Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Hardin Aasand
Not Peer Reviewed

The Winter's Tale (Modern)


1795
[4.4]
[Enter Florizel and Perdita]
Florizel These your unusual weeds to each part of you
Does give a life -- no shepherdess, but Flora
1800Peering in April's front. This your sheep-shearing
Is as a meeting of the petty gods,
And you the queen on't.
Perdita
Sir, my gracious lord,
To chide at your extremes it not becomes me.
1805Oh pardon that I name them! Your high self,
The gracious mark o'th'land, you have obscured
With a swain's wearing, and me, poor lowly maid,
Most goddess-like pranked up! But that our feasts
In every mess have folly and the feeders
1810Digest it with a custom, I should blush
To see you so attired, swoon I think,
To show myself a glass.
Florizel
I bless the time
When my good falcon made her flight across
1815Thy father's ground.
Perdita
Now Jove afford you cause!
To me the difference forges dread; your greatness
Hath not been used to fear. Even now I tremble
To think your father by some accident
1820Should pass this way, as you did. Oh, 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 borrowed flaunts, behold
The sternness of his presence?
1825Florizel
Apprehend
Nothing but jollity. The gods themselves,
Humbling their deities to love, have taken
The shapes of beasts upon them. Jupiter
Became a bull and bellowed; the green Neptune
1830A ram and bleated; and the fire-robed 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
1835Run not before mine honor, nor my lusts
Burn hotter than my faith.
Perdita
O but sir,
Your resolution cannot hold when 'tis
Opposed, as it must be, by th' power of the king.
1840One of these two must be necessities
Which then will speak that you must change this purpose,
Or I my life.
Florizel
Thou dearest Perdita,
With these forced thoughts I prithee darken not
1845The mirth o'th'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,
1850Strangle such thoughts as these with anything
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.
1855Perdita
O Lady Fortune,
Stand you auspicious!
[Enter the Old Shepherd, Clown, Mopsa, Dorcas, Servants, shepherds and shepherdesses, Polixenes and Camillo both disguised]
Florizel
See, your guests approach.
Address yourself to entertain them sprightly,
And let's be red with mirth.
1860Shepherd
Fie, daughter, when my old wife lived, upon
This day she was both pantler, butler, cook,
Both dame and servant: welcomed all; served all;
Would sing her song, and dance her turn; now here
At upper end o'th table; now, i'th middle;
1865On his shoulder, and his; her face o' fire
With labor, and the thing she took to quench it
She would to each one sip. You are retired
As if you were a feasted one and not
The hostess of the meeting. Pray you, bid
1870These unknown friends to's 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'th' feast. Come on,
And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing,
1875As your good flock shall prosper.
Perdita
[To Polixenes] Sir, welcome.
It is my father's will I should take on me
The hostess-ship o'th'day; [To Camillo] You're welcome, sir.
Give me those flowers there, Dorcas. Reverend sirs,
1880For you, there's rosemary and rue; these keep
Seeming and savor all the winter long.
Grace and remembrance be to you both
And welcome to our shearing.
Polixenes
Shepherdess,
1885A fair one are you. Well you fit our ages
With flowers of winter.
Perdita
Sir, the year growing ancient,
Not yet on summer's death nor on the birth
Of trembling winter, the fairest flowers o'th' season
1890Are our carnations and streaked gillyvors,
Which some call nature's bastards. Of that kind
Our rustic garden's barren, and I care not
To get slips of them.
Polixenes
Wherefore, gentle maiden,
1895Do you neglect them?
Perdita
For I have heard it said
There is an art which in their piedness shares
With great creating nature.
Polixenes
Say there be,
1900Yet nature is made better by no mean
But nature makes that mean. So over 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,
1905And 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.
Perdita
So it is.
1910Polixenes Then make your garden rich in gillyvors,
And do not call them bastards.
Perdita
I'll not put
The dibble in earth to set one slip of them,
No more than, were I painted, I would wish
1915This 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' sun,
And with him rises, weeping. These are flowers
1920Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age. You're very welcome.
