Act V - Act V, Scene 3

SCENE III. Another part of the Forest.

[Enter TOUCHSTONE and AUDREY.]

TOUCHSTONE.
To-morrow is the joyful day, Audrey; to-morrow will we be
married.

AUDREY.
I do desire it with all my heart; and I hope it is no
dishonest desire to desire to be a woman of the world. Here
come two of the banished duke's pages.

[Enter two Pages.]

FIRST PAGE.
Well met, honest gentleman.

TOUCHSTONE.
By my troth, well met. Come sit, sit, and a song.

SECOND PAGE.
We are for you: sit i' the middle.

FIRST PAGE.
Shall we clap into't roundly, without hawking, or spitting, or
saying we are hoarse, which are the only prologues to a bad
voice?

SECOND PAGE.
I'faith, i'faith; and both in a tune, like two gipsies on a
horse.

SONG.
I.
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.

II.
Between the acres of the rye,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
These pretty country folks would lie,
In the spring time, &c.

III.
This carol they began that hour,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that a life was but a flower,
In the spring time, &c.

IV.
And therefore take the present time,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crowned with the prime,
In the spring time, &c.

TOUCHSTONE.
Truly, young gentlemen, though there was no great
matter in the ditty, yet the note was very untimeable.

FIRST PAGE.
You are deceived, sir; we kept time, we lost not our time.

TOUCHSTONE.
By my troth, yes; I count it but time lost to hear such
a foolish song. God be with you; and God mend your voices! Come,
Audrey.

[Exeunt.]

Footnotes

  1. Touchstone insults the song sung by the two pages. After he accuses the two pages of keeping poor time, they reply “we lost not our time.” Touchstone’s response represents a clever chiasmus—or reversal—of the page’s phrase: “I count it but time lost.”

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  2. “Untimeable” in this context means both out of tune and off rhythm. Touchstone uses this word to mock the singer’s poor performance.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. A “ditty” is a frivolous song used to signify a celebration or joy. The players sing this song in order to signal the comedic resolution to the play; we end with a joyous celebration.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. This is one of the very few surviving songs of Shakespeare's for which contemporary music survives.  It is set for a lute and a single voice and is found in Thomas Morley's 1600 volume, First Book of Aryes.

    — Jamie Wheeler
  5. Should we just go ahead and begin, without first clearing our throats? 

    — Jamie Wheeler