Act I - Act I, Scene 2

SCENE II. A Lawn before the DUKE'S Palace.

[Enter ROSALIND and CELIA.]

CELIA.
I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be merry.

ROSALIND.
Dear Celia, 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.

CELIA.
Herein I see thou lov'st me not with the full weight that I
love thee; if my uncle, thy banished father, had banished thy
uncle, the duke my father, so thou hadst been still with me,
I could have taught my love to take thy father for mine; so
wouldst thou, if the truth of thy love to me were so righteously
tempered as mine is to thee.

ROSALIND.
Well, I will forget the condition of my estate, to rejoice in
yours.

CELIA.
You know my father hath no child but I, nor none is like to
have; and, truly, when he dies thou shalt be his heir: for what
he hath taken away from thy father perforce, I will render thee
again in affection: by mine honour, I will; and when I break that
oath, let me turn monster; therefore, my sweet Rose, my dear
Rose, be merry.

ROSALIND.
From henceforth I will, coz, and devise sports: let me see; what
think you of falling in love?

CELIA.
Marry, I pr'ythee, do, to make sport withal: but love no man
in good earnest, nor no further in sport neither than with
safety of a pure blush thou mayst in honour come off again.

ROSALIND.
What shall be our sport, then?

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?

[Enter TOUCHSTONE.]

ROSALIND.
Indeed, there is Fortune too hard for Nature, when
Fortune makes Nature's natural the cutter-off of Nature's wit.

CELIA.
Peradventure this is not Fortune's work neither, but
Nature's, who perceiveth our natural wits too dull to reason of
such goddesses, and hath sent this natural for our whetstone: for
always the dullness of the fool is the whetstone of the wits.--
How now, wit? whither wander you?

TOUCHSTONE.
Mistress, you must come away to your father.

CELIA.
Were you made the messenger?

TOUCHSTONE.
No, by mine honour; but I was bid to come for you.

ROSALIND.
Where learned you that oath, fool?

TOUCHSTONE.
Of a certain knight that swore by his honour they were
good pancakes, and swore by his honour the mustard was naught:
now, I'll stand to it, the pancakes were naught and the
mustard was good: and yet was not the knight forsworn.

CELIA.
How prove you that, in the great heap of your knowledge?

ROSALIND.
Ay, marry; now unmuzzle your wisdom.

TOUCHSTONE.
Stand you both forth now: stroke your chins, and swear
by your beards that I am a knave.

CELIA.
By our beards, if we had them, thou art.

TOUCHSTONE.
By my knavery, if I had it, then I were: but if you swear by that
that is not, you are not forsworn: no more was this knight,
swearing by his honour, for he never had any; or if he had, he
had sworn it away before ever he saw those pancackes or that
mustard.

CELIA.
Pr'ythee, who is't that thou mean'st?

TOUCHSTONE.
One that old Frederick, your father, loves.

CELIA.
My father's love is enough to honour him enough: speak
no more of him: you'll be whipp'd for taxation one of these days.

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

CELIA.
By my troth, thou sayest true: for since the little wit that
fools have was silenced, the little foolery that wise men
have makes a great show. Here comes Monsieur Le Beau.

ROSALIND.
With his mouth full of news.

CELIA.
Which he will put on us as pigeons feed their young.

ROSALIND.
Then shall we be news-crammed.

CELIA.
All the better; we shall be the more marketable.

[Enter LE BEAU.]

Bon jour, Monsieur Le Beau. What's the news?

LE BEAU.
Fair princess, you have lost much good sport.

CELIA.
Sport! of what colour?

LE BEAU.
What colour, madam? How shall I answer you?

ROSALIND.
As wit and fortune will.

TOUCHSTONE.
Or as the destinies decrees.

CELIA.
Well said: that was laid on with a trowel.

TOUCHSTONE.
Nay, if I keep not my rank,--

ROSALIND.
Thou losest thy old smell.

LE BEAU.
You amaze me, ladies; I would have told you of good
wrestling, which you have lost the sight of.

ROSALIND.
Yet tell us the manner of the wrestling.

LE BEAU.
I will tell you the beginning, and, if it please your
ladyships, you may see the end; for the best is yet to do;
and here, where you are, they are coming to perform it.

