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As You Like It: Is Touchstone vs. William the First Authorship Story?

by Alex McNeil

Reprinted from the Spring 2003 issue of Shakespeare Matters

“Come, Sweet Audrey. We Must Be Married, Or We Must Live in Bawdry.”

 Shakespeare’s As You Like It should be of particular interest to Oxfordians, if for no other reason than Act V, Scene 1—the encounter in the forest between the fool Touchstone and the local bumpkin William, Touchstone’s rival for the hand of the country wench Audrey. The scene appears to be a deliberate implant; had it been omitted, the play would not suffer. One must ask, then, what motivated the playwright—a skilled dramatist at the height of his career—to throw in such an apparently gratuitous scene?

I will suggest that the key to the answer lies not in the two male suitors, but in Audrey. The analysis may also shed light on the play’s date (or, as seems more likely, dates) of composition. It should be noted here that the idea that this scene between Touchstone and William in As You Like It is actually an encounter between Oxford and Shakspere is not original. It was explored as early as 1952 by Dorothy and Charlton Ogburn in This Star of England and was further developed by Oxfordian Charles Boyle in an unpublished 1995 conference paper.

This article will examine the idea in more detail. Some background, including an overview of mainstream criticism, may be helpful. Although As You Like It did not appear in print until the First Folio in 1623, the first external evidence of its existence is traced to 1600, when that title, together with three other plays, is entered in the Stationers Register “to be stayed.”1

Stratfordians generally have little trouble dating its composition to 1599, though many agree that the play shows signs of revision. That year may be “confidently accepted,” says George Lyman Kittredge, because of the fact that the play is not among those listed by Meres in 1598, and because it contains an allusion to Marlowe’s Hero and Leander, a work not published until 1598. Kittredge also cites Jaques’s famous “All the world’s a stage” speech (II,vii.) as further evidence of composition in 1599, linking it to the opening of the Globe Theatre that year.2

Kittredge himself thought that the 1599 effort was a revision of an earlier work.3 A.L. Rowse believed that the play had been written earlier “for private performance,” while John Dover Wilson offered an ingenious theory that it had been first written in the summer of 1593 and was heavily revised in 1600.4 Some Stratfordians offer more fanciful notions, particularly when speculating on the play’s title. One asserts that “Shakespeare laughed out the title one day after reading what he had written,”5 while another conjectures that “a Globe manager- actor sent a note over to Will at Blackfriars asking for a name . . . . Will was busy that week . . . . So he just scrawled, in effect, ‘no preference’ across it and sent the tricksy slave back.”6

As to the source of the play, Stratfordians are unanimous in identifying Thomas Lodge’s novel, Rosalynde: Euphues Golden Legacie, first published in 1590.7 Lodge, in turn, seems to have been inspired by an anonymous fourteenth century poem, The Coke’s Tale of Gamelyn, though the latter story was not printed until 1721.8

The basic plot of Lodge’s novel is almost identical to the central story of As You Like It—the daughter of a banished French king (Rosalynde) falls in love with a young man (Rosader) she sees in a wrestling match; she and her cousin (Alinda) are banished by the usurping king, and, disguised as Ganymede and Aliena, they flee to the Forest of Ardennes; there they encounter Rosader, who has fled there himself to escape the wrath of his evil older brother (Saladyne); a romance develops between Rosalynde and Rosader; Saladyne is later exiled to the forest by the usurping king, where he reforms and falls in love with Alinda; finally, news arrives that the usurping king has been overthrown, and Rosader is named the rightful heir.9

While Shakespeare retained the central story of Rosalynde in fashioning As You Like It, he made several changes. Among the most obvious are the names of the characters. Although Rosalynde keeps her name (now spelled Rosalind), and the two females’ forest aliases are retained, the other main characters’ names are changed—younger brother Rosader becomes Orlando, older brother Saladyne becomes Oliver, and Rosalind’s cousin Alinda is now Celia; a minor character, the old shepherd Corydon, is now Corin. Curiously, even the forest itself undergoes a slight transformation, from the very French Forest of Ardennes to the apparently English Forest of Arden.10

More importantly, Shakespeare added two main characters—Jaques and Touchstone—and several minor ones, including Audrey and William. As one critic observes, “these additional characters add nothing at all to the story—if you were to tell it, you would leave them out. They show us that story was not Shakespeare’s concern in this play; its soul is not to be looked for there.”11 To others, the addition of characters “vivifies the play.”12

A fair sampling of Stratfordian opinion discloses that the play is considered one of Shakespeare’s best comedies, showing the author’s “characteristic excellence. . . and [his] distinctive virtues as a writer of comedy have their fullest scope.”13 Swinden calls it “the most perfect” of the comedies, Gardner “the most refined and exquisite,” and Ward cites its “most extraordinary elusive subtlety.”14

There is also general agreement that dramatic, or comic, action is almost nonexistent in the play; instead, the focus is on dialogue and the developing relationships between and among the characters. “[T]he manner of the play, when once it settles down in the forest, is to let two people drift together, talk a little, and part, to be followed by two more. Sometimes a pair will be watched by others, who will sometimes comment on what they see. . . . This may all sound rather static, but such is the ease and rapidity with which pairs and groups break up, re-form and succeed one another on the stage that there is a sense of fluid movement.”15

To another Stratfordian, “Talk is the very medium of As You Like It. Action is absent, and language is abundantly rich, allegorical at least of the foliage of the forest where it occurs. The characters spend much of their time talking, simply talking.”16 Within such a format, the author satirizes the concepts of pastoral life and pastoral romance, and further explores themes of preservation and order, time and timelessness, all within a forest which is “no conventional arcadia.”17

These interpretations, it must be conceded, are sound, especially if the play is analyzed as a work of the late 1590s largely derived from a then-popular book. Their soundness is reinforced if extensive thought is not given to why Shakespeare made the changes that he did to Lodge’s novel. An Oxfordian interpretation will not supplant this set of interpretations, but will supplement it.18 As to the time of composition of the play, Oxfordian Eva Turner Clark points us to a period shortly after November 1581, when Queen Elizabeth pledged to wed her longtime French suitor, the Duke of Alençon.19 As Clark sees things, Alençon is the prototype of Orlando (even down to his “little beard,” III.ii.);20 his secretary de Bex is that of the minor (and similarly named) character Le Beu; his envoy Simier is that of Orlando’s servant Adam;21 and Alençon’s brother, King Henry III of France, is that of Orlando’s brother Oliver.

