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Ros. With this shepherdess, my sister; here in the skirts of this forest, like fringe upon a petticoat.
Orl. Are you native of this place?
Ros. As the coney, that you see dwell where she is kindled.
Orl. Your accent is something finer than you could purchase in so removed a dwelling.
Ros. I have been told so of many: but, indeed, an old religious uncle of mine taught me to speak, who was in his youth an in-land man; one that knew courtship too well, for there he fell in love. I have heard him read many lectures against it; and I thank God, I am not a woman, to be touch'd with so many giddy offences as he hath generally tax'd their whole sex withal.
Orl. Can you remember any of the principal evils, that he laid to the charge of women?
Ros. There were none principal : they were all like one another, as half-pence are; every one fault seeming monstrous, till his fellow fault came to match it.
Orl. I pr’ythee, recount some of them.
Ros. No; I will not cast away my physick, but on those that are sick. There is a man haunts the forest, that abuses our young plants with carving Rosalind on their barks; hangs odes upon hawthorns, and elegies on brambles; all, forsooth, deifying the name of Rosalind : if I could meet that fancy-monger, I would give him some good counsel, for he seems to have the quotidian of love upon him.
Orl. I am he that is so love-shaked; I pray you, tell me your remedy.
Ros. There is none of my uncle's marks upon you: he taught me how to know a man in love; in which cage of rushes, I am sure, you are not prisoner.
Orl. What were his marks ?
Ros. A lean cheek; which you have not: a blue eye, and sunken; which you have not: an unquestionable spirit ; which you have not: a beard neglected; which you have not :-but I pardon you for that; for, simply, your having in beard is a younger brother's revenue: Then your hose should be ungarter'd, your bonnet unbanded, your sleeve unbuttoned, your shoe untied, and every thing about you demonstrating a careless desolation. But you are no such man; you are rather point-device in your accoutrements; as loving yourself, than seeming the lover of any other.
Orl. Fair youth, I would I could make thee believe I love.
Ros. Me believe it? you may as soon make her that you
love believe it; which, I warrant, she is apter to do, than to confess she does : that is one of the points in the which women still give the lie to their consciences. But, in good sooth, are you he that hangs the verses on the trees, wherein Rosalind is so admired ?
Orl. I swear to thee, youth, by the white hand of Rosalind, I am that he, that unfortunate he.
Ros. But are you so much in love as your rhymes speak ?
Orl. Neither rhyme nor reason can express how much.
Ros. Love is merely a madness; and, I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip, as madmen do: and the reason why they are not so punished and cured, is, that the lunacy is so ordinary, that the whippers are in love too: Yet I profess curing it by counsel.
Orl. Did you ever cure any so?
He was to imagine me his love, his mistress; and I set him every day to woo me: At which time would I, being but a moonish youth, grieve, be effeminate, changeable, longing, and liking; proud, fantastical, apish, shallow, inconstant, full of tears, full of smiles ; for every passion something, and for no passion truly any thing, as boys and women are for the most part cattle of this colour : would now like him, now loath him ; then entertain him, then forswear him; now weep for him, then spit at him ; that I drave my suitor from his mad humour of love, to a living humour of madness; which was, to forswear the full stream of the world, and to live in a nook merely monastick: And thus I cured him; and this way will I take upon me to wash your liver as clean as a sound sheep's heart, that there shall not be one spot of love in't.
Orl. I would not be cured, youth.
Rus. I would cure you, if you would but call me Rosalind, and come every day to my cote, and woo me.
Orl. Now, by the faith of my love, I will; tell me where it is.
Ros. Go with me to it, and I'll show it you: and, by the way, you shall tell me where in the forest you live :-Will you go?
Orl. With all my heart, good youth.
Ros. Nay, you must call me Rosalind :-Come, sister, will you go?
Enter TOUCHSTONE and AUDREY ; JAQUES at a dis
tance, observing them. Touch. 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?
Aud. Your features ! Lord warrant us! what features ?
Touch. I am here with thee and thy goats, as the most capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths.
Jaq. O knowledge ill-inhabited! worse than Jove in a thatch'd house!
[-Aside. Touch. 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.
Aud. I do not know what poetical is: Is it honest in deed and word? Is it a true thing?
Touch. No, truly; for the truest poetry is the most feiguing; and lovers are given to poetry; and what they swear in poetry, may be said, as lovers, they do feign.
Aud. Do you wish then, that the gods had made me poetical :
Touch. 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 feign.
Aud. Would you not have me honest ?
Touch. No truly, unless thou wert hard-favour'd: for honesty coupled to beauty, is to have honey a sauce
Jaq. A material fool!
[ Aside. Aud. Well, I am not fair; and therefore I gods make me honest!
Touch. Truly, and to cast away honesty upon a foul slut, were to put good meat in an unclean dish.
Aud. I am not a slut, though I thank the gods I am foul.
Touch. 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 Mar-text, the vicar of the next village; who hath promised to meet me in this place of the forest, and to couple us. Jaq. I would fain see this meeting.
[Aside. Aud. Well, the gods give us joy !
Touch. 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 batchelor: and by how much defence is better than no skill, by so much is a horn more precious than to want.