Hang there, my verse, in witness of my love;
And thou, thrice-crowned Queen of Night, survey
With thy chaste eye, from thy pale sphere above,
Thy huntress' name that my full life doth sway.
O Rosalind! these trees shall be my books,
And in their barks my thoughts I'll character,
That every eye which in this forest looks
Shall see thy virtue witness'd every where.
Run, run, Orlando; carve on every tree,
The fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she.
And how like you this shepherd's life, Master Touchstone?
Truly, shepherd, in respect of itself, it is a good
life; but in respect that it is a shepherd's life, it is nought.
In respect that it is solitary, I like it very well; but in
respect that it is private, it is a very vile life. Now in
respect it is in the fields, it pleaseth me well; but in respect
it is not in the court, it is tedious. As it is a spare life,
look you, it fits my humour well; but as there is no more plenty
in it, it goes much against my stomach. Hast any philosophy in
No more but that I know the more one sickens the worse at
ease he is; and that he that wants money, means, and content, is
without three good friends; that the property of rain is to wet,
and fire to burn; that good pasture makes fat sheep; and that a
great cause of the night is lack of the sun; that he that hath
learned no wit by nature nor art may complain of good breeding,
or comes of a very dull kindred.
Such a one is a natural philosopher. Wast ever in
Why, if thou never wast at court thou never saw'st good
manners; if thou never saw'st good manners, then thy manners must
be wicked; and wickedness is sin, and sin is damnation. Thou art
in a parlous state, shepherd.
Not a whit, Touchstone. Those that are good manners at the
court are as ridiculous in the country as the behaviour of the
country is most mockable at the court. You told me you salute not
at the court, but you kiss your hands; that courtesy would be
uncleanly if courtiers were shepherds.
Your lips will feel them the sooner. Shallow again. A
more sounder instance; come.
And they are often tarr'd over with the surgery of our
sheep; and would you have us kiss tar? The courtier's hands are
perfum'd with civet.
Most shallow man! thou worm's meat in respect of a good
piece of flesh indeed! Learn of the wise, and perpend: civet is
of a baser birth than tar- the very uncleanly flux of a cat. Mend
the instance, shepherd.
You have too courtly a wit for me; I'll rest.
Wilt thou rest damn'd? God help thee, shallow man! God
make incision in thee! thou art raw.
Sir, I am a true labourer: I earn that I eat, get that I
wear; owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness; glad of other
men's good, content with my harm; and the greatest of my pride is
to see my ewes graze and my lambs suck.
That is another simple sin in you: to bring the ewes
and the rams together, and to offer to get your living by the
copulation of cattle; to be bawd to a bell-wether, and to betray
a she-lamb of a twelvemonth to crooked-pated, old, cuckoldly ram,
out of all reasonable match. If thou beest not damn'd for this,
the devil himself will have no shepherds; I cannot see else how
thou shouldst scape.
Here comes young Master Ganymede, my new mistress's brother.
'From the east to western Inde,
No jewel is like Rosalinde.
Her worth, being mounted on the wind,
Through all the world bears Rosalinde.
All the pictures fairest lin'd
Are but black to Rosalinde.
Let no face be kept in mind
But the fair of Rosalinde.'
I'll rhyme you so eight years together, dinners, and
suppers, and sleeping hours, excepted. It is the right
butter-women's rank to market.
For a taste:
If a hart do lack a hind,
Let him seek out Rosalinde.
If the cat will after kind,
So be sure will Rosalinde.
Winter garments must be lin'd,
So must slender Rosalinde.
They that reap must sheaf and bind,
Then to cart with Rosalinde.
Sweetest nut hath sourest rind,
Such a nut is Rosalinde.
He that sweetest rose will find
Must find love's prick and Rosalinde.
This is the very false gallop of verses; why do you infect
yourself with them?
Peace, you dull fool! I found them on a tree.
I'll graff it with you, and then I shall graff it with a
medlar. Then it will be the earliest fruit i' th' country; for
you'll be rotten ere you be half ripe, and that's the right
virtue of the medlar.
You have said; but whether wisely or no, let the forest
Here comes my sister, reading; stand aside.
'Why should this a desert be?
For it is unpeopled? No;
Tongues I'll hang on every tree
That shall civil sayings show.
