As You Like It By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scene 3

ACT IV. SCENE III. Another part of the Forest.

[Enter ROSALIND and CELIA.]

ROSALIND.
How say you now? Is it not past two o'clock?
And here much Orlando!

CELIA.
I warrant you, with pure love and troubled brain, he hath
ta'en his bow and arrows, and is gone forth — to sleep. Look,
who comes here.

[Enter SILVIUS.]

SILVIUS.
My errand is to you, fair youth; —
My gentle Phebe did bid me give you this:

[Giving a letter.]

I know not the contents; but, as I guess
By the stern brow and waspish action
Which she did use as she was writing of it,
It bears an angry tenor: pardon me,
I am but as a guiltless messenger.

ROSALIND.
Patience herself would startle at this letter,
And play the swaggerer; bear this, bear all:
She says I am not fair; that I lack manners;
She calls me proud, and that she could not love me,
Were man as rare as Phoenix. Od's my will!
Her love is not the hare that I do hunt;
Why writes she so to me? — Well, shepherd, well,
This is a letter of your own device.

SILVIUS.
No, I protest, I know not the contents: Phebe did write it.

ROSALIND.
Come, come, you are a fool,
And turn'd into the extremity of love.
I saw her hand: she has a leathern hand,
A freestone-colour'd hand: I verily did think
That her old gloves were on, but 'twas her hands;
She has a huswife's hand: but that's no matter:
I say she never did invent this letter:
This is a man's invention, and his hand.

SILVIUS.
Sure, it is hers.

ROSALIND.
Why, 'tis a boisterous and a cruel style;
A style for challengers: why, she defies me,
Like Turk to Christian: women's gentle brain
Could not drop forth such giant-rude invention,
Such Ethiop words, blacker in their effect
Than in their countenance. — Will you hear the letter?

SILVIUS.
So please you, for I never heard it yet;
Yet heard too much of Phebe's cruelty.

ROSALIND.
She Phebes me: mark how the tyrant writes.
[Reads]
'Art thou god to shepherd turn'd,
That a maiden's heart hath burn'd?'

Can a woman rail thus?

SILVIUS.
Call you this railing?

ROSALIND.
'Why, thy godhead laid apart,
Warr'st thou with a woman's heart?'

Did you ever hear such railing?

'Whiles the eye of man did woo me,
That could do no vengeance to me.' —

Meaning me a beast. —

'If the scorn of your bright eyne
Have power to raise such love in mine,
Alack, in me what strange effect
Would they work in mild aspect?
Whiles you chid me, I did love;
How then might your prayers move?
He that brings this love to thee
Little knows this love in me:
And by him seal up thy mind;
Whether that thy youth and kind
Will the faithful offer take
Of me and all that I can make;
Or else by him my love deny,
And then I'll study how to die.'

SILVIUS.
Call you this chiding?

CELIA.
Alas, poor shepherd!

ROSALIND.
Do you pity him? no, he deserves no pity. — Wilt thou love
such a woman? — What, to make thee an instrument, and play false
strains upon thee! Not to be endured! — Well, go your way to her,
— for I see love hath made thee a tame snake, — and say this to
her; — that if she love me, I charge her to love thee; if she will
not, I will never have her unless thou entreat for her. — If you
be a true lover, hence, and not a word; for here comes more
company.

[Exit SILVIUS.]

[Enter OLIVER.]

OLIVER.
Good morrow, fair ones: pray you, if you know,
Where in the purlieus of this forest stands
A sheep-cote fenc'd about with olive trees?

CELIA.
West of this place, down in the neighbour bottom:
The rank of osiers, by the murmuring stream,
Left on your right hand, brings you to the place.
But at this hour the house doth keep itself;
There's none within.

OLIVER.
If that an eye may profit by a tongue,
Then should I know you by description;
Such garments, and such years: 'The boy is fair,
Of female favour, and bestows himself
Like a ripe sister: the woman low,
And browner than her brother.' Are not you
The owner of the house I did inquire for?

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