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Oli. Good Monsieur Charles, what's the new news at the new court ?
Cha. There 's no news at the court, sir, but the old news : that is, the old duke is banished by his younger brother the new duke ; and three or four loving lords have put themselves into voluntary exile with him, whose lands and revenues enrich the new duke ; therefore he gives them good leave to wander.
Oli. Can you tell if Rosalind, the duke's daughter, be banished with her father ?
Cha. O, no ; for the duke's daughter, her cousin, so loves her, being ever from their cradles bred together, that she would have followed her exile, or have died to stay behind her. She is at the court, and no less beloved of her uncle than his own daughter; and never two ladies loved as they do.
101 Oli. Where will the old duke live ?
Cha. They say he is already in the forest of Arden, and a many merry men with him ; and there they live like the old Robin Hood of England : they say many young gentlemen flock to him every day, and fleet the time carelessly, as they did in the golden world.
Oli. What, you wrestle to-morrow before the new duke ?
Cha. Marry, do I, sir ; and I came to acquaint you with a matter. I am given, sir, secretly to understand that your younger brother Orlando hath a disposition to come in disguised against me to try a fall. To-morrow, sir, I wrestle for my credit ; and he that escapes me without some broken limb shall acquit him well. Your brother is but young and tender ; and, for your love, I would be loath to foil him, as I must, for my own honour, if he come in : therefore, out of my love to you, I came hither to acquaint you withal, that either you might stay him from his intendment or brook such disgrace well as he shall run into, in that it is a thing of his own search and altogether against my will.
120 Oli. Charles, I thank thee for thy love to me, which thou shalt find I will most kindly requite. I had myself notice of my brother's purpose herein and have by underhand means laboured to dissuade him from it, but he is resolute. I'll tell thee, Charles : it is the stubbornest young fellow of France, full of ambition, an envious emulator of every man's good parts, a secret and villanous contriver against me his natural brother : therefore use thy discretion ; I had as lief thou didst break his neck as his finger. And thou wert best look to't; for if thou dost him any slight disgrace or if he do not mightily grace himself on thee, he will practise against thee by poison, entrap thee by some treacherous device and never leave thee till he hath ta'en thy life by some indirect means or other ; for, I assure thee, and almost with tears I speak it, there is not one so young and so villanous this day living. I speak but brotherly of him ; but should I anatomize him to thee as he is, I must blush and weep and thou must look pale and wonder.
Cha. I am heartily glad I came hither to you. If he come to-morrow, I'll give him his payment: if ever he go alone again, I'll never wrestle for prize more : and so. God keep your worship !
. 142 Oli. Farewell, good Charles. [Exit Charles.] Now will I stir this gamester : I hope I shall see an end of him ; for my soul, yet I know not why, hates nothing more than he. Yet he's gentle, never schooled and yet learned, full of noble device, of all sorts enchantingly beloved, and indeed so much in the heart of the world, and especially of my own people, who best know him, that I am altogether misprised : but it shall not be so long ; this wrestler shall clear all : nothing remains but that I kindle the boy thither ; which now I'll go about.
SCENE II. Lawn before the Duke's palace.
Enter (CELI, and ROSALIND.
Ros. Dear Celia, I show more mirth than I am mistress of; and would you yet I were merrier ? Unless you could teach me to forget a banished father, you must not learn me how to remeniber any extraordinary pleasure.
Cel. Herein I see thou lovest me not with the full weight that I love thee. If my uncle, thy banished father, had banished thy uncle, the duke my father, so thou hadst been still with me, I could have taught my love to take thy father for mine : so wouldst thou, if the truth of thy love to me were so righteously tempered as mine is to thee.
Ros. Well, I will forget the condition of my estate, to rejoice in yours.
Cel. You know my father hath no child but I, nor none is like to have : and, truly, when he dies, thou shalt be his heir, for what he hath taken away from thy father perforce, I will render thee again in affection ; by mine honour, I will ; and when I break that oath, let me turn monster : therefore, my sweet Rose, my dear Rose, be merry.
Ros. From henceforth I will, coz, and devise sports. Let me see; what think you of falling in love ?
21 Cel. Marry, I prithee, do, to make sport withal : but love no man in good earnest; nor no further in sport neither than with safety of a pure blush thou, mayst in honour come off again.
Ros. What shall be our sport, then ?
Cel. Let us sit and mock the good housewife Fortune from her wheel, that her gifts may henceforth be bestowed equally.
Ros. I would we could do so, for her benefits are mightily misplaced, and the bountiful blind woman doth most mistake in her gifts to women.
31 Cel. 'Tis true; for those that she makes fair she scarce
makes honest, and those that she makes honest she makes very ill-favouredly.
Ros. Nay, now thou goest from Fortune's office to Nature's : Fortune reigns in gifts of the world, not in the lineaments of Nature.
Enter TOUCHSTONE. Cel. No ? when Nature hath made a fair creature, may she not by Fortune fall into the fire? Though Nature hath given us wit to flout at Fortune, hath not Fortune sent in this fool to cut off the argument ?
Ros. Indeed, there is Fortune too hard for Nature, when Fortune makes Nature's natural the cutter off of Nature's wit.
Cel. Peradventure this is not Fortune's work neither, but Nature's; who perceiving our natural wits too dull to reason of such goddesses, hath sent this natural for our whetstone; for always the dulness of the fool is the whetstone of the wits. How now, wit! whither wander you?
Touch. Mistress, you must come away to your father. 50
Touch. Of a certain knight that swore by his honour they were good pancakes and swore by his honour the mustard was naught: now I'll stand to it, the pancakes were naught and the mustard was good, and yet was not the knight forsworn.
Cel. How prove you that, in the great heap of your knowledge ?
60 Ros. Ay, marry, now unmuzzle your wisdom.
Touch. Stand you both forth now : stroke your chins, and swear by your beards that I am a knave.
Cel. By our beards, if we had them, thou art.
Touch. By my knavery, if I had it, then I were ; but if you swear by that that is not, you are not forsworn: no more
was this knight, swearing by his honour, for he never had
70 Touch. One that old Frederick, your father, loves.
Cel. My father's love is enough to honour him : enough! speak no more of him ; you 'll be whipped for taxation one of these days.
Touch. The more pity, that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly.
Cel. By my troth, thou sayest true ; for since the little wit that fools have was silenced, the little foolery that wise men have makes a great show. Here comes Monsieur Le Beau. Ros. With his mouth full of news.
Enter LE BEAU.
Le Beau. Fair princess, you have lost much good sport.
71 Touch. Nay, if I keep not my rank,Ros. Thou losest thy old smell.
Le Beau. You amaze me, ladies : I would have told you of good wrestling, which you have lost the sight of.
Ros. Yet tell us the manner of the wrestling.
Le Beau. I will tell you the beginning; and, if it please your ladyships, you may see the end; for the best is yet to do; and here, where you are, they are coming to perform it.
Cel. Well, the beginning, that is dead and buried.