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Home -> William Shakespeare -> The Winter's Tale -> Act IV. Scene 4.

The Winter's Tale - Act IV. Scene 4.

1. Persons Represented

2. Act I. Scene 1.

3. Act I. Scene 2.

4. Act II. Scene 1.

5. Act II. Scene 2.

6. Act II. Scene 3.

7. Act III. Scene 1.

8. Act III. Scene 2.

9. Act III. Scene 3.

10. Act IV. Scene 1.

11. Act IV. Scene 2.

12. Act IV. Scene 3.

13. Act IV. Scene 4.

14. Act V. Scene 1.

15. Act V. Scene 2.

16. Act V. Scene 3.

SCENE IV. The same. A Shepherd's Cottage.


These your unusual weeds to each part of you
Do give a life,--no shepherdess, but Flora
Peering in April's front. This your sheep-shearing
Is as a meeting of the petty gods,
And you the queen on't.

Sir, my gracious lord,
To chide at your extremes it not becomes me,--
O, pardon that I name them!--your high self,
The gracious mark o' the land, you have obscur'd
With a swain's wearing; and me, poor lowly maid,
Most goddess-like prank'd up. But that our feasts
In every mess have folly, and the feeders
Digest it with a custom, I should blush
To see you so attir'd; swoon, I think,
To show myself a glass.

I bless the time
When my good falcon made her flight across
Thy father's ground.

Now Jove afford you cause!
To me the difference forges dread: your greatness
Hath not been us'd to fear. Even now I tremble
To think your father, by some accident,
Should pass this way, as you did. O, the fates!
How would he look to see his work, so noble,
Vilely bound up? What would he say? Or how
Should I, in these my borrow'd flaunts, behold
The sternness of his presence?

Nothing but jollity. The gods themselves,
Humbling their deities to love, have taken
The shapes of beasts upon them: Jupiter
Became a bull and bellow'd; the green Neptune
A ram and bleated; and the fire-rob'd god,
Golden Apollo, a poor humble swain,
As I seem now:--their transformations
Were never for a piece of beauty rarer,--
Nor in a way so chaste, since my desires
Run not before mine honour, nor my lusts
Burn hotter than my faith.

O, but, sir,
Your resolution cannot hold when 'tis
Oppos'd, as it must be, by the power of the king:
One of these two must be necessities,
Which then will speak, that you must change this purpose,
Or I my life.

Thou dearest Perdita,
With these forc'd thoughts, I pr'ythee, darken not
The mirth o' the feast: or I'll be thine, my fair,
Or not my father's; for I cannot be
Mine own, nor anything to any, if
I be not thine: to this I am most constant,
Though destiny say no. Be merry, gentle;
Strangle such thoughts as these with any thing
That you behold the while. Your guests are coming:
Lift up your countenance, as it were the day
Of celebration of that nuptial which
We two have sworn shall come.

O lady Fortune,
Stand you auspicious!

See, your guests approach:
Address yourself to entertain them sprightly,
And let's be red with mirth.

[Enter Shepherd, with POLIXENES and CAMILLO, disguised; CLOWN,
MOPSA, DORCAS, with others.]

Fie, daughter! When my old wife liv'd, upon
This day she was both pantler, butler, cook;
Both dame and servant; welcom'd all; serv'd all;
Would sing her song and dance her turn; now here
At upper end o' the table, now i' the middle;
On his shoulder, and his; her face o' fire
With labour, and the thing she took to quench it
She would to each one sip. You are retir'd,
As if you were a feasted one, and not
The hostess of the meeting: pray you, bid
These unknown friends to us welcome, for it is
A way to make us better friends, more known.
Come, quench your blushes, and present yourself
That which you are, mistress o' the feast: come on,
And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing,
As your good flock shall prosper.

[To POLIXENES.] Sir, welcome!
It is my father's will I should take on me
The hostess-ship o' the day:--[To CAMILLO.] You're welcome, sir!
Give me those flowers there, Dorcas.--Reverend sirs,
For you there's rosemary and rue; these keep
Seeming and savour all the winter long:
Grace and remembrance be to you both!
And welcome to our shearing!

A fair one are you!--well you fit our ages
With flowers of winter.

Sir, the year growing ancient,--
Not yet on summer's death nor on the birth
Of trembling winter,--the fairest flowers o' the season
Are our carnations and streak'd gillyvors,
Which some call nature's bastards: of that kind
Our rustic garden's barren; and I care not
To get slips of them.

