PHOEBE

As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 5, 8-27
Arden 3 | Juliet Dusinberre | London: Bloomsbury, 2006 | 277-278

“I would not be thy executioner…”

Speech
Arden 3

PHOEBE
I would not be thy executioner;
I fly thee for I would not injure thee.
Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye.                      10
‘Tis pretty , sure, and very probable
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers.
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart,                         15
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.
Now counterfeit to swoon – why now fall down!
Or if thou canst not – O, for shame, for shame –
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers.
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.         20
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
Some scar of it; lean thou upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps. But now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,                         25
Nor I am sure there is no force in eyes
That can do hurt.

Words and Pronunciation +
Arden 3 | 2012

Words

would: past form of ‘will’ (SW)

fly: storm out, attack furiously (SW); flock, rush, hasten (SW); leave, run away [from], flee (SW); hawk, hunt with hawks (SW)

pretty: nice, proper, apt (SW); clever, ingenious, artful (SW); childish, trifling, naïve (SW); good, excellent, fine (SW)

sure: certain, definite, reliable (SW); harmless, innocuous, unable to cause damage (SW)

probable: plausible, believable, likely sounding (SW); provable, demonstrable, attestable (SW); worthy of belief, sufficient proof (SW)

frail’st: 1a. Liable to break or be broken; easily crushed or destroyed. (OED) 2a. Weak, subject to infirmities; wanting in power, easily overcome.
(OED)

coward gates: eyelids; the tiniest speck causes the eyelids to blink in (timorous) self-protection. (Dusinberre)

coward: cowardly (SW)

gate: entrance, doorway, portal (SW)

atomies: the tiniest particles; see 3.2.225n. (Dusinberre); atomy: mite, tiny being (SW); atom, mote, speck (SW)

frown: fierce look, sever face (SW)

counterfeit: pretend; the standard word for acting (see 4.3.166, 167)(Dusinberre); pretend, feign, make believe (SW); copy, imitate, simulate (SW)

swoon: faint (SW); Phoebe’s scornful sketch of the lover’s feigned swoon contrasts with Rosalind’s real swoon; see 4.3.155 SD, 157n. (Dusinberre)

lie not:  Phoebe, literal rather than literary (cf. 3.3.15), designates as a lie Silvius’s poetic image of eyes which wound (10–14; see Dusinberre, Women, 158–9); cf. 5.2.24. (Dusinberre)

lean: 

rush: reed (SW); ring made of rushes, reed ring (SW); rush-candle: candle made of a rush dipped in wax [giving poor light]

cicatrice: scar, deep impression (Dusinberre); scar, scar-like mark (SW)

capable impressure: indented marks retained by a sensitive or receptive surface (Dusinberre)

capable: comprehensive, exhaustive, capacious (SW); sensitive, receptive, responsive (SW); appreciative of, able to take in (SW)

impressure: imprint, impression, indentation, stamp (SW)

some moment: for some time (Abbott, 21; OED some a.1 B 4c) (Dusinberre); moment: importance, weight, consequence (SW); immediately, instantly (SW)

darted: retains its original force, of a dart’s being thrown in order to wound; cf. arrows, 32. See KL 2.2.354–5: ‘You nimble lightnings, dart your blinding flames / Into her scornful eyes!’ (Dusinberre); hurl like an arrow (SW)

force: energy, power, conviction (SW); physical strength, might, vigour

Pronunciation +

counterfeit: (line 17) count-ter-fit

lean thou: (line 22) Editors have offered various emendations to restore the regular iambic pentameter line (see t.n.). The insertion of thou matches Phoebe’s imperious Come not thou, 33. (Dusinberre)

cicatrice: (line 23) sick-uh-triss

Translation
No Fear Shakespeare

PHOEBE
I don’t want to be your executioner: I’m trying to avoid you so that I won’t hurt you. You tell me my eyes are murderous—that’s a very pretty sentiment, and oh-so-probable, that my frail, soft eyes (which are so cowardly that they close their gates against dust) are tyrants, butchers, and murderers. I’m frowning at you with all my might right now. If my eyes can injure, let them kill you now. Go ahead. Faint, fall down—if you don’t, then you’re lying about my eyes being murderers. Come on, show me the wound that my eyes have caused. If you get scratched with a pin, it leaves a scar; even if you lean on a rush, it leaves an impression on your palm. But my eyes, which I’ve darted at you, haven’t even left a mark. Now I am sure that eyes can’t hurt a person.

