AS YOU LIKE IT
URING the time that France was divided into provinces (or
dukedoms, as they were called) there reigned in one of these
provinces a usurper who had deposed and banished his elder
brother, the lawful duke.
The duke who was thus driven from his dominions retired with a
few faithful followers to the forest of Arden; and here the good
duke lived with his loving friends, who had put themselves into a
voluntary exile for his sake, while their land and revenues
enriched the false usurper; and custom soon made the life of
careless ease they led here more sweet to them than the pomp and
uneasy splendor of a courtier's life. Here they lived like the
old Robin Hood of England, and to this forest many noble youths
daily resorted from the court, and did fleet the time carelessly,
as they did who lived in the golden age. In the summer they lay
along under the fine shade of the large forest trees, marking the
playful sports of the wild deer; and so fond were they of these
poor dappled fools, who seemed to be the native inhabitants of
the forest, that it grieved them to be forced to kill them to
supply themselves with venison for their food. When the cold
winds of winter made the duke feel the change of his adverse
fortune, he would endure it patiently, and say:
"These chilling winds which blow upon my body are true
counselors; they do not flatter, but represent truly to me my
condition; and though they bite sharply, their tooth is nothing
like so keen as that of unkindness and ingratitude. I find that
howsoever men speak against adversity, yet some sweet uses are
be extracted from it; like the jewel, precious for medicine,
which is taken from the head of the venomous and despised toad."
In this manner did the patient duke draw a useful moral from
everything that he saw; and by the help of this moralizing turn,
in that life of his, remote from public haunts, he could find
tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones,
and good in everything.
The banished duke had an only daughter, named Rosalind, whom the
usurper, Duke Frederick, when he banished her father, still
retained in his court as a companion for his own daughter, Celia.
A strict friendship subsisted between these ladies, which the
disagreement between their fathers did not in the least
interrupt, Celia striving by every kindness in her power to make
amends to Rosalind for the injustice of her own father in
deposing the father of Rosalind; and whenever the thoughts of her
father's banishment, and her own dependence on the false usurper,
made Rosalind melancholy, Celia's whole care was to comfort and
One day, when Celia was talking in her usual kind manner to
Rosalind, saying, "I pray you, Rosalind, my sweet cousin, be
merry," a messenger entered from the duke, to tell them that if
they wished to see a wrestling-match, which was just going to
begin, they must come instantly to the court before the palace;
and Celia, thinking it would amuse Rosalind, agreed to go and see
In those times wrestling, which is only practised now by country
clowns, was a favorite sport even in the courts of princes, and
before fair ladies and princesses. To this wrestling-match,
therefore, Celia and Rosalind went. They found that it was likely
to prove a very tragical sight; for a large and powerful man, who
had been long practised in the art of wrestling and had slain
many men in contests of this kind, was just going to wrestle with
a very young man, who, from his extreme youth and inexperience in
the art, the beholders all thought would certainly be killed.
 When the duke saw Celia and Rosalind he said: "How now, daughter
and niece, are you crept hither to see the wrestling? You will
take little delight in it, there is such odds in the men. In pity
to this young man, I would wish to persuade him from wrestling.
Speak to him, ladies, and see if you can move him."
The ladies were well pleased to perform this humane office, and
first Celia entreated the young stranger that he would desist
from the attempt; and then Rosalind spoke so kindly to him, and
with such feeling consideration for the danger he was about to
undergo, that, instead of being persuaded by her gentle words to
forego his purpose, all his thoughts were bent to distinguish
himself by his courage in this lovely lady's eyes. He refused the
request of Celia and Rosalind in such graceful and modest words
that they felt still more concern for him; he concluded his
refusal with saying:
"I am sorry to deny such fair and excellent ladies anything. But
let your fair eyes and gentle wishes go with me to my trial,
wherein if I be conquered there is one shamed that was never
gracious; if I am killed, there is one dead that is willing to
die. I shall do my friends no wrong, for I have none to lament
me; the world no injury, for in it I have nothing; for I only
fill up a place in the world which may be better supplied when I
have made it empty."
