As You Like It

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 7

page Act 2 Scene 7 Page 5

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JAQUES

An you will not be answered with reason, I must die.

JAQUES

If you won’t listen to reason, I’ll have to die.

DUKE SENIOR

What would you have? Your gentleness shall force
More than your force move us to gentleness.

DUKE SENIOR

What would you like? Gentlemanly manners have more sway around here than force does.

ORLANDO

105I almost die for food, and let me have it.

ORLANDO

I’m dying for food, so let me have some.

DUKE SENIOR

Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table.

DUKE SENIOR

Sit down and eat, and welcome to our table.

ORLANDO

Speak you so gently? Pardon me, I pray you.
I thought that all things had been savage here,
And therefore put I on the countenance
110Of stern commandment. But whate'er you are
That in this desert inaccessible,
Under the shade of melancholy boughs,
Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time,
If ever you have looked on better days,
115If ever been where bells have knolled to church,
If ever sat at any good man’s feast,
If ever from your eyelids wiped a tear
And know what ’tis to pity and be pitied,
Let gentleness my strong enforcement be,
120In the which hope I blush and hide my sword.

ORLANDO

Do you really speak like such a gentleman? I beg your pardon. I thought everything out here was wild, which is why I acted so stern and commanding. But whoever you are—you who sit in the dark shade, losing track of time in this remote forest—if you have ever seen better days or been to church or sat at a man’s table for a feast or wiped a tear from your eye, if you know what it is to pity and be pitied, let my kindness and nobility persuade you. With that hope, I’ll blush at my rudeness and put away my sword.

DUKE SENIOR

True is it that we have seen better days
And have with holy bell been knolled to church,
And sat at good men’s feasts and wiped our eyes
Of drops that sacred pity hath engendered.
125And therefore sit you down in gentleness,
And take upon command what help we have
That to your wanting may be ministered.

DUKE SENIOR

We have in fact seen better days and been summoned to church by the ringing of the holy bell and sat at good men’s feasts and cried tears of pity—therefore, sit down and take whatever will satisfy your needs.