Camillo I should leave grazing were I of your flock,
And only live by gazing.
Perdita
Out, alas!
1925You'd be so lean that blasts of January
Would blow you through and through. [To Florizel] Now, my fair'st friend,
I would I had some flowers o'th'spring that might
Become your time of day; [To the sheperdesses] and yours, and yours,
That wear upon your virgin branches yet
1930Your maidenheads growing -- O Proserpina,
For the flowers now that frighted, thou let'st fall
From Dis's wagon! Daffodils,
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty; violets dim,
1935But 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
1940The crown imperial; lillies of all kinds,
The flower-de-luce being one. Oh, these I lack
To make you garlands of, and my sweet friend,
To strew him o'er and o'er.
Florizel
What? like a corpse?
1945Perdita No, like a bank for love to lie and play on,
Not like a corpse; 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 Whitson pastorals. Sure this robe of mine
1950Does change my disposition.
Florizel
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,
1955Pray so, and for the ordering your affairs,
To sing them too. When you do dance, I wish you
A wave o'th sea that you might ever do
Nothing but that; move still, still so,
And own no other function. Each your doing,
1960So singular in each particular,
Crowns what you are doing in the present deeds,
That all your acts are queen's.
Perdita
O Doricles,
Your praises are too large, but that your youth
1965And the true blood which peeps fairly through't
Do plainly give you out an unstained shepherd,
With wisdom I might fear, my Doricles,
You wooed me the false way.
Florizel
I think you have
1970As 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.
Perdita
I'll swear for 'em.
[Perdita and Florizel dance]
1975Polixenes [To Camillo This is the prettiest low-born lass that ever
Ran on the greensward. Nothing she does or seems
But smacks of something greater than herself,
Too noble for this place.
Camillo
He tells her something
1980That makes her blood look on't. Good sooth, she is
The queen of curds and cream.
Clown [To musicians] Come on! Strike up!
Dorcas Mopsa must be your mistress? Marry, garlic to mend her kissing with!
1985Mopsa Now, in good time!
Clown Not a word, a word; we stand upon our manners. Come, strike up!
Here a dance of shepherds and shepherdesses
1990Polixenes Pray, good shepherd, what fair swain is this
Which dances with your daughter?
Shepherd They call him Doricles and boasts himself
To have a worthy feeding. But I have it
Upon his own report, and I believe it;
1995He looks like sooth. He says he loves my daughter.
I think so too; for never gazed 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
2000Who loves another best.
Polixenes
She dances featly.
Shepherd So she does anything, though I report it
That should be silent. If young Doricles
Do light upon her, she shall bring him that
2005Which he not dreams of.
Enter Servant
Servant O Master, if you did but hear the peddler 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 2010them as he had eaten ballads, and all men's ears grew to his tunes.
Clown 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 2015sung lamentably.
Servant 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 2020dildos and fadings, "Jump her and thump her." And where some stretch-mouthed 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"; put's him off, slights him with "Whoop, do me no 2025harm, good man."
Polixenes This is a brave fellow.
Clown Believe me, thou talkst of an admirable conceited fellow. Has he any unbraided wares?
Servant He hath ribbons of all the colors i'th 2030rainbow; points, more than all the lawyers in Bohemia can learnedly handle, though they come to him by th' gross; inkles, caddises, cambrics, lawn; why he sings 'em over as they were gods or goddesses. You would think a smock were a she-angel, he so chants to 2035the sleeve-hand and the work about the square on't.
Clown Prithee bring him in, and let him approach singing.
Perdita Forewarn him that he use no scurrilous words in's tunes.
[Exit Servant.]
2040Clown You have of these peddlers that have more in them than you'd think, sister.
Perdita Ay, good brother, or go about to think.
Enter Autolycus [in disguise] singing.
Lawn as white as driven snow,
2045Cypress black as ere was crow,
Gloves as sweet as damask roses,
Masks for faces and for noses,
Bugle-bracelet, necklace amber;
Perfume for a lady's chamber,
2050Golden coifs 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,
2055Buy, lads, or else your lasses cry. Come buy.
