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

    Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Hardin Aasand
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The Winter's Tale (Modern)

    [Enter Florizel and Perdita]
    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.
    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.
    I bless the time
    When my good falcon made her flight across
    1815Thy father's ground.
    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?
    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.
    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.
    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.
    O Lady Fortune,
    Stand you auspicious!
    [Enter the Old Shepherd, Clown, Mopsa, Dorcas, Servants, shepherds and shepherdesses, Polixenes and Camillo both disguised]
    See, your guests approach.
    Address yourself to entertain them sprightly,
    And let's be red with mirth.
    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.
    [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.
    1885A 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'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.
    Wherefore, gentle maiden,
    1895Do 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,
    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.
    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
    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.
    I should leave grazing were I of your flock,
    And only live by gazing.
    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.
    What? like a corpse?
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    I'll swear for 'em.
    [Perdita and Florizel dance]
    [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.
    He tells her something
    1980That makes her blood look on't. Good sooth, she is
    The queen of curds and cream.
    [To musicians] Come on! Strike up!
    Mopsa must be your mistress? Marry, garlic to mend her kissing with!
    Now, in good time!
    Not a word, a word; we stand upon our manners. Come, strike up!
    Here a dance of shepherds and shepherdesses
    Pray, good shepherd, what fair swain is this
    Which dances with your daughter?
    They call him Doricles and boasts himself
    To have a worthy feeding. But I have it
    Upon his own report, and I believe it;
    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.
    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
    2005Which he not dreams of.
    Enter 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.
    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.
    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."
    This is a brave fellow.
    Believe me, thou talkst of an admirable conceited fellow. Has he any unbraided wares?
    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.
    Prithee bring him in, and let him approach singing.
    Forewarn him that he use no scurrilous words in's tunes.
    [Exit Servant.]
    You have of these peddlers that have more in them than you'd think, sister.
    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.
    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 promised them against the feast, but they 2060come not too late now.
    He hath promised you more than that, or there be liars.
    He hath paid you all he promised you. Maybe he has paid you more, which will shame you to give him 2065again.
    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.
    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 2075way and lost all my money?
    And, indeed sir, there are cozeners abroad. Therefore, it behooves men to be wary.
    Fear not, thou man. Thou shalt lose nothing here.
    I hope so, sir, for I have about me many parcels 2080of charge.
    What hast here? Ballads?
    Pray now, buy some. I love a ballet in print, a-life, for then we are sure they are true.
    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.
    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 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.
    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.
    Oh whither?
    It becomes thy oath full well,
    Thou to me thy secrets tell.
    Me too. Let me go thither.
    Or thou goest to th' 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 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.]
    And you shall pay well for 'em.
    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.
    [Enter a Servant]
    [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.
    Away! We'll none on't. Here has been too much homely foolery already. I know, sir, we 2155weary 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 2160three but jumps twelve foot and a half by th'square.
    Leave your prating. Since these good men are pleased, let them come in, but quickly now.
    Why, they stay at door, sir.
    [He brings in the dancers.]
    Here a dance of twelve satyrs.
    [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.
    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 --
    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.
    Do, and be witness to't.
    And this my neighbor too?
    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.
    Fairly offered.
    This shows a sound affection.
    But, my daughter,
    Say you the like to him?
    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.
    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.
    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.
    Come, your hand --
    And daughter, yours.
    Soft, swain, awhile, beseech you.
    2225Have you a father?
    I have, but what of him?
    Knows he of this?
    He neither does nor shall.
    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?
    No, good sir.
    He has his health and ampler strength indeed
    2240Than 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
    2245The 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,
    2250Which 'tis not fit you know, I not acquaint
    My father of this business.
    Let him know't.
    He shall not.
    Prithee 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.
    [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 --
    Oh, my heart!
    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.
    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.
    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,
    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.
    [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.
    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.
    I not purpose it.
    I think, Camillo?
    [removing disguise] 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
    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.
    Be advised.
    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.
    This is desperate, sir.
    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.
    O my lord,
    2360I would your spirit were easier for advice
    Or stronger for your need.
    Hark, Perdita --
    [To Camillo] I'll hear you by and by.
    [Florizel and Perdita walk together]
    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 steps forward] Now, good Camillo,
    I am so fraught with curious business that
    I leave out ceremony.
    Sir, I think
    2375You have heard of my poor services i'th'love
    That I have borne your father?
    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.
    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.
    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
    2400A place whereto you'll go?
    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.
    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.
    Worthy Camillo,
    What color for my visitation shall I
    Hold up before him?
    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.
    I am bound to you.
    There is some sap in this.
    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.
    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
    2450Be born another such.
    My good Camillo,
    She's as forward of her breeding as
    She is i'th'rear our birth.
    I cannot say 'tis pity
    2455She lacks instructions, for she seems a mistress
    To most that teach.
    Your pardon, sir. For this,
    I'll blush you thanks.
    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.
    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
    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]
    [To Florizel and Perdita] 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.
    [Noticing Autolycus] Who have we here?
    We'll make an instrument of this; omit
    Nothing may give us aide.
    [Aside If they have overheard me now -- why, hanging!
    How now, good fellow! Why shak'st 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 penny-worth on his 2515side be the worst, yet hold thee, there's some boot. [Gives him money]
    I am a poor fellow, sir; [Aside] I know ye well
    Nay, prithee, dispatch -- the gentleman is half flayed already.
    Are you in earnest, sir? [Aside] I smell the trick on't.
    Dispatch, I prithee.
    Indeed, I have had earnest, but I cannot with conscience take it.
    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.
    I see the play so lies
    That I must bear a part.
    No remedy.
    [To Florizel]Have you done there?
    Should I now meet my father,
    He would not call me son.
    Nay, you shall have no hat. [Giving hat to Perdita]
    2540Come, lady, come. Farewell, my friend.
    Adieu, sir.
    O Perdita! What have we twain forgot?
    Pray you a word.
    [The two talk together.]
    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.
    Fortune speed us!
    Thus we set on, Camillo, to th' seaside.
    The swifter speed the better.
    Exeunt [Florizel, Perdita, and Camillo]
    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.
    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.
    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 2580what 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 2585the 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 peddler's excrement.
    [Removing false beard]
    [To the Clown and Shepherd] How now, rustics! Whither are you bound?
    To th'palace, an it like your worship.
    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!
    We are but plain fellows, sir.
    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.
    Your worship had like to have given us one if 2610you 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. 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.
    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 2625you have none.
    None, sir. I have no pheasant, cock, nor hen.
    How blessed 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 2635on's teeth.
    The fardel there? What's i'th'fardel? Wherefore that box?
    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.
    Age, thou hast lost thy labor.
    Why, sir?
    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.
    So, 'tis said, sir, about his son that should have married a shepherd's daughter.
    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.
    Think you so, sir?
    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.
    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 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.
    [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."
    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.
    After I have done what I promised?
    Ay, sir.
    Well, give me the moiety. [To the Clown] 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.
    Oh, that's the case of the shepherd's son! Hang him, he'll be made an example.
    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.
    I will trust you. Walk before toward the seaside. 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 Clown and Shepherd]
    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.