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 [Touchstone the] Clown, Audrey, and Jaques [behind].
    Come apace, good Audrey. I will fetch up your goats, Audrey. And how, Audrey, am I the man yet? Doth my simple feature content you?
    Your features! Lord warrant us, what features?
    I am here with thee and thy goats, as the most 1620capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths.
    Oh, knowledge ill-inhabited, worse than Jove in a thatched house!
    When a man's verses cannot be understood, nor a man's good wit seconded with the forward child, understanding, 1625it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room. Truly, I would the gods had made thee poetical.
    I do not know what "poetical" is. Is it honest in deed and word? Is it a true thing?
    No, truly; for the truest poetry is the most feigning, and lovers are given to poetry, and what they swear in poetry it may be said as lovers they do feign.
    Do you wish, then, that the gods had made me poetical?
    I do, truly; for thou swear'st to me thou art honest. Now, if thou wert a poet, I might have some hope thou didst feign.
    Would you not have me honest?
    No, truly, unless thou wert hard-favored; for 1640honesty coupled to beauty is to have honey a sauce to sugar.
    A material fool!
    Well, I am not fair, and therefore I pray the gods make me honest.
    Truly, and to cast away honesty upon a foul slut were to put good meat into an unclean dish.
    I am not a slut, though I thank the gods I am foul.
    Well, praised be the gods for thy foulness! Sluttishness 1650may come hereafter. But be it as it may be, I will marry thee; and to that end I have been with Sir Oliver Mar-text, the vicar of the next village, who hath promised to meet me in this place of the forest, and to couple us.
    I would fain see this meeting.
    Well, the gods give us joy!
    Amen. A man may, if he were of a fearful heart, stagger in this attempt; for here we have no temple but the wood, no assembly but horn-beasts. But 1660what though? Courage! As horns are odious, they are necessary. It is said, "Many a man knows no end of his goods." Right! Many a man has good horns and knows no end of them. Well, that is the dowry of his wife; 'tis none of his own getting. Horns? Even so. Poor men alone? 1665No, no, the noblest deer hath them as huge as the rascal. Is the single man therefore blessed? No. As a walled town is more worthier than a village, so is the forehead of a married man more honorable than the bare brow of a bachelor; and by how much defense is better 1670than no skill, by so much is a horn more precious than to want.
    Enter Sir Oliver Mar-text.
    Here comes Sir Oliver. -- Sir Oliver Mar-text, you are well met. Will you dispatch us here under this tree, or 1675shall we go with you to your chapel?
    Sir Oliver Mar-text
    Is there none here to give the woman?
    I will not take her on gift of any man.
    Sir Oliver Mar-text
    Truly, she must be given, or the marriage is not lawful.
    [Coming forward]
    Proceed, proceed. I'll give her.
    Good even, good Master What-ye-call't. How do you, sir? You are very well met. God 'ild you for your last company. I am very glad to see you. Even a toy in hand here, sir. -- Nay, pray be covered.
    Will you be married, motley?
    As the ox hath his bow, sir, the horse his curb, and the falcon her bells, so man hath his desires; and as pigeons bill, so wedlock would be nibbling.
    And will you, being a man of your breeding, be 1690married under a bush like a beggar? Get you to church, and have a good priest that can tell you what marriage is. This fellow will but join you together as they join wainscot; then one of you will prove a shrunk panel, and, like green timber warp, warp.
    I am not in the mind but I were better to be married of him than of another; for he is not like to marry me well; and not being well married, it will be a good excuse for me hereafter to leave my wife.
    Go thou with me, 1700and let me counsel thee.
    Come, sweet Audrey.
    We must be married or we must live in bawdry. --
    Farewell, good Master Oliver. Not
    "O sweet Oliver,
    O brave Oliver,
    Leave me not behind thee,"
    "Wind away,
    Begone, 1705I say,
    I will not to wedding with thee."
    [Exeunt Jaques, Touchstone, and Audrey.]
    Sir Oliver Mar-text
    'Tis no matter. Ne'er a fantastical knave of them all shall flout me out of my calling.