Page images

speare's plays which contain so many passages that are quoted and remembered, and phrases that have become in a manner proverbial. To enumerate them would be to mention every scene in the play. And I must no longer detain the reader from this most delightful of Shakspeare's


Malone places the composition of this play in 1599. There is no

edition known previous to that in the folio of 1623. But it appears among

the miscellaneous entries of prohibited pieces in the Stationers' books,

[merged small][ocr errors]


Duke, living in exile.
FREDERICK, Brother to the Duke, and Usurper of his Dominions.
INQUES, Lords attending upon the Duke in his banishment.
LE BEAU, a Courtier attending upon Frederick.
CHARLES, his Wrestler.
JAQUES, Sons of Sir Rowland de Bois.

Servants to Oliver.
TouchSTONE, a Clown.

William, a country Fellow, in love with Audrey.
A Person representing Hymen.

ROSALIND, Daughter to the banished Duke.
Celia, Daughter to Frederick.
PHEBE, a Shepherdess.
AUDREY, a country Wench.

Lords belonging to the two Dukes; Pages, Foresters, and other


The SCENE lies, first, near Oliver's IIouse; afterwards, partly in

the Usurper's Court, and partly in the Forest of Arden.



SCENE I. An Orchard near Oliver's House.



Orlando. As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion bequeathed me? by will ; but a poor 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

1 Sir W. Blackstone proposed to read, “ He bequeathed, &c." Warburton proposed to read, “ My futher bequeathed, &c.”

2 The old orthography staies was an easy corruption of sties ; which Warburton thought the true reading



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.

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

Oli. Now, sir! what make you here?
Orl. Nothing. I am not taught to make any thing.
Oli. What mar you then, sir ?

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

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

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

Oli. Know you where you are, sir ?
Orl. O, sir, very well; here in your orchard.
Oli. Know you before whom, sir ?

Orl. Ay, better than he 3 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.

Oli. What, boy!

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


1 i. e. what do you here?

2 Be naught awhile. Warburton justly explained this phrase, which, he says, “is only a north-country proverbial curse, equivalent to a mischief on you."

3 The first folio reads him, the second he, more correctly. 4 Warburton proposed reading, “ near his revenue," which he explains. « though you are no nearer in blood, yet it must be owned, that you are nearer in estate."

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Oli. Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain ?

Orl. I am no villain. I am the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Bois; 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.

Oli. Let me go, I say.

Orl. 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 gentlemanlike qualities. The spirit of my

father grows strong

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.

Oli. 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.

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

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

Enter DENNIS Den. Calls your worship?

Oli. Was not Charles, the duke's wrestler, here to speak with me?

1 Villain is used in a double sense; by Oliver for a worthless fellow and by Orlando for a man of base extraction.

« PreviousContinue »