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Of Quintains, Harts, and Lionesses: Impure Melancholy As Shakespeare Liked It

Quintaines, cerfs et lionnes: La mélancolie impure comme il plut à Shakespeare
Sean H. McDowell


Comme il vous plaira occupe une place particulière parmi les comédies de Shakespeare par son exploration méthodique de la mélancolie, état impur s’il en est, et objet d’une véritable fascination dans les divertissements de la fin du règne d’Elisabeth Ire. La pièce se concentre sur différentes formes de pollution intérieure qui constituent ensemble ce que le personnage de Jaques décrit comme « le corps infect » de ce « monde pourri », et qu’il entend « purger » grâce à ses railleries (2.7.60). La critique identifie traditionnellement Jaques comme le personnage mélancolique par excellence non seulement de cette pièce mais aussi de l’œuvre de Shakespeare dans son ensemble. Cependant, la versatilité d’Orlando relève, elle aussi, d'une autre forme de symptôme mélancolique provoqué par une « bile adustée », elle-même échauffée par la température excessive et, partant, par la corruption d’une autre de ses humeurs. Rosalind, comme l’a noté Gail Kern Paster, souffre d’une troisième forme de mélancolie, la chlorose ou morbus virgineus. En mettant en scène des personnages qui illustrent toute une palette de pathologies mélancoliques, Shakespeare ne cherche pas tant à imiter les comédies des humeurs urbaines d’un George Chapman ou d’un Ben Jonson, qu’à explorer la mélancolie comme état et expérience. La majeure partie de l’action dans la pièce découle des confrontations entre ces différents types de mélancolie et la résolution repose largement sur la purge des affections troublées d’Orlando et de Rosalind grâce à la découverte de la tendresse de l’amour.

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  • 1 Throughout this essay, all quotations from Shakespeare’s plays come from The Complete Pelican Shake (...)

ORLANDO Can I not say, “I thank you?” My better parts
Are all thrown down, and that which here stands up
Is but a quintain, a mere lifeless block. (AYLI, 1.2.236-38)
JAQUES Why, ’tis good to be sad and say nothing.
ROSALIND Why then ’tis good to be a post. (AYLI, 4.1.8-9)1

1The quintain, a “stout post” (OED, sense 1) used as a target in jousting, here becomes one of several images entangling Orlando, Jaques, and Rosalind in Shakespeare’s As You Like It (circa 1599). This play is distinctive within the body of Shakespeare’s comedies in the assiduousness with which it systematically explores a single impure condition: melancholy, which enjoyed a vogue in popular entertainment during the last decade of Elizabeth I’s reign. The play centers on forms of interior pollution that together result in what Jaques describes as the corrupted “foul body of the th’infected world” that he would seek to “[c]leanse” through skillful raillery, provided he can find an equal with whom to share this task (2.7.59-61). Here, the references to “quintain” and “post” concretize a related interior phenomenon: to be rendered inanimate, post-like, speechless in early modern England was to suffer a profound internal disruption of the proper hierarchy of internal faculties within the soul-body. To choose to exist in such a state – that is, to choose to “be sad and say nothing” – suggested an extreme, unnatural, pathological imbalance at odds with early modern aspirations for interior order and control. Small wonder, then, that when he momentarily regains his power of speech after Rosalind, the object of his newfound love, turns to leave, Orlando describes his metaphorical transformation into a quintain as a throwing down of his “better parts,” the rational powers of understanding and will that should govern all human speech and action. Quintain-like is not a noble way to be. Orlando’s speechlessness would have come as no surprise to any Elizabethan with even rudimentary knowledge of faculty psychology. Any strong passion – here, the rapid onset of a powerful love – could incapacitate the spirit, which served as the instrumental intermediary between soul and body. As Timothy Bright explains in A Treatise of Melancholy (1586), when “the spirit” is

  • 2 Timothy Bright, A Treatise of Melancholie, The English Experience, no. 212, Amsterdam, Theatrum Orl (...)

either withdrawne from the outwarde parts by vehement passiō of griefe, or ouer prodigally scattered by ioy, or wasted by paine, the outward partes not only faile in their sense and motion, but euen nourishment & growth thereby are hindered: and contrarily, though the spirit be present, except the part be also well disposed, not only feeling is impaired, & such actions as require sense and motion, but also concoction and nourishment.2

  • 3 Macbeth’s startlement when he first encounters the witches (1.3.50 & ff) is a good example. The str (...)
  • 4 Thomas Lodge’s Rosalynde (London, 1590), Shakespeare’s source principal source for the play, origin (...)

2Such suspensions recur in Shakespeare’s plays whenever the “spirit it self without impulsion of the minde lieth idle in the bodie.”3 Even so, how humiliating must Orlando, this youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys, find his sudden loss of agency. After all, he not only derives from knightly stock, but his name is also the Italianized version of one the most famous knights of all, Roland of the Chanson de Roland (circa 1040 C.E), made famous again through Matteo Maria Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato (1495) and Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso (1516).4 Orlando should be the one breaking his lances against all the quintains of the world, not standing immobilized as a hapless target of his own interior disorders.

  • 5 Michael C. Schoenfeldt, Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England: Physiology and Inwardness in Spe (...)

3Elsewhere in the play, of course, Orlando proves capable of acting according to intertextual expectations. He does not remain post-like for long, his spirit far from permanently withdrawn at any point. Before and after the quintain moment marking the onset of his obsessive love, he exhibits a surfeit of strong passions, most notably choler, as when he grabs his cruel brother Oliver by the throat or when he overthrows Charles, Duke Frederick’s champion wrestler, or later when he charges into Duke Senior’s camp with sword drawn and fatal intent toward anyone who would resist his efforts to secure food. During such moments, he acts with the swiftness of an animal. Indeed, in the play’s opening speech, he likens himself to an animal on his brother’s estate, except less well-provisioned. In the psychological terms of the period, his animal or sensible or concupiscible soul, insufficiently guided by his rational faculties, exerts too much sway over his behavior in the opening acts. Too much like an animal, he too easily falls prey to his passions and lacks the interior stability that caused early modern intellectuals like Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, Robert Fludd, Albertus Magnus, and others to celebrate the human soul-body as a microcosm of the divinely maintained macrocosmic order. Yet unlike the macrocosm, this microcosm was subject to forms of disorder. As Michael C. Schoenfeldt explains, the “self becomes for so many [early modern] writers a little kingdom, filled with insurrectionary forces, and in continual need of monitoring from within and without.”5

  • 6 See, for example, Anthony Wolk, “The Extra Jaques in As You Like It,” Shakespeare Quarterly, 23, 19 (...)
  • 7 Paster describes the salient features of “green sickness,” largely via Robert Burton’s account in T (...)
  • 8 For an overview of this subfield of Early Modern studies, see Bruce R. Smith, “Premodern Sexualitie (...)

4Conventional scholarly wisdom, oft-repeated in numerous studies,6 identifies Jaques as the supreme melancholic not only of this play but of Shakespeare’s oeuvre as a whole. But if we look further afield in the Forest of Arden, we discover that Orlando’s volatility also can be attributed to another manifestation of melancholy, the result of “choler adust,” an overheating and hence corruption of one of the other humors, which results in melancholic symptoms. As Gail Kern Paster has argued, Rosalind, too, might be described as suffering from a third form of melancholy, “green sickness” or virgin’s melancholy, a form commonly diagnosed in young unwed women in the period.7 Indeed, all three of these major characters and a few of the minor ones as well (e.g., Touchstone and Silvanus) exhibit melancholic symptoms as described in the early modern psychology treatises of Bright, Thomas Wright, Nicholas Coeffeteau, Robert Burton, and others. Over the course of the past twenty years especially, the field of historical phenomenology has demonstrated that the early modern understanding of psychophysiology was more complex than had been supposed, and that major authors, Shakespeare among them, were well-versed in nuances and clinical descriptions of faculty psychology.8 Shakespeare’s plays in particular thrived on the compelling rendition of interior disorders, often with a realism seldom seen previously on the Elizabethan stage.

5Jaques especially nods toward the popular conception – Shakespeare’s attempt to write large a clearly humoral type of the kind George Chapman and Ben Jonson were beginning to perfect in their new urban comedies. Indeed, he recalls in some respects the melancholic Matheo in Jonson’s Every Man in His Humor (1601), which the Lord Chamberlain’s Men first performed a few months prior to Shakespeare’s initial work on As You Like It. Yet by supplementing additional melancholic characters who showcase different manifestations, Shakespeare in effect pulls the drawer of melancholy all the way out and examines every corner of its contents, rather than simply apes Chapman’s or Jonson’s mode. Indeed, virtually every male character in the play suffers from some interior pollution of some kind, mostly various forms of melancholy. Meanwhile, the women in the play – Rosalind and Celia and even to a lesser extent, Audrey and Phoebe – are stable enough, or become so, to provide remedy, insofar as remedy can be provided, for these men whose higher powers have been sabotaged by their vaporous conditions. There are no mothers in As You Like It, many of its principals having spontaneously generated from Shakespeare’s reading of Thomas Lodge’s Rosalynde, Euphues’ Golden Legacie (1590), though there is no shortage of wives-to-be. The sheer abundance of psychophysiological disorder corrupts the Golden Age pastoral ideal Duke Senior likes to imagine during his best moments, when he can lay aside his memories of his lost dukedom.

