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As You Like It: Plot Summary

From Stories of Shakespeare's Comedies by Helene Adeline Guerber. New York: Dodd, Mead and company (1910).

Act I

The first act opens in an orchard where Orlando and his servant Adam are engrossed in conversation, Orlando stating that if he remembers correctly, his father bequeathed him a certain sum, bidding his elder brother Oliver educate him. He complains, however, that, instead of obeying these injunctions, Oliver has allowed him to remain untrained, although his actions show he is one of nature's gentlemen.

To prove to his old servant how unkindly Oliver treats him, Orlando bids the man lurk in the neighbourhood, and listen to their conversation, for his elder brother is just approaching. Oliver begins by roughly inquiring what Orlando is 'making or marring,' becoming indignant when told that God's handiwork is, indeed, being marred, since his brother is left in ignorance and treated like a prodigal, although he has never behaved like one.

While not begrudging his elder brother the lion's share of his father's fortune, Orlando, nevertheless, reproaches him for unfraternal conduct, thereby so enraging Oliver that he tries to lay violent hands upon him. This insult is hotly resented by Orlando, who vows he will not remain here to be ill-treated, and compels his brother to hear a few bitter truths ere demanding his portion. This provokes his dismissal empty handed, Oliver bidding Adam accompany him when he attempts to intercede.

Adam and Orlando have barely left the stage when Oliver begins plotting to punish his brother for his impudence. Inquiring of a servant whether the wrestler has arrived, and learning that the man awaits his pleasure, he has him summoned. Then he jocosely inquires what the news may be, and learns that the good old duke, banished by a wicked younger brother, has sought refuge in the forest of Arden (Ardennes), whither many lords have gone into voluntary exile to keep him company. In reply to Oliver's inquiry as to what has become of Rosalind, the good duke's daughter, the wrestler explains she has been kept at court as companion to her uncle's child, for whom she feels more than cousinly affection.

This news retailed, the wrestler announces he is to exhibit his talents before the usurping duke on the morrow, and has come to warn Oliver not to allow his brother to measure strength with him, as he might injure a stripling. Thanking him for his kindly meant warning, Oliver states his brother has been guilty of such ingratitude that he should feel no regret should an accident befall him; whereupon the wrestler departs, promising to give Orlando, whom Oliver has painted in the blackest colors, due punishment for his supposed crime. When he has gone, Oliver, fearing lest Orlando may not challenge the wrestler, decides to taunt him so artfully, that he will be sure to try his luck on the morrow.

The next scene is played on the lawn before the duke's palace, where the two cousins are standing together, Celia vainly trying to cheer Rosalind by telling her that although her father is an exile, she ought to be thankful not to be parted from her friend. To comfort Rosalind for her fallen fortunes, Celia adds, that, being her father's only daughter and heir, she will, at his death, restore the usurped duchy to its rightful owner.

The young ladies are still discussing these matters and wondering how to beguile the time until evening, when Touchstone appears, summoning them to join the duke. When this jester quaintly swears by his honour he was sent for them, the girls teasingly inquire where he learned such an oath, whereupon he whimsically demonstrates how easy it is to swear by what one doesn't possess. The three are still engaged in a playful war of wit when another messenger comes, exclaiming the ladies have lost the greater part of the afternoon's sport, during which the wrestler, pitted against three brothers, has defeated them all in turn, to the lasting grief of their aged father. He adds, however, that the match is not over, a stripling having just challenged the champion to wrestle with him on this very lawn.

A moment later a flourish of trumpets announces the arrival of the usurping duke, followed by his train, which includes the wrestler and Orlando. When the girls perceive how young and slender the challenger seems, they express great pity, only to be told the duke has vainly tried to deter him from risking his life. As a last hope, he now begs the ladies to try what they can do; so, while Celia quietly advises Orlando to give up the rash attempt for his own sake, Rosalind, with better comprehension of human nature, inquires whether he would withdraw should she persuade the duke to forbid the match.

