Act V - Act V, Scene 4

SCENE IV. Another part of the Forest.


Dost thou believe, Orlando, that the boy
Can do all this that he hath promised?

I sometimes do believe and sometimes do not:
As those that fear they hope, and know they fear.


Patience once more, whiles our compact is urg'd:--

[To the Duke.]

You say, if I bring in your Rosalind,
You will bestow her on Orlando here?

That would I, had I kingdoms to give with her.

[To Orlando.] And you say you will have her when I bring her?

That would I, were I of all kingdoms king.

[To Phebe.] You say you'll marry me, if I be willing?

That will I, should I die the hour after.

But if you do refuse to marry me,
You'll give yourself to this most faithful shepherd?

So is the bargain.

[To Silvius.] You say that you'll have Phebe, if she will?

Though to have her and death were both one thing.

I have promis'd to make all this matter even.
Keep you your word, O duke, to give your daughter;--
You yours, Orlando, to receive his daughter;--
Keep your word, Phebe, that you'll marry me;
Or else, refusing me, to wed this shepherd:--
Keep your word, Silvius, that you'll marry her
If she refuse me:--and from hence I go,
To make these doubts all even.

[Exeunt ROSALIND and CELIA.]

I do remember in this shepherd-boy
Some lively touches of my daughter's favour.

My lord, the first time that I ever saw him
Methought he was a brother to your daughter:
But, my good lord, this boy is forest-born,
And hath been tutor'd in the rudiments
Of many desperate studies by his uncle,
Whom he reports to be a great magician,
Obscured in the circle of this forest.

There is, sure, another flood toward, and these couples are
coming to the ark. Here comes a pair of very strange beasts
which in all tongues are called fools.


Salutation and greeting to you all!

Good my lord, bid him welcome. This is the motley-minded
gentleman that I have so often met in the forest: he hath
been a courtier, he swears.

If any man doubt that, let him put me to my purgation.
I have trod a measure; I have flattered a lady; I have been
politic with my friend, smooth with mine enemy; I have undone
three tailors; I have had four quarrels, and like to have fought

And how was that ta'en up?

Faith, we met, and found the quarrel was upon the seventh cause.

How seventh cause? Good my lord, like this fellow.

I like him very well.

God 'ild you, sir; I desire you of the like. I press in
here, sir, amongst the rest of the country copulatives, to swear
and to forswear; according as marriage binds and blood breaks:--A
poor virgin, sir, an ill-favoured thing, sir, but mine own; a
poor humour of mine, sir, to take that that no man else will;
rich honesty dwells like a miser, sir, in a poor-house; as your
pearl in your foul oyster.

By my faith, he is very swift and sententious.

According to the fool's bolt, sir, and such dulcet diseases.

But, for the seventh cause; how did you find the quarrel on
the seventh cause?

Upon a lie seven times removed;--bear your body more
seeming, Audrey:--as thus, sir, I did dislike the cut of a
certain courtier's beard; he sent me word, if I said his beard
was not cut well, he was in the mind it was: this is called the
Retort courteous. If I sent him word again it was not well cut,
he would send me word he cut it to please himself: this is called
the Quip modest. If again, it was not well cut, he disabled my
judgment: this is called the Reply churlish. If again, it was not
well cut, he would answer I spake not true: this is called the
Reproof valiant. If again, it was not well cut, he would say I
lie: this is called the Countercheck quarrelsome: and so, to the
Lie circumstantial, and the Lie direct.

And how oft did you say his beard was not well cut?

I durst go no further than the Lie circumstantial, nor
he durst not give me the Lie direct; and so we measured
swords and parted.

Can you nominate in order now the degrees of the lie?

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
Countercheck 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 peace-maker;--much virtue in

Is not this a rare fellow, my lord? he's as good at anything, and
yet a fool.

He uses his folly like a stalking-horse, and under the
presentation of that he shoots his wit.

[Enter HYMEN, leading ROSALIND in woman's clothes; and CELIA.]

[Still MUSIC.]

Then is there mirth in heaven,
When earthly things made even
Atone together.
Good duke, receive thy daughter;
Hymen from heaven brought her,
Yea, brought her hither,
That thou mightst join her hand with his,
Whose heart within his bosom is.

[To DUKE SENIOR.] To you I give myself, for I am yours.
[To ORLANDO.] To you I give myself, for I am yours.

If there be truth in sight, you are my daughter.

If there be truth in sight, you are my Rosalind.

If sight and shape be true,
Why then, my love, adieu!

