As You Like It by William Shakespeare

As You Like It

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subjects: Plays: Classic & Pre-20th Century

Description

When Rosalind is banished by her uncle, who has usurped her father’s throne, she flees to the Forest of Arden where her exiled father holds court. There, dressed as a boy to avoid discovery, she encounters the man she loves - now a fellow exile - and resolves to remain in disguise to test his feelings for her. A gloriously sunny comedy, As You Like It is an exuberant combination of concealed identities and verbal jousting, reconciliations and multiple weddings.


90 pages, with a reading time of ~3.0 hours (22,697 words), and first published in 1600. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, .

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Excerpt

ORLANDO

As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion bequeathed me by will but poor a thousand crowns, and, as thou sayest, charged my brother, on his blessing, to breed me well: and there begins my sadness. My brother Jaques he keeps at school, and report speaks goldenly of his profit: for my part, he keeps me rustically at home, or, to speak more properly, stays me here at home unkept; for call you that keeping for a gentleman of my birth, that differs not from the stalling of an ox? His horses are bred better; for, besides that they are fair with their feeding, they are taught their manage, and to that end riders dearly hired: but I, his brother, gain nothing under him but growth; for the which his animals on his dunghills are as much bound to him as I. Besides this nothing that he so plentifully gives me, the something that nature gave me his countenance seems to take from me: he lets me feed with his hinds, bars me the place of a brother, and, as much as in him lies, mines my gentility with my education. This is it, Adam, that grieves me; and the spirit of my father, which I think is within me, begins to mutiny against this servitude: I will no longer endure it, though yet I know no wise remedy how to avoid it.

ADAM

Yonder comes my master, your brother.

ORLANDO

Go apart, Adam, and thou shalt hear how he will shake me up.

[Enter OLIVER]

OLIVER

Now, sir! what make you here?

ORLANDO

Nothing: I am not taught to make any thing.

OLIVER

What mar you then, sir?

ORLANDO

Marry, sir, I am helping you to mar that which God made, a poor unworthy brother of yours, with idleness.

OLIVER

Marry, sir, be better employed, and be naught awhile.

ORLANDO

Shall I keep your hogs and eat husks with them? What prodigal portion have I spent, that I should come to such penury?

OLIVER

Know you where your are, sir?

ORLANDO

O, sir, very well; here in your orchard.

OLIVER

Know you before whom, sir?

ORLANDO

Ay, better than him I am before knows me. I know you are my eldest brother; and, in the gentle condition of blood, you should so know me. The courtesy of nations allows you my better, in that you are the first-born; but the same tradition takes not away my blood, were there twenty brothers betwixt us: I have as much of my father in me as you; albeit, I confess, your coming before me is nearer to his reverence.

OLIVER

What, boy!

ORLANDO

Come, come, elder brother, you are too young in this.

OLIVER

Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain?

ORLANDO

I am no villain; I am the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys; he was my father, and he is thrice a villain that says such a father begot villains. Wert thou not my brother, I would not take this hand from thy throat till this other had pulled out thy tongue for saying so: thou hast railed on thyself.

ADAM

Sweet masters, be patient: for your father’s remembrance, be at accord.

OLIVER

Let me go, I say.

ORLANDO

I will not, till I please: you shall hear me. My father charged you in his will to give me good education: you have trained me like a peasant, obscuring and hiding from me all gentleman-like qualities. The spirit of my father grows strong in me, and I will no longer endure it: therefore allow me such exercises as may become a gentleman, or give me the poor allottery my father left me by testament; with that I will go buy my fortunes.

OLIVER

And what wilt thou do? beg, when that is spent? Well, sir, get you in: I will not long be troubled with you; you shall have some part of your will: I pray you, leave me.

ORLANDO

I will no further offend you than becomes me for my good.

OLIVER

Get you with him, you old dog.

ADAM

Is ‘old dog’ my reward? Most true, I have lost my teeth in your service. God be with my old master! he would not have spoke such a word.

[Exeunt ORLANDO and ADAM]

OLIVER

Is it even so? begin you to grow upon me? I will physic your rankness, and yet give no thousand crowns neither. Holla, Dennis!

[Enter DENNIS]

DENNIS

Calls your worship?

OLIVER

Was not Charles, the duke’s wrestler, here to speak with me?

DENNIS

So please you, he is here at the door and importunes access to you.

OLIVER

Call him in.

[Exit DENNIS]

‘Twill be a good way; and to-morrow the wrestling is.

[Enter CHARLES]

CHARLES

Good morrow to your worship.

OLIVER

Good Monsieur Charles, what’s the new news at the new court?