William Shakespeare's As You Like It in the complete original text.
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As You Like It

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Act I. Scene II.

Scene II.—A Lawn, before the DUKE'S Palace.

Enter ROSALIND and CELIA.

Cel. I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be
merry.
Ros. Dear Celia, I show more mirth than I
am mistress of, and would you yet I were mer-
rier? Unless you could teach me to forget a
banished father, you must not learn me bow to
remember any extraordinary pleasure.
Cel. Herein 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.
Ros. Well, I will forget the condition of my
estate, to rejoice in yours.
Cel. You 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.
Ros. From henceforth I will, coz, and devise
sports. Let me see; what think you of falling
in love?
Cel. Marry, 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.
Ros. What shall be our sport then?
Cel. Let us sit and mock the good housewife
Fortune from her wheel, that her gifts may
henceforth be bestowed equally.
Ros. I would we could do so, for her benefits
are mightily misplaced, and the bountiful blind
woman doth most mistake in her gifts to women.
Cel. 'Tis true; for those that she makes fair
she scarce makes honest, and those that she
makes honest she makes very ill-favouredly.
Ros. Nay, now thou goest from Fortune's
office to Nature's: Fortune reigns in gifts of
the world, not in the lineaments of Nature.

Enter TOUCHSTONE.
Cel. No? when Nature hath made a fair crea-
ture, 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?
Ros. Indeed, there is Fortune too hard for
Nature, when Fortune makes Nature's natural
the cutter-off of Nature's wit.
Cel. Peradventure this is not Fortune's work
neither, but Nature's; who, perceiving our na-
tural wits too dull to reason of such goddesses,
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?
Touch. Mistress, you must come away to your
father.
Cel. Were you made the messenger?
Touch. No, by mine honour; but I was bid
to come for you.
Ros. Where learned you that oath, fool?
Touch. Of 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.
Cel. How prove you that, in the great heap
of your knowledge?
Ros. Ay, marry: now unmuzzle your wisdom.
Touch. Stand you both forth now: stroke
your chins, and swear by your beards that I am
a knave.
Cel. By our beards, if we had them, thou art.
Touch. By 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.
Cel. Prithee, who is't that thou meanest?
Touch. One that old Frederick, your father,
loves.
Cel. My father's love is enough to honour
him. Enough! speak no more of him; you'll
be whipped for taxation one of these days.
Touch. The more pity, that fools may not
speak wisely what wise men do foolishly.
Cel. By my troth, then 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.
Ros. With his mouth full of news.
Cel. Which he will put on us, as pigeons feed
their young.
Ros. Then we shall be news-cramm'd.
Cel. All the better; we shall be more market-
able.

Enter LE BEAU.
Bonjour Monsieur Le Beau: what's the news?
Le Beau. Fair princess, you have lost much
good sport.
Cel. Sport! Of what colour? 108
Le Beau. What colour, madam! How shall
I answer you?
Ros. As wit and fortune will
Touch. Or as the Destinies decree.
Cel. Well said: that was laid on with a trowel.
Touch. Nay, if I keep not my rank,—
Ros. Thou losest thy old smell.
Le Beau. You amaze me, ladies: I would
have told you of good wresthng, which you have
lost the sight of.
Ros. Yet tell us the manner of the wresthng.
Le Beau. I 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.
Cel. Well, the beginning, that is dead and
buried.
Le Beau. There comes an old man and his
three sons,—
Cel. I could match this beginning with an
old tale.
Le Beau. Three proper young men, of excel-
lent growth and presence;—
Ros. With bills on their necks, 'Be it known
unto all men by these presents.'
Le Beau. The 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.
Ros. Alas!
Touch. But what is the sport, monsieur, that
the ladies have lost?
Le Beau. Why, this that I speak of.
Touch. Thus men may grow wiser every day:
it is the first time that ever I heard breaking of
ribs was sport for ladies.
Cel. Or I, I promise thee.
Ros. But is there any else longs to feel this
broken music in his sides? is there yet another
dotes upon rib-breaking? Shall we see this
wresthng, cousin?
Le Beau. You must, if you stay here; for
here is the place appointed for the wresthng,
and they are ready to perform it.
Cel. Yonder, sure, they are coming: let us
now stay and see it.

