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To blow on whom I please; for so fools have:
And they that are most galled with my folly,
They most must laugh: And why, sir, must they so?
The why is plain as way to parish church:

He, that a fool doth very wisely hit,
Doth very foolishly, although he smart,
Not to seem senseless of the bob:1 if not,
The wise man's folly is anatomiz'd

Even by the squandring glances of the fool.2
Invest me in my motley; give me leave


To speak my mind, and I will through and through
Cleanse the foul body of the infected world,
If they will patiently receive my medicine.


Duke S. Fy on thee! I can tell what thou wouldst do. Jaq. What, for a counter, would I do, but good? Duke S. Most mischievous foul sin, in chiding sin: For thou thyself hast been a libertine,

As sensual as the brutish sting5 itself;

9 as large a charter as the wind,] So, in King Henry V: "The wind, that charter'd libertine, is still." Malone.

1 Not to seem senseless of the bob:] The old copies read onlySeem senseless, &c. Not to were supplied by Mr. Theobald. See the following note. Steevens.

Besides that the third verse is defective one whole foot in measure, the tenour of what Jaques continues to say, and the reasoning of the passage, show it no less defective in the sense. There is no doubt, but the two little monosyllables, which I have supplied, were either by accident wanting in the manuscript, or by inadvertence were left out. Theobald.


if not, &c.] Unless men have the prudence not to appear touched with the sarcasms of a jester, they subject themselves to his power; and the wise man will have his folly anatomized, that is, dissected and laid open, by the squandring glances or random shots of a fool. Johnson.

3 Cleanse the foul body of the infected world,] So, in Macbeth: "Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of the perilous stuff." Douce.

- for a counter,] Dr. Farmer observes to me, that about the time when this play was written, the French counters (i. e. pieces of false money used as a means of reckoning) were brought into use in England. They are again mentioned in Troilus and


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"The past-proportion of his infinite?" Steevens.

5 As sensual as the brutish sting -] Though the brutish sting is

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And all the embossed sores, and headed evils,
That thou with license of free foot hast caught,
Wouldst thou disgorge into the general world.
Jaq. Why, who cries out on pride,
That can therein tax any private party?
Doth it not flow as hugely as the sea,
Till that the very very means do ebb?"
What woman in the city do I name,
When that I say, The city-woman bears
The cost of princes on unworthy shoulders?
Who can come in, and say, that I mean her, -
When such a one as she, such is her neighbour?
Or what is he of basest function,

That says, his bravery" is not on my cost,
(Thinking that I mean him) but therein suits

His folly to the mettle of my speech?

There then; How, what then? Let me see wherein
My tongue hath wrong'd him: if it do him right,
Then he hath wrong'd himself; if he be free,
Why then, my taxing like a wild goose flies,
Unclaim'd of any man.-But who comes here?

capable of a sense not inconvenient in this passage, yet as it is a harsh and unusual mode of speech, I should read the brutish fly. Johnson. I believe the old reading is the true one. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. I, c. viii:

A heard of bulls whom kindly rage doth sting."

Again, B. II, c. xii:

"As if that hunger's point, or Venus' sting,
"Had them enrag'd."

Again, in Othello:


our carnal stings, our unbitted lusts."


6 Till that the very very-] The old copy reads-weary very. Corrected by Mr. Pope. Malone.


his bravery ] i. e. his fine clothes. So, in The Taming of the Shrew:

"With scarfs and fans, and double change of bravery.”·


8 There then; How, what then? &c.] The old copy reads, very redundantly

There then; How then? What then? &c.] Steevens.

I believe we should read-Where then? So, in Othello: "What then? How then? Where's satisfaction?" Malone.

Enter ORLANDO, with his sword drawn.

Orl. Forbear, and eat no more.


Why, I have eat none yet.

Orl. Nor shalt not, till necessity be serv'd.

Jaq. Of what kind should this cock come of?

Duke S. Art thou thus bolden'd, man, by thy distress; Or else a rude despiser of good manners,

That in civility thou seem'st so empty?

Orl. You touch'd my vein at first; the thorny point Of bare distress hath ta'en from me the show


Of smooth civility: yet am I inland bred,1

And know some nurture:2 But forbear, I say;
He dies, that touches any of this fruit,

Till I and my affairs are answered.

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

Duke S. What would you have? Your gentleness shall


More than your force move us to gentleness.

