The Old Shepherd's cottage.
Enter FLORIZEL and PERDITA
These your unusual weeds to each part of you
Do give a life: no shepherdess, but Flora
Peering in April's front. This your sheep-shearing
Is as a meeting of the petty gods,
And you the queen on't.
Sir, my gracious lord,
To chide at your extremes it not becomes me:
O, pardon, that I name them! Your high self,
The gracious mark o' the land, you have obscured
With a swain's wearing, and me, poor lowly maid,
Most goddess-like prank'd up: but that our feasts
In every mess have folly and the feeders
Digest it with a custom, I should blush
To see you so attired, sworn, I think,
To show myself a glass.
I bless the time
When my good falcon made her flight across
Thy father's ground.
Now Jove afford you cause!
To me the difference forges dread; your greatness
Hath not been used to fear. Even now I tremble
To think your father, by some accident,
Should pass this way as you did: O, the Fates!
How would he look, to see his work so noble
Vilely bound up? What would he say? Or how
Should I, in these my borrow'd flaunts, behold
The sternness of his presence?
Nothing but jollity. The gods themselves,
Humbling their deities to love, have taken
The shapes of beasts upon them: Jupiter
Became a bull, and bellow'd; the green Neptune
A ram, and bleated; and the fire-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
Run not before mine honour, nor my lusts
Burn hotter than my faith.
O, but, sir,
Your resolution cannot hold, when 'tis
Opposed, as it must be, by the power of the king:
One of these two must be necessities,
Which then will speak, that you must
change this purpose,
Or I my life.
Thou dearest Perdita,
With these forced thoughts, I prithee, darken not
The mirth o' the feast. Or I'll be thine, my fair,
Or not my father's. For I cannot be
Mine own, nor any thing to any, if
I be not thine. To this I am most constant,
Though destiny say no. Be merry, gentle;
Strangle such thoughts as these with any thing
That you behold the while. Your guests are coming:
Lift up your countenance, as it were the day
Of celebration of that nuptial which
We two have sworn shall come.
O lady Fortune,
Stand you auspicious!
See, your guests approach:
Address yourself to entertain them sprightly,
And let's be red with mirth.
Enter Shepherd, Clown, MOPSA, DORCAS, and others, with POLIXENES and CAMILLO disguised
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' the table, now i' the middle;
On his shoulder, and his; her face o' fire
With labour and the thing she took to quench it,
She would to each one sip. You are retired,
As if you were a feasted one and not
The hostess of the meeting: pray you, bid
These 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' the feast: come on,
And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing,
As your good flock shall prosper.
[To POLIXENES] Sir, welcome:
It is my father's will I should take on me
The hostess-ship o' the day.
You're welcome, sir.
Give me those flowers there, Dorcas. Reverend sirs,
For you there's rosemary and rue; these keep
Seeming and savour all the winter long:
Grace and remembrance be to you both,
And welcome to our shearing!
A fair one are you--well you fit our ages
With flowers of winter.
Sir, the year growing ancient,
Not yet on summer's death, nor on the birth
Of trembling winter, the fairest
flowers o' the season
Are our carnations and streak'd gillyvors,
Which some call nature's bastards: of that kind
Our rustic garden's barren; and I care not
To get slips of them.
Wherefore, gentle maiden,
Do you neglect them?
For I have heard it said
There is an art which in their piedness shares
With great creating nature.
Say there be;
Yet nature is made better by no mean
But nature makes that mean: so, 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,
And make conceive a bark of baser kind
By bud of nobler race: this is an art
Which does mend nature, change it rather, but
The art itself is nature.
So it is.
Then make your garden rich in gillyvors,
And do not call them bastards.
I'll not put
The dibble in earth to set one slip of them;
No more than were I painted I would wish
This youth should say 'twere well and only therefore
Desire to breed by me. Here's flowers for you;
Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram;
The marigold, that goes to bed wi' the sun
And with him rises weeping: these are flowers
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age. You're very welcome.
I should leave grazing, were I of your flock,
And only live by gazing.
You'd be so lean, that blasts of January
Would blow you through and through.