Clown 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.
Mopsa I was promised them against the feast, but they 2060come not too late now.
Dorcas He hath promised you more than that, or there be liars.
Mopsa He hath paid you all he promised you. Maybe he has paid you more, which will shame you to give him 2065again.
Clown 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 of these secrets, but you must 2070be tittle-tattling before all our guests? 'Tis well they are whispering. Clamor your tongues and not a word more.
Mopsa I have done. Come, you promised me a tawdry-lace and a pair of sweet gloves.
Clown Have I not told thee how I was cozened by the 2075way and lost all my money?
Autolycus And, indeed sir, there are cozeners abroad. Therefore, it behooves men to be wary.
Clown Fear not, thou man. Thou shalt lose nothing here.
Autolycus I hope so, sir, for I have about me many parcels 2080of charge.
Clown What hast here? Ballads?
Mopsa Pray now, buy some. I love a ballet in print, a-life, for then we are sure they are true.
Autolycus Here's one to a very doleful tune, how a 2085usurer's wife was brought to bed of twenty money bags at a burden, and how she longed to eat adder's heads and toads carbonadoed.
Mopsa Is it true, think you?
Autolycus Very true, and but a month old.
2090Dorcas Bless me from marrying a usurer!
Autolycus 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?
Mopsa Pray you now, buy it.
2095Clown Come on, lay it by, and let's first see more ballads. We'll buy the other things anon.
Autolycus 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 2100the 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.
Dorcas Is it true too, think you?
2105Autolycus Five justices' hands at it, and witnesses more than my pack will hold.
Clown Lay it by, too. Another.
Autolycus This is a merry ballad, but a very pretty one.
Mopsa Let's have some merry ones.
2110Autolycus 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.
Mopsa We can both sing it. If thou'lt bear a part thou shalt hear; 'tis in three parts.
2115Dorcas We had the tune on't a month ago.
Autolycus I can bear my part. You must know 'tis my occupation. Have at it with you.
Song
Get you hence, for I must go
Autolycus Where it fits not you to know.
2120Dorcas
Whither?
Mopsa
Oh whither?
Dorcas
Whither?
Mopsa It becomes thy oath full well,
Thou to me thy secrets tell.
2125Dorcas Me too. Let me go thither.
Mopsa Or thou goest to th' grange or mill,
Dorcas If to either thou dost ill.
Autolycus
Neither.
Dorcas
What neither?
2130Autolycus
Neither.
Dorcas Thou hast sworn my love to be.
Mopsa Thou hast sworn it more to me.
Then whither goest? Say whither?
Clown We'll have this song out anon by ourselves. My 2135father 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. Peddler, let's have the first choice. Follow me, girls.
[Exit Clown with Dorcas and Mopsa.]
Autolycus And you shall pay well for 'em.
Song
Will you buy any tape, or lace for your cape?
2140My dainty duck, my dear-a?
Any silk, any thread, any toys for your head
Of the newest, and finest, finest wear-a.
Come to the peddler, money's a meddler,
That doth utter all men's ware-a.
Exit
[Enter a Servant]
2145Servant [To Shepherd] Master, there is three carters, three shepherds, three neatherds, three swineherds that have made themselves all men of hair. They call themselves saltiers, and they have a dance which the wenches say is a galimaufry of gambols because they are not in't; but 2150they themselves are o'th' mind, if it be not too rough for some that know little but bowling, it will please plentifully.
Shepherd Away! We'll none on't. Here has been too much homely foolery already. I know, sir, we 2155weary you.
Polixenes You weary those that refresh us. Pray, let's see these four threes of herdsmen.
Servant One three of them, by their own report, sir, hath danced before the king; and not the worst of the 2160three but jumps twelve foot and a half by th'square.
Shepherd Leave your prating. Since these good men are pleased, let them come in, but quickly now.
Servant Why, they stay at door, sir.
[He brings in the dancers.]
Here a dance of twelve satyrs.