Wherefore, gentle maiden,
Do you neglect them?

For I have heard it said
There is an art which, in their piedness, shares
With great creating nature.

Say there be;
Yet nature is made better by no mean
But nature makes that mean; so, o'er that art
Which you say adds to nature, is an art
That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry
A gentler scion to the wildest stock,
And make conceive a bark of baser kind
By bud of nobler race. This is an art
Which does mend nature,-- change it rather; but
The art itself is nature.

So it is.

Then make your garden rich in gillyvors,
And do not call them bastards.

I'll not put
The dibble in earth to set one slip of them;
No more than were I painted, I would wish
This youth should say, 'twere well, and only therefore
Desire to breed by me.--Here's flowers for you;
Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram;
The marigold, that goes to bed with the sun,
And with him rises weeping; these are flowers
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age. You're very welcome!

I should leave grazing, were I of your flock,
And only live by gazing.

Out, alas!
You'd be so lean that blasts of January
Would blow you through and through.--Now, my fairest friend,
I would I had some flowers o' the spring that might
Become your time of day;--and yours, and yours,
That wear upon your virgin branches yet
Your maidenheads growing.--O Proserpina,
From the flowers now, that, frighted, thou lett'st fall
From Dis's waggon!,--daffodils,
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty; violets dim
But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes
Or Cytherea's breath; pale primroses,
That die unmarried ere they can behold
Bright Phoebus in his strength,--a malady
Most incident to maids; bold oxlips, and
The crown-imperial; lilies of all kinds,
The flower-de-luce being one.--O, these I lack,
To make you garlands of; and, my sweet friend,
To strew him o'er and o'er!

What, like a corse?

No; like a bank for love to lie and play on;
Not like a corse; or if,--not to be buried,
But quick, and in mine arms. Come, take your flowers;
Methinks I play as I have seen them do
In Whitsun pastorals: sure, this robe of mine
Does change my disposition.

What you do
Still betters what is done. When you speak, sweet,
I'd have you do it ever; when you sing,
I'd have you buy and sell so; so give alms;
Pray so; and, for the ordering your affairs,
To sing them too: when you do dance, I wish you
A wave o' the sea, that you might ever do
Nothing but that; move still, still so, and own
No other function: each your doing,
So singular in each particular,
Crowns what you are doing in the present deeds,
That all your acts are queens.

O Doricles,
Your praises are too large: but that your youth,
And the true blood which peeps fairly through it,
Do plainly give you out an unstained shepherd,
With wisdom I might fear, my Doricles,
You woo'd me the false way.

I think you have
As little skill to fear as I have purpose
To put you to't. But, come; our dance, I pray:
Your hand, my Perdita; so turtles pair
That never mean to part.

I'll swear for 'em.

This is the prettiest low-born lass that ever
Ran on the green-sward: nothing she does or seems
But smacks of something greater than herself,
Too noble for this place.

He tells her something
That makes her blood look out: good sooth, she is
The queen of curds and cream.

Come on, strike up.

Mopsa must be your mistress; marry, garlic,
To mend her kissing with!

Now, in good time!

Not a word, a word; we stand upon our manners.--
Come, strike up.


[Here a dance Of Shepherds and Shepherdesses.]

Pray, good shepherd, what fair swain is this
Which dances with your daughter?

They call him Doricles; and boasts himself
To have a worthy feeding; but I have it
Upon his own report, and I believe it:
He looks like sooth. He says he loves my daughter:
I think so too; for never gaz'd the moon
Upon the water as he'll stand, and read,
As 'twere, my daughter's eyes: and, to be plain,
I think there is not half a kiss to choose
Who loves another best.

She dances featly.

So she does anything; though I report it,
That should be silent; if young Doricles
Do light upon her, she shall bring him that
Which he not dreams of.

[Enter a SERVANT.]

O master, if you did but hear the pedlar at the door, you
would never dance again after a tabor and pipe; no, the bagpipe
could not move you: he sings several tunes faster than you'll
tell money: he utters them as he had eaten ballads, and all men's
ears grew to his tunes.

He could never come better: he shall come in. I love a ballad but
even too well, if it be doleful matter merrily set down, or a
very pleasant thing indeed and sung lamentably.