“[T]he spirit of my father [ . . .] begins to mutiny” (1.1.20-21)

6To see Orlando as a melancholic requires both explication and explanation, and Shakespeare provides ample fodder for both in the first scene. As was his practice throughout his career, Shakespeare establishes the central compelling situation of the ensuing play in his opening lines. Orlando complains:

[…] call you that keeping for a gentleman of my birth that differs not from the stalling of an ox? His horses are bred better, for, besides that they are fair with their feeding, they are taught their manage, and to that end riders dearly hired: but I, his brother, gain nothing under him but growth, for the which his animals on his dunghills are as much bound to him as I. Besides this nothing that he so plentifully gives me, the something that nature gave me, his countenance seems to take from me: he lets me feed with his hinds, bars me the place of a brother, and, as much as in him lies, mines my gentility with my education. This is it Adam that grieves me, and the spirit of my father, which I think is within me, begins to mutiny against this servitude. I will no longer endure it, though yet I know no wise remedy how to avoid it. (1.1.8-23)

  • 9 For an account of the complexities of primogeniture in this play and Orlando’s efforts to overcome (...)
  • 10 In the First Folio, no stage directions inform readers either when Orlando first collars Oliver or (...)

7Here Orlando, deprived of wealth and status by the law of primogeniture,9 bristles at Oliver’s neglect of his education, social exposure, and upkeep. The pressure has built to where it is about to blow; moments later, Orlando lays hands on his brother, his anger spilling into physical aggression. This inciting incident, as Robert McKee might call this sudden rise of tension, is ultimately responsible for sending Orlando, Adam, Rosalind, Celia, Touchstone, and even Oliver into the wilds of the inconsistently pastoral Forest of Arden. But the complaint preceding it introduces the central interior issue of much of the play’s action as well: the influence and operations of one’s less tangible self. The “spirit of my father, which I think is within me, begins to mutiny against this servitude,” Orlando tells trusty Adam. “I will no longer endure it [this servitude], though yet I know no wise remedy how to avoid it.” (1.1.20-23). This is the first of three references in this scene to the active spirit of Sir Rowland de Boys stirring or growing within. The second occurs twenty-three lines later when Orlando reminds his brother, “I have as much of my father in me as you” (1.1.46-47). He refers to it a third time moments before letting go of Oliver’s neck: “The spirit of my father grows strong in me, and I will no longer endure” being treated like a servant; “therefore allow me such exercises as may become a gentleman, or give me the poor allottery my father left me by testament; with that I will go buy my fortunes” (1.1.65-70).10

  • 11 F. David Hoeniger, Medicine and Shakespeare in the English Renaissance, Newark, University of Delaw (...)
  • 12 Donald R. Dickson, “Grace and the ‘Spirits’ of the Heart in The Temple,” John Donne Journal, 6.1, 1 (...)
  • 13 This notion also would connect with the so-called unified sex theory, in which women are seen as in (...)

8 F. David Hoeniger reminds us that Shakespeare “employs spirit in several senses: as soul or rational soul, or, more vaguely, as we still do, the human spirit,” and that his conception draws on theories of the three pneuma defined in Arabic medicine and philosophy, which passed into mainstream European culture during the Middle Ages.11 Orlando might have in mind specifically the Judeo-Christian understanding of the “spirit” as the intermediary between the soul and body, the same understanding invoked by Bright above. This understanding is rooted in ancient Hebrew vocabulary: the “Hebrew term used to denote spiritual reality ruach, generally translated spirit in English (in Greek πνευμα, in Latin spiritus), comes from a Semitic root ruâh, ‘to breathe, to blow’; the primary signification of ruach is ‘air in motion’ as wind or breath,” an association with the story of God breathing life into Adam in Genesis 2:7.12 In Orlando’s mind, it seems, Sir Rowland microcosmically stands in for God, infusing his son with life.13

9 However conceived, the growth or swelling of spirit within Orlando is not an isolated event but part of what Orlando, Oliver, and the other characters understood as an economy of spirits and vapors within the soul-body. These references to spirit need to be taken literally as much as metaphorically. “Often what is now emotional figuration for us was bodily reality for the early moderns,” Paster explains (op. cit., p. 26). The spirits in particular were crucial for an understanding of interiority both because of their intermediary and energizing functions and because of their analogical significance. They were considered “active ingredients in the cosmological structure of correspondences and analogies, a key part of what makes the appetites of the body and those of the macrocosm mutually expressive” (ibid., p. 33). Even now, centuries later, we continue to discover new ways in which the early modern understanding of psychophysiology influenced the specifics of representation in a variety of artistic media, literary, visual, and musical. One recent case-in-point is especially instructive for Orlando’s initial condition in As You Like In. Of the five visual likenesses executed during or immediately after his lifetime, the Lothian portrait of John Donne (circa 1595), so named after its most immediate private owner, the Marquess of Lothian and now known as NPG 6790, is arguably the most famous.14 Since its rediscovery in 1959, it has served as an emblem for Donne the love poet, here seen as the unrequited lover suffering from love melancholy. In this portrait, Donne in his mid-twenties sits in three-quarter profile, dressed in black, an enormous black hat tilted back on his head, his arms crossed, the lace showing in the open V of his untied doublet. Though his gaze possesses an intensity that some have seen as inward-looking, his appearance looks fashionably disheveled. The motto at the top of the painting reads, “ILLUMINA TENEBR NOSTRAS DOMINA” (“Lighten our shadows, Lady”), leaving no doubt that Donne here performs the disposition and attire of the unrequited lover.15 This motto, a secularized appropriation of Psalm 18:28, accords with other such secularized appropriations in the Songs and Sonets (e.g., references to relics, canonization, and the like) and so becomes itself an advertisement of Donne’s keen, perhaps even transgressive wit as it alludes to his oft-used conceit of the religion of love, found in numerous poems.

  • 16 The importance of melancholy as a living concern, not simply a literary or dramatic theme, cannot b (...)
  • 17 Quoted in R. C. Bald, John Donne: A Life, New York and Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1970, p. 56 (...)

10Donne likely commissioned this portrait himself to visually complement his early poetic career as a love elegist and lyricist in the mid-1590s and thereafter. Its staying power in Donne’s life led to an accretion of possible associations.16 He still possessed it at the time of his death in 1631 and refers to it in his will: “Item I giue to my honourable & faithfull friends [sic] Mr Robert Karr of his Majesties Bedchamber that Picture of myne wch is taken in Shaddowes and was made very many yeares before I was of this profession.”17 A painting originating as a playful performance of love melancholy (as dramatized in those Songs and Sonets on unrequited love) might have evolved into a reminder of the melancholy of grief following the early death of Donne’s beloved wife Anne in 1617 (captured in “Since she whom I lov’d” and “A Nocturnall Upon S. Lucies Day”), only to encapsulate as well, perhaps, a sense of the religious melancholy so commonly arising from a XVIIth-century religious life (the melancholy Donne’s doctors accused him of during the 1623 bout of spotted fever). Such might have been the personal multivalence of this object for its sitter over time.

  • 18 Cooper announced the discovery of the brush stroke on 1 August 2011. She speculates, “Whether we in (...)
  • 19 Nick Davis, “Melancholic Individuality and the Lothian Portrait of Donne,” ANQ: A Quarterly Journal (...)

11Closer to our own time, the Lothian portrait has been seen strictly as a performance of melancholy; yet recent work has complicated our sense of its purported performativity. In 2011, five years after it was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London, the portrait underwent substantial restoration, which revealed an intriguing detail previously unnoticed: a “vertical white brush stroke rising from John Donne’s chest.”18 The brush stroke looks like a vapor emanating from Donne’s abdomen. Nick Davis, the first to analyze this detail at length, suggests that it lends further credence to the notion that the sitter is experiencing a literal condition, and that he is not suffering from “complexional” melancholy, the “humoral state” “inherently tilted toward the ‘cold’ and ‘dry,’” but is instead a non-complexional “love melancholic,” whose preoccupation with lovesickness contributes to the exhalation of melancholic vapors.19 The condition literally feeds on itself: the melancholy of lovesickness produces exhalations that then are breathed in and re-absorbed to maintain this emotional state. The melancholic lover actively fuels his condition. As Davis astutely notes, the portrait suggests that Donne, like others in his literary coterie, valued the conscious cultivation of melancholy so-conceived:

this very presentable-looking young man seems not to have fallen into some deadly psychophysical trap: Donne’s costume has a somberness about it, but the style is modish, his demeanor suggests composure rather than compulsion, and there is chutzpah in the semiblasphemous appeal to the “lady” who will “lighten our shadows.” Donne as shown here seems to be settling into a state of melancholia, as one might settle into enjoyment of a cigar. (ibid., p. 7)

  • 20 The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson, vol. 1: 1597-1601, ed. David Bevington, Martin Bu (...)

12Jonson, in Every Man in His Humour, acknowledges the fashionableness of non-complexional melancholy in the character of the foolish Sebastian, who aspires to be melancholic because he thinks it will admit him into the company of wits: “Ay, truly, sir, I am mightily given to melancholy,” he informs the braggadocio Bobadilla (2.3.64).20 Herein lies an intriguing difference between the complexional or humoral melancholic (Matheo in Jonson or Jaques in Shakespeare) and the non-complexional, non-humoral love melancholic (the painted Donne or Orlando): while the former cannot help falling into a melancholic state because of his innate humoral chemistry, the latter “enter(s) and remain(s) within the melancholic state not through the physiological predominance of a humor, black bile, but through being mentally disposed in a distinctive fashion toward preoccupation with a loved one – or ones” (Davis, op. cit., p. 7). Such a distinction points to the variability of causes of melancholy as well as their differing manifestations. It also is suggestive for the trajectory of the resolution of Orlando’s melancholy.

