The Winter's Tale

Act 4


[Enter Time, as Chorus.]


I, - that please some, try all; both joy and terror

Of good and bad; that make and unfold error, -

Now take upon me, in the name of Time,

To use my wings. Impute it not a crime

To me or my swift passage, that I slide

O'er sixteen years, and leave the growth untried

Of that wide gap, since it is in my power

To o'erthrow law, and in one self-born hour

To plant and o'erwhelm custom. Let me pass

The same I am, ere ancient'st order was

Or what is now received: I witness to

The times that brought them in; so shall I do

To the freshest things now reigning, and make stale

The glistering of this present, as my tale

Now seems to it. Your patience this allowing,

I turn my glass, and give my scene such growing

As you had slept between. Leontes leaving

The effects of his fond jealousies, so grieving

That he shuts up himself; imagine me,

Gentle spectators, that I now may be

In fair Bohemia; and remember well,

I mention'd a son o' the king's, which Florizel

I now name to you; and with speed so pace

To speak of Perdita, now grown in grace

Equal with wondering: what of her ensues,

I list not prophesy; but let Time's news

Be known when 'tis brought forth: - a shepherd's daughter,

And what to her adheres, which follows after,

Is the argument of Time. Of this allow,

If ever you have spent time worse ere now;

If never, yet that Time himself doth say

He wishes earnestly you never may.


SCENE II. Bohemia. A Room in the palace of POLIXENES.



I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more importunate: 'tis

a sickness denying thee anything; a death to grant this.


It is fifteen years since I saw my country; though I have

for the most part been aired abroad, I desire to lay my bones

there. Besides, the penitent king, my master, hath sent for me;

to whose feeling sorrows I might be some allay, or I o'erween

to think so, - which is another spur to my departure.


As thou lovest me, Camillo, wipe not out the rest of thy

services by leaving me now: the need I have of thee, thine own

goodness hath made; better not to have had thee than thus to want

thee; thou, having made me businesses which none without thee can

sufficiently manage, must either stay to execute them thyself, or

take away with thee the very services thou hast done; which if I

have not enough considered, - as too much I cannot, - to be more

thankful to thee shall be my study; and my profit therein the

heaping friendships. Of that fatal country Sicilia, pr'ythee,

speak no more; whose very naming punishes me with the remembrance

of that penitent, as thou call'st him, and reconciled king, my

brother; whose loss of his most precious queen and children are

even now to be afresh lamented. Say to me, when sawest thou the

Prince Florizel, my son? Kings are no less unhappy, their issue

not being gracious, than they are in losing them when they have

approved their virtues.


Sir, it is three days since I saw the prince. What his happier

affairs may be, are to me unknown; but I have missingly noted

he is of late much retired from court, and is less frequent to

his princely exercises than formerly he hath appeared.


I have considered so much, Camillo, and with some care; so

far that I have eyes under my service which look upon his

removedness; from whom I have this intelligence, - that he is

seldom from the house of a most homely shepherd, - a man, they

say, that from very nothing, and beyond the imagination of his

neighbours, is grown into an unspeakable estate.


I have heard, sir, of such a man, who hath a daughter of most

rare note: the report of her is extended more than can be

thought to begin from such a cottage.


That's likewise part of my intelligence: but, I fear, the

angle that plucks our son thither. Thou shalt accompany us

to the place; where we will, not appearing what we are, have

some question with the shepherd; from whose simplicity I think

it not uneasy to get the cause of my son's resort thither.

Pr'ythee, be my present partner in this business, and lay

aside the thoughts of Sicilia.


I willingly obey your command.


My best Camillo! - We must disguise ourselves.


SCENE III. The same. A Road near the Shepherd's cottage.

[Enter AUTOLYCUS, singing.]


When daffodils begin to peer, -

With, hey! the doxy over the dale, -

Why, then comes in the sweet o' the year:

For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale.

The white sheet bleaching on the hedge, -

With, hey! the sweet birds, O, how they sing! -

Doth set my pugging tooth on edge;

For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.

The lark, that tirra-lirra chants, -

With, hey! with, hey! the thrush and the jay, -

Are summer songs for me and my aunts,

While we lie tumbling in the hay.

I have serv'd Prince Florizel, and in my time wore three-pile;

but now I am out of service:

But shall I go mourn for that, my dear?

The pale moon shines by night:

And when I wander here and there,

I then do most go right.

If tinkers may have leave to live,

And bear the sow-skin budget,

Then my account I well may give

And in the stocks avouch it.

My traffic is sheets; when the kite builds, look to lesser linen.