Assonance
Arden 3

PHOEBE
I would not be thy executioner;
I fly thee for I would not injure thee.
Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye.                      10
‘Tis pretty , sure, and very probable
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers.
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart,                         15
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.
Now counterfeit to swoon – why now fall down!
Or if thou canst not – O, for shame, for shame –
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers.
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.         20
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
Some scar of it; lean thou upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps. But now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,                         25
Nor I am sure there is no force in eyes
That can do hurt.

Alliteration
Arden 3 | 2012

PHOEBE
I would not be thy executioner;
I fly thee for I would not injure thee.
Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye.                      10
‘Tis pretty , sure, and very probable
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers.
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart,                         15
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.
Now counterfeit to swoon – why now fall down!
Or if thou canst not – O, for shame, for shame –
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers.
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.         20
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
Some scar of it; lean thou upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps. But now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,                         25
Nor I am sure there is no force in eyes
That can do hurt.

Consonance
Arden 3 | 2012

PHOEBE
I would not be thy executioner;
I fly thee for I would not injure thee.
Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye.                      10
‘Tis pretty , sure, and very probable
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers.
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart,                         15
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.
Now counterfeit to swoon – why now fall down!
Or if thou canst not – O, for shame, for shame –
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers.
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.         20
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
Some scar of it; lean thou upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps. But now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,                         25
Nor I am sure there is no force in eyes
That can do hurt.

Thoughts
Arden 3 | 2012

PHOEBE
1. I would not be thy executioner;
b. I fly thee for I would not injure thee.
2. Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye.                      10
3. ‘Tis pretty , sure, and very probable
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers.
4. Now I do frown on thee with all my heart,                         15
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.
5. Now counterfeit to swoon – 6. why now fall down!
7. Or if thou canst not – O, for shame, for shame –
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers.
8. Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.         20
9. Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
Some scar of it; lean thou upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps. 10. But now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,                         25
Nor I am sure there is no force in eyes
That can do hurt.

THOUGHTS

Long: 0
Medium: 6
Short: 4
Complex: 2 | 2, 2

End stopped: 7
Midline: 3

Period: 8
Exclamation: 1
Question: 0
Dash: 1

TOTAL: 10

Rhythm
Arden 3 | 2012

PHOEBE
I would not be thy executioner; 10R
I fly thee for I would not injure thee. 10R
Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye. 10R          10
‘Tis pretty, sure, and very probable 10R
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things, 10R
Who shut their coward gates on atomies, 10R
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers. 10
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart,  10|10R                       15
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee. 11W|11ec
Now counterfeit to swoon – why now fall down! 10|10R
Or if thou canst not – O, for shame, for shame – 10R
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers. 10R
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.  10R     20
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains 10
Some scar of it; lean thou upon a rush, 10
The cicatrice and capable impressure 11W
Thy palm some moment keeps. But now mine eyes, 10R
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,  10R                    25
Nor I am sure there is no force in eyes 10|10R
That can do hurt. 4

Pacing
Arden 3 | 2012

PHOEBE
I would not be thy executioner; pause?
I fly thee for I would not injure thee. PAUSE?
Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye. PAUSE?             10
‘Tis pretty, sure, and very probable
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers. PAUSE?
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart,                         15
And if mine eyes can wound, <Ec> now let them kill thee. PAUSE?
Now counterfeit to swoon – why now fall down! PAUSE?
Or if thou canst not – O, for shame, for shame – PAUSE?
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers. PAUSE?
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee. PAUSE?     20
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
Some scar of it; lean thou upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps. But now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,                         25
Nor I am sure there is no force in eyes
That can do hurt.

Beats
Arden 3 | 2012

Beat 1


PHOEBE
I would not be thy executioner;
I fly thee for I would not injure thee.

