As You Like It: Act 3, Scene 3

           Enter Clown [TOUCHSTONE], AUDREY;
           and JAQUES [behind].

  1   Come apace, good Audrey: I will
  2   fetch up your goats, Audrey. And
  3   how, Audrey? am I the man yet?
4. my simple feature: my plain appearance.
  4   doth my simple feature content you?

5. warrant: protect.  5-6. what / features?: —Audrey is a simple country girl with no education, so it is hard to tell just what alarms her about the word feature. She may think feature means "teacher," "pasture," or "creature."
  5   Your features! Lord warrant us! what
  6   features?

7-9. I am here . . . among the Goths:Touchstone here makes a multi-witticism . . .

10. ill-inhabited: i.e., inappropriately housed in lowly lodgings. 11. Jove in a thatched house:Ovid, in his Metamorphoses, tells how Jupiter and Mercury . . .
  7   I am here with thee and thy goats,
  8   as the most capricious poet, honest
  9   Ovid, was among the Goths.

      JAQUES   [Aside.]
 10   O knowledge ill-inhabited, worse
 11   than Jove in a thatched house!

 12   When a man's verses cannot be understood,
13. seconded: aided.  forward: Well-advanced for one's years, precocious.
 13   nor a man's good wit seconded with the forward
 14   child Understanding, it strikes a man more
15. great reckoning in a little room: i.e., high bill in a lowly tavern.
 15   dead than a great reckoning in a little room.
 16   Truly, I would the gods had made thee poetical.

17. honest: honorable, true.
 17   I do not know what 'poetical' is: is it honest in
 18   deed and word? is it a true thing?

 19   No, truly; for the truest poetry is the most
20. feigning: 1) imaginative or inventive 2) pretending or lying.
 20   feigning; and lovers are given to poetry,
 21   and what they swear in poetry may be said
 22   as lovers they do feign.

 23   Do you wish then that the gods had made
 24   me poetical?

 25   I do, truly; for thou swearest to me thou art
26. honest: chaste.
 26   honest: now, if thou wert a poet, I might
 27   have some hope thou didst feign.

 28   Would you not have me honest?

29. wert hard-favoured: were ugly.
 29   No, truly, unless thou wert hard-favoured;
 30   for honesty coupled to beauty is to have
 31   honey a sauce to sugar.

      JAQUES  [Aside.]
32. material: full of "matter," good sense.
 32   A material fool!

33. fair: beautiful.
 33   Well, I am not fair; and therefore I pray
 34   the gods make me honest.

 35   Truly, and to cast away honesty upon
36. foul: ugly.
 36   a foul slut were to put good meat into
 37   an unclean dish.

 38   I am not a slut, though I thank the gods
 39   I am foul.

 40   Well, praised be the gods for thy foulness!
 41   sluttishness may come hereafter. But be it as
 42   it may be, I will marry thee, and to that end
43. Sir: courtesy title for a priest.  Martext: —His last name suggests that Sir Oliver is ignorant of the holy texts that he is supposed to teach and preach.
 43   I have been with Sir Oliver Martext, the vicar
 44   of the next village, who hath promised to meet
 45   me in this place of the forest and to couple us.

      JAQUES  [Aside.]
 46   I would fain see this meeting.

 47   Well, the gods give us joy!

 48   Amen. A man may, if he were of a fearful heart,
49. stagger: hesitate, waver.  attempt: undertaking.
50-51. But what / though?: But what of that?
51. horns are odious:Horns are odious because they grow on the foreheads of cuckolds . . .  52. necessary: inevitable. 52-53. many a man knows no end of / his goods: i.e., many a man thinks his wealth is inexhaustible. 54. dowry: the wealth that a wife brings into a marriage. 55. getting: earning; begetting.
 49   stagger in this attempt; for here we have no temple
 50   but the wood, no assembly but horn-beasts. But what
 51   though? Courage! As horns are odious, they are
 52   necessary. It is said, 'many a man knows no end of
 53   his goods:' right; many a man has good horns, and
 54   knows no end of them. Well, that is the dowry of
 55   his wife; 'tis none of his own getting. Horns?
 56   Even so. Poor men alone? No, no; the noblest deer
57. rascal: lean, worthless deer.
 57   hath them as huge as the rascal. Is the single man
 58   therefore blessed? No: as a walled town is more
 59   worthier than a village, so is the forehead of a
 60   married man more honourable than the bare brow
61-63. by how much defence is better / than no skill, by so much is a horn more precious / than to want: i.e., as it is better to be on guard against losing what you have than to be indifferent, so it is better to have a cuckold's horn than . . .

