As You Like It By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 7

ACT II. SCENE VII. Another part of the Forest.

[A table set. Enter DUKE Senior, AMIENS, and others.]

DUKE SENIOR.
I think he be transform'd into a beast;
For I can nowhere find him like a man.

FIRST LORD.
My lord, he is but even now gone hence;
Here was he merry, hearing of a song.

DUKE SENIOR.
If he, compact of jars, grow musical,
We shall have shortly discord in the spheres.
Go, seek him; tell him I would speak with him.

FIRST LORD.
He saves my labour by his own approach.

[Enter JAQUES.]

DUKE SENIOR.
Why, how now, monsieur! what a life is this,
That your poor friends must woo your company?
What! you look merrily!

JAQUES.
A fool, a fool! — I met a fool i' the forest,
A motley fool; — a miserable world! —
As I do live by food, I met a fool,
Who laid him down and bask'd him in the sun,
And rail'd on Lady Fortune in good terms,
In good set terms, — and yet a motley fool.
'Good morrow, fool,' quoth I: 'No, sir,' quoth he,
'Call me not fool till heaven hath sent me fortune.'
And then he drew a dial from his poke,
And, looking on it with lack-lustre eye,
Says very wisely, 'It is ten o'clock:
Thus we may see,' quoth he, 'how the world wags;
'Tis but an hour ago since it was nine;
And after one hour more 'twill be eleven;
And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe,
And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot;
And thereby hangs a tale.' When I did hear
The motley fool thus moral on the time,
My lungs began to crow like chanticleer,
That fools should be so deep contemplative;
And I did laugh sans intermission
An hour by his dial. — O noble fool!
A worthy fool! — Motley's the only wear.

DUKE SENIOR.
What fool is this?

JAQUES.
O worthy fool! — One that hath been a courtier,
And says, if ladies be but young and fair,
They have the gift to know it: and in his brain, —
Which is as dry as the remainder biscuit
After a voyage, — he hath strange places cramm'd
With observation, the which he vents
In mangled forms.-O that I were a fool!
I am ambitious for a motley coat.

DUKE SENIOR.
Thou shalt have one.

JAQUES.
It is my only suit,
Provided that you weed your better judgments
Of all opinion that grows rank in them
That I am wise. I must have liberty
Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
To blow on whom I please; for so fools have:
And they that are most galled with my folly,
They most must laugh. And why, sir, must they so?
The 'why' is plain as way to parish church:
He that a fool doth very wisely hit
Doth very foolishly, although he smart,
Not to seem senseless of the bob; if not,
The wise man's folly is anatomiz'd
Even by the squandering glances of the fool.
Invest me in my motley; give me leave
To speak my mind, and I will through and through
Cleanse the foul body of the infected world,
If they will patiently receive my medicine.

DUKE SENIOR.
Fie on thee! I can tell what thou wouldst do.

JAQUES.
What, for a counter, would I do but good?

DUKE SENIOR.
Most mischievous foul sin, in chiding sin;
For thou thyself hast been a libertine,
As sensual as the brutish sting itself;
And all the embossed sores and headed evils
That thou with license of free foot hast caught
Wouldst thou disgorge into the general world.

JAQUES.
Why, who cries out on pride
That can therein tax any private party?
Doth it not flow as hugely as the sea,
Till that the weary very means do ebb?
What woman in the city do I name
When that I say, The city-woman bears
The cost of princes on unworthy shoulders?
Who can come in and say that I mean her,
When such a one as she, such is her neighbour?
Or what is he of basest function
That says his bravery is not on my cost, —
Thinking that I mean him, — but therein suits
His folly to the metal of my speech?
There then; how then? what then? Let me see wherein
My tongue hath wrong'd him: if it do him right,
Then he hath wrong'd himself; if he be free,
Why then, my taxing like a wild-goose flies,
Unclaim'd of any man. — But who comes here?

[Enter ORLANDO, with his sword drawn.]

ORLANDO.
Forbear, and eat no more.

JAQUES.
Why, I have eat none yet.

ORLANDO.
Nor shalt not, till necessity be serv'd.

JAQUES.
Of what kind should this cock come of?

DUKE SENIOR.
Art thou thus bolden'd, man, by thy distress:
Or else a rude despiser of good manners,
That in civility thou seem'st so empty?

ORLANDO.
You touch'd my vein at first: the thorny point
Of bare distress hath ta'en from me the show
Of smooth civility: yet am I inland bred,
And know some nurture. But forbear, I say;
He dies that touches any of this fruit
Till I and my affairs are answered.

JAQUES.
An you will not be answered with reason, I must die.

DUKE SENIOR.
What would you have? your gentleness shall force
More than your force move us to gentleness.

ORLANDO.
I almost die for food, and let me have it.

DUKE SENIOR.
Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

Celia and Rosalind are



Quiz