And now the wrestling-match began. Celia wished the young
stranger might not be hurt; but Rosalind felt most for him. The
friendless state which he said he was in, and that he wished to
die, made Rosalind think that he was, like herself, unfortunate;
and she pitied him so much, and so deep an interest she took in
his danger while he was wrestling, that she might almost be said
at that moment to have fallen in love with him.
The kindness shown this unknown youth by these fair and noble
ladies gave him courage and strength, so that he performed
wonders; and in the end completely conquered his antagonist, who
was so much hurt that for a while he was unable to speak or move.
 The Duke Frederick was much pleased with the courage and skill
shown by this young stranger; and desired to know his name and
parentage, meaning to take him under his protection.
The stranger said his name was Orlando, and that he was the
youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys.
Sir Rowland de Boys, the father of Orlando, had been dead some
years; but when he was living he had been a true subject and dear
friend of the banished duke; therefore, when Frederick heard
Orlando was the son of his banished brother's friend, all his
liking for this brave young man was changed into displeasure and
he left the place in very ill humor. Hating to bear the very name
of any of his brother's friends, and yet still admiring the valor
of the youth, he said, as he went out, that he wished Orlando had
been the son of any other man.
Rosalind was delighted to hear that her new favorite was the son
of her father's old friend; and she said to Celia, "My father
loved Sir Rowland de Boys, and if I had known this young man was
his son I would have added tears to my entreaties before he
should have ventured."
The ladies then went up to him and, seeing him abashed by the
sudden displeasure shown by the duke, they spoke kind and
encouraging words to him; and Rosalind, when they were going
away, turned back to speak some more civil things to the brave
young son of her father's old friend, and taking a chain from off
her neck, she said:
"Gentleman, wear this for me. I am out of suits with fortune, or
I would give you a more valuable present."
When the ladies were alone, Rosalind's talk being still of
Orlando, Celia began to perceive her cousin had fallen in love
with the handsome young wrestler, and she said to Rosalind:
"Is it possible you should fall in love so suddenly?"
Rosalind replied, "The duke, my father, loved his father dearly."
"But," said Celia, "does it therefore follow that you should love
his son dearly?. For then I ought to hate him, for my father
hated his father; yet do not hate Orlando."
 Frederick, being enraged at the sight of Sir Rowland de Boys's
son, which reminded him of the many friends the banished duke had
among the nobility, and having been for some time displeased with
his niece because the people praised her for her virtues and
pitied her for her good father's sake, his malice suddenly broke
out against her; and while Celia and Rosalind were talking of
Orlando, Frederick entered the room and with looks full of anger
ordered Rosalind instantly to leave the palace and follow her
father into banishment, telling Celia, who in vain pleaded for
her, that he had only suffered Rosalind to stay upon her account.
"I did not then," said Celia, "entreat you to let her stay, for I
was too young at that time to value her; but now that I know her
worth, and that we so long have slept together, rose at the same
instant, learned, played, and eat together, I cannot live out of
Frederick replied: "She is too subtle for you; her smoothness,
her very silence, and her patience speak to the people, and they
pity her. You are a fool to plead for her, for you will seem more
bright and virtuous when she is gone; therefore open not your
lips in her favor, for the doom which I have passed upon her is
When Celia found she could not prevail upon her father to let
 Rosalind remain with her, she generously resolved to accompany
her; and, leaving her father's palace that night, she went along
with her friend to seek Rosalind's father, the banished duke, in
the forest of Arden.
Before they set out Celia considered that it would be unsafe for
two young ladies to travel in the rich clothes they then wore;
she therefore proposed that they should disguise their rank by
dressing themselves like country maids. Rosalind said it would be
a still greater protection if one of them was to be dressed like
a man. And so it was quickly agreed on between them that, as
Rosalind was the tallest, she should wear the dress of a young
countryman, and Celia should be habited like a country lass, and
that they should say they were brother and sister; and Rosalind
said she would be called Ganymede, and Celia chose the name of
In this disguise, and taking their money and jewels to defray
their expenses, these fair princesses set out on their long
travel; for the forest of Arden was a long way off, beyond the
boundaries of the duke's dominions.