  • 21 Some disagreement attends the semantics of “soul” in the psychophysiological discourse of the perio (...)

13The portrait reveals Donne to be firmly established in a cycle of vaporous perpetuation. By contrast, Orlando falls into a state of willful lovesickness from which Rosalind eventually rescues him. Soon enough Orlando will show the unmistakable signs of love melancholy, as, bereft of the object of his affection, he embarks on a campaign of posting bad verses on and in the bark of trees. Shakespeare prepares us for the arrival of this non-complexional melancholy by stressing the strength of what some early modern psychologists would call Orlando’s sensible or concupiscible soul, which humans were thought to have in common with animals.21 The animal imagery in Orlando’s first speech attests to this strength. Unlike his older brother Jaques, Orlando claims his upkeep resembles the “stalling of an ox” (1.1.9-10); that Oliver’s “horses are bred better” (1.1.10); that farm animals on “dunghills” fare as well as he (1.1.13); and that he eats alongside Oliver’s “hinds” rather than at his proper place at table (1.1.18). Some of this must surely be exaggeration; after all, Orlando still commands servants like Adam. Later, he admits to Duke Senior that he is “in-land bred, / And know[s] some nurture” (2.7.96-97). But beyond underscoring the perceived poverty of his condition, this accrual of animal references suggests an inclination toward animalistic tendencies (the result of overly strong passions and appetites) against which Orlando’s higher nature (his “spirit” and rational faculties) rebels.

  • 22 H. James Jensen, The Muses’ Concord: Literature, Music, and the Visual Arts in the Baroque Age, Blo (...)
  • 23 Ibid., p. 17, 103, and plates 19-21; and Michel Gareau, Charles Le Brun: First Painter to King Loui (...)

14Emphasis on animals as representatives of specific passions, appetites, and / or temperaments permeates the arts throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Indeed, it is a common thematic in the visual arts, for example, to the point where, as H. James Jensen remarks, “[p]ersons who resembled certain animals were thought to share their passions and appetites.”22 In French art, the animal-man sketches of Charles Le Brun are a startlingly obvious example.23 Though Orlando describes himself as forcibly kept in this condition, his comparison of himself to an ox seems apt, given his later acts of strength.

15In addition to the semiotic associations of this animal imagery, the swelling of Orlando’s first speech, its building up of frustration, suggests that Orlando’s anger has become tinder-like, verging on a kind of combustion. Orlando experiences a long-simmering choler that is beginning to overheat. He cannot help but react confrontationally when Oliver, the source of his frustrations, suddenly appears:

OLIVER Now, sir, what make you here?
ORLANDO Nothing. I am not taught to make anything.
OLIVER What mar you then, sir?
ORLANDO Marry, sir, I am helping you to mar that which God made, a poor unworthy brother of yours with idleness.
OLIVER Marry, sir, be better employed, and be naught a while.
ORLANDO Shall I keep your hogs and eat husks with them? What prodigal portion have I spent that I should come to such penury? (1.1.27-37)

Orlando is spoiling for a fight here. The rapid escalation of the argument between the brothers suggests that Orlando’s choler, the lighter humor thought to coincide with melancholy in a person’s veins, is beginning to combust, or go “adust” in the period’s terminology. Elizabethan literature, to say nothing of European literature as a whole, is full of cautionary tales about the dangers of anger, one of the most powerful passions of the sensible soul. Philip Sidney, for example, in An Apology for Poetry (written circa 1583, published 1595), cites Sophocles’ treatment of anger in the play Ajax to illustrate the superiority of poetry to philosophy in its power to educate:

  • 24 G. Gregory Smith, ed., Elizabethan Critical Essays, Oxford and London, Oxford University Press, 190 (...)

Anger, the Stoicks say, was a short madnes: let but Sophocles bring you Aiax on a stage, killing and whipping Sheepe and Oxen, thinking them the Army of Greeks, with theyr Chiefetaines Agamemnon and Menelaus, and tell mee if you haue not a more familiar insight into anger then finding in the Schoolemen his Genus and difference.24

  • 25 Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, ed. Holbrook Jackson, New York, New York Review of Books, (...)

The reference to Ajax as a famous example of uncontrolled rage becomes all the more interesting in the present context, in that various wits in the 1590s found in his name a pun on “jakes” or “jax” (a privy or outhouse), itself a source for Shakespeare’s naming of Jaques, an association addressed more fully below. Here, though, Sidney emphasizes how the sudden onslaught of anger overcomes the rationality of the understanding (the faculty thought to impart wisdom) and results in impulsive, irrational behavior. Sometimes – on a battlefield, for instance – the ensuing impulsiveness and ferocity led to feats of valor, which is why Duncan and the other nobles think highly of Macbeth’s murderous rampage (1.1.15-44). But even so, most Elizabethans would have agreed with a later statement by Robert Burton, who, like Sidney and the stoic philosophers, defines anger as a form of short or temporary madness: “Anger,” he says, is “a perturbation, which carries the spirits outwards, preparing the body to melancholy, and madness itself: Ira furor brevis est [anger is temporary madness], and, as Piccolomineus accounts it, one of the three most violent passions.”25

  • 26 Paster, mindful of the perceived porousness of the Early Modern body, speaks of an “ecology of pass (...)

16Yet anger, like lovesickness, could perpetuate itself. It could become a condition (a form of madness), the forger of identity, which the Elizabethans treated as more fluid than we tend to, thanks to the interior economy of passions and appetites.26 Edmund Spenser’s treatment of Pyrochles in the second book of The Faerie Queene (1590) concretizes the power of anger to define identity in ways that are helpful for understanding the psychophysiological danger facing Orlando at the beginning of the play. Pyrochles’ first appearance in the poem (Book. 2, canto iv) occurs at a juncture in Guyon’s quest for temperance when Spenser draws attention to the tension between strong passions and interior order. The canto begins with a description of the Palmer’s tempering influence on Guyon –

  • 27 All quotations from Spenser come from The Faerie Queene, ed. Thomas P. Roche, Jr., London, Penguin (...)

[. . .] when strong passion, or weake fleshlinesse
Would from the right way seeke to draw him wide,
He [The Palmer] would through temperance and steadfastnesse,
Teach him the weake to strengthen, & the strong suppresse. (II.iv.2.6-9)27

– before introducing a series of sharp contrasts, most of which foreground manifestations of unchecked rage. First comes Furor, egged on by his sharp-tongued mother Occasion, mercilessly berating Phedon (II.iv.3-5). Then, after Guyon binds Occasion and Furor (II.iv.6-14), Phedon recounts his own story of jealous rage that caused him to murder his beloved Claribell under false pretenses as well as the chief conspirator who tricked him (II.iv.29-32). Phedon’s story conjures Pyrochles, the knightly personification of rage, from seemingly nowhere. When the wrathful knight appears at the beginning of the next canto, he is festooned in fire imagery:

One bright in armes embatteiled full strong,
That as the Sunny beames do glaunce and glide
Vpon the trembling waue, so shined bright,
And round about him threw forth sparkling fire,
That seemd to enflame on euery side:
His steed was bloudy red, and fomed ire,
When with the maistring spur he did him roughly stire. (II.v.2.3-9)

Even his steed, “bloody red” and foaming “ire,” suits the overall externalization of the inward heat of rage, like some Dante-esque underworld figure.

17Pyrochles’ motto – “Burnt I do burn” – signals that both his appearance and behavior possess psycho-physiological import. Excessive interior heat, like that accompanying the passion anger, could result in adustion, the burning of a humor – here, choler – which in turn created an exhaust or excrement that could perpetuate the affective state in a way similar to that framed in the Lothian portrait, through re-consumption. For Bright, “burnt Choler” is a potent form of melancholy, capable of fostering other distempered conditions, including other forms of melancholy. It is like “salt steame” that takes

such heate, partely by distemper of the bodie, and partly by putrefaction that thereby a humor riseth, breeding most terrible accidentes to the minde, and painfull to the bodie: which the melancholicke and grosse bloud, doth more forcibly procure: in that that [sic.] anie heate, the grosser the substance is, wherein it is received, the more fiercely it consumeth: whereupon the seacole giueth more vehement heate, then charcole: and the cole then the flame: and a cauterie of hote yron, then a burning firebrand. (T. Bright, op. cit., p. 33)

18Bright describes the working of an internal furnace, endowed with the power to feed itself. Note the use of rising to describe humoral movement: the “humor riseth, breeding most terrible accidentes to the minde, and painfull to the bodie.” The humor here is figured as a contaminant, in effect poisoning the higher faculties like the smoke from a fire. This line of thinking informs Spenser’s description of the smoky approach of Pyrochles, who plunges straight into attacking Guyon without a word of challenge:

Approaching nigh, he neuer stayd to greet,
Ne chaffar words, prowd courage to prouoke,
But prickt so fiers, that vnderneath his feete
The smouldring dust did round about him smoke,
Both horse and man nigh able for to choke;
And fairly couching his steele-headed speare,
Him first saluted with a sturdy stroke; (The Faerie Queene, II.v.3.1-7)

19What Bright calls “vnnaturall melancholie rising by adustion” can affect a multitude of passions:

[It] raiseth the greatest tempest of perturbatiōs and most of all destroyeth the braine with all his faculties, and disposition of action, and maketh both it, & the hart cheere more vncomfortably [. . .] If it rise of choler, then rage playeth her part, and furie ioyned with madnesse, putteth all out of frame (Bright, op. cit., p. 110-111).

