Sweet friends, to bed.
And so the merry wedding-party broke up, and the company separated.
When the mirth and revelry were at an end, and all had retired for the night,
Puck entered the now silent palace with a broom over his shoulder. The fairy peo-
ple are very dainty and nice, and cannot bear to see the least speck of dirt. Puck's
office seems to have been to sweep the corners clean, if, by any mischance or
neglect of the maids, a bit of dust were left behind the door. As he begins his
work, he says, â
Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon ;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
All with weary task fordone. 1
1 Tired out.
a A rustic dance, imitated from one performed by the people of Bergomasco, a province
â of Venice, who were ridiculed bv the old buffoons for their rude and awkward manners.
68 SHAKESPEARE FOR THE YOUNG FOLK.
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate's team,*
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic ; not a mouse
Shall disturb this hallowed house :
I am sent with broom before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.
Now that the place is in fit order for the Fairy Queen, she enters with Oberon
and all their train. Oberon gives them directions, bidding them dance and sing : â
Through the house give glimmering light,
By the dead and drowsy fire ;
Every elf, and fairy sprite,
Hop as light as bird from brier ;
And this ditty after me
Sing, and dance it trippingly.
Titania. First, rehearse your song by rote,
To each word a warbling note :
Hand in hand with fairy grace
Will we sing, and bless this place.
After the fairy dance and song, Oberon sends the elves and fays to bless the
palace of Theseus. They are to touch each chamber and each bed with the con-
secrated field-dew, so that every one in the household may be happy, and all
their children fair and wise and good.
No one knows what the fairy song was, for it has been lost ; but this was a part
of Oberon's instruction to the fairies : â â â
Now, until the break of day,
Through this house each fairy stray,
And each several chamber bless,
Through this palace with sweet peace ;
And the owner of it, blest,
Ever shall in safety rest
Trip away ; make no stay ;
Meet me all by break of day.
The fairies danced gayly away to do their master's bidding, while Oberon and
Titania, hand in hand, went upon their own special errand, to bless the chamber
of Theseus and Hippolyta, leaving Puck quite alone.
a Ti-iple Hecate's team â that is, the chariot of the moon, or Diana. Hecate was a
heathen divinity, called Luna in heaven, Diana on earth, and Hecate, or Proserpine, in hell.
Hence her name of " the triple goddess," and she is sometimes represented with.three bodies.
She was supposed to preside over magic and enchantments, and appears in " Macbeth " as the
queen of the witches.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.
Mischievous Puck now comes forward, and, by way of offering excuse for all the
queer actions and entanglements of lovers and fairies and clowns and dukes and
queens, makes this little farewell speech ; in which (you will readily understand)
all his talk about " 'scaping the serpent's tongue," and asking for the " hands "
of his audience, means merely that he hopes they will not hiss, but rather clap and
applaud the actors : â
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear ;
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend :
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I'm an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue
We will make amends ere long ;
Else the Puck a liar call:
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
ATTRIBUTED TO BEN JONSON.
TÂ£gg &fatf Â§^[ ROM Oberon in fairy land,
The king of ghosts and shadows there,
Mad Robin I. at his command,
Am sent to view the night-sports here.
What revel rout
Is kept about,
In every corner where I go,
I will o'er see,
And merry be,
And make good sport, with ho, ho, ho !
More swift than lightning can I fly
About this airy welkin soon,
And, in a minute's space, descry
Each thing that 's done below the moon.
There's not a hag
Or ghost shall wag,
SHAKESPEARE FOR THE YOUNG FOLK.
Or cry, 'ware goblins ! where I go ;
But Robin I
Their feats will spy,
And send them home with ho, ho, ho !
Whene'er such wanderers I meet,
As from their night sports they trudge home,
With counterfeiting voice I greet,
And call them on with me to roam
Through woods, through lakes ;
Through bogs, through brakes ;
Or else, unseen, with them I go,
All in the nick
To play some trick
And frolic it, with ho, ho, ho !
Sometimes I meet them like a man,
Sometimes an ox, sometimes a hound ;
And to a horse I turn me can,
To trip and trot about them round.
But if to ride
My back they stride,
THE PRANKS OF ROBIN GOODFELLOW.
More swift than wind away I go ;
O'er hedge and lands,
Through pools and ponds,
I hurry, laughing, ho, ho, ho !
