home contact

As You Like It

Please see the bottom of the page for extensive explanatory notes and other helpful As You Like It resources.

ACT I  SCENE II Lawn before the Duke's palace. 
CELIAI pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be merry.
ROSALINDDear Celia, I show more mirth than I am mistress of;
and would you yet I were merrier? Unless you could
teach me to forget a banished father, you must not
learn me how to remember any extraordinary pleasure.5
CELIAHerein I see thou lovest me not with the full weight
that I love thee. If my uncle, thy banished father,
had banished thy uncle, the duke my father, so thou
hadst been still with me, I could have taught my
love to take thy father for mine: so wouldst thou,
if the truth of thy love to me were so righteously
tempered as mine is to thee.12
ROSALINDWell, I will forget the condition of my estate, to
rejoice in yours.
CELIAYou know my father hath no child but I, nor none is
like to have: and, truly, when he dies, thou shalt
be his heir, for what he hath taken away from thy
father perforce, I will render thee again in
affection; by mine honour, I will; and when I break
that oath, let me turn monster: therefore, my
sweet Rose, my dear Rose, be merry.21
ROSALINDFrom henceforth I will, coz, and devise sports. Let
me see; what think you of falling in love?
CELIAMarry, I prithee, do, to make sport withal: but
love no man in good earnest; nor no further in sport
neither than with safety of a pure blush thou mayst
in honour come off again.27
ROSALINDWhat shall be our sport, then?
CELIALet us sit and mock the good housewife Fortune from
her wheel, that her gifts may henceforth be bestowed equally.
ROSALINDI would we could do so, for her benefits are
mightily misplaced, and the bountiful blind woman
doth most mistake in her gifts to women.
CELIA'Tis true; for those that she makes fair she scarce
makes honest, and those that she makes honest she
makes very ill-favouredly.37
ROSALINDNay, now thou goest from Fortune's office to
Nature's: Fortune reigns in gifts of the world,
not in the lineaments of Nature.
CELIANo? when Nature hath made a fair creature, may she
not by Fortune fall into the fire? Though Nature
hath given us wit to flout at Fortune, hath not
Fortune sent in this fool to cut off the argument?44
ROSALINDIndeed, there is Fortune too hard for Nature, when
Fortune makes Nature's natural the cutter-off of
Nature's wit.
CELIAPeradventure this is not Fortune's work neither, but
Nature's; who perceiveth our natural wits too dull
to reason of such goddesses and hath sent this
natural for our whetstone; for always the dulness of
the fool is the whetstone of the wits. How now,
wit! whither wander you?
TOUCHSTONEMistress, you must come away to your father.
CELIAWere you made the messenger?55
TOUCHSTONENo, by mine honour, but I was bid to come for you.
ROSALINDWhere learned you that oath, fool?
TOUCHSTONEOf a certain knight that swore by his honour they

