Explanatory notes for Act 2, Scene 5
From As You Like It. Ed. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
A tuneful interlude, important because we have our first glimpse of that creation of Shakespeare's, the melancholy
Line 1. greenwood ought at once to suggest Robin Hood
and his merry men.
3. turn ... throat: make it like a bird's note.
6. Come hither: Amiens is evidently expressing the feeling
which these loyal young followers of Duke Senior have for this
life of theirs.
9. Jaques: Here he is — the one discordant note in this forest life. Do not forget how carefully Shakespeare has prepared
us for him.
14. ragged: hoarse.
16. stanzo: This word about which Jaques pretends such
ignorance, appears in the dictionary.
19. names: in law used as names of debts which are owed,
which explains this rather bitter speech.
23. encounter ... dog-apes: a picture of two monkeys bowing and scraping to each other with no more sincerity than
the thanks of a beggar in line 26.
28. cover: spread the table. Picture the scene.
33. matters: subjects for thought.
44. in despite of: in defiance of. invention: imagination.
47. This song is, of course, a parody on the lyric of Amiens.
51. ducdame: pronounced in three syllables. This is a word of his own coining, probably not meant to be understood.
In reading the last four lines, observe that they are to be accented like the last four of the song.
56. into a circle: Remember that they are in a circle as they
sing and talk.
57. I'll ... Egypt: Perhaps Jaques means, in his sour fashion, to rail against Duke Senior, his master, whose fortunes, though he is a first born son, are so low.
59. banquet: dessert.
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. As You Like It. Eds. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/asu_2_5.html >.