[To DUKE SENIOR.] I'll have no father, if you be not he;--
[To ORLANDO.] I'll have no husband, if you be not he;--
[To PHEBE.] Nor ne'er wed woman, if you be not she.

Peace, ho! I bar confusion:
'Tis I must make conclusion
Of these most strange events:
Here's eight that must take hands
To join in Hymen's bands,
If truth holds true contents.
[To ORLANDO and ROSALIND.] You and you no cross shall part:
[To OLIVER and CELIA.] You and you are heart in heart;
[To PHEBE.] You to his love must accord,
Or have a woman to your lord:--
[To TOUCHSTONE and AUDREY.] You and you are sure together,
As the winter to foul weather.
Whiles a wedlock-hymn we sing,
Feed yourselves with questioning,
That reason wonder may diminish,
How thus we met, and these things finish.

Wedding is great Juno's crown;
O blessed bond of board and bed!
'Tis Hymen peoples every town;
High wedlock then be honoured;
Honour, high honour, and renown,
To Hymen, god of every town!

O my dear niece, welcome thou art to me!
Even daughter, welcome in no less degree.

[To SILVIUS.] I will not eat my word, now thou art mine;
Thy faith my fancy to thee doth combine.


Let me have audience for a word or two;
I am the second son of old Sir Rowland,
That bring these tidings to this fair assembly:--
Duke Frederick, hearing how that every day
Men of great worth resorted to this forest,
Address'd a mighty power; which were on foot,
In his own conduct, purposely to take
His brother here, and put him to the sword:
And to the skirts of this wild wood he came;
Where, meeting with an old religious man,
After some question with him, was converted
Both from his enterprise and from the world;
His crown bequeathing to his banish'd brother,
And all their lands restored to them again
That were with him exil'd. This to be true
I do engage my life.

Welcome, young man:
Thou offer'st fairly to thy brother's wedding:
To one, his lands withheld; and to the other,
A land itself at large, a potent dukedom.
First, in this forest, let us do those ends
That here were well begun and well begot:
And after, every of this happy number,
That have endur'd shrewd days and nights with us,
Shall share the good of our returned fortune,
According to the measure of their states.
Meantime, forget this new-fall'n dignity,
And fall into our rustic revelry:--
Play, music!--and you brides and bridegrooms all,
With measure heap'd in joy, to the measures fall.

Sir, by your patience. If I heard you rightly,
The duke hath put on a religious life,
And thrown into neglect the pompous court?

He hath.

To him will I: out of these convertites
There is much matter to be heard and learn'd.--
[To DUKE SENIOR] You to your former honour I bequeath;
Your patience and your virtue well deserves it:--
[To ORLANDO] You to a love that your true faith doth merit:--
[To OLIVER] You to your land, and love, and great allies:--
[To SILVIUS] You to a long and well-deserved bed:--
[To TOUCHSTONE] And you to wrangling; for thy loving voyage
Is but for two months victuall'd.--So to your pleasures;
I am for other than for dancing measures.

Stay, Jaques, stay.

To see no pastime I; what you would have
I'll stay to know at your abandon'd cave.


Proceed, proceed: we will begin these rites,
As we do trust they'll end, in true delights.

[A dance.]


It is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue; but
it is no more unhandsome than to see the lord the prologue.
If it be true that good wine needs no bush, 'tis true that a good
play needs no epilogue. Yet to good wine they do use good bushes;
and good plays prove the better by the help of good epilogues.
What a case am I in, then, that am neither a good epilogue nor
cannot insinuate with you in the behalf of a good play! I am not
furnished like a beggar; therefore to beg will not become me: my
way is to conjure you; and I'll begin with the women. I charge
you, O women, for the love you bear to men, to like as much of
this play as please you: and I charge you, O men, for the love
you bear to women;--as I perceive by your simpering, none of you
hates them,--that between you and the women the play may please.
If I were a woman, I would kiss as many of you as had beards that
pleased me, complexions that liked me, and breaths that I defied
not; and, I am sure, as many as have good beards, or good faces,
or sweet breaths, will, for my kind offer, when I make curtsy,
bid me farewell.



