As You Like It

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Can one desire too much of a good thing?

As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1599 or 1600.

Act I[edit]

  • As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion, — bequeathed me by will but poor a thousand crowns, and, as thou say'st, charged my brother, on his blessing, to breed me well: and there begins my sadness.


  • I know you are my eldest brother: and in the gentle condition of blood, you should so know me. The courtesy of nations allows you my better in that you are the first-born; but the same tradition takes not away my blood, were there twenty brothers betwixt us: I have as much of my father in me as you, albeit; I confess, your coming before me is nearer to his reverence.
    • Sc. I, Orlando to Oliver


  • I no further offend you than becomes me for my good.
    • Sc. I, Orlando to Oliver


  • Now will I stir this gamester: I hope I shall see an end of him: for my soul, yet I know not why, hates nothing more than he. Yet he's gentle; never schooled and yet learned; full of noble device; of all sorts enchantingly beloved; and, indeed, so much in the heart of the world, and especially of my own people, who best know him, that I am altogether misprised: but it shall not be so long; this wrestler shall clear all: nothing remains but that I kindle the boy thither, which now I'll go about.
    • Sc. I, Oliver


  • Celia: Let us sit and mock the good housewife Fortune from her wheel, that her gifts may henceforth be bestowed equally.
    Rosalind: I would we could do so; for her benefits are mightily misplaced: and the bountiful blind woman doth most mistake in her gifts to women.
    Celia: 'Tis true; for those that she makes fair, she scarce makes honest; and those that she makes honest, she makes very ill-favouredly.
    Rosalind: Nay; now thou goest from Fortune's office to Nature's: Fortune reigns in gifts of the world, not in the lineaments of Nature.
    Celia: No? When Nature hath made a fair creature, may she not by Fortune fall into the fire? — Though Nature hath given us wit to flout at Fortune, hath not Fortune sent in this fool to cut off the argument?
    • Sc. ii


  • How now, wit! whither wander you?
    • Celia Sc. ii


  • The more pity that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly.


  • Well said: that was laid on with a trowel.
    • Celia, Sc. ii


  • I show more mirth than I am mistress of; and would you yet I were merrier? Unless you could teach me to forget a banished father, you must not learn me how to remember any extraordinary pleasure.
    • Rosalind, Sc. ii


  • I will forget the condition of my estate, to rejoice in yours.
    • Rosalind, Sc. ii
The little foolery that wise men have makes a great show.
Sir, you have wrestled well, and overthrown More than your enemies.
  • Since the little wit that fools have was silenced, the little foolery that wise men have makes a great show.
    • Celia, Sc. ii


  • Celia: Young gentleman, your spirits are too bold for your years. You have seen cruel proof of this man's strength: if you saw yourself with your eyes, or knew yourself with your judgment, the fear of your adventure would counsel you to a more equal enterprise. We pray you, for your own sake, to embrace your own safety and give over this attempt.
    Rosalind: Do, young sir; your reputation shall not therefore be misprised: we will make it our suit to the duke that the wrestling might not go forward.
    Orlando: I beseech you, punish me not with your hard thoughts: wherein I confess me much guilty to deny so fair and excellent ladies anything. But let your fair eyes and gentle wishes go with me to my trial: wherein if I be foiled there is but one shamed that was never gracious; if killed, but one dead that is willing to be so: I shall do my friends no wrong, for I have none to lament me: the world no injury, for in it I have nothing; only in the world I fill up a place, which may be better supplied when I have made it empty.
    Rosalind: The little strength that I have, I would it were with you.
    • Sc. ii
  • Your heart’s desires be with you!
    • Celia, Sc. ii


  • Sir, you have wrestled well, and overthrown More than your enemies.
    • Rosalind, Sc. ii


  • One out of suits with fortune.
    • Rosalind, Sc. ii


  • My pride fell with my fortunes.
    • Rosalind, Sc. ii


  • Hereafter, in a better world than this,
    I shall desire more love and knowledge of you.
    • Le Beau, Sc. ii


  • Celia: Not a word?
    Rosalind: Not one to throw at a dog.
    • Sc. iii


  • O, how full of briars is this working-day world!
    • Rosalind, Sc. iii


  • Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold.
    • Rosalind, Sc. iii


  • We’ll have a swashing and a martial outside,
    As many other mannish cowards have.
    • Rosalind, Sc. iii

Act II[edit]

  • Sweet are the uses of adversity,
    Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
    Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
    And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
    Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
    Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.
    • Duke Senior, Sc. i


  • The big round tears
    Coursed one another down his innocent nose
    In piteous chase.
    • First Lord, Sc. i


  • Poor deer, quoth he, thou makest a testament
    As worldlings do, giving thy sum of more
    To that which had too much.
    • First Lord, Sc. i
    • Quoting Jaques


  • Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens.
    • First Lord, Sc. i
    • Quoting Jaques


  • And He that doth the ravens feed,
    Yea, providently caters for the sparrow,
    Be comfort to my age!
    • Adam, Sc. iii


  • For in my youth I never did apply
    Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood.
    • Adam, Sc. iii


  • Therefore my age is as a lusty winter,
    Frosty, but kindly.
    • Adam, Sc. iii


  • O, good old man, how well in thee appears
    The constant service of the antique world,
    When service sweat for duty, not for meed!
    Thou art not for the fashion of these times,
    Where none will sweat but for promotion.
    • Orlando, Sc. iii


  • Ay, now am I in Arden: the more fool I. When I was at home, I was in a better place; but travellers must be content.
    • Touchstone, Sc. iv


  • If thou remember’st not the slightest folly
    That ever love did make thee run into,
    Thou hast not lov’d.
    • Silvius, Sc. iv


  • I shall ne’er be 'ware of mine own wit, till I break my shins against it.
    • Touchstone, Sc. iv


  • Under the greenwood tree
    Who loves to lie with me,
    And tune his merry note
    Unto the sweet bird's throat —
    Come hither, come hither, come hither!
    Here shall he see
    No enemy
    But winter and rough weather.
    • Amiens, Sc. v


  • Live a little; comfort a little; cheer thyself a little.
    • Orlando, Sc. vi


  • I met a fool i’ the forest,
    A motley fool.
    • Jaques, Sc. vii


  • And rail’d on Lady Fortune in good terms,
    In good set terms.
    • Jaques, Sc. vii


  • And then he drew a dial from his poke,
    And looking on it with lack-lustre eye,
    Says very wisely, It is ten o’clock:
    Thus we may see,
    quoth he, how the world wags.
    • Jaques, Sc. vii


  • And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe,
    And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot;
    And thereby hangs a tale.
    • Jaques, Sc. vii


  • My lungs began to crow like chanticleer,
    That fools should be so deep-contemplative;
    And I did laugh, sans intermission
    An hour by his dial.
    • Jaques, Sc. vii


  • Motley ’s the only wear.
    • Jaques, Sc. vii


  • If ladies be but young and fair,
    They have the gift to know it; and in his brain,
    Which is as dry as the remainder biscuit
    After a voyage, he hath strange places cramm’d
    With observation, the which he vents
    In mangled forms.
    • Jaques, Sc. vii


  • I am ambitious for a motley coat.
    • Jaques, Sc. vii


  • I must have liberty
    Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
    To blow on whom I please.
    • Jaques, Sc. vii


  • The why is plain as way to parish church.
    • Jaques, Sc. vii


  • Whate'er you are,
    That in this desert inaccessible,
    Under the shade of melancholy boughs,
    Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time;
    If ever you have look’d on better days,
    If ever been where bells have knoll’d to church,
    If ever sat at any good man’s feast,
    If ever from your eyelids wip'd a tear,
    And know what 'tis to pity and be pitied —
    Let gentleness my strong enforcement be.
    • Orlando, Sc. vii


  • True is it that we have seen better days.
    • Duke Senior, Sc. vii


  • And wip'd our eyes
    Of drops that sacred pity hath engender’d.
    • Duke Senior, Sc. vii


  • Oppress’d with two weak evils, age and hunger.
    • Orlando, Sc. vii
All the world's a stage,
and all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts…


  • 'All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players:
    They have their exits and their entrances;
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages.
    At first the infant,
    Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms:
    And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
    And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
    Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
    Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
    Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard;
    Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
    Seeking the bubble reputation
    Even in the cannon’s mouth.
    And then the justice,
    In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,
    With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
    Full of wise saws and modern instances;
    And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
    Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
    With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
    His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide
    For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
    Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
    And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange eventful history,
    Is second childishness, and mere oblivion,
    Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
    • Jaques, Sc. vii


  • Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
    Thou art not so unkind
    As man's ingratitude
    ;
    Thy tooth is not so keen
    Because thou art not seen,
    Although thy breath be rude.
    • Amiens, Sc. vii

Act III[edit]

  • The fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she.
    • Orlando, Sc. ii


  • It goes much against my stomach. Hast any philosophy in thee, shepherd?
    • Touchstone, Sc. ii


  • He that wants money, means, and content, is without three good friends.
    • Corin, Sc. ii


  • This is the very false gallop of verses.
    • Touchstone, Sc. ii


  • Let us make an honourable retreat.
    • Touchstone, Sc. ii


  • With bag and baggage.
    • Touchstone, Sc. ii


  • O, wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! and yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping.
    • Celia, Sc. ii


