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In good set terms, and yet a motley fool.

'Good morrow, fool,' quoth I. 'No, sir,' quoth he,
'Call me not fool till heaven hath sent me fortune.'
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 may we see,' quoth he, 'how the world wags: 'Tis but an hour ago since it was nine,

And after one hour more 'twill be eleven;
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.' When I did hear
The motley fool thus moral on the time,
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. O noble fool!

A worthy fool! Motley's the only wear.
Duke S. What fool is this?

Jaq. O worthy fool!

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One that hath been





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. O that I were a fool!
I am ambitious for a motley coat.

Duke S. Thou shalt have one.



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Of all opinion that grows rank in them
That I am wise. I must have liberty
Withal, as large a charter as the wind,

To blow on whom I please; for so fools have:
And they that are most galled with my folly,


They most must laugh. And why, sir, must they so? The 'why' is plain as way to parish church:

He that a fool doth very wisely hit

Doth very foolishly, although he smart,

Not to seem senseless of the bob; if not,
The wise man's folly is anatomiz'd




Even by the squandering glances of the fool.
Invest me in my motley; give me leave

To speak my mind, and I will through and through Cleanse the foul body of th' infected world,

If they will patiently receive my medicine.


Duke S. Fie on thee! I can tell what thou wouldst do.

Jaq. What, for a counter, would I do, but good? Duke S. Most mischievous foul sin, in chiding


For thou thyself hast been a libertine,


As sensual as the brutish sting itself;

And all the embossed sores and headed evils,

That thou with licence of free foot hast caught,
Wouldst thou disgorge into the general world.
Jaq. Why, who cries out on pride,

That can therein tax any private party?
Doth it not flow as hugely as the sea,
Till that the weary very means do ebb?

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50 galled: made sore 57 squandering: random

headed evils: diseases come to a head

69 general: whole 73 weary very; cf. n.

68 licence of free foot: licentious freedom

71 tax: censure

What woman in the city do I name,
When that I say the city-woman bears
The cost of princes on unworthy shoulders?

Who can come in and say that I mean her,
When such a one as she such is her neighbour?
Or what is he of basest function,

That says his bravery is not on my cost,—
Thinking that I mean him, but therein suits
His folly to the mettle of my speech?
There then; how then? what then?


Let me

My tongue hath wrong'd him: if it do him right,
Then he hath wrong'd himself; if he be free,
Why then, my taxing like a wild goose flies,
Unclaim'd of any man. But who comes here?

Enter Orlando [with his sword drawn].

Orl. Forbear, and eat no more.


Why, I have eat none yet. Orl. Nor shalt not, till necessity be serv'd.

Jaq. Of what kind should this cock come of?

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Duke S. Art thou thus bolden'd, man, by thy dis


Or else a rude despiser of good manners,

That in civility thou seem'st so empty?



Orl. You touch'd my vein at first: the thorny point
Of bare distress hath ta'en from me the show
Of smooth civility; yet I am inland bred
And know some nurture. But forbear, I say:
He dies that touches any of this fruit
Till I and my affairs are answered.

79 function: office, or employment

81 suits: fits

85 free: i.e., from guilt or blame

94 vein: disposition

97 nurture: gentle upbringing

79-82 Cf. n.

82 mettle: substance 91 bolden'd: emboldened 96 inland; cf. n.

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Jaq. An you will not be answered with reason, 100 I must die.

Duke S. What would you have? Your gentleness

shall force

More than your force move us to gentleness.


Orl. I almost die for food; and let me have it. Duke S. Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table.

Orl. Speak you so gently? Pardon me, I pray


I thought that all things had been savage here,
And therefore put I on the countenance


Of stern commandment. But 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:

In the which hope I blush, and hide my sword.

Duke S. True is it that we have seen better


And have with holy bell been knoll'd to church,
And sat at good men's feasts, and wip'd our eyes
Of drops that sacred pity hath engender'd;
And therefore sit you down in gentleness
And take upon command what help we have
That to your wanting may be minister'd.

Orl. Then but forbear your food a little while,

100 An: if

118 enforcement: compulsion 126 wanting: necessity



114 knoll'd: rung, tolled 125 upon command: at pleasure


Whiles, like a doe, I go to find my fawn
And give it food. There is an old poor man,
Who after me hath many a weary step
Limp'd in pure love: till he be first suffic'd,
Oppress'd with two weak evils, age and hunger, 132
I will not touch a bit.

Duke S.

Go find him out,

And we will nothing waste till you return.

Orl. I thank ye; and be bless'd for your good comfort!


Duke S. Thou seest we are not all alone un


This wide and universal theatre

Presents more woful pageants than the scene
Wherein we play in.

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.

All the world's a stage,

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 woful 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,

132 Oppress'd: oppressed as he is

143 seven ages; cf. n.

150 pard: leopard

151 Jealous: suspicious, or, apprehensive

154 capon; cf. n.

139 All







stage; cf. n.

144 Mewling: crying feebly

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