  • 28 W. Shakespeare, op. cit., 1 Henry IV (5.4.67-85).

20Under normal circumstances, anger passes quickly – hence, a “short madness,” like a pine log rapidly burning. But choler adust is more like charcoal and burns considerably longer and more intensely. Thus when Guyon wounds Pyrochles a few stanzas later, we learn that “nathemore did it his [Pyrochles’] fury stint, / But added flame vnto his former fire / That welnigh molt his hart in raging yre” (The Faerie Queene, II.v.8.2-5). In addition, choler adust can make the soul-body susceptible to other strong passions besides rage. If unchecked, it can result in one’s destruction, as in the case of Pyrochles, who chooses death over accepting Arthur’s mercy (II.viii.52), or closer to Orlando’s literary universe, of Hotspur, whose unchecked anger spurs him to a vainglorious death.28

  • 29 The word “rankness” also is fascinating in this context. It captures the now obsolete definition of (...)

21Perhaps some sense of where combusting choler might lead prompts Adam, always trusty, to intercede when Orlando has seized his brother in a wrestling hold. That Orlando lets go shows he has not yet gone the way of Pyrochles; he still maintains a measure of interior control. But even so, Shakespeare, through Oliver, signals that all is not well with Orlando’s disposition: after falsely acceding to Orlando’s demands and dismissing Adam as an “old dog” (1.1.77, another animal image), Oliver remarks in soliloquy, “Is it even so? Begin you to grow upon me? I will physic your rankness and yet give no thousand crowns neither . . .” (1.1.81-83). He speaks as if Orlando requires medical intervention. Of course, Oliver himself suffers from a malady of passion, hatred, which he admits but can do nothing about so early in the play action. But his use of “grow” in these remarks acknowledges the interior swelling already noticed.29

22When next we encounter Orlando, immediately prior to his wrestling match with the formidable Charles, a new set of characters (Duke Ferdinand, Celia, and Rosalind) speak of him in what are now familiar terms. To Duke Ferdinand, he is an impetuous “youth,” who, in the face of certain grievous bodily harm, nevertheless rushes headlong to his “own peril” as a result of his “forwardness” (1.2.139-40). Celia tells him, “your spirits are too bold for your years. You have seen cruel proof of this man’s strength; if you saw yourself with your eyes, or knew yourself with your judgment, the fear of your adventure would counsel you to a more equal enterprise” (1.2.162-66). She cannot understand Orlando’s resolve to go through with the match when reason should arouse a fear of facing such a dire opponent. Rosalind feels similarly and mistakenly believes Orlando fears for his reputation, should he back down (1.2.169-71). But these characters have not seen the Pyrochles potential behind Orlando’s words and actions in the previous scene. Orlando’s “forwardness” and the boldness of his “spirit” likely draw their energy from his choleric melancholy. The same may be said of the fatalism behind his words to the princess: “I shall do my friends no wrong, for I have none to lament me; the world no injury, for in it I have nothing. Only in the world I fill up a place, which may be better supplied, when I have made it empty” (1.2.177-81). These words precipitate Rosalind’s love for him. Furthermore, Orlando’s miraculous victory, against all odds, also may be attributed to the same cause, as unchecked choler was thought to yield sudden strength. Finally, Orlando’s pride in his heritage (his father’s spirit again) and defiance of Duke Frederick’s sudden rebuff similarly accords.

  • 30 No stage directions in the First Folio specify the object given. But we know it is a chain Rosalind (...)

23 The chain of semi-controlled choleric action breaks only when Rosalind steps forward to counter the Duke’s disdain with the gift of a chain from around her neck as a token of her esteem.30 She transfers a highly resonant object from a space of personal intimacy (once close to her heart) to Orlando, who is used to thinking himself forlorn. This action constitutes a dramatic reversal of fortune and, along with her words and beauty, shocks Orlando’s spirits to render him quintain-like. The inner turbulence of his choleric condition amply prepares him both for this immediate reaction and for the rise of another powerful affective state, a love that turns melancholic in the face of daunting odds.

“More, more, I prithee more” (2.5.10)

24The first two scenes establish Orlando as highly susceptible to passions grown inordinate and humors overheated. His initial disposition fosters the changeability required of the love plot. His inner turbulence prepares him to be startled by the onset of love for Rosalind. Later the play explicitly contrasts Orlando’s mutable non-complexional love melancholy with the unyielding complexional melancholy of Jaques by placing the two characters in dialogue. But before this collision can occur, Shakespeare introduces Jaques unequivocally as a textbook case of the popular conception of melancholy. Immediately after the setting shifts to the Forest of Arden and its “shade of melancholy boughs” (2.7.110), the unnamed first Lord describes Jaques as a complexional melancholic and contrarian who objects to the exiled courtiers’ intrusion on the forest and in particular, to the killing of deer:

FIRST LORD Indeed my Lord
The melancholy Jaques grieves at that,
And in that kind swears you do more usurp
Than doth your brother that hath banished you. (2.1.25-28)

25The First Lord identifies complaining as Jaques’ central occupation, one in keeping with the popular conception of the complexional melancholic. After vividly recounting the wounded stag’s dire condition on the riverbank, the unnamed Lord repeats the earlier moniker, “melancholy Jaques” (2.1.41), as if to say one cannot speak of this brooding courtier without first acknowledging his habitual disposition. In this, Shakespeare follows the pattern of the emergent humoral comedies of his contemporaries in frequently labeling character types adjectivally when introduced.

26Jaques’ response to the deer accords with standard early modern medical descriptions of the complexional melancholic, beginning with the sudden sympathetic sadness he feels toward this dying “native” burgher of the colonized forest. According to Bright, the “cold” or complexional melancholic (i.e., one whose melancholy derives from an overabundance of the humour) is especially susceptible to fear, sorrow, envy, and jealousy and is given to construing observed phenomena negatively. Such a person is:

firme in opinion, and hardly remoued wher it is resolued: doubtfull before, and long in deliberation: suspicious, painefull in studie, and circumspect, giuen to fearfull and terrible dreames: in affection sad, & full of fear hardly moued to anger, but keeping it long, and not easie to be reconciled: enuious, and ielous, apt to take occasions in the worse part, and out of measure passionate, whereto it is moued. Frō these two dispositions of brayne and heart arise solitarines, morning, weeping, & (if it be sanguine adust) melancholie laughter, sighing, sobbing, lamentation, countenance demisse, and hanging downe, blushing and bashfull, of pace slow, silent, negligent, refusing the light and frequency of men, delighted more in solitarines & obscurity. (T. Bright, op. cit., p. 114)

  • 31 David Bevington, “Introduction,” in Jonson, Works, op. cit., p. 116. See also Robert L. Reid’s insi (...)
  • 32 David and Ben Crystal, Shakespeare’s Words: Glossary & Language Companion (London: Penguin Books, 2 (...)

27The kinds of “humours” in the new urban comedies were often individualized combinations of dominant passions and humoural compositions and therefore allowed for a variety of dispositions, though as David Bevington explains, the Galenic “theory encouraged caricature.”31 One conspicuous feature of Bright’s characterization does not seem to apply to Jaques: fearfulness, which spurs terrible dreams. Jaques never seems fearful (for instance, when Orlando threatens with his sword any who would eat before he and Adam have had a chance). But the rest of the description, especially the predilection for weeping and sadness, fits well Jaques’ sympathetic response to the deer. Here we might note the shadow of another pun Shakespeare relies on more strongly later in his characterization of Rosalind in love: another word for male deer in Elizabethan parlance was “hart.”32 As the seat of the passions, the human heart was believed the center of the sensible soul. Though the deer is not named a “hart” by the first Lord, its symbolic association cannot have been absent either in Shakespeare’s imagination or in the minds of his earliest audiences. Jaques’ strong identification with the wounded deer/hart (the courtiers leave him “weeping and commenting / Upon the sobbing deer,” 2.1.65-66) implies a wounding of his own heart, or sensible soul.

28Bright’s account of how melancholy can foster an Il Penseroso-like thoughtfulness additionally fits Jaques’ philosophizing:

Sometime it falleth out, that melancholie men are found verie wittie, and quickly discerne: either because the humour of melancholie with some heate is so made subtile, that as from the driest woode riseth the clearest flame, and from the lyes of wine is distilled a strong & burning aqua vitæ, in like sort their spirits, both from the drinesse of the matter, and straining of the grosse substance from which they passe, receauing a purenesse, are instrumentes of such sharpnesse: which is the drie light that Heraclitus approued. To this, other reasons may beaded: as exercise of their wittes, wherein they be indefatigable: which maketh them seeme to haue that of a naturall readinesse, which custome of exercise, and vse hath found in them. Moreouer, while their passions be not yet vehemēt, whereby they be ouercaried, melancholy breedeth a ielousie of doubt in that they take in deliberation, and causeth them to be the more exact & curious in pōdering the very moments of things: to these reasons may be added, the vehemencie of theyr affection once raysed: which carieth them, with all their faculties thereto belonging, into the deapth of that they take pleasure to intermeddle in. (T. Bright, op. cit., p. 130)

29This passage explains why Jaques is driven to “moralize” (in Duke Senior’s words) on the spectacles of the everyday. It also can be used to gloss Jaques’ appreciation for Touchstone’s wit: he sees in the professional fool the “drie light that Heraclitus approued.” Jaques’ “naturall readinesse” for witty expression often takes the form of generalizing or universalizing the specific instance into a more all-encompassing truth claim. “Did he not moralize this spectacle” of the dying deer? Duke Senior asks. “O yes,” the first Lord replies, “into a thousand similies” (2.1.44). Jaques’ meditation on the wounded deer forsaken by his peers progresses from individual victim to a more generalized sense of the callousness of social disregard. It is the same pattern he follows in his famous seven ages of man speech (2.7.139-65). There his thoughts about an individual (Adam, whose elderly fragility has been exposed by hunger and fatigue) occasion a universal account of the restless trajectory of human life, from the “[m]ewling” and “puking” infant to the “mere oblivion” of extreme old age (2.7.143, 164). That this speech is merely a product of Jaques’ habitual dark reflections is apparent in Shakespeare’s textual linkage to the earlier deer response. Immediately prior to bringing Adam to the Duke’s camp and table, Orlando likens himself to a doe who goes to “find my fawn / And give it food” (2.7.127-28). He and Adam are two more deer in these woods, susceptible to the trials of the world and threats to their survival.

