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As You Like It

William Shakespeare


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Description

As You Like It follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle's court, accompanied by her cousin Celia and Touchstone the court jester, to find safety and, eventually, love, in the Forest of Arden.

Part of the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Great Books of the Western World set.

This book has 110 pages in the PDF version, and was originally written in 1599.

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Excerpt from 'As You Like It'

Orchard of Oliver's house.

Enter ORLANDO and ADAM

ORLANDO; As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion
bequeathed me by will but poor a thousand crowns,
and, as thou sayest, charged my brother, on his
blessing, to breed me well: and there begins my
sadness. My brother Jaques he keeps at school, and
report speaks goldenly of his profit: for my part,
he keeps me rustically at home, or, to speak more
properly, stays me here at home unkept; for call you
that keeping for a gentleman of my birth, that
differs not from the stalling of an ox? His horses
are bred better; for, besides that they are fair
with their feeding, they are taught their manage,
and to that end riders dearly hired: but I, his
brother, gain nothing under him but growth; for the
which his animals on his dunghills are as much
bound to him as I. Besides this nothing that he so
plentifully gives me, the something that nature gave
me his countenance seems to take from me: he lets
me feed with his hinds, bars me the place of a
brother, and, as much as in him lies, mines my
gentility with my education. This is it, Adam, that
grieves me; and the spirit of my father, which I
think is within me, begins to mutiny against this
servitude: I will no longer endure it, though yet I
know no wise remedy how to avoid it.

ADAM; Yonder comes my master, your brother.

ORLANDO; Go apart, Adam, and thou shalt hear how he will
shake me up.

Enter OLIVER

OLIVER; Now, sir! what make you here?

ORLANDO; Nothing: I am not taught to make any thing.

OLIVER; What mar you then, sir?

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

OLIVER; Marry, sir, be better employed, and be naught awhile.

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

OLIVER; Know you where your are, sir?

ORLANDO; O, sir, very well; here in your orchard.

OLIVER; Know you before whom, sir?

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.

OLIVER; What, boy!

ORLANDO; Come, come, elder brother, you are too young in this.

OLIVER; Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain?

ORLANDO; I am no villain; I am the youngest son of Sir
Rowland de Boys; he was my father, and he is thrice
a villain that says such a father begot villains.
Wert thou not my brother, I would not take this hand
from thy throat till this other had pulled out thy
tongue for saying so: thou hast railed on thyself.

ADAM; Sweet masters, be patient: for your father's
remembrance, be at accord.

OLIVER; Let me go, I say.

ORLANDO; I will not, till I please: you shall hear me. My
father charged you in his will to give me good
education: you have trained me like a peasant,
obscuring and hiding from me all gentleman-like
qualities. The spirit of my father grows strong in
me, and I will no longer endure it: therefore allow
me such exercises as may become a gentleman, or
give me the poor allottery my father left me by
testament; with that I will go buy my fortunes.

OLIVER; And what wilt thou do? beg, when that is spent?
Well, sir, get you in: I will not long be troubled
with you; you shall have some part of your will: I
pray you, leave me.

ORLANDO; I will no further offend you than becomes me for my good.

OLIVER; Get you with him, you old dog.

ADAM; Is 'old dog' my reward? Most true, I have lost my
teeth in your service. God be with my old master!
he would not have spoke such a word.

Exeunt ORLANDO and ADAM

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