  1. Rosalind’s epilogue is remarkable for its level of self-awareness and self reflection. Rosalind steps outside the bounds of the play’s events to comment on the existence of the play itself. She goes so far as to comment on her own epilogue as she is delivering it. The underlying logic of her speech is that good plays do not require epilogues. She doubts the quality of her epilogue and, by extension, the quality of the play itself. It is unclear why Shakespeare chose to include this speech. One wonders whether the playwright is using Rosalind to express his creative doubts.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. This pair of lines touches on the play’s theme of identity and illusion. Throughout the preceding three acts of the play, Rosalind has shifted between external identities. Thus, Duke Senior and Orlando each say, “If there be truth in sight,” before defining Rosalind. This pair of line cements Rosalind’s identity, bringing an end to her Trickster ways.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. In a fascinating move, Touchstone externalizes his foolish qualities. He places the responsibility for his musings on “the fool’s bolt.” Such an image brings to mind Cupid’s arrow, and suggests that “the fool” is its own deific archetype. The characters in the play who embody the archetype of the Fool are not fools themselves so much as individuals momentarily struck by “the fool’s bolt.”

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. Touchstone’s phrase is a clever pun. Copulation works on two levels here. The series of soon-to-be-wedded couples are copulatives in the sense of sexual union. Copulation also refers to linguistic union, and so the phrase “country copulatives”—with its noticeable alliteration—is in itself copulative.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  5. Jaques uses the metaphor of Noah’s ark—a tale originally from the Book of Genesis—to describe the procession of couples headed to the wedding. The “flood toward” does not have a specific tenor, but connotatively suggests a raising of tension as the plot draws to a close.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  6. One reason for Rosalind’s exit here addresses the practicalities of the play’s production. The actor or actress performing as Rosalind would have needed time to go backstage and change costumes. This necessity accounts for the length of Touchstone’s jovial banter in the following lines.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  7. Orlando’s metaphor for his willingness to marry Rosalind carries an important connotation. The image of Orlando being “of all kingdoms king” foreshadows Orlando’s return to a state of grace.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  8. A “good” appearance in this time was thought to signify a good moral character. Rosalind claims that she would kiss everyone in the audience if she were a woman, but those with “good beards and faces” would bid her farewell rather than accepting this kiss. In the final lines of the play, Rosalind reinforces the idea that appearance can signal interiority.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  9. Rosalind’s epilogue once again plays with the boundaries of gender roles. At the beginning of this speech she claims that it is odd to see a woman play the Epilogue; yet by the end she makes her female identity once again hypothetical— “If I were a woman.”

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  10. “Simpering” means to smile affectionately. These two commands are interesting in that they are framed differently. To the women, Rosalind is able to give a direct commandment because she understands their emotional landscape —she assumes to know that the women love their men. To the men, however, Rosalind must draw on an external show of their affection in order to identify their internal emotions. This difference suggests that though she plays with boundaries Rosalind still interacts with the world from a female perspective.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  11. Once again, Rosalind “conjures,” implores someone to do something, other people to do her will. Even after she has orchestrated the happy ending of this play, she continues to command the audience and act as a playwright.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  12. Rosalind underscores a major theme within the play in this final Epilogue: the power of external appearance or dress over one’s identity. Because she is not wearing beggar’s clothing, she cannot beg the audience to love the play.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  13. Hymen was the Greek god of marriage who was supposed to be present at every wedding. His absence was considered a bad omen for the future of the marriage. It was custom at Greek weddings to run about calling his name to summons him to the ceremony. It is unclear whether Shakespeare intended this to be the presence of the actual god or simply a symbol for a good marriage.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  14. Requires no advertisement.  The saying comes from the practice of hanging ivy outside of a tavern window (or in one) to indicate the establishment served wine. 

    — Jamie Wheeler
  15. *As You Like It *is the only known Elizabethan play in which the epilogue is delivered by a female character.

    — Jamie Wheeler
  16. The entire country will be inherited by Orlando, as he is heir to the dukedom of Duke Senior.

    — Jamie Wheeler
  17. In mythology, Hymen is the god of marriage. He is usually depicted carrying both a veil and a bridal torch.

    — Jamie Wheeler
  18. A horse, which might be fabricated or real, used as a decoy or camouflage in hunting.

    — Jamie Wheeler
  19. Sworn each other as brothers (complete loyalty, as if bonded by blood). 

    — Jamie Wheeler
  20. Books on conduct and etiquette were immensely popular in Elizabethan England.

    — Jamie Wheeler
  21. His wittiness vanishes; a take on the proverb, "A fool's arrow is too soon shot."

    — Jamie Wheeler
  22. Alluding to the biblical tale of "Noah and the Ark," in which pairs of male and female animals took shelter on his vessel, commissioned by God, to escape the flood.

    — Jamie Wheeler
  23. Concealed by the forest's boundaries. It may also be an allusion to the belief that within a magic circle, magicians could perform their craft without fear of reprisal. 

    — Jamie Wheeler