Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

As You Like It: Act 1, Scene 2

           Enter CELIA and ROSALIND.

1. sweet my coz: my dear cousin. —"Coz," short for "cousin," is an endearment, but Celia and Rosalind are actual cousins.
  1   I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be
  2   merry.

3-4. I show more mirth than I am / mistress of: i.e., I am (already) acting happier than I actually feel. 6. learn: teach.
  3   Dear Celia, I show more mirth than I am
  4   mistress of; and would you yet I were merrier?
  5   Unless you could teach me to forget a banished

Lilian Wouters as Celia; Maryssa Wanlass as Rosalind.
  6   father, you must not learn me how to remember
  7   any extraordinary pleasure.

  8   Herein I see thou lovest me not with the full
  9   weight that I love thee. If my uncle, thy banished
 10   father, had banished thy uncle, the duke my
11. so thou hadst been still with me: provided that you had always stayed by my side.
 11   father, so thou hadst been still with me, I could
 12   have taught my love to take thy father for mine:
13-14. if the truth of thy love to me were so righteously temper'd as mine is to thee: if the real essence of your love for me were as rightly balanced as my love for you.
 13   so wouldst thou, if the truth of thy love to me
 14   were so righteously temper'd as mine is to thee.

15. condition of my estate: circumstances of my situation. —Rosalind's current situation is very uncomfortable. At Celia's request Rosalind has remained in the court of Celia's father (Duke Frederick) who has betrayed his brother (Rosalind's father), taken his ducal throne and sent him into exile. Rosalind and Celia love one another, but soon Celia's father's nasty temper will send them both into exile.
 15   Well, I will forget the condition of my estate,
 16   to rejoice in yours.

 17   You know my father hath no child but I, nor
 18   none is like to have: and, truly, when he dies,
 19   thou shalt be his heir, for what he hath taken
20. perforce: by force.
 20   away from thy father perforce, I will render thee
 21   again in affection; by mine honour, I will; and
 22   when I break that oath, let me turn monster:
 23   therefore, my sweet Rose, my dear Rose, be merry.

24. sports: amusements.
 24   From henceforth I will, coz, and devise sports.
 25   Let me see; what think you of falling in love?

 26   Marry, I prithee, do, to make sport withal: but
 27   love no man in good earnest; nor no further in
28. safety: safeguard.  pure: innocent.
29. come off again: escape.
 28   sport neither than with safety of a pure blush
 29   thou mayst in honour come off again.

 30   What shall be our sport, then?

31-33. Let us sit and mock the good huswife Fortune / from her wheel, that her gifts may henceforth be bestowed equally:—In referring to Fortune as a "good huswife," Celia is using a little humorous word-play. Lady Fortune was . . ."
 31   Let us sit and mock the good huswife Fortune
 32   from her wheel, that her gifts may henceforth
 33   be bestowed equally.

 34   I would we could do so, for her benefits are mightily
35. the bountiful blind woman: —Fortune was often depicted wearing a blindfold, to indicate that she gives her gifts at random, without any regard for what people deserve.
 35   misplaced, and the bountiful blind woman doth most
 36   mistake in her gifts to women.

 37   'Tis true; for those that she makes fair she scarce
38. honest: chaste.
 38   makes honest, and those that she makes honest she
39. ill-favoredly: ugly.
 39   makes very ill-favouredly.

40. office: function.
 40   Nay, now thou goest from Fortune's office to
41. gifts of the world: i.e., wealth, power, and other gifts granted by one's family and society, as contrasted with beauty, intelligence, and other "lineaments of Nature" that a person is born with.
 41   Nature's: Fortune reigns in gifts of the world,
 42   not in the lineaments of Nature.

           Enter Clown [Touchstone].

 43   No? when Nature hath made a fair creature,
 44   may she not by Fortune fall into the fire?
45. flout: mock, jeer.
 45   Though Nature hath given us wit to flout at
 46   Fortune, hath not Fortune sent in this fool
47. cut off the argument: end the discussion.
 47   to cut off the argument?

 48   Indeed, there is Fortune too hard for Nature,
49. Nature's natural: idiot, simpleton. —Touchstone is a professional jester, and such clowns or fools were conventionally considered to be mentally challenged, so that nothing they said could be considered deliberately insulting. However, all of the fools who appear in Shakespeare's plays, including Touchstone, are extremely intelligent and make insightful remarks in a supposedly foolish way.
 49   when Fortune makes Nature's natural the
 50   cutter-off of Nature's wit.