He hath songs for man or woman of all sizes; no milliner can so
fit his customers with gloves: he has the prettiest love-songs
for maids; so without bawdry, which is strange; with such
delicate burdens of 'dildos' and 'fadings', 'jump her and thump
her'; and where some stretch-mouth'd rascal would, as it were,
mean mischief, and break a foul gap into the matter, he makes the
maid to answer 'Whoop, do me no harm, good man',--puts him off,
slights him, with 'Whoop, do me no harm, good man.'

This is a brave fellow.

Believe me, thou talkest of an admirable conceited fellow.
Has he any unbraided wares?

He hath ribbons of all the colours i' the rainbow; points,
more than all the lawyers in Bohemia can learnedly handle, though
they come to him by the gross; inkles, caddisses, cambrics,
lawns; why he sings 'em over as they were gods or goddesses; you
would think a smock were she-angel, he so chants to the
sleeve-hand and the work about the square on't.

Pr'ythee bring him in; and let him approach singing.

Forewarn him that he use no scurrilous words in his tunes.


You have of these pedlars that have more in them than you'd
think, sister.

Ay, good brother, or go about to think.

[Enter AUTOLYCUS, singing.]
Lawn as white as driven snow;
Cypress black as e'er was crow;
Gloves as sweet as damask-roses;
Masks for faces and for noses;
Bugle-bracelet, necklace amber,
Perfume for a lady's chamber;
Golden quoifs and stomachers,
For my lads to give their dears;
Pins and poking-sticks of steel,
What maids lack from head to heel.
Come, buy of me, come; come buy, come buy;
Buy, lads, or else your lasses cry:
Come, buy.

If I were not in love with Mopsa, thou shouldst take no
money of me; but being enthralled as I am, it will also be the
bondage of certain ribbons and gloves.

I was promis'd them against the feast; but they come not too
late now.

He hath promised you more than that, or there be liars.

He hath paid you all he promised you: may be he has paid you
more,--which will shame you to give him again.

Is there no manners left among maids? will they wear their
plackets where they should bear their faces? Is there not
milking-time, when you are going to bed, or kiln-hole, to whistle
off these secrets, but you must be tittle-tattling before all our
guests? 'tis well they are whispering. Clamour your tongues, and
not a word more.

I have done. Come, you promised me a tawdry lace, and a pair
of sweet gloves.

Have I not told thee how I was cozened by the way, and lost
all my money?

And indeed, sir, there are cozeners abroad; therefore it
behoves men to be wary.

Fear not thou, man; thou shalt lose nothing here.

I hope so, sir; for I have about me many parcels of charge.

What hast here? ballads?

Pray now, buy some: I love a ballad in print a-life; for
then we are sure they are true.

Here's one to a very doleful tune. How a usurer's wife
was brought to bed of twenty money-bags at a burden, and how she
long'd to eat adders' heads and toads carbonadoed.

Is it true, think you?

Very true; and but a month old.

Bless me from marrying a usurer!

Here's the midwife's name to't, one Mistress Taleporter,
and five or six honest wives that were present. Why should I
carry lies abroad?

Pray you now, buy it.

Come on, lay it by; and let's first see more ballads; we'll
buy the other things anon.

Here's another ballad, of a fish that appeared upon the
coast on Wednesday the fourscore of April, forty thousand fathom
above water, and sung this ballad against the hard hearts of
maids: it was thought she was a woman, and was turned into a cold
fish for she would not exchange flesh with one that loved her.
The ballad is very pitiful, and as true.

Is it true too, think you?

Five justices' hands at it; and witnesses more than my pack will

Lay it by too: another.

This is a merry ballad; but a very pretty one.

Let's have some merry ones.

Why, this is a passing merry one, and goes to the tune of 'Two
maids wooing a man.' There's scarce a maid westward but she sings
it: 'tis in request, I can tell you.

can both sing it: if thou'lt bear a part thou shalt hear; 'tis in
three parts.

We had the tune on't a month ago.

I can bear my part; you must know 'tis my occupation: have at it
with you.


Get you hence, for I must go
Where it fits not you to know.


O, whither?


It becomes thy oath full well
Thou to me thy secrets tell.

Me too! Let me go thither.

Or thou goest to the grange or mill:

If to either, thou dost ill.


What, neither?


Thou hast sworn my love to be;

Thou hast sworn it more to me;
Then whither goest?--say, whither?

We'll have this song out anon by ourselves; my father and the
gentlemen are in sad talk, and we'll not trouble them.--Come,
bring away thy pack after me.--Wenches, I'll buy for you both:--
Pedlar, let's have the first choice.--Follow me, girls.
[Exit with DORCAS and MOPSA.]

