Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cooking with Tender Buttons Food: Roastbeef. Stanzas 22-29. Discussion 6

THE BOOK ..........................-           TENDER BUTTONS
THE SUBBOOK ...................-           FOOD
THE SUBPOEM ..................-            Roastbeef
WORD COUNT (Total)……..-           1757
STANZA(S)............................-           37
THE LEADER........................-           THE STEINY ROAD POET

Here are “Roastbeef.” stanzas 22 through 29 with a 165-word count. Among the topics addressed in this post are: the beef between Gertrude and Leo Stein, Stein’s Objects versus Food strategies, Stein’s As You Like It influence, the alchemy of Stein’s colors, all topics of meat (roast beef and turkey) from its killing to its eating, and hearing bells.

Claiming nothing, not claiming anything, not a claim in everything, collecting claiming, all this makes a harmony, it even makes a succession.

Sincerely gracious one morning, sincerely graciously trembling, sincere in gracious eloping, all this makes a furnace and a blanket. All this shows quantity.

Like an eye, not so much more, not any searching, no compliments.

Please be the beef, please beef, pleasure is not wailing. Please beef, please be carved clear, please be a case of consideration.

Search a neglect. A sale, any greatness is a stall and there is no memory, there is no clear collection.

A satin sight, what is a trick, no trick is mountainous and the color, all the rush is in the blood.

Bargaining for a little, bargain for a touch, a liberty, an estrangement, a characteristic turkey.

Please spice, please no name, place a whole weight, sink into a standard rising, raise a circle, choose a right around, make the resonance accounted and gather green any collar.

Gather green any collar... sounds like gathering people of any stripe. As if everyone [including blue- and white-collared workers] is invited to the same table for the same meal.” Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo


The Steiny Road Poet begins the discussion for these stanzas with a biographical reading in keeping with what has been seen in the earlier stanzas.

Claiming nothing, not claiming anything, not a claim in everything, collecting claiming, all this makes a harmony, it even makes a succession. When Gertrude Stein’s brother Leo left 27 rue de Fleurus, they divided up things up but Leo took the lead. Steiny suspects that this stanza is in Gertrude’s voice as are the following stanzas. She had a hard time with Leo’s departure. They had been close and living together off and on since the family broke up and left Oakland, California, where they grew up.

Sincerely gracious one morning, sincerely graciously trembling, sincere in gracious eloping, all this makes a furnace and a blanket. All this shows quantity. In this stanza, Gertrude is talking about her elopement with Alice Toklas—how they were sleeping together creating loving heat (furnace) under their blanket. The statement seems to be directed to Leo as if Gertrude were trying to make him understand that her relationship with Alice has value (quantity) and this value supersedes the issue over the cost of having Alice in their shared home.

Like an eye, not so much more, not any searching, no compliments. The eye of this stanza might be a private eye or detective. Gertrude was always fond of detective stories. Gertrude may be reflecting on her brother’s behavior as he carefully examines what he wants to take away from the house.

Please be the beef, please beef, pleasure is not wailing. Please beef, please be carved clear, please be a case of consideration. Gertrude was conflicted over her brother leaving their shared home. He was critical of her work (beefing about it) and without him in the apartment, Gertrude would be free to work.

Search a neglect. A sale, any greatness is a stall and there is no memory, there is no clear collection. The key word in this stanza is collection, referring to their jointly owned modern art collection. Leo needed to sell much of what he took away from 27 rue de Fleurus.

A satin sight, what is a trick, no trick is mountainous and the color, all the rush is in the blood. In this stanza, Gertrude is reflecting on a piece of art in the collection and how she regrets that she will no longer be living with it.

Bargaining for a little, bargain for a touch, a liberty, an estrangement, a characteristic turkey. Perhaps this stanza also points to the Stein art collection and, in particular, Woman in a Hat, the portrait Matisse painted of his wife. Steiny thinks Madam Matisse’s hat suggests the head and body  of a turkey. Neither Gertrude nor Leo were super concerned about the retaining the paintings by Matisse. Gertrude was keen on those by Picasso and Leo of those by Renoir.

Please spice, please no name, place a whole weight, sink into a standard rising, raise a circle, choose a right around, make the resonance accounted and gather green any collar. Alice provided the spice in Gertrude’s life. To protect Alice in Tender Buttons, which is a love poem for her bride, Gertrude did not use Alice’s name though she pointed to it with her excessive use of the article “a.” Their union, frowned upon by Western standards, had no where to go but up. Holding up a wedding ring may be what raise a circle indicates. Gertrude wanted her partner to stand by her at all times and that is precisely what Alice did. The resonance accounted and gather green may refer to money with Gertrude’s point being that Alice, who had no money of her own, was worth whatever the cost.

Peter Treanor had a slightly different take on stanzas 22 through 25 that is also biographical:

After all the claiming (staking a claim to Alice) in stanza 22, things seem to heat up and become sincere and gracious and sensuous. It reads like somebody (GS?) wakes up one morning, trembling, eloping (or enveloping) in a hot fiery passionate furnace (of desire). The blanket makes me think they are maybe in bed or gives the impression of warmth and comfort. They look at each other (like an eye), no questioning or talking or searching for compliments. And it seems that things get very heated, please be the beef (cows and bulls and beef) seems very sexual and beef seems very masculine. The pleasure and wailing seem sexual and orgasmic too. There is pleading (please, please, please, please) and pleasure, and carving the beef seems sexual too, cut into the (my) flesh. It seems very hot and steamy to me, all that carving, biting and chewing of flesh.”

Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo responded:

"Claims are also verbal, poetic acts. That sense could be at play here too, how this production of sound and play not merely a process of cooking but also consumption. Maybe in the sense that the performance at the dining table (conversation, eating) forecasts the events of the bed.”


Treanor backed up to see the bigger picture:

“Reading Roastbeef. as a whole, there are certain words that are repeated [Treanor puts his commentary in regular font and bolds words from Roastbeef.] 

“first there is feeling
then there is a bit of change and difference
then considering
then kind
some supposing
choices and bones
and here there is claiming

“Feeling, considering, supposing, hope, and claiming all are states of mind or being. They seem to be being emphasized in the writing.

“Thinking, feeling, hearing (sound), difference, type ( kind), and change seem to be the framework (skeleton or bones) of the piece.”

Karren Alenier answered:

“I agree that ‘Roastbeef.’ is very state of mind and moving strongly to the emotional side.

“It is also clear that her writing strategy in ‘Food’ is different to the strategy she uses in ‘Objects.’  ‘Food’ may be harder because to appreciate it, the reader needs a wide experience of literature. The Stein scholars will say Stein doesn't do literary allusion but she sure as heck does a lot of pointing.”


Referring to stanza 26, Aguinaldo offered:

"Search a neglect sounds like fault-finding, and that process spills over to the market place. Where one finds food, I suppose. And greatness... where one finds ideas? From the quotidian and the neglected details of everyday life, maybe. 

"Collection has been repeated, and here, working as it does with memory and clear seems to suggest the word recollection. But this is the first instance, where memory is being made.”

Speaking to Dennis Aguinaldo, Alenier offered a tip-of-the-iceberg glimpse at work she did on showing how Shakespeare’s comic play As You Like It figures in to Tender Buttons:

“This stanza—well, really most of these stanzas—is/are making me take a deeper look at this bit of dialog from Shakespeare's As You Like It:”

Speak you so gently? Pardon me, I pray you:
I thought that all things had been savage here;
And therefore put I on the countenance
Of stern commandment. But whate'er you are
That in this desert inaccessible,
Under the shade of melancholy boughs,
Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time
If ever you have look'd on better days,
If ever been where bells have knoll'd to church,
If ever sat at any good man's feast,
If ever from your eyelids wiped a tear
And know what 'tis to pity and be pitied,
Let gentleness my strong enforcement be:
In the which hope I blush, and hide my sword.
True is it that we have seen better days,
And have with holy bell been knoll'd to church
And sat at good men's feasts and wiped our eyes
Of drops that sacred pity hath engender'd:
And therefore sit you down in gentleness
And take upon command what help we have
That to your wanting may be minister'd.
Then but forbear your food a little while,
Whiles, like a doe, I go to find my fawn
And give it food. There is an old poor man,
Who after me hath many a weary step
Limp'd in pure love: till he be first sufficed,
Oppress'd with two weak evils, age and hunger,
I will not touch a bit.

The tone of Roastbeef. stanzas 22-29 is pleading, prayerful, contrite.

“So there is Orlando who has eloped to the forest of Arden with his servant Adam but they are unprepared and without food. It's a terrible neglect of planning.” 

Steiny would also like to point out the repetition of the phrase “if ever” which has a dialectic authority and intonation. Stein does a lot of this in “Roastbeef.”, including this section where she repeats the word claiming or claim. A close look at As You Like It turns out to be roadmap for Tender Buttons in such matters as odd grammar, use of animals and color, pronouncement on social justice, inventive lexicon, gaming, sexual identity as well as particular strategies for repetition. For examples, see AS YOU LIKE IT Seen Through TENDER BUTTONS.


Alenier had more to say about Shakespeare’s influence on Tender Buttons:

I've taken to looking up words that Stein uses in the Shakespeare Dictionary and am discovering interesting things. This is part of what I'm doing in annotating the text of As You Like It with bits from Tender Buttons.

“But here it gives me pause to think that the reason Stein settled on simple Anglo-Saxon words comes from her reading of Shakespeare. 

“Here's a reference to furnace in Jaques speech that begins all the world's a stage:”

...And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow.

Treanor replied:

Ah, Karren, I see what you are doing now. I was wondering before on your previous post why you were putting such emphasis on one word being in both passages. But now the penny has dropped!  It feels here that there is a commonality in the way furnace is being used in both, so that's really interesting. So maybe there is a connection between the two pieces and she is....she is doing what? dipping into AYLI and scooping out words, using them in TB in the sense that they are used in AYLI? Using AYLI as a sort of source text.”

Thursday, October 22, 2015


AS YOU LIKE IT Seen Through TENDER BUTTONS was first published in Scene4 Magazine in a slightly different version. It bears repeating here in the middle of discussing "Roastbeef." because this is where the connection between As You Like It and Tender Buttons was solidified.

The Steiny Road Poet has experienced an epiphany about Gertrude Stein’s interest in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. While it is no secret that Stein quoted almost a full page of this play as epigraph to her unabashed lesbian novel Q.E.D., the close connection of Tender Buttons, a work most readers say is Stein’s hardest to access, to As You Like It is a revelation.