were good pancakes and swore by his honour the
mustard was naught: now I'll stand to it, the
pancakes were naught and the mustard was good, and
yet was not the knight forsworn.
CELIAHow prove you that, in the great heap of your
ROSALINDAy, marry, now unmuzzle your wisdom.
TOUCHSTONEStand you both forth now: stroke your chins, and
swear by your beards that I am a knave.
CELIABy our beards, if we had them, thou art.
TOUCHSTONEBy my knavery, if I had it, then I were; but if you
swear by that that is not, you are not forsworn: no
more was this knight swearing by his honour, for he
never had any; or if he had, he had sworn it away
before ever he saw those pancakes or that mustard.
CELIAPrithee, who is't that thou meanest?75
TOUCHSTONEOne that old Frederick, your father, loves.
CELIAMy father's love is enough to honour him: enough!
speak no more of him; you'll be whipped for taxation
one of these days.
TOUCHSTONEThe more pity, that fools may not speak wisely what
wise men do foolishly.
CELIABy my troth, thou sayest true; for since the little
wit that fools have was silenced, the little foolery
that wise men have makes a great show. Here comes
Monsieur Le Beau.85
ROSALINDWith his mouth full of news.
CELIAWhich he will put on us, as pigeons feed their young.
ROSALINDThen shall we be news-crammed.
CELIAAll the better; we shall be the more marketable.
[Enter LE BEAU]
Bon jour, Monsieur Le Beau: what's the news?
LE BEAUFair princess, you have lost much good sport.
CELIASport! of what colour?90
LE BEAUWhat colour, madam! how shall I answer you?
ROSALINDAs wit and fortune will.
TOUCHSTONEOr as the Destinies decree.
CELIAWell said: that was laid on with a trowel.
TOUCHSTONENay, if I keep not my rank,--
ROSALINDThou losest thy old smell.
LE BEAUYou amaze me, ladies: I would have told you of good
wrestling, which you have lost the sight of.105
ROSALINDYou tell us the manner of the wrestling.
LE BEAUI will tell you the beginning; and, if it please
your ladyships, you may see the end; for the best is
yet to do; and here, where you are, they are coming
to perform it.
CELIAWell, the beginning, that is dead and buried.
LE BEAUThere comes an old man and his three sons,--
CELIAI could match this beginning with an old tale.
LE BEAUThree proper young men, of excellent growth and presence.
ROSALINDWith bills on their necks, 'Be it known unto all men
by these presents.'116
LE BEAUThe eldest of the three wrestled with Charles, the
duke's wrestler; which Charles in a moment threw him
and broke three of his ribs, that there is little
hope of life in him: so he served the second, and
so the third. Yonder they lie; the poor old man,
their father, making such pitiful dole over them
that all the beholders take his part with weeping.125
TOUCHSTONEBut what is the sport, monsieur, that the ladies
have lost?
LE BEAUWhy, this that I speak of.
TOUCHSTONEThus men may grow wiser every day: it is the first
time that ever I heard breaking of ribs was sport
for ladies.
CELIAOr I, I promise thee.
ROSALINDBut is there any else longs to see this broken music
in his sides? is there yet another dotes upon
rib-breaking? Shall we see this wrestling, cousin?136
LE BEAUYou must, if you stay here; for here is the place
appointed for the wrestling, and they are ready to
perform it.
CELIAYonder, sure, they are coming: let us now stay and see it.
[ Flourish. Enter DUKE FREDERICK, Lords, ORLANDO, CHARLES, and Attendants ]
DUKE FREDERICKCome on: since the youth will not be entreated, his
own peril on his forwardness.
ROSALINDIs yonder the man?
LE BEAUEven he, madam.145
CELIAAlas, he is too young! yet he looks successfully.
DUKE FREDERICKHow now, daughter and cousin! are you crept hither
to see the wrestling?
ROSALINDAy, my liege, so please you give us leave.
DUKE FREDERICKYou will take little delight in it, I can tell you;
there is such odds in the man. In pity of the
challenger's youth I would fain dissuade him, but he
will not be entreated. Speak to him, ladies; see if
you can move him.
CELIACall him hither, good Monsieur Le Beau.155
DUKE FREDERICKDo so: I'll not be by.
LE BEAUMonsieur the challenger, the princesses call for you.
ORLANDOI attend them with all respect and duty.
ROSALINDYoung man, have you challenged Charles the wrestler?
ORLANDONo, fair princess; he is the general challenger: I
come but in, as others do, to try with him the
strength of my youth.
CELIAYoung gentleman, your spirits are too bold for your
years. You have seen cruel proof of this man's
strength: if you saw yourself with your eyes or
knew yourself with your judgment, the fear of your
adventure would counsel you to a more equal
enterprise. We pray you, for your own sake, to
embrace your own safety and give over this attempt.171
ROSALINDDo, young sir; your reputation shall not therefore
be misprised: we will make it our suit to the duke
