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

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


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

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.]

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.

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.

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

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.

Sure, it is hers.

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?

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

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

Can a woman rail thus?

Call you this railing?

'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.'

Call you this chiding?

Alas, poor shepherd!

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


[Enter 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?

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.

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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