As You Like It: Act 4, Scene 1

Rosalind Celia and JacquesRosalind Celia and Jacques in the Forest of Arden
by John Edmund Buckley (1820-1884)
           Enter ROSALIND and CELIA and JAQUES.

  1   I prithee, pretty youth, let me be better acquainted
  2   with thee.

  3   They say you are a melancholy fellow.

  4   I am so; I do love it better than laughing.

5. Those that are in extremity of either: those who go to extremes in either [being melancholy or laughing]. 6-7. every modern censure: everyone's current judgment. —Being melancholy was a fashionable affectation mentioned . . .
  5   Those that are in extremity of either are abominable
  6   fellows and betray themselves to every modern
  7   censure worse than drunkards.

8. sad: —"Sad" also meant serious and thoughtful.
  8   Why, 'tis good to be sad and say nothing.

  9   Why then, 'tis good to be a post.

 10   I have neither the scholar's melancholy, which is
11. emulation: envy.  fantastical: highly fanciful.
 11   emulation, nor the musician's, which is fantastical,
 12   nor the courtier's, which is proud, nor the
 13   soldier's, which is ambitious, nor the lawyer's,
14. politic: shrewd, calculated.  nice: delicate, fastidious.
 14   which is politic, nor the lady's, which is nice, nor
 15   the lover's, which is all these: but it is a
 16   melancholy of mine own, compounded of many
17. simples: ingredients.  objects: sights, observations. 18. sundry . . . travels: i.e., various thoughts inspired by my travels. 18-20. in which . . . sadness: i.e., in my travels the thoughts that I have turned over in my mind wrap me a most moody melancholy.
 17   simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed
 18   the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which
 19   my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous
 20   sadness.

 21   A traveller! By my faith, you have great reason
 22   to be sad: I fear you have sold your own lands
 23   to see other men's; then, to have seen much and
 24   to have nothing, is to have rich eyes and poor
 25   hands.

 26   Yes, I have gained my experience.

 27   And your experience makes you sad: I had
 28   rather have a fool to make me merry than
29. travel: 1) travel; 2) travail, work.
 29   experience to make me sad; and to travel for it too!

           Enter ORLANDO.

 30   Good day and happiness, dear Rosalind!

31 God buy you: goodbye. 31-32. and you talk in blank / verse: i.e., if you're going to be all poetical. —Blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter) was the common verse used in tragic drama . . .
 31   Nay, then, God buy you, and you talk in blank
 32   verse.

33. look you: make sure that you.  lisp: i.e., speak in an impressively cute foreign accent. 34. strange suits: foreign fashions.  disable: disparage. 35. nativity: i.e., land where you were born.
 33   Farewell, Monsieur Traveller: look you lisp and
 34   wear strange suits, disable all the benefits of your
 35   own country, be out of love with your nativity and
 36   almost chide God for making you that countenance
37-38. swam in a / gundella: ridden in a gondola. —In Shakespeare's time, as now (C.E. 2017), Venice, the home of the gondola, was a popular tourist destination, and someone who toured Venice and "swam in a gundello" thereby acquired social prestige.
 37   you are, or I will scarce think you have swam in a
 38   gundella.

           [Exit Jaques.]

39   Why, how now, Orlando! where have you been
 40   all this while? You a lover! And you serve me such
 41   another trick, never come in my sight more.

 42   My fair Rosalind, I come within an hour of my
 43   promise.

 44   Break an hour's promise in love! He that will
 45   divide a minute into a thousand parts and break
 46   but a part of the thousandth part of a minute in
47-48. Cupid / hath clapped him o' the shoulder: i.e., Cupid has clapped him on the back to give him encouragement. 49. heart-whole: not wounded in the heart.
 47   the affairs of love, it may be said of him that Cupid
 48   hath clapped him o' the shoulder, but I'll warrant
 49   him heart-whole.

 50   Pardon me, dear Rosalind.

 51   Nay, an you be so tardy, come no more in my sight.
52. I had as lief: I had just as soon.
 52   I had as lief be wooed of a snail.

