As You Like It: Act 2, Scene 7

           [A picnic laid out.] Enter DUKE SENIOR,
           AMIENS, and Lords like outlaws.

  1   I think he be transform'd into a beast;
2. like: in the form of.
  2   For I can no where find him like a man.

      First Lord
  3   My lord, he is but even now gone hence:
  4   Here was he merry, hearing of a song.

5. compact of jars: composed entirely of discords.
  5   If he, compact of jars, grow musical,
6. We shall have shortly discord in the spheres: i.e., pretty soon the whole universe will fly apart. —In the Geocentric model of the universe . . .
  6   We shall have shortly discord in the spheres.
  7   Go, seek him: tell him I would speak with him.

           Enter JAQUES.

      First Lord
  8   He saves my labour by his own approach.

  9   Why, how now, monsieur! what a life is this,
 10   That your poor friends must woo your company?
 11   What, you look merrily!

 12   A fool, a fool! I met a fool i' the forest,
13. A motley fool: i.e., a perfect fool, one wearing motley, the traditional . . .  a miserable world!: A fool's natural habitat is a nobleman's court . . .
17. In good set terms: i.e., intelligently, in a logical manner.
19. 'Call . . . fortune': —An allusion to the proverb "Fortune favors fools." 20. he drew a dial from his poke: he withdrew a portable sundial from his pocket-pouch. 23. how the world wags: i.e., how the world turns.
 13   A motley fool; a miserable world!
 14   As I do live by food, I met a fool
 15   Who laid him down and bask'd him in the sun,
 16   And rail'd on Lady Fortune in good terms,
 17   In good set terms and yet a motley fool.
 18   'Good morrow, fool,' quoth I. 'No, sir,' quoth he,
 19   'Call me not fool till heaven hath sent me fortune:'
 20   And then he drew a dial from his poke,
 21   And, looking on it with lack-lustre eye,
 22   Says very wisely, 'It is ten o'clock:
 23   Thus we may see,' quoth he, 'how the world wags:
 24   'Tis but an hour ago since it was nine,
 25   And after one hour more 'twill be eleven;
 26   And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe,
 27   And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot;
 28   And thereby hangs a tale.' When I did hear
29. moral: moralize.
 29   The motley fool thus moral on the time,
30. crow: i.e., laugh loudly. chanticleer: a cock.
31. deep-contemplative: profoundly thoughtful.
32. sans: without.
 30   My lungs began to crow like chanticleer,
 31   That fools should be so deep-contemplative,
 32   And I did laugh sans intermission
 33   An hour by his dial. O noble fool!
34. wear: costume.
 34   A worthy fool! Motley's the only wear.

 35   What fool is this?

 36   O worthy fool! One that hath been a courtier,
 37   And says, if ladies be but young and fair,
 38   They have the gift to know it: and in his brain,
39. dry: —Dryness of the brain was supposedly connected with good memory.  remainder biscuit: leftover hardtack . . . 41. observation: i.e., reflections, opinions, insights, etc.  vents: utters.
 39   Which is as dry as the remainder biscuit
 40   After a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd
 41   With observation, the which he vents
 42   In mangled forms. O that I were a fool!
 43   I am ambitious for a motley coat.

 44   Thou shalt have one.

44. It is my only suit: (1) It's all I'm asking for. (2) It's the only suit of clothes I want to wear.
 44                                       It is my only suit;
 45   Provided that you weed your better judgments
46. grows rank: grows thick (like weeds).
 46   Of all opinion that grows rank in them
 47   That I am wise. I must have liberty
48. Withal: also.  charter: privilege, license.
 48   Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
 49   To blow on whom I please; for so fools have;
50. galled: rubbed on a sensitive spot.
 50   And they that are most galled with my folly,
 51   They most must laugh. And why, sir, must they so?
 52   The 'why' is plain as way to parish church:
53. He that a fool doth very wisely hit: he that is wittily and accurately attacked by a fool. 54. Doth: acts.  he smart: he feels sharp pain. 55. senseless of: insensible to.  bob: jibe, taunt. 56. The wise . . . anatomized: i.e., the supposedly wise man's foolishness is laid bare. 57. squand'ring glances: random light witty hits. 58. Invest me in my motley: i.e., grant me the official garb and status of a jester.
 53   He that a fool doth very wisely hit
 54   Doth very foolishly, although he smart,
 55   Not to seem senseless of the bob: if not,
 56   The wise man's folly is anatomized
 57   Even by the squand'ring glances of the fool.
 58   Invest me in my motley; give me leave
 59   To speak my mind, and I will through and through
 60   Cleanse the foul body of the infected world,
 61   If they will patiently receive my medicine.