If Alençon is Orlando, then to Clark it follows that Elizabeth herself must be Rosalind; support for that may be found not only in the relationship between the two characters, including the mock marriage between Orlando and Rosalind when she is disguised as Ganimed (which Clark takes to be a direct allusion to Elizabeth’s 1581 public declaration of intent to marry), but also in such details as Rosalind’s gift of a chain to Orlando (which Clark interprets as an allusion to Elizabeth’s gift of one of her garters to a French emissary, who in turn gave it to Alençon).

And in the melancholy Jaques, Clark sees that Oxford grafted something of himself, including the highly personal references to Jaques as an exiled courtier, and a traveler who has sold his “own lands to see other men’s” (IV,i.24). Although Clark does not speak of revision of the play, she suggests that the scene between Touchstone and William (V,i.) was inserted in 1589, as was the character of Sir Oliver Mar-text.

If Clark’s principal composition date is correct, then what does that do to the relationship between As You Like It and Lodge’s Rosalynde? Obviously, the play could not have been based on the novel. On the other hand, the similarities between the two works are too striking for them to have been written entirely independently of one another.22 Could it be that Rosalynde was derived from an early version of As You Like It? Charlton Ogburn thought so,23 and there is evidence to support this view. Although Lodge’s Rosalynde was published in 1590, the book was written (according to Lodge’s dedication) “to beguile the time” on a voyage with a Captain Clarke to the islands of Terceras and the Canaries. Kittredge believes the voyage to have been “about 1588,”24 but a biographer of Lodge has uncovered a record of a voyage to the Canaries by a Captain Clarke in 1585.25

Furthermore, the euphuistic style of Rosalynde would suggest a date of 1585 rather than 1590, because the euphuistic “rage” was launched in the late 1570s and had already begun to fade by 1590. If, then, Lodge’s novel is derived from a pre-1585 version of As You Like It, the play must not have contained characters such as Jaques and Touchstone, for Lodge would not have excised figures of such importance in reworking the story. Thus, it is plausible that very substantial revisions were made to the play during the late 1580s, and, as we shall see, further revisions came even later.

Let us now turn to the play to look for specific evidence of revision. [Much of the following is taken from Kristian Smidt’s Unconformities in Shakespeare’s Later Comedies, a very perceptive work by a Stratfordian analyst.] A glance at the list of characters suggests something is amiss, for there are two characters named Jaques and two named Oliver. Any dramatist would avoid this clumsy, and potentially confusing, situation, especially if he were creating the work during one span of time. In the play as it has come down to us, the “first” Jaques is the middle brother of Oliver and Orlando, a minor character; he is mentioned by name at the beginning of the play (I,i.5), but does not make an entrance until the end (V,iv.158).

The “second” Jaques is the melancholy Jaques, a major character who appears throughout the play beginning at II,v. Coincidentally, he too is mentioned by name (II,i.26) some time before his entrance. Based on a close reading of the text, Smidt offers a very sensible explanation of the “unconformity” of the two Jaques. The first Jaques is mentioned by name only once, in Orlando’s opening dialogue with Adam, as Orlando explains his dire situation to his old servant.

Two dozen lines later, Orlando’s brother Oliver appears, and much of the same information is repeated during the brothers’ quarrel. “It would be a reasonable guess to suppose that Shakespeare first wrote that opening passage as we have it, then thought it was a clumsy expository device to have Orlando explain things to Adam which the old man must have well known, and wrote a quarreling scene with Oliver to replace it. In so doing he would have discarded Orlando’s mention of his second brother . . . and left himself free to use the name of Jaques for another character.”26

It should also be noted that when the “first” Jaques finally appears in the play, the stage direction refers to him merely as “second brother,” that the character introduces himself as “the second Son” (V.iv.160), and that no one else refers to him by name. This further indicates that, in the final version of the play, the second brother was not intended to share a name with another character.27

The second paired character name is Oliver, who as a main character is the evil older brother, and as a minor one is the forest vicar, Sir Oliver Mar-text. Oliver Mar-text appears briefly in only one scene (III,iii, with only three speeches ) and is referred to once later. The first name may be a reference to Oliver Pigge, a Puritan minister about whom a song was licensed in 1584.28 Oxfordians and Stratfordians agree that “Mar-text” is an allusion to the Martin Mar-prelate controversy – a series of pamphlets “promoting the Puritan cause and attacking the Episcopacy, signed Martin Marprelate”– which began in late 1588 and reached its height a few months later. 29

Thus, the second Oliver character cannot have existed before 1589, and it is likely that the duplication of name was intentional in this case. Smidt notes several more “unconformities,” all of which again point to a revision or a reworking: whether the usurping duke or the banished duke is named Frederick; whether the duke’s banishment was recent or distant; and whether Rosalind is taller than Celia. She further notes that these inconsistencies usually arise when there is a change from prose to blank verse, and concludes, “it looks like Shakespeare began writing the play in prose and when he got to the point of emotional ignition, so to speak, thought that verse would be in keeping with the importance of the occasion and the dignity of the characters.”30

To an Oxfordian, that “emotional ignition” occurred when the author decided to depict himself. In a play which centers around pairings, it is not surprising that he did so by putting himself into a pair of characters — the melancholy Jaques and the wise fool Touchstone. It is not necessary to discuss in depth the numerous parallels between Oxford and this pair; both are exiled courtiers, one of whom (as noted above) is a traveler who has “sold [his] own lands to see other men’s.” As one Stratfordian perceptively notes, Jaques dwells on three main themes throughout the play — “the fool and his role; his own right to speak to the world; [and] that world itself as a mere stage of stage players.” 31 All of those themes, of course, are central to Oxford, and appear over and over again in the dramatic works. Touchstone, in the eyes of another critic, “is a man of intelligence and insight, under no illusions about the Court — or Arden, for that matter.”32

Together, the pair acts much like the chorus of ancient drama.33 For our purposes, it may be helpful to view Jaques as Oxford the observer, and Touchstone as Oxford the expresser. Imbued with melancholy — a melancholy which he actually enjoys (see II,v.9-19)34 — Jaques is first described to us as weeping at the plight of a wounded deer. His very name is a play on words: the name is not pronounced “Jacques,” but rather “jakes,” Elizabethan slang for a privy.35 Throughout the play he remains cynical; in his most famous speech (II,vii.), chronicling the seven ages of man, he dwells on the drawbacks and infirmities attendant on each of the seven periods. At the end of the play, as the other main characters march off in their ordered pairs, he is the only one not to be paired off, and the only major character who will not return to the court.

