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 III. Scene III.

Scene III.—Another Part of the Forest.

JAQUES behind.

Touch. Come apace, good Audrey: I will
fetch up your goats, Audrey. And how, Audrey?
am I the man yet? doth my simple feature con-
tent you?
Aud. Your features! Lord warrant us! what
Touch, I am here with thee and thy goats, as
the most capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among
the Goths.
Jaq. [Aside.] O knowledge ill-inhabited, worse
than Jove in a thatch'd house!
Touch. When a man's verses cannot be under-
stood, 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
Aud. I do not know what 'poetical' is. Is
it honest in deed and word? Is it a true
Touch. No, 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.
Aud. Do you wish then that the gods had
made me poetical?
Touch. I do, truly; for thou swearest to me
thou art honest: now, if thou wert a poet, I
might have some hope thou didst feign.
Aud. Would you not have me honest?
Touch. No, truly, unless thou wert hard-
favour'd; for honesty coupled to beauty is to
have honey a sauce to sugar.
Jaq. [Aside.] A material fool.
Aud. Well, I am not fair, and therefore I
pray the gods make me honest.
Touch. Truly, and to cast away honesty upon
a foul slut were to put good meat into an un-
clean dish.
Aud. I am not a slut, though I thank the
gods I am foul.
Touch. Well, praised be the gods for thy foul-
ness! 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.
Jaq. [Aside.] I would fain see this meeting.
Aud. Well, the gods give us joy!
Touch. Amen. 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 Oli. Is there none here to give the
Touch. I will not take her on gift of any
Sir Oli. Truly, she must be given, or the mar-
riage is not lawful.
Jaq. [Coming forward.] Proceed, proceed:
I'll give her.
Touch. Good 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.
Jaq. Will you be married, motley?
Touch. As 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.
Jaq. And 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.
Touch. [Aside.] I am not in the mind but I
were better to be married of him than of an-
other: 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.
Jaq. Go thou with me, and let me counsel thee.
Touch. 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:
Wind away,
Begone, I say,
I will not to wedding with thee.
Sir Oli. Tis no matter: ne'er a fantastical
knave of them all shall flout me out of my call-
ing. [Exit.
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