 62   Fie on thee! I can tell what thou wouldst do.

63. What, for a counter, would I do but good?: i.e., I bet you can't name a single thing I might do that wouldn't be good. —A counter was a token . . .
 63   What, for a counter, would I do but good?

 64   Most mischievous foul sin, in chiding sin:
 65   For thou thyself hast been a libertine,
66. brutish sting: beastly lust.
 66   As sensual as the brutish sting itself;
67. embossed: swollen.  headed evils: sores that have festered to heads that are ready to burst open. 68. license . . . foot: i.e., the freedom to live the loose life of a libertine. 69. the general world: i.e., the people of the world in general.
 67   And all the embossed sores and headed evils,
 68   That thou with license of free foot hast caught,
 69   Wouldst thou disgorge into the general world.

70-71. who cries out on pride, / That can therein tax any private party?: i.e., who criticizes the vice of pride that can therefore be accused of attacking . . . 72-73. Doth it not flow as hugely as the sea, / Till that the weary very means do ebb: — "Isn't it true that pride surges along as strongly as the sea . . .  75. city-woman: —In Shakespeare's time (as now) city women are criticized for what is considered to be the extravagant cost of keeping up with fashion.
 70   Why, who cries out on pride,
 71   That can therein tax any private party?
 72   Doth it not flow as hugely as the sea,
 73   Till that the weary very means do ebb?
 74   What woman in the city do I name,
 75   When that I say the city-woman bears
 76   The cost of princes on unworthy shoulders?
 77   Who can come in and say that I mean her,
 78   When such a one as she such is her neighbour?
79. he of basest function: i.e., a low-down punk.
 79   Or what is he of basest function
80. bravery: splendid dress. on my cost: at my expense. 81. therein suits / His folly to the mettle of my speech: i.e., therein [by saying that his clothes didn't cost me anything] foolishly shows that my criticism of him is correct.
 80   That says his bravery is not of my cost,
 81   Thinking that I mean him, but therein suits
 82   His folly to the mettle of my speech?
 83   There then; how then? what then? Let me see wherein
84. if it do him right: i.e., if my criticism of him is correct. 85. be free: be free of blame; innocent.
86. taxing: criticism; satire.
 84   My tongue hath wrong'd him: if it do him right,
 85   Then he hath wrong'd himself; if he be free,
 86   Why then my taxing like a wild-goose flies,
 87   Unclaim'd of any man. But who comes here?

           Enter ORLANDO [with his sword drawn].

 88   Forbear, and eat no more.

 88                                             Why, I have eat none yet.

 89   Nor shalt not, till necessity be served.

 90   Of what kind should this cock come of?

 91   Art thou thus bolden'd, man, by thy distress,
 92   Or else a rude despiser of good manners,
 93   That in civility thou seem'st so empty?

94. You touch'd my vein at first: i.e., you hit upon the truth about me in the first thing you said.
 94   You touch'd my vein at first: the thorny point
 95   Of bare distress hath ta'en from me the show
96. smooth: mild.  inland bred: i.e., raised inland (where people are civilized), not in the rude hinterlands. 97. nurture: education, good training.
 96   Of smooth civility: yet am I inland bred
 97   And know some nurture. But forbear, I say:
 98   He dies that touches any of this fruit
99. Till I and my affairs are answered: i.e., until I have gotten what I came for. —Orlando's "affairs" are his efforts to obtain food and shelter for Adam and himself.
 99   Till I and my affairs are answered.

100. An: if.
100   An you will not be answered with reason,
101   I must die.

102-103. Your gentleness shall force / More than your force move us to gentleness: i.e., Your civilized qualities will do much more than your sword to obtain a civilized answer from us.
102   What would you have? Your gentleness shall force
103   More than your force move us to gentleness.

104   I almost die for food; and let me have it.

105. welcome to our table: —This scene sometimes starts with the Duke's men bringing in a table, but "welcome to our table" may just be a conventional phrase for "welcome to our company and our meal."
105   Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table.