2165Polixenes [To the Old Shepherd] 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
2170And handed love, as you do, I was wont
To load my she with knacks. I would have ransacked
The peddler's silken treasury and have poured it
To her acceptance. You have let him go
And nothing marted with him. If your lass
2175Interpretation 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.
Florizel
Old sir, I know
2180She prizes not such trifles as these are
The gifts she looks from me are packed and locked
Up in my heart, which I have given already,
But not delivered. [To Perdita] Oh hear me breathe my life
Before this ancient sir, who, it should seem,
2185Hath sometime loved. I take thy hand, this hand,
As soft as dove's down, and as white as it,
Or Ethiopian's tooth, or the fanned snow that's bolted
By th' northern blasts twice o'er --
Polixenes
What follows this?
2190[To Camillo] How prettily th'young swain seems to wash
The hand was fair before! [To Florizel] I have put you out.
But to your protestation. Let me hear
What you profess.
Florizel
Do, and be witness to't.
2195Polixenes
And this my neighbor too?
Florizel
And he, and more
Than he and men -- the earth, the heavens, and all --
That were I crowned the most imperial monarch,
Thereof most worthy, were I the fairest youth
2200That 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.
2205Polixenes
Fairly offered.
Camillo
This shows a sound affection.
Shepherd
But, my daughter,
Say you the like to him?
Perdita
I cannot speak
2210So well, nothing so well, no, nor mean better.
By th'pattern of mine own thoughts I cut out
The purity of his.
Shepherd
Take hands, a bargain --
And friends unknown, you shall bear witness to't;
2215I give my daughter to him and will make
Her portion equal his.
Florizel
Oh, that must be
I'th'virtue of your daughter. One being dead,
I shall have more than you can dream of yet,
2220Enough then for your wonder. But come on,
Contract us 'fore these witnesses.
Shepherd
Come, your hand --
And daughter, yours.
Polixenes
Soft, swain, awhile, beseech you.
2225Have you a father?
Florizel
I have, but what of him?
Polixenes
Knows he of this?
Florizel
He neither does nor shall.
Polixenes Methinks a father
2230Is 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?
2235Know man from man? Dispute his owne estate?
Lies he not bed-rid, and again does nothing
But what he did being childish?
Florizel
No, good sir.
He has his health and ampler strength indeed
2240Than most have of his age.
Polixenes
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
2245The father, all whose joy is nothing else
But fair posterity, should hold some counsel
In such a business.
Florizel
I yield all this;
But for some other reasons, my grave sir,
2250Which 'tis not fit you know, I not acquaint
My father of this business.
Polixenes
Let him know't.
Florizel
He shall not.
Polixenes
Prithee let him.
2255Florizel
No, he must not.
Shepherd Let him, my son; he shall not need to grieve
At knowing of thy choice.
Florizel
Come, come, he must not.
Mark our contract.
2260Polixenes
[Removing disguise] Mark your divorce, young sir,
Whom son I dare not call. Thou art too base
To be acknowledged. Thou a scepter's heir
That thus affects a sheep-hook? Thou, old traitor,
I am sorry that by hanging thee I can
2265But shorten thy life one week. And thou, fresh piece
Of excellent witchcraft, whom of force must know
The royal fool thou cop'st with --
Shepherd
Oh, my heart!
Polixenes I'll have thy beauty scratched with briers and made
2270More homely than thy state.[To Florizel] For thee, fond boy,
If I may ever know thou dost but sigh,
That thou no more shalt never 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,
2275Far than Deucalion off. Mark thou my words.
Follow us to the court. [To Old Shepherd] Thou, churl, for this time,
Though full of our displeasure, yet we free thee
From the dead blow of it. [To Perdita] And you, enchantment,
Worthy enough a herdsman -- yea, him too
2280That makes himself but for our honor 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
2285As thou art tender to't.
Exit
Perdita
Even here undone!
I was not much afeared, for once or twice
I was about to speak and tell him plainly,
The selfsame sun that shines upon his court
2290Hides not his visage from our cottage, but
Looks on alike. [To Florizel] Wilt 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 farther,
2295But milk my ewes and weep.
