As You Like It
|ACT IV SCENE III||The forest.|
|[Enter ROSALIND and CELIA]|
|ROSALIND||How say you now? Is it not past two o’clock? and|
|here much Orlando!|
|CELIA||I warrant you, with pure love and troubled brain, he|
|hath ta’en his bow and arrows and is gone forth to|
|sleep. Look, who comes here.|
|SILVIUS||My errand is to you, fair youth;|
|My gentle Phebe bid me give you this:|
|I know not the contents; but, as I guess|
|By the stern brow and waspish action|
|Which she did use as she was writing of it,||10|
|It bears an angry tenor: pardon me:|
|I am but as a guiltless messenger.|
|ROSALIND||Patience herself would startle at this letter|
|And play the swaggerer; bear this, bear all:|
|She says I am not fair, that I lack manners;|
|She calls me proud, and that she could not love me,|
|Were man as rare as phoenix. ‘Od’s my will!|
|Her love is not the hare that I do hunt:|
|Why writes she so to me? Well, shepherd, well,|
|This is a letter of your own device.||20|
|SILVIUS||No, I protest, I know not the contents:|
|Phebe did write it.|
|ROSALIND||Come, come, you are a fool|
|And turn’d into the extremity of love.|
|I saw her hand: she has a leathern hand.|
|A freestone-colour’d hand; I verily did think|
|That her old gloves were on, but ’twas her hands:|
|She has a huswife’s hand; but that’s no matter:|
|I say she never did invent this letter;|
|This is a man’s invention and his hand.|
|SILVIUS||Sure, it is hers.||30|
|ROSALIND||Why, ’tis a boisterous and a cruel style.|
|A style for-challengers; why, she defies me,|
|Like Turk to Christian: women’s gentle brain|
|Could not drop forth such giant-rude invention|
|Such Ethiope words, blacker in their effect|
|Than in their countenance. Will you hear the letter?|
|SILVIUS||So please you, for I never heard it yet;|
|Yet heard too much of Phebe’s cruelty.|
|ROSALIND||She Phebes me: mark how the tyrant writes.|
|Art thou god to shepherd turn’d,||40|
|That a maiden’s heart hath burn’d?|
|Can a woman rail thus?|
|SILVIUS||Call you this railing?|
|Why, thy godhead laid apart,|
|Warr’st thou with a woman’s heart?|
|Did you ever hear such railing?|
|Whiles the eye of man did woo me,|
|That could do no vengeance to me.|
|Meaning me a beast.|
|If the scorn of your bright eyne||50|
|Have power to raise such love in mine,|
|Alack, in me what strange effect|
|Would they work in mild aspect!|
|Whiles you chid me, I did love;|
|How then might your prayers move!|
|He that brings this love to thee|
|Little knows this love in me:|
|And by him seal up thy mind;|
|Whether that thy youth and kind|
|Will the faithful offer take||60|
|Of me and all that I can make;|
|Or else by him my love deny,|
|And then I’ll study how to die.|
|SILVIUS||Call you this chiding?|
|CELIA||Alas, poor shepherd!|
|ROSALIND||Do you pity him? no, he deserves no pity. Wilt|
|thou love such a woman? What, to make thee an|
|instrument and play false strains upon thee! not to|
|be endured! Well, go your way to her, for I see|
|love hath made thee a tame snake, and say this to|
|her: that if she love me, I charge her to love|
|thee; if she will not, I will never have her unless|
|thou entreat for her. If you be a true lover,|
|hence, and not a word; for here comes more company.|
|OLIVER||Good morrow, fair ones: pray you, if you know,||75|
|Where in the purlieus of this forest stands|
|A sheep-cote fenced about with olive trees?|
|CELIA||West of this place, down in the neighbour bottom:|
|The rank of osiers by the murmuring stream|
|Left on your right hand brings you to the place.|
|But at this hour the house doth keep itself;|
|There’s none within.|
|OLIVER||If that an eye may profit by a tongue,|
|Then should I know you by description;|