CELIA.
Well,--the beginning, that is dead and buried.

LE BEAU.
There comes an old man and his three sons,--

CELIA.
I could match this beginning with an old tale.

LE BEAU.
Three proper young men, of excellent growth and presence, with
bills on their necks,--

ROSALIND.
'Be it known unto all men by these presents,'--

LE BEAU.
The eldest of the three wrestled with Charles, the duke's
wrestler; which Charles in a moment threw him, and broke three of
his ribs, that there is little hope of life in him: so he served
the second, and so the third. Yonder they lie; the poor old man,
their father, making such pitiful dole over them that all the
beholders take his part with weeping.

ROSALIND.
Alas!

TOUCHSTONE.
But what is the sport, monsieur, that the ladies have lost?

LE BEAU.
Why, this that I speak of.

TOUCHSTONE.
Thus men may grow wiser every day! It is the first time
that ever I heard breaking of ribs was sport for ladies.

CELIA.
Or I, I promise thee.

ROSALIND.
But is there any else longs to see this broken music
in his sides? is there yet another dotes upon rib-breaking?--
Shall we see this wrestling, cousin?

LE BEAU.
You must, if you stay here: for here is the place
appointed for the wrestling, and they are ready to perform it.

CELIA.
Yonder, sure, they are coming: let us now stay and see it.

[Flourish. Enter DUKE FREDERICK, Lords, ORLANDO, CHARLES, and
Attendants.]

DUKE FREDERICK.
Come on; since the youth will not be entreated, his own peril on
his forwardness.

ROSALIND.
Is yonder the man?

LE BEAU.
Even he, madam.

CELIA.
Alas, he is too young: yet he looks successfully.

DUKE FREDERICK.
How now, daughter and cousin? are you crept hither to see the
wrestling?

ROSALIND.
Ay, my liege; so please you give us leave.

DUKE FREDERICK.
You will take little delight in it, I can tell you,
there is such odds in the men. In pity of the challenger's youth
I would fain dissuade him, but he will not be entreated.
Speak to him, ladies; see if you can move him.

CELIA.
Call him hither, good Monsieur Le Beau.

DUKE FREDERICK.
Do so; I'll not be by.

[DUKE FREDERICK goes apart.]

LE BEAU.
Monsieur the challenger, the princesses call for you.

ORLANDO.
I attend them with all respect and duty.

ROSALIND.
Young man, have you challenged Charles the wrestler?

ORLANDO.
No, fair princess; he is the general challenger: I come
but in, as others do, to try with him the strength of my youth.

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.

CELIA.
And mine to eke out hers.

ROSALIND.
Fare you well. Pray heaven, I be deceived in you!

CELIA.
Your heart's desires be with you.

CHARLES.
Come, where is this young gallant that is so desirous
to lie with his mother earth?

ORLANDO.
Ready, sir; but his will hath in it a more modest working.

DUKE FREDERICK.
You shall try but one fall.

CHARLES.
No; I warrant your grace, you shall not entreat him to
a second, that have so mightily persuaded him from a first.

ORLANDO.
You mean to mock me after; you should not have mocked me before;
but come your ways.

ROSALIND.
Now, Hercules be thy speed, young man!

CELIA.
I would I were invisible, to catch the strong fellow by the leg.

[CHARLES and ORLANDO wrestle.]

ROSALIND.
O excellent young man!

CELIA.
If I had a thunderbolt in mine eye, I can tell who should down.

[CHARLES is thrown. Shout.]

DUKE FREDERICK.
No more, no more.

ORLANDO.
Yes, I beseech your grace; I am not yet well breathed.

DUKE FREDERICK.
How dost thou, Charles?

LE BEAU.
He cannot speak, my lord.

DUKE FREDERICK.
Bear him away.

[CHARLES is borne out.]

What is thy name, young man?

ORLANDO.
Orlando, my liege; the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Bois.

DUKE FREDERICK.
I would thou hadst been son to some man else.
The world esteem'd thy father honourable,
But I did find him still mine enemy:
Thou shouldst have better pleas'd me with this deed
Hadst thou descended from another house.
But fare thee well; thou art a gallant youth;
I would thou hadst told me of another father.