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

Duke S. Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table.
Orl. 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

Of stern commandment: But whate'er you are,
That in this desert inaccessible,3

9 the thorny point

Of bare distress hath ta'en from me the show

Of smooth civility:] We might read torn with more elegance, but elegance alone will not justify alteration. Johnson.

1— inland bred,] Inland here, and elsewhere in this play, is the opposite to outland, or upland. Orlando means to say, that he had not been bred among clowns. H. White.

2 And know some nurture:] Nurture is education, breeding, manners. So, in Greene's Never too late, 1616:

"He shew'd himself as full of nurture as of nature." Again, as Mr. Holt White observes to me, Barret says, in his Alvearie, 1580: "It is a point of nurture, or good manners, to salute them that you meete. Urbanitatis est salutare obvios."


St. Paul advises the Ephesians, in his Epistle, ch. vi, 4, to bring their children up "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Harris.

Under the shade of melancholy boughs,

Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time;
If ever you have look'd on better days;

If ever been where bells have knoll'd to church;
If ever sat at any good man's feast;

If ever from your eye-lids wip'd a tear,
And know what 'tis to pity, and be pitied;
Let gentleness my strong enforcement be:
In the which hope, I blush, and hide my sword.
Duke S. True is it that we have seen better days;
And have with holy bell been knoll'd to church;
And sat at good men's feasts; and wip'd our eyes
Of drops that sacred pity hath engender'd:
And therefore sit you down in gentleness,
And take upon command what help we have,^
That to your wanting may be ministred.

Orl. Then, but forbear your food a little while,
Whiles, like a doe, I go to find my fawn,
And give it food. There is an old poor man,
Who after me hath many a weary step


Limp'd in pure love; till he be first suffic'd,

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Duke S.

evils, age and hunger,

Go find him out,

And we will nothing waste till you return.

Orl. I thank ye; and be bless'd for your good comfort!


Duke S. Thou seest, we are not all alone unhappy: This wide and universal theatre

Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
Wherein we play in."


3 desert inaccessible,] This expression I find in The Ad. ventures of Simonides, by Barn. Riche, 1580: " - and onely acquainted himselfe with the solitarinesse of this unaccessible desert." Henderson.

4 And take upon command what help we have,] Upon command,

is at your own command. Steevens.

5 Whiles, like a doe, I go to find my fawn,

And give it food.] So, in Venus and Adonis:

"Like a milch doe, whose swelling dugs do ake,
Hasting to feed her fawn." Malone.

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6 Wherein we play in.] Thus the old copy. Mr. Pope more correctly reads:

All the world's a stage,"
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits, and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,

Wherein we play.


I believe, with Mr. Pope, that we should only read—
Wherein we play.

and add a word at the beginning of the next speech, to complete the measure; viz.

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Why, all the world's a stage."

Thus, in Hamlet:

"Hor. So Rosencrantz and Guildenstern go to 't.

"Ham. Why, man, they did make love to their employment." Again, in Measure for Measure:


Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once." Again, ibid:

"Why, every fault 's condemn'd, ere it be done." In twenty other instances we find the same adverb introductorily used. Steevens.

7 All the world's a stage, &c.] This observation occurs in one of the fragments of Petronius: "Non duco contentionis funem, dum constet inter nos, quod fere totus mundus exerceat histrioniam."

Steevens. This observation had been made in an English drama before the time of Shakspeare. See Damon and Pythias, 1582:

"Pythagoras said, that this world was like a stage,
"Whereon many play their parts."

In The Legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, 1597, we find these lines:.
Unhappy man ————

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"Whose life a sad continual tragedie,

"Himself the actor, in the world, the stage,
"While as the acts are measur'd by his age."


8 His acts being seven ages.] Dr. Warburton observes, that this was "no unusual division of a play before our author's time;" but forbears to offer any one example in support of his assertion. I have carefully perused almost every dramatick piece antecedent' to Shakspeare, or contemporary with him; but so far from being divided into acts, they are almost all printed in an unbroken continuity of scenes. I should add, that there is one play of six acts to be met with, another of twenty-one; but the second of these' is a translation from the Spanish, and never could have been designed for the stage. In God's Promises, 1577, "A Tragedie or Enterlude," (or rather a Mystery) by John Bale, seven acts may indeed be found.

It should, however, be observed, that the intervals in the Greek Tragedy are known to have varied from three acts to seven.


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