  • 33 For more on Shakespeare’s use of this scatological naming pun, see Peter J. Smith, “Ajax by Any Oth (...)
  • 34 The Courtier’s Library, or Catalogus Librorum Aulicorum incomparabilium et non vendibilum, ed. Evel (...)
  • 35 P. Smith, Between Two Stools, p. 89.

30Duke Senior relishes Jaques’ contemplative outbursts. When he hears of Jaques’ reflections on the wounded deer, he asks to be taken to this scene of weeping and lamentation because he “love[s] to cope” Jaques “in these sullen fits / For then he’s full of matter” (2.1.67-68). Kronenfeld notes that the “tone of the scene” described by the first Lord “is in fact largely comic and parodic, not pathetic” (op. cit., p. 451). The same may be said of Duke Senior’s remark. For him, Jaques is the pastoral equivalent of the court fool: both a source of entertainment, like Amiens’ singing, and of truths, or seeming truths, at odds with the social correctness of the status quo. Yet his phrasing punningly reminds us that the melancholic’s seeming profundity results from a polluted, even excremental constitution. By “full of matter,” Jaques may be full of profound, though depressing, thoughts as well as full of the melancholic vapors and excrement that inspire these thoughts. As mentioned earlier, the reference connects to the well-known significance of his name, “Jakes” in Early Modern English pronunciation: a “jakes” or “jax” was a privy or outhouse. Other contemporary writers play on this same pun for humorous effect. In 1596, for example, Sir John Harrington embedded it in the title of The Metamorphosis of Ajax, a satire on sanitation in Elizabethan London.33 Donne recalls this work and its pun in his Catalogus Librorum (otherwise known as The Courtier’s Library), a satirical catalog of fictitious books for courtiers. The tenth title reads, “Ioh. Harringtoni Hercules, sive le modo quo evacuabatur à fæcibus Area Noæ,” which Evelyn Simpson translates as, “John Harrington’s Hercules, or the method of purging Noah’s Ark of excrement.”34 In bestowing “Jaques” on Jaques, Shakespeare implicitly undercuts the trustworthiness of the character’s reflections by impugning their source of inspiration. Peter J. Smith believes Duke Senior’s “description of Jaques implies that he is not merely metaphorically but literally ‘full of shit’ and so the Duke’s rather cavalier attitude to his melancholy ought not to be seen as symptomatic of aristocratic insensitivity, but rather as a clue to the manner in which Shakespeare expects his audience to respond to the costive courtier.”35 Duke Senior’s use of “matter” becomes multivalent in this context and could signal (depending on the performance) an undervaluing of the melancholic courtier as mere entertainment or the butt of a joke, like the forlorn pastoral poet or the unwise fool.

  • 36 See G. Venet (op. cit., p. 87-88) on the humoural connection between Jaques and Touchstone, particu (...)

31Yet Jaques appears to fancy himself as something more. In act 2.7, his giddy excitement at having met Touchstone, his enthusiasm for Touchstone’s wit, and his desire to adopt his own motley coat are all consistent with Bright’s description of the complexional melancholic’s disposition.36 But what immediately inspires his admiration for Touchstone is his perception that the fool somehow is more effectual in railing at the follies of the world. He says Touchstone’s brain, which is “as dry as the remainder biscuit / After a voyage,” is so full of “strange places crammed / With observation” that he can vent “In mangled forms” his sharp critiques of the social world around him (2.7.38-42). He has achieved the interior dryness Bright speaks of. He further possesses a freedom Jaques envies (recall the melancholic’s predilection toward envy), and so Jaques asks Duke Senior for a “motley coat” of his own and for “liberty / Withal, as large a charter as the wind, / To blow on whom I please, for so fools have” (2.7.47-49). Behind this request lies his true desire:

[…] Give me leave
To speak my mind, and I will through and through
Cleanse the soul body of th’infected world,
If they will patiently receive my medicine. (2.7.58-61)

Jaques wants to be a satirist, one who can “[c]leanse” the “th’infected world,” though he currently is caught in the wrong realm.

  • 37 James Shapiro, A Year in the Life of Shakespeare, 1599, New York, HarperCollins, 1995, p. 136.

32He is caught in the wrong historical moment as well. Despite the play’s nominally French locale, Shakespeare’s audiences would have been more than mindful of the turbulent events of their own Elizabethan surround. They likely would have found Jaques’ desire especially futile in light of the Bishop’s Ban of May of 1599, which expressly forbade the publication and circulation of satire and entailed the burning of books by Joseph Hall, John Marston, Everard Guilpen, Thomas Middleton, Thomas Cutwode, John Davies, Thomas Nashe, and Gabriel Harvey.37 Shapiro is right to see the influence of the Ban and resulting book-burning on Shakespeare’s writing of Julius Caesar, the play he was working on at the time. But it pertains to this scene of As You Like It as well. It cannot help but have coloured contemporary perceptions of Jaques’ wish to be a satirist. In a world fraught with worries about the rebellion in Ireland, press gangs roaming London streets, whispers about another possible Spanish Armada, foiled assassination plots at home, uncertainties about the Elizabethan succession, and governmental efforts to quell even the appearance of treason, the thought that anyone would aspire to violate the Ban and attempt to change the world through highly public raillery would have seemed daft. For Jaques, however, it is an aspiration pleasing to his condition, even as he appears to recognize his ineffectuality as a social critic in the exiled Duke’s woodland court. The exiles will continue to hunt deer for the foreseeable future.

33Despite his desire for change in the form of more effectual raillery, other scenes reveal Jaques’ addiction to the status quo. The surplus of melancholy within, like the melancholy love vapors depicted in the Lothian portrait, perpetuates itself but is more difficult to relieve. It drives Jaques to seek external stimuli that feed his sadness, his need to be alone, and his predilection for dark thoughts. When Amiens ends his singing of “Under the green wood tree” too soon, Jaques demands more:

JAQUES More, more, I prithee more.
AMIENS It will make you melancholy, Monsieur Jaques.
JAQUES I thank it. More, I prithee more! I can suck melancholy out of a song as a weasel sucks eggs: More, I prithee more!
AMIENS My voice is ragged. I know I cannot please you.
JAQUES I do not desire you to please me; I do desire you to sing. (2.5.8-15)

34Jaques asks Amiens to sing an additional verse of his own making, a slant commentary on Duke Senior’s foolishness in “Leaving his wealth and ease” (2.5.47) to live in nature. Yet Jaques’ stanza (or “stanzo,” as he calls it) reveals, in part, why he would never make an effective satirist poet: it violates the rhyme scheme of the original verses, and its substitution of “Ducdame, ducdame, ducdame” (Jaques’ reference to the lost dukedom, 2.5.49) makes no sense to Amiens or the others present.

  • 38 Davis, op. cit., p. 7.

35This scene, of course, anticipates the opening scene of the slightly later play Twelfth Night, Or What You Will (1601), in which lovesick Duke Orsino, whose name roughly translates as “little bear” (an animal widely believed to be melancholic), similarly sucks melancholy out of songs, only his are sad love songs. But there is one important difference between Jaques and Orsino: Orsino seems as invested in savoring the performance of lovesickness (“That strain again, it had a dying fall,” 1.1.14) as he is in seeking a cure. In this, he fits Nick Davis’ description of the melancholy Donne: he has “settle[d] into a state of melancholia, as one might settle into enjoyment of a cigar”.38 Orsino’s amorous education, like Orlando’s, entails a similar discovery of a true soulful love beyond the false fantasies bred by love melancholy and their Petrarchan expression. It will involve truly coming to know and grow with a love interest as a person rather than an idealized object. For this reason, it ultimately will place a greater premium on speech than appearance. In Orlando’s case, this growth process requires purging his choleric imbalance, both physically and symbolically, as a necessary prelude to the realization of soulful love.

