As You Like It: Act 4, Scene 3
Enter ROSALIND and CELIA.
1How say you now? Is it not past two o'clock? And
2here much Orlando!
3I warrant you, with pure love and troubled brain,
4he hath ta'en his bow and arrows and is gone forth
5to sleep. Look who comes here.
6My errand is to you, fair youth;
7My gentle Phebe bid me give you this:
8I know not the contents; but, as I guess
9By the stern brow and waspish action
10Which she did use as she was writing of it,
11It bears an angry tenor: pardon me:
12I am but as a guiltless messenger.
13Patience herself would startle at this letter
14And play the swaggerer; bear this, bear all:
15She says I am not fair, that I lack manners;
16She calls me proud, and that she could not love me,
17Were man as rare as phoenix. 'Od's my will!
18Her love is not the hare that I do hunt:
19Why writes she so to me? Well, shepherd, well,
20This is a letter of your own device.
21No, I protest, I know not the contents:
22Phebe did write it.
22Come, come, you are a fool
23And turn'd into the extremity of love.
24I saw her hand: she has a leathern hand.
25A freestone-colour'd hand; I verily did think
26That her old gloves were on, but 'twas her hands:
27She has a huswife's hand; but that's no matter:
28I say she never did invent this letter;
29This is a man's invention and his hand.
30Sure, it is hers.
31Why, 'tis a boisterous and a cruel style.
32A style for challengers; why, she defies me,
33Like Turk to Christian: women's gentle brain
34Could not drop forth such giant-rude invention
35Such Ethiope words, blacker in their effect
36Than in their countenance. Will you hear the letter?
37So please you, for I never heard it yet;
38Yet heard too much of Phebe's cruelty.
39She Phebes me: mark how the tyrant writes.
40"Art thou god to shepherd turn'd,
41That a maiden's heart hath burn'd?"
42Can a woman rail thus?
43Call you this railing?
44"Why, thy godhead laid apart,
45Warr'st thou with a woman's heart?"
46Did you ever hear such railing?
47"Whiles the eye of man did woo me,
48That could do no vengeance to me."
49Meaning me a beast.
50"If the scorn of your bright eyne
51Have power to raise such love in mine,
52Alack, in me what strange effect
53Would they work in mild aspect!
54Whiles you chid me, I did love;
55How then might your prayers move!
56He that brings this love to thee
57Little knows this love in me:
58And by him seal up thy mind;
59Whether that thy youth and kind
60Will the faithful offer take
61Of me and all that I can make;
62Or else by him my love deny,
63And then I'll study how to die."
64Call you this chiding?
65Alas, poor shepherd!
66Do you pity him? no, he deserves no pity. Wilt
67thou love such a woman? What, to make thee an
68instrument and play false strains upon thee! not
69to be endured! Well, go your way to her, for I see
70love hath made thee a tame snake, and say this to
71her: that if she love me, I charge her to love
72thee; if she will not, I will never have her unless
73thou entreat for her. If you be a true lover, hence,
74and not a word; for here comes more company.
75Good morrow, fair ones: pray you, if you know,
76Where in the purlieus of this forest stands
77A sheep-cote fenced about with olive trees?
78West of this place, down in the neighbour bottom:
79The rank of osiers by the murmuring stream
80Left on your right hand brings you to the place.
81But at this hour the house doth keep itself;
82There's none within.
83If that an eye may profit by a tongue,
84Then should I know you by description;
85Such garments and such years: 'The boy is fair,
86Of female favour, and bestows himself
87Like a ripe sister: the woman low
88And browner than her brother.' Are not you
89The owner of the house I did inquire for?
90It is no boast, being ask'd, to say we are.
91Orlando doth commend him to you both,
92And to that youth he calls his Rosalind
93He sends this bloody napkin. Are you he?
94I am: what must we understand by this?
95Some of my shame; if you will know of me
96What man I am, and how, and why, and where
97This handkercher was stain'd.
97I pray you, tell it.
98When last the young Orlando parted from you
99He left a promise to return again
100Within an hour, and pacing through the forest,
101Chewing the food of sweet and bitter fancy,
102Lo, what befell! he threw his eye aside,
103And mark what object did present itself:
104Under an oak, whose boughs were moss'd with age
105And high top bald with dry antiquity,
106A wretched ragged man, o'ergrown with hair,
107Lay sleeping on his back: about his neck
108A green and gilded snake had wreathed itself,
109Who with her head nimble in threats approach'd
110The opening of his mouth; but suddenly,
111Seeing Orlando, it unlink'd itself,
112And with indented glides did slip away
113Into a bush: under which bush's shade
114A lioness, with udders all drawn dry,
115Lay couching, head on ground, with catlike watch,
116When that the sleeping man should stir; for 'tis
117The royal disposition of that beast
118To prey on nothing that doth seem as dead:
119This seen, Orlando did approach the man
120And found it was his brother, his elder brother.
121O, I have heard him speak of that same brother;
122And he did render him the most unnatural
123That lived amongst men.
123And well he might so do,
124For well I know he was unnatural.
125But, to Orlando: did he leave him there,
126Food to the suck'd and hungry lioness?
127Twice did he turn his back and purposed so;
128But kindness, nobler ever than revenge,
129And nature, stronger than his just occasion,
130Made him give battle to the lioness,
131Who quickly fell before him: in which hurtling
132From miserable slumber I awaked.
133Are you his brother?
133Was't you he rescu'd?
134Was't you that did so oft contrive to kill him?
135'Twas I; but 'tis not I. I do not shame
136To tell you what I was, since my conversion
137So sweetly tastes, being the thing I am.
138But, for the bloody napkin?
138By and by.
139When from the first to last betwixt us two
140Tears our recountments had most kindly bathed,
141As how I came into that desert place:--
142In brief, he led me to the gentle duke,
143Who gave me fresh array and entertainment,
144Committing me unto my brother's love;
145Who led me instantly unto his cave,
146There stripp'd himself, and here upon his arm
147The lioness had torn some flesh away,
148Which all this while had bled; and now he fainted
149And cried, in fainting, upon Rosalind.
150Brief, I recover'd him, bound up his wound;
151And, after some small space, being strong at heart,
152He sent me hither, stranger as I am,
153To tell this story, that you might excuse
154His broken promise, and to give this napkin
155Dyed in his blood unto the shepherd youth
156That he in sport doth call his Rosalind.
157Why, how now, Ganymede! sweet Ganymede!
158Many will swoon when they do look on blood.
159There is more in it. Cousin Ganymede!
160Look, he recovers.
161I would I were at home.
161We'll lead you thither.
162I pray you, will you take him by the arm?
163Be of good cheer, youth. You a man?
164You lack a man's heart.
165I do so, I confess it. Ah, sirrah, a body would
166think this was well counterfeited! I pray you,
167tell your brother how well I counterfeited.
169This was not counterfeit: there is too great
170testimony in your complexion that it was a
171passion of earnest.
172Counterfeit, I assure you.
173Well then, take a good heart and counterfeit to
174be a man.
175So I do: but, i' faith, I should have been a woman
177Come, you look paler and paler: pray you, draw
178homewards. Good sir, go with us.
179That will I, for I must bear answer back
180How you excuse my brother, Rosalind.
181I shall devise something: but, I pray you, commend
182my counterfeiting to him. Will you go?