- they say
many young gentlemen flock to him every day,
and fleet the time carelessly, as they did in the
- Charles the Wrestler speaks of the carefree life led in the Forest of Arden by the exiled Duke, Rosalind's father. (The "golden world" is the Golden Age, a time in the distant, mythic past, when all people lived in innocence and ease.)
- for always
the dulness of the fool is the whetstone of the
- Celia is persuading Rosalind that the making of a dull witted person is not due to Fortune, but Nature to the advantage of the witty, for they can use the dullard as a whetstone to sharpen their wits.
- By my troth, thou sayest true; for since
the little wit that fools have was silenced,
the little foolery that wise men have makes
a great show.
- Touchstone has just said that it is a shame when fools cannot comment wisely on wise men's foolish actions. Celia agrees with Touchstone, saying that now the fools have been silenced, a little foolery by wise men seems very impressive.
- Well said that was laid on with a trowel.
- When Touchstone joins Rosalind in teasing LeBeau, Celia critiques their supposed witticisms as being rather overdone. (The trowel used to mortar brick walls is not a delicate instrument.)
- Your heart's desires be with you!
- After Rosalind and Celia fail to convince Orlando that he should not challenge the fearsome Charles the Wrestler, Celia wishes for Orlando's "heart's desires" to inspire him and come true.
- Wear this for me, one out of suits with Fortune,
That could give more, but that her hand lacks means.
- After Orlando has defeated Charles the Wrestler, but received no reward from Duke Frederick, Rosalind offers Orlando her necklace, and adds that she would give him more, but she has little.
- He calls us back: my pride fell with my fortunes;
I'll ask him what he would.
- When Rosalind puts her necklace about the neck of Orlando, he is dumbstruck and says nothing. Rosalind and Celia get a bit embarrassed and start to go, leaving Orlando mumbling to himself about how stupid he is for saying nothing. Hearing the mumbling, Rosalind is sure that Orlando is calling them back. She knows that she shouldn't just come when a man calls, but excuses herself on the grounds that her fortunes have changed (her father has been banished), and so she decides to ask him what he wants. (This decision just leads to more embarrassing awkwardness, because Orlando is again dumbstruck and silent.)
- Hereafter, in a better world than this,
I shall desire more love and knowledge of you.
- Having just warned Orlando that he is in danger because of the nasty disposition of Duke Frederick, Le Beau tells Orlando he would like to hang out with him in a "better world than this," then hurries away.
- No, some of it is for my child's father. O, how
full of briars is this working-day world!
- Celia has inquired if Rosalind's moodiness is due solely to her father's exile, and this is Rosalind's answer, in which she has has jumped over wooing and wedding and all that to the magical time when Orlando is the father of her child. For her, everything between the present time and that time is just a tangle of briars.
- Alas, what danger will it be to us,
Maids as we are, to travel forth so far!
Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold.
Celia tells Rosalind that they need to find her uncle in the Forest of Arden, and Rosalind responds by pointing out the potential danger their maidenly beauty may be to their safety.
- We'll have a swashing and a martial outside,
As many other mannish cowards have
That do outface it with their semblances.
- Rosalind boasts to Celia that when she's dressed as a man and swaggers about, she'll look just as fearsome as men who look tough, but are really only "mannish."
- Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
- The banished duke is praising the sweetness and naturalness of life in the forest, especially when compared to their recent perilous life at court where one must worry about the envy of others.
- Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life exempt from public haunt
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones and good in every thing.
- The banished duke continues his praise of life in the forest, where even the adversities of weather are sweet, reminding him of the folklore belief that an "ugly and venomous" toad may wear an precious jewel in its head. The duke is enchanted with the forest where the trees seem to speak, the brooks babble words, and unbelievably, the stones themselves contain sermons: the duke does indeed see the "good in everything" in the forest.
- the big round tears
Coursed one another down his innocent nose
In piteous chase
- The First Lord is telling Duke Senior about a stag wounded in the hunt, so that its tears flowed fast, chasing each other down its nose.
- First, for his weeping into the needless stream;
'Poor deer,' quoth he, 'thou makest a testament
As worldlings do, giving thy sum of more
To that which had too much'
- A Lord tells Duke Senior what the melancholy philosopher Jaques said about the wounded deer, which was shedding tears into an already full stream of water, and thus doing as worldly men do when they give "more / To that which had too much," such as those who heap adoration upon the already famous.
