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Home > As You Like It > ACT IV - SCENE III. The forest.

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ACT IV - SCENE III. The forest.
Enter ROSALIND and CELIA

ROSALIND
1    How say you now? Is it not past two o'clock? and
2    here much Orlando!
CELIA
3    I warrant you, with pure love and troubled brain, he
4    hath ta'en his bow and arrows and is gone forth to
5    sleep. Look, who comes here.
Enter SILVIUS

SILVIUS
6    My errand is to you, fair youth;
7    My gentle Phebe bid me give you this:
8    I know not the contents; but, as I guess
9    By the stern brow and waspish action
10   Which she did use as she was writing of it,
11   It bears an angry tenor: pardon me:
12   I am but as a guiltless messenger.
ROSALIND
13   Patience herself would startle at this letter
14   And play the swaggerer; bear this, bear all:
15   She says I am not fair, that I lack manners;
16   She calls me proud, and that she could not love me,
17   Were man as rare as phoenix. 'Od's my will!
18   Her love is not the hare that I do hunt:
19   Why writes she so to me? Well, shepherd, well,
20   This is a letter of your own device.
SILVIUS
21   No, I protest, I know not the contents:
22   Phebe did write it.
ROSALIND
23   Come, come, you are a fool
24   And turn'd into the extremity of love.
25   I saw her hand: she has a leathern hand.
26   A freestone-colour'd hand; I verily did think
27   That her old gloves were on, but 'twas her hands:
28   She has a huswife's hand; but that's no matter:
29   I say she never did invent this letter;
30   This is a man's invention and his hand.
SILVIUS
31   Sure, it is hers.
ROSALIND
32   Why, 'tis a boisterous and a cruel style.
33   A style for-challengers; why, she defies me,
34   Like Turk to Christian: women's gentle brain
35   Could not drop forth such giant-rude invention
36   Such Ethiope words, blacker in their effect
37   Than in their countenance. Will you hear the letter?
SILVIUS
38   So please you, for I never heard it yet;
39   Yet heard too much of Phebe's cruelty.
ROSALIND
40   She Phebes me: mark how the tyrant writes.
Reads
41   Art thou god to shepherd turn'd,
42   That a maiden's heart hath burn'd?
43   Can a woman rail thus?
SILVIUS
44   Call you this railing?
ROSALIND
Reads
45   Why, thy godhead laid apart,
46   Warr'st thou with a woman's heart?
47   Did you ever hear such railing?
48   Whiles the eye of man did woo me,
49   That could do no vengeance to me.
50   Meaning me a beast.
51   If the scorn of your bright eyne
52   Have power to raise such love in mine,
53   Alack, in me what strange effect
54   Would they work in mild aspect!
55   Whiles you chid me, I did love;
56   How then might your prayers move!
57   He that brings this love to thee
58   Little knows this love in me:
59   And by him seal up thy mind;
60   Whether that thy youth and kind
61   Will the faithful offer take
62   Of me and all that I can make;
63   Or else by him my love deny,
64   And then I'll study how to die.
SILVIUS
65   Call you this chiding?
CELIA
66   Alas, poor shepherd!
ROSALIND
67   Do you pity him? no, he deserves no pity. Wilt
68   thou love such a woman? What, to make thee an
69   instrument and play false strains upon thee! not to
70   be endured! Well, go your way to her, for I see
71   love hath made thee a tame snake, and say this to
72   her: that if she love me, I charge her to love
73   thee; if she will not, I will never have her unless
74   thou entreat for her. If you be a true lover,
75   hence, and not a word; for here comes more company.
Exit SILVIUS