When lads and lasses merry be,
With possets and with junkets fine ;
Unseen of all the company,
I eat their cakes and sip their wine !
And, to make sport,
I puff and snort,
And out the candles I do blow:
The maids I kiss,
They shriek â who 's this ?
I answer nought but ho, ho, ho !
And now and then, the maids to please,
At midnight I card up their wool ;
And while they sleep and take their ease,
With wheel to threads their flax I pull.
I grind at mill
Their malt up still ;
I dress their hemp ; I spin their tow ;
If any wake
And would me take,
I wend me laughing, ho, ho, ho !
When any need to borrow aught,
We lend them what they do require :
And for the use demand we nought ;
Our own is all we do desire.
If to repay
They do delay,
Abroad amongst them then I go,
And night by night
I them affright,
With pinchings, dreams, and ho, ho, ho !
SHAKESPEARE FOR THE YOUNG FOLK.
When lazy queans have nought to do,
"Rut study how to cog and he ;
To make debate and mischief too
'Twixt one another secretly :
I mark their gloze
And it disclose
To them whom they have wronged so :
When I have done,
I get me gone,
And leave them scolding, ho, ho, ho !
When men do traps and engines set
In loopholes, where the vermin creep,
Who from their folds and houses get
Their ducks and geese and lambs and sheep,
I spy the gin,
And enter in,
And seem a vermin taken so ;
But when they there
Approach me near,
I leap out laughing, ho, ho, ho !
By wells and rills, in meadows green,
We nightly dance our heyday guise ;
And to our fairy king and queen
We chant our moonlight minstrelsies.
When larks 'gin sing,
Away we fling ;
And babes new-born steal as we go
And elf in bed
We leave instead,
And wend us laughing, ho, ho, ho!
THE PRANKS OF ROBIN GOODFELLOW.
From hag-brad Merlin's time have I
Thus nightly revelled to and fro ;
And for my pranks men call me by
The name of Robin Goodfellow.
Fiends, ghosts and sprites,
Who haunt the nights,
The hags and goblins do me know:
And beldames old
My feats have told,
So vale, 1 vale ; ho, ho, ho !
HAKESPEARE had been in London about fourteen
years. During that time he had done a prodigious
amount of work. Besides several exquisite poems,
which had brought him great credit and made him
intimate with the noble society of the capital, he had
produced some seventeen or eighteen tragedies and
comedies â all, either wholly or in part, the work of his own hand. It
was in the year 1600 â the beginning of a new century â and he
was thirty-six years old, when there came from his pen what has
been truly styled " the very sweetest and happiest of all his comedies."
It was called "As You Like It," for reasons which you will understand
when you have read it, â as you will now have an opportunity to do.
The author had been writing a number of plays founded on English
history, and his mind had been crowded with mighty themes, â of kings
and courts and camps, â and we may well believe that it was strained
and weary. So, by way of recreation perhaps, he painted this lovely
picture of life in the woods. For it would almost seem that, in writing
it, Shakespeare himself had escaped from his cares into the forest of
Arden, and there, stretched out " under the greenwood tree," was join-
ing in the merry strains of his own princely foresters, â
" Who doth ambition shun,
And loves to live in the sun,
Come hither, come hither, come hither."
And there is not one of us that would not be glad to accept the invi-
tation, â nay, who does not feel, as he reads, that he has already accepted
it, and is chasing the wild deer, or roaming the shady forest, with the
sunlight darting through the boughs, the breeze bathing his forehead,
and the stream murmuring in his ears.
OLD ADAM AND ORLANDO.
AS YOU LIKE IT.
Act I. Scene i
* ONG ago there lived in France a noble gentleman, named
Sir Rowland de Bois, who had three sons, Oliver, Jaques,
and Orlando. This nobleman had a large fortune in lands
and houses and other property. He made a will before he
died, by which, as was the custom in those days, he left his
lands and the larger part of his money to his eldest son,
Sir Rowland did not mean, however, to be unjust to Jaques and Orlando j
for, besides his blessing and a thousand crowns which he left to Orlando he
charged Oliver to see that both his brothers were educated as was befitting
gentlemen of their high birth.
