Act 2, Scene 1
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| Enter DUKE SENIOR, AMIENS, and two or three LORDS, like foresters
| DUKE SENIOR, AMIENS, and two or three LORDS enter, dressed like foresters.
| DUKE SENIOR Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,Hath not old custom made this life more sweetThan that of painted pomp? Are not these woodsMore free from peril than the envious court?Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,The seasons' difference, as the icy fangAnd churlish chiding of the winter’s wind,Which, when it bites and blows upon my body,Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say,“This is no flattery. These are counselorsThat feelingly persuade me what I am.”Sweet are the uses of adversity,Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.And this our life, exempt from public haunt,Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
| DUKE SENIOR Now, my companions and brothers in exile, hasn’t experience made this simple life sweeter than a life of glittery pomp and circumstance? Aren’t these woods less perilous than the court, with all its jealousies and intrigues? Out here we feel the changing of the seasons, but we’re not bothered by it. When the icy fangs of the brutal, scolding wind bite and blow on my body, even though I’m shivering with cold, I can appreciate the weather’s honesty. I smile and think, “Thank goodness the wind doesn’t flatter me: it’s like a councilor who makes me feel what I’m really made of.” Adversity can have its benefits—like the ugly, poisonous toad that wears a precious jewel in its forehead. In this life, far away from the civilized world, we can hear the language of the trees, read the books of the running streams, hear sermons in the stones, and discover the good in every single thing.
| AMIENS I would not change it. Happy is your Grace,That can translate the stubbornness of fortuneInto so quiet and so sweet a style.
| AMIENS I wouldn’t change my situation for anything. You’re lucky, my lord, to be able to see the peace and sweetness even in what bad luck has brought you.
| DUKE SENIOR Come, shall we go and kill us venison?And yet it irks me the poor dappled fools,Being native burghers of this desert city,Should in their own confines with forked headsHave their round haunches gored.
| DUKE SENIOR Come, shall we hunt some deer for dinner? It bothers me, though, that these poor spotted innocents, who, after all, are this deserted city’s native citizens, should be gouged with arrows
Act 2, Scene 1, Page 2
| Original Text
| Modern Text
| FIRST LORD Indeed, my lord,The melancholy Jaques grieves at that,And in that kind swears you do more usurpThan doth your brother that hath banished you.Today my Lord of Amiens and myselfDid steal behind him as he lay alongUnder an oak, whose antique root peeps outUpon the brook that brawls along this wood,To the which place a poor sequestered stagThat from the hunter’s aim had ta'en a hurtDid come to languish. And indeed, my lord,The wretched animal heaved forth such groansThat their discharge did stretch his leathern coatAlmost to bursting, and the big round tearsCoursed one another down his innocent noseIn piteous chase. And thus the hairy fool,Much markèd of the melancholy Jaques,Stood on th' extremest verge of the swift brook,Augmenting it with tears.
| FIRST LORD Indeed, my lord, the gloomy Jaques grieves over these deaths. He swears that when you kill the deer, you’re a worse usurper than your brother was for banishing you. Today, Lord Amiens and I followed Jaques. We saw him lie down along a brook under an oak tree whose ancient roots peeked out from the earth. A poor, lonely stag who had been hurt by a hunter’s arrow came to rest there, where he heaved such heavy groans that the effort seemed to...
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