William Shakespeare's As You Like It in the complete original text.
William Shakespeare's plays, sonnets and poems at AbsoluteShakespeare.com
Home Plays Sonnets Poems Quotes Summaries Essays Glossary Links Help

HOME > Plays > As You Like It > Act IV. Scene I.

As You Like It

Study Guides
Julius Caesar
King Henry IV
King Lear
Merchant of Venice
Romeo and Juliet
The Tempest
Twelfth Night

Bard Facts
Globe Theatre

Act IV. Scene I.

Act IV. Scene I.—The Forest of Arden.


Jaq. I prithee, pretty youth, let me be better
acquainted with thee.
Ros. They say you are a melancholy fellow.
Jaq. I am so; I do love it better than laugh-
Ros. Those that are in extremity of either are
abominable fellows, and betray themselves to
every modem censure worse than drunkards.
Jaq. Why, 'tis good to be sad and say nothing.
Ros. Why, then, 'tis good to be a post.
Jaq. 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, in-
deed the sundry contemplation of my travels,
which, by often rumination wraps me in a most
humorous sadness.
Ros. 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.
Jaq. Yes, I have gained my experience.
Ros. 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

Orl. Good day, and happiness, dear Rosalind!
Jaq. Nay then. God be wi' you, an you talk
in blank verse. [Exit.
Ros. 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.
Orl. My fair Rosalind, I come within an hour
of my promise.
Ros. 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 him heart-whole.
Orl. Pardon me, dear Rosalind.
Ros. Nay, an you be so tardy, come no more
in my sight: I had as lief be wooed of a snail.
Orl. Of a snail!
Ros. 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 wo-
man: besides, he brings his destiny with him.
Orl. What's that?
Ros. Why, horns; that 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.
Orl. Virtue is no horn-maker; and my Rosa-
lind is virtuous.
Ros. And I am your Rosalind?
Cel. It pleases him to call you so; but he
hath a Rosalind of a better leer than you.
Ros. Come, woo me, woo me; for now I am
in a holiday humour, and like enough to con-
sent. What would you say to me now, an I were
your very very Rosalind?
Orl. I would kiss before I spoke.
Ros. 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.
Orl. How if the kiss be denied?
Ros. Then she puts you to entreaty, and there
begins new matter.
Orl. Who could be out, being before his be-
loved mistress?
Ros. Marry, that should you, if I were your
mistress; or I should think my honesty ranker
than my wit.
Orl. What, of my suit?
Ros. Not out of your apparel, and yet out of
your suit. Am not I your Rosalind?
Orl. I take some joy to say you are, because
I would be talking of her.
Ros. Well, in her person I say I will not have
Orl. Then in mine own person I die.
Ros. 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, videlicet, 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 mid-
summer 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.
Orl. I would not have my right Rosalind of
this mind; for, I protest, her frown might kill
Ros. 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 it.
Orl. Then love me, Rosalind.
Ros. Yes, faith will I, Fridays and Saturdays
and all.
Orl. And wilt thou have me?
Ros. Ay, and twenty such.
Orl. What sayest thou?
Ros. Are you not good?
Orl. I hope so.
Ros. 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, Or-
lando. What do you say, sister?
Orl. Pray thee, marry us.
Cel. I cannot say the words.
Ros. You must begin,—'Will you, Orlando,'—
Cel. Go to.—Will you, Orlando, have to wife
this Rosalind?
Orl. I will.
Ros. Ay, but when?
Orl. Why now; as fast as she can marry us.
Ros. Then you must say, 'I take thee, Ro-
salind, for wife.'
Orl. I take thee, Rosalind, for wife.
Ros. 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, cer-
tainly, a woman's thought runs before her ac-
Orl. So do all thoughts; they are winged.
Ros. Now tell me how long you would have
her after you have possessed her?
Orl. For ever and a day.
Ros. Say 'a day,' without the 'ever.' No, no,
Orlando; men are April when they woo, De-
cember 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 cla-
morous 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.
Orl. But will my Rosalind do so?
Ros. By my life, she will do as I do.
Orl. O! but she is wise.
Ros. 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 case-
ment; shut that, and 'twill out at the key-hole;
stop that, 'twill fly with the smoke out at the
Orl. A man that hath a wife with such a wit,
he might say, 'Wit, whither wilt?'
Ros. Nay, you might keep that check for it
till you met your wife's wit going to your neigh-
bour's bed.
Orl. And what wit could wit have to excuse
Ros. 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.
Orl. For these two hours, Rosalind, I will
leave thee.
Ros. Alas! dear love, I cannot lack thee two
Orl. I must attend the duke at dinner: by
two o'clock I will be with thee again.
Ros. 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?
Orl. Ay, sweet Rosalind.
Ros. By my troth, and in good earnest, and
so God mend 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 your promise.
Orl. With no less religion than if thou wert
indeed my Rosalind: so, adieu.
Ros. Well, Time is the old justice that ex-
amines all such offenders, and let Time try.
Adieu. [Exit ORLANDO.
Cel. 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.
Ros. 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.
Cel. Or rather, bottomless; that as fast as you
pour affection in, it runs out.
Ros. 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 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.
Cel. And I'll sleep. [Exeunt.
Copyright 2000-2005 AbsoluteShakespeare.com. All rights reserved.  Contact Us  Privacy  Awards