82 SHAKESPEARE FOR THE YOUNG FOLK.
Oliver gave little heed to his lather's wish, so far as Orlando was concerned,
faques he sent to school, whence came golden reports of his talent and industry,
while poor Orlando (being the youngest, and the least able to resent the injustice)
was kept at home in idleness, and as far as possible in ignorance. Oliver never
showed any affection for Orlando : he made him eat with the servants, dressed
him shabbily, and in every way kept him from the education and position to which,
as the son of a gentleman of rank and wealth, he was entitled.
It is difficult to understand why Oliver should have treated his own brother so
badly, unless it was because he was envious of Orlando's good qualities, and the
affection he had won from all who knew him. It was hard for Oliver to find a
reason in his own heart for hating Orlando as he did, for he says : " My soul, I
know not why, hates nothing more than him. Yet he 's gentle; never schooled,
and yet learned ; noble, beloved by every one, and most of all by those who know
Knowing that Orlando was a fine strong fellow, and very fond of wrestling, this
wicked brother determined to persuade him into a wrestling-match with a cele-
brated prize-fighter, named Charles, in the employment of the duke of that coun-
try ; not doubting that this burly champion could be induced to hurt him badly,
or even to kill him.
There was one, however, in Oliver's household who loved Orlando dearly.
This was an old servant of his father's, named Adam," who had lived in the family
for more than sixty years. Orlando could always go to him when discouraged
and unhappy, sure that Adam would comfort him and make things brighter and
cheerier, if only by his kindly sympathy and warm love.
One day, Orlando felt more unhappy than usual, and, finding Adam in the
orchard, he again repealed the story of his wrongs, and his determination to break
away from his wretched life. Just then, seeing Oliver approaching the place
where they stood, Orlando bade Adam go away a short distance and listen, so as
to learn for himself how harsh and unkind a brother could be.
Oliver, richly dressed in the fashion of the day, came into the orchard, and in
an extremely rude and disagreeable manner addressed Orlando, whose clothes
were those of a peasant, saying, â
" Now, sir, what are you doing here?"
> This beautiful character is rendered doubly interesting to us by a curious tradition that
Shakespeare himself played it upon the stage. The poet had a brother Gilbert, who sur-
vived him more than forty years, and who, when a very infirm old man, with faculties lew and
feeble, being asked if he had ever seen his brother play, answered that he remembered
him in one of his own comedies, " wherein, being to personate a decrepit old man, he wore
a long beard, and appeared so weak and drooping that he was forced to be carried by
another person to a table, at which he was seated among some company who were eating,
and one of them sung a song." This could have been none other than the good old Adam.
(See p. in.)
gj j||L tfil
1 1 - p ,, . ,
ORLANDO. S VICTORY OVER CHARLES, THE DUKES WRESTLER.
84 SHAKESPEARE FOR THE YOUNG FOLK.
"Nothing," replied Orlando; " I am not taught to do anything, but am left
to spoil with idleness."
" Well then, be better employed, confound you ! " retorted the elder brother.
"What shall I do? Feed your hogs, and eat husks with them? I believe I
have n't spent the prodigal son's portion yet, that I should be brought so low as
" Know you where you are, sir? "
" O, sir, very well : here, in your orchard."
" Know you before whom, sir? "
" Ay, better than he I am before knows me. I know you are my elder brother,
but you should also know me as being of the same blood as yourself. I have as
much of our father in me as you ; though I confess your coming before me has
brought you nearer to his estate."
This taunt stung Oliver to the quick, and calling his brother " boy " and
"villain," he rushed forward as if about to strike him. But in this he made a
great mistake, for Orlando was much the stronger of the two, and he seized Oliver
by the throat, and was about to give him a hearty shaking, when the old ser-
vant interfered, saying, â
Sweet masters, be patient : for your father's remembrance, be at accord.
Oliver. Let me go, I say.
Orlando. I will not, till I please : you shall hear me. My father charged you in
his will to give me good education : you have trained me like a peasant, obscuring and
hiding from me all gentleman-like qualities : the spirit of my father grows strong in me,
and I will no longer endure it : therefore, allow me such exercises as may become a
gentleman, or give me the poor [portion] my father left me by testament : with that I
will go buy my fortunes.
Oliver. And what wilt thou do ? Beg, when that is spent ? Well, sir, get you in :
I will not long be troubled with you ; you shall have some part of your will. I pray
you, leave me.
Orlando. I will no further offend you than becomes me for my good.
Oliver. Get you witli him, you old dog.
