No, truly, for the truest poetry is the most feigning, and lovers are given to poetry, and what they swear in poetry may be said as lovers they do feign. (3.3.18–21)

Touchstone, the fool who serves in Duke Frederick’s court, attempts to woo Audrey, a simple goatherd. In his attempt, he tries to be poetic, but his words’ meanings fly over Audrey’s head. Here, after Audrey asks if the word poetical means truthful, Touchstone replies no, since the truest poetry uses feigning and artifice to achieve its ends. Touchstone, like many of Shakespeare’s fools, functions as a source of many insightful truths.

As the ox hath his bow, sir, the horse his curb, and the falcon her bells, so man hath his desires; and as pigeons bill, so wedlock would be nibbling. (3.3.79–82)

Touchstone speaks to Jaques, who has just asked the fool if he’s ready to get married, implying that it might not be a good idea. Touchstone gives a slightly ambiguous answer. At first glance, he seems to be saying that he wants to keep his sexual impulses in check. Just as an ox has his bow and a horse his curb, a man must have the “yoke” of wedlock to keep him on the right path. Yet upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that Touchstone is saying that his desires are the yoke, not marriage. In other words, he’s getting married because he’s controlled by his desire to have sex, and marriage makes sex lawful. Hence, just as “pigeons bill” (i.e., they stroke each other’s bills), so does wedlock ensure lustful “nibbling.”

A poor virgin, sir, an ill-favored thing, sir, but mine own. A poor humor of mine, sir, to take that that no man else will. (5.4.60–63)

Touchstone defends his choice of mate to Jaques. Touchstone acknowledges that, yes, Audrey the goatherd might be ugly and a virgin, but she is his alone, and this fact makes her special. Touchstone may be a fool, but he believes himself to be a reasonable fool. In fact, Touchstone does appear to be one of the more sensible characters in the play with regard to his attitudes on love. After all, he doesn’t view romance through rose-colored glasses.