Flourish. Enter DUKE FREDERICK, Lords,
ORLANDO, CHARLES, and Attendants.
Duke F. Come on: since the youth will
not be entreated, his own peril on his forward-
ness.
Ros. Is yonder the man?
Le Beau. Even he, madam.
Cel. Alas! he is too young: yet he looks
successfully.
Duke F. How now, daughter and cousin! are
you crept hither to see the wresthng?
Ros. Ay, my liege, so please you give us
leave.
Duke F. You 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.
Cel. Call him hither, good Monsieur le Beau.
Duke F. Do so: I'll not be by.
[DUKE goes apart.
Le Beau. Monsieur the challenger, the princes
call for you.
Orl. I attend them with all respect and duty.
Ros. Young man, have you challenged Charles
the wrestler?
Orl. No, fair princess; he is the general
challenger: I come but in, as others do, to try
with him the strength of my youth.
Cel. Young 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.
Ros. Do, young sir: your reputation shall not
therefore be misprised. We will make it our
suit to the duke that the wresthng might not go
forward.
Orl. I 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 is 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.
Ros. The little strength that I have, I would
it were with you.
Cel. And mine, to eke out hers.
Ros. Fare you well. Pray heaven I be deceived
in you!
Cel. Your heart's desires be with you!
Cha. Come, where is this young gallant that
is so desirous to lie with his mother earth?
Orl. Ready, sir; but his will hath in it a more
modest working.
Duke F. You shall try but one fall.
Cha. No, I warrant your Grace, you shall not
entreat him to a second, that have so mightily
persuaded him from a first.
Orl. You mean to mock me after; you should
not have mocked me before: but come your
ways.
Ros. Now Hercules be thy speed, young man!
Cel. I would I were invisible, to catch the
strong fellow by the leg.
[CHARLES and ORLANDO wrestle.
Ros. O excellent young man!
Cel. If I had a thunderbolt in mine eye, I can
tell who should down.
[CHARLES is thrown. Shout.
Duke F. No more, no more.
Orl. Yes, I beseech your Grace: I am not yet
well breathed.
Duke F. How dost thou, Charles?
Le Beau. He cannot speak, my lord.
Duke F. Bear him away. What is thy name,
young man? [CHARLES is borne out.
Orl. Orlando, my liege; the youngest son of
Sir Rowland de Boys.
Duke F. I 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 pleas'd 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.
Cel. Were I my father, coz, would I do this?
Orl. I am more proud to be Sir Rowland's
son,
His youngest son; and would not change that
calling,
To be adopted heir to Frederick.
Ros. My father lov'd 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 ventur'd.
Cel. Gentle cousin,
Let us go thank him and encourage him:
My father's rough and envious disposition
Sticks me at heart. Sir, you have well deserv'd:
If you do keep your promises in love
But justly, as you have exceeded all promise,
Your mistress shall be happy.
Ros. Gentleman,
[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?
Cel. Ay. Fare you well, fair gentleman.
Orl. Can 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.
Ros. He calls us back: my pride fell with my
fortunes;
I'll ask him what he would. Did you call, sir?
Sir, you have wrestled well, and overthrown
More than your enemies.
Cel. Will you go, coz?
Ros. Have with you. Fare you well.
[Exeunt ROSALIND and CELIA.
Orl. What passion hangs these weights upon
my tongue?
I cannot speak to her, yet she urg'd conference.
O poor Orlando, thou art overthrown! 276
Or Charles or something weaker masters thee.

Re-enter LE BEAU.
Le Beau. Good sir, I do in friendship counsel
you
To leave this place. Albeit you have deserv'd
High commendation, true applause and love,
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.
Orl. I 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 Beau. Neither his daughter, if we judge
by manners:
But yet, indeed the smaller is his daughter:
The other is daughter to the banish'd duke,
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:
Hereafter, in a better world than this,
I shall desire more love and knowledge of you.
Orl. I 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! [Exit.
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