Shakespeare: As You Like It
Act V, Scene IV
Touchstone: Faith, we met, and found the quarrel was upon the seventh cause.
Jaques: But, for the seventh cause; how did you find the quarrel on the seventh cause?
Touchstone: Upon a lie seven times removed: thus, sir. I did dislike the cut of a certain courtier's beard: he sent me word,
if I said his beard was not cut well, he was in mind it was: this is called Retort Courteous.
If I sent him word again 'it was not well cut,' he would send me word, he cut it to please himself: this is called Quip Modest.
If again 'it was not well cut,' he disabled my judgement: this is called Reply Churlish.
If again 'it was not well cut,' he would answer, I spake not true: this is called Reproof Valiant.
If again 'it was not well cut,' he would say, I lied: this is called Counter-check Quarrelsome;
and so to the Lie Circumstantial
and the Lie Direct.
Jaques: And how oft did you say his beard was not well cut?
Touchstone: I durst go no further than the Lie Circumstantial, nor he durst not give me the Lie Direct; and so we measured swords and parted.
Jaques: Can you nominate in order now the degrees of the lie?
Touchstone: O sir, we quarrel in print, by the book; as you have books for good manners: I will name you the degrees.
The first, the Retort Courteous;
the second, the Quip Modest;
the third, the Reply Churlish;
the fourth, the Reproof Valiant;
the fifth, the Counter-check Quarrelsome;
the sixth, the Lie Circumstantial;
the seventh, the Lie Direct.
All these you may avoid but the Lie Direct; and you may avoid that too, with an If.
I knew when the seven justices could not take up a quarrel, but when the parties were met themselves, one of them thought but of an If as,
'If you said so, then I said so.'
and they shook hands and swore brothers.
Your If is the only peacemaker; much virtue in If.
Jaques: Is not this a rare fellow, my lord? he's as good as any thing and yet a fool.