|Such garments and such years: ‘The boy is fair,||85|
|Of female favour, and bestows himself|
|Like a ripe sister: the woman low|
|And browner than her brother.’ Are not you|
|The owner of the house I did inquire for?|
|CELIA||It is no boast, being ask’d, to say we are.|
|OLIVER||Orlando doth commend him to you both,|
|And to that youth he calls his Rosalind|
|He sends this bloody napkin. Are you he?|
|ROSALIND||I am: what must we understand by this?|
|OLIVER||Some of my shame; if you will know of me||95|
|What man I am, and how, and why, and where|
|This handkercher was stain’d.|
|CELIA||I pray you, tell it.|
|OLIVER||When last the young Orlando parted from you|
|He left a promise to return again|
|Within an hour, and pacing through the forest,|
|Chewing the food of sweet and bitter fancy,|
|Lo, what befell! he threw his eye aside,|
|And mark what object did present itself:|
|Under an oak, whose boughs were moss’d with age|
|And high top bald with dry antiquity,||105|
|A wretched ragged man, o’ergrown with hair,|
|Lay sleeping on his back: about his neck|
|A green and gilded snake had wreathed itself,|
|Who with her head nimble in threats approach’d|
|The opening of his mouth; but suddenly,|
|Seeing Orlando, it unlink’d itself,|
|And with indented glides did slip away|
|Into a bush: under which bush’s shade|
|A lioness, with udders all drawn dry,|
|Lay couching, head on ground, with catlike watch,||115|
|When that the sleeping man should stir; for ’tis|
|The royal disposition of that beast|
|To prey on nothing that doth seem as dead:|
|This seen, Orlando did approach the man|
|And found it was his brother, his elder brother.|
|CELIA||O, I have heard him speak of that same brother;|
|And he did render him the most unnatural|
|That lived amongst men.|
|OLIVER||And well he might so do,|
|For well I know he was unnatural.|
|ROSALIND||But, to Orlando: did he leave him there,||125|
|Food to the suck’d and hungry lioness?|
|OLIVER||Twice did he turn his back and purposed so;|
|But kindness, nobler ever than revenge,|
|And nature, stronger than his just occasion,|
|Made him give battle to the lioness,|
|Who quickly fell before him: in which hurtling|
|From miserable slumber I awaked.|
|CELIA||Are you his brother?|
|ROSALIND||Wast you he rescued?|
|CELIA||Was’t you that did so oft contrive to kill him?|
|OLIVER||‘Twas I; but ’tis not I I do not shame||135|
|To tell you what I was, since my conversion|
|So sweetly tastes, being the thing I am.|
|ROSALIND||But, for the bloody napkin?|
|OLIVER||By and by.|
|When from the first to last betwixt us two|
|Tears our recountments had most kindly bathed,|
|As how I came into that desert place:–|
|In brief, he led me to the gentle duke,|
|Who gave me fresh array and entertainment,|
|Committing me unto my brother’s love;|
|Who led me instantly unto his cave,||145|
|There stripp’d himself, and here upon his arm|
|The lioness had torn some flesh away,|
|Which all this while had bled; and now he fainted|
|And cried, in fainting, upon Rosalind.|
|Brief, I recover’d him, bound up his wound;|
|And, after some small space, being strong at heart,|
|He sent me hither, stranger as I am,|
|To tell this story, that you might excuse|
|His broken promise, and to give this napkin|
|Dyed in his blood unto the shepherd youth||155|
|That he in sport doth call his Rosalind.|
|CELIA||Why, how now, Ganymede! sweet Ganymede!|
|OLIVER||Many will swoon when they do look on blood.|
|CELIA||There is more in it. Cousin Ganymede!|
|OLIVER||Look, he recovers.|
|ROSALIND||I would I were at home.|
|CELIA||We’ll lead you thither.|
|I pray you, will you take him by the arm?|
|OLIVER||Be of good cheer, youth: you a man! you lack a||163|