Ada?n. Is " old dog " my reward ? Most true, I have lost my teeth in your ser-
vice. â God be with my old master! he would not have spoke such a word.
As Orlando and Adam went away, Oliver said half aloud : "Is it even so ?
begin you to grow upon me ? I will take you down, my fine fellow, and yet give
no thousand crowns either."
Then he called to one of his servants and bade him find Charles, the Duke's
wrestler. Charles was even then at the door, on an errand of his own, and entered
without delay. Oliver asked for the news ; but Charles had only old news to tell,
part of which Oliver probably already knew.
" You see, sir," said Charles, "it is old news that the new duke has banished
his elder brother, the old duke ; three or four loving lords have gone into exile with
AS YOU LIKE IT. , 85
the old duke, while the new duke has seized their lands and revenue : so he is
quite content to have them stay away."
" Is Rosalind, the duke's daughter, banished with her father? "
" O, no, for the new duke's daughter, her cousin, loves her so much she would
die without her. She is at the court. They say her father is in the Forest of
Arden, a and many merry men with him. There they live like the old Robin
Hood b of England, and pass the time carelessly as they did in the golden world
of long ago."
" Do you wrestle to-morrow before the new duke? "
" Marry, I do, sir â¢ and I came to acquaint you with a matter. I have heard
that your younger brother, Orlando, means to try a fall with me. I should be
sorry to hurt him, for he is but young and tender ; but to-morrow I wrestle for my
credit, and_ he who escapes from me with a broken limb will be happy. I beg
you to keep him from his purpose ; if not, the harm and disgrace are his doing, not
any will of mine."
" Charles," replied Orlando, " I thank thee for thy love, and will reward it. I
knew of my brother's purpose, and have quietly tried to dissuade him from it, but
he is the stubbornest young fellow in France. Use thy discretion. I had as
lief thou didst break his neck as his finger. But this I will tell thee by way of
warning : if thou hurtest him only slightly, he will try to do thee some secret harm
by poison or treachery, for â almost with tears I speak it â there is not one so
young and so villainous this day living. This I tell thee of my own brother, with
sorrow and shame."
Charles thanked the wicked brother for the advice which seemed so kindly
meant, and went away, promising to pay Orlando well on the morrow for his evil
intentions. Oliver had accomplished one part of his purpose in stirring up
Charles. His hatred for Orlando seemed to grow stronger with every thought of
him and his charming ways, and of the love he won from all sorts of people. " I
hope soon to see an end of him," he said. " This wrestler shall clear all : nothing
remains but to kindle Orlando into an angry feeling against Charles ; which now
I '11 go about."
a This was the forest of Ardennes, in French Flanders, lying near the river Meuse, and
between Charlemont and Rocroy.
b Robin Hood, the noble outlaw, is generally known to young readers. He lived in Sher-
wood Forest, Nottinghamshire, in the time of Richard I. Something about him and his modes
of life can be found in the old Percy Ballads, and in Walter Scott's novel, Ivanhce.
Act I.- Scene 2.
HILE such hard thoughts and wicked purposes were filling
the heart of one brother against another, a happier scene
was passing on the lawn in front of the Duke's palace.
Rosalind, the daughter of the banished Duke, and Celia,
her cousin, â who seemed to love each other more with
each new day, â were strolling through the pleasure-grounds
around the palace. Rosalind appeared less cheerful than
usual, and Celia, who could not bear to see a shadow on the face of one she loved
so dearly, said, â
" I pray thee, Rosalind, my sweet coz, be merry ! "
" Dear Celia, I seem merrier than I really am, even now. Can I forget my
banished father? "
" But, Rosalind, if thou lovedst me as much as I love thee, thou wouldst take
my father for thine. I know I would take thy father, if mine were banished."
" Well, cousin, I will forget the condition of my estate to rejoice in yours."
" When my father dies, I will give back to thee all he has taken away from thy
father. Therefore, sweet Rose, dear Rose, be merry."
" From henceforth I will, coz," gayly answered Rosalind, " and what is more,
I will invent merry sports. What think you of falling in love ? Would not that be
" Marry, I pr'ythee, do, to make sport : but love no man in good earnest ! "
The two young princesses laughed merrily at the bare thought of either of
them falling in love " in good earnest," little dreaming how soon both would try
seriously the experiment which they had suggested in sport.
