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successfully, to dam the flood-is the overflow of pure good spirits and quick fancy; she calls up dainty images from the widest range of sources. Of native model for the character of Rosalind Shakespeare had little. Lyly's Campaspe may early have shown him something of the possibilities in the character of a high-bred woman moving through comedy with a touch of seriousness, and enlivening the action with passages of witty repartee, couched in natural and polished prose. But from Campaspe to Rosalind Shakespeare travelled a long road, marked in stages by the outline-sketch of Rosaline in Love's Labour's Lost, Portia in The Merchant of Venice, and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. It is with Portia's perhaps that Rosalind's wit has most in common, for, though it can be mordant enough on occasion, its usual function is harmless; it has less sting than the frequent girdings of Beatrice against masculine love. Beatrice, Portia, and Rosalind have this in common, that their wit never derogates from their constant level of high-bred, cultured, fine-ladyhood; but, as we can hardly conceive Rosalind maturing and carrying through Portia's scheme for Antonio's rescue, so also we cannot conceive her in the involved ceremony and tedious court-punctilio in which Beatrice moves. She is more at home in Arden, but at home as a forest-princess in her own domain, never less than the princess. We may, perhaps, find the counterpart of the wit of these ladies in the sparkling interludes of quip and quick reply, anecdote and jest, of the brilliant crowd of soldiers, wits, and cultured ladies of Urbino which Castiglione describes.1 Shakespeare could have seen Il Cortegiano in Hoby's translation, "The Booke of the Courtyer," of 1561, and it is not improbable that he did so, for the characters of his heroes of romantic comedy have many of the elements desired by the Italian in his pattern courtier.2
As You Like It is one of Shakespeare's contributions to the fashionable pastoral kind of his day. Spenser had fashioned eclogues after Renaissance, Italian, and French models, in which shepherds discuss high questions of religion and politics; Sidney's Arcadia introduced to English the long and involved
1 See specially such passages in Il Cortegiano, II. 25, 26; 43 ff.
2 In addition, compare Benedick's ideal woman (Much Ado About Nothing, II. iii. 32 ff.) with the pattern court-lady (Cortegiano, III. 4-12).
pastoral romance quite removed from worldly sympathies, with an atmosphere of pure artifice. In drama, the influence of the Italian pastoral comedy had been consistent, if not particularly weighty. The old idyll had been cast into dramatic form, and the most important of these, Tasso's Aminta (1573) and Guarini's Pastor Fido (printed 1590), were known in England. In these, endless opportunity is given for mythological and allegorical elements, with the result that the plain shepherd loses his identity, and becomes a creature sophisticated and cultured, remembering his sheep and his work with something of a shock. Lyly was the main channel by which the influence of Italian pastoral comedy passed into English. The Woman in the Moon (printed 1597) is a mythological pastoral having little to do with real shepherds; Endimion (acted 1579, printed 1591) is probably little more than a court-allegory, and its hero Endimion, a euphuistic lover. In As You Like It, Shakespeare by implication shows us his attitude to the convention. He takes a typical story, the love-pursuit of a man by a woman disguised, typical characters in his exiled courtiers, and in Silvius and Phebe, and either by dénouement or by contrasting pairs of characters, shows the artificiality of the convention. The Duke returns to court at the first opportunity, forgetting his eulogy of pastoral life; Phebe's high-flown appeals to the supposed Ganymede, closely modelled on the speeches of lovers in pastoral romance, are in conscious and vivid contrast to the simplicities of Audrey's courtship. Though Orlando sighs, and cuts verses on the bark of trees, their purport is ridiculed by Touchstone, and he becomes after all the human lover. Further, though some of the details. of Shakespeare's woodland scene are exotic, yet, in the main, the forest, the brooks, and glades are those of his own Warwickshire. The mythological element he altogether deletes; there can be no possible allegory read into the various cross purposes of courtly and shepherd lovers. As You Like It, if not so robust in its disdain of the pastoral convention as is The Winter's Tale, may nevertheless stand as an indication of Shakespeare's attitude to it. In both these cases, he had before him as a model the euphuistic pastoral romance. the earlier play Shakespeare transformed the atmosphere completely by the introduction of realistic peasants, and by
making Jaques his spokesman in placing the strained absurdities of the pastoral attitude in their true perspective. His method in The Winter's Tale is even more whole-hearted. Instead of Jaques, with his somewhat over-subtle railing, instead of Touchstone's grotesque parody of pastoral love-making in his reminiscences of Jane Smile and his courtship of Audrey, we find the Old Shepherd, whose wisdom in the last two Acts is ever racy of Warwickshire soil, and Autolycus, a witty member of the canting crew, whose light fingers and lighter tongue are the perfect foil to the lumpish honesty of Mopsa and her clownish lover. The Masque of Hymen, which, whether it be Shakespeare's or not, still smacks rather of courtly pastoral than of country life, is replaced in the latter play by the gambols of truly rustic labourers, "three carters, three shepherds, three neat-herds, three swine-herds." In both plays Shakespeare's broadening humanity refused the artificialities of his model; the puppets, inexpertly agitated, of the pastoral novels, become the flesh and blood realities of the plays.
