Internet Shakespeare Editions


Country life: a chill wind?

An illustration from Spenser's The Shepherd's Calendar.

If life in the Court is presented as far from the ideal, As You Like It also suggests that life in the country can be less than comfortable. The play begins in winter, with a chill wind blowing--biting, if not so sharp as human ingratitude*.

And what turns out to be Rosalind and Celia's good fortune is Corin's misfortune: he does not own the sheep he shears, and his master is "of churlish disposition" (2.4.78), bent on selling the property and the sheep. The poverty that Corin speaks of would have been uncomfortably familiar to many in Shakespeare's audience.


  1. Ingratitude

    Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
    Thou art not so unkind
    As Man's ingratitude.

    The songs in the play were probably the first occasion that the new, sophisticated clown, Robert Armin, appeared with Shakespeare's company.