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Sıl. My errand is to you, fair youth ;-
My gentle Phebe bid me give you this : [Giving a letter.
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,
And play the swaggerer; bear this, bear all :
She says, I am not fair ; that I lack manners ;
She calls me proud ; and, that she could not love me
Were man as rare as phænix ; Od's my
Her love is not the hare that I do hunt :
Why writes she fo to me ?_Well, shepherd, well,
This is a letter of your own device.
Sil: No, I protest, I know not the contents;
Phebe did write it,
Ros. Come, come, you are a fool,
And turn’d into the extremity of love.
I saw her hand : she has a leathern hand,
A freestone-colour'd hand; I verily did think
That her old gloves were on, but 'twas her hands ;
She has a huswife's hand: but that's no matter :
I say, she never did invent this letter ;
This is a man's invention, and his hand,
Sil. Sure, it is hers.
Ros. Why, 'tis a boisterous and a cruel stile, A ftile 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?
Sır. 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 the god to shepherd turn’d, [Reads.
That a maiden's beart bath burn'd?
Can a woman rail thus ?
Sil. Call you this railing ?
Ros. Why, thy godhead laid apart,
Warrst thou with a woman's beart?
Did you ever hear such railing ?-
Whiles the eye of man did woo me,
That could do no vengeance to me.--
Meaning me a beast.--
If the scorn of your bright eyne
Have power to raise such love in mine,
Alack, in me what strange effect
Would they work in mild afpéct ?
me, I did love;
How then might your prayers move ?
He, that brings this love to thee,
Little knows this love in me :
And by bim seal up thy mind;
Whether that thy youth and kind
Will the faithful offer take
Of me, and all that I can make;
Or elfe by him my love deny,
And then I'll study how to die,
Sil. Call you this chiding?
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 Where, in the purlieus of this forest, stands A sheep-cote, fenc'd about with olive-trees ?
Cel. West of this place, down in the neighbour bottom,
The rank of osiers, by the murmuring stream,
Left on your right hand, brings you to the place ;
But at this hour the house doth keep itself,
There's none within.
Oli. If that an eye may profit by a tongue,
Then I should know you by description ;
Such garments, and such years: The boy is fair,
Of female favour, and bestows himself
Like a ripe fifter : but the woman low,
And browner than her brother. Are not you
The owner of the house I did enquire for ?
Cel. It is no boast, being alk', to say, we are.
Oli. Orlando doth commend him to you both;
And to that youth, he calls his Rosalind,
He sends this bloody napkin ; Are you he?
Ros. I am: What must we understand by this?
Oli. Some of my shame; if you will know of me
What man I am, and how, and why, and where
This handkerchief was stain'd.
Cel. 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
And, mark, what object did present itself!
Under an 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 'tis
The royal disposition of that beast,
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 fuck'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
From miserable flumber I awak'd.
Cel. Are you his brother?
Ros. Was it you he rescu'd ?
Cel. Was't you that did so oft contrive to kill him?
OLI. 'Twas I ; but 'tis not I: I do not shame
what I was, since So sweetly, tastes, being the thing I am.
Ros. But, for the bloody napkin ?-
Oli. By, and by
When from the first to last, betwixt us two,
Tears our recountments had most kindly bath’d,
As, how I came into that desert place;
In brief, he led me to the gentle duke,
Who gave me fresh array, and entertainment, ,
Committing me unto my brother's love ;
Who led me instantly unto his cave,
There stripp'd himself, and here upon
The lioness had torn some flesh away,
Which all this while had bled ; and now he fainted,
And cry'd, in fainting, upon Rosalind.
Brief, I recover'd him ; bound up his wound;
And, after some small space, being strong at heart,
He sent me hither, stranger as I am,
To tell this story, that you might excuse
His broken promise, and to give this napkin,
Dy'd in his blood, unto the shepherd youth
That he in sport doth call his Rosalind.
Cel. Why, how now, Ganymede ? sweet Ganymede ?
Oli. Many will swoon when they do look on blood.
Cel. There is more in it :-Cousin_Ganymede !
Oli. Look, he recovers.
Ros. I would, I were at home.
CEL. We'll lead you thither :-