The lady Rosalind (or Ganymede, as she must now be called) with
her manly garb seemed to have put on a manly courage. The
faithful friendship Celia had shown in accompanying Rosalind so
many weary miles made the new brother, in recompense for this
true love, exert a cheerful spirit, as if he were indeed
Ganymede, the rustic and stout-hearted brother of the gentle
village maiden, Aliena.
When at last they came to the forest of Arden they no longer
found the convenient inns and good accommodations they had met
with on the road, and, being in want of food and rest, Ganymede,
who had so merrily cheered his sister with pleasant speeches and
happy remarks all the way, now owned to Aliena that he was so
weary he could find in his heart to disgrace his man's apparel
and cry like a woman; and Aliena declared she could go no
farther; and then again Ganymede tried to recollect that it was a
man's duty to comfort and console a woman,
 as the weaker vessel; and to seem courageous to his new sister, he said:
"Come, have a good heart, my sister Aliena. We are now at the end
of our travel, in the forest of Arden."
But feigned manliness and forced courage would no longer support
them; for, though they were in the forest of Arden, they knew not
where to find the duke. And here the travel of these weary ladies
might have come to a sad conclusion, for they might have lost
themselves and perished for want of food, but, providentially, as
they were sitting on the grass, almost dying with fatigue and
hopeless of any relief, a countryman chanced to pass that way,
and Ganymede once more tried to speak with a manly boldness,
"Shepherd, if love or gold can in this desert place procure us
entertainment, I pray you bring us where we may rest ourselves;
for this young maid, my sister, is much fatigued with traveling,
and faints for want of food."
The man replied that he was only a servant to a shepherd, and
that his master's house was just going to be sold, and therefore
they would find but poor entertainment; but that if they would go
with him they should be welcome to what there was. They followed
the man, the near prospect of relief giving them fresh strength,
and bought the house and sheep of the shepherd, and took the man
who conducted them to the shepherd's house to wait on them; and
being by this means so fortunately provided with a neat cottage,
and well supplied with provisions, they agreed to stay here till
they could learn in what part of the forest the duke dwelt.
When they were rested after the fatigue of their journey, they
began to like their new way of life, and almost fancied
themselves the shepherd and shepherdess they feigned to be. Yet
sometimes Ganymede remembered he had once been the same Lady
Rosalind who had so dearly loved the brave Orlando because he was
the son of old Sir Rowland, her father's friend; and though
Ganymede thought that Orlando was many miles distant,
 even so
many weary miles as they had traveled, yet it soon appeared that
Orlando was also in the forest of Arden. And in this manner this
strange event came to pass.
Orlando was the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys, who, when he
died, left him (Orlando being then very young) to the care of his
eldest brother, Oliver, charging Oliver on his blessing to give
his brother a good education and provide for him as became the
dignity of their ancient house. Oliver proved an unworthy
brother, and, disregarding the commands of his dying father, he
never put his brother to school, but kept him at home untaught
and entirely neglected. But in his nature and in the noble
qualities of his mind Orlando so much resembled his excellent
father that, without any advantages of education, he seemed like
a youth who had been bred with the utmost care; and Oliver so
envied the fine person and dignified manners of his untutored
brother that at last he wished to destroy him, and to effect this
he set on people to persuade him to wrestle with the famous
wrestler who, as has been before related, had killed so many men.
Now it was this cruel brother's neglect of him which made Orlando
say he wished to die, being so friendless.