Camillo
Why, how now, father?
Speak ere thou diest.
Shepherd
I cannot speak, nor think,
Nor dare to know that which I know.[To Florizel] O sir,
2300You 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
2305Where no priest shovels in dust.[To Perdita] O, cursèd 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 lived
To die when I desire.
Exit.
2310Florizel
[To Camillo] Why look you so upon me?
I am but sorry, not afeared; delayed,
But nothing altered. What I was, I am,
More straining on for plucking back, not following
My leash unwillingly.
2315Camillo
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.
2320Then, till the fury of his highness settle,
Come not before him.
Florizel
I not purpose it.
I think, Camillo?
Camillo
[removing disguise] Even he, my lord.
2325Perdita How often have I told you 'twould be thus?
How often said my dignity would last
But till 'twere known?
Florizel
It cannot fail but by
The violation of my faith, and then
2330Let nature crush the sides o'th earth together
And mar the seeds within. Lift up thy looks.
From my succession wipe me, father! I
Am heir to my affection.
Camillo
Be advised.
2335Florizel I am, and by my fancy; if my reason
Will thereto be obedient, I have reason.
If not, my senses, better pleased with madness,
Do bid it welcome.
Camillo
This is desperate, sir.
2340Florizel So call it, but it does fulfill my vow.
I needs must think it honesty. Camillo,
Not for Bohemia, nor the pomp that may
Be thereat gleaned, for all the sun sees or
The close earth wombs or the profound seas hides
2345In unknown fathoms, will I break my oath
To this my fair beloved. Therefore, I pray you,
As you have ever been my father's honored friend,
When he shall miss me, as in faith I mean not
To see him anymore, cast your good counsels
2350Upon 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
2355A vessel rides fast by, but not prepared
For this design. What course I mean to hold
Shall nothing benefit your knowledge nor
Concern me the reporting.
Camillo
O my lord,
2360I would your spirit were easier for advice
Or stronger for your need.
Florizel
Hark, Perdita --
[To Camillo] I'll hear you by and by.
[Florizel and Perdita walk together]
Camillo
He's irremoveable,
2365Resolved for flight. Now were I happy if
His going I could frame to serve my turn,
Save him from danger, do him love and honor,
Purchase the sight again of dear Sicilia,
And that unhappy king, my master, whom
2370I so much thirst to see.
Florizel
[Florizel steps forward] Now, good Camillo,
I am so fraught with curious business that
I leave out ceremony.
Camillo
Sir, I think
2375You have heard of my poor services i'th'love
That I have borne your father?
Florizel
Very nobly
Have you deserved. It is my father's music
To speak your deeds, not little of his care
2380To have them recompensed as thought on.
Camillo
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,
2385If your more ponderous and settled project
May suffer alteration. On mine honor,
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
2390There's no disjunction to be made but by --
As heavens forfend -- your ruin. Marry her,
And, with my best endeavors in your absence,
Your discontenting father strive to qualify
And bring him up to liking.
2395Florizel
How, Camillo,
May this, almost a miracle, be done,
That I may call thee something more than man,
And after that trust to thee?
Camillo
Have you thought on
2400A place whereto you'll go?
Florizel
Not any yet.
But as th'unthought-on accident is guilty
To what we wildly do, so we profess
Ourselves to be the slaves of chance and flies
2405Of every wind that blows.
Camillo
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,
2410For 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 there, "Son, forgiveness"
2415As 'twere i'th' father's person; kisses the hands
Of your fresh princess; o'er and o'er divides him
'Twixt his unkindness and his kindness. Th'one
He chides to hell and bids the other grow
Faster than thought or time.
2420Florizel
Worthy Camillo,
What color for my visitation shall I
Hold up before him?
Camillo
Sent by the king your father
To greet him, and to give him comforts. Sir,
2425The 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
2430But that you have your father's bosom there
And speak his very heart.
Florizel
I am bound to you.
There is some sap in this.