 51   Peradventure this is not Fortune's work neither,
 52   but Nature's; who perceiveth our natural wits
 53   too dull to reason of such goddesses and hath
 54   sent this natural for our whetstone; for always
 55   the dulness of the fool is the whetstone of the
56. How now, wit! whither wander you?: Celia is addressing Touchstone as "wit," but also making a comment about herself. "How now, wit! wither wander you?" is a saying that was used when someone talked on and on and wandered away from the point.
 56   wits. How now, wit! whither wander you?

 57   Mistress, you must come away to your
 58   father.

 59   Were you made the messenger?

 60   No, by mine honour, but I was bid to come
 61   for you.

 62   Where learned you that oath, fool?

 63   Of a certain knight that swore by his honour they
 64   were good pancakes and swore by his honour the
65. naught: worthless, bad.
 65   mustard was naught: now I'll stand to it, the
 66   pancakes were naught and the mustard was good,
67. forsworn: perjured.
 67   and yet was not the knight forsworn.

 68   How prove you that, in the great heap of your
 69   knowledge?

 70   Ay, marry, now unmuzzle your wisdom.

 71   Stand you both forth now: stroke your
 72   chins, and swear by your beards that I
 73   am a knave.

 74   By our beards, if we had them, thou art.

 75   By my knavery, if I had it, then I were; but
 76   if you swear by that that is not, you are not
 77   forsworn: no more was this knight swearing
 78   by his honour, for he never had any; or if he
 79   had, he had sworn it away before ever he saw
 80   those pancakes or that mustard.

 81   Prithee, who is't that thou meanest?

 82   One that old Frederick, your father, loves.

 83   My father's love is enough to honour him
 84   enough. Speak no more of him; you'll be
85. taxation: making critical or satirical comments, such as the one about the knight's lack of honor.
 85   whipped for taxation one of these days.

86-87. The more pity, that fools may not speak / wisely what wise men do foolishly: it's a pity that fools may not wisely point out the foolish things done by (supposedly) wise men.
 86   The more pity, that fools may not speak
 87   wisely what wise men do foolishly.

88. my troth: my faith.
 88   By my troth, thou sayest true; for since
 89   the little wit that fools have was silenced,
 90   the little foolery that wise men have makes
 91   a great show. Here comes Monsieur Le Beau.

           Enter Le Beau.

 92   With his mouth full of news.

93-94. put on us: force on us.  as pigeons feed / their young: When pigeons feed their young, it appears that the adults are forcing food down the throats of the chicks, although it's really the other way around: pigeons produce a kind of slurry in their crops, and their chicks dive in to eat.
 93   Which he will put on us, as pigeons feed
 94   their young.

 95   Then shall we be news-cramm'd.

96-97. more marketable: —Fowl fattened by forced feeding were more marketable. Forced feeding of ducks and geese is still used in the production of foie gras. (See the Wikipedia article, "Foie gras controversy.")
 96   All the better; we shall be the more
 97   marketable. Bon jour, Monsieur
 98   Le Beau. What's the news?

      LE BEAU
99. you have lost: you have missed out on.
 99   Fair princess, you have lost much good
100   sport.

101. of what colour?: of what kind?
101   Sport! of what colour?

      LE BEAU
102   What colour, madam! how shall I answer
103   you?

104   As wit and fortune will.

105   Or as the Destinies decrees.

106. that was laid on with a trowel: i.e., your witticism was clumsy.
106   Well said — that was laid on with a trowel.

107. rank: i.e., status as a professional wit. —Apparently, Touchstone is trying to defend himself against Celia's comment on the lameness of his previous witticism when Rosalind interrupts him with a pun on the sense of "rank" as "bad-smelling." All three wits, Touchstone and the two ladies, are having a fine time shooting zingers at one another.
107   Nay, if I keep not my rank,—

108   Thou losest thy old smell.

      LE BEAU
109. amaze: bewilder.
109   You amaze me, ladies: I would have told
110   you of good wrestling, which you have
111   lost the sight of.