- 'Ay' quoth Jaques,
'Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens . . .'
Jaques disparages the wounded stag's herd, which ignores his tearful situation, heedlessly frolicking away from their former companion.
- and He that doth the ravens feed,
Yea, providently caters for the sparrow,
Be comfort to my age!
Giving Orlando all of his money, old Adam exclaims to Orlando that he will look to God for comfort in his old age, since God feeds both ravens and sparrows. (See Job 38:41 and Luke 12:6).
- Let me be your servant:
Though I look old, yet I am strong and lusty;
For in my youth I never did apply
Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood,
Nor did not with unbashful forehead woo
The means of weakness and debility;
Therefore my age is as a lusty winter,
Frosty, but kindly: let me go with you
Adam is trying to talk Orlando into letting him go with him to the forest of Arden as his servant, saying he is still vigorous because he did not spend his youth drinking nor wooing girls with STDs.
- Thou art not for the fashion of these times,
Where none will sweat but for promotion
Orlando praises Adam as representative of the good old days, as contrasted with the present, when no one does anything except for reward or promotion.
- Ay, now am I in Arden; the more fool I;
when I was at home, I was in a better place:
but travellers must be content.
Touchstone the fool, having accompanied Rosalind and Celia into the Forest of Arden, where everyone is supposedly living a happily rustic life, makes a sarcastic comment.
- If thou remember'st not the slightest folly
That ever love did make thee run into,
Thou hast not loved
Silvius, the young shepherd, is advising an older shepherd in the ways of love. Silvius, full of the overweening assurance of youth, declares that if the older shepherd cannot remember every time he made a fool of himself for love, then he has not experienced true love.
- We that are true lovers run into strange
capers; but as all is mortal in nature, so is all nature
in love mortal in folly.
Touchstone is relating some of the follies he has committed in the name of love and concludes that love itself dictates mortal follysilly acts which are bound to fail.
- Thou speakest wiser than thou art ware of.
Rosalind agrees with Touchstone's assessment of the folly of love. (She's probably thinking of her own crazy love for Orlando.)
- Nay, I shall ne'er be ware of mine own wit
till I break my shins against it.
Touchstone's repartee takes another meaning from Rosalind's "ware" (not 'aware,' but 'wary') when he replies that his wit will have to cripple him before it makes him wary.
- Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird's throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
But winter and rough weather.
Amiens sings a merry song, inviting all who love to sing like birds to join him "under the greenwood tree," where the only enemy is wintery weather.
- More, I prithee, more. I can suck
melancholy out of a song, as a weasel sucks
eggs. More, I prithee, more.
Jaques asks Amiens to continue his song even though Amiens has warned him that the song may make him melancholy. Jaques says he actually prizes melancholy, which he can find in almost any song as easily as a weasel sucks out the raw center of an egg.
- Who doth ambition shun
And loves to live i' the sun,
Seeking the food he eats
And pleased with what he gets,
Amiens' song continues as the others join in, singing a description of the person happy under the greenwood treeone who shuns ambition, loves the outdoors and is pleased with whatever food comes his way.
- A fool, a fool! I met a fool i' the forest,
A motley fool
Jaques' excited exclamations about meeting a fool in the forest (an unlikely place for a motley fool, who who one would expect to find at court).
- And then he drew a dial from his poke,
And, looking on it with lack-lustre eye,
Says very wisely, 'It is ten o'clock:
Thus we may see,' quoth he, 'how the world wags:
'Tis but an hour ago since it was nine,
And after one hour more 'twill be eleven;
And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe,
And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot;
And thereby hangs a tale.' When I did hear
The motley fool thus moral on the time,
My lungs began to crow like chanticleer,
That fools should be so deep-contemplative,
And I did laugh sans intermission
An hour by his dial. O noble fool!
A worthy fool! Motley's the only wear.