In the midst of their jesting and light-hearted laughter, Touchstone, the court
fool, entered, apparently looking for them. In those days sovereigns and nobles
kept so-called fools or jesters, to amuse the household with nonsense and wit.
They were allowed to say and do almost anything they chose, although, if they
AS YOU LIKE IT.
went too far in their joking, they might be punished or dismissed. The fool's
dress was a fantastic affair ; that of the clown in a modern circus will give you a
pretty good idea of it. A cap, orna-
mented with a cock's comb and asses'
ears ; a wide collar ; bells hung on
the cap and clothing; and "mot-
ley " colors, â one leg or arm of one
color, one of another color, and so
on, â were among the means by
which the fool provoked laughter.
He also carried a mock sceptre, or
There was a great variety in court
fools. Some of them were misshapen
dwarfs, and half crazy ; others were
men who concealed much wit and
wisdom under the pretence of folly.
Touchstone was of the latter kind.
With all his solemn absurdities, he
managed to utter a great deal of good
When the ladies saw him coming, Celia called to him, â
How now, wit ? Whither wander you ?
Touchstone. Mistress, you must come away to your father.
Celia. Were you made the messenger ?
Touchstone. No, by mine honor ; but I was bid to come for you.
Rosalind. Where learned you that oath, fool ?
Touchsto7ie. Of a certain knight, that swore by his honor they were good pan-
cakes, and swore by his honor the mustard was naught: 1 now, I '11 stand to it, the
pancakes were naught, and the mustard was good, and yet was not the knight
Celia. How prove you that, in the great heap of your knowledge ?
Rosalind. Ay, marry: now unmuzzle your wisdom.
Touchstone. Stand you both forth now ; stroke your chins, and swear by your
beards that I am a knave.
So the princesses stand up and merrily stroke their smooth faces with their
hands ; and Celia says, â
By our beards, if we had them, thou art.
Touchstone. 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 honor, for
88 SHAKESPEARE FOR THE YOUNG FOLK.
he never had any ; or if he had, he had sworn it away before ever he saw those pan-
cakes, or that mustard.
Celia. You '11 be whipped for [criticising] one of these days. a But here comes
Monsieur Le Beau.
Monsieur Le Beau was a gentleman of the court, who entered at this moment,
" Fair ladies," he exclaimed, " here has been some good sport in wrestling
that you have lost sight of."
"Yet tell us the manner of it," Rosalind replied.
" I will tell you the beginning ; and, if it please your ladyship, you may see the
end, for the best is yet to do ; and here, where you are, they are coming to per-
" Well, tell us the beginning."
Le Beau. There comes an old man and his three sons. The eldest of the three
wrestled with Charles, the Duke's wrestler ; which Charles in a moment threw him,
and broke three of his ribs, that there is little hope of life in him : so he served the
second, and so the third. Yonder they lie, the poor old man, their father, making such
pitiful dole over them, that all the beholders take his part with weeping.
Rosalind. Alas !
Touchstone. But what is the sport, monsieur, that the ladies have lost ?
Le Beau. Why, this that I speak of.
Touchstone. Thus men may grow wiser every day ! It is the first time that ever
I heard breaking of ribs was sport for ladies !
Rosalind. Shall we see this wrestling, cousin ?
Le Beau. You must, if you stay here ; for here is the place appointed for the
wrestling, and they are ready to perform it.
Celia. Yonder, sure, they are coming : let us now stay and see it.
With a great flourish of trumpets, Duke Frederick and his lords entered the
open courtyard : with them also came Orlando, and Charles, the court wrestler,
by the side of whose giant frame Orlando looked even younger and more slender
While the attendants arranged a place for the wrestlers, and Orlando made
ready for the contest by laying aside his doublet (or outer coat), Celia and Rosa-
lind, who had come near to see the sport, felt their hearts moved with pity to think
that one so young in years and so gentle in bearing as Orlando should wrestle with
such a man as Charles. Even Duke Frederick said he wished that the men were
more, equally matched, and endeavored to dissuade Orlando from his purpose;
butNthe youngster would not yield. Then the Duke called Celia and Rosalind to
try, saying, " Speak to him, ladies ; see if you can move him."
a Although a very large liberty was given to the " allowed fools," nevertheless they were
sometimes whipped for using their tongues too freely.