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About this text

  • Title: The Winter's Tale (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Hardin Aasand
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-367-0

    Copyright Hardin Aasand. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Hardin Aasand
    Peer Reviewed

    The Winter's Tale (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Winters Tale.
    'Pray you a word.
    Cam. What I doe next, shall be to tell the King
    2545Of this escape, and whither they are bound;
    Wherein, my hope is, I shall so preuaile,
    To force him after: in whose company
    I shall re-view Sicilia; for whose sight,
    I haue a Womans Longing.
    2550Flo. Fortune speed vs:
    Thus we set on (Camillo) to th' Sea-side.
    Cam. The swifter speed, the better.
    Aut. I vnderstand the businesse, I heare it: to haue an
    open eare, a quick eye, and a nimble hand, is necessary for
    2555a Cut-purse; a good Nose is requisite also, to smell out
    worke for th' other Sences. I see this is the time that the
    vniust man doth thriue. What an exchange had this been,
    without boot? What a boot is here, with this exchange?
    Sure the Gods doe this yeere conniue at vs, and we may
    2560doe any thing extempore. The Prince himselfe is about
    a peece of Iniquitie (stealing away from his Father, with
    his Clog at his heeles:) if I thought it were a peece of ho-
    nestie to acquaint the King withall, I would not do't: I
    hold it the more knauerie to conceale it; and therein am
    2565I constant to my Profession.
    Enter Clowne and Shepheard.
    Aside, aside, here is more matter for a hot braine: Euery
    Lanes end, euery Shop, Church, Session, Hanging, yeelds
    a carefull man worke.
    2570Clowne. 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.
    Shep. Nay, but heare me.
    Clow. Nay; but heare me.
    2575Shep. Goe too then.
    Clow. She being none of your flesh and blood, your
    flesh and blood ha's not offended the King, and so your
    flesh and blood is not to be punish'd by him. Shew those
    things you found about her (those secret things, all but
    2580what she ha's with her:) This being done, let the Law goe
    whistle: I warrant you.
    Shep. I will tell the King all, euery word, yea, and his
    Sonnes prancks too; who, I may say, is no honest man,
    neither to his Father, nor to me, to goe about to make me
    2585the Kings Brother in Law.
    Clow. Indeed Brother in Law was the farthest off you
    could haue beene to him, and then your Blood had beene
    the dearer, by I know how much an ounce.
    Aut. Very wisely (Puppies.)
    2590Shep. Well: let vs to the King: there is that in this
    Farthell, will make him scratch his Beard.
    Aut. I know not what impediment this Complaint
    may be to the flight of my Master.
    Clo. 'Pray heartily he be at' Pallace.
    2595Aut. Though I am not naturally honest, I am so some-
    times by chance: Let me pocket vp my Pedlers excre-
    ment. How now (Rustiques) whither are you bound?
    Shep. To th' Pallace (and it like your Worship.)
    Aut. Your Affaires there? what? with whom? the
    2600Condition of that Farthell? the place of your dwelling?
    your names? your ages? of what hauing? breeding, and
    any thing that is fitting to be knowne, discouer?
    Clo. We are but plaine fellowes, Sir.
    Aut. A Lye; you are rough, and hayrie: Let me haue
    2605no lying; it becomes none but Trades-men, and they of-
    ten giue vs (Souldiers) the Lye, but wee pay them for it
    with stamped Coyne, not stabbing Steele, therefore they
    doe not giue vs the Lye.
    Clo. Your Worship had like to haue giuen vs one, if
    2610you had not taken your selfe with the manner.
    Shep. Are you a Courtier, and't like you Sir?
    Aut. Whether it like me, or no, I am a Courtier. Seest
    thou not the ayre of the Court, in these enfoldings? Hath
    not my gate in it, the measure of the Court? Receiues not
    2615thy Nose Court-Odour from me? Reflect I not on thy
    Basenesse, Court-Contempt? Think'st thou, for that I
    insinuate, at toaze from thee thy Businesse, I am there-
    fore no Courtier? I am Courtier Cap-a-pe; and one that
    will eyther push-on, or pluck-back, thy Businesse there:
    2620whereupon I command thee to open thy Affaire.
    Shep. My Businesse, Sir, is to the King.
    Aut. What Aduocate ha'st thou to him?
    Shep. I know not (and't like you.)
    Clo. Aduocate's the Court-word for a Pheazant: say
    2625you haue none.
    Shep. None, Sir: I haue no Pheazant Cock, nor Hen.
    Aut. How blessed are we, that are not simple men?
    Yet Nature might haue made me as these are,
    Therefore I will not disdaine.
    2630Clo. This cannot be but a great Courtier.
    Shep. His Garments are rich, but he weares them not
    Clo. He seemes to be the more Noble, in being fanta-
    sticall: A great man, Ile warrant; I know by the picking
    2635on's Teeth.
    Aut. The Farthell there? What's i'th' Farthell?
    Wherefore that Box?
    Shep. Sir, there lyes such Secrets in this Farthell and
    Box, which none must know but the King, and which hee
    2640shall know within this houre, if I may come to th' speech
    of him.
    Aut. Age, thou hast lost thy labour.
    Shep. Why Sir?
    Aut. The King is not at the Pallace, he is gone aboord
    2645a new Ship, to purge Melancholy, and ayre himselfe: for
    if thou bee'st capable of things serious, thou must know
    the King is full of griefe.
    Shep. So 'tis said (Sir:) about his Sonne, that should
    haue marryed a Shepheards Daughter.
    2650Aut. If that Shepheard be not in hand-fast, let him
    flye; the Curses he shall haue, the Tortures he shall feele,
    will breake the back of Man, the heart of Monster.
    Clo. Thinke you so, Sir?
    Aut. Not hee alone shall suffer what Wit can make
    2655heauie, and Vengeance bitter; but those that are Iermaine
    to him (though remou'd fiftie times) shall all come vnder
    the Hang-man: which, though it be great pitty, yet it is
    necessarie. An old Sheepe-whistling Rogue, a Ram-ten-
    der, to offer to haue his Daughter come into grace? Some
    2660say hee shall be ston'd: but that death is too soft for him
    (say I:) Draw our Throne into a Sheep-Coat? all deaths
    are too few, the sharpest too easie.
    Clo. Ha's the old-man ere a Sonne Sir (doe you heare)
    and't like you, Sir?
    2665Aut. Hee ha's a Sonne: who shall be flayd aliue, then
    'noynted ouer with Honey, set on the head of a Waspes
    Nest, then stand till he be three quarters and a dram dead:
    then recouer'd againe with Aquavite, or some other hot
    Infusion: then, raw as he is (and in the hotest day Progno-
    2670stication proclaymes) shall he be set against a Brick-wall,
    (the Sunne looking with a South-ward eye vpon him;
    where hee is to behold him, with Flyes blown to death.)
    But what talke we of these Traitorly-Rascals, whose mi-
    series are to be smil'd at, their offences being so capitall?