Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: As You Like It (Modern)
  • Editor: David Bevington
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-369-4

    Copyright David Bevington. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: David Bevington
    Peer Reviewed

    As You Like It (Modern)

    Enter Duke Senior, [Amiens], and Lords, like outlaws
    Duke Senior
    I think he be transformed into a beast,
    For I can nowhere find him like a man.
    My lord, he is but even now gone hence.
    Here was he merry, hearing of a song.
    Duke Senior
    If he, compact of jars, grow musical,
    We shall have shortly discord in the spheres.
    Go seek him. Tell him I would speak with him.
    980Enter Jaques.
    He saves my labor by his own approach.
    Duke Senior
    Why, how now, monsieur, what a life is this,
    That your poor friends must woo your company?
    What, you look merrily.
    A fool, a fool! I met a fool i'th'forest,
    A motley fool. A miserable world!
    As I do live by food, I met a fool,
    Who laid him down and basked him in the sun,
    And railed on Lady Fortune in good terms,
    990In good set terms, and yet a motley fool.
    "Good morrow, fool," quoth I; "No, sir," quoth he,
    "Call me not fool till heaven hath sent me fortune."
    And then he drew a dial from his poke,
    And, looking on it with lack-luster eye,
    995Says very wisely, "It is ten o'clock.
    Thus we may see," quoth he, "how the world wags:
    'Tis but an hour ago since it was nine,
    And after one hour more 'twill be eleven;
    And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe,
    1000And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot,
    And thereby hangs a tale." When I did hear
    The motley fool thus moral on the time,
    My lungs began to crow like Chanticleer
    That fools should be so deep-contemplative,
    1005And I did laugh sans intermission
    An hour by his dial. Oh, noble fool!
    A worthy fool! Motley's the only wear.
    Duke Senior
    What fool is this?
    Oh, worthy fool! One that hath been a courtier,
    1010And says, if ladies be but young and fair,
    They have the gift to know it. And in his brain,
    Which is as dry as the remainder biscuit
    After a voyage, he hath strange places crammed
    With observation, the which he vents
    1015In mangled forms. Oh, that I were a fool!
    I am ambitious for a motley coat.
    Duke Senior
    Thou shalt have one.
    It is my only suit,
    Provided that you weed your better judgments
    1020Of all opinion that grows rank in them
    That I am wise. I must have liberty
    Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
    To blow on whom I please, for so fools have.
    And they that are most gallèd with my folly,
    1025They most must laugh. And why, sir, must they so?
    The "why" is plain as way to parish church:
    He that a fool doth very wisely hit
    Doth very foolishly, although he smart,
    Not to seem senseless of the bob; if not,
    1030The wise man's folly is anatomized
    Even by the squand'ring glances of the fool.
    Invest me in my motley; give me leave
    To speak my mind, and I will through and through
    Cleanse the foul body of th'infected world,
    1035If they will patiently receive my medicine.
    Duke Senior
    Fie on thee! I can tell what thou wouldst do.
    What, for a counter, would I do but good?
    Duke Senior
    Most mischievous foul sin, in chiding sin.
    For thou thyself hast been a libertine,
    1040As sensual as the brutish sting itself;
    And all th'embossèd sores and headed evils
    That thou with license of free foot hast caught
    Wouldst thou disgorge into the general world.
    Why, who cries out on pride
    1045That can therein tax any private party?
    Doth it not flow as hugely as the sea,
    Till that the weary very means do ebb?
    What woman in the city do I name
    When that I say the city woman bears
    1050The cost of princes on unworthy shoulders?
    Who can come in and say that I mean her,
    When such a one as she, such is her neighbor?
    Or what is he of basest function
    That says his bravery is not on my cost,
    1055Thinking that I mean him, but therein suits
    His folly to the mettle of my speech?
    There then, how then? What then? Let me see wherein
    My tongue hath wronged him: if it do him right,
    Then he hath wronged himself; if he be free,
    1060Why then my taxing like a wild goose flies,
    Unclaimed of any man. But who come here?
    Enter Orlando [with his sword drawn].
    Forbear, and eat no more!
    Why, I have eat none yet.
    Nor shalt not, till necessity be served.
    Of what kind should this cock come of?
    Duke Senior
    [To Orlando]
    Art thou thus boldened, man, by thy distress?
    Or else a rude despiser of good manners,
    That in civility thou seem'st so empty?
    You touched my vein at first. The thorny point
    Of bare distress hath ta'en from me the show
    Of smooth civility; yet am I inland bred,
    And know some nurture. But forbear, I say.
    He dies that touches any of this fruit
