As You Like It: Act 2, Scene 5

           Enter AMIENS, JAQUES, and others.


  1             Under the greenwood tree
  2             Who loves to lie with me,
3-4. And turn his merry note / Unto the sweet bird's throat: i.e., And sing like a bird.
  3             And turn his merry note
  4             Unto the sweet bird's throat,
  5         Come hither, come hither, come hither:
  6                 Here shall he see
  7                 No enemy
  8         But winter and rough weather.

  9   More, more, I prithee, more.

 10   It will make you melancholy, Monsieur
 11   Jaques.

 12   I thank it. More, I prithee, more. I can suck
 13   melancholy out of a song, as a weasel sucks
 14   eggs. More, I prithee, more.

15. ragged: raspy.
 15   My voice is ragged: I know I cannot please
 16   you.

 17   I do not desire you to please me; I do desire
18. stanzo: —Jaques may be mocking the musicians by pretending not to remember the word "stanza."
 18   you to sing. Come, more; another stanzo: call
 19   you 'em stanzos?

 20   What you will, Monsieur Jaques.

21-22. Nay, I care not for their names; they / owe me nothing: —Jaques' sarcastic point is that names are only important when they are the names of debtors who have signed a contract.
 21   Nay, I care not for their names; they
 22   owe me nothing. Will you sing?

 23   More at your request than to please
 24   myself.

 25   Well then, if ever I thank any man, I'll thank
26-27. compliment: courtesy, good manners.  dog-apes: baboons. —Jaques is being a jerk . . . 27-29. when a man / thanks me heartily, methinks I have given him / a penny and he renders me the beggarly thanks: —Jaques continues his abuse of Amiens . . .
 26   you; but that they call compliment is like the
 27   encounter of two dog-apes, and when a man
 28   thanks me heartily, methinks I have given him
 29   a penny and he renders me the beggarly thanks.
 30   Come, sing; and you that will not, hold your tongues.

31. cover the while: i.e., set the table while the song is being sung. 32-33. He hath been all / this day to look you: He's been looking for you all day.
 31   Well, I'll end the song. Sirs, cover the while; the
 32   duke will drink under this tree. He hath been all
 33   this day to look you.

34-35. He is / too disputable for my company: He is too fond of argument for me. —Ironically, it is Jaques who is "disputable"; he makes one contrary remark after another. He doesn't, however, like having a worthy opponent.
 34   And I have been all this day to avoid him. He is
 35   too disputable for my company: I think of as many
 36   matters as he, but I give heaven thanks and make
 37   no boast of them. Come, warble, come.

                                        Song.  [All together here.]

 38             Who doth ambition shun
39. live i' the sun: i.e., live a free, open-air life.
 39             And loves to live i' the sun,
 40             Seeking the food he eats
 41             And pleased with what he gets,
 42         Come hither, come hither, come hither:
 43                 Here shall he see
 44                 No enemy
 45         But winter and rough weather.

46. note: tune.
 46   I'll give you a verse to this note that I made
47. in despite of my invention: in spite of my lack of imagination.
 47   yesterday in despite of my invention.

 48   And I'll sing it.

 49   Thus it goes:

 50             If it do come to pass
 51             That any man turn ass,
 52             Leaving his wealth and ease,
 53             A stubborn will to please,
54. Ducdame: —The most persuasive explanation of this unique word is that it's simply something Jaques made up to, as he says, "call fools into a circle," and thus show that he's smarter than everyone else. 57. An if: if only.
 54         Ducdame, ducdame, ducdame!
 55                 Here shall he see
 56                 Gross fools as he,
 57         An if he will come to me.

 58   What's that 'ducdame'?

59. Greek: i.e., gobbledeygook.
 59   'Tis a Greek invocation, to call fools into a
 60   circle. I'll go sleep, if I can; if I cannot, I'll
61. first-born of Egypt: —For the cruel story of how God killed all the first-born of Egypt in an attempt to persuade the Pharaoh to release the Israelites from captivity . . .
 61   rail against all the first-born of Egypt.

62. banquet: i.e., light repast of fruit, sweetmeats, and wine.
 62   And I'll go seek the duke: his banquet is
 63   prepared.