112   You tell us the manner of the wrestling.

      LE BEAU
113   I will tell you the beginning; and, if it please
114   your ladyships, you may see the end; for
115. yet to do: yet to be done.
115   the best is yet to do; and here, where you are,
116   they are coming to perform it.

117   Well, the beginning, that is dead and buried.

      LE BEAU
118   There comes an old man and his three sons,—

119-120. I could match this beginning with an old / tale.: i.e., that isn't a very original beginning. —A lot of folk tales tell a story of a father with three sons.
119   I could match this beginning with an old
120   tale.

      LE BEAU
121. proper: handsome.
121   Three proper young men, of excellent growth
122   and presence.

123-124. With bills on their necks, 'Be it known unto / all men by these presents': —A bill is a placard, and the phrase, 'Be it known unto all men by these presents' was often used in legal documents, meaning "be it known unto all men by this document." Rosalind is punning . . . 128. that: so that.
123   With bills on their necks, 'Be it known unto
124   all men by these presents.'

      LE BEAU
125   The eldest of the three wrestled with Charles,
126   the duke's wrestler; which Charles in a
127   moment threw him and broke three of his ribs,
128   that there is little hope of life in him: so he
129   served the second, and so the third. Yonder they
130   lie; the poor old man, their father, making such
131. dole: lamentation.
131   pitiful dole over them that all the beholders
132   take his part with weeping.

133   Alas!

134   But what is the sport, monsieur, that the
135   ladies have lost?

      LE BEAU
136   Why, this that I speak of.

137   Thus men may grow wiser every day:
138   it is the first time that ever I heard breaking
139   of ribs was sport for ladies.

140   Or I, I promise thee.

141-142. this broken music / in his sides: —"Broken music" is music arranged for a combination of different kinds of instruments, but of course Rosalind is being sarcastic; she doesn't think that the gasps of a man with broken ribs would be very musical at all.
141   But is there any else longs to see this broken music
142   in his sides? is there yet another dotes upon
143   rib-breaking? Shall we see this wrestling, cousin?

      LE BEAU
144   You must, if you stay here; for here is the place
145   appointed for the wrestling, and they are ready to
146   perform it.

147   Yonder, sure, they are coming: let us now stay
148   and see it.

Flourish: trumpet fanfare (announcing the appearance of Duke Frederick).
        Flourish. Enter DUKE FREDERICK, Lords,
         ORLANDO, CHARLES, and Attendants.

149-150. since the youth will not be entreated, / his own peril on his forwardness: i.e., since the young man refuses to heed entreaties, the danger he's running into is due to his own heedless eagerness. —As we quickly learn, Duke Frederick is speaking of Orlando, who insists on wrestling the fearsome Charles.
149   Come on: since the youth will not be entreated,
150   his own peril on his forwardness.

151   Is yonder the man?

      LE BEAU
152   Even he, madam.

153   Alas, he is too young! yet he looks
154   successfully.

155   How now, daughter and cousin! are
156   you crept hither to see the wrestling?

157. liege: sovereign.
157   Ay, my liege, so please you give us leave.

158   You will take little delight in it, I can tell
159. there is such odds in the man: i.e., Charles is obviously the better man. 160. fain: gladly.
159   you; there is such odds in the man. In pity
160   of the challenger's youth I would fain
161   dissuade him, but he will not be entreated.
162   Speak to him, ladies; see if you can move him.

163   Call him hither, good Monsieur Le Beau.

164   Do so: I'll not be by.

      LE BEAU
165   Monsieur the challenger, the princesses
166   call for you.

167   I attend them with all respect and duty.

168   Young man, have you challenged Charles
169   the wrestler?

170   No, fair princess; he is the general challenger:
171   I come but in, as others do, to try with him the
172   strength of my youth.

173   Young gentleman, your spirits are too bold for your
174   years. You have seen cruel proof of this man's
175   strength: if you saw yourself with your eyes or
176-177. fear: fearsomeness, danger. your adventure: your venture, the risk you are taking. 177-178. would counsel you to a more equal / enterprise: i.e., would strongly advise you to attempt an enterprise that is more equal to your abilities.
176   knew yourself with your judgment, the fear of your
177   adventure would counsel you to a more equal
178   enterprise. We pray you, for your own sake, to
179   embrace your own safety and give over this attempt.

180   Do, young sir; your reputation shall not therefore
181. mispris'd: despised.
181   be misprised: we will make it our suit to the duke
182   that the wrestling might not go forward.

