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My gentle Phebe did bid me give you this :
[Giving a letter.' Ros. reads it. I know not the contents; but as I guess, By the stern brow and waspish action, Which she did use as she was writing of it, It bears an angry tenour. Pardon me, I am but as a guiltless messenger.
Ros. Patience herself would startle at this letter,
Sil. No, I protest; I know not the contents :
Come, come, you are a fool,
Sil. Sure, it is hers.
Ros. Why, 't is a boisterous and a cruel style, A. style for challengers: why, she defies me, Like Turk to Christian. Woman'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? Sil. So please you; for I never heard it yet, Yet heard too much of Phebe's cruelty. Ros. She Phebes me. Mark how the tyrant writes.
“ Art thou god to shepherd turn’d,
That a maiden's heart hath burn'a ?».
Sil. Call you this railing ?
Warr'st thou with a woman's heart ?"
1 The rest of this stage direction not in f. e.
“Whiles the eye of man did woo me,
That could do no vengeance to me.”.
" If the scorn of your bright eyne
I did love;
And then I'll study how to die." Sil. Call you this ehiding? Cel. Alas, poor shepherd ! Ros. Do you pity him ? no; he deserves no pity.Wilt thou love such a woman ?-What, to make thee an instrument, and play false strains upon thee? not to be endured !--Well, go your way to her, (for I see, love hath made thee a tame snake) and say this to her :—that if she love me, I charge her to love thee; if she will not, I will never have her, unless thou entreat for her. - If you be a true lover, hence, and not a word, for here comes more company. (Exit Silvius.
Enter OLIVER. Oli. Good morrow,
fair ones. Pray you, if you know,
Oli. If that an eye may profit by a tongue,
The owner of the house I did inquire for ?
Cel. It is no boast, being ask'd, to say, we are.
Oli. Orlando doth commend him to you both;
What must we understand by this?
I pray you, tell it. Oli. When last the young Orlando parted from you, He left a promise to return again Within an hour; and, pacing through the forest, Chewing the food of sweet and bitter fancy, Lo, what befel! he threw his eye aside, And, mark, what object did present itself! Under an old oak, whose boughs were moss’d with age, And high top bald with dry antiquity, A wretched ragged man, o'ergrown with hair, Lay sleeping on his back : about his neck A green and gilded snake had wreath'd itself, Who with her head, nimble in threats, approach'd The opening of his mouth; but suddenly, Seeing Orlando, it unlink'd itself, And with indented glides did slip away Into a bush; under which bush's shade A lioness, with udders all drawn dry, Lay couching, head on ground, with catlike watch, When that the sleeping man should stir; for 't is The royal disposition of that beast, To prey on nothing that doth seem as dead. This seen, Orlando did approach the man, And found it was his brother, his elder brother.
Cel. O! I have heard him speak of that same brother : And he did render him the most unnatural That liv'd 'mongst men. Oli.
And well he might so do, For well I know he was unnatural.
Ros. But, to Orlando.—Did he leave him there, Food to the suck'd and hungry lioness ?
Oli. Twice did he turn his back, and purpos'd so; But kindness, nobler ever than revenge, And nature, stronger than his just occasion, Made him give battle to the lioness,
Who quickly fell before him : in which hurtling
Cel. Are you his brother ?
Was it you he rescu'd ? Cel. Was 't you that did so oft contrive to kill
Ros. But, for the bloody napkin ?
By and by.
(ROSALIND swoons. Oli. Many will swoon when they do look on blood. Cel. There is more in it.-Cousin !—Ganymede ! Oli. Look, he recovers.
[Raising her. Ros. I would I were at home. Cel.
We'll lead you thither.I pray you, will you take him by the arm ?
Oli. Be of good cheer, youth.--You a man? You lack A man's heart.
Ros. I do so, I confess it. Ah, sirrah! a body would think this was well counterfeited. I pray you, tell your brother how well I counterfeited.-Heigh ho ! Oli. This was not counterfeit: there is too great
1 Not in f. e.
testimony in your complexion, that it was a passion of earnest.
Ros. Counterfeit, I assure you.
Oli. Well then, take a good heart, and counterfeit to be a man.
Ros. So I do; but, i' faith, I should have been a woman by right.
Cel. Come; you look paler and paler : pray you, draw homewards, Good sir, go with us.
Oli. That will I, for I must bear answer back, How you excuse my brother, Rosalind.
Ros. I shall devise something. But, I pray you, commend my counterfeiting to him.-Will you go?
Enter TOUCHSTONE and AUDREY.
Aud. 'Faith, the priest was good enough, for all the old gentleman's saying.
Touch. A most wicked sir Oliver, Audrey; a most vile Mar-text. But, Audrey; there is a youth here in the forest lays claim to you.
Aud. Ay, I know who 't is; he hath no interest in me in the world. Here comes the man you mean.
Will. Good even, Audrey.
Touch. Good even, gentle friend. Cover thy head, cover thy head : nay, prythee, be covered. How old are you, friend?
Will. Five and twenty, sir.