  • Answer me in one word.
    • Rosalind, Sc. ii


  • I do desire we may be better strangers.
    • Orlando, Sc. ii
Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
I must tell you friendly in your ear, —
Sell while you can; you are not for all markets.
  • Time travels in divers paces with divers persons. I’ll tell you who Time ambles withal, who Time trots withal, who Time gallops withal, and who he stands still withal.
    • Rosalind, Sc. ii


  • Every one fault seeming monstrous, till his fellow fault came to match it.
    • Rosalind, Sc. ii


  • Neither rhyme nor reason can express how much.
    • Orlando, Sc. ii


  • I would the gods had made thee poetical.
    • Touchstone, Sc. iii


  • But mistress, know yourself; down on your knees,
    And thank Heaven, fasting, for a good man’s love:
    For I must tell you friendly in your ear, —
    Sell while you can; you are not for all markets.
    • Rosalind, Sc. v

Act IV[edit]

  • It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and, indeed, the sundry contemplation of my travels, which, by often rumination, wraps me in a most humorous sadness.
    • Jaques, Sc. i


  • I have gained my experience.
    • Jaques, Sc. i


  • I had rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad.
    • Rosalind, Sc. i


  • I will scarce think you have swam in a gondola.
    • Rosalind, Sc. i


  • I warrant him heart-whole.
    • Rosalind, Sc. i


  • Very good orators, when they are out, they will spit; and for lovers, lacking (God warn us!) matter, the cleanliest shift is to kiss.
    • Rosalind, Sc. i


  • Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love.
    • Rosalind, Sc. i


  • Orlando: And wilt thou have me?
    Rosalind: Ay, and twenty such.
    Orlando: What sayest thou?
    Rosalind: Are you not good?
    Orlando: I hope so.
    Rosalind: Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?
    • Sc. i
I do take thee, Orlando, for my husband: — there's a girl goes before the priest; and, certainly, a woman's thought runs before her actions.
  • Orlando: I take thee, Rosalind, for wife.
    Rosalind: I might ask you for your commission; but,— I do take thee, Orlando, for my husband: — there's a girl goes before the priest; and, certainly, a woman's thought runs before her actions.
    Orlando: So do all thoughts; they are winged.
    Rosalind: Now tell me how long you would have her, after you have possessed her.
    Orlando: For ever and a day.
    Rosalind: Say "a day," without the "ever." No, no, Orlando: men are April when they woo, December when they wed: maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives.
    • Sc. i


  • That blind rascally boy, that abuses every one's eyes, because his own are out, let him be judge how deep I am in love. — I'll tell thee, Aliena, I cannot be out of the sight of Orlando: I'll go find a shadow, and sigh till he come.
    • Rosalind, Sc. i


  • The horn, the horn, the lusty horn,
    Is not a thing to laugh to scorn.
    • First Lord, Sc. ii


  • Chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy.
    • Oliver, Sc. iii

Act V[edit]

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
I will kill thee a hundred and fifty ways.
Your If is the only peacemaker; much virtue in If.
  • It is meat and drink to me.
    • Touchstone, Sc. i


  • So-so is good, very good, very excellent good; and yet it is not; it is but so-so.
    • Touchstone, Sc. i


  • The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.
    • Touchstone, Sc. i


  • I will kill thee a hundred and fifty ways.
    • Touchstone, Sc. i


  • No sooner met, but they looked; no sooner looked, but they loved; no sooner loved, but they sighed; no sooner sighed, but they asked one another the reason; no sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy.
    • Rosalind, Sc. ii


  • How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes!
    • Orlando, Sc. ii


  • It was a lover and his lass,
    With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino!
    That o’er the green corn-field did pass
    In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
    When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding:
    Sweet lovers love the Spring.
    • Pages, Sc. iii


  • Here comes a pair of very strange beasts, which in all tongues are called fools.
    • Jaques, Sc. iv


  • An ill-favoured thing, sir, but mine own.
    • Touchstone, Sc. iv


  • Rich honesty dwells like a miser, sir, in a poor house, as your pearl in your foul oyster.
    • Touchstone, Sc. iv


  • O sir, we quarrel in print, by the book; as you have books for good manners: I will name you the degrees.
    The first, the Retort Courteous; the second, the Quip Modest; the third, the Reply Churlish; the fourth, the Reproof Valiant; the fifth, the Countercheque Quarrelsome; the sixth, the Lie with Circumstance; the seventh, the Lie Direct. All these you may avoid but the Lie Direct; and you may avoid that too, with an If. I knew when seven justices could not take up a quarrel, but when the parties were met themselves, one of them thought but of an If, as, "If you said so, then I said so;" and they shook hands and swore brothers. Your If is the only peacemaker; much virtue in If.
    • Touchstone, Sc. iv


  • Good wine needs no bush.
    • Rosalind, epilogue


  • What a case am I in.
    • Rosalind, epilogue

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