. Ed. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922.
(Line numbers have been altered.)

This scene contains a lively passage between Rosalind and Jaques in which Rosalind shows herself better able to cope with Jaques than did even Orlando. The mock courtship naturally follows soon after the scene where the appointment was made, even though the lover is an hour late. No one is surprised at the mock marriage although Celia is a bit shocked.

Line 5. in extremity: extremely given to.

6. modern censure: ordinary judgment.

11. emulation: envy of his rivals. fantastical: imaginative.

13. politic: pretended sympathy for client.

14. nice: finical.

16. simples: herbs.

17. sundry: varied. in which ... rumination: on which my frequent meditation. humorous: moody. Note that this summary of his own brand of melancholy is what you have been led to expect of Jaques, selfish in the extreme.

19. Rosalind's retort hits nearer the mark than she supposes, but she scorns such a mental attitude.

30. lisp ... suits: This means to have an affected manner.

31. disable: abuse.

34. swam ... gondola: Rosalind probably means that he had lived in Venice where he had become experienced in life.

36. Note that Rosalind delays some time in noticing and answering Orlando. Why?

43. clapped: just touched him so that he is not really in love.

50. jointure: settlement.

53. leer: look. Poor Celia is certainly having a stupid time and must be unutterably bored.

59. gravelled: stuck in the sand and therefore stuck here.

60. are out: are at a loss.

61. God warn us: God forbid.

62. cleanliest way: the best way.

70. by attorney: by proxy.

72. videlicet: namely.

78. Troilus: During the Trojan War, Troilus, one of the sons of Priam, fell in love with Cressida. His love was not returned, for Cressida loved Diomedes, a Greek. Therefore Troilus tried to die in battle. Shakespeare uses this story in "Troilus and Cressida" and alludes to it in "Merchant of Venice," where Lorenzo says:
"in such a night
Troilus me thinks mounted the Troy an walls
And sighed his soul toward the Grecian tents,
Where Cressid lay that night."
75. Leander, he: A common grammatical error now. Leander was drowned when swimming across the Hellespont after a visit to Hero of Sestos with whom he was in love.

78. Hellespont: The ancient name for the modem Dardanelles. The origin of the name is an interesting story which you should know.

103. go to: come. Are you reminded of a modern slang expression?

111. commission: authority.

124. against: before.

127. like Diana in the fountain: Evidently the Londoners of the day were accustomed to the sight of such a statue.

128. hyen: hyena. If other hyenas do not laugh, those known to dwellers in Arden certainly do. What sort of laughter is meant?

153. pathetical: shocking.

158. religion: observance.

162. simply misused: entirely abused. Celia surely has a right to scold, and yet even she does it laughingly, for it has been a charming scene.

169. bay of Portugal: "still used by sailors to denote that portion of the sea off the coast of Portugal from Oporto to the headlands of Cintra. The water there is excessively deep, and within a distance of forty miles from the shore it attains a depth upwards of 1400 fathoms, which in Shakespeare's time would be practically unfathomable." Wright.

172. bastard of Venus: Cupid.

173. thought: melancholy. spleen: caprice.

174. abuses: deceives.

177. shadow: a place in the shade.


1. What does Jaques especially enjoy in Rosalind? Compare this conversation with those he had with Touchstone and Orlando.

2. Define the melancholy of Jaques as he does himself. Do you regard it as a possible philosophy of life? Has it any modern counterpart?

3. Why does Rosalind keep Orlando waiting before she speaks to him?

4. How do you explain Orlando's apparent enjoyment of these interviews with Ganymede?

5. Describe the action of the mock marriage.

6. What part has Celia been playing? Is she necessary to the scene? What effect would her absence have upon Rosalind?

7. How do you know that Rosalind is excited?

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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