36Orlando encounters and apparently debates with Jaques (3.2.248-88) in the heat of his Petrarchan mangling of trees in celebration of Rosalind. Like Orsino and the melancholy Donne, Orlando indulges in the experience of unrequited love soon after Duke Senior addresses his and Adam’s immediate survival needs. Three lines from the middle of Jaques’ morbid account of human life in the seven ages of man speech prepare us for this new phase of Orlando’s affective development: after the school boy creeps “like snail / Unwillingly to school,” “then the Lover, / Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad / Made to his mistress’ eyebrow” (2.7.145-48). Again, an image of heat, as sighs are like steam or smoke issuing from the furnace of the sensible soul, heated by desire, which cannot help but heat (overheat?) the body in the close partnership between the two. Two scenes later, Orlando bursts onstage in full Petrarchan mode:

ORLANDO Hang there my verse, in witness of my love,
And thou thrice-crownéd Queen of Night survey
With thy chaste eye, from thy pale sphere above
Thy huntress’ name that my full life doth sway.
O Rosalind! these trees shall be my books,
And in their barks my thoughts I’ll character,
That every eye which in this forest looks,
Shall see thy virtue witnessed everywhere.
Run, run Orlando, carve on every tree,
The fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she. (3.2.1-10)

37He has exchanged one form of interior heat for another, only this time he relishes it. His desire drives him to sing Rosalind’s name in highly derivative, poetically incompetent verse. It is in the throes of this state that the two sturdiest melancholics, two wounded harts (though wounded in different ways and for different reasons) encounter each other. The bulk of their meeting occurs offstage; but we do not need to see most of it. We can infer all that transpired, based on how the conversation ends. Their melancholy conditions are so well established that we can predict their responses the way we can the fallen angels’ arguments during the great council in Book 2 of Paradise Lost; indeed, our ability to do so makes this exchange funny.

38Onstage Orlando and Jaques thank each other with a mutual civility, verbally matching each other’s responses in form and in length. They thank each other for each other’s temporary company but express an honest preference to be alone. They share a preference to meet as seldom as possible in the future. Grounds of disagreement appear only when they come to the divergent behavioral expression of their respective conditions:

JAQUES I pray you mar no more trees with writing love songs in their barks.
ORLANDO I pray you mar no more of my verses with reading them ill-favouredly.
JAQUES Rosalind is your love’s name?
ORLANDO Yes, just.
JAQUES I do not like her name.
ORLANDO There was no thought of pleasing you when she was christened.
JAQUES What stature is she of?
ORLANDO Just as high as my heart. (3.2.254-64)

39But even in disagreement, the two keep paralleling the form of each other other’s expressions, like duelists somehow evenly matched. Jaques perceives this paralleling as evidence of a psychological kinship and invites Orlando to join him in railing against the world: “You have a nimble wit; I think ’twas made of Atalanta’s heels. Will you sit down with me? and we two will rail against our mistress the world and all our misery” (3.2.271-73). But Orlando already has a mistress of his own. He refuses to enter the complexional melancholic’s mode of being, still impelled by his desire to broadcast his love to the world. He rebuffs Jaques’ offer, and the two part company with the same aloof civility as before, each labeling the other’s brand of melancholy as one would in an urban comedy.

40Soon after, Shakespeare stages another collision of melancholy types, this time Jaques and Rosalind, at the beginning of Act 4.1. This time, Jaques brags about the distinctiveness of his melancholy, which he loves “better than laughing,” in a style similar to that of Touchstone’s later anatomy of the several degrees of the lie in Act 5:

JAQUES I have neither the scholar’s melancholy, which is emulation; nor the musician’s, which is fantastical; nor the courtier’s, which is proud; nor the soldier’s, which is ambitious; nor the lawyer’s, which is politic; nor the lady’s, which is nice; nor the lover’s, which is all these: but it is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, which by often rumination, wraps me in a most humorous sadness. (4.1.10-19)

  • 39 Kronenfeld considers Jaques’ decision to embark on the vita contemplative a character change, in th (...)

41Jaques seems almost flirtatious in his response, as if he wishes to impress this youth. But Rosalind rejects the inveterate sadness of this “traveler” by saying, “I had rather have a fool to make me merry [literally the case in Touchstone], than experience to make me sad: and to travail for it too” (4.1.25-27). Here again, Jaques fails to find a companion to share his state. No one will join him in his raillery. No one shares his priorities and perspective. Yet the intractability of his condition prevents him from making any meaningful change. When given the chance to leave the forest with the newly restored Duke Senior, he chooses instead to join now ex-Duke Ferdinand in a religious house and courteously bids farewell to all the principal characters after the quadruple wedding Hymen performs. He cannot leave the retreat of the pastoral world.39 The last we see of him, he is retiring to Duke Senior’s “abandoned cave” (5.4.194). Like others in the play, this image seems as much allegorical as realistic.

“O ominous, he comes to kill my Hart” (3.2.241)

  • 40 Paster offers her humoural reading of Rosalind not to contradict but to supplement interpretations (...)

42The notion that Rosalind, too, suffers from a form of melancholy might require some getting used to for those accustomed to thinking of her exclusively through the vivacity and wit she evinces as Ganymede. Yet as Paster has argued, Rosalind’s sadness in Act 1 can be attributed to so-called “green sickness,” a form of melancholy thought to afflict female virgins of a uniquely female distemper. Sadness was its primary symptom. In Paster’s reading, Rosalind’s melancholy is “brought on by a sense of the dispossession that is indistinguishably political, dynastic, marital, and erotic” (Paster, op. cit., p. 120). Fostered by familial loss, a loss of status, and confinement, Rosalind’s initial sadness is exasperated by her apparently bleak future prospects. As a result, “falling in love” with Orlando “intensifies Rosalind’s sad mood with an augmented sense of self-absence and loss” (ibid., p. 121). Her condition improves as soon as she and Celia escape Duke Ferdinand’s household and become modest landowners in the Forest of Arden. Her humoral imbalance is “alleviated by a change of scene, a reordering of her life, and relief from enforced inaction and overwhelming subjection imposed on her in Duke Ferdinand’s court” (ibid., p. 123).40 Her cure is thus not entirely dependent on the “mock wooing scenes” she stages with Orlando.

43Within my present argument, Paster’s interpretation matters most in showing us why Shakespeare chose to stage the scene involving Rosalind and Jaques as a parallel to the earlier encounter between Jaques and Orlando: Rosalind embodies another form of melancholy, this time one well on the way toward being cured. Her behavior casts into different relief the cold, complexional form exhibited in Jaques. Her position as a recovering melancholic enables her to see with great clarity the circumference of Jaques’ condition and the follies it leads to. As he leaves to escape the newly arrived Orlando and the “blank verse” into which he fears this mediocre poet will lapse, Rosalind exclaims to his departing back:

Farewell Monsieur Traveler. Look you lisp, and wear strange suites, disable all the benefits of your own country, be out of love with your nativity, and almost chide God for making you that countenance you are; or I will scarce think you have swam in a gondola. (4.1.31-35)

44She emphasizes the degree to which Jaques’ behavior follows predictable paths, thus noting its performativity. By invoking Venice through synecdoche – “or I will scarce think you have swam in a gondola” – she locates Jaques’ temperament within a fashionably suitable locale. Shakespeare appears to have considered Venice a melancholic city: The Merchant of Venice (1598) begins with another sad figure, Antonio, openly wondering, “In sooth I know not why I am so sad, / It wearies me: you say it wearies you” (1.1.1-2). In effect, Rosalind treats Jaques’ behavior as contrived, an implicit contention she similarly attaches to Orlando’s marking of trees as well.

45Indeed, Rosalind’s goodbye to Jaques transitions seamlessly into a like treatment of Orlando’s performance of unrequited love: “Why, how now, Orlando, where have you been all this while? You a lover? And you serve me such another trick, never come in my sight more” (4.1.36-38). In teasing him about his tardiness, she questions his dedication to his chosen performative mode. She also dons the fickle cruelty of the Petrarchan mistress, who would impose the harshest punishment (“never come in my sight more”) upon the smallest offense. Rosalind’s goal in this scene and in the staged courtship more generally is to move Orlando past the merely performative to a more authentic form of amorous relations, which will entail dispelling his love melancholy. One can see this effort in the vehemence with which she pushes Orlando and Celia into participating in the mock wedding. When Celia takes her to task for having “simply misused our sex in your love prate” (4.1.188-89), Rosalind’s only defense is to proclaim the bottomlessness of her love for Orlando. She cannot help but characterize her plight in culturally validated neo-classical terms:

ROSALIND No, that same wicked bastard of Venus that was begot of thought, conceived of spleen, and born of madness, that blind rascally boy that abuses every one’s eyes because his own are out, let him be judge how deep I am in love. I’ll tell thee, Aliena, I cannot be out of the sight of Orlando. I’ll go find a shadow, and sigh till he come. (4.1.198-204)

  • 41 I print this line exactly as it appears in the First Folio. Frances E. Dolan, the editor of the pla (...)

46The references to the blind archer Cupid and to her desire to go off to sigh in shadows, both conventional images of unrequited love, in this context reinforce the recurring wounded deer theme and its symbolism of the wounded hart / heart, a figure of the distempered sensible soul. As mentioned previously, Rosalind earlier likens her heart to a “hart” (male deer) being hunted by Orlando: “O ominous, he comes to kill my Hart” (3.2.248),41 an astute observation of her emotional vulnerability. Now she officially joins the company of wounded deer. In her case, she still cannot be certain whether Orlando’s love for her is as soulful as her own, the primary cause of her suffering. Consequently, it seems perfectly natural that the following scene (4.2) features Jaques mocking the unnamed Lord who killed a deer: why not scorn those who bring such pain? Symbolically, the scene reminds us of the central metaphor of the melancholics, loose in the Forest of Arden.

  • 42 James Hall, Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art, New York, Harper and Row, 1974, p. 285.
  • 43 Ibid., p. 115.