Some, how brief the life of man
Runs his erring pilgrimage,
That the streching of a span
Buckles in his sum of age;
Some, of violated vows
'Twixt the souls of friend and friend;
But upon the fairest boughs,
Or at every sentence end,
Will I Rosalinda write,
Teaching all that read to know
The quintessence of every sprite
Heaven would in little show.
Therefore heaven Nature charg'd
That one body should be fill'd
With all graces wide-enlarg'd.
Nature presently distill'd
Helen's cheek, but not her heart,
Atalanta's better part,
Sad Lucretia's modesty.
Thus Rosalinde of many parts
By heavenly synod was devis'd,
Of many faces, eyes, and hearts,
To have the touches dearest priz'd.
Heaven would that she these gifts should have,
And I to live and die her slave.'
O most gentle Jupiter! What tedious homily of love have
you wearied your parishioners withal, and never cried 'Have
patience, good people.'
How now! Back, friends; shepherd, go off a little; go with
Come, shepherd, let us make an honourable retreat;
though not with bag and baggage, yet with scrip and scrippage.
O, yes, I heard them all, and more too; for some of them
had in them more feet than the verses would bear.
That's no matter; the feet might bear the verses.
Ay, but the feet were lame, and could not bear themselves
without the verse, and therefore stood lamely in the verse.
But didst thou hear without wondering how thy name should be
hang'd and carved upon these trees?
I was seven of the nine days out of the wonder before you
came; for look here what I found on a palm-tree. I was never so
berhym'd since Pythagoras' time that I was an Irish rat, which I
can hardly remember.
Nay, I prithee now, with most petitionary vehemence, tell
me who it is.
O wonderful, wonderful, most wonderful wonderful, and yet
again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping!
Good my complexion! dost thou think, though I am
caparison'd like a man, I have a doublet and hose in my
disposition? One inch of delay more is a South Sea of discovery.
I prithee tell me who is it quickly, and speak apace. I would
thou could'st stammer, that thou mightst pour this conceal'd man
out of thy mouth, as wine comes out of narrow-mouth'd bottle-
either too much at once or none at all. I prithee take the cork
out of thy mouth that I may drink thy tidings.
Alas the day! what shall I do with my doublet and hose?
What did he when thou saw'st him? What said he? How look'd he?
Wherein went he? What makes he here? Did he ask for me? Where
remains he? How parted he with thee? And when shalt thou see him
again? Answer me in one word.
You must borrow me Gargantua's mouth first; 'tis a word too
great for any mouth of this age's size. To say ay and no to these
particulars is more than to answer in a catechism.
But doth he know that I am in this forest, and in man's
apparel? Looks he as freshly as he did the day he wrestled?
It is as easy to count atomies as to resolve the
propositions of a lover; but take a taste of my finding him, and
relish it with good observance. I found him under a tree, like a
It may well be call'd Jove's tree, when it drops forth
Marry, he trots hard with a young maid between the
contract of her marriage and the day it is solemniz'd; if the
interim be but a se'nnight, Time's pace is so hard that it seems
the length of seven year.
With a priest that lacks Latin and a rich man that hath
not the gout; for the one sleeps easily because he cannot study,
and the other lives merrily because he feels no pain; the one
lacking the burden of lean and wasteful learning, the other
knowing no burden of heavy tedious penury. These Time ambles
As the coney that you see dwell where she is kindled.
Your accent is something finer than you could purchase in
so removed a dwelling.
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 inland
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.
Can you remember any of the principal evils that he laid
to the charge of women?
There were none principal; they were all like one another
as halfpence are; every one fault seeming monstrous till his
fellow-fault came to match it.
No; I will not cast away my physic 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
I am he that is so love-shak'd; I pray you tell me your
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.
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 unbutton'd, 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.
Fair youth, I would I could make thee believe I love.
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?
I swear to thee, youth, by the white hand of Rosalind, I
am that he, that unfortunate he.
But are you so much in love as your rhymes speak?
Neither rhyme nor reason can express how much.
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 punish'd and cured is that the lunacy is so
ordinary that the whippers are in love too. Yet I profess curing
it by counsel.
Yes, one; and in this manner. 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 anything, as boys and
women are for the most part cattle of this colour; would now like
him, now loathe 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 monastic. And thus I cur'd 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.