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Enter JAQUES de Bois.
Jaq. de B. Let me have audience for a word, or two;
His brother here, and put him to the sword:
Welcome, young man ;
That have endur'd shrewd days and nights with us,
Play, musick; and you brides and bridegrooms all, With measure heap'd in joy, to the measures fall.
Jaq. Sir, by your patience; if I heard you rightly, The duke hath put on a religious life,
And thrown into neglect the pompous court?
Jaq. To him will I: out of these convertites
[To Duke S.
There is much matter to be heard and learn'd.-
You [to OLIVER] to your land, and love, and great allies:
You [to SILVIUS] to a long and well deserved bed ;— And you [to TOUCHSTONE] to wrangling; for thy loving voyage
Is but for two months victual'd:-So to your plea
I am for other than for dancing measures.
Duke S. Stay, Jaques, stay.
Jaq. To see no pastime, I':-what you would have I'll stay to know at your abandon'd cave. [Exit.
Duke S. Proceed, proceed: we will begin these rites, And we do trust they'll end, in true delights. [A dance.
Ros. It is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue but it is no more unhandsome, than to see the lord the prologue. If it be true, that good wine needs
To see no pastime, I: &c.] Amidst this general festivity, the reader may be sorry to take his leave of Jaques, who appears to have no share in it, and remains behind unreconciled to society. He has, however, filled with a gloomy sensibility the space allotted to him in the play, and to the last preserves that respect which is due to him as a consistent character, and an amiable, though solitary moralist.
It may be observed, with scarce less concern, that Shakspeare has, on this occasion, forgot old Adam, the servant of Orlando, whose fidelity should have entitled him to notice at the end of the piece, as well as to that happiness which he would naturally have found, in the return of fortune to his master.
no bush', 'tis true, that a good play needs no epilogue: Yet to good wine they do use good bushes; and good plays prove the better by the help of good epilogues. What a case am I in then, that am neither a good epilogue, nor cannot insinuate with you in the behalf of a good play? I am not furnished like a beggar3, therefore to beg will not become me: my way is, to conjure you; and I'll begin with the women. I charge you, O women, for the love you bear to men, to like as much of this play as please them †; and so I charge you, O men, for the love you bear to women, (as I perceive by your simpering, none of you hate them,) that between you and the women, the play may please. If I were a woman, I would kiss as many of you as had beards that pleased me, complexions that liked me, and breaths that I defied not; and, I am sure, as many as have good beards, or good faces, or sweet breaths, will, for my kind offer, when I make curt'sy, bid me farewell. [Exeunt.
no bush,] It appears formerly to have been the custom to hang a tuft of ivy at the door of a vintner. The practice is still observed in Warwickshire and the adjoining counties at statutehirings, wakes, &c. by people who sell ale at no other time.
furnished like a beggar,] That is, dressed: so before, he was furnished like a huntsman.
"As please you, and I;" MALONE.
If I were a woman,] In this author's time, the parts of women were always performed by men or boys.
complexions that liked me,] i. e. that I liked.
Of this play the fable is wild and pleasing. I know not how the ladies will approve the facility with which both Rosalind and Celia give away their hearts. To Celia much may be forgiven for the heroism of her friendship. The character of Jaques is natural and well preserved. The comick dialogue is very sprightly, with less mixture of low buffoonery than in some other plays; and the graver part is elegant and harmonious. By hastening to the end of this work, Shakspeare suppressed the dialogue between the usurper and the hermit, and lost an opportunity of exhibiting a moral lesson in which he might have found matter worthy of his highest powers. JOHNSON.