47Shakespeare chooses to effect a double cure of Orlando and Rosalind through the third-person retelling of Orlando’s fight with the lioness. As with Spenserian allegory, the boundaries between narrative realism and symbolism blur in Oliver’s account, and interior processes find expresion through exteriorized forms. The lioness is both actual beast (it wounds Orlando’s flesh) and walking symbol (it represents an interior adversary). Thus the animal imagery in this scene is as freighted as it is in Act 1 and in much the same way. In this case, the “green and guilded snake” “wreathed” around the sleeping Oliver’s neck (4.3.106-7) represents impending death, as it often does in medieval art.42 Additionally, it reminds us of the affective poison literally killing Oliver: the snake served as a symbol for Envy, which was occasionally rendered as feeding on a diet of poisonous snakes.43 The image suggests Oliver’s death would result from the poison of his distempered soul. Orlando’s appearance, which carries the potential for forgiveness, causes the snake to unwind from Oliver’s neck and slink away, giving Oliver a temporary reprieve.

  • 44 Ibid., p. 130.

48Meanwhile, lions, along with lambs, apes, and pigs, iconographically represented the Four Temperaments in medieval art. Not surprisingly, the lion figured as choler, and the choleric temperament, and was associated with the element fire.44 With this in mind, the details of Oliver’s description say much about the state of Orlando’s sensible soul:

A lioness with udders all drawn dry,
Lay couching, head on ground, with catlike watch
When that the sleeping man should stir; for ’tis
The royal disposition of that beast
To prey on nothing that doth seem as dead. (4.3.113-16)

49Perhaps Shakespeare made the lion female because the soul is often gendered female in the psychological discourse of the period, and this beast is as much an externalization of Orlando’s choleric soul as it is an animal from a prose romance. By figuring choler as female, Shakespeare emphasizes, through the specificity of female anatomy, its capability to nourish a distempered condition. In this case, it is starving and its “udders” are “all drawn dry” because Orlando, through his courtship of Rosalind / Ganymede, has neglected to feed his choler.

50Now that Oliver, the cause of most of Orlando’s earlier wrath, lies helpless before him, however, choler could revive and re-consume Orlando’s soul, should Orlando choose to give into it and start again the internal furnace of self-perpetuating vaporous production. This moment, then, represents a final test in determining Orlando’s psychophysiological future. It is a chance for Orlando to relinquish all thoughts of vengeance, to forgive his brother, and to conquer once and for all his interior disorder. After a brief hesitation, he chooses to fight the lioness and by extension the last vestiges of his wrath:

Twice did he turn his back and purposed so:
But kindness, nobler ever than revenge,
And nature, stronger than his just occasion,
Made him give battle to the lioness,
Who quickly fell before him; in which hurtling
From miserable slumber I awaked. (4.1.126-31)

By winning this battle with the lioness, Orlando conquers his concupiscible soul, thereby fully regaining himself and enabling the growth of a shared soulful love, which Rosalind so urgently desires.

51While his fight with the lioness resolves his melancholy, it also proves Orlando is capable of a love deeper than the performance of received cultural forms. It reveals the necessary selflessness such a love entails. Interestingly, Coeffeteau, in A Table of the Humane Passions, uses a fight with lions as a quintessential example of love in action: if a loved one is

assaulted by his enemies, who seek to murther him, he must present himselfe to beare their blowes. And if he seem him in the throate of lions, exposed to the rage of wild beasts, hee must hazard himselfe to free him from danger; and if he die, he must in like manner abhorre life. He that loues perfectly, sayd Plato by the mouth of Phedro, will rather abandon himselfe to death, then expose that he loues to dangers. (Coeffeteau, op. cit., p. 112-113)

52Orlando’s love for his brother ultimately overcomes less exalted passions. On the most superficial level, giving Rosalind / Ganymede the bloody napkin as proof of the encounter provides an excuse for Orlando’s inability to keep his courtship appointment. But more importantly, the napkin becomes an earnest of Orlando’s soulful love for her, a fulfillment, after a fashion, of the earlier wedding vow, his blood here a manifestation of spirits freely given. The appearance of this bloody object breaks Rosalind’s counterfeiting. It causes her to swoon, a suspension of the operations of her own spirits. “Many will swoon when they do look on blood,” Oliver says, to which Celia astutely responds, “There is more in it” (4.1.157-58). Indeed, it is an open question whether even Oliver believes Rosalind’s disguise any longer. Some productions – for instance, the Shakespeare’s Globe 2009 production directed by Thea Sharrock – play Oliver as a knowing participant in Rosalind’s counterfeiting from here on out. Rosalind’s swoon helps prepare her for her eventual escape from her Ganymede role.

  • 45 “‘No temple but the wood[en]’: Stagecraft and the Staging of the Theatre’s Materiality in Shakespea (...)

53But it is also an entirely unplanned event. Throughout much of the play, Rosalind has acted as the Forest of Arden’s impromptu dramaturge. As Anne-Marie Miller-Blaise insightfully explains, “[w]hile Orlando and his mock-Petrarchan poems stand for the many literary sources that Shakespeare conjures up in his play in his function as poet, Rosalind, on the other hand, testifies to the importance of a special kind of stagecraft, defined by the translation of the theatre to the wooded / wooden spaces of the Liberties.”45 Here, for a moment, is an abrupt shift apropos of a greater reciprocity in the relationship: Orlando has brought her into his own mini-play of amorously heroic dedication. In the context of the larger psychophysiological story of melancholy in the play, Rosalind’s swoon signals not only her willing participation in Orlando’s plot but also, like Orlando’s fight with the lioness, an abrupt shift in her disposition, a clearance of the last of her doubts. One might even call it the climax of her own interior journey in the play. It is true that the entanglements of the Phoebe – Silvanus plot require the big reveal of Rosalind’s identity and Hymen’s quadruple marriage ceremony in Act 5; but here we see the resolution of the affective drama of these two lovers. Now that Rosalind and Orlando have restored the balance of their interior constitutions, and now that Orlando has given his blood to his beloved, their formal marriage is merely a matter of ceremony.

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1 Throughout this essay, all quotations from Shakespeare’s plays come from The Complete Pelican Shakespeare, ed. Stephen Orgel and A. R. Braunmuller, New York and London, Penguin, 2002.

2 Timothy Bright, A Treatise of Melancholie, The English Experience, no. 212, Amsterdam, Theatrum Orlio Terrarum Ltd., 1969, p. 62.

3 Macbeth’s startlement when he first encounters the witches (1.3.50 & ff) is a good example. The strong set of emotions he feels when the witches prophesize the fulfillment of his innermost ambition causes him to become “rapt,” a trance-like state, fostered by the withdrawal of spirits from his “outward parts,” as Bright would say.

4 Thomas Lodge’s Rosalynde (London, 1590), Shakespeare’s source principal source for the play, originally dubbed Rosalynde’s lover Rosader. Shakespeare changed the name to Orlando on his own, presumably fully aware of the name’s connotations.

5 Michael C. Schoenfeldt, Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England: Physiology and Inwardness in Spenser, Shakespeare, Herbert, and Milton, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1999, p. 39.

6 See, for example, Anthony Wolk, “The Extra Jaques in As You Like It,” Shakespeare Quarterly, 23, 1972, p. 101-105; Judy Z. Kronenfeld, “Shakespeare’s Jaques and the Pastoral Cult of Solitude,” Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 18, 1976, p. 451-473; Shiro Naito, “The Present Tense in As You Like It: In Relation to Jaques’ ‘Melancholy,’” Eibungakuki Kaiho, 8, 1981, p. 1-8; and Gisèle Venet, “Shakespeare, des humeurs aux passions,” Études Épistémè, 1, 2002, p. 85-102.

7 Paster describes the salient features of “green sickness,” largely via Robert Burton’s account in The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), in Humoring the Body: Emotions and the Shakespearean Stage, Chicago and London, University of Chicago Press, 2004, p. 77-100. I engage her discussion of Rosalind below.

8 For an overview of this subfield of Early Modern studies, see Bruce R. Smith, “Premodern Sexualities,” PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, 115.3, May 2000, p. 318-329; and my essay “The View from the Interior: The New Body Scholarship in Renaissance/Early Modern Studies,” Literature Compass, 3/4, 2006, p. 778-791.

9 For an account of the complexities of primogeniture in this play and Orlando’s efforts to overcome the gap between his status as gentleman and Rosalind’s status as princess, see Louis Adrian Montrose, “‘The Place of a Brother’ in As You Like It: Social Process and Comic Form,” Shakespeare Quarterly, 32.1, 1981, p. 28-54.

10 In the First Folio, no stage directions inform readers either when Orlando first collars Oliver or when he lets go. Most modern editors agree the former action occurs around line 55, before or as Orlando says, “Come, come elder brother, you are too young in this.” As for the latter action, a likely spot is immediately after Orlando says he “will no longer endure” his poor treatment.

11 F. David Hoeniger, Medicine and Shakespeare in the English Renaissance, Newark, University of Delaware Press, 1992, p. 19. See also p. 92-99.

12 Donald R. Dickson, “Grace and the ‘Spirits’ of the Heart in The Temple,” John Donne Journal, 6.1, 1987, p. 51-66, here p. 57.

13 This notion also would connect with the so-called unified sex theory, in which women are seen as incomplete men, and men during orgasm are seen to pass some of their vital spirits to the raw matter provided by their female partners, thereby infusing their eventual offspring with life. See Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990; repr. 1992, p. 63-113.

14 See Tarnya Cooper, “John Donne Nearly Finished . . .”, online (accessed 11 December 2017), for a high-quality digital image of the portrait and an account of its restoration.