Of course, the one character with whom Jaques should be paired is the one brings him joy: Touchstone. Jaques’s only real moment of happiness is when he muses rhapsodically on his first encounter with Touchstone in the forest (II,vii.12-61) and wishes that he, too, were a fool. However, as the play develops, Touchstone appears to have found himself a mate — or has he? Touchstone is a fool, but he “plays no practical jokes, sets no traps, hides in no corners, gets no one drunk, brings no false tidings.”36

His very name suggests that he tests things.37 To Stratfordians, this sense of testing is narrow, existing only within the play itself. “‘[H]e tests all that the world takes for gold, especially the gold of the golden world of pastoralism’ . . . . Touchstone in his relationships advances a standard by which we are invited to measure the relationships in the play.”38 To Oxfordians the character name has a broader significance, suggesting that Touchstone (the author as the utterer) is who testing for truth.

We first encounter Touchstone at the court, where he jests with Rosalind and Celia. At the end of Act I, when the two ladies have been banished, Celia is confident that he can be persuaded to join them in exile. They simply desire his company; because Rosalind has already decided to disguise herself as a male in the forest, his presence is not needed to provide for their safety. Celia’s confidence is well-placed; Touchstone happily accompanies them to, and within, the Forest of Arden. The trio arrives in the forest in Act II, scene iv, and shortly encounter the two shepherds, old Corin and young Silvius. We next see Touchstone in Act III, scene ii, when he matches wits with Corin, comparing life at court to the pastoral life.

Up to this point, Touchstone appears to be a fairly conventional fool, exchanging in witty banter and playing on words. His special qualities begin to develop in the next scene. In Act III, scene iii, Jaques and Touchstone appear together for the first time, and the fool is accompanied by a woman, the forest goatherd Audrey. Within a few lines we learn that Touchstone intends to marry Audrey as soon as possible. It is unusual for a Shakespearean fool to be depicted as fully male; most are styled as apparently sexless windbags.39 Interestingly, there is no “backstory” about Audrey; we do not know where or how they met (presumably it was in the forest).

To Stratfordian critics, the Touchstone- Audrey match is a burlesque, a counterpoint to the pastoral romantic nature of the other three forest pairings; Touchstone is seen as impelled by sexual desire to wed— and bed—Audrey as quickly as can be arranged.40 Audrey, with a scant dozen speeches in the entire play, is perceived by Stratfordians as “sluttish” and “graceless.”41 To at least one Stratfordian, the inclusion of Audrey was an unfortunate mistake by the author.42

However, if we examine the scene with Oxfordian eyes, something altogether different suggests itself. First, the very name Audrey is significant. Although, as a proper name, its derivation is Anglo-Saxon,43 Shakespeare may be suggesting a connection to the Latin verb audire—to hear—from which the familiar words “audience,” “audit,” and “auditory” are derived. Shakespeare’s dramatic words were written, of course, but they were written to be heard by an audience.

This is the first clue that Audrey may not personify a human being. Next, it is apparent that she does not understand much of what Touchstone says; she is unfamiliar with “feature” and “poetical,” for example, two words with which even an unsophisticated country wench would be acquainted. However, those words may have additional meaning in the scene. Touchstone’s question to Audrey — “Doth my simple Feature content you?” — is usually taken to mean “Are you pleased with my ordinary looks,” with a possible sexual suggestion as well (“Does my [uniquely male] feature make you happy”).

But if Touchstone represents the author, “feature” could mean not the form of the physical body or face, but a creation made by Touchstone,44 and “content” could mean not “to make happy,” but rather “to comprise.” The question then becomes a rhetorical one: “Are you comprised of my creation[s]?” Audrey, then, is not merely a country wench, but represents the author’s dramatic works. If she personifies an inanimate object, she then would not “understand” the meanings of words. The scene continues.

After Audrey misunderstands the question (“Your Features, Lord warrant us; what Features?”), Touchstone responds with a play on words (“Goats” and “Gothes”) while comparing his plight to that of “honest Ovid.”45 The remark cannot be intended for Audrey; if she does not know what “Feature” means, she certainly would not recognize the name of a Roman poet. Jaques then weighs in (“O Knowledge ill inhabited, worse than Jove in a thatch’d House”), reinforcing the reference to Ovid with one of his own.46

It is usually assumed that the speech is directed at Touchstone, but it is possible that the phrase “O knowledge ill inhabited” is intended to describe Audrey. Touchstone replies, “When a man’s Verses cannot be understood . . . it strikes a man more dead than a great Reckoning in a little Room.” Critical attention is generally lavished on the latter phrase, with the supposed allusion to the death of playwright Christopher Marlowe in a tavern quarrel in 1593; that supposition may be well founded, for there appear to be two other references to Marlowe’s work in the play.47

But perhaps the author himself may have had his own “great Reckoning” concerning the publication of his works; and, if it had been made plain to him that someone else’s name would be attached to their publication, he would have worried (and justifiably so) that his “Verses” would not then “be understood.” Touchstone then turns to Audrey, and says, “truly, I would the Gods had made thee poetical.” Characteristically, Audrey does not understand the word, and wonders, “Is it honest in Deed and Word: is it a true thing?” Touchstone explains that it is not, that “the truest Poetry is the most faining.” He reiterates his wish that Audrey were poetical, and laments that “thou swear’st to me thou art honest.”

There are further references to “honest” and “honesty;” the two words occur seven times in the first three dozen lines of the scene.48 Conventional criticism holds that “honest” and “honesty” as used here refer to chastity, but if Audrey is what we think, the words connote truth and truthfulness. Of all the qualities that a suitor might wish his intended bride to possess, being “poetical” would likely not rank high on the list. The author’s repeated use of the word must be deliberate, however, and is understood as something more than wordplay if Touchstone and Audrey are seen as the author and the dramatic works. What he is saying is that the dramatic works are honest, that they depict the truth. And their very honesty is a likely impediment to the marriage.

In contrast, if the dramatic works were merely “poetical,” they would (almost by definition) not be honest, and there would, perhaps, be no such impediment. At this point we should speak about marriage, the pair’s intended destination. Of all the attributes of marriage — a physical and legal union, recognized by law and by God — the most significant in this context is that the bride will take the groom’s name. In other words, the author’s paramount hope (although unarticulated) is that the works will be published under his own name.