 53   Of a snail?

 54   Ay, of a snail; for though he comes slowly, he
55-56. a better jointure, / I think, than you make a woman: — A jointure is a marriage settlement. Rosalind's joke is that when a snail woos he brings his house with him, and so the female is assured that she will get a house; but when Orlando woos he can't even be counted on to show up on time.
 55   carries his house on his head; a better jointure,
 56   I think, than you make a woman. Besides he
 57   brings his destiny with him.

 58   What's that?

59. horns: i.e., cuckold's horns.  fain: obliged.
 59   Why, horns, which such as you are fain to
60. beholding: beholden, indebted.
 60   be beholding to your wives for: but he comes
61. arm'd in his fortune: already equipped for his future.  prevents: forestalls.  slander: ill repute.
 61   arm'd in his fortune and prevents the slander
 62   of his wife.

 63   Virtue is no horn-maker; and my Rosalind is
 64   virtuous.

 65   And I am your Rosalind.

 66   It pleases him to call you so; but he hath a
67. of a better leer: better-looking.
 67   Rosalind of a better leer than you.

 68   Come, woo me, woo me, for now I am in a
 69   holiday humour and like enough to consent.
 70   What would you say to me now, an I were
 71   your very very Rosalind?

 72   I would kiss before I spoke.

 73   Nay, you were better speak first, and when you
74. gravelled: stuck, at a loss.  for lack of matter: for lack of something to say.
 74   were gravelled for lack of matter, you might take
 75   occasion to kiss. Very good orators, when they are
76. out: i.e., out of "matter."
 76   out, they will spit; and for lovers lacking—God
77. warn: warrant, protect.  cleanliest shift: 1) cleverest device; 2) cleanest gesture. —Much better than spitting!
 77   warn us!—matter, the cleanliest shift is to kiss.

 78   How if the kiss be denied?

79-80. Then she puts you to entreaty, and there begins new matter: i.e., then she makes you beg [for a kiss], and that provides you with a new topic of conversation.
 79   Then she puts you to entreaty, and there begins
 80   new matter.

Rosalind and Orlando81-82. Who could be out, being before his beloved / mistress?: Who could run out of things to say being in the presence of his beloved mistress? . . .

84. honesty: chastity.  ranker: more corrupt.
 81   Who could be out, being before his beloved
 82   mistress?

 83   Marry, that should you, if I were your mistress,
 84   or I should think my honesty ranker than my
 85   wit.

86. What, of my suit?: i.e., what do you mean, that my request for a kiss would be denied? —Orlando is not keeping up with the wit of "Ganymede."
 86   What, of my suit?

87. Not out of your apparel, and yet out of your: —Here "Ganymede" makes a sex joke out of Orlando's exclamation, "Who could be out, being before his beloved mistress?" As "Ganymede" uses "out" it means the opposite of "in," as a man is "in" when having sex with a woman.
 87   Not out of your apparel, and yet out of your
 88   suit. Am not I your Rosalind?

 89   I take some joy to say you are, because I
 90   would be talking of her.

 91   Well, in her person, I say I will not have
 92   you.

 93   Then in mine own person I die.

94. die by attorney: die by proxy; i.e., have someone else do the dying for you. Troilus and Cressida

97. videlicet, in a love-cause. Troilus: namely, for love. The story of the love of Troilus and Cressida . . .  99. he did . . . before: —Rosalind . . . 100. patterns: models.  Leander: Leander did die "in a love-cause," but Rosalind changes the story to make it unromantic. In the original story, Leander swam the Hellespont to be with Hero . . .
105-106. found it was 'Hero of Sestos': i.e., gave the verdict that the cause of death was 'Hero of Sestos.'
 94   No, faith, die by attorney. The poor world is
 95   almost six thousand years old, and in all this
 96   time there was not any man died in his own
 97   person, videlicet, in a love-cause. Troilus had
 98   his brains dashed out with a Grecian club; yet
 99   he did what he could to die before, and he is one
100   of the patterns of love. Leander, he would have
101   lived many a fair year, though Hero had turned
102   nun, if it had not been for a hot midsummer night;
103   for, good youth, he went but forth to wash him in
104   the Hellespont and being taken with the cramp was
105   drowned and the foolish chroniclers of that age found
106   it was 'Hero of Sestos.' But these are all lies: men have
107   died from time to time and worms have eaten them,
108   but not for love.