On the surface, story and structure of As You Like It was undoubtedly appealing to Gertrude Stein. This circa 1599 comedy focuses on Rosalind, a young woman who simultaneously is beloved too well by her girl cousin Celia and hated by her uncle, father of Celia and the enemy of Rosalind’s father. To escape his certain death sentence, Rosalind is persuaded by Celia to runaway into the Arden Forest to look for Rosalind’s father. Rosalind puts on male clothing. Both girls change their names. Just prior to the banishment, Rosalind has fallen in love with Orlando and he with her. In Arden Forest, the girls find Orlando’s love poems about Rosalind tacked to the trees. Pretty soon, a young shepherdess has fallen in love with the disguised Rosalind, and Rosalind as Ganymede has engaged Orlando and persuaded him that he should pretend Ganymede is Rosalind to perfect his ability to express his love for her. The two gender confusing scenarios ultimately are resolved. And, most importantly, Shakespeare gives Rosalind, with her epilogue, the last words of the play. For Shakespeare, this emphasis on women was revolutionary. But also keep in mind that all the parts in Shakespeare’s time were played by men or boys who sometimes had to masquerade as women or girls.

Is As You Like It the only source of Stein’s inspiration for Tender Buttons? No, a vigilant reader, for example, can see hints of other Shakespeare plays, the poetry of Walt Whitman, and The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. Most Stein scholars believe that Stein does not make literary allusions in her work. What Stein does is in keeping with her “system to pointing” that she establishes in “A carafe, that is a blind glass.”, the opening subpoem of Tender Buttons. Think of Stein’s system to pointing as a landscape seeded with objects that suggest inspirational sources.

The As You Like It influences on Tender Buttons that Steiny sees deal with sexuality, identity, naming, social justice, word play, use of particular words, and strategies for approaching such off-limits subjects as religion. In Stein’s lecture “Poetry and Grammar” (published in Lectures in America by Gertrude Stein, Boston: Beacon Press, 1957. pp. 236), she directly attributes Shakespeare’s influence on Tender Buttons relative to her struggle with nouns and naming things:

“I had always been very impressed from the time that I was very young by having had it told me and then afterwards feeling it myself that Shakespeare in the forest of Arden had created a forest without mentioning the things that make a forest. You feel it all but he does not name names.

“Now that was thing I too felt in me the need of making it be a thing that could be named without using its name.”

While it is not entirely understandable why Stein says Shakespeare has created a forest without mentioning the things that make a forest, it is clear that Stein is referring to As You Like It by naming the forest of Arden, which Shakespeare uses only in this particular play. Possibly Stein means the forest of Arden is a metaphor for escaping the society of the time and, in that kind of forest, things could not be named without dire consequence.

Steiny will highlight words that are important to the text and literary strategy of Tender Buttons as well as gloss certain aspects of Shakespeare’s story as it pertains to Stein’s text and personal biography. This look at the text of As You Like It as a seed text for Tender Buttons is not comprehensive, but should serve as platform for better understanding Stein’s strategies in Tender Buttons.

SCENE I. Orchard of Oliver’s house.


As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion 
bequeathed me by will but poor a thousand crowns, 
and, as thou sayest, charged my brother, on his 
blessing, to breed me well: and there begins my 
sadness. My brother Jaques he keeps at school, and 
report speaks goldenly of his profit: for my part,
he keeps me rustically at home, or, to speak more 
properly, stays me here at home unkept; for 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.

Orlando is a brother kept under wraps and not allowed his proper place at court. This opening speech by Orlando uses two words Stein pays attention to in Tender Buttons: “fashion: and “ox” (cattle, cows) and points to the subject of breeding which will be addressed a little further along in this scene.

Yonder comes my master, your brother.
Go apart, Adam, and thou shalt hear how he will shake me up.
Now, sir! what make you here?
Nothing: I am not taught to make any thing.
What mar you then, sir?
Marry, sir, I am helping you to mar that which God 
made, a poor unworthy brother of yours, with idleness. 
Marry, sir, be better employed, and be naught awhile. 
Shall I keep your hogs and eat husks with them? 
What prodigal portion have I spent, that I should
come to such penury?
Know you where your are, sir?
O, sir, very well; here in your orchard.
Know you before whom, sir?
Ay, better than him I am before knows me. I know
you are my eldest brother; and, in the gentle
condition of blood, you should so know me. The 

courtesy of nations allows you my better, in that
you are the first-born; but the same tradition
takes not away my blood, were there twenty brothers 
betwixt us: I have as much of my father in me as 
you; albeit, I confess, your coming before me is 
nearer to his reverence.
What, boy!
Come, come, elder brother, you are too young in this.
Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain?
I am no villain; I am the youngest son of Sir
Rowland de Boys; he was my father, and he is thrice
a villain that says such a father begot villains.
Wert thou not my brother, I would not take this hand
from thy throat till this other had pulled out thy
tongue for saying so: thou hast railed on thyself.
Sweet masters, be patient: for your father's 
remembrance, be at accord.
Let me go, I say.
I will not, till I please: you shall hear me. My
father charged you in his will to give me good
education: you have trained me like a peasant,
obscuring and hiding from me all gentleman-like
qualities. The spirit of my father grows strong in
me, and I will no longer endure it: 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.
And what wilt thou do? beg, when that is spent?
Well, sir, get you in: I will not long be troubled
with you; you shall have some part of your will: I
pray you, leave me.
I will no further offend you than becomes me for my good. 
Get you with him, you old dog.
Is 'old dog' my reward? Most true, I have lost my
teeth in your service. God be with my old master!
he would not have spoke such a word.