Possible Beat


Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye.                      10

Possible Beat


‘Tis pretty , sure, and very probable
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers.

Possible Beat


Now I do frown on thee with all my heart,                         15
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.
Now counterfeit to swoon – why now fall down!
Or if thou canst not – O, for shame, for shame –
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers.

Beat


Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.         20
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
Some scar of it; lean thou upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps. But now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,                         25
Nor I am sure there is no force in eyes
That can do hurt.

Pronunciation +

shamest: (line 23) Q2–3; sham’st Q4, F; not in Q1 (Weis)

Jesu: (line 29) jeez-yoo or jee-zoo; jayz-yoo or jay-zoo

you: (line 29) The more formal pronoun is used consistently by Nurse when addressing Juliet, while the 13-year-old uses the familiar thou, thee, thy to her servant, in conformity with the etiquette of the day in which social class overrides age. (Weis)

marry: (line 62) mah-ree (UK); meh-ree (US) (OED)

trow: (line 62) tr-ah-oo (UK); tr-oh (US) (OED)

hie: (line 68) hah-ee

wanton: (line 70) want-en or want-in

Phebe | Act 3, Scene 5 | 11-30

I would not be thy executioner…

Source
Cambridge | Cynthia Marshall. London: Cambridge University Press, 2004

PHEBE
I would not be thy executioner;
I fly thee for I would not injure thee.
Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye:
‘Tis pretty, sure, and very probable
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers!
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart;
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.
Now counterfeit to swoon, why, now fall down
Or, if thou canst not, O for shame, for shame,
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers.
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
Some scar of it; lean but upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps. But now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,
Nor, I am sure, there is no force in eyes
That can do hurt.

Thought Counts
Cambridge | 2004

Short: 1
Medium: 5
Long: 1
Total: 7

End-stopped: 5
Mid-line: 2

Periods: 6
Exclamations: 1
Questions: 0
Unfinished: 0

Objective

 

Phebe needs Silvius:

to take back what he said about her eyes…

Thoughts
Cambridge | 2004

PHEBE
1. I would not be thy executioner;
I fly thee for I would not injure thee.
2. Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye:
‘Tis pretty, sure, and very probable
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers!
3. Now I do frown on thee with all my heart;
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.
4. Now counterfeit to swoon, why, now fall down
Or, if thou canst not, O for shame, for shame,
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers.
5. Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.
6. Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
Some scar of it; lean but upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps. 7. But now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,
Nor, I am sure, there is no force in eyes
That can do hurt.

Line Analysis
Cambridge | 2004

PHEBE
I would not be thy executioner;                    10R
I fly thee for I would not injure thee.              10R
Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye:   10R
‘Tis pretty, sure, and very probable       10R
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things,   10R
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,     10R
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers!    10
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart;      10R 10
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.    11w
Now counterfeit to swoon, why, now fall down .      10R
Or, if thou canst not, O for shame, for shame,      10R
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers.       10R
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.   10R
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains .   10
Some scar of it; lean but upon a rush,        10R | 10
The cicatrice and capable impressure       11w
Thy palm some moment keeps. But now mine eyes,   10R
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,    10R
Nor, I am sure, there is no force in eyes .    10R 10
That can do hurt.                                 4 unfinished

Phrasing and Tempo
Cambridge | 2004

PHEBE
I would not be thy executioner;
I fly thee <c> for I would not injure thee.  pause   slowly?
Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye:      slowly?
‘Tis pretty, <c> sure, <c> and very probable
That eyes, <c> that are the frail’st <c> and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be called tyrants, <c> butchers, <c> murderers!  pause   carefully
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart;       slowly
And if mine eyes can wound, <c> now let them kill thee.   pause    slowly
Now counterfeit to swoon, <c> why, <c> now fall down  carefully
Or, <c> if thou canst not, <c> O for shame, <c> for shame,   slowly
Lie not, <c> to say mine eyes are murderers.  pause
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.  pause    slowly
Scratch thee but with a pin, <c> and there remains   slowly? carefully
Some scar of it; <c> lean but upon a rush,    slowly?
The cicatrice <cand capable impressure    carefully
Thy palm some moment keeps. <c, quicklyBut now mine eyes,   carefully slowly
Which I have darted at thee, <c> hurt thee not,
Nor, <c> I am sure, <c> there is no force in eyes   slowly
That can do hurt.                            slowly

