Why the name 'Tree Tongue' ?


AS YOU LIKE IT
by W. Shakespeare

ACT TWO
SCENE i. The Forest of Arden

Enter DUKE SENIOR, AMIENS, and two or three LORDS, like foresters.

Duke S. Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Her feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference; as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say
'This is no flattery ; these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am'.
Sweet are the uses of adversity ;
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head ;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stone, and good in everything.
I would not change it.

Amiens.                    Happy is your Grace,
That can translate the stubborness of fortune
Into so quiet and so sweet a style.



A speech from Shakespeare's As You Like It full of famous phrases, book titles and sayings. The Duke has been usurped and banished from the court by his treacherous younger brother. Here he celebrates the beautiful simplicity of a life in exile in the forest. The elements speak to him, and later the trees, rivers and rocks join in too. Tree Tongue publishes those who have listened - to themselves and to the natural world around them - and now have something to report.


Where exactly is Amiens' comment meant to land? Is he congratulating the Duke on his happy acceptance of his situation, or is he saying the speech is just spin (e style)? Paradox and subtlety obscure the definitive answer, just as Tree Tongue publishes books by and for those for whom the journey itself is the goal, for whom the exploration itself is the discovery.