Although touched by the solicitude they show, Orlando quietly declares nothing would induce him to desist, adding that should he be slain no one will mourn him. Seeing him determined, the girls wish they might add their small store of strength to his own, thus enabling him to win, a kindness which nerves Orlando to do his best, for he hopes to earn the approval of Rosalind, with whom he has fallen in love at first sight.

When, therefore, the call comes for the match, Orlando springs forward, and closing with his antagonist, writhes a while to and fro, before he throws the famous champion by a sudden clever turn. So severe is the fall, that the wrestler has to be carried off the field unconscious, while the duke demands the victor's name. On hearing that he is Orlando, third son of Sir Rowland de Boys, the usurper frowns, for he is aware that this nobleman was a loyal partisan of his deposed brother.

Instead of praising Orlando for his victory, therefore, he marches haughtily off the stage, no one remaining on the green save the abashed victor, and the two young ladies. The former assures the latter that he is proud of being his father's son, whereat Rosalind replies that since his father was a friend of hers, she will atone for the duke's slight, and show her appreciation for what he has done, by giving him the little golden chain she wears around her neck, although she knows it is but a trifling gift. Having thus shown her favour, she departs with Celia, leaving the youth to regret he had not sufficient presence of mind to express his gratitude as he should.

It is while Orlando stands there musing, that one of the courtiers comes back to caution him to leave as soon as possible, as the duke in his wrath may resort to treacherous measures. Although grateful for this warning, Orlando is so anxious to ascertain who the ladies are, that he questions the courtier, thus learning that Rosalind and Celia have been brought up together and are closely bound in friendship, although the duke has recently taken such a dislike to his niece that his displeasure will probably soon break forth. Having given this information, the courtier departs, and Orlando, deciding that he must 'fly from the smoke into the smother,' vanishes.

We next behold a room in the palace, where the girls are discussing the wrestling match, Celia slyly accusing Rosalind of having fallen in love with the youthful champion. Unable to deny the soft impeachment, Rosalind tries to account for her infatuation by her father's love for the parent of the young man, until surprised by the sudden appearance of the usurping duke. His long-smouldering anger now breaks forth in a rough order to Rosalind to leave his court, under penalty of death should she be found within twenty miles of it in ten days' time. When his niece gently asks how she has incurred his displeasure, he reviles her as a traitor, revealing, however, that the main cause of his displeasure is the fact that she is her father's daughter.

Although Celia now eloquently pleads to have Rosalind remain, the wicked duke vows that as long as her cousin is at court she will never receive her full share of honors, and having reiterated Rosalind is banished, leaves the apartment. The young ladies first fall upon each other's neck, bewailing what has occurred; then Celia loyally declares that, as nothing will ever induce her to part from her friend, by one sentence her father has banished them both. When Rosalind sadly inquires whither they shall wander, Celia suggests they join the banished duke in the forest of Arden, proposing male apparel to enable them to travel thither unchallenged. This plan meets with Rosalind's approval, save that she decides one of them garbed as a man can serve as protector for the other, and that, being the taller of the two, she must personate the escort. Next the girls select romantic names, and sally forth to collect their valuables, don their travelling costumes, and secure the escort of the Jester, on whose devotion they can rely.

Act II

The second act opens in the forest of Arden, where the banished duke is sitting beneath the trees, in the company of his fellow-exiles, remarking that although they feel the season's differences, the uses of adversity are sweet, as they have taught him to find 'tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones and good in everything.' One of his friends warmly congratulates him upon having reached this advanced stage of philosophy, before informing him that 'the melancholy Jaques,' one of their number, recently shed sentimental tears over a wounded stag, moralising on its suffering and on the indifference shown by its fellow-creatures. Because the banished duke has often found Jaques good company, he decides to hasten to the spot where this sentimentalist is weeping over the stricken deer.

The scene now changes to a room in the palace of the usurping duke, where he is cross-questioning those around him, in hopes of finding some trace of his missing daughter and niece. He learns that, after retiring as usual, the girls must have escaped with the Jester, no clue having been found to their destination, although it is rumoured in the palace that they joined the young wrestler whose feats they so admired. These tidings add such fuel to the duke's wrath, that he has Oliver summoned, intending to demand from him the surrender of the runaways.