The scene of the two brothers arguing brings to mind Gertrude and her older brother Leo during the period when Gertrude was writing Tender Buttons. Education was at issue. Leo thought Gertrude should use her intelligence in a better way than writing Tender Buttons and not be influenced by Picasso and his cubist art, which Leo detested.

During the period leading to the writing of Tender Buttons, Gertrude and Leo had dressed in similar ways—she, in brown corduroy skirt and jacket or robe and he, in brown corduroy pants and jacket and both wearing sandals). This made people they knew gossip. Folks said they looked like monastic friars and referred to them as the Stein Frères (brothers).

Is it even so? begin you to grow upon me? I will 
physic your rankness, and yet give no thousand 
crowns neither. Holla, Dennis!
Calls your worship?
Was not Charles, the duke's wrestler, here to speak with me?
So please you, he is here at the door and importunes 
access to you.
Call him in.
'Twill be a good way; and to-morrow the wrestling is.
Good morrow to your worship.
Good Monsieur Charles, what's the new news at the new court?
There's no news at the court, sir, but the old news: 
that is, the old duke is banished by his younger 
brother the new duke; and three or four loving lords
have put themselves into voluntary exile with him, 
whose lands and revenues enrich the new duke; 
therefore he gives them good leave to wander.

Here we are introduced to a second set of warring brothers.

Can you tell if Rosalind, the duke's daughter, be 
banished with her father?
O, no; for the duke's daughter, her cousin, so loves 
her, being ever from their cradles bred together, 
that she would have followed her exile, or have died 
to stay behind her. She is at the court, and no
less beloved of her uncle than his own daughter; and 
never two ladies loved as they do.

The issue of breeding is raised a second time. Orlando is outraged that his brother Oliver has banished him to the pig farm instead of being treated in a manner that befits his breeding (i.e. his father’s station at court). Here, Rosalind is not banished with her deposed father because the reigning duke’s daughter was bred with her cousin and loves her dearly, so dearly that Rosalind’s absence would adversely affect the life of her cousin.

In Tender Buttons, breeding is at stake relative to proper decorum and what society permits. In loving Alice Toklas, Gertrude Stein is breaching the laws of accepted social behavior and her love for Toklas is much like Celia’s love for Rosalind—she cannot live without her. Also the line, never two ladies loved as they do, must have excited Stein to her core. In Shakespeare, Stein finds an ally for her same-sex choice.

Where will the old duke live?
They say he is already in the forest of Arden, and
a many merry men with him; and there they live like 

the old Robin Hood of England: they say many young 
gentlemen flock to him every day, and fleet the time 
carelessly, as they did in the golden world.
What, you wrestle to-morrow before the new duke? 
Marry, do I, sir; and I came to acquaint you with a 
matter. I am given, sir, secretly to understand
that your younger brother Orlando hath a disposition 

to come in disguised against me to try a fall.
To-morrow, sir, I wrestle for my credit; and he that 
escapes me without some broken limb shall acquit him 
well. Your brother is but young and tender; and,
for your love, I would be loath to foil him, as I
must, for my own honour, if he come in: therefore,
out of my love to you, I came hither to acquaint you 

withal, that either you might stay him from his 
intendment or brook such disgrace well as he shall
run into, in that it is a thing of his own search
and altogether against my will.

Orlando plans to come in disguise to wrestle against his brother’s man Charles. The wrestling match takes place before the new reigning duke. This scene may have resonated strongly with Gertrude Stein because throughout her life up to 1913, she had been very close to her brother Leo. When he decided to quit his studies at Johns Hopkins University where she was studying medicine from 1899 to 1903??, she took up boxing as a way to ease her loneliness.

Charles, I thank thee for thy love to me, which
thou shalt find I will most kindly requite. I had
myself notice of my brother's purpose herein and
have by underhand means laboured to dissuade him from 

it, but he is resolute. I'll tell thee, Charles:
it is the stubbornest young fellow of France, full
of ambition, an envious emulator of every man's 

good parts, a secret and villanous contriver against 
me his natural brother: therefore use thy
discretion; I had as lief thou didst break his neck
as his finger. And thou wert best look to't; for if
thou dost him any slight disgrace or if he do not 

mightily grace himself on thee, he will practise 
against thee by poison, entrap thee by some 
treacherous device and never leave thee till he
hath ta'en thy life by some indirect means or other; f

or, I assure thee, and almost with tears I speak
it, there is not one so young and so villanous this
day living. I speak but brotherly of him; but
should I anatomize him to thee as he is, I must
blush and weep and thou must look pale and wonder. 

I am heartily glad I came hither to you. If he come 
to-morrow, I'll give him his payment: if ever he go 
alone again, I'll never wrestle for prize more: and
so God keep your worship!
Farewell, good Charles.
Now will I stir this gamester: I hope I shall see
an end of him; for my soul, yet I know not why, 

hates nothing more than he. Yet he's gentle, never 
schooled and yet learned, full of noble device, of 
all sorts enchantingly beloved, and indeed so much i
n the heart of the world, and especially of my own 
people, who best know him, that I am altogether 
misprised: but it shall not be so long; this
wrestler shall clear all: nothing remains but that
I kindle the boy thither; which now I'll go about.


Gaming is prevalent throughout Tender Buttons with references to card and parlor games like pocket billiards. In Tender Buttons, Stein is the gamester who exhibits various tricks of language and writing.