Jaques excitedly continues to tell Duke Senior and Amiens about his encounter with Touchstone, including the motley fool's words and gestures, which he finds both wise ("deep-contemplative") and hilarious. Touchstone apparently exhibits dry wit, as he looks ("with lack-lustre eye") upon the sundial he has just withdrawn from his pouch, and comments shrewdly upon the passage of time, saying that within an hour people ripen, yet later we rot from hour to hour which is a story in itself: ripening or rotting apparently depends on which side of maturity time finds us. Jaques expresses his total enchantment when he exclaims, "Motley's the only wear."
- If ladies be but young and fair,
They have the gift to know it
One of the gems of wisdom that Jaques takes away from Touchstone is that if ladies are young and attractive, they know it.
- I must have liberty
Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
To blow on whom I please; for so fools have.
Duke Senior has jokingly promised Jaques that he can have a suit of motley, just like that of the fool Touchstone. Jaques now declares that he must also have freedom to criticize anyone about anything, as fools do.
- The 'why' is plain as way to parish church.
Jaques continues his excited anticipation of foolery, declaring that the reason others must laugh at a fool in motely "is plain as way to parish church"; to take offense at what a fool says is foolish, so that even those his humor makes squirm will be obligated to laugh.
- But whate'er you are
That in this desert inaccessible,
Under the shade of melancholy boughs,
Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time
If ever you have look'd on better days,
If ever been where bells have knoll'd to church,
If ever sat at any good man's feast,
If ever from your eyelids wiped a tear
And know what 'tis to pity and be pitied,
Let gentleness my strong enforcement be
In the which hope I blush, and hide my sword.
Assuming that all forest denizens were savages, Orlando had rushed in upon Duke Senior and entourage with his sword drawn, ready to fight for food for Adam and himself, but the duke treated Orlando with civility. In this speech, Orlando is executing an about-face, trying to explain and rationalize his initial aggression and ends with open admission of his embarrassing mistake.
- True is it that we have seen better days
Duke Senior begins his welcoming speech to Orlando with these words, meaning that he has previously been more among society (the civilized part of the world). Now the phrase is almost universally used to indicate a physical, moral or financial decline in circumstances.
- Oppress'd with two weak evils, age and hunger
Orlando has just asked Duke Senior to put off eating until he fetches Adam, who is the person weighed down with two enfeebling evils"age and hunger."
- Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy:
This wide and universal theatre
Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
Wherein we play in.
After Orlando goes to fetch his aged friend, Duke Senior draws a moral from Orlando's story, and tells Jaques that they are not the only unfortunate people, that the world is a theatre which "presents more woeful pageants" than the scenes in which they personally participate.
- All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Duke Senior's comments about the multiple "woeful pageants" seem to inspire Jaques to express his philosophy of life. Picking up Duke Senior's theme of the world as a "wide and universal theatre" filled with "scenes" and "pageants," he begins the ultra-famous speech, "All the world's a stage, / And all the men and women merely players: / They have their exits and their entrances; / And one man in his time plays many parts, / His acts being seven ages." The crying and puking infant is the first age, followed by the reluctant schoolboy, and the infatuated, mooning lover. Then comes the bearded soldier who needs to prove himself, followed by the capon-fattened, middle-aged "justice" which comes with middle age and a finely groomed beard. The habit of wearing only comfortable clothes, such as slippers and pantaloons, marks the entrance into old age where the legs shrink and the voice loses its bass tone; this stage of life is followed by "second childishness" in which all the senses fade away and everything is forgotten.
- Blow, blow, thou winter wind.
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude
After Orlando brings in the feeble Adam to be fed and cared for, Amiens sings a song emphasizing the quality that Orlando has just shown: gratitude to a benefactor.
- O Rosalind! These trees shall be my books,
And in their barks my thoughts I'll character,
That every eye which in this forest looks
Shall see thy virtue witness'd every where.
Run, run, Orlando; carve on every tree
The fair, the chaste and unexpressive she.
Orlando speaks to the absent Rosalind, telling her that "these trees shall be my books," as he intends to inscribe them with his love, by attaching poems to their bark. Orlando then tells himself what to do ("run, run Orlando"). He is so infatuated with Rosalind's beauty and virtue that words are useless ("unexpressive"); instead he must resort to putting poetry upon trees.
- As is it a spare life,
look you, it fits my humour well; but as there is
no more plenty in it, it goes much against my
Having been asked by Corin how he likes the shepherd's life, Touchstone uses witty contradictions to describe its pros and cons.