[Exeunt DUKE FREDERICK, Train, and LE BEAU.]

CELIA.
Were I my father, coz, would I do this?

ORLANDO.
I am more proud to be Sir Rowland's son,
His youngest son;--and would not change that calling
To be adopted heir to Frederick.

ROSALIND.
My father loved Sir Rowland as his soul,
And all the world was of my father's mind:
Had I before known this young man his son,
I should have given him tears unto entreaties
Ere he should thus have ventur'd.

CELIA.
Gentle cousin,
Let us go thank him, and encourage him:
My father's rough and envious disposition
Sticks me at heart.--Sir, you have well deserv'd:
If you do keep your promises in love
But justly, as you have exceeded promise,
Your mistress shall be happy.

ROSALIND.
Gentleman,

[Giving him a chain from her neck.]

Wear this for me; one out of suits with fortune,
That could give more, but that her hand lacks means.--
Shall we go, coz?

CELIA.
Ay.--Fare you well, fair gentleman.

ORLANDO.
Can I not say, I thank you? My better parts
Are all thrown down; and that which here stands up
Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.

ROSALIND.
He calls us back: my pride fell with my fortunes:
I'll ask him what he would.--Did you call, sir?--
Sir, you have wrestled well, and overthrown
More than your enemies.

CELIA.
Will you go, coz?

ROSALIND.
Have with you.--Fare you well.

[Exeunt ROSALIND and CELIA.]

ORLANDO.
What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue?
I cannot speak to her, yet she urg'd conference.
O poor Orlando! thou art overthrown:
Or Charles, or something weaker, masters thee.

[Re-enter LE BEAU.]

LE BEAU.
Good sir, I do in friendship counsel you
To leave this place. Albeit you have deserv'd
High commendation, true applause, and love,
Yet such is now the duke's condition,
That he misconstrues all that you have done.
The Duke is humorous; what he is, indeed,
More suits you to conceive than I to speak of.

ORLANDO.
I thank you, sir: and pray you tell me this;
Which of the two was daughter of the duke
That here was at the wrestling?

LE BEAU.
Neither his daughter, if we judge by manners;
But yet, indeed, the smaller is his daughter:
The other is daughter to the banish'd duke,
And here detain'd by her usurping uncle,
To keep his daughter company; whose loves
Are dearer than the natural bond of sisters.
But I can tell you that of late this duke
Hath ta'en displeasure 'gainst his gentle niece,
Grounded upon no other argument
But that the people praise her for her virtues
And pity her for her good father's sake;
And, on my life, his malice 'gainst the lady
Will suddenly break forth.--Sir, fare you well!
Hereafter, in a better world than this,
I shall desire more love and knowledge of you.

ORLANDO.
I rest much bounden to you: fare you well!

[Exit LE BEAU.]

Thus must I from the smoke into the smother;
From tyrant duke unto a tyrant brother:--
But heavenly Rosalind!

[Exit.]