The scene is transferred to Oliver's house, at the moment when, returning from the match, Orlando encounters the delighted Adam. But, although glad to see him victorious, Adam hints he would have done better not to return home at all, as Oliver, having failed to get rid of him in this way, is planning to burn him alive. Finding it inadvisable to remain at home under these circumstances, Orlando wonders where he can go, whereupon Adam generously offers him the savings of a lifetime, proposing, moreover, to attend him, although nearly four-score years of age. Touched by his generosity and devotion, Orlando accepts, realising that his brother's house is equally unsafe for both of them, and hoping soon to be able to provide for his own and his aged servant's needs.

The next scene is played in the forest of Arden, whither Rosalind, in boy's apparel, Celia, dressed like a peasant girl, and the Jester sink down exhausted by the wayside. When Rosalind exclaims that her spirits are weary, the Jester quaintly vows his spirits would not matter were only his legs less tired, and seems half inclined to follow her example when she declares she could find it in her heart to cry like a woman, notwithstanding her manly attire. The trio have been walking many days, the distance being great between the duchy and this forest, and are therefore so worn out with, fatigue, and so faint from lack of food, that they are unable to proceed another step. The Jester, after ruefully emitting sundry whimsical remarks on the folly of travelling, decides, 'when I was at home, I was in a better place: but travellers must be content!'

It is while all three are wondering where they are, and how they can procure food and shelter, that a couple of shepherds stroll toward them, the younger confiding to the elder his passion for the shepherdess Phebe, describing his feelings so graphically that Rosalind realises for the first time her heart is undergoing similar pangs for Orlando. The Jester quaintly comments that he, too, once knew what it is to be in love, but Celia, too exhausted to heed anything save her weariness, prosaically urges her companions to address the older shepherd and try and obtain aid.

In reply to the question of Rosalind, whom he naturally takes for a lad, the old shepherd states that, although sorry for Celia, he cannot assist her, his master having just dismissed him, for he is on the point of selling his farm to the young shepherd who has just left him. On hearing there is a farm for sale in the neighbourhood, Rosalind and Celia, who are well provided with funds, suddenly decide to purchase it, retaining the old man as their servant at higher wages, news so welcome to their interlocutor, that he joyfully bids them follow him to the farm, where he vows they will be welcome.

The deserted forest glade is next occupied by some of the duke's merry outlaws, who sing a hunting song which delights the 'melancholy Jaques,' and to which they daily add some verses. Having finished singing their most recent addition, the huntsmen depart, to announce to the duke that a banquet awaits him.

We next behold Orlando and Adam, who have also made their way to the forest of Arden, and who, like the girls and the Jester, have found the journey long and weary. Both are so faint from hunger, that poor old Adam sinks down by the wayside, bidding his master forsake him, since he cannot drag himself another step. After trying to stimulate Adam by saying that a little food will restore his strength and spirits, Orlando lays him down beneath a tree, bidding him hold fast to life until his return, for he is going into the forest to get him something to eat, vowing he will do so or lose his life in the attempt.

Meantime, the duke and his companions have gathered around the venison they have slain, and are just wondering why Jaques does not appear when he joins them, relating how he has been detained in the forest by a most edifying conversation with a Fool. He claims that 'motley's the only wear,' and begs the duke to appoint him Fool of his forest court, for such an office would enable him to tell the truth in guise of a jest. They have just reached this point in the conversation when Orlando rushes upon them with drawn sword, bidding them refrain from touching the food before them, under penalty of death.

The duke, surprised, first inquires why he should be debarred from partaking of his own game; then, suspecting the intruder is in sore need of food, generously offers to overlook his rudeness, and invites him to partake of the meal. In response Orlando eloquently describes what a starving man endures, adding that before he can touch food himself, he must, 'like a doe to a fawn,' return to the aged servant who has followed him for love's sake, but who has dropped down exhausted. On hearing this, the tender-hearted duke bids Orlando fetch his companion, promising that not a morsel shall be eaten until the weary travellers can share the meal. Then, while Orlando vanishes into the forest, the melancholy Jaques soliloquises over what has occurred, declaring that ' all the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players,' and describing the seven ages of man in sentences so graphic that they have become world-renowned quotations.