183-185. punish me . . . ladies anything: i.e., don't think badly of me, even though I confess I am guilty of the sin of denying any request from so fair and excellent ladies as yourselves. 186-187. my / trial: i.e. the trial of my strength, skill, and courage (in wrestling Charles).
183   I beseech you, punish me not with your hard
184   thoughts, wherein I confess me much guilty, to deny
185   so fair and excellent ladies anything. But let
186   your fair eyes and gentle wishes go with me to my
187   trial: wherein if I be foiled, there is but one
188. gracious: in favor, esteemed.
188   shamed that was never gracious; if killed, but one
189   dead that was willing to be so: I shall do my
190   friends no wrong, for I have none to lament me, the
191   world no injury, for in it I have nothing; only in
192   the world I fill up a place, which may be better
193   supplied when I have made it empty.

194   The little strength that I have, I would it were
195   with you.

196. eke out: add to.
196   And mine, to eke out hers.

197-198. deceived in / you: i.e., mistaken about your chances.
197   Fare you well: pray heaven I be deceived in
198   you!

199   Your heart's desires be with you!

200   Come, where is this young gallant that is
201   so desirous to lie with his mother earth?

202-203. Ready, sir; but his will hath in it a more / modest working: i.e., I want something a little less than the glory of death. —Charles the wrestler has just boastfully asked "where is this young gallant that is so desirous to lie with his mother earth?" I believe that Orlando responds to Charles' boastfulness with modest irony. However, other editors assert that Orlando takes Charles' phrase "lie with" in the sense of "to have sex with," and that therefore he uses "modest" in a sexual sense. If this is true, Orlando has twisted Charles' words about in order to make a coarse sex joke, but I don't believe that this sort of sexual humor fits well with Orlando's general character.
202   Ready, sir; but his will hath in it a more
203   modest working.

204   You shall try but one fall.

205   No, I warrant your grace, you shall not
206   entreat him to a second, that have so
207   mightily persuaded him from a first.

208   An you mean to mock me after, you should not
209. come your ways: — This is a common phrase meaning something like "let's see what you've got," or "stop talking and start doing."
209   have mock'd me before: but come your ways.

210. Now Hercules be thy speed, young man! : May Hercules aid you and give you success, young man! —Hercules was mythological hero of super-human strength.
210   Now Hercules be thy speed, young man!

211   I would I were invisible, to catch the strong
212   fellow by the leg.


213   O excellent young man!

214   If I had a thunderbolt in mine eye, I can
215   tell who should down.

           Shout. [Orlando throws Charles.]

216   No more, no more.

217-218. I am not yet / well breathed: i.e., I'm not even warmed up.
217   Yes, I beseech your grace: I am not yet
218   well breathed.

219   How dost thou, Charles?

      LE BEAU
220   He cannot speak, my lord.

221   Bear him away. What is thy name, young man?

222   Orlando, my liege; the youngest son of
223   Sir Rowland de Boys.

224   I would thou hadst been son to some man else:
225   The world esteem'd thy father honourable,
226. still: always.
226   But I did find him still mine enemy:
227   Thou shouldst have better pleased me with this deed,
228   Hadst thou descended from another house.
229   But fare thee well; thou art a gallant youth:
230   I would thou hadst told me of another father.

           Exit DUKE [FREDERICK, train,
           and LE BEAU].

231. do this: behave thus. —This is a rhetorical question. Celia means that she would never act in the churlish way that her father just has.
231   Were I my father, coz, would I do this?

232   I am more proud to be Sir Rowland's son,
233. calling: name.
233   His youngest son; and would not change that calling,
234   To be adopted heir to Frederick.

235   My father loved Sir Rowland as his soul,
236   And all the world was of my father's mind:
237. Had I before known this young man his son: Had I known before that this young man was his son. 238. unto: in addition to. 239. Ere he should thus have ventured: i.e., in order to keep him from making the decision to take the dangerous chances that he took in wrestling Charles.
237   Had I before known this young man his son,
238   I should have given him tears unto entreaties,
239   Ere he should thus have ventured.