My father named me Autolycus; who being, I as am, littered under

Mercury, was likewise a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. With

die and drab I purchased this caparison; and my revenue is the

silly-cheat: gallows and knock are too powerful on the highway;

beating and hanging are terrors to me; for the life to come, I

sleep out the thought of it. - A prize! a prize!

[Enter CLOWN.]


Let me see: - every 'leven wether tods; every tod yields pound

and odd shilling; fifteen hundred shorn, what comes the wool to?


[Aside.] If the springe hold, the cock's mine.


I cannot do't without counters. - Let me see; what am I to

buy for our sheep-shearing feast? 'Three pound of sugar; five

pound of currants; rice' - what will this sister of mine do with

rice? But my father hath made her mistress of the feast, and she

lays it on. She hath made me four and twenty nosegays for the

shearers, - three-man song-men all, and very good ones; but they

are most of them means and bases; but one puritan amongst them,

and he sings psalms to hornpipes. I must have saffron to colour

the warden pies; 'mace - dates', - none, that's out of my note;

'nutmegs, seven; a race or two of ginger', - but that I may beg;

'four pound of prunes, and as many of raisins o' the sun.'


[Grovelling on the ground.] O that ever I was born!


I' the name of me, -


O, help me, help me! Pluck but off these rags; and then, death,



Alack, poor soul! thou hast need of more rags to lay on thee,

rather than have these off.


O sir, the loathsomeness of them offend me more than the stripes

I have received, which are mighty ones and millions.


Alas, poor man! a million of beating may come to a great matter.


I am robb'd, sir, and beaten; my money and apparel ta'en from me,

and these detestable things put upon me.


What, by a horseman or a footman?


A footman, sweet sir, a footman.


Indeed, he should be a footman, by the garments he has left

with thee: if this be a horseman's coat, it hath seen very hot

service. Lend me thy hand, I'll help thee: come, lend me thy


[Helping him up.]


O, good sir, tenderly, O!


Alas, poor soul!


O, good sir, softly, good sir: I fear, sir, my shoulder blade

is out.


How now! canst stand?


Softly, dear sir! [Picks his pocket.] good sir, softly; you ha'

done me a charitable office.


Dost lack any money? I have a little money for thee.


No, good sweet sir; no, I beseech you, sir: I have a kinsman not

past three quarters of a mile hence, unto whom I was going; I

shall there have money or anything I want: offer me no money, I

pray you; that kills my heart.


What manner of fellow was he that robbed you?


A fellow, sir, that I have known to go about with troll-my-dames;

I knew him once a servant of the prince; I cannot tell, good sir,

for which of his virtues it was, but he was certainly whipped out

of the court.


His vices, you would say; there's no virtue whipped out of the

court: they cherish it, to make it stay there; and yet it will no

more but abide.


Vices, I would say, sir. I know this man well: he hath been

since an ape-bearer; then a process-server, a bailiff; then he

compassed a motion of the Prodigal Son, and married a tinker's

wife within a mile where my land and living lies; and, having

flown over many knavish professions, he settled only in rogue:

some call him Autolycus.


Out upon him! prig, for my life, prig: he haunts wakes, fairs,

and bear-baitings.


Very true, sir; he, sir, he; that's the rogue that put me into

this apparel.


Not a more cowardly rogue in all Bohemia; if you had but looked

big and spit at him, he'd have run.


I must confess to you, sir, I am no fighter: I am false of heart

that way; and that he knew, I warrant him.


How do you now?


Sweet sir, much better than I was; I can stand and walk: I will

even take my leave of you and pace softly towards my kinsman's.


Shall I bring thee on the way?


No, good-faced sir; no, sweet sir.


Then fare thee well: I must go buy spices for our sheep-shearing.


Prosper you, sweet sir!

[Exit CLOWN.]

Your purse is not hot enough to purchase your spice. I'll be with

you at your sheep-shearing too. If I make not this cheat bring

out another, and the shearers prove sheep, let me be unrolled,

and my name put in the book of virtue!


Jog on, jog on, the footpath way,

And merrily hent the stile-a:

A merry heart goes all the day,

Your sad tires in a mile-a.


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!


Shepherdess -

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.

[Music. 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 a 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 hold.


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.


We 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.


[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 plentifully.


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. -

[To CAMILLO.] Is it not too far gone? - 'Tis time to part them. -

He's simple and tells much. [To FLORIZEL.] 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, whom 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 earnest, 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 brother-in-law.


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.


[Aside.] Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes

by chance. Let me pocket up my pedlar's excrement. [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, or toaze from thee thy business, I am therefore

no courtier? I am courtier cap-a-pie, and one that will either

push on or pluck back thy business there: whereupon I command

thee 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.