Camillo
A course more promising
2435Than a wild dedication of yourselves
To unpathed waters, undreamed 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
2440Do 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.
2445Perdita
One of these is true:
I think affliction may subdue the cheek
But not take in the mind.
Camillo
Yea? Say you so?
There shall not at your father's house these seven years
2450Be born another such.
Florizel
My good Camillo,
She's as forward of her breeding as
She is i'th'rear our birth.
Camillo
I cannot say 'tis pity
2455She lacks instructions, for she seems a mistress
To most that teach.
Perdita
Your pardon, sir. For this,
I'll blush you thanks.
Florizel
My prettiest Perdita!
2460But, Oh, 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 furnished like Bohemia's son
Nor shall appear in Sicilia.
2465Camillo
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,
2470That you may know you shall not want, one word --
[Camillo, Florizel, and Perdita talk together.]
Enter Autolycus
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 ribbon, 2475glass, 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 2480purse 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 2485of 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 2490nothing 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 a hubbub 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 2495army.
[Camillo, Florizel, and Perdita come forward]
Camillo [To Florizel and Perdita] Nay, but my letters, by this means being there
So soon as you arrive, shall clear that doubt.
Florizel And those that you'll procure from King Leontes?
Camillo
Shall satisfy your father.
2500Perdita
Happy be you!
All that you speak shows fair.
Camillo
[Noticing Autolycus] Who have we here?
We'll make an instrument of this; omit
Nothing may give us aide.
2505Autolycus [Aside If they have overheard me now -- why, hanging!
Camillo How now, good fellow! Why shak'st thou so? Fear not, man; Here's no harm intended to thee.
Autolycus I am a poor fellow, sir.
2510Camillo 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 penny-worth on his 2515side be the worst, yet hold thee, there's some boot. [Gives him money]
Autolycus I am a poor fellow, sir; [Aside] I know ye well enough.
Camillo Nay, prithee, dispatch -- the gentleman is half flayed already.
2520Autolycus Are you in earnest, sir? [Aside] I smell the trick on't.
Florizel Dispatch, I prithee.
Autolycus Indeed, I have had earnest, but I cannot with conscience take it.
Camillo Unbuckle, unbuckle.
[Florizel and Autolycus exchange clothes.]
2525Fortunate mistress -- let my prophecy
Come home to ye! -- 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
2530The truth of your own seeming that you may,
For I do fear eyes over, to shipboard
Get undescried.
Perdita
I see the play so lies
That I must bear a part.
2535Camillo
No remedy.
[To Florizel]Have you done there?
Florizel
Should I now meet my father,
He would not call me son.
Camillo
Nay, you shall have no hat. [Giving hat to Perdita]
2540Come, lady, come. Farewell, my friend.
Autolycus
Adieu, sir.
Florizel O Perdita! What have we twain forgot?
Pray you a word.
[The two talk together.]
Camillo
What I do next shall be to tell the king
2545Of this escape and whither they are bound;
Wherein my hope is I shall so prevail
To force him after, in whose company
I shall review Sicilia, for whose sight
I have a woman's longing.
2550Florizel
Fortune speed us!
Thus we set on, Camillo, to th' seaside.
Camillo The swifter speed the better.
Exeunt [Florizel, Perdita, and Camillo]
Autolycus I understand the business; I hear it. To have an open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand is necessary for 2555a cutpurse; a good nose is requisite also to smell out work for th' 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 2560do 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 2565I constant to my profession.
Enter Clown and Old Shepherd [carrying a bundle and a box]
Aside, aside -- here is more matter for a hot brain; every lane's end, every shop, church, session, hanging, yields a careful man work.
2570Clown 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 blood.
Shepherd Nay, but hear me --
Clown Nay, but hear me!
2575Shepherd Go to, then.
Clown 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 2580what she has with her. This being done, let the law go whistle, I warrant you.
Shepherd 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 2585the king's brother-in-law.
Clown 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.
Autolycus [Aside] Very wisely, puppies!
