As You Like It

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Duke Senior, Amiens, and Lords, dressed as

foresters, or outlaws


I think he be transformed into a beast,

For I can nowhere find him like a man.


My lord, he is but even now gone hence,

Here was he merry, hearing of a song.


If he, compact of jars, grow musical,
compact (adj.) 2 made up, composed
jar (n.) 2 discord, disharmony, disagreement

We shall have shortly discord in the spheres.
sphere (n.) 1 celestial globe in which a heavenly body was thought to move, orbit See Topics: Cosmos

Go, seek him, tell him I would speak with him.

Enter Jaques


He saves my labour by his own approach.


Why, how now, Monsieur, what a life is this,

That your poor friends must woo your company?

What, you look merrily?


A fool, a fool! I met a fool i'th' forest,

A motley fool – a miserable world! –
motley (adj.) in the distinctive [multicoloured] dress of a fool

As I do live by food, I met a fool,

Who laid him down, and basked him in the sun,

And railed on Lady Fortune in good terms,
rail (v.) rant, rave, be abusive [about] See Topics: Frequency count

In good set terms, and yet a motley fool.
set (adj.) 3 carefully composed, deliberately expressed

‘ Good morrow, fool,’ quoth I. ‘ No, sir,’ quoth he,
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count
quoth (v.) said See Topics: Frequency count

‘ Call me not fool till heaven hath sent me fortune.’

And then he drew a dial from his poke,
dial (n.) watch, timepiece, pocket sundial
poke (n.) pocket, wallet, bag

And looking on it, with lack-lustre eye,
lack-lustre (adj.) sombre, solemn, grave

Says, very wisely, ‘ It is ten o'clock.’

‘ Thus we may see,’ quoth he, ‘ how the world wags:
quoth (v.) said See Topics: Frequency count
wag (v.) 3 move, stir, rouse

'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,
ripe (v.) ripen, mature

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,
moral (v.) moralize, sermonize

My lungs began to crow like Chanticleer

That fools should be so deep-contemplative;

And I did laugh, sans intermission,
intermission (n.) 2 respite, pause, rest
sans (prep.) without

An hour by his dial. O noble fool!
dial (n.) watch, timepiece, pocket sundial

A worthy fool: motley's the only wear!
motley (n.) 1 distinctive dress of a fool
wear (n.) fashion, vogue, trend


What fool is this?


A worthy fool: one that hath been a courtier,

And says, 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
dry (adj.) 2 dried, withered, shrivelled
remainder (adj.) left-over, remaining, uneaten

After a voyage, he hath strange places crammed

With observation, the which he vents
observation (n.) 3 observed truth, maxim
vent (v.) 1 utter, express, air, proclaim

In mangled forms. O that I were a fool!

I am ambitious for a motley coat.
motley (adj.) in the distinctive [multicoloured] dress of a fool


Thou shalt have one.
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count
suit (n.) 4 clothing, dress, garb


                         It is my only suit –

Provided that you weed your better judgements

Of all opinion that grows rank in them
rank (adj.) 1 growing in abundance, excessively luxuriant [often unattractively]

That I am wise. I must have liberty

Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
charter (n.) 1 right, privilege, prerogative

To blow on whom I please, for so fools have;

And they that are most galled with my folly
galled (adj.) 1 sore, swollen, inflamed

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,
bob (n.) jest, jibe, taunt
senseless (adj.) 1 lacking human sensation, incapable of feeling

The wise man's folly is anatomized
anatomize, annothanize (v.) dissect, reveal, lay open

Even by the squandering glances of the fool.
glance (n.) hit, innuendo, riposte
squandering (adj.) random, stray, accidental

Invest me in my motley; give me leave
motley (n.) 1 distinctive dress of a fool

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.


