As You Like It
Important Quotations Explained
my co-mates and brothers in exile,
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?
Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons’ difference, as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter’s wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile, and say
’This is no flattery. These are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.’
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 everything.
I do live by food, I met a fool,
Who laid him down and basked him in the sun,
And railed on Lady Fortune in good terms,
In good set terms, and yet a motley fool.
’Good morrow, fool,’ quoth I. ‘No, sir,’ quoth he,
’Call me not fool till heaven hath sent me fortune.’
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.’
faith; die by attorney. The poor world is almost six thousand years
old, and in all this time there was not any man died in his own
person, videlicet, in a love-cause. Troilus had his brains dashed
out with a Grecian club, yet he did what he could to die before,
and he is one of the patterns of love. Leander, he would have lived
many a fair year though Hero had turned nun if it had not been for
a hot midsummer night, for, good youth, he went but forth to wash
him in the Hellespont and, being taken with the cramp, was drowned;
and the foolish chroniclers of that age found it was Hero of Sestos.
But these are all lies. Men have died from time to time, and worms
have eaten them, but not for love.
sir, we quarrel in print, by the book, as you have books for good
manners. I will name you the degrees. The first, the Retort Courteous;
the second, the Quip Modest; the third, the Reply Churlish; the
fourth, the Reproof Valiant; the fifth, the Countercheck Quarrelsome;
the sixth, the Lie with Circumstance; the seventh, the Lie Direct.
All these you may avoid but the Lie Direct; and you may avoid that,
too, with an ‘if’. I knew when seven justices could not take up
a quarrel, but when the parties were met themselves, one of them
thought but of an ‘if’, as ‘If you said so, then I said so’, and
they shook hands and swore brothers. Your ‘if’ is the only peacemaker;
much virtue in ‘if’.
is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue; but it is no more
unhandsome than to see the lord the prologue. If it be true that
good wine needs no bush, ‘tis true that a good play needs no epilogue.
Yet to good wine they do use good bushes, and good plays prove the
better by the help of good epilogues. What a case am I in then,
that am neither a good epilogue nor cannot insinuate with you in
the behalf of a good play! I am not furnished like a beggar, therefore
to beg will not become me. My way is to conjure you; and I’ll begin with
the women. I charge you, O women, for the love you bear to men,
to like as much of this play as please you. And I charge you, O
men, for the love you bear to women—as I perceive by your simpering
none of you hates them— that between you and the women the play
may please. If I were a woman I would kiss as many of you as had
beards that pleased me, complexions that liked me, and breaths that
I defied not. And I am sure, as many as have good beards, or good
faces, or sweet breaths will for my kind offer, when I make curtsy,
bid me farewell.
Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!