Footnotes

  1. Ironically, even after Orlando has proven himself to the Duke and his ministers, his birth still holds him back from a prosperous future. Orlando cannot escape his birth, both in terms of being born the second child and being born to an enemy of the Duke.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. This line reveals Orlando’s need to prove himself. He cannot accept the proof of his eyes that wrestling Charles will be dangerous; he must experience it for himself. This drive to prove himself reveals the chaos in the social system: as a nobleman, he should be able to fall on his title for definition. But because his brother denies him access to nobility, he does not know himself.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. This line is an example of chiasmus, a rhetorical device in which concepts are repeated in a reverse order. Touchstone uses this chiasmus to invert the social order: the “wise men” are figured as doing foolish things and the “fools” are figured as speaking wisely. This line introduces the theme of inversion within this play.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. Touchstone embodies the mythological archetype of the Trickster, a character who crosses boundaries and breaks societal rules in order to bring about a new order. In Greek mythology, Hermes is both the Trickster and messenger god. When Celia asks whether Touchstone was “made the messenger,” she points to his secret identity and role.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  5. Touchstone’s name draws attention to his role in the play. The word “touchstone” refers to a variety of dark marble upon which samples of gold and silver are rubbed to determine their purity. Figuratively, a touchstone then refers to any object that tests the value of other objects. In As You Like It, Touchstone puts the attitudes and values of the other characters to the test through his cryptic, often foolish phrases.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  6. A “whetstone” was a tool used for sharpening knives or smoothing surfaces. Celia uses this metaphor to suggest that the fool approaching is like a whetstone while they are like the knife. This metaphor speaks to the theme of gender boundary crossing in which both Celia and Rosalind assert power and intellect beyond their expected gender roles.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor
  7. Rosalind and Celia take opposite sides in a debate about the relationship between Nature and Fortune. Rosalind sees the two forces as acting independently: Nature makes humans fair or “ill-favouredly,” and Fortune treats them all with random abandon. Celia claims, however, that Fortune can be an equalizing force, bringing ill events to those blessed by Nature. The ups and downs of fate are an important thematic thread in the play. Different characters begin in low or high states. As the play progresses, those states shift.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  8. The “good housewife Fortune” also alludes to the ancient Greek concept of fate, in which one’s destiny is represented as a thread or yarn, spun and cut by the goddesses of fate. The “wheel,” in this context, represents a spinning wheel. A “good housewife” might spin yarn on a literal spinning wheel. The fates would spin the threads of human destiny on a figurative spinning wheel.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  9. Celia’s characterization of Fortune, or “Fortuna”—the goddess of luck and fate— is a reference to the Rota Fortunae, the medieval and Roman concept of one’s fate as a rotating wheel. The wheel spins between states of blessing and suffering, never allowing anyone to remain in a fixed fate.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  10. This type of bantering dialogue signals a comedic scene. This snappy wordplay demonstrates the character’s intelligence and sets up these characters as a type of trickster, someone who plays with boundaries and mocks the social customs by which everyone else lives their lives. As we will see, Rosalind and Celia spend much of the play challenging their boundaries as women.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor
  11. This exchange between Celia and Rosalind on the topic of love sets the stage for many of the themes and events that will unfold over the course of the play. Celia characterizes love as a game, which foreshadows the playfulness and trickery with which the courtship in the play will occur.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  12. “Rank” here means both a bad small and one’s social status. Rosalind plays on Touchstone’s words to both mock this man and the social structure that gives him his rank.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor
  13. Celia reveals another important sibling rivalry in the play: the conflict between Duke Senior, Rosalind’s exiled father, and his brother Duke Frederick, Celia’s usurping father. Celia promises to pass the right of governance to Rosalind rather than keep it for herself. The relationship between Celia and Rosalind represents a departure from the sibling rivalries between the two dukes as well as Oliver and Orlando.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  14. The relationship between the cousins Celia and Rosalind offers a parallel to the relationship between Oliver and Orlando. While the two brothers are locked in a vicious rivalry, the two cousins share a significantly more caring relationship. Shakespeare often crafted these parallels or “doubles,” as some scholars prefer, in his plays. This pair of familial relationships represents an example of a double.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  15. Celia criticizes Touchstone's inflated language by claiming it is "laid on with a trowel," or with unsubtle force, as though he's a bricklayer or mason guilty of poor workmanship.

    — Sarah St. Albin, Owl Eyes Staff
  16. This does not mean "funny"; it means "moody" and refers to the Elizabethan era belief in the four bodily humours: black bile,  yellow bile, blood, and phlegm. If any of these substances were too much in abundance or too lacking, a person would be imbalanced and their moods would be affected.

    — Jamie Wheeler
  17. Although not included here, many editors assume that Touchstone leaves with these three characters and does not reappear on stage until 2.4.

    — Jamie Wheeler
  18. A mild oath meaning "good luck," referring to the Greek god Hercules, whose main attribute was his tremendous strength.  

    — Jamie Wheeler
  19. Carries the biblical allusion of "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" when the body is buried.

    — Jamie Wheeler
  20. "Cousin," in Shakespeare's era, could mean any number of familial relations.

    — Jamie Wheeler
  21. The sounding of horns that announces the arrival of important persons, often royalty. 

    — Jamie Wheeler
  22. Although this can refer to music created by a variety of instruments, here "broken music" means the sounds that come from difficult breathing due to broken ribs. 

    — Jamie Wheeler