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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act I. Scene III.

As You Like It

A Room in the Palace.


Cel.Why, cousin! why, Rosalind! Cupid have mercy! Not a word?

Ros.Not one to throw at a dog.

Cel.No, thy words are too precious to be cast away upon curs; throw some of them at me; come, lame me with reasons.

Ros.Then there were two cousins laid up; when the one should be lamed with reasons and the other mad without any.

Cel.But is all this for your father?

Ros.No, some of it is for my child’s father: O, how full of briers is this working-day world!

Cel.They are but burrs, cousin, thrown upon thee in holiday foolery: if we walk not in the trodden paths, our very petticoats will catch them.

Ros.I could shake them off my coat: these burrs are in my heart.

Cel.Hem them away.

Ros.I would try, if I could cry ‘hem,’ and have him.

Cel.Come, come; wrestle with thy affections.

Ros.O! they take the part of a better wrestler than myself!

Cel.O, a good wish upon you! you will try in time, in despite of a fall. But, turning these jests out of service, let us talk in good earnest: is it possible, on such a sudden, you should fall into so strong a liking with old Sir Rowland’s youngest son?

Ros.The duke my father dearly.

Cel.Doth it therefore ensue that you should love his son dearly? By this kind of chase, I should hate him, for my father hated his father dearly; yet I hate not Orlando.

Ros.No, faith, hate him not, for my sake.

Cel.Why should I not? doth he not deserve well?

Ros.Let me love him for that; and do you love him, because I do. Look, here comes the duke.

Cel.With his eyes full of anger.

Enter DUKE FREDERICK, with Lords.

Duke F.Mistress, dispatch you with your safest haste,

And get you from our court.

Ros.Me, uncle?

Duke F.You, cousin:

Within these ten days if that thou be’st found

So near our public court as twenty miles,

Thou diest for it.

Ros.I do beseech your Grace,

Let me the knowledge of my fault bear with me.

If with myself I hold intelligence,

Or have acquaintance with mine own desires,

If that I do not dream or be not frantic,—

As I do trust I am not,—then, dear uncle,

Never so much as in a thought unborn

Did I offend your highness.

Duke F.Thus do all traitors:

If their purgation did consist in words,

They are as innocent as grace itself:

Let it suffice thee that I trust thee not.

Ros.Yet your mistrust cannot make me a traitor:

Tell me whereon the likelihood depends.

Duke F.Thou art thy father’s daughter; there’s enough.

Ros.So was I when your highness took his dukedom;

So was I when your highness banish’d him.

Treason is not inherited, my lord;

Or, if we did derive it from our friends,

What’s that to me? my father was no traitor:

Then, good my liege, mistake me not so much

To think my poverty is treacherous.

Cel.Dear sovereign, hear me speak.

Duke F.Ay, Celia; we stay’d her for your sake;

Else had she with her father rang’d along.

Cel.I did not then entreat to have her stay:

It was your pleasure and your own remorse.

I was too young that time to value her;

But now I know her: if she be a traitor,

Why so am I; we still have slept together,

Rose at an instant, learn’d, play’d, eat together;

And wheresoe’er we went, like Juno’s swans,

Still we went coupled and inseparable.

Duke F.She is too subtle for thee; and her smoothness,

Her very silence and her patience,

Speak to the people, and they pity her.

Thou art a fool: she robs thee of thy name;

And thou wilt show more bright and seem more virtuous

When she is gone. Then open not thy lips:

Firm and irrevocable is my doom

Which I have pass’d upon her; she is banish’d.

Cel.Pronounce that sentence then, on me, my liege:

I cannot live out of her company.

Duke FYou are a fool. You, niece, provide yourself:

If you outstay the time, upon mine honour,

And in the greatness of my word, you die.[Exeunt DUKE FREDERICK and Lords.

Cel.O my poor Rosalind! whither wilt thou go?

Wilt thou change fathers? I will give thee mine.

I charge thee, be not thou more griev’d than I am.

Ros.I have more cause.

Cel.Thou hast not, cousin;

Prithee, be cheerful; know’st thou not, the duke

Hath banish’d me, his daughter?

Ros.That he hath not.

Cel.No, hath not? Rosalind lacks then the love

Which teacheth thee that thou and I am one:

Shall we be sunder’d? shall we part, sweet girl?

No: let my father seek another heir.

Therefore devise with me how we may fly,

Whither to go, and what to bear with us:

And do not seek to take your change upon you,

To bear your griefs yourself and leave me out;

For, by this heaven, now at our sorrows pale,

Say what thou canst, I’ll go along with thee.

Ros.Why, whither shall we go?

Cel.To seek my uncle in the forest of Arden.

Ros.Alas, what danger will it be to us,

Maids as we are, to travel forth so far!

Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold.

Cel.I’ll put myself in poor and mean attire,

And with a kind of umber smirch my face;

The like do you: so shall we pass along

And never stir assailants.

Ros.Were it not better,

Because that I am more than common tall,

That I did suit me all points like a man?

A gallant curtle-axe upon my thigh,

A boar-spear in my hand; and,—in my heart

Lie there what hidden woman’s fear there will,—

We’ll have a swashing and a martial outside,

As many other mannish cowards have

That do outface it with their semblances.

Cel.What shall I call thee when thou art a man?

Ros.I’ll have no worse a name than Jove’s own page,

And therefore look you call me Ganymede.

But what will you be call’d?

Cel.Something that hath a reference to my state:

No longer Celia, but Aliena.

Ros.But, cousin, what if we assay’d to steal

The clownish fool out of your father’s court?

Would he not be a comfort to our travel?

Cel.He’ll go along o’er the wide world with me;

Leave me alone to woo him. Let’s away,

And get our jewels and our wealth together,

Devise the fittest time and safest way

To hide us from pursuit that will be made

After my flight. Now go we in content

To liberty and not to banishment.[Exeunt.