To be sure, Oxford must have realized that it would have been virtually impossible for his works to have been so published. As Diana Price and others have noted, in a class-bound society such as his it was unthinkable for a nobleman to publish an original work as his own; to have done so would have brought disgrace to the family name and to all of nobility. Publishing plays would have been an especially low blow. At the same time, Oxford must have felt the all-too-human pride of authorship, and part of him must have chafed at the necessity to hide behind another name. As the characters wait for the vicar to arrive, Audrey remarks that “I am not a Slut, though I thank the Gods I am foul.” Interestingly, the words “foul” and “foulness” occur three times within a space of four lines.One cannot help thinking here that Audrey is describing herself not as plain-looking or unattractive—even if she were, why would she “thank the Gods” for it?— but rather that she is describing herself literally as “foul,” meaning handwritten and hand-corrected.49

In due course the “Vicar of the next Village” arrives, ready to perform the ceremony. Curiously, he bears the name Sir Oliver Mar-text. This name is usually taken as an allusion to the Martin Mar-prelate controversy of 1588-1589, with a possible secondary allusion to the minister Oliver Pigge (see above) and a suggestion in “Martext” that the poor fellow will be unable to get the formalities right. Many critics see the vicar as a Puritan,50 with one noting that his “very name suggests the real problems the church has always faced in country parishes.”51

To an Oxfordian, however, the name Mar-text suggests not only the Martin Mar-prelate affair, but also the “real problems” the author was about to face if he went forward with his plans to “marry,” or publish the works under his own name. The text would, if it were then published, have to be marred in order to obscure the truth.

Nevertheless, it appears that the marriage will take place. Jaques at first agrees to give the bride away, but then abruptly counsels Touchstone to postpone the wedding until he can find “a good Priest that can tell you what Marriage is.” Touchstone agrees, and addresses Audrey: “Come, sweet Audrey/We must be married, or we must live in Bawdry.” In other words, if they do not get married, they will still have a physical relationship, but Audrey will not belong to him legally and will not share his name.

Bearing in mind that Jaques, as well as Touchstone, represents Oxford, it may be suggested that the author had talked himself out of going ahead with publication at this early time. Here the play takes leave of Touchstone and Audrey for a while. But it seems clear that theirs is no ordinary relationship. Although many critics see the pair as driven by sexual impulse, I do not believe Audrey exhibits any sexual desire. One Stratfordian critic has gotten it right when he concludes that Audrey, whoever or whatever she is, “is an object to be possessed.”52

With an aborted marriage ceremony as prelude, we now arrive at V.i, the truly extraordinary scene with Touchstone, Audrey and William. Nothing in the play has prepared us for it, and, as noted earlier, the play would not suffer if the scene were omitted. Why, then, did the author bother with this digression? Few Stratfordian critics have paid much attention to the scene; indeed, many do not mention it at all in their analysis of the play.

Dover Wilson cites the comic effect of Touchstone “lording it as a courtier, a gentleman and a philosopher, over the simple rustics of Arden.”53 Swinden echoes that view, terming it another example of “bringing together different members of different groups for purposes of dispute and argument.” 54 Ward sees the scene as another example of Touchstone’s tendency to bully the locals.55 Jenkins suggests that Touchstone “not only deprives the yokel William of his mistress, but steals his part in the play, making it in the process of infinitely greater significance.”56 Berry has looked at the scene a bit more deeply, observing that the “unfortunate William finds Touchstone in a terrible mood, and his cadenza on the means whereby William is to be destroyed effectively exposes William’s pretentions to the hand of Audrey. It is a complete demolition of an inferior.”57

To be sure, there is comic irony in the banishment of William from the forest by Touchstone, one of those banished to the forest. To an Oxfordian, however, the scene is far more significant. It opens with Touchstone and Audrey walking together through the forest; Audrey wistfully notes that she would have been happy to have had Mar-text marry them, but Touchstone responds that Sir Oliver (who had only three innocuous speeches) is “wicked” and “vile.” He then turns their conversation to something more important to both of them, a rival for Audrey’s hand whose existence is already known to him: “But Audrey, there is a Youth here in the Forest lays claim to you.”

The words “lays claim” are significant, for they suggest a “claim” in the legal, not amorous, sense. This connotation is reinforced by Audrey’s reply: “Ay, I know who ‘tis: he hath no Interest in me in the World.” The word “interest” again suggests a legal term, not a romantic one; this is reinforced a few lines later, when William, answering one of Touchstone’s queries, agrees that he loves Audrey. William’s love for her must have been known to Audrey, so when she tells Touchstone that William “hath no interest” in her, she is either lying or is using “interest” in a specific sense. We already know that she considers herself “honest,” so we should conclude that she is not referring to a romantic “Interest,” but rather to a legal one. William then makes his appearance.

The Stratfordian consensus is predictable — poor William is a “yokel,” a “dumb yokel,” and “a dolt” of “bumpkinish ways.”58 Let us pause to consider the name, something few Stratfordians seem to have done.59 The William of As You Like It lives in the Forest of Arden, close to Stratfordon- Avon; of the several non-historical Williams in the plays, this one would appear to be the most personal to the Stratford man. It seems odd, though not inconceivable, that an author would loan his own first name to such an apparently unimportant, unsophisticated and unimpressive character.

But Oxfordians find it not odd at all; Ogburn observes that several of Shakespeare’s non-historical Williams, including those who do not appear but are merely referred to, are cast in unflattering terms.60 Such a consistent categorization of Wills and Williams suggests that the author had something definite in mind when using the name—to Oxfordians, of course, a deliberate reminder that the most famous “William” was not who he seemed to be. Noting William’s entrance, Touchstone eagerly awaits the opportunity to belittle the country “Clown,” noting (as much to the audience as to Audrey) that “we that have good Wits have much to answer for.” The implication, of course, is that William does not have “good Wit,” a point that will soon become obvious.

William is literally a man of few words; in his 11 speeches are a total of 44 words, only five of which are of more than one syllable (including his own name and that of Audrey). William has removed his hat as a sign of deference to Touchstone—the fool, in other words, is his social superior. Touchstone graciously bids William to put his hat back on and begins to question him. In short order we learn three things about the “Forest Youth”: he is “five and twenty,” his name is indeed William, and he was born in the Forest of Arden. Let us look more closely at each of these responses. That William is age 25 suggests that the scene was added in 1589 or 1590, when William Shakspere was exactly that age; it is also possible that the scene was added even later, but was intended to refer specifically to that period.