He has barely finished when Orlando re-enters, carrying Adam, whom he sets down by the outlaws, heartily thanking them for their kindness to him and to his aged retainer. Seeing the wanderers' pressing need for food, the duke bids both fall to, while his men entertain them with a song. This over, the duke, who has been studying Orlando's countenance, recognises his strong resemblance to an old friend on learning his name, and therefore bids him welcome to Arden. Old Adam, strengthened by food, finally manages to stand, and hobble off in company of the rest.


The third act opens in the palace, where the wicked duke is interviewing Oliver, who swears his brother has not been seen since the wrestling match, although he has eagerly sought him. Not believing this statement, the duke angrily orders him to produce his brother alive or dead, within the next twelvemonth, or forfeit his property, which is confiscated in the meantime. When Oliver protests against this decree, saying he never loved his brother, the duke reproves him, and turns him out.

We now return to the forest of Arden, where Orlando is hanging verses on a tree, for ever since his first encounter with Rosalind, he has been so deeply in love with her, that he has written innumerable poems in her honour, and has carved her name on every trunk. Having hung his last effusion upon a bough, Orlando departs, his place being soon occupied by the old shepherd and Jester, the former quizzically inquiring of the latter how he enjoys rural life? In reply, the Jester emits sundry philosophical remarks, ere he challenges his rustic companion to show what he can do in that line, thus eliciting from him a few aphorisms which demonstrate that he is a born philosopher.

They have just finished a quaint exposition of their respective points of view, when Rosalind, still disguised as a youth, enters, reading aloud one of the many poems she has discovered in the forest, all of which, to her intense amazement, contain her name. When the Jester, who overhears her declaiming this last production, inclines to poke fun at it, Rosalind chides him, whereupon he improvises ridiculous rhymes, which he pronounces fully equal to those she holds, although they did not sprout from a tree. They are still good-naturedly sparring on this subject, when Celia, as peasant girl, arrives perusing another poem, wherein Rosalind is described as possessing the combined charms of Helen, Cleopatra {see Guerber's Story of the Romans}, Atalanta, and Lucretia.

But, although this poem tickles Rosalind's vanity, she pronounces it tedious as a sermon, until, left alone with Celia, she wonders how it happens she should be known so far away from home. Her friend then informs her that the poet wears her chain about his neck, rejoicing when Rosalind changes colour, and making her confess that, notwithstanding male attire, she still suffers from feminine curiosity. Then she reveals how she has met Orlando in the forest, whereupon Rosalind asks eager questions in a breath, imploring her friend to answer in a word, an impossible feat Celia laughingly declines to perform. It is only after some time that Rosalind discovers how Celia surprised the youth, lying in the forest, in huntsman attire, composing some of the verses with which he decks the trees.

While they are still talking, seeing Orlando and Jaques come toward them, the girls hide in the thicket, hoping to overhear what they are saying. Jaques is terming Orlando a poor companion, a compliment the youth returns in kind. Then Jaques bids the youth cease disfiguring trees with love tokens, although in the next breath he curiously inquires who the Rosalind may be whom the youth so fervently addresses.

In reply to a query from Jaques relating to his sweetheart's stature, Orlando pronounces Rosalind 'just as high as my heart,' adding that if, as his companion avers, his worst folly consists in being in love, he would not exchange it for Jaques' best virtue.

After a little more conversation, Jaques leaves Orlando beneath a tree, and the moment seeming auspicious, Rosalind, confident not to be recognised in man's garb, whispers to Celia that she is going to play the part of a saucy page. A second later, creeping cautiously out of the thicket, Rosalind peers at Orlando from behind the tree, asking the time. When he reproves her for using the expression 'the lazy foot of time,' she saucily describes how time passes for different persons under varying circumstances.

