1

I am currently on my second reading of As You Like It. I am having a really hard time comprehending lines 22-25 in Act 1, scene 2. Here are those lines as they appear in the version I am reading (The Norton Shakespeare, 3rd edition):

"Marry, I prithee do--to make sport withal. But love no man in good earnest, nor no further in sport neither than with safety of a pure blush thou mayst in honor come off again."

This is Celia's response when Rosalind asks her what she thinks of "falling in love" (1.2.21).

I have attempted to paraphrase her response, but this is all that I can come up with:

"Oh, I hope you do--in spite of all [that is currently bothering you], enjoy yourself. However, don't be too serious about falling in love, no more in good fun than..."

The bit that comes after "good fun than" is just going way over my head. I think what is throwing me off the most is the "nor...neither than" construction. Also, I am not sure I understand the terms "Marry" and "withal" correctly. I would greatly appreciate responses that include a paraphrase of the lines in plain English. Thanks!

0

There are three ideas here:
1. I hope you do love, and that it is fun.
2. Do not fall in love seriously.
3. When you love a man for fun make sure you escape without loss of respect.

Marry, I prithee do [love]--to make sport withal.

'Marry' is a mild oath (Phew, Cripes, Gosh). 'Withal' means in addition; 'and as a bonus, have fun.'

But love no man in good earnest,

'In good earnest,' means seriously. 'Love no man seriously.'

nor no further in sport neither than with safety of a pure blush thou mayst in honor come off again.

...and do not [love] in sport no further (any more seriously) than [the moment when] with the safety of a pure blush thou mayst in honour...

A pure blush would be a sign of innocence. Celia's blush would indicate that she was offended, that things had gone quite far enough, thank you.

  • 'Withal' can also mean 'with', so 'to make sport withal' = 'as a way of having fun'. – Kate Bunting Sep 23 '18 at 7:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.