239                                           Gentle cousin,
240   Let us go thank him and encourage him:
241. envious: —In this play and many others, Shakespeare presents envy as the source of great evil . . . 242. Sticks me at heart: stabs me in the heart. 243-245. If you do keep your promises in love / But justly, as you have exceeded all promise, / Your mistress shall be happy: i.e. If you keep your love promises as well as you have exceeded all expectations (in the wrestling match), the lady you love will be lucky and happy.
241   My father's rough and envious disposition
242   Sticks me at heart. Sir, you have well deserved:
243   If you do keep your promises in love
244   But justly, as you have exceeded all promise,
245   Your mistress shall be happy.

245                                           Gentleman,

           [Giving him her necklace.]

246. one out of suits with Fortune: one out of favor with Fortune. 247. That could give more, but that her hand lacks means: i.e., would wish to give something of more value, but she has nothing else to give.
246   Wear this for me, one out of suits with Fortune,
247   That could give more, but that her hand lacks means.
248   Shall we go, coz?

Knight Charging at a Quintain
Source:  Elizabethan Sports
251. quintain: tilting target.
248                         Ay. Fare you well, fair gentleman.

249   Can I not say, "I thank you"? My better parts
250   Are all thrown down, and that which here stands up
251   Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block.

252   He calls us back: my pride fell with my fortunes;
253   I'll ask him what he would. Did you call, sir?
254-255. overthrown / More than your enemies: i.e., conquered someone else besides Charles. —Rosalind means her smitten self.
254   Sir, you have wrestled well and overthrown
255   More than your enemies.

255                                     Will you go, coz?

256. Have with you: i.e., yes, I'm coming with you. —The scene is funnier if Rosalind, despite saying this, lingers for a second or two, hoping that Orlando will respond to her heavy, heavy hints.
256   [To Celia] Have with you. [To Orlando] Fare you well.

           Exit [Rosalind with Celia].

257   What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue?
258. urged conference: urgently invited conversation.
258   I cannot speak to her, yet she urged conference.
259   O poor Orlando, thou art overthrown!
260. Or: either.
260   Or Charles or something weaker masters thee.

           Enter LE BEAU.

      LE BEAU
261   Good sir, I do in friendship counsel you
262   To leave this place. Albeit you have deserved
263   High commendation, true applause and love,
264. condition: mental condition; state of mind.
264   Yet such is now the duke's condition
265   That he misconstrues all that you have done.
266-267. humorous: moody, changeable.  what he is indeed, / More suits you to conceive than I to speak of: i.e., what his real state of mind is, is something that you need to understand, but which I shouldn't really talk about. —Le Beau is warning Orlando that Duke Frederick is likely to try to harm him, but Le Beau is also a courtier to Duke Frederick, and feels that he shouldn't say what a nasty man his lord is.
266   The duke is humorous; what he is indeed,
267   More suits you to conceive than I to speak of.

268   I thank you, sir: and, pray you, tell me this:
269   Which of the two was daughter of the duke
270   That here was at the wrestling?

      LE BEAU
271. Neither . . . manners: i.e., Neither one is his daughter, if we judge by how they act. 272. But yet indeed the smaller is his daughter: —The original text reads, "But yet indeed the taller is his daughter," but that contradicts what Rosalind says in the next scene: "I am more than common tall." Therefore "smaller" is often substituted for "taller."
271   Neither his daughter, if we judge by manners;
272   But yet indeed the smaller is his daughter
273   The other is daughter to the banish'd duke,
274   And here detain'd by her usurping uncle,
275   To keep his daughter company; whose loves
276   Are dearer than the natural bond of sisters.
277   But I can tell you that of late this duke
278   Hath ta'en displeasure 'gainst his gentle niece,
279. argument: reason, grounds.
279   Grounded upon no other argument
280   But that the people praise her for her virtues
281   And pity her for her good father's sake;
282   And, on my life, his malice 'gainst the lady
283   Will suddenly break forth. Sir, fare you well:
284. in a better world than this: i.e., when things have changed for the better.
284   Hereafter, in a better world than this,
285   I shall desire more love and knowledge of you.

286. I rest much bounden to you: I will always be much indebted to you.
286   I rest much bounden to you: fare you well.

           [Exit Le Beau.]

287. Thus must I from the smoke into the smother: i.e., Thus I go out of the frying pan into the fire.
287   Thus must I from the smoke into the smother;
288   From tyrant duke unto a tyrant brother:
289   But heavenly Rosalind!