These sprightly speeches so captivate Orlando's fancy that he inquires where this page resides, only to learn that his farm is situated on the 'skirts of the forest, like fringe upon a petticoat.' He also discovers that his interlocutor's education is due to a learned uncle, of whose wisdom the page volunteers samples, ere, deeming it time to turn the tables, he suddenly says some lover must be lurking near, as 'Rosalind' is carved on every tree, while rhymes in her honour flutter from every bush. When Orlando pleads guilty to being this lovelorn swain, the page vows he bears none of the usual hall-marks of a lover, which consist in lean cheeks, sunken eyes, and neglected apparel.

Notwithstanding this lack, Orlando assures the page he is a lover indeed, grieving sorely because parted from the object of his passion. Thereupon the page offers to cure him by personating Rosalind, declaring that although a mere lad, he can counterfeit women so well, that if Orlando will only make love to him as to his sweetheart, he will soon cease to suffer. Although averring no remedy exists for his complaint, Orlando consents to try the plan, before he and the page disappear into the forest depths, just as the Jester strolls on the scene with a shepherdess, whom he is helping gather her goats.

Their conversation is overheard by the melancholy Jaques, who seems duly amused when the Jester wooes this shepherdess in terms she cannot understand, and concludes with the proposal to be married by the vicar of a neighbouring village. Although dull and matter-of-fact, the shepherdess readily understands a proposal, and has barely signified consent, when a clerical gentleman appears. He is not, however, an orthodox incumbent, but an unaccredited priest, Sir Oliver Martext, and gravely refuses to marry the couple unless some one gives away he bride. Thereupon the melancholy Jaques volunteers his services, although he declares he deems it hardly seemly for a couple to be married like gypsies under a bush. This remark convinces the Jester that this is not the vicar he needs, so he withdraws with the shepherdess, deciding to be properly married some other day.

The next scene is played in the forest between Rosalind and Celia, the former declaring she is inclined to weep and the latter teasingly retorting that such behaviour would ill become her array. Rosalind's grief is caused by the fact that after promising to come that morning, Orlando has not yet appeared. In the course of the ensuing conversation, Rosalind mentions meeting her father in the forest, saying that, owing to her disguise, the duke failed to recognise her, although he asked her name. Even so momentous an occurrence, however, cannot hold her attention long, for she soon returns to the theme of Orlando, compelling Celia to admit that 'he writes brave verses, speaks brave words,' and seems deeply in love.

Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of the old shepherd, reporting that in case they care to hear the youth whom they recently overheard, woo his shepherdess, he will guide them to a place in the forest, from whence they can listen unseen. Both Rosalind and Celia gladly follow him, for 'the sight of lovers feedeth those in love.' The scene is now transferred to a different part of the forest, where Phebe is being sued by the young shepherd, while Rosalind, Celia, and their old retainer peep out from the thicket. The shepherdess seems obdurate at first, although the swain tells her that while she may not love him now, the time will come when, knowing what it is to love in vain, she will pity his sorrows. Rosalind, in page's garb, now emerges from the thicket to inform Phebe how foolishly she is behaving, for although young and good-looking at present, she cannot always count upon so worthy a suitor as the youth now offering his hand.

While pretending to listen to this lecture, Phebe ogles the youthful page, with whom she has fallen in love, although he has repeatedly told her it is in vain. After bidding her fall down on her knees, 'and thank heaven, fasting, for a good man's love,' the page departs with his companions; leaving the shepherd to complain that Phebe refuses his offers for the sake of this lad who has recently purchased the neighbouring farm! He feels somewhat comforted, however, when she proposes to write the 'peevish boy ' a letter, rebuking him for his impudence, and asks the shepherd to deliver it.

Act IV

The fourth act opens in the forest where Rosalind, Celia, and. Jaques having met, the latter, anxious to learn more concerning the newcomers, asks questions which Rosalind saucily answers, saying they have heard how melancholy he is. Jaques then explains that his melancholy is of a peculiar sort, being neither that of the scholar, the musician, the courtier, the soldier, the lawyer, the lady, or the lover, although compounded of all these various kinds. He adds that in the course of his life he has collected a vast amount of experience, whereupon Rosalind pertly retorts that if experience only serves to make him sad, it would be better to have none.