[Aside.] And you shall pay well for 'em.

Will you buy any tape,
Or lace for your cape,
My dainty duck, my dear-a?
Any silk, any thread,
Any toys for your head,
Of the new'st and fin'st, fin'st wear-a?
Come to the pedlar;
Money's a meddler
That doth utter all men's ware-a.

[Exeunt Clown, AUT., DOR., and MOP.]

[Re-enter Servant.]

Master, there is three carters, three shepherds, three
neat-herds, three swine-herds, that have made themselves all men
of hair; they call themselves saltiers: and they have dance which
the wenches say is a gallimaufry of gambols, because they are not
in't; but they themselves are o' the mind (if it be not too rough
for some that know little but bowling) it will please

Away! we'll none on't; here has been too much homely foolery
already.--I know, sir, we weary you.

You weary those that refresh us: pray, let's see these
four threes of herdsmen.

One three of them, by their own report, sir, hath danced
before the king; and not the worst of the three but jumps twelve
foot and a half by the squire.

Leave your prating: since these good men are pleased, let
them come in; but quickly now.

Why, they stay at door, sir.


[Enter Twelve Rustics, habited like Satyrs. They dance, and then

O, father, you'll know more of that hereafter.--
Is it not too far gone?--'Tis time to part them.--
He's simple and tells much. [Aside.] How now, fair shepherd!
Your heart is full of something that does take
Your mind from feasting. Sooth, when I was young
And handed love as you do, I was wont
To load my she with knacks: I would have ransack'd
The pedlar's silken treasury and have pour'd it
To her acceptance; you have let him go,
And nothing marted with him. If your lass
Interpretation should abuse, and call this
Your lack of love or bounty, you were straited
For a reply, at least if you make a care
Of happy holding her.

Old sir, I know
She prizes not such trifles as these are:
The gifts she looks from me are pack'd and lock'd
Up in my heart; which I have given already,
But not deliver'd.--O, hear me breathe my life
Before this ancient sir, who, it should seem,
Hath sometime lov'd,--I take thy hand! this hand,
As soft as dove's down, and as white as it,
Or Ethiopian's tooth, or the fann'd snow that's bolted
By the northern blasts twice o'er.

What follows this?--
How prettily the young swain seems to wash
The hand was fair before!--I have put you out:
But to your protestation; let me hear
What you profess.

Do, and be witness to't.

And this my neighbour, too?

And he, and more
Than he, and men,--the earth, the heavens, and all:--
That,--were I crown'd the most imperial monarch,
Thereof most worthy; were I the fairest youth
That ever made eye swerve; had force and knowledge
More than was ever man's,--I would not prize them
Without her love: for her employ them all;
Commend them, and condemn them to her service,
Or to their own perdition.

Fairly offer'd.

This shows a sound affection.

But, my daughter,
Say you the like to him?

I cannot speak
So well, nothing so well; no, nor mean better:
By the pattern of mine own thoughts I cut out
The purity of his.

Take hands, a bargain!--
And, friends unknown, you shall bear witness to't:
I give my daughter to him, and will make
Her portion equal his.

O, that must be
I' the virtue of your daughter: one being dead,
I shall have more than you can dream of yet;
Enough then for your wonder: but come on,
Contract us 'fore these witnesses.

Come, your hand;--
And, daughter, yours.

Soft, swain, awhile, beseech you;
Have you a father?

I have; but what of him?

Knows he of this?

He neither does nor shall.

Methinks a father
Is, at the nuptial of his son, a guest
That best becomes the table. Pray you, once more;
Is not your father grown incapable
Of reasonable affairs? is he not stupid
With age and altering rheums? can he speak? hear?
Know man from man? dispute his own estate?
Lies he not bed-rid? and again does nothing
But what he did being childish?

No, good sir;
He has his health, and ampler strength indeed
Than most have of his age.

By my white beard,
You offer him, if this be so, a wrong
Something unfilial: reason my son
Should choose himself a wife; but as good reason
The father,--all whose joy is nothing else
But fair posterity,--should hold some counsel
In such a business.

I yield all this;
But, for some other reasons, my grave sir,
Which 'tis not fit you know, I not acquaint
My father of this business.

Let him know't.

He shall not.

Pr'ythee let him.

No, he must not.

Let him, my son: he shall not need to grieve
At knowing of thy choice.

Come, come, he must not.--
Mark our contract.

