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Under an oak, whose antique root peeps out
Upon the brook that brawls along this wood;
To the which place a poor sequester'd stag,
That from the hunter's aim had ta'en a hurt,
Did come to languish; and, indeed, my lord,
The wretched animal heav'd forth such groans,
That their discharge did stretch his leathern coat
Almost to bursting; and the big round tears
Cours'd one another down his innocent nose
In piteous chase; and thus the hairy fool,
Much marked of the melancholy Jaques,
Stood on th' extremest verge of the swift brook,
Augmenting it with tears.

Duke. But what said Jaques ?
Did he not moralize this spectacle?

Lord. 0 yes, into a thousand similies.
First, for his weeping in the needless stream ;
Poor Deer, quoth he, thou mak'st a testament
As worldlings do, giving thy sum of more
To that which had too much. Then being alone,
Left and abandon'd of his velvet friends;
"Tis right, quoth he, thus misery doth part
The flux of company, Anon a careless herd,
Full of the pasture, jumps along by him,

And never stays to greet him: Ay, quoth Jaques,
Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens,
"Tis just the fashion: wherefore do you look
Upon that poor and broken bankrupt there?
Thus most invectively he pierceth through
The body of the country, city, court,
Yea, and of this our life, swearing that we
Are mere usurpers, tyrants, and what's worse,
To fright the animals, and to kill them up
In their assign'd and native dwelling place.

Duke. And did you leave him in this contemplation? Lord. We did, my lord, weeping and commenting Upon the sobbing deer.

Duke. Show me the place;

I love to cope him in these sullen fits,
For then he's full of matter.

Lord. I'll bring you to him straight.




Duke. W HY, how now, Monsieur, what a life is this, That your poor friends must woo your company? What! you look merrily.

Jaq. A fool, a fool;I met a fool i' th' forest, A motley fool; a miserable varlet!

As I do live by food, I met a fool,

Who laid him down and bask'd him in the sun,
And rail'd on lady Fortune in good terms,

In good set terms, and yet a motley fool.

Good morrow, fool, quoth I; No, Sir, quoth he;
Call me not fool, till Heav'n hath sent me fortune;
And then he drew a dial from his poke,

And looking on it with lack-lustre eye,
Says very wisely, It is ten o'clock:

Thus may we see, quoth he, how the world wags:
"Tis but an hour ago since it was nine,
And after one hour more 'twill be eleven;
And so from hour to hour we ripe and ripe,
And then from hour to hour we rot and rot,
And thereby hangs a tale. When I did hear
The motley fool thus moral on the time,
My lungs began to crow like chanticleer,
That fools should be so deep contemplative:
And I did laugh, sans intermission,
An hour by his dial. O noble fool,
A worthy fool! motley's the only wear.

Duke. What fool is this?

Jaq. O worthy fool! one that hath been a courtier,

And says, if ladies be but young and fair,

They have the gift to know it: and in his brain,

Which is as dry as the remainder biscuit

After a voy'ge, he hath strange places cramm'd
With observations, the which he vents

In mangled forms. O that I were a fool!
I am ambitious for a motley coat.

Duke. Thou shalt have one.

Jaq. It is my only suit;

Provided that you weed your better judgments
Of all opinion, that grows rank in them,
That I am wise. I must have liberty
Withal, as large a charter as the wind,


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 whom a fool does very wisely hit
Doth very foolishly, although he smart,
Not to seem senseless of the bob. If not,
The wise man's folly is anatomiz'd
Ev'n by the squand'ring glances of a fool.
Invest me in my motley, give me leave

To speak my mind, and I will through and through
Cleanse the foul body of th' infected world,

If they will patiently receive my medicine.

Duke. Fie on thee! I can tell what thou wouldst do. Jaq. What, for a counter, would I do but good? Duke. Most mischievous foul sin, in chiding sin;

For thou thyself hast been a libertine,

And all th' embossed sores and headed evils,
That thou with license of free foot hast caught,
Wouldst thou disgorge into the genʼral 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 brav'ry is not on my cost;

Thinking that I mean him, but therein suits

His folly to the mettle of my speech?

There then; how then? what then? let me see wherein My tongue has 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.




Ch. Just. I AM assur'd, if I be measur'd rightly, Your majesty hath no just cause to hate me.

P. Henry. No might a prince of my great hopes forget So great indignities you laid upon me?

your father;

What! rate, rebuke, and roughly send to prison
Th' immediate heir of England! was this easy?
May this be wash'd in Lethe and forgotten?
Ch. Just. I then did use the person of
The image of his pow'r lay then in me:
And in th' administration of his law,
While I was busy for the commonwealth,
Your highness pleased to forget my place,
The majesty and pow'r of law and justice,
The image of the king whom I presented,
And struck me in my very seat of judgment;
Whereon, as an offender to your father,
I gave bold way to my authority,
And did commit you. If the deed were ill,
Be you contented, wearing now the garland,
To have a son set your decrees at nought:
To pluck down justice from your awful bench,
To trip the course of law, and blunt the sword,
That guards the peace and safety of your person:
Nay more, to spurn at your most royal image,
And mock your working in a second body.
Question your royal thoughts, make the case yours;
Be now the father, and propose a son;
Hear your own dignity so much profan'd;
See your most dreadful laws so loosely slighted;
Behold yourself so by a son disdain'd;
And then imagine me taking your part,

And in your pow'r so silencing your son.
After this cold consid'rance sentence me:
And, as you are a king, speak in your state,
What I have done that misbecame my place,
My person, or my liege's sov'reignty.

P. Henry. You are right, Justice, and you weigh this well:

Therefore still bear the balance and the sword;
And I do wish your honours may increase,
Till you do live to see a son of mine
Offend you, and obey you, as I did:
So shall I live to speak my father's words:
Happy am I, that have a man so bold
That dares do justice on my proper son;
And no less happy, having such a son,
That would deliver up his greatness so
Into the hand of justice- You committed me;
your hand
The unstain'd sword that you have us'd to bear;
With this remembrance, that you use the same
With a like bold, just, and impartial spirit,
As you have done 'gainst me. There is my hand,
You shall be as a father to my youth:

For which I do commit into

My voice shall sound as you do prompt mine ear;
And I will stoop and humble my intents
To your well-practis'd wise directions.
And princes all, believe me, I beseech you,
My father is gone wild into his grave;
For in his tomb lie my affections;
And with his spirit sadly I survive,
To mock the expectations of the world,
To frustrate prophecies, and to raze out
Rotten opinion, which hath writ me down
After my seeming. Though my tide of blood
Hath proudly flow'd in vanity till now;
Now doth it turn and ebb unto the sea,
Where it shall mingle with the state of floods,
And flow henceforth in formal majesty.
Now call we our high court of parliament :
And let us choose such limbs of noble counsel,
That the great body of our state may go

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