106   Speak you so gently? Pardon me, I pray you:
107   I thought that all things had been savage here;
108   And therefore put I on the countenance
109   Of stern commandment. But whate'er you are
110. desert inaccessible: remote wilderness.
110   That in this desert inaccessible,
111   Under the shade of melancholy boughs,
112   Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time
113   If ever you have look'd on better days,
114. knoll'd: rung.
114   If ever been where bells have knoll'd to church,
115   If ever sat at any good man's feast,
116   If ever from your eyelids wiped a tear
117   And know what 'tis to pity and be pitied,
118. Let gentleness my strong enforcement be: i.e., let civilized feelings be my only 119. I blush: —Orlando is expressing shame that he thought these civilized people to be savages.  hide my sword: i.e., put my sword in its scabbard.
118   Let gentleness my strong enforcement be:
119   In the which hope I blush, and hide my sword.

120   True is it that we have seen better days,
121   And have with holy bell been knoll'd to church
122   And sat at good men's feasts and wiped our eyes
123   Of drops that sacred pity hath engender'd:
124   And therefore sit you down in gentleness
125-126. take upon command what help we have / That to your wanting may be minister'd: i.e., take at your will whatever we have that will give you help in your time of need.
125   And take upon command what help we have
126   That to your wanting may be minister'd.

127. but forbear your food a little: i.e., just wait to eat for a little while.
127   Then but forbear your food a little while,
128   Whiles, like a doe, I go to find my fawn
129   And give it food. There is an old poor man,
130   Who after me hath many a weary step
131. till he be first sufficed: until he be given what he needs. 132. weak: enfeebling.
131   Limp'd in pure love: till he be first sufficed,
132   Oppress'd with two weak evils, age and hunger,
133   I will not touch a bit.

133                                         Go find him out,
134. waste: consume.
134   And we will nothing waste till you return.

135   I thank ye; and be blest for your good comfort!

           [Exit Orlando.]

136. unhappy: unfortunate.
136   Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy:
137   This wide and universal theatre
138   Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
139   Wherein we play in.

139                                 All the world's a stage,
140   And all the men and women merely players:
141   They have their exits and their entrances;
142   And one man in his time plays many parts,
143   His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
144. Mewling: crying weakly.
144   Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
145   And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
146   And shining morning face, creeping like snail
147   Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
148. Sighing like furnace: i.e., emitting sighs as a furnace emits smoke.
148   Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
149   Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
150. bearded like the pard: —"Pard" was a name for any large cat . . . 151. Jealous in honor: jealously protective of his honor.  sudden: rash.
150   Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
151   Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
152   Seeking the bubble reputation
153   Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
154. fair . . . capon lined. —Capons are male chickens castrated when young to make them especially fat and tasty. Capons were also used to bribe judges. 156. Full of wise saws and modern instances: maxims, [trite] sayings. . .
154   In fair round belly with good capon lined,
155   With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
156   Full of wise saws and modern instances;
157   And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
158. pantaloon: foolish old man.
158   Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
159   With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
160   His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
161   For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
162   Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
163. his: its.
163   And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
164. strange eventful history: —Jaques is being extremely sarcastic. A genuine "strange eventful history" . . . 165. mere: utter.
164   That ends this strange eventful history,
165   Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
166   Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

           Enter ORLANDO, with ADAM.

167   Welcome. Set down your venerable burden,
168   And let him feed.

169   I thank you most for him.

169                                               So had you need:
170   I scarce can speak to thank you for myself.

171   Welcome; fall to: I will not trouble you
172. your fortunes: i.e., your story. —The Duke is wondering how a gentleman such as Orlando came to be wandering in the forest.
172   As yet, to question you about your fortunes.
173   Give us some music; and, good cousin, sing.


174             Blow, blow, thou winter wind.
175             Thou art not so unkind
176                 As man's ingratitude;
177             Thy tooth is not so keen,
178             Because thou art not seen,
179                 Although thy breath be rude.
180   Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
181   Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
182                 Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
183                     This life is most jolly.

184             Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
185             That dost not bite so nigh
186                 As benefits forgot:
187. warp: freeze, buckle.
187             Though thou the waters warp,
188             Thy sting is not so sharp
189                 As friend remember'd not.
190   Heigh-ho! sing, etc.

191   If that you were the good Sir Rowland's son,
192. faithfully: sincerely.
192   As you have whisper'd faithfully you were,
193. effigies: likenesses.
193   And as mine eye doth his effigies witness
194. limn'd: sketched, portrayed.
194   Most truly limn'd and living in your face,
195   Be truly welcome hither: I am the duke
196. the residue of your fortune: i.e., the rest of your story.
196   That loved your father: the residue of your fortune,
197   Go to my cave and tell me. Good old man,
198   Thou art right welcome as thy master is.
199   Support him by the arm. Give me your hand,
200   And let me all your fortunes understand.