109. right: real.
109   I would not have my right Rosalind of this mind,
110   for, I protest, her frown might kill me.

111   By this hand, it will not kill a fly. But come,
112   now I will be your Rosalind in a more
113   coming-on disposition, and ask me what you
114   will. I will grant it.

115   Then love me, Rosalind.

116   Yes, faith, will I, Fridays and Saturdays and
117   all.

118   And wilt thou have me?

119   Ay, and twenty such.

120   What sayest thou?

121   Are you not good?

122   I hope so.

123   Why then, can one desire too much of a good
124   thing? Come, sister, you shall be the priest and
125   marry us. Give me your hand, Orlando. What
126   do you say, sister?

127   Pray thee, marry us.

128. I cannot say the words: —I think Celia is laughing so hard that she can't get the words out, and Rosalind makes fun of her by pretending to think that Celia has forgotten the words that no married (or hoping-to-be-married woman) would ever forget: "I take thee . . . ."
128   I cannot say the words.

129   You must begin, 'Will you, Orlando—'

130. Go to: —This little phrase, maybe short for "Go to the Devil," is an all-purpose interjection of rejection, such as the current (C.E. 2011) "No way," "shut up," or "forget about it."
130   Go to. Will you, Orlando, have to wife this
131   Rosalind?

132   I will.

133   Ay, but when?

134   Why now; as fast as she can marry us.

135   Then you must say 'I take thee, Rosalind,
136   for wife.'

137   I take thee, Rosalind, for wife.

138. for your commission: i.e., by what authority you perform a marriage ceremony. —This is said to Celia.
139-140. there's a girl goes before the priest: —REMINDER: Rosalind is pretending to be a young man, "Ganymede," who is pretending to be "Rosalind" in order to show Orlando the foolishness of his love for "Rosalind."     In the marriage charade staged by "Ganymede," the "girl" who goes before the priest is "Rosalind," who doesn't wait for the "priest" to say, "Will you, Rosalind, have to husband this Orlando?" Instead she jumps right to "I do take thee, Orlando, for my husband," and "Ganymede" makes the cynical comment, "there's a girl goes before the priest." The point that "Ganymede" is making to Orlando is that his beloved "Rosalind" is a very flighty creature who would push Orlando into marriage. At the same time, Rosalind (not "Rosalind") tells a truth about herself. As "Ganymede" says next, "certainly a woman's thought runs before her actions," and that's very true of Rosalind, who has long been thinking of Orlando as the father of the children she doesn't have yet. (See 1.3.11.)
138   I might ask you for your commission; but I do
139   take thee, Orlando, for my husband: there's a
140   girl goes before the priest; and certainly a
141   woman's thought runs before her actions.

142   So do all thoughts; they are winged.

143   Now tell me how long you would have her
144   after you have possessed her.

145   For ever and a day.

146   Say 'a day,' without the 'ever.' No, no, Orlando; men
147   are April when they woo, December when they wed:
148   maids are May when they are maids, but the sky
149   changes when they are wives. I will be more jealous
150. Barbary cock-pigeon: a male pigeon of a kind originally from the Barbary coast of Africa. —The males were reputed to be noisily possessive of their mates.  151. against: before.
152. new-fangled: i.e., delighted by anything new or different.  giddy: dizzy, changeable.
153-154. like Diana in the fountain:. —This is a bit puzzling; the goddess Diana was not known for weeping at all. Maybe Rosalind is thinking that the water of a fountain looks like falling tears.
155. hyen: hyena
150   of thee than a Barbary cock-pigeon over his hen,
151   more clamorous than a parrot against rain, more
152   new-fangled than an ape, more giddy in my desires
153   than a monkey: I will weep for nothing, like Diana
154   in the fountain, and I will do that when you are
155   disposed to be merry; I will laugh like a hyen, and
156   that when thou art inclined to sleep.

157   But will my Rosalind do so?

158   By my life, she will do as I do.

159. she is wise: —Orlando means that his Rosalind has good judgment, but "wise" also meant quick-witted, as it still does in the phrase "wise guy."
159   O, but she is wise.

160   Or else she could not have the wit to do this: the
161. Make: make fast, bar.
162. casement: casement window.
161   wiser, the waywarder: make the doors upon a
162   woman's wit and it will out at the casement; shut
163   that and 'twill out at the key-hole; stop that, 'twill
164   fly with the smoke out at the chimney.