When, contrary to the wicked hopes he had formed, his brother
proved victorious, his envy and malice knew no bounds, and he
swore he would burn the chamber where Orlando slept. He was
overheard making his vow by one that had been an old and faithful
servant to their father, and that loved Orlando because he
resembled Sir Rowland. This old man went out to meet him when he
returned from the duke's palace, and when he saw Orlando the
peril his dear young master was in made him break out into these
"O my gentle master, my sweet master! O you memory of Old Sir
Rowland! Why are you virtuous? Why are you gentle, strong, and
valiant? And why would you be so fond to overcome the famous
wrestler? Your praise is come too swiftly home before you."
Orlando, wondering what all this meant, asked him what was
matter. And then the old man told him how his wicked brother,
envying the love all people bore him, and now hearing the fame he
had gained by his victory in the duke's palace, intended to
destroy him by setting fire to his chamber that night, and in
conclusion advised him to escape the danger he was in by
instant flight; and knowing Orlando had no money, Adam (for that
was the good old man's name) had brought out with him his own
little hoard, and he said:
"I have five hundred crowns, the thrifty hire I saved under your
father and laid by to be provision for me when my old limbs
should become unfit for service. Take that, and He that doth the
ravens feed be comfort to my age! Here is the gold. All this I
give to you. Let me be your servant; though I look old I will do
the service of a younger man in all your business and
"O good old man!" said Orlando, "how well appears in you the
constant service of the old world! You are not for the fashion of
these times. We will go along together, and before your youthful
wages are spent I shall light upon some means for both our
Together, then, this faithful servant and his loved master set
out; and Orlando and Adam traveled on, uncertain what course to
pursue, till they came to the forest of Arden, and there they
found themselves in the same distress for want of food that
 Ganymede and Aliena had been. They wandered on, seeking some
human habitation, till they were almost spent with hunger and
Adam at last said: "O my dear master, I die for want of food. I
can go no farther!" He then laid himself down, thinking to make
that place his grave, and bade his dear master farewell.
"I PRAY YOU, BEAR WITH
ME; I CAN GO NO FURTHER"
Orlando, seeing him in this weak state, took his old servant up
in his arms and carried him under the shelter of some pleasant
trees; and he said to him: "Cheerly, old Adam. Rest your weary
limbs here awhile, and do not talk of dying!"
Orlando then searched about to find some food, and he happened to
arrive at that part of the forest where the duke was; and he and
his friends were just going to eat their dinner, this royal duke
being seated on the grass, under no other canopy than the shady
covert of some large trees.
Orlando, whom hunger had made desperate, drew his sword,
intending to take their meat by force, and said: "Forbear and eat
no more. I must have your food!"
The duke asked him if distress had made him so bold or if he were
a rude despiser of good manners. On this Orlando said he was
dying with hunger; and then the duke told him he was welcome to
sit down and eat with them. Orlando, hearing him speak so gently,
put up his sword and blushed with shame at the rude manner in
which he had demanded their food.
"Pardon me, I pray you," said he. "I thought that all things had
been savage here, and therefore I put on the countenance of stern
command; but whatever men you are that in this desert, under the
shade of melancholy boughs, lose and neglect the creeping hours
of time, if ever you have looked on better days, if ever you have
been where bells have knolled to church, if you have ever sat at
any good man's feast, if ever from your eyelids you have wiped a
tear and know what it is to pity or be pitied, may gentle
speeches now move you to do me human courtesy!"
The duke replied: "True it is that we are men (as you say) who
have seen better days, and though we have now our
habita-  tion in this wild forest, we have lived in towns and cities and have with
holy bell been knolled to church, have sat at good men's feasts,
and from our eyes have wiped the drops which sacred pity has
engendered; therefore sit you down and take of our refreshment as
much as will minister to your wants."
"There is an old poor man," answered Orlando, "who has limped
after me many a weary step in pure love, oppressed at once with
two sad infirmities, age and hunger; till he be satisfied I must
not touch a bit."
"Go, find him out and bring him hither," said the duke. "We will
forbear to eat till you return."
Then Orlando went like a doe to find its fawn and give it food;
and presently returned, bringing Adam in his arms.
