Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: David Bevington
Peer Reviewed

As You Like It (Modern)


[2.1]
605
Enter Duke Senior, Amiens, and two or three Lords, like foresters.
Duke Senior Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
610More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference, as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body
615Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say
"This is no flattery; these are counselors
That feelingly persuade me what I am."
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
620Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
Amiens I would not change it. Happy is Your Grace,
625That can translate the stubbornness of fortune
Into so quiet and so sweet a style.
Duke Senior Come, shall we go and kill us venison?
And yet it irks me the poor dappled fools,
Being native burghers of this desert city,
630Should in their own confines with forkèd heads
Have their round haunches gored.
First Lord
Indeed, my lord,
The melancholy Jaques grieves at that,
And in that kind swears you do more usurp
635Than doth your brother that hath banished you.
Today my Lord of Amiens and myself
Did steal behind him as he lay along
Under an oak whose antique root peeps out
Upon the brook that brawls along this wood,
640To the which place a poor sequestered stag
That from the hunter's aim had ta'en a hurt
Did come to languish. And indeed, my lord,
The wretched animal heaved forth such groans
That their discharge did stretch his leathern coat
645Almost to bursting, and the big round tears
Coursed one another down his innocent nose
In piteous chase. And thus the hairy fool,
Much markèd of the melancholy Jaques,
Stood on th'extremest verge of the swift brook,
650Augmenting it with tears.
Duke Senior
But what said Jaques?
Did he not moralize this spectacle?
First Lord Oh, yes, into a thousand similes.
First, for his weeping into the needless stream:
655"Poor deer," quoth he, "thou mak'st a testament
As worldlings do, giving thy sum of more
To that which had too much." Then, being there alone,
Left and abandoned of his velvet friends:
"'Tis right," quoth he, "thus misery doth part
660The flux of company." Anon, a careless herd,
Full of the pasture, jumps along by him
And never stays to greet him. "Ay," quoth Jaques,
"Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens;
'Tis just the fashion. Wherefore do you look
665Upon that poor and broken bankrupt there?"
Thus most invectively he pierceth through
The body of the country, city, court,
Yea, and of this our life, swearing that we
Are mere usurpers, tyrants, and what's worse,
670To fright the animals and to kill them up
In their assigned and native dwelling place.
Duke Senior And did you leave him in this contemplation?
Second Lord We did, my lord, weeping and commenting
Upon the sobbing deer.
675Duke Senior
Show me the place.
I love to cope him in these sullen fits,
For then he's full of matter.
First Lord I'll bring you to him straight.
Exeunt.