that the wrestling might not go forward.
ORLANDOI beseech you, punish me not with your hard
thoughts; wherein I confess me much guilty, to deny
so fair and excellent ladies any thing. But let
your fair eyes and gentle wishes go with me to my
trial: wherein if I be foiled, there is but one
shamed that was never gracious; if killed, but one
dead that was willing to be so: I shall do my
friends no wrong, for I have none to lament me, the
world no injury, for in it I have nothing; only in
the world I fill up a place, which may be better
supplied when I have made it empty.
ROSALINDThe little strength that I have, I would it were with you.186
CELIAAnd mine, to eke out hers.
ROSALINDFare you well: pray heaven I be deceived in you!
CELIAYour heart's desires be with you!
CHARLESCome, where is this young gallant that is so
desirous to lie with his mother earth?
ORLANDOReady, sir; but his will hath in it a more modest working.
DUKE FREDERICKYou shall try but one fall.195
CHARLESNo, I warrant your grace, you shall not entreat him
to a second, that have so mightily persuaded him
from a first.
ORLANDOAn you mean to mock me after, you should not have
mocked me before: but come your ways.
ROSALINDNow Hercules be thy speed, young man!
CELIAI would I were invisible, to catch the strong
fellow by the leg.
[They wrestle]
ROSALINDO excellent young man!204
CELIAIf I had a thunderbolt in mine eye, I can tell who
should down.
[Shout. CHARLES is thrown]
DUKE FREDERICKNo more, no more.
ORLANDOYes, I beseech your grace: I am not yet well breathed.
DUKE FREDERICKHow dost thou, Charles?
LE BEAUHe cannot speak, my lord.
DUKE FREDERICKBear him away. What is thy name, young man?
ORLANDOOrlando, my liege; the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys.215
DUKE FREDERICKI would thou hadst been son to some man else:
The world esteem'd thy father honourable,
But I did find him still mine enemy:
Thou shouldst have better pleased me with this deed,
Hadst thou descended from another house.
But fare thee well; thou art a gallant youth:
I would thou hadst told me of another father.
[Exeunt DUKE FREDERICK, train, and LE BEAU]
CELIAWere I my father, coz, would I do this?
ORLANDOI am more proud to be Sir Rowland's son,
His youngest son; and would not change that calling,
To be adopted heir to Frederick.226
ROSALINDMy father loved Sir Rowland as his soul,
And all the world was of my father's mind:
Had I before known this young man his son,
I should have given him tears unto entreaties,
Ere he should thus have ventured.
CELIAGentle cousin,
Let us go thank him and encourage him:
My father's rough and envious disposition
Sticks me at heart. Sir, you have well deserved:
If you do keep your promises in love235
But justly, as you have exceeded all promise,
Your mistress shall be happy.
[Giving him a chain from her neck]
Wear this for me, one out of suits with fortune,
That could give more, but that her hand lacks means.
Shall we go, coz?
CELIAAy. Fare you well, fair gentleman.
ORLANDOCan I not say, I thank you? My better parts
Are all thrown down, and that which here stands up
Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.
ROSALINDHe calls us back: my pride fell with my fortunes;
I'll ask him what he would. Did you call, sir?245
Sir, you have wrestled well and overthrown
More than your enemies.
CELIAWill you go, coz?
ROSALINDHave with you. Fare you well.
ORLANDOWhat passion hangs these weights upon my tongue?
I cannot speak to her, yet she urged conference.
O poor Orlando, thou art overthrown!
Or Charles or something weaker masters thee.
[Re-enter LE BEAU]
LE BEAUGood sir, I do in friendship counsel you
To leave this place. Albeit you have deserved
High commendation, true applause and love,255
Yet such is now the duke's condition
That he misconstrues all that you have done.
The duke is humorous; what he is indeed,
More suits you to conceive than I to speak of.
ORLANDOI thank you, sir: and, pray you, tell me this:
Which of the two was daughter of the duke
That here was at the wrestling?
LE BEAUNeither his daughter, if we judge by manners;
But yet indeed the lesser is his daughter
The other is daughter to the banish'd duke,265
And here detain'd by her usurping uncle,
To keep his daughter company; whose loves
Are dearer than the natural bond of sisters.
But I can tell you that of late this duke
Hath ta'en displeasure 'gainst his gentle niece,
Grounded upon no other argument
But that the people praise her for her virtues
And pity her for her good father's sake;
And, on my life, his malice 'gainst the lady
Will suddenly break forth. Sir, fare you well:275
Hereafter, in a better world than this,
I shall desire more love and knowledge of you.
ORLANDOI rest much bounden to you: fare you well.
[Exit LE BEAU]
Thus must I from the smoke into the smother;
From tyrant duke unto a tyrant brother:
But heavenly Rosalind!

