As You Like It
|ACT IV SCENE I||The forest.|
|[Enter ROSALIND, CELIA, and JAQUES]|
|JAQUES||I prithee, pretty youth, let me be better acquainted|
|ROSALIND||They say you are a melancholy fellow.|
|JAQUES||I am so; I do love it better than laughing.|
|ROSALIND||Those that are in extremity of either are abominable|
|fellows and betray themselves to every modern|
|censure worse than drunkards.||7|
|JAQUES||Why, ’tis good to be sad and say nothing.|
|ROSALIND||Why then, ’tis good to be a post.|
|JAQUES||I 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|
|ROSALIND||A 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.|
|JAQUES||Yes, I have gained my experience.|
|ROSALIND||And 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!|
|ORLANDO||Good day and happiness, dear Rosalind!|
|JAQUES||Nay, then, God be wi’ you, an you talk in blank verse.||29|
|ROSALIND||Farewell, 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.|
|ORLANDO||My fair Rosalind, I come within an hour of my promise.|
|ROSALIND||Break 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|
|ORLANDO||Pardon me, dear Rosalind.||45|
|ROSALIND||Nay, an you be so tardy, come no more in my sight: I|
|had as lief be wooed of a snail.|
|ORLANDO||Of a snail?|
|ROSALIND||Ay, 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.|
|ROSALIND||Why, 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.|
|ORLANDO||Virtue is no horn-maker; and my Rosalind is virtuous.|
|ROSALIND||And I am your Rosalind.|
|CELIA||It pleases him to call you so; but he hath a|
|Rosalind of a better leer than you.|
|ROSALIND||Come, 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?|
|ORLANDO||I would kiss before I spoke.||57|
|ROSALIND||Nay, 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.|
|ORLANDO||How if the kiss be denied?|
|ROSALIND||Then she puts you to entreaty, and there begins new matter.|
|ORLANDO||Who could be out, being before his beloved mistress?|
|ROSALIND||Marry, that should you, if I were your mistress, or|
|I should think my honesty ranker than my wit.|
|ORLANDO||What, of my suit?|
|ROSALIND||Not out of your apparel, and yet out of your suit.|
|Am not I your Rosalind?|
|ORLANDO||I take some joy to say you are, because I would be|
|talking of her.|
|ROSALIND||Well in her person I say I will not have you.|
|ORLANDO||Then in mine own person I die.||69|
|ROSALIND||No, 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.|
|ORLANDO||I would not have my right Rosalind of this mind,|
|for, I protest, her frown might kill me.||84|
|ROSALIND||By 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|
|ORLANDO||Then love me, Rosalind.|
|ROSALIND||Yes, faith, will I, Fridays and Saturdays and all.|
|ORLANDO||And wilt thou have me?|
|ROSALIND||Ay, and twenty such.|
|ORLANDO||What sayest thou?|
|ROSALIND||Are you not good?|
|ORLANDO||I hope so.||95|
|ROSALIND||Why 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?|
|ORLANDO||Pray thee, marry us.|
|CELIA||I cannot say the words.|
|ROSALIND||You must begin, ‘Will you, Orlando–‘|
|CELIA||Go to. Will you, Orlando, have to wife this Rosalind?|
|ROSALIND||Ay, but when?|
|ORLANDO||Why now; as fast as she can marry us.|
|ROSALIND||Then you must say ‘I take thee, Rosalind, for wife.’|
|ORLANDO||I take thee, Rosalind, for wife.|
|ROSALIND||I 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.|
|ORLANDO||So do all thoughts; they are winged.||115|
|ROSALIND||Now tell me how long you would have her after you|
|have possessed her.|
|ORLANDO||For ever and a day.|
|ROSALIND||Say ‘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.|
|ORLANDO||But will my Rosalind do so?||130|
|ROSALIND||By my life, she will do as I do.|
|ORLANDO||O, but she is wise.|
|ROSALIND||Or 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.|
|ORLANDO||A man that had a wife with such a wit, he might say|
|‘Wit, whither wilt?’|
|ROSALIND||Nay, you might keep that cheque for it till you met|
|your wife’s wit going to your neighbour’s bed.|
|ORLANDO||And what wit could wit have to excuse that?|
|ROSALIND||Marry, 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!|
|ORLANDO||For these two hours, Rosalind, I will leave thee.||140|
|ROSALIND||Alas! dear love, I cannot lack thee two hours.|
|ORLANDO||I must attend the duke at dinner: by two o’clock I|
|will be with thee again.|
|ROSALIND||Ay, 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?|
|ORLANDO||Ay, sweet Rosalind.|
|ROSALIND||By my troth, and in good earnest, and so God mend||150|
|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|
|ORLANDO||With no less religion than if thou wert indeed my|
|Rosalind: so adieu.|
|ROSALIND||Well, Time is the old justice that examines all such|
|offenders, and let Time try: adieu.|
|CELIA||You 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|
|ROSALIND||O 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.|
|CELIA||Or rather, bottomless, that as fast as you pour|
|affection in, it runs out.|
|ROSALIND||No, 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 eyes||174|
|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.|
|CELIA||And 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?