And the duke said, "Set down your venerable burthen; you are both
And they fed the old man and cheered his heart, and he revived
and recovered his health and strength again.
The duke inquired who Orlando was; and when he found that he was
the son of his old friend, Sir Rowland de Boys, he took him under
his protection, and Orlando and his old servant lived with the
duke in the forest.
Orlando arrived in the forest not many days after Ganymede and
Aliena came there and (as has been before related) bought the
 Ganymede and Aliena were strangely surprised to find the name of
Rosalind carved on the trees, and love-sonnets fastened to them,
all addressed to Rosalind; and while they were wondering how this
could be they met Orlando and they perceived the chain which
Rosalind had given him about his neck.
Orlando little thought that Ganymede was the fair Princess
Rosalind who, by her noble condescension and favor, had so won
his heart that he passed his whole time in carving her name upon
the trees and writing sonnets in praise of her beauty; but being
much pleased with the graceful air of this pretty shepherd-youth,
he entered into conversation with him, and he thought he saw a
likeness in Ganymede to his beloved Rosalind, but that he had
none of the dignified deportment of that noble lady; for Ganymede
assumed the forward manners often seen in youths when they are
between boys and men, and with much archness and humor talked to
Orlando of a certain lover, "who," said she, "haunts our forest,
and spoils our young trees with carving Rosalind upon their
barks; and he hangs odes upon hawthorns, and elegies on brambles,
all praising this same Rosalind. If I could find this lover, I
would give him some good counsel that would soon cure him of his
Orlando confessed that he was the fond lover of whom he spoke,
and asked Ganymede to give him the good counsel he talked of. The
remedy Ganymede proposed, and the counsel he gave him, was that
Orlando should come every day to the cottage where he and his
sister Aliena dwelt.
"And then," said Ganymede, "I will feign myself to be Rosalind,
and you shall feign to court me in the same manner as you would
do if I was Rosalind, and then I will imitate the fantastic ways
of whimsical ladies to their lovers, till I make you ashamed of
your love; and this is the way I propose to cure you."
Orlando had no great faith in the remedy, yet he agreed to come
every day to Ganymede's cottage and feign a playful courtship;
and every day Orlando visited Ganymede and Aliena, and Orlando
called the shepherd Ganymede his Rosalind, and
 every day talked
over all the fine words and flattering compliments which young
men delight to use when they court their mistresses. It does not
appear, however, that Ganymede made any progress in curing
Orlando of his love for Rosalind.
Though Orlando thought all this was but a sportive play (not
dreaming that Ganymede was his very Rosalind), yet the
opportunity it gave him of saying all the fond things he had in
his heart pleased his fancy almost as well as it did Ganymede's,
who enjoyed the secret jest in knowing these fine love-speeches
were all addressed to the right person.
In this manner many days passed pleasantly on with these young
people; and the good-natured Aliena, seeing it made Ganymede
happy, let him have his own way and was diverted at the
mock-courtship, and did not care to remind Ganymede that the Lady
Rosalind had not yet made herself known to the duke her father,
whose place of resort in the forest they had learned from
Orlando. Ganymede met the duke one day, and had some talk with
him, and the duke asked of what parentage he came. Ganymede
answered that he came of as good parentage as he did, which made
the duke smile, for he did not suspect the pretty shepherd-boy
came of royal lineage. Then seeing the duke look well and happy,
Ganymede was content to put off all further explanation for a few
One morning, as Orlando was going to visit Ganymede, he saw a man
lying asleep on the ground, and a large green snake had twisted
itself about his neck. The snake, seeing Orlando approach, glided
away among the bushes. Orlando went nearer, and then he
discovered a lioness lie crouching, with her head on the ground,
with a catlike watch, waiting until the sleeping man awaked (for
it is said that lions will prey on nothing that is dead or
sleeping). It seemed as if Orlando was sent by Providence to free
the man from the danger of the snake and lioness; but when
Orlando looked in the man's face he perceived that the sleeper
who was exposed to this double peril was his own brother Oliver,
who had so cruelly used him and had threatened to
 destroy him by
fire, and he was almost tempted to leave him a prey to the hungry
lioness; but brotherly affection and the gentleness of his nature
soon overcame his first anger against his brother; and he drew
his sword and attacked the lioness and slew her, and thus
preserved his brother's life both from the venomous snake and
from the furious lioness; but before Orlando could conquer the
lioness she had torn one of his arms with her sharp claws.
