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)

    1770Enter Silvius and Phoebe.
    Sweet Phoebe, do not scorn me, do not, Phoebe!
    Say that you love me not, but say not so
    In bitterness. The common executioner,
    Whose heart th'accustomed sight of death makes hard,
    1775Falls not the ax upon the humbled neck
    But first begs pardon. Will you sterner be
    Than he that dies and lives by bloody drops?
    Enter Rosalind, Celia, and Corin, [at a distance].
    I would not be thy executioner;
    1780I fly thee, for I would not injure thee.
    Thou tell'st me there is murder in mine eye.
    'Tis pretty, sure, and very probable,
    That eyes, that are the frail'st and softest things,
    Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
    1785Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers!
    Now I do frown on thee with all my heart,
    And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.
    Now counterfeit to swoon; why, now fall down,
    Or, if thou canst not, oh, for shame, for shame,
    1790Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers!
    Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.
    Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
    Some scar of it; lean upon a rush,
    The cicatrice and capable impressure
    1795Thy palm some moment keeps; but now mine eyes,
    Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not.
    Nor, I am sure, there is no force in eyes
    That can do hurt.
    O dear Phoebe,
    1800If ever -- as that "ever" may be near --
    You meet in some fresh cheek the power of fancy,
    Then shall you know the wounds invisible
    That love's keen arrows make.
    But till that time
    1805Come not thou near me; and when that time comes,
    Afflict me with thy mocks; pity me not,
    As till that time I shall not pity thee.
    And why, I pray you? Who might be your mother,
    That you insult, exult, and all at once,
    1810Over the wretched? What though you have no beauty --
    As, by my faith, I see no more in you
    Than without candle may go dark to bed --
    Must you be therefore proud and pitiless?
    [Phoebe gazes intently at Rosalind.]
    Why, what means this? Why do you look on me?
    1815I see no more in you than in the ordinary
    Of nature's sale-work. -- 'Od's my little life,
    I think she means to tangle my eyes too! --
    No faith, proud mistress, hope not after it.
    'Tis not your inky brows, your black silk hair,
    1820Your bugle eyeballs, nor your cheek of cream
    That can entame my spirits to your worship.
    [To Silvius]
    You foolish shepherd, wherefore do you follow her,
    Like foggy south, puffing with wind and rain?
    You are a thousand times a properer man
    1825Than she a woman. 'Tis such fools as you
    That makes the world full of ill-favored children.
    'Tis not her glass, but you, that flatters her,
    And out of you she sees herself more proper
    Than any of her lineaments can show her.
    [To Phoebe]
    1830But, mistress, know yourself. Down on your knees,
    And thank heaven, fasting, for a good man's love!
    For I must tell you friendly in your ear:
    Sell when you can; you are not for all markets.
    Cry the man mercy, love him, take his offer;
    1835Foul is most foul, being foul to be a scoffer.
    [To Silvius]
    So take her to thee, shepherd. Fare you well.
    Sweet youth, I pray you chide a year together.
    I had rather hear you chide than this man woo.
    [To Phoebe]
    He's fallen in love with your foulness, [To Silvius]and she'll 1840fall in love with my anger. If it be so, as fast as she answers thee with frowning looks, I'll sauce her with bitter words. [To Phoebe]Why look you so upon me?
    For no ill will I bear you.
    I pray you, do not fall in love with me,
    1845For I am falser than vows made in wine.
    Besides, I like you not. [To Silvius] If you will know my house,
    'Tis at the tuft of olives here hard by. --
    Will you go, sister? -- Shepherd, ply her hard. --
    Come, sister. -- Shepherdess, look on him better,
    1850And be not proud. Though all the world could see,
    None could be so abused in sight as he. --
    Come, to our flock.
    Exit [with Celia and Corin].
    Dead shepherd, now I find thy saw of might:
    "Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?"
    Sweet Phoebe --
    Ha! What say'st thou, Silvius?
    Sweet Phoebe, pity me.
    Why, I am sorry for thee, gentle Silvius.
    Wherever sorrow is, relief would be.
    1860If you do sorrow at my grief in love,
    By giving love, your sorrow and my grief
    Were both extermined.
    Thou hast my love. Is not that neighborly?
    I would have you.
    Why, that were covetousness.
    Silvius, the time was that I hated thee,
    And yet it is not that I bear thee love;
    But since that thou canst talk of love so well,
    Thy company, which erst was irksome to me,
    1870I will endure; and I'll employ thee too.
    But do not look for further recompense
    Than thine own gladness that thou art employed.
    So holy and so perfect is my love,
    And I in such a poverty of grace,
    1875That I shall think it a most plenteous crop
    To glean the broken ears after the man
    That the main harvest reaps. Loose now and then
    A scattered smile, and that I'll live upon.
    Know'st thou the youth that spoke to me erewhile?
    Not very well, but I have met him oft,
    And he hath bought the cottage and the bounds
    That the old carlot once was master of.
    Think not I love him, though I ask for him.
    'Tis but a peevish boy; yet he talks well.
    1885But what care I for words? Yet words do well
    When he that speaks them pleases those that hear.
    It is a pretty youth -- not very pretty;
    But, sure, he's proud; and yet his pride becomes him.
    He'll make a proper man. The best thing in him
    1890Is his complexion; and faster than his tongue
    Did make offense, his eye did heal it up.
    He is not very tall; yet for his years he's tall;
    His leg is but so-so; and yet 'tis well.
    There was a pretty redness in his lip,
    1895A little riper and more lusty red
    Than that mixed in his cheek; 'twas just the difference
    Betwixt the constant red and mingled damask.
    There be some women, Silvius, had they marked him
    In parcels as I did, would have gone near
    1900To fall in love with him; but, for my part,
    I love him not, nor hate him not; and yet
    I have more cause to hate him than to love him.
    For what had he to do to chide at me?
    He said mine eyes were black, and my hair black,
    1905And, now I am remembered, scorned at me.
    I marvel why I answered not again.
    But that's all one; omittance is no quittance.
    I'll write to him a very taunting letter,
    And thou shalt bear it. Wilt thou, Silvius?
    Phoebe, with all my heart.
    I'll write it straight;
    The matter's in my head and in my heart.
    I will be bitter with him and passing short.
    Go with me, Silvius.