Enter OLIVER

OLIVER
76   Good morrow, fair ones: pray you, if you know,
77   Where in the purlieus of this forest stands
78   A sheep-cote fenced about with olive trees?
CELIA
79   West of this place, down in the neighbour bottom:
80   The rank of osiers by the murmuring stream
81   Left on your right hand brings you to the place.
82   But at this hour the house doth keep itself;
83   There's none within.
OLIVER
84   If that an eye may profit by a tongue,
85   Then should I know you by description;
86   Such garments and such years: 'The boy is fair,
87   Of female favour, and bestows himself
88   Like a ripe sister: the woman low
89   And browner than her brother.' Are not you
90   The owner of the house I did inquire for?
CELIA
91   It is no boast, being ask'd, to say we are.
OLIVER
92   Orlando doth commend him to you both,
93   And to that youth he calls his Rosalind
94   He sends this bloody napkin. Are you he?
ROSALIND
95   I am: what must we understand by this?
OLIVER
96   Some of my shame; if you will know of me
97   What man I am, and how, and why, and where
98   This handkercher was stain'd.
CELIA
99   I pray you, tell it.
OLIVER
100  When last the young Orlando parted from you
101  He left a promise to return again
102  Within an hour, and pacing through the forest,
103  Chewing the food of sweet and bitter fancy,
104  Lo, what befell! he threw his eye aside,
105  And mark what object did present itself:
106  Under an oak, whose boughs were moss'd with age
107  And high top bald with dry antiquity,
108  A wretched ragged man, o'ergrown with hair,
109  Lay sleeping on his back: about his neck
110  A green and gilded snake had wreathed itself,
111  Who with her head nimble in threats approach'd
112  The opening of his mouth; but suddenly,
113  Seeing Orlando, it unlink'd itself,
114  And with indented glides did slip away
115  Into a bush: under which bush's shade
116  A lioness, with udders all drawn dry,
117  Lay couching, head on ground, with catlike watch,
118  When that the sleeping man should stir; for 'tis
119  The royal disposition of that beast
120  To prey on nothing that doth seem as dead:
121  This seen, Orlando did approach the man
122  And found it was his brother, his elder brother.
CELIA
123  O, I have heard him speak of that same brother;
124  And he did render him the most unnatural
125  That lived amongst men.
OLIVER
126  And well he might so do,
127  For well I know he was unnatural.
ROSALIND
128  But, to Orlando: did he leave him there,
129  Food to the suck'd and hungry lioness?
OLIVER
130  Twice did he turn his back and purposed so;
131  But kindness, nobler ever than revenge,
132  And nature, stronger than his just occasion,
133  Made him give battle to the lioness,
134  Who quickly fell before him: in which hurtling
135  From miserable slumber I awaked.
CELIA
136  Are you his brother?
ROSALIND
137  Wast you he rescued?
CELIA
138  Was't you that did so oft contrive to kill him?
OLIVER
139  'Twas I; but 'tis not I I do not shame
140  To tell you what I was, since my conversion
141  So sweetly tastes, being the thing I am.
ROSALIND
142  But, for the bloody napkin?
OLIVER
143  By and by.
144  When from the first to last betwixt us two
145  Tears our recountments had most kindly bathed,
146  As how I came into that desert place:--
147  In brief, he led me to the gentle duke,
148  Who gave me fresh array and entertainment,
149  Committing me unto my brother's love;
150  Who led me instantly unto his cave,
151  There stripp'd himself, and here upon his arm
152  The lioness had torn some flesh away,
153  Which all this while had bled; and now he fainted
154  And cried, in fainting, upon Rosalind.
155  Brief, I recover'd him, bound up his wound;
156  And, after some small space, being strong at heart,
157  He sent me hither, stranger as I am,
158  To tell this story, that you might excuse
159  His broken promise, and to give this napkin
160  Dyed in his blood unto the shepherd youth
161  That he in sport doth call his Rosalind.
ROSALIND swoons

CELIA
162  Why, how now, Ganymede! sweet Ganymede!
OLIVER
163  Many will swoon when they do look on blood.
CELIA
164  There is more in it. Cousin Ganymede!
OLIVER
165  Look, he recovers.
ROSALIND
166  I would I were at home.
CELIA
167  We'll lead you thither.
168  I pray you, will you take him by the arm?
OLIVER
169  Be of good cheer, youth: you a man! you lack a
170  man's heart.
ROSALIND
171  I do so, I confess it. Ah, sirrah, a body would
172  think this was well counterfeited! I pray you, tell
173  your brother how well I counterfeited. Heigh-ho!
OLIVER
174  This was not counterfeit: there is too great
175  testimony in your complexion that it was a passion
176  of earnest.
ROSALIND
177  Counterfeit, I assure you.
OLIVER
178  Well then, take a good heart and counterfeit to be a man.
ROSALIND
179  So I do: but, i' faith, I should have been a woman by right.
CELIA
180  Come, you look paler and paler: pray you, draw
181  homewards. Good sir, go with us.
OLIVER
182  That will I, for I must bear answer back
183  How you excuse my brother, Rosalind.
ROSALIND
184  I shall devise something: but, I pray you, commend
185  my counterfeiting to him. Will you go?
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT IV, SCENE IIACT V, SCENE I (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI
  • SCENE VII


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • EPILOGUE

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