As You Like It
As You Like It Philosophical Viewpoints Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to The Norton Shakespeare, second edition, published in 2008.
Truly, shepherd, in respect of itself, it is a good
life; but in respect that it is a shepherd's life, it is nought.
In respect that it is solitary, I like it very well; but in
respect that it is private, it is a very vile life. Now in
respect it is in the fields, it pleaseth me well; but in respect
it is not in the court, it is tedious. As it is a spare life,
look you, it fits my humour well; but as there is no more plenty
in it, it goes much against my stomach. Hast any philosophy in
thee, shepherd? (3.2.1)
Aside from Touchstone being deliberately opaque, it is possible he is just using his balanced perspective again. His ability as a fool, as he has already said, is to see the foolish in the seemingly wise, which extends to seeing both sides of every argument.
Sir, I am a true labourer: I earn that I eat, get that I
wear; owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness; glad of other
men's good, content with my harm; and the greatest of my pride is to see my ewes graze and my lambs suck. (3.2.11)
Corin's philosophy is one of natural contentment. Corin and the other "naturals" are utterly unconcerned with the frippery of the court, or with men's frippery in general.
Amen. A man may, if he were of a fearful heart, stagger
in this attempt; for here we have no temple but the wood, no
assembly but horn-beasts. But what though? Courage! As horns are
odious, they are necessary. It is said: 'Many a man knows no end
of his goods.' Right! Many a man has good horns and knows no end
of them. Well, that is the dowry of his wife; 'tis none of his
own getting. Horns? Even so. Poor men alone? No, no; the noblest
deer hath them as huge as the rascal. Is the single man therefore
blessed? No; as a wall'd town is more worthier than a village, so
is the forehead of a married man more honourable than the bare
brow of a bachelor; and by how much defense is better than no
skill, by so much is horn more precious than to want. (3.3.9)
It seems even Touchstone's rakish philosophy has its limits. He is fine messing around, but like anyone else, he's afraid of being alone, which is a rather poignant moment in these ponderings. He would rather suffer the complete foolishness of his country wife than be alone with his wit.