Next: As You Like It, Act 1, Scene 3

Explanatory notes for Act 1, Scene 2
From As You Like It. Ed. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922.
(Line numbers have been altered.)

The scene shifts to the Duke's palace, still out-of-doors, and we welcome the heroine with her cousin. As is fitting the Duke's daughter, Celia, takes the lead and comforts Rosalind, who is not so happy as she naturally is. Touchstone arrives to enliven a scene which has become somewhat merry, and the wrestling match presents plenty of action. The scene closes with the seed of love already sown.

Line 1. Rosalind: the name is taken directly from Lodge. coz: an abbreviation for cousin.

6. learn: here used as "teach" as always in Shakespeare when the object is expressed.

8. so: provided that.

11. so ... tempered: so properly composed, as in "to temper steel."

13. condition of my estate: my position in life. We first see Rosalind depressed because of conditions surrounding her as we do Portia in "Merchant of Venice." Note how quickly each is diverted to her natural mood of gayety.

18. perforce: by force. render: return to. Celia here is the leader, but she soon becomes the follower.

22. sports: the frivolous tone of this word is punished before the scene is over, when Rosalind really falls in love.

24. prithee: pray thee. withal: here the preposition with and very emphatic. Double negatives abound in this passage which shows how emphatic Celia means to be.

29. good ... wheel: Look up the pronunciation of housewife. Fortune's wheel symbolizes her inconstant varied nature.

36. honest: virtuous.

40. lineaments: features. The two girls are accustomed to this exchange of comment on life as they have seen it. As the fool approaches across the green, they carry on the argument lightly, showing their own wit as they comment on that of others.

Enter Touchstone. This was Shakespeare's first attempt at a real jester. How would he be dressed? What is his manner? Watch him as the play develops.

46. natural: idiot. How does Celia play upon this word?

51. whetstone: sharpener.

52. How now ... you? An allusion to an old saying or song, "Wit, whither wilt?"

56. by mine honor: quite evidently an oath of the time.

61. naught: here bad. This scene is a lively one with much amusing action. Try to describe it vividly.

79. taxation: satire. Why does Celia suddenly change her humor?

82. By my troth: a very common oath with many variations. Troth really means truth. Note our common saying, "to tell the truth."

83. silenced: This may refer to some restrictions of the time placed upon players.

Enter Le Beau. The name and Celia's greeting remind us that the scene is set in France. Poor Le Beau is the stiffest and most ceremonious of courtiers. His very dignity seems to encourage anything but dignity in the other three people.

92. Bon jour: good day.

96. color: kind. Later in Act III we find it used again, "cattle of this color."

99. Destinies: Fates. This and the preceding speech might well be sung.

100. laid on with a trowel: clumsily said.

101. Remember that Rosalind's vulgarity was very common at the time.

117. bills: the bill, whether weapon of warfare or utensil of wood-craft, was carried "on the neck." This was the standard expression, as we say "on the shoulder." To get a notion of bills on their necks in the other sense, perhaps you had better imagine men as you may have seen them, bearing on their necks advertising placards.

