Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare
As You Like It
SCENE IV. The forest.
Enter TOUCHSTONE and AUDREY
Jaq. There is, sure, another flood toward, and these
couples are coming to the ark. Here comes a pair of
very strange beasts, which in all tongues are called fools.
Touch. Salutation and greeting to you all!
Jaq. Good my lord, bid him welcome: this is the
motley-minded gentleman that I have so often met in
the forest: he hath been a courtier, he swears.
Touch. If any man doubt that, let him put me to my
purgation. I have trod a measure; I have flattered
a lady; I have been politic with my friend, smooth
with mine enemy; I have undone three tailors; I have
had four quarrels, and like to have fought one.
Jaq. And how was that ta’en up?
Touch. Faith, we met, and found the quarrel was upon the
Jaq. How seventh cause? Good my lord, like this fellow.
Duke Sen. I like him very well.
Touch. God ‘ild you, sir; I desire you of the like. I
press in here, sir, amongst the rest of the country
copulatives, to swear and to forswear: according as
marriage binds and blood breaks: a poor virgin,
sir, an ill-favoured thing, sir, but mine own; a poor
humour of mine, sir, to take that that no man else
will: rich honesty dwells like a miser, sir, in a
poor house; as your pearl in your foul oyster.
Duke Sen. By my faith, he is very swift and sententious.
Touch. According to the fool’s bolt, sir, and such dulcet
Jaq. But, for the seventh cause; how did you find the
quarrel on the seventh cause?
Touch. Upon a lie seven times removed:–bear your body
more seeming, Audrey:–as thus, sir. I did dislike the
cut of a certain courtier’s beard: he sent me word,
if I said his beard was not cut well, he was in the
mind it was: this is called the Retort Courteous.
If I sent him word again ‘it was not well cut,’ he
would send me word, he cut it to please himself:
this is called the Quip Modest. If again ‘it was
not well cut,’ he disabled my judgment: this is
called the Reply Churlish. If again ‘it was not
well cut,’ he would answer, I spake not true: this
is called the Reproof Valiant. If again ‘it was not
well cut,’ he would say I lied: this is called the
Counter-cheque Quarrelsome: and so to the Lie
Circumstantial and the Lie Direct.
And how oft did you say his beard was not well cut?
Touch. I durst go no further than the Lie Circumstantial,
nor he durst not give me the Lie Direct; and so we
measured swords and parted.
Jaq. Can you nominate in order now the degrees of the lie?
Touch. O sir, we quarrel in print, by the book; as you have
books for good manners: I will name you the degrees.
The first, the Retort Courteous; the second, the
Quip Modest; the third, the Reply Churlish; the
fourth, the Reproof Valiant; the fifth, the
Countercheque Quarrelsome; the sixth, the Lie with
Circumstance; the seventh, the Lie Direct. All
these you may avoid but the Lie Direct; and you may
avoid that too, with an If. I knew when seven
justices could not take up a quarrel, but when the
parties were met themselves, one of them thought but
of an If, as, ‘If you said so, then I said so;’ and
they shook hands and swore brothers. Your If is the
only peacemaker; much virtue in If.
Jaq. Is not this a rare fellow, my lord? he’s as good at
any thing and yet a fool.
Duke Sen. He uses his folly like a stalking-horse and
under the presentation of that he shoots his wit.
(On 4/02/15 – Join me in the continuation of Shakespeare’s
“As You Like It”