SCENE II. Lawn before the Duke’s palace.

I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be merry.

Tender Buttons opens “A kind in glass and a cousin, a spectacle and nothing strange.” The establishment of kissing cousins in As You Like It might be seen as Rosalind representing Gertrude Stein (“Rose is a rose is a rose” is Stein’s emblematic phrase) and Celia representing Alice Toklas (C-e-l-i-a anagrammatically spells A-l-i-c-e).

Dear Celia, I show more mirth than I am mistress of; 
and would you yet I were merrier? Unless you could 
teach me to forget a banished father, you must not 
learn me how to remember any extraordinary pleasure. 
Herein I see thou lovest me not with the full weight 
that I love thee. If my uncle, thy banished father, 
had banished thy uncle, the duke my father, so thou 
hadst been still with me, I could have taught my 
love to take thy father for mine: so wouldst thou,
if the truth of thy love to me were so righteously
tempered as mine is to thee.

Toklas spurned the “love from,” or rather need of, her father when she decided to “marry” Stein and stay in Paris as opposed to going back to her father’s home in San Francisco. Toklas proved until her death that she was completely dedicated to Stein and Stein’s work.

Well, I will forget the condition of my estate, to 
rejoice in yours.
You know my father hath no child but I, nor none is l
ike to have: and, truly, when he dies, thou shalt
be his heir, for what he hath taken away from thy 
father perforce, I will render thee again in 
affection; by mine honour, I will; and when I break 
that oath, let me turn monster: therefore, my 
sweet Rose, my dear Rose, be merry. 
From henceforth I will, coz, and devise sports. Let 
me see; what think you of falling in love?
Marry, I prithee, do, to make sport withal: but
love no man in good earnest; nor no further in sport 
neither than with safety of a pure blush thou mayst 
in honour come off again.

Here again comes the subject of games and love is a popular sport that Rosalind flirtatiously addresses with her girl cousin. Celia says she “love[s] no man in good earnest.” Subpoem 7 of Tender Buttons Objects reads:

A charm a single charm is doubtful. If the red is rose and there is a gate surrounding it, if inside is let in and there places change then certainly something is upright. It is earnest.

This subpoem seems to address Rosalind (by name—rose) and her plight directly even to Rosalind addressing Celia’s scenario if the tables were turned (if inside is let in and there places change) what would happen to them if their fathers’ roles were reversed.

What shall be our sport, then?
Let us sit and mock the good housewife Fortune from
her wheel, that her gifts may henceforth be bestowed equally.
I would we could do so, for her benefits are
mightily misplaced, and the bountiful blind woman 

doth most mistake in her gifts to women.
'Tis true; for those that she makes fair she scarce 
makes honest, and those that she makes honest she 
makes very ill-favouredly.
Nay, now thou goest from Fortune's office to 
Nature's: Fortune reigns in gifts of the world,
not in the lineaments of Nature.

No? when Nature hath made a fair creature, may she 
not by Fortune fall into the fire? Though Nature
hath given us wit to flout at Fortune, hath not
Fortune sent in this fool to cut off the argument? 

Indeed, there is Fortune too hard for Nature, when 
Fortune makes Nature's natural the cutter-off of 
Nature's wit.

Words like "cutter-off" must have had profound effect on Stein. Here is a noun with an active sense incorporated. Steiny sees Gertrude Stein taking her permission from such constructions. For example, Stein's title "It was black, black took." (from Objects section, the 57th subpoem) that makes the past tense of take (took) a noun.

Peradventure this is not Fortune's work neither, but 
Nature's; who perceiveth our natural wits too dull
to reason of such goddesses and hath sent this 

natural for our whetstone; for always the dullness of 
the fool is the whetstone of the wits. How now,
wit! whither wander you?
Mistress, you must come away to your father.
Were you made the messenger?
No, by mine honour, but I was bid to come for you.
Where learned you that oath, fool?
Of a certain knight that swore by his honour they
were good pancakes and swore by his honour the 

mustard was naught: now I'll stand to it, the
pancakes were naught and the mustard was good, and 

yet was not the knight forsworn.
How prove you that, in the great heap of your 
Ay, marry, now unmuzzle your wisdom. 
Stand you both forth now: stroke your chins, and 
swear by your beards that I am a knave.

The game of crossing gender lines begins here with Touchstone, the court fool. Stein considered herself a male persona and so Tender Buttons, the covert love story of Stein and Toklas plays out in language versus body manifestations (i.e. Stein has no beard, no male sexual organs).

By our beards, if we had them, thou art.
By my knavery, if I had it, then I were; but if you 
swear by that that is not, you are not forsworn: no 
more was this knight swearing by his honour, for he 
never had any; or if he had, he had sworn it away 
before ever he saw those pancakes or that mustard. CELIA
Prithee, who is't that thou meanest?
One that old Frederick, your father, loves.
My father's love is enough to honour him: enough! 
speak no more of him; you'll be whipped for taxation 
one of these days.
The more pity, that fools may not speak wisely what 
wise men do foolishly.
By my troth, thou sayest true; for since the little
wit that fools have was silenced, the little foolery
that wise men have makes a great show. Here comes 