134. broken music: part music arranged for different instruments. It is rather hard for us to appreciate Rosalind's wit here. dotes: delights in. Rosalind and Celia do not enjoy the reported contest. Let us watch them through the one given to us on the stage.

Enter Duke Frederick. We look at the usurper with some interest as he takes his place to view the contest. Already we have learned some things not to his credit and we desire some proof. The scene is full of animation and color, as well as action and interest.

147. How now: What now? cousin: used for niece here as often in Shakespeare.

149. Rosalind seems willing to stay. Why?

162. fain: be glad to.

167-168. Celia says many more words than she needs to. Try to put it more briefly.

173. our suit: our petition.

174. might: may.

179. foiled: defeated. This little scene between Orlando and the two girls is Shakespeare's own and serves to arouse our sympathy. Never does Orlando appear more manly than here when he seems so absolutely without appreciation of himself. What opportunity for the actor do you see here?

187. eke: help out hers.

191. Charles's call comes as a very rude interruption to a charming scene.

199. an: probably and.

200. come your ways: come on.

201. Hercules: Why does Rosalind call upon this hero? speed: protector.

202. Note Celia's idea of good sport.

209. well breathed: well started.

210. The wrestler was killed in Lodge. Why does Shakespeare change?

218. still: always.

224-226. Orlando is now meditating as he stands a little apart from the girls, who are talking of the attitude of Duke Frederick.

226. calling: name.

234. sticks me at heart: stabs me to the heart.

238. out of stuts: out of favor. As Rosalind gives the chain, she waits for some word of thanks, but with the words, "shall we go, coz?" she turns shyly away, somewhat abashed.

241. Poor Orlando is tongue-tied.

243. quintain: a wooden image. A quintain was a post with revolving arms.... The object of the tilter was to hit one arm without being struck by the other.

245. Picture the glances and actions of the two, who are good examples of characters falling in love at first sight, of whom Shakespeare has many.

248. Have with you: Come on.

262. or — or: either — or.

Re-enter Le Beau. Here Shakespeare differs again from the novel in which the king embraced Rosader when he knew him to be the youngest son of Sir John. The playwright thus prepares us for the exile of Orlando as well as of Rosalind, and later that of Oliver. Le Beau is still the essence of courtly formality, but do we find him a bit more human at the end of this scene?

267. misconstrues: misunderstands. Pronounced properly and at the same time suited to this rhythm.

268. humorous: full of moods, even dangerous.

261. Orlando finds out what he wants to know without betraying himself.

264. lesser: smaller. This is a hint for the observant reader. The whole speech prepares us for what is to follow.

276. in a better world: in a better state of affairs.

279. from ... smother: from the frying pan into the fire.


1. This is a charming scene. Describe the setting.

2. From the opening conversation what do you learn of conditions at court?

3. Describe the two girls. Which of the two is leader here?

4. What does Touchstone add to the scene? Why introduced?

5. Why do the girls make fun of Le Beau? Do you respect him at any time in the scene?

6. Describe in detail the wrestling-match, not forgetting the positions of the different persons on the stage.

7. What foreshadowing is found here?

8. What do we want to know at the end of the scene?

9. What characteristics of Rosalind, Celia, and Orlando have been brought out?

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) < >.


Related Articles

 Portraits of Human Virtue: A Look at the Characters in Shakespeare's As You Like It
 Shakespeare's Second Period: Exploring Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet and the Histories

 Stage Rosalinds: The Trouble of Rosalind's Disguise in Shakespeare's As You Like It
 How to Pronounce the Names in As You Like It

 Characteristics of Elizabethan Comedy
 Shakespeare's Language
 Shakespeare's Metaphors and Similes
 Shakespeare's Reputation in Elizabethan England
 Shakespeare's Impact on Other Writers
 Why Study Shakespeare?

 Quotations About William Shakespeare
 Shakespeare's Boss