- he that wants money,
means and content is without three good friends
When Touchstone asks the shepherd Corin if he has a philosphy of life, Corin responds with a list of simple truths, including this one.
- Sir, I am a true labourer: I earn that I eat, get
that I wear, owe no man hate, envy no man's
happiness, glad of other men's good, content
with my harm.
Corin has just told Touchstone that he is through arguing with him because"You have too courtly a wit for me," meaning that Touchstone's wit, honed at court, is superior to his own. Touchstone continues his insults, but the old shepherd defends his way of life, saying that he is a true laborer because he earns everything he eats and wears. Corin continues to elaborate upon his contentment, saying that he neither hates nor envies any man; on the contrary, he rejoices in the good fortune of others and is patient with any misfortune which comes his way.
- From the east to western Ind,
No jewel is like Rosalind.
Rosalind, cross-dressed as Ganymede, enters reading aloud some of the sappy poetry that love-stricken Orlando has been nailing to trees in the forest.
- This is the very false gallop of verses:
why do you infect yourself with them?
Touchstone takes issue with the meter of the poetry Rosalind is reading and asks her why she bothers with such verse.
- Come, shepherd, let us make an honourable
retreat; though not with bag and
baggage, yet with scrip and scrippage.
Celia has just told Corin and Touchstone to back off, and this is Touchstone's response, clever as always. He tells the shepherd that they should make an honorable retreat, "not with bag and baggage" (a reference to battle equipment), but "with scrip and scrippage" (scrip is a pouch for carrying scripts and scrippage the scripts themselves).
- O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful
wonderful! and yet again wonderful, and after that,
out of all hooping!
Celia's repeated exclamations of "wonderful" are her answer to Rosalind's demand that Celia reveal who is writing poetry about Rosalind. (It's Orlando, of course, but Celia hasn't actually said his name.)
- Answer me in one word.
Rosalind is dying to hear Celia speak Orlando's name and confirm her hope that he is the poet, so she asks ten questions about the poet (Orlando) and demands Celia answer in one word (his name).
- Do you not know I am a woman? when
I think, I must speak. Sweet, say on.
Celia has just criticized Rosalind for continually interrupting her account of seeing Orlando (which Rosalind herself dearly wants to hear), and Rosalind excuses herself by making fun of her own sex.
- I do desire we may be better strangers.
Orlando and Jaques have been bandying words with one another. In an effort to get the upper hand, Jaques has just suggested that he would just as soon never see Orlando again. This is Orlando's retort.
- Jaques: What stature is she of?
Just as high as my heart.
Still trying to impress Orlando with his superior wit, Jaques starts to criticize Orlando's adoration of Rosalind, but Orlando does not back down.
- Time travels in divers paces
with divers persons. I'll tell you who Time
ambles withal, who Time trots withal, who Time
gallops withal and who he stands still withal.
Rosalind, cross-dressed as Ganymede, has told Celia that she "will speak to him [Orlando] like a saucy lackey," which he/she now does, capturing his interest with his/her wit and wisdom.
- Every one fault
seeming monstrous till his fellow fault
came to match it.
Rosalind/Ganymede is telling Orlando that her (alleged) uncle was familiar with courtship, and did rail against the faults of women, whose every defect seemed hugely evil until the next defect came along and seemed just as bad.
- then your hose should be
ungartered, your bonnet unbanded, your sleeve
unbuttoned, your shoe untied and every thing
about you demonstrating a careless desolation
Ganymede/Rosalind declares that he/she can tell Orlando is not truly in love just by looking at him.
- Truly, I would the gods had made thee poetical.
Touchstone is telling Audrey, the simple country girl, that he wishes the gods had made her "poetical," so that she could understand the pretty things he says to her. (As it turns out, Audrey is not even familiar with the word "poetical," and has no idea what it means.)
Then shall you know the wounds invisible
That love's keen arrows make.
Silvius has been trying unsuccessfully to romance Phebe, and finally declares that if she should ever fall in love then she too would feel the invisible, sharp pain of unrequited love.
- But, mistress, know yourself: down on your knees,
And thank heaven, fasting, for a good man's love.