[Discovering himself.] Mark your divorce, young sir,
Whom son I dare not call; thou art too base
To be acknowledged: thou a sceptre's heir,
That thus affects a sheep-hook!--Thou, old traitor,
I am sorry that, by hanging thee, I can but
Shorten thy life one week.--And thou, fresh piece
Of excellent witchcraft, who of force must know
The royal fool thou cop'st with,--

O, my heart!

I'll have thy beauty scratch'd with briers, and made
More homely than thy state. For thee, fond boy,--
If I may ever know thou dost but sigh
That thou no more shalt see this knack,--as never
I mean thou shalt,--we'll bar thee from succession;
Not hold thee of our blood, no, not our kin,
Far than Deucalion off:--mark thou my words:
Follow us to the court.--Thou churl, for this time,
Though full of our displeasure, yet we free thee
From the dead blow of it.--And you, enchantment,--
Worthy enough a herdsman; yea, him too
That makes himself, but for our honour therein,
Unworthy thee,--if ever henceforth thou
These rural latches to his entrance open,
Or hoop his body more with thy embraces,
I will devise a death as cruel for thee
As thou art tender to't.


Even here undone!
I was not much afeard: for once or twice
I was about to speak, and tell him plainly
The self-same sun that shines upon his court
Hides not his visage from our cottage, but
Looks on alike.--[To FLORIZEL.] Will't please you, sir, be gone?
I told you what would come of this! Beseech you,
Of your own state take care: this dream of mine,
Being now awake, I'll queen it no inch further,
But milk my ewes, and weep.

Why, how now, father!
Speak ere thou diest.

I cannot speak, nor think,
Nor dare to know that which I know.--[To FLORIZEL.] O, sir,
You have undone a man of fourscore-three,
That thought to fill his grave in quiet; yea,
To die upon the bed my father died,
To lie close by his honest bones! but now
Some hangman must put on my shroud, and lay me
Where no priest shovels in dust.--[To PERDITA.] O cursed wretch,
That knew'st this was the prince, and wouldst adventure
To mingle faith with him!,--Undone, undone!
If I might die within this hour, I have liv'd
To die when I desire.


Why look you so upon me?
I am but sorry, not afeard; delay'd,
But nothing alt'red: what I was, I am:
More straining on for plucking back; not following
My leash unwillingly.

Gracious, my lord,
You know your father's temper: at this time
He will allow no speech,--which I do guess
You do not purpose to him,--and as hardly
Will he endure your sight as yet, I fear:
Then, till the fury of his highness settle,
Come not before him.

I not purpose it.
I think Camillo?

Even he, my lord.

How often have I told you 'twould be thus!
How often said my dignity would last
But till 'twere known!

It cannot fail but by
The violation of my faith; and then
Let nature crush the sides o' the earth together
And mar the seeds within!--Lift up thy looks.--
From my succession wipe me, father; I
Am heir to my affection.

Be advis'd.

I am,--and by my fancy; if my reason
Will thereto be obedient, I have reason;
If not, my senses, better pleas'd with madness,
Do bid it welcome.

This is desperate, sir.

So call it: but it does fulfil my vow:
I needs must think it honesty. Camillo,
Not for Bohemia, nor the pomp that may
Be thereat glean'd; for all the sun sees or
The close earth wombs, or the profound seas hide
In unknown fathoms, will I break my oath
To this my fair belov'd: therefore, I pray you,
As you have ever been my father's honour'd friend
When he shall miss me,--as, in faith, I mean not
To see him any more,--cast your good counsels
Upon his passion: let myself and fortune
Tug for the time to come. This you may know,
And so deliver,--I am put to sea
With her, who here I cannot hold on shore;
And, most opportune to her need, I have
A vessel rides fast by, but not prepar'd
For this design. What course I mean to hold
Shall nothing benefit your knowledge, nor
Concern me the reporting.

O, my lord,
I would your spirit were easier for advice,
Or stronger for your need.

Hark, Perdita.--[Takes her aside.]
[To CAMILLO.]I'll hear you by and by.

He's irremovable,
Resolv'd for flight. Now were I happy if
His going I could frame to serve my turn;
Save him from danger, do him love and honour;
Purchase the sight again of dear Sicilia
And that unhappy king, my master, whom
I so much thirst to see.

Now, good Camillo,
I am so fraught with curious business that
I leave out ceremony.

Sir, I think
You have heard of my poor services, i' the love
That I have borne your father?