2590Shepherd Well! Let us to the king. There is that in this fardel will make him scratch his beard.
Autolycus [Aside] I know not what impediment this complaint may be to the flight of my master.
Clown Pray heartily he be at palace.
2595Autolycus [Aside] Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance. Let me pocket up my peddler's excrement.
[Removing false beard]
[To the Clown and Shepherd] How now, rustics! Whither are you bound?
Shepherd To th'palace, an it like your worship.
Autolycus Your affairs there? What? With whom? The 2600condition of that fardel? The place of your dwelling? Your names? Your ages? Of what having, breeding, and anything that is fitting to be known, discover!
Clown We are but plain fellows, sir.
Autolycus A lie! You are rough and hairy! Let me have 2605no 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.
Clown Your worship had like to have given us one if 2610you had not taken yourself with the manner.
Shepherd Are you a courtier, an't like you, sir?
Autolycus Whether it like me or no, I am a courtier. See'st thou not the air of the court in these enfoldings? Hath not my gait in it the measure of the court? Receives not 2615thy nose court odor from me? Reflect I not on thy baseness court-contempt? Think'st thou for that I insinuate to toze from thee thy business, I am therefore no courtier? I am courtier cap-á-pie, and one that will either push on or pluck back thy business there, 2620whereupon I command thee to open thy affair.
Shepherd My business, sir, is to the king.
Autolycus What advocate hast thou to him?
Shepherd I know not, an't like you.
Clown "Advocate"'s the court word for a pheasant. Say 2625you have none.
Shepherd None, sir. I have no pheasant, cock, nor hen.
Autolycus How blessed are we that are not simple men! Yet nature might have made me as these are. Therefore I will not disdain.
2630Clown This cannot be but a great courtier.
Shepherd His garments are rich, but he wears them not handsomely.
Clown He seems to be the more noble in being fantastical. A great man, I'll warrant. I know by the picking 2635on's teeth.
Autolycus The fardel there? What's i'th'fardel? Wherefore that box?
Shepherd Sir, there lies such secrets in this fardel and box which none must know but the king, and which he 2640shall know within this hour, if I may come to th'speech of him.
Autolycus Age, thou hast lost thy labor.
Shepherd Why, sir?
Autolycus The king is not at the palace; he is gone aboard 2645a new ship to purge melancholy and air himself; for if thou be'st capable of things serious, thou must know the king is full of grief.
Shepherd So, 'tis said, sir, about his son that should have married a shepherd's daughter.
2650Autolycus If that shepherd be not in handfast, let him fly. The curses he shall have, the tortures he shall feel, will break the back of man, the heart of monster.
Clown Think you so, sir?
Autolycus Not he alone shall suffer what wit can make 2655heavy 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 2660say he shall be stoned, but that death is too soft for him, say I. Draw our throne into a sheepcote? All deaths are too few, the sharpest too easy.
Clown Has the old man e'er a son, sir, do you hear, an't like you, sir?
2665Autolycus 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 aquavitae or some other hot infusion; then, raw as he is, and in the hottest day 2670prognostication 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 offenses being so capital? 2675Tell 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 2680shall do it.
Clown [To the Shepherd] 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 2685hand, and no more ado. Remember "stoned", and "flayed alive."
Shepherd 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 2690you.
Autolycus After I have done what I promised?
Shepherd Ay, sir.
Autolycus Well, give me the moiety. [To the Clown] Are you a party in this business?
2695Clown In some sort, sir, but though my case be a pitiful one, I hope I shall not be flayed out of it.
Autolycus Oh, that's the case of the shepherd's son! Hang him, he'll be made an example.
Clown Comfort, good comfort! [To the shepherd] We must to the king 2700and 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.
2705Autolycus I will trust you. Walk before toward the seaside. Go on the right hand. I will but look upon the hedge and follow you.
Clown We are blessed in this man, as I may say, even blessed.
2710Shepherd Let's before, as he bids us; he was provided to do us good.
[Exeunt Clown and Shepherd]
Autolycus 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 2715to 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 2720him 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.
Exit.