As You Like It (1599-1600)

Online Critical Edition in Progress - Version 1.c.
Date variant: 1599
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Act III, Scene 3

The forest

Come apace, good Audrey; I will fetch up your goats,
Audrey. And how, Audrey, am I the man yet? Doth my simple feature
content you?

Your features! Lord warrant us! What features?

I am here with thee and thy goats, as the most
capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths.

Jaques (lord)
[Aside] O knowledge ill-inhabited, worse than Jove in a
thatch'd house!

When a man's verses cannot be understood, nor a man's
good wit seconded with the forward child understanding, it
strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.
Truly, I would the gods had made thee poetical.

I do not know what 'poetical' is. Is it honest in deed and
word? Is it a true thing?

No, truly; for the truest poetry is the most feigning,
and lovers are given to poetry; and what they swear in poetry may
be said as lovers they do feign.

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

I do, truly, for thou swear'st to me thou art honest;
now, if thou wert a poet, I might have some hope thou didst

Would you not have me honest?

No, truly, unless thou wert hard-favour'd; for honesty
coupled to beauty is to have honey a sauce to sugar.

Jaques (lord)
[Aside] A material fool!

Well, I am not fair; and therefore I pray the gods make me

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

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

Well, praised be the gods for thy foulness;
sluttishness may come hereafter. But be it as it may be, I will
marry thee; and to that end I have been with Sir Oliver Martext,
the vicar of the next village, who hath promis'd to meet me in
this place of the forest, and to couple us.

Jaques (lord)
[Aside] I would fain see this meeting.

Well, the gods give us joy!

Amen. A man may, if he were of a fearful heart, stagger
in this attempt; for here we have no temple but the wood, no
assembly but horn-beasts. But what though? Courage! As horns are
odious, they are necessary. It is said: 'Many a man knows no end
of his goods.' Right! Many a man has good horns and knows no end
of them. Well, that is the dowry of his wife; 'tis none of his
own getting. Horns? Even so. Poor men alone? No, no; the noblest
deer hath them as huge as the rascal. Is the single man therefore
blessed? No; as a wall'd town is more worthier than a village, so
is the forehead of a married man more honourable than the bare
brow of a bachelor; and by how much defence is better than no
skill, by so much is horn more precious than to want. Here comes
Sir Oliver.
Sir Oliver Martext, you are well met. Will you dispatch us here
under this tree, or shall we go with you to your chapel?

Sir Oliver Martext
Is there none here to give the woman?

I will not take her on gift of any man.

Sir Oliver Martext
Truly, she must be given, or the marriage is not lawful.

Jaques (lord)
[Discovering himself] Proceed, proceed; I'll give her.

Good even, good Master What-ye-call't; how do you, sir?
You are very well met. Goddild you for your last company. I am
very glad to see you. Even a toy in hand here, sir. Nay; pray be

Jaques (lord)
Will you be married, motley?

As the ox hath his bow, sir, the horse his curb, and
the falcon her bells, so man hath his desires; and as pigeons
bill, so wedlock would be nibbling.

Jaques (lord)
And will you, being a man of your breeding, be married
under a bush, like a beggar? Get you to church and have a good
priest that can tell you what marriage is; this fellow will but
join you together as they join wainscot; then one of you will
prove a shrunk panel, and like green timber warp, warp.

[Aside] I am not in the mind but I were better to be
married of him than of another; for he is not like to marry me
well; and not being well married, it will be a good excuse for me
hereafter to leave my wife.

Jaques (lord)
Go thou with me, and let me counsel thee.

Come, sweet Audrey;
We must be married or we must live in bawdry.
Farewell, good Master Oliver. Not-
O sweet Oliver,
O brave Oliver,
Leave me not behind thee.
Wind away,
Begone, I say,
I will not to wedding with thee.

Sir Oliver Martext
'Tis no matter; ne'er a fantastical knave of them all
shall flout me out of my calling. Exit


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