Very nobly
Have you deserv'd: it is my father's music
To speak your deeds; not little of his care
To have them recompens'd as thought on.

Well, my lord,
If you may please to think I love the king,
And, through him, what's nearest to him, which is
Your gracious self, embrace but my direction,--
If your more ponderous and settled project
May suffer alteration,--on mine honour,
I'll point you where you shall have such receiving
As shall become your highness; where you may
Enjoy your mistress,--from the whom, I see,
There's no disjunction to be made, but by,
As heavens forfend! your ruin,--marry her;
And,--with my best endeavours in your absence--
Your discontenting father strive to qualify,
And bring him up to liking.

How, Camillo,
May this, almost a miracle, be done?
That I may call thee something more than man,
And, after that, trust to thee.

Have you thought on
A place whereto you'll go?

Not any yet;
But as the unthought-on accident is guilty
To what we wildly do; so we profess
Ourselves to be the slaves of chance, and flies
Of every wind that blows.

Then list to me:
This follows,--if you will not change your purpose,
But undergo this flight,--make for Sicilia;
And there present yourself and your fair princess,--
For so, I see, she must be,--'fore Leontes:
She shall be habited as it becomes
The partner of your bed. Methinks I see
Leontes opening his free arms, and weeping
His welcomes forth; asks thee, the son, forgiveness,
As 'twere i' the father's person; kisses the hands
Of your fresh princess; o'er and o'er divides him
'Twixt his unkindness and his kindness,--the one
He chides to hell, and bids the other grow
Faster than thought or time.

Worthy Camillo,
What colour for my visitation shall I
Hold up before him?

Sent by the king your father
To greet him and to give him comforts. Sir,
The manner of your bearing towards him, with
What you as from your father, shall deliver,
Things known betwixt us three, I'll write you down;
The which shall point you forth at every sitting,
What you must say; that he shall not perceive
But that you have your father's bosom there,
And speak his very heart.

I am bound to you:
There is some sap in this.

A course more promising
Than a wild dedication of yourselves
To unpath'd waters, undream'd shores, most certain
To miseries enough: no hope to help you;
But as you shake off one to take another:
Nothing so certain as your anchors; who
Do their best office if they can but stay you
Where you'll be loath to be: besides, you know
Prosperity's the very bond of love,
Whose fresh complexion and whose heart together
Affliction alters.

One of these is true:
I think affliction may subdue the cheek,
But not take in the mind.

Yea, say you so?
There shall not at your father's house, these seven years
Be born another such.

My good Camillo,
She is as forward of her breeding as
She is i' the rear our birth.

I cannot say 'tis pity
She lacks instruction; for she seems a mistress
To most that teach.

Your pardon, sir; for this:
I'll blush you thanks.

My prettiest Perdita!--
But, O, the thorns we stand upon!--Camillo,--
Preserver of my father, now of me;
The medicine of our house!--how shall we do?
We are not furnish'd like Bohemia's son;
Nor shall appear in Sicilia.

My lord,
Fear none of this: I think you know my fortunes
Do all lie there: it shall be so my care
To have you royally appointed as if
The scene you play were mine. For instance, sir,
That you may know you shall not want,--one word.
[They talk aside.]

[Re-enter AUTOLYCUS.]

Ha, ha! what a fool Honesty is! and Trust, his sworn
brother, a very simple gentleman! I have sold all my trumpery;
not a counterfeit stone, not a riband, glass, pomander, brooch,
table-book, ballad, knife, tape, glove, shoe-tie, bracelet,
horn-ring, to keep my pack from fasting;--they throng who should
buy first, as if my trinkets had been hallowed, and brought a
benediction to the buyer: by which means I saw whose purse was
best in picture; and what I saw, to my good use I remembered. My
clown (who wants but something to be a reasonable man) grew so in
love with the wenches' song that he would not stir his pettitoes
till he had both tune and words; which so drew the rest of the
herd to me that all their other senses stuck in ears: you might
have pinched a placket,--it was senseless; 'twas nothing to geld
a codpiece of a purse; I would have filed keys off that hung in
chains: no hearing, no feeling, but my sir's song, and admiring
the nothing of it. So that, in this time of lethargy, I picked
and cut most of their festival purses; and had not the old man
come in with whoobub against his daughter and the king's son, and
scared my choughs from the chaff, I had not left a purse alive in
the whole army.

[CAMILLO, FLORIZEL, and PERDITA come forward.]

