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As You Like It

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

ACT III  SCENE III The forest. 
TOUCHSTONECome apace, good Audrey: I will fetch up your
goats, Audrey. And how, Audrey? am I the man yet?
doth my simple feature content you?
AUDREYYour features! Lord warrant us! what features!
TOUCHSTONEI am here with thee and thy goats, as the most
capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths.
JAQUES[Aside] O knowledge ill-inhabited, worse than Jove
in a thatched house!10
TOUCHSTONEWhen a man's verses cannot be understood, nor a
man's good wit seconded with the forward child
Understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a
great reckoning in a little room. Truly, I would
the gods had made thee poetical.
AUDREYI do not know what 'poetical' is: is it honest in
deed and word? is it a true thing?
TOUCHSTONENo, truly; for the truest poetry is the most
feigning; and lovers are given to poetry, and what
they swear in poetry may be said as lovers they do feign.
AUDREYDo you wish then that the gods had made me poetical?
TOUCHSTONEI do, truly; for thou swearest to me thou art
honest: now, if thou wert a poet, I might have some
hope thou didst feign.
AUDREYWould you not have me honest?
TOUCHSTONENo, truly, unless thou wert hard-favoured; for
honesty coupled to beauty is to have honey a sauce to sugar.30
JAQUES[Aside] A material fool!
AUDREYWell, I am not fair; and therefore I pray the gods
make me honest.
TOUCHSTONETruly, and to cast away honesty upon a foul slut
were to put good meat into an unclean dish.
AUDREYI am not a slut, though I thank the gods I am foul.
TOUCHSTONEWell, praised be the gods for thy foulness!
sluttishness may come hereafter. But be it as it may
be, I will marry thee, and to that end I have been
with Sir Oliver Martext, the vicar of the next
village, who hath promised to meet me in this place

of the forest and to couple us.
JAQUES[Aside] I would fain see this meeting.
AUDREYWell, the gods give us joy!45
TOUCHSTONEAmen. A man may, if he were of a fearful heart,
stagger in this attempt; for here we have no temple
but the wood, no assembly but horn-beasts. But what
though? Courage! As horns are odious, they are
necessary. It is said, 'many a man knows no end of
his goods:' right; many a man has good horns, and
knows no end of them. Well, that is the dowry of
his wife; 'tis none of his own getting. Horns?
Even so. Poor men alone? No, no; the noblest deer
hath them as huge as the rascal. Is the single man
therefore blessed? No: as a walled town is more
worthier than a village, so is the forehead of a
married man more honourable than the bare brow of a
bachelor; and by how much defence is better than no
skill, by so much is a horn more precious than to
want. Here comes Sir Oliver.
Sir Oliver Martext, you are well met: will you
dispatch us here under this tree, or shall we go
with you to your chapel?
SIR OLIVER MARTEXTIs there none here to give the woman?52
TOUCHSTONEI will not take her on gift of any man.
SIR OLIVER MARTEXTTruly, she must be given, or the marriage is not lawful.
Proceed, proceed I'll give her.
TOUCHSTONEGood even, good Master What-ye-call't: how do you,
sir? You are very well met: God 'ild you for your
last company: I am very glad to see you: even a
toy in hand here, sir: nay, pray be covered.
JAQUESWill you be married, motley?
TOUCHSTONEAs the ox hath his bow, sir, the horse his curb and
the falcon her bells, so man hath his desires; and
as pigeons bill, so wedlock would be nibbling.
JAQUESAnd will you, being a man of your breeding, be
married under a bush like a beggar? Get you to
church, and have a good priest that can tell you
what marriage is: this fellow will but join you
together as they join wainscot; then one of you will
prove a shrunk panel and, like green timber, warp, warp.
TOUCHSTONE[Aside] I am not in the mind but I were better to be
married of him than of another: for he is not like
to marry me well; and not being well married, it
will be a good excuse for me hereafter to leave my wife.75
JAQUESGo thou with me, and let me counsel thee.
TOUCHSTONE'Come, sweet Audrey:
We must be married, or we must live in bawdry.
Farewell, good Master Oliver: not,--
O sweet Oliver,
O brave Oliver,
Leave me not behind thee: but,--
Wind away,
Begone, I say,
I will not to wedding with thee.85
SIR OLIVER MARTEXT'Tis no matter: ne'er a fantastical knave of them
all shall flout me out of my calling.

Next: As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 4

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

There is nothing but Shakespeare in this scene, for only he could so perfectly burlesque the brilliant love scene which has just preceded it. Jaques has found another pair to watch with cynical eye.

Line 1. Audrey: short for Ethelreda. The adjective tawdry has interesting derivation from the fact that all sorts of gewgaws were sold at St. Audrey's fair.

3. feature: Touchstone means his figure but Audrey evidently never heard the word.

6. goats: This gives Touchstone an opportunity to pun on capricious and Goths, which was pronounced then so that it had the sound of goats.

7. capricious: derived from Latin caper, goat; therefore, changeable. Ovid: Roman poet who wrote "Metamorphoses," one of the most familiar of which is the story of Pyramus and Thisbe used by Shakespeare in "Midsummer Night's Dream."

9. ill-inhabited: poorly housed.

10. Jove ... house: This refers to the story of Philemon and Baucis when Jupiter and Mercury were given the best the humble house contained, even though their hosts did not recog nize them.

13. great ... room: a large bill of entertainment in a small inn. [It is argued that Shakespeare here alludes to the death of Christopher Marlowe. Please click here for more.]

16. Audrey, munching an apple of which fruit her pockets seem to be full, stops with open mouth at the unfamiliar word.

18. truest ... feigning: Shakespeare liked to make gentle fun of his own art. feigning: pretending.

28. hard-favored: harsh-featured.

31. material: full of matter.

34. foul: Touchstone means dirty, but Audrey below means ugly.

41. Sir Oliver: Sir was often used of clergymen by Shakespeare.

53. On the principle that he is suspicious of anything given away.

57. Does Touchstone recognize Jaques? Notice his apology for Audrey and his change of manner when Jaques comes forward.

58. God ... you: God yield you.

60. covered: put on your hat.

65. This advice from Jaques has its amusing side.

71. What kind of love has Touchstone for Audrey?

80. These are verses from an old song.

87. Sir Oliver is no fool as his last speech shows.


1. Audrey comes in eating apples and tossing them to Touchstone. Picture the scene and describe Audrey.

2. What does Jaques enjoy most? Why does he follow Touchstone and scorn Orlando?

3. What is the purpose of the scene? Why is the marriage postponed?

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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