|ROSALIND||I do so, I confess it. Ah, sirrah, a body would|
|think this was well counterfeited! I pray you, tell|
|your brother how well I counterfeited. Heigh-ho!|
|OLIVER||This was not counterfeit: there is too great|
|testimony in your complexion that it was a passion|
|ROSALIND||Counterfeit, I assure you.|
|OLIVER||Well then, take a good heart and counterfeit to be a man.|
|ROSALIND||So I do: but, i’ faith, I should have been a woman by right.|
|CELIA||Come, you look paler and paler: pray you, draw|
|homewards. Good sir, go with us.||176|
|OLIVER||That will I, for I must bear answer back|
|How you excuse my brother, Rosalind.|
|ROSALIND||I shall devise something: but, I pray you, commend|
|my counterfeiting to him. Will you go?|
Next: As You Like It, Act 5, Scene 1
Explanatory notes for Act 4, Scene 3
From As You Like It. Ed. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
Vengeance upon the scornful Phebe is planned and some sympathy given to poor Silvius. Another character arrives in the forest, which is gradually drawing them all within its borders, and another love affair is hinted at.
Line 4. Where does Celia stop a moment in this line to give an unexpected turn?
6. Look … here: This sounds almost like the modern girl.
9. waspish: How clearly does Shakespeare picture Phebe to us by this word!
11. tenor: meaning.
13. startle: be startled.
14. swaggerer: bully.
17. phoenix: a fabulous bird said to live, one at a time, 500 years, a new one rising from the ashes of the old.‘Od’s…will: Rosalind certainly enjoys her masculine privilege. She is sorry for Silvius and takes this way to conceal from him the contents of the letter.
26. freestone-colored: a dirty brownish color.
27. huswife’s hand: the hand of a hard-working woman.
34. giant-rude: outrageously rude.
36. Ethiope: black. Used as an adjective here.
39. She Phebes me: As Phebe had practiced her cruelty on Silvius, so now, — Rosalind says, she even practices it on her, i.e. on Ganymede. Accent me.
44. laid apart: laid aside.
48. vengeance: An unusual meaning of vengeance, apparently equivalent to harm or injury.
60. eyne: eyes.
63. aspect: perhaps used as if comparing eyes to stars.
68. seal … mind: send a sealed letter by him.
69. kind: nature.
70. tame snake: expression of scorn.
75. Why fair ones?
76. purlieus: borders.
78. bottom: valley.
79. rank of osiers: row of willows.
85. What is the purpose of this description?
86. favor: appearance.
87. ripe: older.
93. napkin: handkerchief. Do not fail to notice the expressions on the faces of the two girls when they see the napkin.
101. Of whom was Orlando thinking?
104. Here begins a bit of vivid description.
122. render: describe.
129. just occasion: just opportunity for revenge.
131. hurtling: crashing noise.
140. recountments: narrations.
169. Almost a betrayal here.
166. sirrah: here used as an expletive. body: person.
178. Rosalind: Note that Oliver addresses Rosalind by her real name and not by her assumed name of Ganymede. Is he suspicious or is it natural?
1. Why does Rosalind attempt to deceive Silvius? Do you think she does?
2. Contrast the attitude of Celia and Rosalind towards this love-sick shepherd. How do you explain it?
3. Are you surprised to see Oliver? Why not? How does he look?
4. Why does he address himself to Celia and why does she answer his questions?
5. Has he ever seen the girls at court?
6. Why does Shakespeare have Oliver tell the story of his danger rather than have it acted on the stage?
7. Does Rosalind really faint? Defend your answer.
8. Comment upon Oliver’s sudden conversion.
9. Does he suspect anything?
10. As the fourth act ends why do we wait rather breathlessly for the last act?