As You Like It: Act 3, Scene 5

Silvius and Phebe

5. Falls: lets fall.
6. But first begs: without first asking.
           Enter SILVIUS and PHEBE.

  1   Sweet Phebe, do not scorn me; do not, Phebe;
  2   Say that you love me not, but say not so
  3   In bitterness. The common executioner,
  4   Whose heart the accustom'd sight of death makes hard,
  5   Falls not the axe upon the humbled neck
  6   But first begs pardon: will you sterner be
  7   Than he that dies and lives by bloody drops?

           Enter ROSALIND, CELIA, and CORIN, behind.

  8   I would not be thy executioner:
9. for: because.
  9   I fly thee, for I would not injure thee.
 10   Thou tell'st me there is murder in mine eye:
11. 'Tis pretty, sure: i.e., it's really very clever. —Phebe is being sarcastic.
 11   'Tis pretty, sure, and very probable,
 12   That eyes, that are the frail'st and softest things,
13.  Who shut their coward gates on atomies: i.e., which shut to protect themselves from the smallest speck of dust.
 13   Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
 14   Should be call'd tyrants, butchers, murderers!
 15   Now I do frown on thee with all my heart;
 16   And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee:
17. counterfeit to swound: pretend to swoon.
 17   Now counterfeit to swoon; why now fall down;
 18   Or if thou canst not, O, for shame, for shame,
 19   Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers!
 20   Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee:
 21   Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
 22   Some scar of it; lean but upon a rush,
23. cicatrice: faint scar.  capable impressure: perceptible impression.
 23   The cicatrice and capable impressure
 24   Thy palm some moment keeps; but now mine eyes,
 25   Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,
 26   Nor, I am sure, there is no force in eyes
 27   That can do hurt.

 27                                 O dear Phebe,
28-29. If ever,—as that ever may be near,— / You meet in some fresh cheek the power of fancy: if you ever—and it may be soon—see someone young and beautiful who will make you fall in love.
 28   If ever,—as that ever may be near,—
 29   You meet in some fresh cheek the power of fancy,
 30   Then shall you know the wounds invisible
 31   That love's keen arrows make.

 31                                                           But till that time
 32   Come not thou near me: and when that time comes,
33. mocks: ridicule.
 33   Afflict me with thy mocks, pity me not;
 34   As till that time I shall not pity thee.

      ROSALIND  [Coming forward.]
 35   And why, I pray you? Who might be your mother,
36. all at once: all at the same time.
 36   That you insult, exult, and all at once,
 37   Over the wretched? What though you have no beauty,—
38-39. I see no more in you / Than without candle may go dark to bed: i.e., As far as I can see, if you don't carry a candle, you'll have to go to bed in the dark . . .
 38   As, by my faith, I see no more in you
 39   Than without candle may go dark to bed—
 40   Must you be therefore proud and pitiless?
 41   Why, what means this? Why do you look on me?
42. the ordinary: the common run.
 42   I see no more in you than in the ordinary
43. sale-work: run-of-the-mill products. 'Od's: God save. 44. tangle: ensnare.
 43   Of nature's sale-work. 'Od's my little life,
 44   I think she means to tangle my eyes too!
 45   No, faith, proud mistress, hope not after it:
 46   'Tis not your inky brows, your black silk hair,
47. bugle eyeballs: i.e., black beady eyes. —Bugles were black tubular beads . . .  48. entame: subdue.  your worship: worship of you.
 47   Your bugle eyeballs, nor your cheek of cream,
 48   That can entame my spirits to your worship.
 49   You foolish shepherd, wherefore do you follow her,
50. south: south wind (which in England brings fog and rain).  wind and rain: i.e., sighs and tears. 51. properer: handsomer.
 50   Like foggy south puffing with wind and rain?
 51   You are a thousand times a properer man
 52   Than she a woman: 'tis such fools as you
 53   That makes the world full of ill-favour'd children:
54. glass: mirror.
 54   'Tis not her glass, but you, that flatters her;
55. out of you: i.e., with you as her mirror.  more proper: better looking.
 55   And out of you she sees herself more proper
 56   Than any of her lineaments can show her.
 57   But, mistress, know yourself: down on your knees,
 58   And thank heaven, fasting, for a good man's love:
59. friendly: as a friend.
 59   For I must tell you friendly in your ear,
 60   Sell when you can: you are not for all markets:
61. Cry the man mercy: beg the man's pardon.
 61   Cry the man mercy; love him; take his offer:
62. Foul is most foul, being foul to be a scoffer: i.e., ugliness is the most ugly when added to it is the ugliness of the scorner.
 62   Foul is most foul, being foul to be a scoffer.
 63   So take her to thee, shepherd: fare you well.

64. together: without intermission.
 64   Sweet youth, I pray you, chide a year together:
 65   I had rather hear you chide than this man woo.

 66   [To Phebe.] He's fallen in love with your foulness,
 67   [To Silvius.] and she'll fall in love with my anger.
 68   If it be so, as fast as she answers thee with frowning
69. sauce: rebuke sharply.
 69   looks, I'll sauce her with bitter words. [To Phebe.] Why
 70   look you so upon me?

