As You Like It By William Shakespeare Act III: Scene 2

ACT III. SCENE II. The Forest of Arden.

[Enter ORLANDO, with a paper.]

Hang there, my verse, in witness of my love;
And thou, thrice-crowned queen of night, survey
With thy chaste eye, from thy pale sphere above,
Thy huntress' name, that my full life doth sway.
O Rosalind! these trees shall be my books,
And in their barks my thoughts I'll character,
That every eye which in this forest looks
Shall see thy virtue witness'd every where.
Run, run, Orlando; carve on every tree,
The fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she.



And how like you this shepherd's life, Master Touchstone?

Truly, shepherd, in respect of itself, it is a good
life; but in respect that it is a shepherd's life, it is naught.
In respect that it is solitary, I like it very well; but in
respect that it is private, it is a very vile life. Now in
respect it is in the fields, it pleaseth me well; but in respect
it is not in the court, it is tedious. As it is a spare life,
look you, it fits my humour well; but as there is no more
plenty in it, it goes much against my stomach. Hast any
philosophy in thee, shepherd?

No more but that I know the more one sickens, the worse at
ease he is; and that he that wants money, means, and content, is
without three good friends; that the property of rain is to wet,
and fire to burn; that good pasture makes fat sheep; and that a
great cause of the night is lack of the sun; that he that hath
learned no wit by nature nor art may complain of good breeding,
or comes of a very dull kindred.

Such a one is a natural philosopher. Wast ever in court,

No, truly.

Then thou art damned.

Nay, I hope, —

Truly, thou art damned, like an ill-roasted egg, all on one side.

For not being at court? Your reason.

Why, if thou never wast at court, thou never saw'st good
manners; if thou never saw'st good manners, then thy manners must
be wicked; and wickedness is sin, and sin is damnation. Thou art
in a parlous state, shepherd.

Not a whit, Touchstone; those that are good manners at the
court are as ridiculous in the country as the behaviour of the
country is most mockable at the court. You told me you salute not
at the court, but you kiss your hands; that courtesy would be
uncleanly if courtiers were shepherds.

Instance, briefly; come, instance.

Why, we are still handling our ewes; and their fells,
you know, are greasy.

Why, do not your courtier's hands sweat? and is not the
grease of a mutton as wholesome as the sweat of a man?
Shallow, shallow: a better instance, I say; come.

Besides, our hands are hard.

Your lips will feel them the sooner. Shallow again: a more
sounder instance; come.

And they are often tarred over with the surgery of our
sheep; and would you have us kiss tar? The courtier's hands
are perfumed with civet.

Most shallow man! thou worm's-meat in respect of a good
piece of flesh indeed! — Learn of the wise, and perpend: civet is
of a baser birth than tar, — the very uncleanly flux of a cat.
Mend the instance, shepherd.

You have too courtly a wit for me: I'll rest.

Wilt thou rest damned? God help thee, shallow man!
God make incision in thee! thou art raw.

Sir, I am a true labourer: I earn that I eat, get that I
wear, owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness, glad of other
men's good, content with my harm; and the greatest of my
pride is to see my ewes graze and my lambs suck.

That is another simple sin in you: to bring the ewes
and the rams together, and to offer to get your living by the
copulation of cattle; to be bawd to a bell-wether; and to betray
a she-lamb of a twelvemonth to crooked-pated, old, cuckoldly ram,
out of all reasonable match. If thou be'st not damned for this,
the devil himself will have no shepherds; I cannot see else how
thou shouldst 'scape.

Here comes young Master Ganymede, my new mistress's brother.

[Enter ROSALIND, reading a paper.]

'From the east to western Ind,
No jewel is like Rosalind.
Her worth, being mounted on the wind,
Through all the world bears Rosalind.
All the pictures fairest lin'd
Are but black to Rosalind.
Let no face be kept in mind
But the fair of Rosalind.'

I'll rhyme you so eight years together, dinners, and
suppers, and sleeping hours excepted. It is the right
butter-women's rank to market.

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