There are two reasons in support of the deliberate reference to 1589-1590: first, for comedic purposes the scene would work just as well, if not better, if poor William did not know exactly how old he was; therefore it must be significant that William in fact knows his age. Second, to Oxfordians there is ample evidence throughout the plays that when the author makes specific time references, he is doing so deliberately. A few examples, familiar to most Oxfordians, will suffice: the reference in Romeo and Juliet to an earthquake “eleven years” earlier suggests the Verona earthquake of 1570, thus a composition date of 1581;61 the reference in Cymbeline to the abduction of Guiderius and Arviragus 20 years previously parallels Queen Elizabeth’s “banishment” of the two sons of Edward Seymour and Lady Catherine Grey in 1561, again suggesting a composition date of 1581;62 and in The Famous Victories of Henry the Fift, the robbery of the king’s receivers by Prince Hal’s followers is dated as May 20th in the fourteenth year of Henry IV’s reign, while the real-life robbery at Gad’s Hill of two of Oxford’s former employees took place during May in the fourteenth year of Elizabeth’s reign.63

After eliciting William’s age, Touchstone inquires, “Is thy name William?” William replies, “William, Sir.” Touchstone already knows this fact; Audrey has greeted William by name only six lines earlier. Thus, the reiteration of the name bit must be to set up Touchstone’s response: “A fair Name.” The pun on fair/Vere (pronounced ver) seems obvious—William is a name used by de Vere. William’s acknowledgment that he was born in “the Forest here” further indicates a specific reference to William Shakspere, for the Forest of Arden is only a short distance from Stratford-on-Avon. Oxford himself was also associated with two places close by the Forest of Arden, Billesley Hall and Bilton Hall.64

The questioning continues. “Art rich?” “Faith Sir, so, so.” Touchstone quibbles on “so-so.” “Art thou wise?” “Ay Sir, I have a pretty Wit.” Touchstone recalls the proverb of the fool and the wise man, then speaks of the “Heathen Philosopher” who would “open his Lips” when “he had a desire to eat a Grape.” The latter reference is still not fully understood; some critics suggest that it is merely a comedic device to accompany William, who has begun to open his mouth in amazement. Back to the interrogation: “You love this Maid?” “I do, Sir.” The significance of this exchange is noted above, indicating that Audrey’s earlier use of the word “interest” is meant in a legal sense.

Next, Touchstone commands William, “Give me your Hand: art thou learned?” “No sir.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, in early usage the word “learned” did not connote erudition or “profound knowledge” of something, but rather meant “taught, instructed [or] educated.” Thus, William seems to be admitting that he is unschooled or illiterate. That William Shakspere was illiterate comes as no surprise to Oxfordians; it is sobering, however, to have it pointed out by the true author.

Now the scene intensifies, as Touchstone prepares to dismiss William. Although most critics agree that Touchstone is having fun with the hapless fellow (perhaps with a touch of insensitivity), to an Oxfordian Touchstone appears to be losing his temper. He begins with a short lesson: “To have, is to have. For it is a Figure in Rhetoric, that Drink being powr’d out of a Cup into a Glass, by filling the one, doth empty the other.”

The lesson is certainly an elementary one.65 Ogburn has noted the “metaphor of the drink . . . as Shakspere is filled with credit for the plays, Oxford is emptied of it.”66 It should also be noted that the Folio spelling of “powr’d,” often amended by modern editors to “pour’d,” suggests a play on the words “power” and “pour.” Were the author’s dramatic works being ordered to appear under another’s name? Touchstone continues with a line that “makes no sense in reference to anything else in the play”67—“For all your Writers do consent, that ipse is he: now you are not ipse, for I am he.” Obviously, the line bears scrutiny. First, it is the writers who “consent” (or “agree,” as seems the intended gloss) “that ipse is he.”

“Writers” could refer to the ancient Latin writers or to Latin grammarians, but it could also refer to the author’s contemporaries, suggesting that Oxford’s fellow writers knew that he was the true author of the works. Second, it is not quite accurate to say that “ipse is he.” “Ipse” connotes something more than merely “he.” It is “he himself,” or “the emphatic he, the man himself, the very man.”68 Touchstone concludes the lesson by reminding William that he (William) is “not ipse, for I am he.”

Recalling that Touchstone is holding William’s hand, the speech is powerful—even if circumstances have necessitated that the works are to be transferred from Oxford’s name to Shakspere’s, Oxford’s literary companions—and the Stratford man himself—all know the identity of the true author. The scene concludes shortly. Poor William does not understand the rhetorical lesson, replying “Which he, Sir?” This reinforces William’s lack of schooling, for he does not recognize a common Latin pronoun.

Touchstone answers William’s ignorant question: “He, Sir, that must marry this Woman.” In context, “this Woman,” or Audrey, has to represent the dramatic works, and the use of the word “must” is truly poignant, for we know that the “marriage” —the linking of the correct name to this woman—did not come to pass. At this point, as Touchstone continues, he begins to grow angry, ordering the “Clown” to “abandon . . . the Society . . . of this Female,” translating his remarks simultaneously into simpler words that William can understand: “‘leave’ . . . the ‘Company’ of this ‘Woman.’” If Touchstone has his way, William’s failure to comply will be punishable by death: “I will bandy with thee in Faction, I will o’er-run thee with Policy69; I will kill thee a hundred and fifty ways, therefore tremble and depart.”

Kittredge explains the first two phrases: To “bandy with thee in Faction” is to “engage in party strife with thee. To bandy is literally to knock to and fro, like a tennis ball. Faction was constantly used for ‘political party’ without the modern implication of disorder or sedition.” To “o’er-run thee with Policy” is to “outstrip (overcome) thee by means of statecraft. Policy is used in the dignified sense and carries out the threat made in the preceding sense.”70

That Touchstone is here using terms associated with government is surprising; there is no need to resort to statecraft when dealing with a country bumpkin such as William. But if the scene means what we think it does, the choice of words is appropriate, suggesting that Oxford will resist efforts to have the works published under another name, and that he has allies at court who will assist him in his cause. Finally, given the author’s frequent precision in use of numerical terms, we can only wonder why Touchstone threatens to kill William exactly “a hundred and fifty ways.”

