Delivered by Rosalind in the comedy As You Like It, this is one of Shakespeare’s famous monologues for women. Rosalind and her cousin Celia have been banished by their uncle, the duke. They hide out in the forest, Rosalind disguised as a man “Ganymede”. She finds out that Orlando, the love of her life, is also hiding in the forest.
In this scene, “Ganymede” is waiting for Orlando, who is running late. While waiting, Rosalind and her cousin witness a man trying to woo a shepherdess who does not love him in return. Rosalind jumps into the fray and delivers this speech.
Though You Have No Beauty
Act 3. Scene 5.
And why, I pray you? Who might be your mother,
That you insult, exult, and all at once,
Over the wretched? What though you have no beauty—
As, by my faith, I see no more in you
Than without candle may go dark to bed—
Must you be therefore proud and pitiless?
Why, what means this? Why do you look on me?
I see no more in you than in the ordinary
Of Nature’s sale-work. ‘Od’s my little life,
I think she means to tangle my eyes too!
No, faith, proud mistress, hope not after it.
’Tis not your inky brows, your black silk hair,
Your bugle eyeballs, nor your cheek of cream
That can entame my spirits to your worship.
You foolish shepherd, wherefore do you follow her,
Like foggy South, puffing with wind and rain?
You are a thousand times a properer man
Than she a woman. ’Tis such fools as you
That makes the world full of ill-favored children.
’Tis not her glass but you that flatters her,
And out of you she sees herself more proper
Than any of her lineaments can show her.
But, mistress, know yourself. Down on your knees,
And thank Heaven, fasting, for a good man’s love;
For I must tell you friendly in your ear,
Sell when you can—you are not for all markets.
Cry the man mercy, love him, take his offer;
Foul is most foul, being foul to be a scoffer.
So take her to thee, shepherd. Fare you well.