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


What, for a counter, would I do, but good?
counter, compter (n.) 2 imitation coin, something of no value


Most mischievous foul sin, in chiding sin:
chide (v.), past form chid 1 scold, rebuke, reprove See Topics: Frequency count

For thou thyself hast been a libertine,
libertine (n.) 1 debaucher, reprobate, dissolute

As sensual as the brutish sting itself,
sting (n.) urging of lust, inflaming of passion

And all th' embossed sores and headed evils
embossed (adj.) 3 swollen, bulging, protuberant
evil (n.) 2 malady, illness, disease
headed (adj.) having come to a head, full-grown, matured

That thou with licence of free foot hast caught

Wouldst thou disgorge into the general world.


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?
mean (n.) 4 (plural) resources, wherewithal, wealth

What woman in the city do I name

When that I say the city woman bears

The cost of princes on unworthy shoulders?
cost (n.) 1 outlay, expense, expenditure

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,
base (adj.) 3 poor, wretched, of low quality See Topics: Frequency count
function (n.) 3 office, occupation, calling

That says his bravery is not on my cost,
bravery (n.) 1 finery, fine clothes, rich dress
cost (n.) 1 outlay, expense, expenditure

Thinking that I mean him, but therein suits

His folly to the mettle of my speech?
mettle, mettell (n.) 3 substance, matter

There then, how then, what then? Let me see wherein

My tongue hath wronged him: if it do him right,
do (v.) 1 describe, depict, report
right (adv.) 3 correctly, truly, accurately

Then he hath wronged himself; if he be free,
free (adj.) 5 innocent, guiltless

Why then my taxing like a wild-goose flies,
taxing (n.) criticism, censure, reproof

Unclaimed of any man. But who come here?

Enter Orlando
forbear (v.) 1 stop, cease, desist See Topics: Frequency count


Forbear, and eat no more.


Why, I have eat none yet.


Nor shalt not, till necessity be served.


Of what kind should this cock come of?


Art thou thus boldened, man, by thy distress
boldened (adj.) emboldened, made brave

Or else a rude despiser of good manners,
rude (adj.) 5 impolite, offensive

That in civility thou seemest so empty?
civility (n.) civilized conduct, courteous behaviour, good manners


You touched my vein at first: the thorny point
first, at at once, immediately, from the start
touch (v.) 5 diagnose, ascertain
vein (n.) 1 state of mind, motive, mood

Of bare distress hath ta'en from me the show

Of smooth civility; yet am I inland bred
civility (n.) civilized conduct, courteous behaviour, good manners
inland (adv.) in civilized society, not rustic

And know some nurture. But forbear, I say,
forbear (v.) 1 stop, cease, desist See Topics: Frequency count
nurture (n.) manners, culture, good upbringing

He dies that touches any of this fruit

Till I and my affairs are answered.
answer (v.) 3 satisfy, discharge, requite


An you will not be answered with reason, I must



What would you have? Your gentleness shall force,
gentleness (n.) 1 nobility, good breeding, courtesy

More than your force move us to gentleness.


I almost die for food, and let me have it.


Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table.


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

I thought that all things had been savage here,

And therefore put I on the countenance
countenance (n.) 1 demeanour, bearing, manner

Of stern commandment. But whate'er you are

That in this desert inaccessible,
desert, desart (n.) 5 desolate place, wilderness

Under the shade of melancholy boughs,
melancholy (adj.) dark, dismal, gloomy

Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time:

If ever you have looked on better days;

If ever been where bells have knolled to church;
knoll (v.) toll, ring, peal

If ever sat at any good man's feast;

If ever from your eyelids wiped a tear,

And know what 'tis to pity and be pitied,

Let gentleness my strong enforcement be,
gentleness (n.) 1 nobility, good breeding, courtesy

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


True is it that we have seen better days,

And have with holy bell been knolled to church,
knoll (v.) toll, ring, peal

And sat at good men's feasts, and wiped our eyes

Of drops that sacred pity hath engendered:

And therefore sit you down in gentleness
gentleness (n.) 2 freedom from harshness, peace

And take upon command what help we have
command, at / upon at one's disposal, at one's pleasure

That to your wanting may be ministered.
wanting (n.) needs, wants


Then but forbear your food a little while
forbear (v.) 2 leave alone, avoid, stay away [from] See Topics: Frequency count

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

Limped in pure love; till he be first sufficed,
suffice (v.) 1 satisfy, nourish, provide for

Oppressed with two weak evils, age and hunger,
evil (n.) 1 affliction, misfortune, hardship
weak (adj.) 2 weakening, debilitating, enfeebling

I will not touch a bit.