Like the other comedies of Shakespeare's middle period, As You Like It shows the complete balance of his powers; it is perfect in its easy grace of structure and expression. With the main theme of Rosalind's love are entwined three lesser themes, those of Audrey and Touchstone, Phebe and Silvius, Celia and Oliver. But, with an almost careless ease, which perhaps, in describing the fortunes of the last couple, degenerates into a desire to finish quickly, Shakespeare so manages that none of these secondary incidents interfere with the development of the larger plot. So skilfully is the interdependence of characters and incidents suggested, that even when the minor personages fill the centre of the stage, the larger interests are not neglected. As in The Tempest Shakespeare seems to have respected the unities merely to show that he could do so without harm to his play, so in As You Like It he seems nonchalantly to produce a comedy of numerous underplots as a tour-de-force, with, however, the accompanying effect of perfect
Every aspect of the play contributes to this. As yet, the fuller harmonies of his blank verse, with its periodic and involved rhythm, are undeveloped; but, as a medium for the discourses in As You Like It, the "quiet excellence" of his
middle style of versification is apparent. It is capable of rising on occasion to sonorous heights, but its general effect is of perfect flexibility and adaptability to the prevailingly quiet tone of the passions it describes. But it is nevertheless an extraordinary advance upon the verse of the earlier plays; it is perfectly sufficient, without unnecessary extravagance, to the thought conveyed, and thought, language, and verse are wedded in perfect proportion. The prose parts of the play convey the same effect of means exactly adapted to a desired end; its flexibility and restrained speed fit it for the task of representing with extraordinary closeness both the easy flow of contemporary high-bred conversation, and the pithy colloquial talk of shepherd or country-wench. Shakespeare has not yet arrived at the point where, as in King Lear, language wrestles with thought and is sometimes defeated, nor where the struggle is reflected in verse rugged and harsh. He is still concerned, not with high matters of life, death, fierce love, and fate, but with gentler country-pleasures and easier loves; the occasional harshnesses of Jaques' philosophy reveal depths that are closed immediately. In a word, As You Like It is perhaps the consummation of Shakespeare's work before the darker aspects of life called for treatment; it is the perfection of his handling of lighter comedy.
My indebtedness in preparing this edition has been wide and various. To Dr. Furness's Variorum Edition, to the eighteenth-century editors, and to Wright's edition, in the Clarendon Press series, I naturally owe much, as the notes testify. In addition, I would express no mere formal thanks to Prof. Case, the general editor of the Arden Shakespeare, for many suggestions throughout, and for much ungrudging help. in overcoming the difficulties due to a distance of seventeen days by post from London.
In this edition, F 1, F 2, etc., stands for the first, second, etc., folios, Ff for all four. Other plays are referred to in the Globe edition.
EXTRACTS FROM "ROSALYNDE "1
AT this replie of Rosaders, Saladyne smiled as laughing at his presumption, & frowned as checking his follie: hee therefore tooke him vp thus shortlie. What sirha, well I see earlie prickes the tree that will prooue a thorne: hath my familiar conuersing with you made you coy, or my good lookes drawne you to be thus contemptuous? I can quickly remedie such a fault, and I will bende the tree while it is a wand: In faith (sir boy) I haue a snaffle for a headstrong colt. You sirs lay holde on him and binde him, and then I will giue him a cooling carde for his choller. This made Rosader halfe mad, that stepping to a great rake that stood in the garden, he laide such loade vpon his brothers men that he hurt some of them, and made the rest of them run away. Saladyne seeing Rosader so resolute, and with his resolution so valiant, thought his heeles his best safetie, and tooke him to a loaft adioyning to the garden, whether Rosader pursued him hotlie. Saladyne afraide of his brothers furie, cried out to him thus. Rosader bee not so rash, I am thy brother and thine elder, and if I haue done thee wrong Ile make thee amends: reuenge not anger in bloud, for so shalt thou staine the vertue of olde Sir Iohn of Bourdeaux: say wherein thou art discontent and thou shalt be satisfied. Brothers frownes ought not to be periods of wrath: what man looke not so sowerlie, I knowe we shall be friends, and better friends than we have been. For, Amantium irae amoris redintegratio est.
These words appeased the choller of Rosader, (for hee was of a milde and courteous nature) so that he laide downe his weapons and vpon the faith of a Gentleman assured his brother he would offer him no preiudice: wherevpon Saladyne came downe, and after a little parley they imbraced each other and became friends, and Saladyne promising Rosader the restitution of al his lands, and what fauour els (quoth he) any waies my
1These extracts are merely illustrative, and not intended to cover all the ground common to the play and the novel, which is now easily accessible in "The Shakespeare Classics” (Chatto and Windus), and elsewhere.-EDITOR.