Nay, but my letters, by this means being there
So soon as you arrive, shall clear that doubt.

And those that you'll procure from king Leontes,--

Shall satisfy your father.

Happy be you!
All that you speak shows fair.

[seeing AUTOLYCUS.] Who have we here?
We'll make an instrument of this; omit
Nothing may give us aid.

[Aside.] If they have overheard me now,--why, hanging.

How now, good fellow! why shakest thou so? Fear not, man; here's
no harm intended to thee.

I am a poor fellow, sir.

Why, be so still; here's nobody will steal that from thee: yet,
for the outside of thy poverty we must make an exchange;
therefore discase thee instantly,--thou must think there's a
necessity in't,--and change garments with this gentleman: though
the pennyworth on his side be the worst, yet hold thee, there's
some boot. [Giving money.]

I am a poor fellow, sir:--[Aside.] I know ye well enough.

Nay, pr'ythee dispatch: the gentleman is half flay'd already.

Are you in camest, sir?--[Aside.] I smell the trick on't.

Dispatch, I pr'ythee.

Indeed, I have had earnest; but I cannot with conscience
take it.

Unbuckle, unbuckle.

[FLORIZEL and AUTOLYCUS exchange garments.]

Fortunate mistress,--let my prophecy
Come home to you!--you must retire yourself
Into some covert; take your sweetheart's hat
And pluck it o'er your brows, muffle your face,
Dismantle you; and, as you can, disliken
The truth of your own seeming; that you may,--
For I do fear eyes over,--to shipboard
Get undescried.

I see the play so lies
That I must bear a part.

No remedy.--
Have you done there?

Should I now meet my father,
He would not call me son.

Nay, you shall have no hat.--
[Giving it to PERDITA.]
Come, lady, come.--Farewell, my friend.

Adieu, sir.

O Perdita, what have we twain forgot!
Pray you a word.

[They converse apart.]

[Aside.] What I do next, shall be to tell the king
Of this escape, and whither they are bound;
Wherein, my hope is, I shall so prevail
To force him after: in whose company
I shall re-view Sicilia; for whose sight
I have a woman's longing.

Fortune speed us!--
Thus we set on, Camillo, to the sea-side.

The swifter speed the better.


I understand the business, I hear it:--to have an open
ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand, is necessary for a
cut-purse; a good nose is requisite also, to smell out work for
the other senses. I see this is the time that the unjust man doth
thrive. What an exchange had this been without boot? what a boot
is here with this exchange? Sure, the gods do this year connive
at us, and we may do anything extempore. The prince himself is
about a piece of iniquity,--stealing away from his father with
his clog at his heels: if I thought it were a piece of honesty to
acquaint the king withal, I would not do't: I hold it the more
knavery to conceal it; and therein am I constant to my

[Re-enter CLOWN and SHEPHERD.]

Aside, aside;--here is more matter for a hot brain: every lane's
end, every shop, church, session, hanging, yields a careful man

See, see; what a man you are now! There is no other way but
to tell the king she's a changeling, and none of your flesh and

Nay, but hear me.

Nay, but hear me.

Go to, then.

She being none of your flesh and blood, your flesh and blood
has not offended the king; and so your flesh and blood is not to
be punished by him. Show those things you found about her; those
secret things,--all but what she has with her: this being done,
let the law go whistle; I warrant you.

I will tell the king all, every word,--yea, and his son's
pranks too; who, I may say, is no honest man neither to his
father nor to me, to go about to make me the king's

Indeed, brother-in-law was the farthest off you could have
been to him; and then your blood had been the dearer by I know
how much an ounce.

[Aside.] Very wisely, puppies!

Well, let us to the king: there is that in this fardel
will make him scratch his beard!

[Aside.] I know not what impediment this complaint may
be to the flight of my master.

Pray heartily he be at palace.

Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance.
Let me pocket up my pedlar's excrement. [Aside, and takes off his
false beard.]--How now, rustics! whither are you bound?

To the palace, an it like your worship.

Your affairs there, what, with whom, the condition of that
fardel, the place of your dwelling, your names, your ages, of
what having, breeding, and anything that is fitting to be known?

We are but plain fellows, sir.

A lie: you are rough and hairy. Let me have no lying; it becomes
none but tradesmen, and they often give us soldiers the lie: but
we pay them for it with stamped coin, not stabbing steel;
therefore they do not give us the lie.

Your worship had like to have given us one, if you had not
taken yourself with the manner.