                         Go find him out

And we will nothing waste till you return.
waste (v.) 2 consume, use up


I thank ye, and be blessed for your good comfort!
ye (pron.) you [singular or plural]



Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy.

This wide and universal theatre

Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
pageant (n.) show, scene, spectacle, tableau
scene (n.) 1 play, drama, performance

Wherein we play in.


                         All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;
merely (adv.) 3 only, nothing more than

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts,
time (n.) 3 lifetime, life

His Acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
mewl (v.) mewl [like a cat]; or: cry feebly

Then, the whining schoolboy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school; and then the lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
woeful (adj.) full of woe, sorrowful, mournful

Made to his mistress' eyebrow; then, a soldier,

Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
pard (n.) panther, leopard

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
jealous (adj.) 4 vigilant, zealous, solicitous
sudden (adj.) 6 unpredictable, prone to sudden violence

Seeking the bubble reputation
bubble (n.) empty thing, pretty sham, deceptive show

Even in the cannon's mouth; and then, the justice,

In fair round belly, with good capon lined,
capon (n.) 1 chicken, castrated cockerel [bred for eating]
line (v.) 3 cram, stuff, fill

With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances,
instance (n.) 2 illustration, example, case
modern (adj.) ordinary, trite, commonplace, everyday
saw (n.) wise saying, platitude, maxim

And so he plays his part; the sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
pantaloon (n.) old man, dotard [i.e. one wearing pantaloons = breeches] See Topics: Clothing

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
hose (n.) [pair of] breeches See Topics: Clothing

For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound; last Scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,
history (n.) 2 history-play, chronicle, stage drama

Is second childishness, and mere oblivion,
childishness (n.) childhood, period of childish behaviour
mere (adj.) 1 complete, total, absolute, utter See Topics: Frequency count

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
sans (prep.) without

Enter Orlando with Adam


Welcome. Set down your venerable burden,

And let him feed.


I thank you most for him.


                         So had you need;

I scarce can speak to thank you for myself.


Welcome, fall to. I will not trouble you

As yet to question you about your fortunes.

Give us some music and, good cousin, sing.



Blow, blow, thou winter wind,

Thou art not so unkind

As man's ingratitude.

Thy tooth is not so keen,

Because thou art not seen,

Although thy breath be rude.
rude (adj.) 1 violent, harsh, unkind

Hey-ho, sing hey-ho, unto the green holly,

Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly;
mere (adj.) 1 complete, total, absolute, utter See Topics: Frequency count

Then hey-ho, the holly,

This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky

That dost not bite so nigh

As benefits forgot.

Though thou the waters warp,
warp (v.) 1 turn, twist, change

Thy sting is not so sharp

As friend remembered not.

Hey-ho, sing hey-ho, unto the green holly,

Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly;

Then hey-ho, the holly,

This life is most jolly.


If that you were the good Sir Rowland's son,

As you have whispered faithfully you were,

And as mine eye doth his effigies witness
effigy (n.) likeness, image, portrait

Most truly limned and living in your face,
limned (v.) portrayed, reproduced, painted

Be truly welcome hither. I am the Duke

That loved your father. The residue of your fortune,

Go to my cave and tell me. – Good old man,

Thou art right welcome as thy master is. –

Support him by the arm. Give me your hand,

And let me all your fortunes understand.


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