65. dispatch us: finish off our business, i.e., marry us.
 61   of a bachelor; and by how much defence is better
 62   than no skill, by so much is a horn more precious
 63   than to want. Here comes Sir Oliver.

           Enter SIR OLIVER MARTEXT.

 64   Sir Oliver Martext, you are well met: will you
 65   dispatch us here under this tree, or shall we go
 66   with you to your chapel?

 67   Is there none here to give the woman?

 68   I will not take her on gift of any man.

 69   Truly, she must be given, or the marriage
 70   is not lawful.

      JAQUES  [Coming Forward.]
 71   Proceed, proceed I'll give her.

 72   Good even, good Master What-ye-call't:
73. You are very well met: i.e., it's good that you are here. 74. God 'ild you for your last company: God reward you for the last time you kept company with me . . .   75-76. even a toy / in hand here: it's just a trifling matter that is underway here.  nay, pray be covered: i.e., no, [you don't need to take off your hat to me], please put your hat on. —Of course, Jaques hasn't doffed his hat, and wouldn't doff his hat to anyone; Touchstone is slyly making fun of Jaques' pomposity.
 73   how do you, sir? You are very well met:
 74    God 'ild you for your last company:
 75   I am very glad to see you: even a toy
 76   in hand here, sir: nay, pray be covered.

 77   Will you be married, motley?

78-80. bow: yoke.  curb: the strap attached to a horse's bridle under the jaw.  —The oxen's bow, the horse's curb, and the falcon's bells are all used to control the animal, so Touchstone seems to be saying that we are controlled by our desires.
 78   As the ox hath his bow, sir, the horse
 79   his curb and the falcon her bells, so
 80   man hath his desires; and as pigeons
 81   bill, so wedlock would be nibbling.

 82   And will you, being a man of your
 83   breeding, be married under a bush like
 84   a beggar? Get you to church, and have
85-86. can tell you what marriage is: can instruct you in the responsibilities of marriage.
 85   a good priest that can tell you what
 86   marriage is: this fellow will but join
 87   you together as they join wainscot;
 88   then one of you will prove a shrunk
 89   panel and, like green timber, warp, warp.

      TOUCHSTONE  [Aside.]
90. I am not in the mind but I were better: i.e., I think it might be better for me.
 90   I am not in the mind but I were better to
 91   be married of him than of another: for he
 92   is not like to marry me well; and not being
 93   well married, it will be a good excuse for
 94   me hereafter to leave my wife.

 95   Go thou with me, and let me counsel thee.

 96   Come, sweet Audrey:
97. married: i.e., properly married in church, by a qualified priest.  live in bawdry: i.e., live in a state of fornication.
 97   We must be married, or we must live in bawdry.
 98   Farewell, good Master Oliver: not,—
99. 'O sweet Oliver . . . :. —Scholars agree that at least some of these lines are from a ballad current in Shakespeare's time.
 99               'O sweet Oliver,
100               O brave Oliver,
101           Leave me not behind thee;'
102   but,—
103. Wind: wander, go.
103               'Wind away,
104               Begone, I say,
105           I will not to wedding with thee.'

           [Exeunt JAQUES, TOUCHSTONE
           and AUDREY.]

106. fantastical: full of ridiculous notions.
106   'Tis no matter: ne'er a fantastical knave of
107   them all shall flout me out of my calling.