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As You Like It

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Enter ORLANDO and ADAM, meeting
ORLANDO and ADAM enter from opposite sides of the stage.

ORLANDO
Who’s there?
ORLANDO
Who’s there?




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15
ADAM
What, my young master, O my gentle master,
O my sweet master, O you memory
Of old Sir Rowland! Why, what make you here?
Why are you virtuous? Why do people love you?
And wherefore are you gentle, strong, and valiant?
Why would you be so fond to overcome
The bonny prizer of the humorous duke?
Your praise is come too swiftly home before you.
Know you not, master, to some kind of men
Their graces serve them but as enemies?
No more do yours. Your virtues, gentle master,
Are sanctified and holy traitors to you.
Oh, what a world is this when what is comely
Envenoms him that bears it!
ADAM
My young master! Oh, my gentle master! My sweet master! Oh, you living memory of old Sir Rowland! What are you doing here? Why are you so strong and good? Why do people love you? And why are you noble, strong, and brave? Why would you be so foolish as to beat the moody duke’s favorite champion? Your praise has beaten you home. Don’t you know, master, that some men’s best qualities do them in? Yours are like that—complete and utter traitors to you. Oh, what a world this is, when even what is beautiful in a man poisons him!

ORLANDO
Why, what’s the matter?
ORLANDO
Why, what’s the matter?




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ADAM
O unhappy youth,
Come not within these doors. Within this roof
The enemy of all your graces lives.
Your brother—no, no brother—yet the son—
Yet not the son, I will not call him son—
Of him I was about to call his father
Hath heard your praises, and this night he means
To burn the lodging where you use to lie,
And you within it. If he fail of that,
He will have other means to cut you off.
I overheard him and his practices.
This is no place, this house is but a butchery.
Abhor it, fear it, do not enter it.
ADAM
Oh, unlucky boy! Don’t walk through these doors. In this house lives a man who despises all that is good in you. Oliver, your brother—no, not your brother; and yet he’s the son—but no, I won’t call him the son—of that great man I was about to call his father, has heard about how well you did in the wrestling match, and tonight he’s planning on burning your house down, with you in it. And if he fails at that, he will find other ways to kill you. I overheard him and his plans. This is no place for you; this home is now a slaughterhouse. Hate it, fear it, do not come inside.

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