For I must tell you friendly in your ear,
Sell when you can: you are not for all markets
After witnessing Phebe's scornful rejection of Silvius, Ganymede/Rosalind gives Phebe some sharp advice.
- I pray you, do not fall in love with me,
For I am falser than vows made in wine
Following Ganymede/Rosalind's lecture to Phebe, "Ganymede" sees how Phebe is looking at "him" and warns her not to fall in love, as "he" is less trustworthy than drunken promises.
- Dead Shepherd, now I find thy saw of might,
'Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?'
So Phebe justifies her crush on Ganymede/Rosalind. The "Dead Shepherd" is Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), Shakespeare's famous fellow poet and playwright. In Hero and Leander, Marlowe's retelling of an old romantic story, the narrator comments, "It lies not in our power to love, or hate, / For will in us is over-rul'd by fate," and then goes on to ask, "Who ever lov'd, that lov'd not at first sight?"
- it is a
melancholy of mine own, compounded of many
simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the
sundry contemplation of my travels, in which
my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous
Jaques, who always tries to make an impression, delivers to Ganymede/Rosalind a pompous speech about his favorite topic: himself and his melancholy nature.
- I had
rather have a fool to make me merry than
experience to make me sad . . . .
Ganymede/Rosalind expresses his/her opinion of Jaques' precious melancholy.
- Farewell, Monsieur Traveller: look you lisp and
wear strange suits, disable all the benefits of your
own country, be out of love with your nativity and
almost chide God for making you that countenance
you are, or I will scarce think you have swam in a
Rosalind derides Jaques' travel experiences by calling him "Monsieur Traveller," and by telling him to be sure to talk with an accent and wear foreign clothes which will disparage his native country. According to Rosalind, Jaques must also criticize God for giving him the facial features of his homeland if he expects her to believe he has ridden in a Venetian gondola.
- I'll warrant him heart-whole.
Ganymede (Rosalind in disguise) has made a deal with Orlando. Ganymede will cure Orlando of the disease of love by meeting with Orlando and pretending to be the fickle Rosalind. Orlando agrees to play this game, but he's late for his appointment. Rosalind, pretending to be Ganymede, pretending to be Rosalind, severely chides Orlando, telling him a real lover would never be late for such a date. If a supposed lover is late, he has not really lost his heart, but is "heart-whole."
- Very good orators, when they are
out, they will spit; and for lovers lackingGod
warn us!matter, the cleanliest shift is to kiss.
Ganymede (Rosalind in disguise), pretending to be Rosalind, tells Orlando that he should be more resourceful when speaking to his beloved. A kiss should be requested only when the man has absolutely nothing else to say.
- men have
died from time to time and worms have eaten them,
but not for love.
Ganymede (Rosalind in disguise) declares that the literature of love, contrary to popular belief, does not show men dying for love.
- For ever and a day.
Celia is playing the priest in the mock wedding ceremony between Rosalind/Ganymede and Orlando; "For ever and a day" is Orlando's reply to Rosalind's inquiry of how long he would keep his wife after he "possessed her."
are April when they woo, December when they wed:
maids are May when they are maids, but the sky
changes when they are wives.
Ganymede (Rosalind in disguise) explains why Orlando should not to use the word "forever" when speaking of love.
- My affection hath an unknown
bottom, like the bay of Portugal.
Rosalind confides to Celia that her love for Orlando feels limitless.
- The horn, the horn, the lusty horn
Is not a thing to laugh to scorn.
This is the final couplet of a victorious hunting song; the words are a kind of universal inside joke that they are all laughing about even though the lyric warns against laughing at or scorning the fact that any married man is subject to becoming a cuckold (horns on the head of a man are the sign of a cuckold).
- Chewing the food of sweet and bitter fancy
Oliver is telling Rosalind and Celia what Orlando has been doing since they last saw him; this part of the story shows him pacing around the forest thinking of lovethe "food of sweet and bitter" imagination.
- 'So so' is good, very good, very excellent
good; and yet it is not; it is but so so.
Touchstone has just asked William if he is rich and William's answer was "so so." Touchstone then affirms that his answer "is good, very good, very excellent good," (better than a negative response), but then Touchstone thinks a moment and says that his answer is not good, only "so-so," exactly like William's answer. Touchstone does not elaborate upon the reasoning which approved opposite responses, but moves on to the next question.
