The Winter’s Tale - Act 4, scene 3
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Act 4, scene 3
Autolycus, a con man, steals the shepherd’s son’s money and decides to use the upcoming sheep-shearing feast as an occasion for yet more thievery.Enter Autolycus singing.
1706 When daffodils begin to peer,
1707 With heigh, the doxy over the dale,
1708 Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year,
1709 For the red blood reigns in the winter’s pale.
1710 5 The white sheet bleaching on the hedge,
1711 With heigh, the sweet birds, O how they sing!
1712 Doth set my pugging tooth an edge,
1713 For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.
1714 The lark, that tirralirra chants,
1715 10 With heigh, ⌜with heigh,⌝ the thrush and the jay,
1716 Are summer songs for me and my aunts,
1717 While we lie tumbling in the hay.
1718 I have served Prince Florizell and in my time wore
1719 three-pile, but now I am out of service.
1720 15 But shall I go mourn for that, my dear?
1721 The pale moon shines by night,
1722 And when I wander here and there,
1723 I then do most go right.
1724 If tinkers may have leave to live,
1725 20 And bear the sow-skin budget,
1726 Then my account I well may give,
1727 And in the stocks avouch it.
1729 lesser linen. My father named me Autolycus, who,
1730 25 being, as I am, littered under Mercury, was likewise
1731 a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. With die and
1732 drab I purchased this caparison, and my revenue is
1733 the silly cheat. Gallows and knock are too powerful
1734 on the highway. Beating and hanging are terrors to
1735 30 me. For the life to come, I sleep out the thought of
1736 it. A prize, a prize!
Enter ⌜Shepherd’s Son.⌝
SHEPHERD’S SON 1737 Let me see, every ’leven wether tods,
1738 every tod yields pound and odd shilling; fifteen
1739 hundred shorn, what comes the wool to?
AUTOLYCUS, ⌜aside⌝ 1740 35If the springe hold, the cock’s
1741 mine.⌜He lies down.⌝
SHEPHERD’S SON 1742 I cannot do ’t without counters. Let
1743 me see, what am I to buy for our sheep-shearing
1744 feast? (⌜He reads a paper.⌝) Three pound of sugar,
1745 40 five pound of currants, rice—what will this sister of
1746 mine do with rice? But my father hath made her
1747 mistress of the feast, and she lays it on. She hath
1748 made me four-and-twenty nosegays for the shearers,
1749 three-man song men all, and very good ones;
1750 45 but they are most of them means and basses, but
1751 one Puritan amongst them, and he sings psalms to
1752 hornpipes. I must have saffron to color the warden
1753 pies; mace; dates, none, that’s out of my note;
1754 nutmegs, seven; a race or two of ginger, but that I
1755 50 may beg; four pound of prunes, and as many of
1756 raisins o’ th’ sun.
AUTOLYCUS, ⌜writhing as if in pain⌝ 1757 O, that ever I was
SHEPHERD’S SON 1759 I’ th’ name of me!
1761 rags, and then death, death.
SHEPHERD’S SON 1762 Alack, poor soul, thou hast need of
1763 more rags to lay on thee rather than have these off.
AUTOLYCUS 1764 O sir, the loathsomeness of them ⌜offends⌝
1765 60 me more than the stripes I have received, which are
1766 mighty ones and millions.
SHEPHERD’S SON 1767 Alas, poor man, a million of beating
1768 may come to a great matter.
AUTOLYCUS 1769 I am robbed, sir, and beaten, my money
1770 65 and apparel ta’en from me, and these detestable
1771 things put upon me.
SHEPHERD’S SON 1772 What, by a horseman, or a footman?
AUTOLYCUS 1773 A footman, sweet sir, a footman.
SHEPHERD’S SON 1774 Indeed, he should be a footman by
1775 70 the garments he has left with thee. If this be a
1776 horseman’s coat, it hath seen very hot service. Lend
1777 me thy hand; I’ll help thee. Come, lend me thy
AUTOLYCUS 1779 O, good sir, tenderly, O!
SHEPHERD’S SON 1780 75Alas, poor soul.
AUTOLYCUS 1781 O, good sir, softly, good sir. I fear, sir, my
1782 shoulder blade is out.
SHEPHERD’S SON 1783 How now? Canst stand?
AUTOLYCUS, ⌜stealing the Shepherd’s Son’s purse⌝ 1784 Softly,
1785 80 dear sir, good sir, softly. You ha’ done me a charitable
SHEPHERD’S SON 1787 Dost lack any money? I have a little
1788 money for thee.
AUTOLYCUS 1789 No, good sweet sir, no, I beseech you, sir. I
1790 85 have a kinsman not past three-quarters of a mile
1791 hence, unto whom I was going. I shall there have
1792 money or anything I want. Offer me no money, I
1793 pray you; that kills my heart.
SHEPHERD’S SON 1794 What manner of fellow was he that
1795 90 robbed you?
1797 with troll-my-dames. I knew him once a servant of
1798 the Prince. I cannot tell, good sir, for which of his
1799 virtues it was, but he was certainly whipped out of
1800 95 the court.
SHEPHERD’S SON 1801 His vices, you would say. There’s no
1802 virtue whipped out of the court. They cherish it to
1803 make it stay there, and yet it will no more but abide.
AUTOLYCUS 1804 Vices, I would say, sir. I know this man
1805 100 well. He hath been since an ape-bearer, then a
1806 process-server, a bailiff. Then he compassed a motion
1807 of the Prodigal Son, and married a tinker’s wife
1808 within a mile where my land and living lies, and,
1809 having flown over many knavish professions, he
1810 105 settled only in rogue. Some call him Autolycus.
SHEPHERD’S SON 1811 Out upon him! Prig, for my life, prig!
1812 He haunts wakes, fairs, and bearbaitings.
AUTOLYCUS 1813 Very true, sir: he, sir, he. That’s the rogue
1814 that put me into this apparel.
SHEPHERD’S SON 1815 110Not a more cowardly rogue in all
1816 Bohemia. If you had but looked big and spit at him,
1817 he’d have run.
AUTOLYCUS 1818 I must confess to you, sir, I am no fighter. I
1819 am false of heart that way, and that he knew, I
1820 115 warrant him.
SHEPHERD’S SON 1821 How do you now?
AUTOLYCUS 1822 Sweet sir, much better than I was. I can
1823 stand and walk. I will even take my leave of you and
1824 pace softly towards my kinsman’s.
SHEPHERD’S SON 1825 120Shall I bring thee on the way?
AUTOLYCUS 1826 No, good-faced sir, no, sweet sir.
SHEPHERD’S SON 1827 Then fare thee well. I must go buy
1828 spices for our sheep-shearing.
AUTOLYCUS 1829 Prosper you, sweet sir.
⌜Shepherd’s Son⌝ exits.
1830 125 Your purse is not hot enough to purchase your
1832 I make not this cheat bring out another, and the
1833 shearers prove sheep, let me be unrolled and my
1834 name put in the book of virtue.
⌜Sings.⌝ 1835 130 Jog on, jog on, the footpath way,
1836 And merrily hent the stile-a.
1837 A merry heart goes all the day,
1838 Your sad tires in a mile-a.