The scene ends. Even William has gotten the message. After a prompt from Audrey (“Do [depart], good William.”), he offers a vapid “God rest you merry, Sir,” and exits. He does not reappear in the play. Audrey, however, does reappear twice (in V,iii. & iv.), though she has only one more line. As V,iii. opens, Touchstone announces that they shall be married “tomorrow.” Audrey responds happily: “I do desire it with all my Heart; and I hope it is no dishonest Desire to be a Woman of the World?” The usual interpretation of “Woman of the World” is a married woman;71 the connotation here is that she will be known publicly as having taken the author’s name. Audrey concludes her final speech recognizing two minor characters who have just entered: “Here come two of the banish’d Duke’s Pages.” It may be farfetched, but it is worth noting that the first recorded use of the word “page” as meaning the “leaf of a book, [or] manuscript” is in 1589!72

Touchstone and Audrey resurface in the play’s final scene (V,iv.), as one of the four couples who have gotten together and appear destined for marriage. Introducing himself to Duke Senior, Touchstone says, “I press in here, Sir, amongst the rest of the Country Copulatives to swear and to forswear, according as Marriage binds and Blood breaks.” Although the word “copulative” carries a sexual connotation today, in Shakespeare’s time its principal connotation was grammatical, as a word which served “to couple or connect” other words, or a “copulative” conjunction.73

Again, the word underscores the personification of the dramatic works as Audrey. Touchstone then describes Audrey to the Duke: “A poor Virgin, Sir, an ill-favour’d 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.” Though the description could apply to a homely country lass, the recurrences of “honesty” and “foul” suggest an association with a written work.

The phrases “mine own,” “a poor humour of mine,” and “to take that that no man else will” all suggest ownership. Later in the scene, Hymen, the marriage god, appears and addresses each of the four couples in turn. To the first three (usually taken as Orlando and Rosalind, Oliver and Celia, and Phebe [who is standing with Silvius]), he offers positive greetings: “You and you no Cross shall part/You and you are Hart in Hart/You to his Love must accord/Or have a Woman to your Lord.” But he offers a darker, though still appropriate, greeting to Touchstone and Audrey: “You and you, are sure together/As the Winter to foul Weather.”74

Again, the word “foul” appears, presumably to describe Audrey; as for the comparison of Touchstone to “Winter,” Oxfordians have long been aware that the French word for “winter” is “hivre,” strongly suggesting a play on the name “E. Vere.” At last, Jaques (who has elected not to return to court, after learning upon the unexpected arrival of the “second brother” that the usurping duke was converted by “an old Religious Man” and abdicated his dukedom) addresses the four couples, mirroring Hymen’s comments. To the first three pairs, he wishes well: “You to a Love, that your true Faith doth merit/ You to your Land, and Love, and great Allies/ You to a long, and well-deserved Bed.” But to Touchstone and Audrey comes a different kind of wish: “And you to Wrangling, for thy loving Voyage is but for two Months victuall’d.” The Stratfordian analysis is that this is “one of those good-humored jests to which men of the world on the eve of marriage must laughingly submit.”75

But to an Oxfordian more seems to have been intended. Why was such a “good-humored jest” made only to Touchstone, and not to any of the other three would-be bridegrooms? Is there significance to the term “two months”? Is it possible that some small window of opportunity, of brief duration, existed within which Oxford might have been able to publish? Five lines later the play ends, followed by Rosalind’s epilogue. Although the weddings of the four couples are imminent, no ceremonies actually occur. It would have been sacrilegious to depict a wedding on stage.76

To recap, it appears likely that the characters of Audrey and William, and probably Jaques and Touchstone, were added in 1589 to an already extant version of As You Like It. If Jaques and Touchstone represent Oxford, if William represents Shakspere of Stratford, and if Audrey represents the dramatic works, the implication is that Oxford and Shakspere were acquainted as early as 1589. Unfortunately, there is little extrinsic evidence to support such a connection. Oxford’s exact whereabouts between 1589 and 1592 “remain generally unknown to us.”77

No letters of his are known to exist between 1585 and August 1590.78 Curiously, however, he writes to Lord Burghley in May 1591 that “I am weary, of an unsettled life, which is the very pestilence that happens unto Courtiers, that propound unto themselves no end of their time, therein bestowed.”79 This suggests that Oxford may have identified closely with Jaques, who is the one central character not to return to court at the end of As You Like It.

As noted above, Ogburn speculates that Oxford may have spent some of this time at Billesley Hall near Stratford-on- Avon. Even less is known of the whereabouts or activities of Shakspere of Stratford; the only verifiable fact of his existence between 1585 and 1596 is that in 1589 he and his father were named in legal proceedings concerning his mother’s property in Wilmcote.80 Whether an opportunity to publish the works actually arose—however tentatively— in 1589 is likewise unknown. The first appearance of the name William Shakespeare as an author is not until 1593, with the publication of the poem Venus and Adonis.

Although several Shakespeare plays are published during the 1590s, none carries an author’s name until 1598, when Love’s Labour’s Lost is published, “Newly corrected and augmented by W. Shakespeare.” However, Oxfordians have reason to believe that Oxford was known in literary circles as “Willy” in 1590, when Spenser laments in Tears of the Muses that “our pleasant Willy” is “dead of late,” and “Doth rather choose to sit in idle cell.”81

This reference supports the speculation that Oxford may have been away from court at this time, and further calls to mind Touchstone’s remarks that William is a “fair Name” and that “all your Writers do consent, that ipse is he.” Oxford may well have used a similar name as early as 1579, when “Willie” participates in a rhyming contest in Spenser’s The Shepheardes Calendar. As Shakspere of Stratford was only 15 years old in 1579, it is unlikely that Oxford’s choice of name had anything to do with him. There is ample evidence that As You Like It was revised, probably more than once.

My conjecture is that one of the author’s final touches—probably made after 1598, when the first plays began to appear under the name of William Shakespeare— was the insertion of a line at II,iv.16. As Rosalind, Celia and Touchstone first enter the forest, Touchstone remarks: “Ay, now am I in Arden, the more Fool I.” The standard gloss is that Touchstone means that he is now not just a professional fool, but a true fool, or an even greater fool. But, within the context suggested here, the author is also saying, “Now that my works are to be published under the name of the Arden [Stratford] man, the more people will be deceived.”


Andrews, John F. (ed). As You Like It, The Everyman Shakespeare (1997, J.M. Dent).

Berry, Ralph. Shakespeare’s Comedies — Explorations in Form (1972, Princeton University Press).

Bloom, Harold. William Shakespeare’s As You Like It — Modern Critical Interpretations (1988, Chelsea House, New York).

Brooke, Stopford A. On Ten Plays of Shakespeare (1905, reprinted 1961, Constable and Company).

