As You Like It

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 1

page Act 1 Scene 1 Page 2

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OLIVER

25Now, sir, what make you here?

OLIVER

ORLANDO

Nothing. I am not taught to make anything.

ORLANDO

Nothing. I’ve never been taught how to make anything.

OLIVER

What mar you then, sir?

OLIVER

Well, then, what are you messing up?

ORLANDO

Marry, sir, I am helping you to mar that which God made, a poor unworthy brother of yours, with idleness.

ORLANDO

I’m helping you mess up one of God’s creations—your poor, unworthy brother—by having him do nothing.

OLIVER

30Marry, sir, be better employed, and be naught awhile.

OLIVER

Indeed, sir, find something better to do and get lost for a while.

ORLANDO

Shall I keep your hogs and eat husks with them? What prodigal portion have I spent that I should come to such penury?

ORLANDO

OLIVER

Know you where you are, sir?

OLIVER

Do you know where you are, sir?

ORLANDO

35O sir, very well: here in your orchard.

ORLANDO

Yes, sir, very well—I’m here in your orchard.

OLIVER

Know you before whom, sir?

OLIVER

Do you know whom you’re talking to?

ORLANDO

Ay, better than him I am before knows me. I know you are my eldest brother, and in the gentle condition of blood you should so know me. The courtesy of nations allows you my better, in that you are the first-born, but the same tradition takes not away my blood, were there twenty brothers betwixt us. I have as much of my father in me as you, albeit, I confess, your coming before me is nearer to his reverence.

ORLANDO

Yes, better than you know me. I know you’re my oldest brother, and deserve more respect. But we’re in the same family, so you should acknowledge that I am a gentleman too. According to custom, as the first-born you are my superior. But it’s not customary to treat me like I’m not even a gentleman, even if there were twenty brothers between you and me. I have as much of our father in me as you do, though I admit you’re closer to him and matter more because you’re older.