They are still wittily sparring, when Orlando appears, and the melancholy Jaques, dreading lest they may talk in verse, hastens away. Evidently Rosalind has been pining for the sight of her lover, for she twits him with his absence, pretending to be his lady-love, and eggs him on to make such a proposal as he would fain offer to his sweetheart. Playing her part to perfection, Rosalind pretends to flout him, stating, when he threatens to kill himself, that although the world is six thousand years old, and innumerable lovers have already existed, 'men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for love!' Although so wilful, she finally accepts his hand, suggesting a mock marriage, wherein Celia personates the priest and unites her to Orlando. This simulated ceremony is barely over, when Rosalind peremptorily inquires how long Orlando would love his lady should he win her. When he ardently swears 'forever and a day,' she promptly retorts 'men are April when they woo, December when they wed.' After a little more talk with the saucy page, who positively fascinates him, Orlando leaves to join the duke at dinner, promising to return in two hours' time, under penalty of forfeiting his friend's good opinion. Then Celia vehemently reproaches her companion for wanton behaviour, although Rosalind vows it proves her love for the youth, who still deems her the lad she appears.

The girls have just left the glade when the melancholy Jaques and a band of foresters return from the hunt, bearing the deer they have slain for the duke's dinner, and celebrate their triumph by a joyful song.

At the end of two hours, Rosalind and Celia revisit the trysting-spot in the forest, where, instead of Orlando, they are met by the youthful shepherd, delivering Phebe's letter. Pretending to believe he has written this missive himself, Rosalind reads it aloud to him, vowing the fulsome compliments it contains are pure irony, and bidding the shepherd, instead of other answer, carry back to Phebe the message, 'If she love me, I charge her to love thee,' words the swain is delighted to transmit.

He has barely gone when Oliver comes upon the scene, inquiring the locality of the farm where he will find a saucy page to whom he is bearing a message. After a little beating about the bush, discovering he is addressing the very lad he seeks, he reports that his brother bade him carry to the youth whom he calls 'Rosalind ' in sport, a bloody handkerchief. Then, Oliver describes how, after leaving them, Orlando discovered a wayfarer lying beneath a tree, with a deadly serpent coiled around his neck, while a lioness crouched in a neighbouring thicket, ready to devour him as soon as a movement revealed he was still alive ! While hesitating how to deliver the unconscious sleeper from his double peril, Orlando suddenly recognized in him his cruel brother; but, too generous to avenge past wrongs, he drove away the snake, and, standing between the lioness and sleeper, killed the wild beast, which wounded him in the fray.

The girls interrupt this story with exclamations and comments, ere learning how, reconciled to his brother, Oliver accompanied him to the duke's cave, where, when Orlando fainted away, his wound was discovered. It was on recovering from this swoon that he begged his brother explain his absence to the page, delivering the bloody handkerchief as voucher of the truth of his tale.

Rosalind, who has listened with keenest interest to this story, no sooner beholds the gory token than she faints away, behaviour passing strange on the part of a man, however natural on that of a woman. But her unconsciousness is very brief, and when she recovers, she bids Oliver tell his brother how cleverly a page could simulate a swoon!

Act V

In the fifth act we see the Jester and shepherdess wandering in the forest, still commenting on their narrow escape from being married by a man not entitled to perform the sacred ceremony. Then the Jester inquires whether his lady-love has ever had other suitors, only to learn that she has been wooed by a clown who now appears, and stupidly answers all the questions asked. After lecturing this simpleton for not pushing his advantage, telling him to learn that 'to have, is to have,' the Jester and the shepherdess are summoned by the old shepherd to appear before the duke.

We next see the brothers, Oliver and Orlando, in the forest, just as the latter declares it is strange that, having only lately beheld Celia, Oliver should have fallen so deeply in love with her, that he can no longer exist without her. The depth of this newborn passion is proved, however, when Oliver proposes to give up everything and turn shepherd for the sake of his peasant lady-love. While fully approving of Oliver's devotion to Celia, and expressing delight at their approaching marriage, Orlando sees the page draw near, so gladly allows his brother to depart.