Monsieur Le Beau.
With his mouth full of news.
Which he will put on us, as pigeons feed their young. 
Then shall we be news-crammed.
All the better; we shall be the more marketable.
Bon jour, Monsieur Le Beau: what's the news?
Fair princess, you have lost much good sport.
Sport! of what colour?
What colour, madam! how shall I answer you?
As wit and fortune will.
Or as the Destinies decree.
Well said: that was laid on with a trowel.
Nay, if I keep not my rank,--
Thou losest thy old smell.
You amaze me, ladies: I would have told you of good 
wrestling, which you have lost the sight of. 
You tell us the manner of the wrestling.
I will tell you the beginning; and, if it please
your ladyships, you may see the end; for the best is
yet to do; and here, where you are, they are coming
to perform it.
Well, the beginning, that is dead and buried.
There comes an old man and his three sons,--
I could match this beginning with an old tale.
Three proper young men, of excellent growth and presence. 
With bills on their necks, 'Be it known unto all men
by these presents.'
The eldest of the three wrestled with Charles, the
duke's wrestler; which Charles in a moment threw him
and broke three of his ribs, that there is little
hope of life in him: so he served the second, and
so the third. Yonder they lie; the poor old man, 
their father, making such pitiful dole over them t
hat all the beholders take his part with weeping. 
But what is the sport, monsieur, that the ladies 
have lost?
Why, this that I speak of.
Thus men may grow wiser every day: it is the first 
time that ever I heard breaking of ribs was sport 
for ladies.
Or I, I promise thee.
But is there any else longs to see this broken music 
in his sides? is there yet another dotes upon 
rib-breaking? Shall we see this wrestling, cousin? 
You must, if you stay here; for here is the place 
appointed for the wrestling, and they are ready to 
perform it.
Yonder, sure, they are coming: let us now stay and see it.
Flourish. Enter DUKE FREDERICK, Lords, ORLANDO, CHARLES, and Attendants
Come on: since the youth will not be entreated, his 
own peril on his forwardness.
Is yonder the man?
Even he, madam.
Alas, he is too young! yet he looks successfully.
How now, daughter and cousin! are you crept hither 
to see the wrestling?
Ay, my liege, so please you give us leave.
You will take little delight in it, I can tell you;
there is such odds in the man. In pity of the 
challenger's youth I would fain dissuade him, but he
will not be entreated. Speak to him, ladies; see if
you can move him.
Call him hither, good Monsieur Le Beau.
Do so: I'll not be by.
Monsieur the challenger, the princesses call for you. 
I attend them with all respect and duty.
Young man, have you challenged Charles the wrestler? 
No, fair princess; he is the general challenger: I
come but in, as others do, to try with him the
strength of my youth.
Young gentleman, 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. We pray you, for your own sake, to 
embrace your own safety and give over this attempt. 
Do, young sir; your reputation shall not therefore
be misprised: we will make it our suit to the duke
that the wrestling might not go forward.
I beseech you, punish me not with your hard
thoughts; wherein I confess me much guilty, to deny
so fair and excellent ladies any thing. But let
your fair eyes and gentle wishes go with me to my
trial: wherein if I be foiled, there is but one
shamed that was never gracious; if killed, but one
dead that was willing to be so: 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.
The little strength that I have, I would it were with you. 
And mine, to eke out hers.
Fare you well: pray heaven I be deceived in you!
Your heart's desires be with you!
Come, where is this young gallant that is so
desirous to lie with his mother earth?
Ready, sir; but his will hath in it a more modest working. 
You shall try but one fall.
No, I warrant your grace, you shall not entreat him 
to a second, that have so mightily persuaded him 
from a first.
An you mean to mock me after, you should not have 
mocked me before: but come your ways. 
Now Hercules be thy speed, young man!
I would I were invisible, to catch the strong 
fellow by the leg.
They wrestle
O excellent young man!
If I had a thunderbolt in mine eye, I can tell who 
should down.
Shout. CHARLES is thrown
No more, no more.
Yes, I beseech your grace: I am not yet well breathed.
How dost thou, Charles?
He cannot speak, my lord.
Bear him away. What is thy name, young man?
Orlando, my liege; the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys.
I would thou hadst been son to some man else:
The world esteem'd thy father honourable,
But I did find him still mine enemy:
Thou shouldst have better pleased me with this deed, 

Hadst thou descended from another house.
But fare thee well; thou art a gallant youth:
I would thou hadst told me of another father.

Exeunt DUKE FREDERICK, train, and LE BEAU
Were I my father, coz, would I do this?
I am more proud to be Sir Rowland's son,
His youngest son; and would not change that calling, 

To be adopted heir to Frederick.
My father loved Sir Rowland as his soul,
And all the world was of my father's mind:
Had I before known this young man his son,
I should have given him tears unto entreaties,
Ere he should thus have ventured.
Gentle cousin,
Let us go thank him and encourage him:
My father's rough and envious disposition
Sticks me at heart. Sir, you have well deserved:
If you do keep your promises in love
But justly, as you have exceeded all promise,
Your mistress shall be happy.
Giving him a chain from her neck
Wear this for me, one out of suits with fortune,
That could give more, but that her hand lacks means. 

Shall we go, coz?
Ay. Fare you well, fair gentleman.
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.
He calls us back: my pride fell with my fortunes; 
I'll ask him what he would. Did you call, sir?
Sir, you have wrestled well and overthrown 
More than your enemies.
Will you go, coz?
Have with you. Fare you well.
What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue? 
I cannot speak to her, yet she urged conference.
O poor Orlando, thou art overthrown!
Or Charles or something weaker masters thee.