While Orlando was engaged with the lioness, Oliver awaked, and,
perceiving that his brother Orlando, whom he had so cruelly
treated, was saving him from the fury of a wild beast at the risk
of his own life, shame and remorse at once seized him, and he
repented of his unworthy conduct and besought with many tears his
brother's pardon for the injuries he had done him. Orlando
rejoiced to see him so penitent, and readily forgave him. They
embraced each other and from that hour Oliver loved Orlando with
a true brotherly affection, though he had come to the forest bent
on his destruction.
The wound in Orlando's arm having bled very much, he found
himself too weak to go to visit Ganymede, and therefore he
desired his brother to go and tell Ganymede, "whom," said
Orlando, "I in sport do call my Rosalind," the accident which had
Thither then Oliver went, and told to Ganymede and Aliena how
Orlando had saved his life; and when he had finished the story of
Orlando's bravery and his own providential escape he owned to
them that he was Orlando's brother who had so cruelly used him;
and then be told them of their reconciliation.
The sincere sorrow that Oliver expressed for his offenses made
such a lively impression on the kind heart of Aliena that she
instantly fell in love with him; and Oliver observing how much
she pitied the distress he told her he felt for his fault, he as
suddenly fell in love with her. But while love was thus stealing
into the hearts of Aliena and Oliver, he was no less busy with
Ganymede, who, hearing of the danger Orlando had been in,
 and that he was wounded by the lioness, fainted; and when he
recovered he pretended that he had counterfeited the swoon in the
imaginary character of Rosalind, and Ganymede said to Oliver:
"Tell your brother Orlando how well I counterfeited a swoon."
But Oliver saw by the paleness of his complexion that he did
really faint, and, much wondering at the weakness of the young
man, he said, "Well, if you did counterfeit, take a good heart
and counterfeit to be a man."
"So I do," replied Ganymede, truly, "but I should have been a
woman by right."
Oliver made this visit a very long one, and when at last he
returned back to his brother he had much news to tell him; for,
besides the account of Ganymede's fainting at the hearing that
Orlando was wounded, Oliver told him how he had fallen in love
with the fair shepherdess Aliena, and that she had lent a
favorable ear to his suit, even in this their first interview;
and he talked to his brother, as of a thing almost settled, that
he should marry Aliena, saying that he so well loved her that he
would live here as a shepherd and settle his estate and house at
home upon Orlando.
"You have my consent," said Orlando. "Let your wedding be
to-morrow, and I will invite the duke and his friends. Go
 and persuade your shepherdess to agree to this. She is now alone,
for, look, here comes her brother."
Oliver went to Aliena, and Ganymede, whom Orlando had perceived
approaching, came to inquire after the health of his wounded
When Orlando and Ganymede began to talk over the sudden love
which had taken place between Oliver and. Aliena, Orlando said he
had advised his brother to persuade his fair shepherdess to be
married on the morrow, and then he added how much he could wish
to be married on the same day to his Rosalind.
Ganymede, who well approved of this arrangement, said that if
Orlando really loved Rosalind as well as he professed to do, he
should have his wish; for on the morrow he would engage to make
Rosalind appear in her own person, and also that Rosalind should
be willing to marry Orlando.
This seemingly wonderful event, which, as Ganymede was the Lady
Rosalind, he could so easily perform, he pretended he would bring
to pass by the aid of magic, which he said he had learned of an
uncle who was a famous magician.