- 'The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man
knows himself to be a fool.'
Touchstone has asked William if he is wise and William responds, "Ay, sir, I have a pretty wit." Touchstone seems to approve of his answer, but then recalls an old saying which says that only the fool thinks he is wise, that a "wise man knows himself to be a fool"; this recalled saying remakes a fool of William and leaves little hope for wisdom in anyone.
- your brother and my sister no
sooner met but they looked, no sooner looked but
they loved, no sooner loved but they sighed,
no sooner sighed but they asked one another the
reason, no sooner knew the reason but they sought
Rosalind is discussing the courtship of Oliver and Celia with Orlando, giving her assessment of the situation, as Orlando already knows that his brother, Oliver, and Celia are to be married the next day. As Rosalind wittly tells it, love was nearly instantaneous, following hard upon first sight, when they both began to sigh (a sure sign of love), followed by their asking each other the reason for the sighing (mutual love) and their seeking the "remedy" (marriage).
- But, O, how bitter a thing
it is to look into happiness through another man's
Even though Orlando is talking about the happiness of his brother (with whom he has reconciled), his brother's love and upcoming marriage feels bitter to Orlando, as he has not had the opportunity to speak to his love, Rosalind. (He doesn't know that he was speaking to Rosalind when he as speaking of the youth Ganymede.)
- It was a lover and his lass,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o'er the green corn-field did pass
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding:
Sweet lovers love the spring.
This is the first verse and refrain of cute little song about love and marriage ("pretty ring time") which foreshadows the outcome of the play; it is particularly sweet, as it contains rhyming syllables which are not actually words ("nonino"), very similar to today's 'doobie, doobie, do.'
- There is, sure, another flood toward, and these
couples are coming to the ark. Here comes a pair of
very strange beasts, which in all tongues are called
Jaques hilariously comments on the approach of the motley fool and Audrey, the simple country girl by saying that another flood must be imminent (like the one for which Noah built an ark) as the couple approaching is "a pair of very strange beasts," which in all languages would be called fools. Remember Jaques was so impressed with Touchstone previously that he himself longs to be a motley, so his remarks are not necessarily negative and may have more to do with the mismatch of the urbane witty motley fool paired with his antithesis, an ignorant country girl.
- an ill-favoured thing, sir, but mine own , sir; a poor
humour of mine, sir, to take that that no man else
will: rich honesty dwells like a miser, sir, in a
poor house; as your pearl in your foul oyster
Touchstone is commenting upon Audrey, his own choice as a marriage partner; "ill-favored" means Audrey is not necessarily beautiful or clever, nor does she exhibit other characteristics desired by a potential husband. He expands his explanation with an outright lie when he declares she is a whim ("humour") of his "to take that that no man else will," despite the fact that earlier Touchstone told Audrey that he had heard that William "lays claim to you." Touchstone is a motley, never one to be relied upon for the simple truth. He ends his speech about his choice of Audrey with a complimentcalling her chastity ("honesty") richness though she lives in poverty; and compares that purity in the midst of poverty to both a miser in a poor house and a pearl in an oyster.
- the Retort Courteous
the Quip Modest
the Reply Churlish
the Reproof Valiant
the Countercheck Quarrelsome
the Lie Circumstantial
the Lie Direct
Jaques has asked Touchstone if he can name the seven degrees of giving the lie (i.e., disagreeing with someone, in ways defined by popular books about the circumstances under which you are justified in challenging someone to a duel). Touchstone names the seven degrees in order of severity which, of course, he finds enormously funny.
- Your If is the
only peacemaker; much virtue in If.
Touchstone continues his explanation of the seven degrees of lying, saying that you can only use the first six degrees, never the Lie Direct, unless you include an "If" to your statements; adding "If" negates the implied lie, so Touchstone calls "If" a "peacemaker" with "much virtue."
- He uses his folly like a stalking-horse and under
the presentation of that he shoots his wit.
Duke Senior agrees with Jaques that Touchstone is extremely clever, saying that his "folly" is disguised as a "stalking-horse" (a deceptive cover to fool prey and get within killing distance), and from there he "shoots his wit," so the motley gets you laughing and then shoots the final zinger.