165   A man that had a wife with such a wit, he might
166. Wit, whither wilt: i.e. wit, where will you wander? —This saying was used when it seemed that someone's conversation had wandered far afield.
166   say 'Wit, whither wilt?'

167. that cheque for it: that restraint upon it; that reproof of it. —The "it" is a wife's wit.
167   Nay, you might keep that cheque for it till you
168   met your wife's wit going to your neighbour's
169   bed.

170   And what wit could wit have to excuse that?

171   Marry, to say she came to seek you there.
172   You shall never take her without her answer,
173   unless you take her without her tongue. O,
174-175. make her fault her husband's occasion: i.e., twist around something that she has done wrong so that it is her husband's fault.
174   that woman that cannot make her fault her
175   husband's occasion, let her never nurse her
176   child herself, for she will breed it like a fool!

177   For these two hours, Rosalind, I will leave
178   thee.

179. lack: do without.
179   Alas! dear love, I cannot lack thee two hours.

180. dinner: the mid-day meal.
180   I must attend the duke at dinner: by two o'clock
181   I will be with thee again.

182-183. I knew what you would prove: i.e., I knew all along that you would turn out to be a faithless lover. —Here "Ganymede," in the voice of "Rosalind," adopts the petulant tone of a woman who feels she that she is not getting all the attention she deserves.
185-186. 'tis but one cast away, and so, come, death!: i.e., don't worry about it, I'm just one more woman who has been cast away by an unfaithful lover, and so the only thing left for me is to die!
182   Ay, go your ways, go your ways; I knew what you
183   would prove: my friends told me as much, and I
184   thought no less: that flattering tongue of yours
185   won me: 'tis but one cast away, and so, come,
186   death! Two o'clock is your hour?

187   Ay, sweet Rosalind.

188   By my troth, and in good earnest, and so God mend
189. pretty oaths that are not dangerous: i.e., charming, pleasant oaths (such as a lover would use). —A soldier facing his foe would use "dangerous" oaths.
192. pathetical: pitiable, miserable.
189   me, and by all pretty oaths that are not dangerous,
190   if you break one jot of your promise or come one
191   minute behind your hour, I will think you the most
192   pathetical break-promise and the most hollow lover
193   and the most unworthy of her you call Rosalind that
194. gross: entire.
195. censure: severe disapproval; harsh criticism.
194   may be chosen out of the gross band of the
195   unfaithful: therefore beware my censure and keep
196   your promise.

197. religion: faithfulness.
197   With no less religion than if thou wert indeed my
198   Rosalind: so adieu.

199   Well, Time is the old justice that examines all such
200. try: determine the truth [of your promise].
200   offenders, and let Time try: adieu.

           Exit [ORLANDO].

201. simply: utterly.  misus'd: abused, slandered.
201   You have simply misused our sex in your love-prate:
202   we must have your doublet and hose plucked over
203-204. show the world what the bird hath done to her own nest: i.e., show everyone it is a woman who has been slandering women. —Celia is echoing the proverb, "It is a foul bird that fouls its own nest."
203   your head, and show the world what the bird hath
204   done to her own nest.

205   O coz, coz, coz, my pretty little coz, that thou
206   didst know how many fathom deep I am in love! But
207   it cannot be sounded: my affection hath an unknown
208   bottom, like the bay of Portugal.

209-210. Or . . . out: I'm sure that Celia is pooh-poohing Rosalind, but I don't see the justness of her metaphor.
209   Or rather, bottomless, that as fast as you pour
210   affection in, it runs out.

211. bastard of Venus: Cupid.
212. thought: i.e., moodiness.  spleen: caprice, waywardness.
213. abuses: deludes.
214. his own are out: he himself is blindfolded.
216. shadow: shady place.
211   No, that same wicked bastard of Venus that was begot
212   of thought, conceived of spleen and born of madness,
213   that blind rascally boy that abuses every one's eyes
214   because his own are out, let him be judge how deep I
215   am in love. I'll tell thee, Aliena, I cannot be out
216   of the sight of Orlando: I'll go find a shadow and
217   sigh till he come.

218   And I'll sleep.