Burchell, S. C. (ed). As You Like It, The Yale Shakespeare (1954, Yale Univ. Press).

Clark, Eva Turner. Hidden Allusions in Shakespeare’s Plays (1974, Kennikat Press, Port Washington, NY).

Fowler, William Plumer. Shakespeare Revealed in Oxford’s Letters (1986, Peter Randall Publisher, Portsmouth, NH).

Halio, Jay A. (ed). Twentieth Century Interpretations of As You Like It (1968, Prentice-Hall,Inc.).

Hughes, Ted. Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being (1992, Farrar Straus Giroux, New York).

Kittredge, George Lyman (ed). As You Like It (1939, Ginn and Company).

Leggatt, Alexander. Shakespeare’s Comedy of Love (1974, Methuen & Co., London).

Ogburn, Charlton. The Mysterious William Shakespeare — The Myth and the Reality (1992, EPM Publications, McLean, VA).

Paradise, N. Burton. Thomas Lodge — The History of an Elizabethan (1931, Yale University Press; reprinted 1970, Archon Books).

Parrott, Thomas Marc. Shakespearean Comedy (1962, Russell & Russell Inc., New York).

Smidt, Kristian. Unconformities in Shakespeare’s Later Comedies (1993, St. Martin’s Press, New York).

Stokes, Francis Griffin. Who’s Who in Shakespeare (1989, Crescent Books, New York).

Swinden, Patrick. An Introduction to Shakespeare’s Comedies (1973, Harper & Row).

Thurber, Samuel Jr. & Louise Wetherbee. Shakespeare As You Like It (1992, Norwood Press).

Ward, John Powell. As You Like It, Twayne’s New Critical Introductions to Shakespeare (1992, Twayne Publishers).

Wilson, John Dover. Shakespeare’s Happy Comedies (1962, Northwestern U. Press).



1 The four titles (As You Like It, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, and Jonson’s Every Man in His Humour) are listed on a page bearing the date of August 4, but without a year. Based on the order of other entries in the Register, however, scholars agree that the entry was in 1600. There is no reason to doubt this conclusion.

2 Kittredge at vii and xvii.

3 Ogburn at 714.

4 Dover Wilson grounded his theory on what he detected as blank-verse lines contained in prose passages, certain internal inconsistencies, and an allusion to Marlowe’s death, which occurred on May 30, 1593. Ward at xi. Kittredge dismisses the theory. Kittredge at vii-viii.

5 Brooke at 155.

6 Ward at xiv-xv. Prefacing his supposition, Ward states that he is “quite serious.”

7 The popular novel was reprinted in 1592, 1596 and 1598. Ward at ix.

8 Kittredge (at xi) is certain that Lodge had access to a manuscript copy of the fourteenth century work.

9 See the Yale Shakespeare edition of As You Like It at 119. A more succinct summary is offered by Harold Jenkins: a man dies, leaving three sons, the eldest brother is wicked, the youngest virtuous, and it is he who “wins the princess, herself the victim of a wicked uncle, who has usurped her father’s throne.” See Halio at 30.

10 As Stratfordians hardly need to point out, the Forest of Arden is close to Stratfordon- Avon, the bard’s hometown.

11 Helen Gardner, “As You Like It,” reprinted in Halio at 58.

12 Thurber & Wetherbee at 106. 13 Jenkins, reprinted in Halio at 28. 14 Swinden at 110; Gardner, reprinted in Halio at 56; Ward at viii.

15 Jenkins, reprinted in Halio at 42. See also Swinden at 115.

16 Ward at 13.

17 Halio at 10.

18 What follows in “an” Oxfordian interpretation, not “the” Oxfordian interpretation. In my view too many questions remain unanswered for Oxfordians to share a common view of the play’s date(s) of composition, its relationship to Lodge’s novel, or the inspiration or prototypes of all the characters.

19 Clark at 508-528. Ogburn notes that Stratfordian critic Edward Dowden also dates the play’s original composition to 1581, based on the author’s style rather than on historical allusions. Ogburn at 714.

20 Clark further cites Rosalind’s encouragement of Orlando before the wrestling match—“Hercules be thy speed” (I,ii.220) — as an allusion to Alençon’s given name: Francois Hercules de Valois. Id. At 518.

21 Simier had loaned Alençon 90,000 crowns; poor Adam loans Orlando 500 crowns (II,iii.38-55). Id. At 523.

22 In the preface to Rosalynde, Lodge offers to the reader, “If you like it, so.”

23 Ogburn at 714.

24 Kittredge at ix.

25 Paradise at 36-37. 26 Smidt at 50.

27 This is a much more satisfactory explanation than other theories propounded by Stratfordians – that the playwright forgot he had already used the name Jaques when he came to Act II; or that, as he began to develop the character of Jaques, he decided that the character would “work better” if it were not related to Orlando and Oliver, but somehow inadvertently retained the name for the middle brother. See, e.g., Jenkins, reprinted in Halio at 31; Gardner, reprinted in Halio at 58.

28 Ogburn at 715.

29 Ogburn at 715. See also Smidt at 196. Oxfordians believe that Oxford coordinated the opposing series of tracts attacking Marprelate. Ogburn at 716.

30 Smidt at 53. Smidt also detects a break in III,ii., when Celia changes from “thou” to “you” in addressing Rosalind, as Rosalind changes from “you” to “thou” in addressing Celia, and when the two women switch from mentioning ancient gods to mentioning God. Id. At 53-54.

31 Ward at 26.

32 Berry at 188.

33 The thought has occurred to many, though not all, Stratfordians that the characters (especially Jaques) were taken from real life. Halio (at 18) states that the two are created “out of whole cloth.” Parrott (at 168) observes that “Shakespeare has taken some pains to individualize [Jaques]. He is the traveler returned from the Continent where, presumably he has, like Greene, practiced ‘such a villainy as is abominable to mention’ — the Duke calls him ‘a libertine as sensual as the brutish sting itself’ — and he has come home to sneer at all things English.” Lodge’s biographer, Paradise (at 90), cites Flora Masson’s suggestion that Lodge himself was the source for Jaques, noting that “[h]is melancholy and prevailing mood of discontent, the doleful music of his language, his defense of satire, his medical and nautical figures of speech, and his propensity to travel are all like Lodge.” Dowden’s view that Shakespeare used Jaques to unload “a weight of melancholy from himself” is shared by Ward (at 27). Jenkins, however, finds it “strange” that “some earlier critics should have thought” that Jaques’s “jaundiced view of life . . . might be Shakespeare’s.” Jenkins, reprinted in Halio at 35.