 71   For no ill will I bear you.

 72   I pray you, do not fall in love with me,
73. vows made in wine: promises made by a drunk.
 73   For I am falser than vows made in wine:
 74   Besides, I like you not. If you will know my house,
 75   'Tis at the tuft of olives here hard by.
 76   Will you go, sister? Shepherd, ply her hard.
 77   Come, sister. Shepherdess, look on him better,
78-79. though all the world could see, / None could be so abused in sight as he: i.e., even if the whole world were looking at you, only Silvius would be so deluded as to think you are worth looking at.
 78   And be not proud: though all the world could see,
 79   None could be so abused in sight as he.
 80   Come, to our flock.

           Exeunt ROSALIND, CELIA and CORIN.

81. Dead shepherd: i.e., Christopher Marlowe.  now I find thy saw of might: now I understand the full force of your saying. 82. 'Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?': —This line is quoted from Marlowe's Hero and Leander, a well-known narrative poem about Leander, who swims the Hellespont to visit his beloved Hero.
 81   Dead Shepherd, now I find thy saw of might,
 82   'Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?'

 83   Sweet Phebe,—

 83                             Ha, what say'st thou, Silvius?

 84   Sweet Phebe, pity me.

 85   Why, I am sorry for thee, gentle Silvius.

86. Wherever sorrow is, relief would be: i.e., wherever sorrow is felt, a desire to give relief should follow. —In other words, "If you were really sorry, you'd do something about it." 89. Were both extermined: would both be banished.
 86   Wherever sorrow is, relief would be:
 87   If you do sorrow at my grief in love,
 88   By giving love your sorrow and my grief
 89   Were both extermined.

90. Thou hast my love: is not that neighbourly?: —Phebe is talking about the kind of love Christ meant when he said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Mark 12:31, KJV). Of course, that's not at all the kind of love Silvius wants from Phebe.
 90   Thou hast my love: is not that neighbourly?

 91   I would have you.

91. covetousness:Apparently Phebe's little joke is that she already belongs to the "neighbour" of Silvius (i.e., the beautiful young man who Rosalind pretends to be) . . .  93. yet it is not that: the time has not yet come when.
 91                                   Why, that were covetousness.
 92   Silvius, the time was that I hated thee,
 93   And yet it is not that I bear thee love;
 94   But since that thou canst talk of love so well,
95. which erst was irksome to me: which before was extremely annoying to me. 96. employ thee: i.e., allow you to do me a favor. 97. recompense: payment, reward.
 95   Thy company, which erst was irksome to me,
 96   I will endure, and I'll employ thee too:
 97   But do not look for further recompense
 98   Than thine own gladness that thou art employ'd.

 99   So holy and so perfect is my love,
100. I in such a poverty of grace: i.e., I am so worthless in your eyes.
100   And I in such a poverty of grace,
101   That I shall think it a most plenteous crop
102. glean the broken ears: pick up the left-over, loose grains [of wheat, barley, rye, etc.]. 103-104. loose now and then / A scatter'd smile: let fly, now and then, a random smile.
102   To glean the broken ears after the man
103   That the main harvest reaps: loose now and then
104   A scatter'd smile, and that I'll live upon.

105. erewhile: just now.
105   Know'st now the youth that spoke to me erewhile?

106   Not very well, but I have met him oft;
107. bounds: surrounding pastures.
107   And he hath bought the cottage and the bounds
108. carlot: peasant.
108   That the old carlot once was master of.

109   Think not I love him, though I ask for him:
110   'Tis but a peevish boy; yet he talks well;
111   But what care I for words? yet words do well
112   When he that speaks them pleases those that hear.
113   It is a pretty youth: not very pretty:
114   But, sure, he's proud, and yet his pride becomes him:
115   He'll make a proper man: the best thing in him
116   Is his complexion; and faster than his tongue
117   Did make offence his eye did heal it up.
118   He is not very tall; yet for his years he's tall:
119   His leg is but so so; and yet 'tis well:
120   There was a pretty redness in his lip,
121   A little riper and more lusty red
122   Than that mix'd in his cheek; 'twas just the difference
123. constant: uniform. mingled damask: mixture of red and white. 124-125. had they mark'd him / In parcels: i.e., had they noticed every little detail about him.
123   Between the constant red and mingled damask.
124   There be some women, Silvius, had they mark'd him
125   In parcels as I did, would have gone near
126   To fall in love with him; but, for my part,
127   I love him not nor hate him not; and yet
128   I have more cause to hate him than to love him:
129. what had he to do: what business had he.
129   For what had he to do to chide at me?
130. He said mine eyes were black and my hair black:In Shakespeare's time, the conventional idea . . .   131. am remember'd: recall.
130   He said mine eyes were black and my hair black:
131   And, now I am remember'd, scorn'd at me:
132   I marvel why I answer'd not again:
133. that's all one: that doesn't make any difference.  omittance is no quittance: i.e., just because I haven't done it [returned his scorn] doesn't mean 135. And thou shalt bear it: you will deliver it.
133   But that's all one; omittance is no quittance.
134   I'll write to him a very taunting letter,
135   And thou shalt bear it: wilt thou, Silvius?

136   Phebe, with all my heart.

136. straight: immediately.
136                                                 I'll write it straight;
137   The matter's in my head and in my heart:
138. passing short: exceedingly curt.
138   I will be bitter with him and passing short.
139   Go with me, Silvius.