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I kuow not the contents: but, as I guess,
By the stern brow, and waspish action,
Which she did use as she was writing of it,
It bears an angry tenor : pardon me,
I am but as a guiltless messenger.
Ros. [Reading.] Patience herself would startle at

this letter,
And play the swaggerer; bear this, bear all :

says, I am not fair; that I lack manners; She calls me proud; and that she could not love me, Were man as rare as phænix: 'Od's my will ! Her love is not the hare that I do hunt: Why writes she so to me :-Well, shepherd, weil, This is a letter of your own device.

Sylv. No, I protest, I know not the contents ; Phebe did write it.

Ros. Why, 'tis a boisterous and a cruel style, A style for challengers; why, she defies me, Like Turk to Christian: woman's gentle brain Could not drop forth such giant-rude invention, Such Ethiop words, blacker in their effect Than in their countenance :-Will you hear the let

ter? Sylo. So please you, for I never heard it yet; Yet heard too much of Phebe's cruelty. Ros. She Phebe's me: Mark how the tyrant


[Reads.] Art thou god to shepherd turn'd,

Thut a maiden's heart hath burn'd?

Can a woman rail thus ?

Sylv. Call you this railing ?

Ros. (Reads.] Why, thy godhead laid apart,

Warr'st thou with a woman's heart?

Did you ever hear such railing ?

Whiles the eye of man did woo me,
That could do no vengeance to me.

Meaning me a beast.

If the scorn of your bright eyne
Have power to raise such love in mine,
Alack, in me what strange effect
Would they work in mild aspect !


I did love ;
How then might your prayers move ?
He, that brings this love to thee,
Little knows this love in me:
And by him seal up thy mind;
Whether that thy youth and kind
Will the faithful offer take
Of me, and all that I can make;
Ör else by him my love deny,
And then I'll study how to die.

Sylv. Call you this chiding? Cel. Alas, poor shepherd ! Ros. Do you pity him? no, he deserves no pity.Wilt thou love such a woman? What, to make thee an instrument, and play false strains upon thee! not to be endured !--Well, go, your way to her (for I see love hath made thee a tame snake,) and say this to her :-" That, if she love me, I charge her to love thee: if she will not, I will never have her, unless thou entreat for her.” If you be a true lover, hence, and not a word; for here comes more company.

[Exit SYLVIUS. Enter OLIVER. Oliv. Good-morrow, fair ones: Pray you, if yoų

know Where, in the purlieus of this forest, stands A sheep-cote, fenc'd about with olive trees ?

Cel. West of this place, down in the neighbour

The rank of osiers, by the murmuring stream,
Left on your right hand, brings you to the place:
But, at this hour, the house doth keep itself;
There's none within.

Oliv. If that an eye may profit by a'tongue,
Then should I know you by description;
Such garments, and such years : 1“ The boy is fair,
Of female favour, and bestows himself
Like a ripe sister : but the woman low,
And browner than her brother.” Are not you
The owner of the house I did inquire for?

Cel. It is no boast, being ask'd, to say we are.
Olit. Orlando doth commend him to you both

; And to that youth, he calls his Rosalind, He sends this bloody napkin. Are you he?

Ros. I am: What must we understand by this?
Oliv. Some of



will know of me What man I am, and how, and why, and where This handkerchief was stain'd.

Cel. I pray you, tell it.
Oliv. When last the young Orlando parted from

He left a promise to return again
Within an hour; and, pacing through the forest,
Chewing the food of sweet and bitter fancy,
Lo, what befel! he threw his eye aside,
And, mark, what object did present itself!
Under an oak, whose boughs were moss'd with age,
And high top bald with dry antiquity,
A wretched ragged man, o'ergrown with hair,
Lay sleeping on his back! about his neck
A green and gilded snake had wreath'd itself,
Who, with her head, nimble in threats, approach'd
The opening of his mouth; but, suddenly,
Seeing Orlando, it unlink'd itself,
And, with indented glides, did slip away

Into a bush: under which bush's shade
A lioness, with udders all drawn dry,
Lay couching, head on ground, with cat-like watch,
When that the sleeping man should stir; for 'tis
The royal disposition of that beast,
To prey on nothing that doth seem as dead :
This seen, Orlando did approach the inan,
And found it was his brother, his elder brother.
Cel. O, I have heard him speak of that same bro-

And he did render him the most unnatural
That liv'd mong'st men.

Oliv. And well he might so do, For well I know he was unnatural,

Ros. But, to Orlando:-Did he leave him there, Food to the suck'd and hungry lioness?

Oliv. Twice did he turn his back, and purpos’d so:
But kindness, nobler ever than revenge,
And nature, stronger ever than his just occasion,
Made him give battle to the lioness,
Who quickly fell before him; in which hurtling
From miserable slumber I awak'd,

Cel. Are you his brother?
Ros. Was it you he rescu'd ?
Cel. Was't you that did so oft contrive to kill him?

Oliv. 'Twas I; but 'tis not I: I do not shame
To tell you what I was, since my conversion
So sweetly tastes, being the thing I am.

Ros. But, for the bloody napkin?

Oliv. By and by.
When, from the first to last, betwixt us two,
'Tears our recountments had most kindly bath’d,
As how I came into that desert place;-
In brief, he led me to the gentle Duke,
Who gave me fresh array, and entertainment,
Committing me unto my brother's love;
Who led me instantly unto his cave,
There stripp'd himself, and here, upon his arm,

The lioness had torn some flesh away,
Which all this while had bled; and now he fainted,
And cry'd, in fainting, upon Rosalind.
Brief, I recover'd him; bound up his wound;
And, after some small space, being strong at heart,
He sent me hither, stranger as I am,
To tell this story, that you might excuse
His broken promise, and to give this napkin,
Dy'd in this blood, unto the shepherd youth
That he, in sport, doth call his Rosalind.
Cel. Why, how now, Ganymede? sweet Ganymede ?

(ROSALIND faints.
Oliv. Many will swoon when they do look on blood.
Cel. There is more in it :-Cousin-Ganymede!
Oliv. Look, he recovers.
Ros. I would I were at home!

Cel. We'll lead you thither :
I pray you will take him by the arm!

Oliv. Be of good cheer, youth :-You a man!You lack a man's heart.

Ros. I do so, I confess it. Ah, 'sir, a body would think this was well counterfeited : I

pray you,


your brother how well I counterfeited.—Heigho !

Olio. This was not counterfeit; there is too great testimony in your complexion, that it was a passion of earnest.

Ros. Counterfeit, I assure you.

Oliv. Well then, take a good heart, and counterfeit to be a man.

Ros. So I do: but, i'faith, I should have been a woman by right.

Cel. Come, you look paler and paler ; pray you, draw homewards :-Good sir, go with us.

Oliv. That will I; for I must bear answer back, How you excuse


brother, Rosalind. Ros. I shall devise something: But, I pray you, commend my counterfeiting to him.-Will you go?


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