    1075Till I and my affairs are answerèd.
    An you will not be answered with reason, I must die.
    Duke Senior
    What would you have? Your gentleness shall force
    More than your force 1080move us to gentleness.
    I almost die for food, and let me have it!
    Duke Senior
    Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table.
    Speak you so gently? Pardon me, I pray you.
    I thought that all things had been savage here,
    1085And therefore put I on the countenance
    Of stern commandment. But whate'er you are
    That in this desert inaccessible,
    Under the shade of melancholy boughs,
    Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time;
    1090If ever you have looked on better days,
    If ever been where bells have knolled to church,
    If ever sat at any good man's feast,
    If ever from your eyelids wiped a tear,
    And know what 'tis to pity and be pitied,
    1095Let gentleness my strong enforcement be;
    In the which hope I blush, and hide my sword.
    [He sheathes his sword.]
    Duke Senior
    True is it that we have seen better days,
    And have with holy bell been knolled to church,
    And sat at good men's feasts, and wiped our eyes
    1100Of drops that sacred pity hath engendered;
    And therefore sit you down in gentleness,
    And take upon command what help we have
    That to your wanting may be ministered.
    Then but forbear your food a little while,
    1105Whiles, like a doe, I go to find my fawn,
    And give it food. There is an old poor man
    Who after me hath many a weary step
    Limped in pure love. Till he be first sufficed,
    Oppressed with two weak evils, age and hunger,
    1110I will not touch a bit.
    Duke Senior
    Go find him out,
    And we will nothing waste till you return.
    I thank ye; and be blest for your good comfort!
    Duke Senior
    Thou see'st we are not all alone unhappy:
    1115This wide and universal theater
    Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
    Wherein we play in.
    All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players.
    1120They have their exits and their entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
    Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
    Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
    1125And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
    Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
    Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
    Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
    1130Jealous in honor, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
    Seeking the bubble reputation
    Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
    In fair round belly with good capon lined,
    With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
    1135Full of wise saws and modern instances;
    And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
    Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
    With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
    His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
    1140For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
    Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
    And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange eventful history,
    Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
    1145Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
    Enter Orlando with Adam.
    Duke Senior
    Welcome. Set down your venerable burden,
    And let him feed.
    I thank you most for him.
    So had you need;
    I scarce can speak to thank you for myself.
    Duke Senior
    Welcome. Fall to. I will not trouble you
    As yet to question you about your fortunes. --
    Give us some music; and, good cousin, sing.
    Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
    Thou art not so unkind
    As man's ingratitude.
    Thy tooth is not so keen,
    Because thou art not seen,
    Although thy breath be rude.
    1160Heigh-ho! Sing heigh-ho! unto the green holly.
    Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.
    Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
    This life is most jolly.
    Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
    That dost not bite so nigh
    1165 As benefits forgot;
    Though thou the waters warp,
    Thy sting is not so sharp
    As friend remembered not.
    Heigh-ho! Sing heigh-ho! unto the green holly.
    Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.
    Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
    This life is most jolly.
    Duke Senior
    If that you were the good Sir Rowland's son,
    1170As you have whispered faithfully you were,
    And as mine eye doth his effigies witness
    Most truly limned and living in your face,
    Be truly welcome hither. I am the Duke
    That loved your father. The residue of your fortune,
    1175Go to my cave and tell me. [To Adam] Good old man,
    Thou art right welcome as thy master is. [To the others]
    Support him by the arm.[To Orlando] Give me your hand,
    And let me all your fortunes understand.