The fond lover Orlando, half believing and half doubting what he
heard, asked Ganymede if he spoke in sober meaning.
"By my life I do," said Ganymede. "Therefore put on your best
clothes, and bid the duke and your friends to your wedding, for
if you desire to be married to-morrow to Rosalind, she shall be
The next morning, Oliver having obtained the consent of Aliena,
they came into the presence of the duke, and with them also came
They being all assembled to celebrate this double marriage, and
as yet only one of the brides appearing, there was much of
wondering and conjecture, but they mostly thought that Ganymede
was making a jest of Orlando.
The duke, hearing that it was his own daughter that was to be
brought in this strange way, asked Orlando if he believed the
shepherd-boy could really do what he had promised; and while
 Orlando was answering that he knew not what to think, Ganymede
entered and asked the duke, if he brought his daughter, whether
he would consent to her marriage with Orlando.
"That I would," said the duke, "if I had kingdoms to give with
Ganymede then said to Orlando, "And you say you will marry her if
I bring her here."
"That I would," said Orlando, "if I were king of many kingdoms."
Ganymede and Aliena then went out together, and, Ganymede
throwing off his male attire, and being once more dressed in
woman's apparel, quickly became Rosalind without the power of
magic; and Aliena, changing her country garb for her own rich
clothes, was with as little trouble transformed into the lady
While they were gone, the duke said to Orlando that he thought
the shepherd Ganymede very like his daughter Rosalind; and
Orlando said he also had observed the resemblance.
They had no time to wonder how all this would end, for Rosalind
and Celia, in their own clothes, entered, and, no longer
pretending that it was by the power of magic that she came there,
Rosalind threw herself on her knees before her father and begged
his blessing. It seemed so wonderful to all present that she
should so suddenly appear, that it might well have passed
magic; but Rosalind would no longer trifle with her father, and
told him the story of her banishment, and of her dwelling in the
forest as a shepherd-boy, her cousin Celia passing as her sister.
The duke ratified the consent he had already given to the
marriage; and Orlando and Rosalind, Oliver and Celia, were
married at the same time. And though their wedding could not be
celebrated in this wild forest with any of the parade of splendor
usual on such occasions, yet a happier wedding-day was never
passed. And while they were eating their venison under the cool
shade of the pleasant trees, as if nothing should be wanting to
complete the felicity of this good duke and the true lovers, an
unexpected messenger arrived to tell the duke the joyful news
that his dukedom was restored to him.
The usurper, enraged at the flight of his daughter Celia, and
hearing that every day men of great worth resorted to the forest
of Arden to join the lawful duke in his exile, much envying that
his brother should be so highly respected in his adversity, put
himself at the head of a large force and advanced toward the
forest, intending to seize his brother and put him with all his
faithful followers to the sword; but by a wonderful interposition
of Providence this bad brother was converted from his evil
intention, for just as he entered the skirts of the wild forest
he was met by an old religious man, a hermit, with whom he had
much talk and who in the end completely turned his heart from his
wicked design. Thenceforward he became a true penitent, and
resolved, relinquishing his unjust dominion, to spend the
remainder of his days in a religious house. The first act of his
newly conceived penitence was to send a messenger to his brother
(as has been related) to offer to restore to him his dukedom,
which he had usurped so long, and with it the lands and revenues
of his friends, the faithful followers of his adversity.
This joyful news, as unexpected as it was welcome, came
opportunely to heighten the festivity and rejoicings at the
wedding of the princesses. Celia complimented her cousin on this
 fortune which had happened to the duke, Rosalind's father,
and wished her joy very sincerely, though she herself was no
longer heir to the dukedom, but by this restoration which her
father had made, Rosalind was now the heir, so completely was the
love of these two cousins unmixed with anything of jealousy or of
The duke had now an opportunity of rewarding those true friends
who had stayed with him in his banishment; and these worthy
followers, though they had patiently shared his adverse fortune,
were very well pleased to return in peace and prosperity to the
palace of their lawful duke.