Sounds
Cambridge | 2004

PHEBE
I would not be thy executioner;
I fly thee for I would not injure thee.
Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye:
‘Tis pretty, sure, and very probable
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers!
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart;
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.
Now counterfeit to swoon, why, now fall down
Or, if thou canst not, O for shame, for shame,
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers.
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
Some scar of it; lean but upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps. But now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,
Nor, I am sure, there is no force in eyes
That can do hurt.

Rhetoric
Cambridge | 2004

PHEBE
I would not be thy executioner;                      (imagery, hyperbole, metaphor, irony)
I fly thee for I would not injure thee.
Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye:                 (imagery, personification)
‘Tis pretty, sure, and very probable
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things,           (this and that)
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,                        (imagery, metaphor)
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers!               (list)
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart;
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.
Now counterfeit to swoon, why, now fall down
Or, if thou canst not, O for shame, for shame,
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers.                              (hyperbole)
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains                   (imagery, list)
Some scar of it; lean but upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps. But now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,                        (metaphor)
Nor, I am sure, there is no force in eyes
That can do hurt.

Before and After
Cambridge | 2004

SCENE V. Another part of the forest.

Enter SILVIUS and PHEBE

SILVIUS
Sweet Phebe, do not scorn me; do not, Phebe;
Say that you love me not, but say not so
In bitterness. The common executioner,
Whose heart the accustom’d sight of death makes hard,
Falls not the axe upon the humbled neck
But first begs pardon: will you sterner be
Than he that dies and lives by bloody drops?

Enter ROSALIND, CELIA, and CORIN, behind

PHEBE
I would not be thy executioner;
I fly thee for I would not injure thee.
Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye:
‘Tis pretty, sure, and very probable
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers!
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart;
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.
Now counterfeit to swoon, why, now fall down
Or, if thou canst not, O for shame, for shame,
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers.
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
Some scar of it; lean but upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps. But now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,
Nor, I am sure, there is no force in eyes
That can do hurt.

SILVIUS
O dear Phebe,
If ever,–as that ever may be near,–
You meet in some fresh cheek the power of fancy,
Then shall you know the wounds invisible
That love’s keen arrows make.

PHEBE
But till that time
Come not thou near me: and when that time comes,
Afflict me with thy mocks, pity me not;
As till that time I shall not pity thee.

Definitions
Cambridge | 2004

PHEBE
I would not be thy executioner;
I fly thee for I would not injure thee.  pause   slowly?
Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye:      slowly?
‘Tis pretty, sure, and very probable
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers!  pause   carefully
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart;       slowly
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.   pause    slowly
Now counterfeit to swoon, why, now fall down  carefully
Or, if thou canst not, O for shame, for shame,   slowly
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers.  pause
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.  pause    slowly
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains   slowly? carefully
Some scar of it; lean but upon a rush,    slowly?
The cicatrice and capable impressure    carefully
Thy palm some moment keeps. But now mine eyes,   carefully slowly
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,
Nor, I am sure, there is no force in eyes   slowly
That can do hurt.                            slowly

Translation
Cambridge | 2004

PHEBE
I would not be thy executioner;
I fly thee for I would not injure thee.
Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye:
‘Tis pretty, sure, and very probable
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest things,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies,
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers!
Now I do frown on thee with all my heart;
And if mine eyes can wound, now let them kill thee.
Now counterfeit to swoon, why, now fall down
Or, if thou canst not, O for shame, for shame,
Lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers.
Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.
Scratch thee but with a pin, and there remains
Some scar of it; lean but upon a rush,
The cicatrice and capable impressure
Thy palm some moment keeps. But now mine eyes,
Which I have darted at thee, hurt thee not,
Nor, I am sure, there is no force in eyes
That can do hurt.

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