Re-enter LE BEAU
Good sir, I do in friendship counsel you
To leave this place. Albeit you have deserved 

High commendation, true applause and love, 
Yet such is now the duke's condition
That he misconstrues all that you have done. 

The duke is humorous; what he is indeed, 
More suits you to conceive than I to speak of. 
I thank you, sir: and, pray you, tell me this: 
Which of the two was daughter of the duke 
That here was at the wrestling?
Neither his daughter, if we judge by manners; 
But yet indeed the lesser is his daughter
The other is daughter to the banish'd duke, 

And here detain'd by her usurping uncle,
To keep his daughter company; whose loves
Are dearer than the natural bond of sisters. 
But I can tell you that of late this duke
Hath ta'en displeasure 'gainst his gentle niece, 
Grounded upon no other argument
But that the people praise her for her virtues 

And pity her for her good father's sake;
And, on my life, his malice 'gainst the lady 
Will suddenly break forth. Sir, fare you well: 
Hereafter, in a better world than this,
I shall desire more love and knowledge of you.

“Book.” the 55th subpoem of Tender Buttons “Objects speaks to numerous passages of As You Like It. Here the last stanza of “Book.” resonates:

Please a plate, put a match to the seam and really then really then, really then it is a remark that joins many many lead games. It is a sister and sister and a flower and a flower and a dog and a colored sky a sky colored grey and nearly that nearly that let.

If we read this passage using a Shakespearean lexicon, the stanza might be translated as: Please give me plate-armor, because a match (the kind that produces fire) struck and held to the seam (grease or fat) has ignited the game of love where two beautiful women hunt with their dog as the sunsets and they have come upon an obstacle. Notice mention of a dog two lines into Scene iii below. Also the match in Stein’s text could very well be Orlando wrestling Charles, if one thinks of Orlando as an alter ego of Rosalind, the stand in for Stein.

I rest much bounden to you: fare you well.
Thus must I from the smoke into the smother; 
From tyrant duke unto a tyrant brother:
But heavenly Rosalind!


SCENE III. A room in the palace.

Why, cousin! why, Rosalind! Cupid have mercy! not a word?
Not one to throw at a dog.
No, thy words are too precious to be cast away upon
curs; throw some of them at me; come, lame me with reasons. 

Then there were two cousins laid up; when the one
should be lamed with reasons and the other mad
without any.
But is all this for your father?
No, some of it is for my child's father. O, how f
ull of briers is this working-day world!
They are but burs, cousin, thrown upon thee in 
holiday foolery: if we walk not in the trodden 
paths our very petticoats will catch them.

Dressing in layers of petticoats was problematic for women from Shakespeare’s time through the Victorian Period. Petticoats added weight and bulk and restricted movement of the body. One contingent of the Rational Dress Reform movement was to exchange petticoats for bloomers so that women could easily do such things as ride bicycles. The Rational Dress Reform also believed in liberation of the waist and recommended doing away with corsets.

Topically, petticoat and waist show up as “A petticoat.” and “A waist.”, subpoems 35 and 36 of Tender Buttons “Objects.” Both subpoems use the word disgrace. In women’s fashion of Stein’s day, having a cinched in waist and wearing frilly petticoats was a form of grace. Here is “A petticoat.” in its entirety:

A light white, a disgrace, an ink spot, a rosy charm.

Here is the last sentence of the fourth stanza of “A waist.”:

A country climb is the best disgrace, a couple of practices any of them in order is so left.

For Shakespeare’s purpose, this exchange sets up Rosalind’s decision to flee in the disguise of male clothing.

I could shake them off my coat: these burs are in my heart.
Hem them away.
I would try, if I could cry 'hem' and have him.
Come, come, wrestle with thy affections.
O, they take the part of a better wrestler than myself!
O, a good wish upon you! you will try in time, in 
despite of a fall. But, turning these jests out of 
service, let us talk in good earnest: is it
possible, on such a sudden, you should fall into so 
strong a liking with old Sir Rowland's youngest son? 
The duke my father loved his father dearly.
Doth it therefore ensue that you should love his son 
dearly? By this kind of chase, I should hate him,
for my father hated his father dearly; yet I hate
not Orlando.

No, faith, hate him not, for my sake.
Why should I not? doth he not deserve well?
Let me love him for that, and do you love him 
because I do. Look, here comes the duke. 
With his eyes full of anger.
Enter DUKE FREDERICK, with Lords
Mistress, dispatch you with your safest haste 
And get you from our court.
Me, uncle?
You, cousin
Within these ten days if that thou be'st found 

So near our public court as twenty miles,
Thou diest for it.
I do beseech your grace,
Let me the knowledge of my fault bear with me: 

If with myself I hold intelligence
Or have acquaintance with mine own desires, 

If that I do not dream or be not frantic,--
As I do trust I am not--then, dear uncle,
Never so much as in a thought unborn
Did I offend your highness.
Thus do all traitors:
If their purgation did consist in words,
They are as innocent as grace itself:
Let it suffice thee that I trust thee not. 

Yet your mistrust cannot make me a traitor: 
Tell me whereon the likelihood depends. 
Thou art thy father's daughter; there's enough. 
So was I when your highness took his dukedom; 
So was I when your highness banish'd him: 
Treason is not inherited, my lord;
Or, if we did derive it from our friends,

What's that to me? my father was no traitor: 
Then, good my liege, mistake me not so much 
To think my poverty is treacherous.
Dear sovereign, hear me speak.
Ay, Celia; we stay'd her for your sake,
Else had she with her father ranged along. 

