As You Like It

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Not very well, but I have met him oft,
And he hath bought the cottage and the bounds
That the old carlot once was master of.
Not very well, but I’ve met him several times. He’s bought the cottage and the grounds that the old peasant used to own.
120Think not I love him, though I ask for him.
'Tis but a peevish boy—yet he talks well—
But what care I for words? Yet words do well
When he that speaks them pleases those that hear.
It is a pretty youth—not very pretty—
125But sure he’s proud—and yet his pride becomes him.
He’ll make a proper man. The best thing in him
Is his complexion; and faster than his tongue
Did make offense, his eye did heal it up.
He is not very tall—yet for his years he’s tall.
130His leg is but so-so—and yet ’tis well.
There was a pretty redness in his lip,
A little riper and more lusty red
Than that mixed in his cheek: ’twas just the difference
Betwixt the constant red and mingled damask.
135There be some women, Silvius, had they marked him
In parcels as I did, would have gone near
To fall in love with him; but for my part
I love him not nor hate him not; and yet
I have more cause to hate him than to love him.
140For what had he to do to chide at me?
He said mine eyes were black and my hair black
And, now I am remembered, scorned at me.
I marvel why I answered not again.
But that’s all one: omittance is no quittance.
145I’ll write to him a very taunting letter,
And thou shalt bear it. Wilt thou, Silvius?
Don’t think I’m in love with him just because I’m asking about him. He’s an irritable boy, though he speaks well. But what do I care about words? And yet, words are a good thing when the man speaking them is pleasant to listen to. He’s good-looking, but not too good-looking. He’s awfully proud, but his pride suits him. He’ll grow up to be a proper man. The best thing about him is his complexion: as fast as he offends me with words, his pretty face heals the wound. He’s not very tall, but he’s tall enough for his age. His legs aren’t great, but they’re alright. His lips were nice and red, a little more lively and passionate than the red that was in his cheeks—one was pure red and the other more pink. There are women out there, Silvius, who would have nearly fallen in love with him after inspecting him as closely as I have. But I don’t love him or hate him—though I suppose I have more reason to hate him than love him. What right did he have to scold me like that? He said my eyes and my hair were black and, now that I think of it, he scorned me. I’m surprised I didn’t bite back. But no matter—I’ll get back at him soon enough. I’ll write him a taunting letter, and you can deliver it. Will you do that for me, Silvius?
Phoebe, with all my heart.
With all my heart, Phoebe.