Touched by all her lover has undergone, Rosalind expresses regret to see his arm in a sling, inquires whether he heard of the simulated swoon, and reports that Celia and his brother are so deeply in love that they are to be united on th~ morrow in the presence of the duke. When Orlando sadly remarks that the sight of such happiness intensifies his loneliness, the saucy page, whom he has hitherto been wooing in mocking style, volunteers to play the part of Rosalind at the altar, too.

As Orlando ruefully admits that pretence does not satisfy the heart, the page suddenly proposes to use magic arts to bring Rosalind to the forest on the morrow, ready to marry him. This promise seems vain to Orlando, who is still brooding over it, when the young shepherd and Phebe draw near. The latter hotly reproaches the page for showing her letter, whereupon Rosalind replies it was done on purpose, the shepherd alone being worthy of her love. Then the page proves how deeply the shepherd is enamoured, by making him describe his passion, Phebe exclaiming that he exactly expresses her feelings for the page, who saucily retorts he never felt such symptoms for any woman, while Orlando sighs it is thus he loves Rosalind. At the end of this whimsical scene, the page expresses readiness to help the shepherd, adding that should he ever marry a woman it will be Phebe, but exacting in exchange for this conditional promise her solemn pledge to marry page or shepherd on the morrow.

This settled, the group breaks up, its different members agreeing to meet at the trysting-spot in the forest on the morrow. A moment later the Jester and shepherdess stroll forward, conversing so intimately that they seem only half pleased when the duke's pages come to entertain them with a song.

The next scene is also played in the forest, where the banished duke has gathered his friends to grace a quadruple wedding. Turning to Orlando, he wonderingly inquires whether he deems it possible the saucy page should carry out so rash a promise, whereupon Orlando replies that at times he believes and at times he does not, never knowing what to think of the tricksy youth.

Just then the page appears with the shepherd, and asks the duke whether he will consent to bestow his daughter upon Orlando. The duke having promised to do so, the page next asks Orlando whether he will marry Rosalind, obtaining the prompt reply: 'That would I, were I of all kingdoms king.' Turning to the shepherdess the page then mischievously inquires whether she is still ready to marry him, repeating the promise that, failing him, she will espouse the shepherd. This promise being wrung from Phebe, together with a corresponding one from the shepherd, Rosalind, sure her arrangements are all complete, departs with Celia, under pretext of summoning the duke's daughter by magic arts.

It is only after she has gone that the duke comments upon a peculiar resemblance between this lad and his beloved daughter, a likeness Orlando has noticed, and which has made him fancy the page a brother of his lady-love. The melancholy Jaques also announces the approach of Jester and shepherdess, whimsically remarking that another flood must be near, since so many couples are preparing to take refuge in the ark. In the conversation which ensues between Jaques, the duke, and the Jester, the latter keeps interrupting himself, to give instructions in regard to her behaviour to his rustic bride, meanwhile favouring the others with a synopsis of the most approved formulas for challenging and duelling.

The appearance of Hymen, god of marriage, escorting Celia and Rosalind in woman's garb, interrupts this conversation, and the duke discovers his daughter has come here so he can witness her marriage to the lover of her choice, although she confesses she owes equal allegiance to them both. Although almost too surprised to speak, neither father nor lover seems inclined to disown her, while Phebe, who has been gazing in open-mouthed astonishment at the transformed page, now bids farewell to her illusions and prepares to marry the shepherd.

The fourfold marriage ceremony under Hymen's ministrations, is barely over, when Orlando's second brother appears, saying he is sent to atone for the wrong the usurping duke has done. Thereupon, he describes how the usurper set out to pursue and slay his brother, but that on entering the forest of Arden, he met a holy hermit, who, after converting him from his evil ways, persuaded him to relinquish his ill-gotten estates, and retire into a monastery.

The rightful duke now decrees that Orlando shall have his duchy with his daughter's hand, that Oliver shall recover his estates, and Jaques have sole possession of his cave!

The epilogue of this play is recited by Rosalind, although that part is not generally awarded to a lady. She declares that just as 'good wine needs no bush,' a 'good play needs no epilogue,' before 'conjuring' the audience by stating that for the love they bear men the women cannot help liking this play, while for the love they bear the women, the men will do likewise.


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