I did not then entreat to have her stay;
It was your pleasure and your own remorse: I

 was too young that time to value her;
But now I know her: if she be a traitor,
Why so am I; we still have slept together,
Rose at an instant, learn'd, play'd, eat together
And wheresoever we went, like Juno's swans,
Still we went coupled and inseparable.

Union is a major theme of As You Like It as well as Tender Buttons. Shakespeare drives this home with his phrase “Rose at an instant,” which means the two cousin woke up together, but also suggests that Celia is so bonded with Rosalind she unites with Rose and throughout the play, except for one scene, if Rosalind is on stage, so is Celia.
Shakespeare gets it wrong about the swans—sure swans usually mate for life, but it was Venus, Goddess of Love who had a pair of swans pulling her chariot. In “A substance in a cushion.” from Tender Buttons “Objects,” Stein writes:

A seal and matches and a swan and ivy and a suit.

Thumbing through Shakespeare’s dictionary, seal, match, and suit have similar definitions that relate to an agreement between two parties: seal—a pledge or promise, match—a contract or agreement, and suit—a formal request or petition. According to mythology, ivy was used in the poet Bacchus’ crown and boiled ivy leaves were supposed to ward of drunkenness. According to Greek tradition, an ivy wreath is presented to newly married persons as an emblem of fidelity. Therefore this cryptic line by Stein could translate to issues about union.

Also the fact that some of Stein’s word better translate using Shakespeare’s lexicon reinforces Stein’s strategy to employ simple Anglo-Saxon words in her writing.

She is too subtle for thee; and her smoothness, 
Her very silence and her patience
Speak to the people, and they pity her.
Thou art a fool: she robs thee of thy name;

And thou wilt show more bright and seem more virtuous 
When she is gone. Then open not thy lips:
Firm and irrevocable is my doom
Which I have pass'd upon her; she is banish'd.

Leo Stein counseled his sister that she should not persists with this idea of being a couple with Alice Toklas because the union would drag down Gertrude and rober her of her good name.

Pronounce that sentence then on me, my liege: 
I cannot live out of her company.
You are a fool. You, niece, provide yourself:
If you outstay the time, upon mine honour, 
And in the greatness of my word, you die.
Exeunt DUKE FREDERICK and Lords
O my poor Rosalind, whither wilt thou go?
Wilt thou change fathers? I will give thee mine.
I charge thee, be not thou more grieved than I am. 

I have more cause.
Thou hast not, cousin;
Prithee be cheerful: know'st thou not, the duke 

Hath banish'd me, his daughter?
That he hath not.
No, hath not? Rosalind lacks then the love
Which teacheth thee that
thou and I am one:
Shall we be sunder'd? shall we part, sweet girl? 

No: let my father seek another heir.
Therefore devise with me how we may fly, 

Whither to go and what to bear with us;
And do not seek to take your change upon you, 

To bear your griefs yourself and leave me out; 
For, by this heaven, now at our sorrows pale,
Say what thou canst, I'll go along with thee.

Besides being a covert love poem, Tender Buttons is about Stein devising a new grammar. Shakespeare’s line, “thou and I am one,” uses a singular verb (as oppose to the plural art or are) as if to emphasis the aspect of union and becoming one. One example of Stein’s breach of singular plural grammar is her subpoem title “Suppose an eyes.” as opposed to “Suppose an eye.” (singular). Usually Stein’s breaches are used to upset expectations so that her audience will pay attention to the word choices and hear the words anew.

Why, whither shall we go?
To seek my uncle in the forest of Arden.
Alas, what danger will it be to us,
Maids as we are, to travel forth so far! 

Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold. 
I'll put myself in poor and mean attire
And with a kind of umber smirch my face; 

The like do you: so shall we pass along 
And never stir assailants.
Were it not better,
Because that I am more than common tall,
That I did suit me all points like a man?
A gallant curtle-axe upon my thigh,
A boar-spear in my hand; and--in my heart
Lie there what hidden woman's fear there will-- 

We'll have a swashing and a martial outside,
As many other mannish cowards have
That do outface it with their semblances.
What shall I call thee when thou art a man? 
I'll have no worse a name than Jove's own page; 
And therefore look you call me Ganymede.
But what will you be call'd?
Something that hath a reference to my state
No longer Celia, but Aliena.

Here Rosalind and Celia decide to go undercover, including changing their names. Stein has a lot to say about names in her Lectures in America “Poetry and Grammar” essay where she attempts to teach her audience how to read Tender Buttons. She said a person in love always has a lot of names for the beloved. So a love poem is going to be populated by a lot of nouns, but Stein’s goal was to get beyond the noun, which had no life in it. Celia choses the runaway moniker Aliena because she wants the name to reference her state of being and that would be someone who is alienated. In this case, the name takes on an actionable stance, something that must have caught Stein’s attention.

But, cousin, what if we assay'd to steal
The clownish fool out of your father's court? 

Would he not be a comfort to our travel? 
He'll go along o'er the wide world with me; 
Leave me alone to woo him. Let's away, 
And get our jewels and our wealth together, 
Devise the fittest time and safest way
To hide us from pursuit that will be made 

After my flight. Now go we in content
To liberty and not to banishment.