15 For more detailed accounts of the portrait, see Kate Gartner Frost, “The Lothian Portrait: A New Description,” John Donne Journal, 13.1 & 2, 1994, p. 1-11; and “The Lothian Portrait: A Prologomenon,” John Donne Journal, 15, 1996, p. 95-125.

16 The importance of melancholy as a living concern, not simply a literary or dramatic theme, cannot be stressed enough. For many early modern Europeans, melancholy was an intensely personal subject, much the way that depression is today. Donne describes his struggles with it throughout his life – see, for example, in Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions (1623/24). It was also a personal subject for Bright, who reveals in the second prefatory epistle that he wrote his treatise, in part, to provide consolation to his melancholy friend “M”, with whom he felt a deep sympathy. Bright hopes to ease his friend’s pain and the pain of all other melancholics of England through knowledge.

17 Quoted in R. C. Bald, John Donne: A Life, New York and Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1970, p. 567.

18 Cooper announced the discovery of the brush stroke on 1 August 2011. She speculates, “Whether we interpret this as John Donne’s rising spirit, or something more profane needs further consideration but it is an interesting feature for a man whose haunting poetry links spiritual and physical love” (T. Cooper, art. cit.,, accessed 5 June 2018)

19 Nick Davis, “Melancholic Individuality and the Lothian Portrait of Donne,” ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes, and Reviews, 26.1, 2013, p. 5-12, here p. 5-6). Davis first presented his findings at the 2012 John Donne Conference at the Scaliger Institute in Leiden the previous summer. So astounded were members of the audience about this new discovery that some pulled out smart phones to verify it by zooming in on digitized copies of the portrait.

20 The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson, vol. 1: 1597-1601, ed. David Bevington, Martin Butler, and Ian Donaldson, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012. I quote from the quarto version of this play, the version likely closest to the text the Lord Chamberlain’s Men performed.

21 Some disagreement attends the semantics of “soul” in the psychophysiological discourse of the period. Some writers, like Nicolas Coeffeteau in his Table of the Humane Passions, distribute the inward faculties, passions, and appetites across three types or degrees of soul (rational, sensible or concupiscible, and vegetative) that together composed the “soul” of the soul-body (see Nicolas Coeffeteau, preface “To the Reader,” Table of the Humane Passions, London, 1621, p. 1-30). Bright objects to this tripartite division on the grounds that the soul is one whole with many powers (see T. Bright, chapter xi, p. 49-54). Yet the tripartite division held a currency among Elizabethan and Stuart writers of the period. George Chapman, for example, contributed a poem in praise of Edward Grimeston, the English translator of the 1621 edition of Coeffeteau’s treatise (31-32).

22 H. James Jensen, The Muses’ Concord: Literature, Music, and the Visual Arts in the Baroque Age, Bloomington and London, Indiana University Press, 1976, p.17.

23 Ibid., p. 17, 103, and plates 19-21; and Michel Gareau, Charles Le Brun: First Painter to King Louis XIV, New York, Harry N. Abram, Inc., 1992, p. 85-100. For a discussion of the reception of Le Brun’s scheme of representing passions through specific facial expressions, see Line Cottegnies «Codifying the Passions in the Classical Age: a few reflections on Charles Le Brun’s scheme and its influence in France and in England», Études Épistémè, 1, 2002, p. 141-158.

24 G. Gregory Smith, ed., Elizabethan Critical Essays, Oxford and London, Oxford University Press, 1904; repr. 1937, vol. 1, p. 165.

25 Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, ed. Holbrook Jackson, New York, New York Review of Books, 2001, p. 269.

26 Paster, mindful of the perceived porousness of the Early Modern body, speaks of an “ecology of passions” to draw attention to the body’s susceptibility to external influences. See Paster, op. cit., p. 9.

27 All quotations from Spenser come from The Faerie Queene, ed. Thomas P. Roche, Jr., London, Penguin Books, 1978. References are in parentheses after the text by book, canto, stanza, and line numbers. Paster (op. cit., p. 43-45) touches on Pyrochles but concentrates more attention on Hamlet’s reactions to the story of Pyrrhus.

28 W. Shakespeare, op. cit., 1 Henry IV (5.4.67-85).

29 The word “rankness” also is fascinating in this context. It captures the now obsolete definition of “rank” as “[h]aving a high opinion of one’s own worth or importance; proud, haughty; insolent, arrogant; (also) headstrong, rebellious” (OED, sense A.I.1a). Additionally, it conveys a hint of the vegetative sense of “vigorous or luxuriant in growth,” considered later in negative terms as “growing too luxuriantly or rampantly; thick and coarse” (sense A.II.6), perhaps even “[h]ighly offensive or loathsome” (sense A.III.11). Most provocatively in the present context, “rank” carries a whiff of olfactory associations: to be “rank” in this sense is to have a “strong and unpleasant smell; rancid” (sense A.III.15). The Oxford English Dictionary cites as an example of this usage a line from Hamlet (3.3.36): “O my offence is rank, it smells to heaven.” All of these senses of “rank” and by extension, “rankness,” are in play in Oliver’s remarks. Might he be offended as much by the smell of choler adust as by the impertinence of its polluting or corrupting effects? More importantly, might Shakespeare’s original audience have found Oliver’s word choices astute, based on the evidence they witnessed firsthand? The words “rank” and “rankness” appear five times in As You Like It (1.1.67-68, 1.2.84, 2.7.44-47, 3.3.73-75, and 4.3.73-75), and the first three of these references clearly play on the possible olfactory associations of either word.

30 No stage directions in the First Folio specify the object given. But we know it is a chain Rosalind wore because Celia refers to it in 3.2.177.

31 David Bevington, “Introduction,” in Jonson, Works, op. cit., p. 116. See also Robert L. Reid’s insightful essay, “Humoral Psychology in Shakespeare’s Henriad,” Comparative Drama, 30.4, Winter 1996-97, pp. 471-502.

32 David and Ben Crystal, Shakespeare’s Words: Glossary & Language Companion (London: Penguin Books, 2002), 214. This gloss is illustrated through reference to Cymbeline (2.4.27): “[Posthumus to Iachimo] The swiftest harts have posted you by hand”.

33 For more on Shakespeare’s use of this scatological naming pun, see Peter J. Smith, “Ajax by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet: Shakespeare, Harington, and Onomastic Scatology in Tudor Theatre: Emotion in the Theatre / L’émotion au théâtre, Bern, Peter Lang, 1996, p. 125-58. This essay was reprinted in Peter J. Smith, Between Two Stools: Scatology and Its Representation in English Literature, Chaucer to Swift, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2012, p. 60-104.

34 The Courtier’s Library, or Catalogus Librorum Aulicorum incomparabilium et non vendibilum, ed. Evelyn Mary Simpson, London, Nonesuch Press, 1930, p. 32, 45.

35 P. Smith, Between Two Stools, p. 89.

36 See G. Venet (op. cit., p. 87-88) on the humoural connection between Jaques and Touchstone, particularly her distinction between the two related moods, “l’humeur noire” and “l’humeur folle,” which characterize the satirist and fool respectively.

37 James Shapiro, A Year in the Life of Shakespeare, 1599, New York, HarperCollins, 1995, p. 136.

38 Davis, op. cit., p. 7.

39 Kronenfeld considers Jaques’ decision to embark on the vita contemplative a character change, in that it suggests a shift in focus away from his own ego (J. Kronenfeld, art. cit., p. 465-470). But if so, his decision does not signal an end to his complexional melancholy; rather, it promises a change in its mode of expression.

40 Paster offers her humoural reading of Rosalind not to contradict but to supplement interpretations attributing Rosalind’s growing social power to her adoption of a male disguise: “While the heroine’s emotional transformation in this play does involve a culturally significant regendering in order for the playful and transgressive homoerotics of the wooing scenes, the change from passive and withdrawn maidenly melancholy to the better-tempered activism of social and psychological maturity does not occur only by the adoption of male disguise but by the action tendencies of desire (of any stripe) with its enabling humoral heat” (ibid., p. 122).

41 I print this line exactly as it appears in the First Folio. Frances E. Dolan, the editor of the play in The Complete Pelican Shakespeare, prints the line, “O, ominous! He comes to kill my heart,” thereby disrupting the original “Hart / heart” pun.

42 James Hall, Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art, New York, Harper and Row, 1974, p. 285.

43 Ibid., p. 115.

44 Ibid., p. 130.

45 “‘No temple but the wood[en]’: Stagecraft and the Staging of the Theatre’s Materiality in Shakespeare’s As You Like It”, in Sophie Chiari, Sophie Lemercier-Goddard & Michèle Vignaux (ed.), New Perspectives on Shakespeare’s As You Like It, p. 197-215, here p. 212.

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Sean H. McDowell, « Of Quintains, Harts, and Lionesses: Impure Melancholy As Shakespeare Liked It », Études Épistémè [En ligne], 33 | 2018, mis en ligne le 27 septembre 2018, consulté le 21 octobre 2018. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/episteme.2085

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Sean H. McDowell

Seattle University

Sean H. McDowell, Associate Professor of English, is the Director of the University Honors Program at Seattle University.  In addition to publishing numerous essays on Shakespeare, Donne, Herbert, Crashaw, Vaughan, Marvell, Heaney, and others, he edited a collection of essays on The Social Character of Andrew Marvell’s Imagination, which was published as volume 35.1 of the journal, Explorations in Renaissance Culture (Summer 2009).  He also is the editor of the John Donne Journal:  Studies in the Age of Donne (JDJ), a textual and commentary editor of the Variorum Edition of the Poetry of John Donne (Indiana University Press), the Executive Director of the John Donne Society.

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