As You Like It

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Come, come, you are a fool,
45And turned into the extremity of love.
I saw her hand. She has a leathern hand,
A freestone-colored hand. I verily did think
That her old gloves were on, but ’twas her hands.
She has a huswife’s hand—but that’s no matter.
50I say she never did invent this letter.
This is a man’s invention, and his hand.
Come on, you’re a fool, and driven to extreme measures by love. I saw her hands: they were as rough as leather and just as brown; I thought she was wearing old gloves, but they were, in fact, her hands. These are the hands of a hard-working housewife, but that’s not the point. The point is that she didn’t write this letter. These are a man’s words, and his handwriting.
Sure it is hers.
I’m telling you, it’s hers.
Why, ’tis a boisterous and a cruel style,
A style for challengers. Why, she defies me
55Like Turk to Christian. Women’s gentle brain
Could not drop forth such giant-rude invention,
Such Ethiop words, blacker in their effect
Than in their countenance. Will you hear the letter?
Well, it’s written in a boisterous and rude style—someone is up for a fight. Why, she challenges me like a Muslim would challenge a Christian. No, a woman’s gentle brain could never have come up with such crude expressions and even harsher meanings. Do you want to hear what she says?
So please you, for I never heard it yet,
60Yet heard too much of Phoebe’s cruelty.
If you want to read it, as I haven’t heard it yet, though I’ve heard too much of Phoebe’s cruelty.
She Phoebes me. Mark how the tyrant writes.
(reads) Art thou god to shepherd turned,
That a maiden’s heart hath burned?
Can a woman rail thus?
She’s Phoebe-ing me. Listen to what the tyrant says. (reading) “Are you a god disguised as a shepherd, that you know so expertly how to burn my heart?” Now, honestly, would a woman rant like this?
65Call you this railing?
You call that ranting?
Why, thy godhead laid apart,
Warr’st thou with a woman’s heart?
Did you ever hear such railing?
70Whiles the eye of man did woo me,
That could do no vengeance to me.
Meaning me a beast.
(reading) “Why have you set aside your divine nature just to battle with a woman’s affections?” Did you ever hear such ranting? (reading) “When other men have wooed me, they didn’t hurt me.” In other words, she thinks I’m not a man, but an animal.