Are you a courtier, an't like you, sir?

Whether it like me or no, I am a courtier. Seest thou not the air
of the court in these enfoldings? hath not my gait in it the
measure of the court? receives not thy nose court-odour from me?
reflect I not on thy baseness court-contempt? Think'st thou, for
that I insinuate, that toaze from thee thy business, I am
therefore no courtier? I am courtier cap-a-pe, and one that will
either push on or pluck back thy business there: whereupon I
command the to open thy affair.

My business, sir, is to the king.

What advocate hast thou to him?

I know not, an't like you.

Advocate's the court-word for a pheasant, say you have none.

None, sir; I have no pheasant, cock nor hen.

How bless'd are we that are not simple men!
Yet nature might have made me as these are,
Therefore I will not disdain.

This cannot be but a great courtier.

His garments are rich, but he wears them not handsomely.

He seems to be the more noble in being fantastical: a great man,
I'll warrant; I know by the picking on's teeth.

The fardel there? what's i' the fardel? Wherefore that box?

Sir, there lies such secrets in this fardel and box which
none must know but the king; and which he shall know within this
hour, if I may come to the speech of him.

Age, thou hast lost thy labour.

Why, sir?

The king is not at the palace; he is gone aboard a new ship to
purge melancholy and air himself: for, if thou beest capable of
things serious, thou must know the king is full of grief.

So 'tis said, sir,--about his son, that should have married a
shepherd's daughter.

If that shepherd be not in hand-fast, let him fly: the curses he
shall have, the tortures he shall feel, will break the back of
man, the heart of monster.

Think you so, sir?

Not he alone shall suffer what wit can make heavy and vengeance
bitter; but those that are germane to him, though removed fifty
times, shall all come under the hangman: which, though it be
great pity, yet it is necessary. An old sheep-whistling rogue, a
ram-tender, to offer to have his daughter come into grace! Some
say he shall be stoned; but that death is too soft for him, say
I. Draw our throne into a sheep-cote!--all deaths are too few,
the sharpest too easy.

Has the old man e'er a son, sir, do you hear, an't like you, sir?

He has a son,--who shall be flayed alive; then 'nointed over with
honey, set on the head of a wasp's nest; then stand till he be
three quarters and a dram dead; then recovered again with
aqua-vitae or some other hot infusion; then, raw as he is, and in
the hottest day prognostication proclaims, shall he be set
against a brick wall, the sun looking with a southward eye upon
him,--where he is to behold him with flies blown to death. But
what talk we of these traitorly rascals, whose miseries are to be
smiled at, their offences being so capital? Tell me,--for you
seem to be honest plain men, what you have to the king: being
something gently considered, I'll bring you where he is aboard,
tender your persons to his presence, whisper him in your behalfs;
and if it be in man besides the king to effect your suits, here
is man shall do it.

He seems to be of great authority: close with him, give him gold;
and though authority be a stubborn bear, yet he is oft led by the
nose with gold: show the inside of your purse to the outside of
his hand, and no more ado. Remember,--ston'd and flayed alive.

An't please you, sir, to undertake the business for us, here is
that gold I have: I'll make it as much more, and leave this young
man in pawn till I bring it you.

After I have done what I promised?

Ay, sir.

Well, give me the moiety. Are you a party in this business?

In some sort, sir: but though my case be a pitiful one, I hope I
shall not be flayed out of it.

O, that's the case of the shepherd's son. Hang him, he'll be made
an example.

Comfort, good comfort! We must to the king and show our strange
sights. He must know 'tis none of your daughter nor my sister; we
are gone else. Sir, I will give you as much as this old man does,
when the business is performed; and remain, as he says, your pawn
till it be brought you.

I will trust you. Walk before toward the sea-side; go on the
right-hand; I will but look upon the hedge, and follow you.

We are blessed in this man, as I may say, even blessed.

Let's before, as he bids us: he was provided to do us good.

[Exeunt Shepherd and Clown.]

If I had a mind to be honest, I see Fortune would not suffer me:
she drops booties in my mouth. I am courted now with a double
occasion,--gold, and a means to do the prince my master good;
which who knows how that may turn back to my advancement? I will
bring these two moles, these blind ones, aboard him: if he think
it fit to shore them again, and that the complaint they have to
the king concerns him nothing, let him call me rogue for being so
far officious; for I am proof against that title, and what shame
else belongs to't. To him will I present them: there may be
matter in it.


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