34 Jaques’s melancholy is hardly a disabling condition. “[I]t is not the fatigue of spirits of the man who has found the world too much for him, but an active principle manifesting itself in tireless and exuberant antics. Far from being a morose person . . . he throws himself into these things with something akin to passion. His misanthropy is a form of self-indulgence.” Jenkins, reprinted in Halio at 35. In contemporary psychiatric terms, Jaques seems not depressed, but rather manicdepressive.

35 Hughes (at 101) also sees a play on “shakes,” the first syllable of the author’s last name, “a self-mocking pun.”

36 Ward at 68.

37 According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the meaning of “touchstone” as a mineral dates from the 1480s, and as a figurative noun dates from the 1530s.

38 Berry at 187, quoting John Dover Wilson’s Shakespeare’s Happy Comedies

39 In Love’s Labour’s Lost, Costard the fool is also “taken with a wench.” Kittredge at xiii.

40 See, e.g., Halio at 18; Barber, reprinted in Halio at 20-21; Mincoff, reprinted in Halio at 101; Mack, reprinted in Halio at 113.

41 Gardner, reprinted in Halio at 58 and 62. See also Berry at 191.

42 “The worst side of Touchstone appears in his relation to her, and it was a pity to lower his character. Perhaps Shakespeare felt that Touchstone — who is quite out of place in the forest — needed some pursuit, some amusement to vary a life which bored him; and supplied him with a rustic maid to seduce, and [looking ahead to V,i] a rustic lover to outrival. But the story is quite unnecessary.” Brooke at 172.

43 It is derived from Etheldrida. Interestingly, the word “tawdry” is derived from “St. Audrey’s lace,” a form of neckwear worn by women in Elizabethan times.

44 The now-obsolete definition of “feature” as “a form, shape or creation” dates to 1483. Oxford English Dictionary.

45 Touchstone has been exiled to the forest. Ovid—Shakespeare’s chief classical literary source — “was exiled to live among the Getae (Goths), and complained that his works were not understood by these barbarians.” Everyman Shakespeare, As You Like It, at 134.

46 “In Book VIII of the Metamorphoses Ovid describes a visit by the disguised Jove and Mercury to the cottage of a peasant couple, Philemon and Baucis.” Everyman Shakespeare, As You Like It, at 136.

47 In III,v.81-82, Celia quotes two lines from Marlowe’s Hero and Leander, published in 1598. According to Ward (at xi), this “is the only direct allusion to a contemporary’s work in all of Shakespeare.” A further reference to Hero and Leander may be lurking in IV,i.107-113.

48 At III,iii.32-33 Audrey plays on the words “fair” and “honest” (“Well, I am not fair, and therefore I pray the Gods make me honest”); earlier in the play, Celia has a similar speech (“for those that [Fortune] makes Fair, she scarce makes Honest, and those that she makes Honest, she makes very ill-favouredly”). I,ii.41-43.

49 This usage of “foul” dates to the late 1400s. Oxford English Dictionary.

50 See, e.g., Smidt at 196 (“his name must have invited ridicule and perhaps topical contempt — unless, of course, a Roman Catholic jibe at the Protestant form of marriage is intended”).

51 Leggatt at 190.

52 Berry at 191; he earlier notes that “sex is quite unsatisfactory as the sole motive for Touchstone’s marriage. The Audreys of the world do not demand a price; the Audrey of this play does not ask it.” Id. at 190.

53 Wilson at 156-157.

54 Swinden at 115.

55 Ward at 68.

56 Jenkins, reprinted in Halio at 40.

57 Berry at 189.

58 Jenkins, reprinted in Halio at 40; Gardner, reprinted in Halio at 57 and 62; Halio at 5.

59 Among the few Stratfordians to have considered the obvious connection is Jonathan Bate, who views the scene as an encounter between the fully mature playwright (personified by Touchstone) and his youthful self (William) as he was before he departed Stratford for London.

60 Ogburn at 747-749. In addition to William of As You Like It, Ogburn notes William Visor, referred to as “an arrant knave,” and William Cook, who lost some “sack . . . the other day at Hinkley Fair,” both mentioned in 2 Henry IV. The latter play contains two other references to persons named Will or William, both in III,ii — Shallow’s “cousin William is become a good scholar . . . at Oxford”; a few lines later Shallow recalls “Will Squele a Cotswold man.” In 2 Henry VI, II,iii, drunken Peter Thump, the armourer’s apprentice, gives his hammer to a fellow apprentice named Will. The other non-historical speaking part is William Page (interesting last name!), the youth who is examined in Latin in The Merry Wives of Windsor; as with the William scene of As You Like It, it is a curious sidebar to the play itself. Ogburn also notes that there are no non-historical Edwards in the plays.

61 Ogburn at 655. 62 Ogburn at 608. 63 Ogburn at 529.

64 Ogburn at 712-713. “According to a local rumor, As You Like It was written in Billesley Hall, a rumor most easily accounted for as having originated in fact.” Id. at 712. By the 1580s Billesley Hall had been owned by the Trussel family (the family of Oxford’s mother) for 400 years. Id.

65 “To have, is to have” is, of course, a tautology, as elementary a lesson as can be conceived. Offering an explanation for Touchstone’s choice of lesson, Charles Burford points to the Italian translation of the tautology: “Per avere e di avere.” The reference to “avere” – a Vere – can hardly be coincidental.

66 Ogburn at 748; the author notes further that Schoenbaum has treated that hypothesis with “particular scorn.”

67 Ogburn at 748.

68 Kittredge at 175, citing The Marriage of Wit and Wisdom, published in 1579: “In faith I am Ipse, he even the very same? A man of greate estimation in mine owne country.”

69 The Folio word is “Police.”

70 Kittredge at 176.

71 See, e.g., Kittredge at 180: “To ‘go to the world’ was a common idiom for to ‘get married’. . . . ‘The world’ seems, in these phrases, to be contrasted with a celibate or monastic life.”

72 Oxford English Dictionary, citing Nashe.

73. Oxford English Dictionary.

74 The Folio spelling is “fowl.”

75 Kittredge at 189, quoting Maginn.

76 Smidt at 57.

77 Ogburn at 712.

78. Fowler at 356.

79 Fowler at 394-395; Ogburn at 721.

80 Ogburn at 26 & 778.

81 Ogburn at 719-720. As You Like It (continued from page 21)



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