Now, my fair'st friend,
I would I had some flowers o' the spring that might
Become your time of day; and yours, and yours,
That wear upon your virgin branches yet
Your maidenheads growing: O Proserpina,
For the flowers now, that frighted thou let'st fall
From Dis's waggon! daffodils,
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty; violets dim,
But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes
Or Cytherea's breath; pale primroses
That die unmarried, ere they can behold
Bight Phoebus in his strength--a malady
Most incident to maids; bold oxlips and
The crown imperial; lilies of all kinds,
The flower-de-luce being one! O, these I lack,
To make you garlands of, and my sweet friend,
To strew him o'er and o'er!
What, like a corse?
No, like a bank for love to lie and play on;
Not like a corse; or if, not to be buried,
But quick and in mine arms. Come, take your flowers:
Methinks I play as I have seen them do
In Whitsun pastorals: sure this robe of mine
Does change my disposition.
What you do
Still betters what is done. When you speak, sweet.
I'ld have you do it ever: when you sing,
I'ld have you buy and sell so, so give alms,
Pray so; and, for the ordering your affairs,
To sing them too: when you do dance, I wish you
A wave o' the sea, that you might ever do
Nothing but that; move still, still so,
And own no other function: each your doing,
So singular in each particular,
Crowns what you are doing in the present deed,
That all your acts are queens.
Your praises are too large: but that your youth,
And the true blood which peepeth fairly through't,
Do plainly give you out an unstain'd shepherd,
With wisdom I might fear, my Doricles,
You woo'd me the false way.
I think you have
As little skill to fear as I have purpose
To put you to't. But come; our dance, I pray:
Your hand, my Perdita: so turtles pair,
That never mean to part.
I'll swear for 'em.
This is the prettiest low-born lass that ever
Ran on the green-sward: nothing she does or seems
But smacks of something greater than herself,
Too noble for this place.
He tells her something
That makes her blood look out: good sooth, she is
The queen of curds and cream.
Come on, strike up!
Mopsa must be your mistress: marry, garlic,
To mend her kissing with!
Now, in good time!
Not a word, a word; we stand upon our manners.
Come, strike up!
Music. Here a dance of Shepherds and Shepherdesses
Pray, good shepherd, what fair swain is this
Which dances with your daughter?
They call him Doricles; and boasts himself
To have a worthy feeding: but I have it
Upon his own report and I believe it;
He looks like sooth. He says he loves my daughter:
I think so too; for never 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
Who loves another best.
She dances featly.
So she does any thing; though I report it,
That should be silent: if young Doricles
Do light upon her, she shall bring him that
Which he not dreams of.
O master, if you did but hear the pedlar at the
door, you would never dance again after a tabour and
pipe; no, the bagpipe could not move you: he sings
several tunes faster than you'll tell money; he
utters them as he had eaten ballads and all men's
ears grew to his tunes.
He could never come better; he shall come in. I
love a ballad but even too well, if it be doleful
matter merrily set down, or a very pleasant thing
indeed and sung lamentably.
He hath songs for man or woman, of all sizes; no
milliner can so fit his customers with gloves: he
has the prettiest love-songs for maids; so without
bawdry, which is strange; with such delicate
burthens of dildos 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;' puts him off, slights him, with
'Whoop, do me no harm, good man.'
This is a brave fellow.
Believe me, thou talkest of an admirable conceited
fellow. Has he any unbraided wares?
He hath ribbons of an the colours i' the rainbow;
points more than all the lawyers in Bohemia can
learnedly handle, though they come to him by the
gross: inkles, caddisses, cambrics, lawns: why, he
sings 'em over as they were gods or goddesses; you
would think a smock were a she-angel, he so chants
to the sleeve-hand and the work about the square on't.
Prithee bring him in; and let him approach singing.
Forewarn him that he use no scurrilous words in 's tunes.
You have of these pedlars, that have more in them
than you'ld think, sister.
Ay, good brother, or go about to think.
Enter AUTOLYCUS, singing
Lawn as white as driven snow;
Cyprus black as e'er was crow;
Gloves as sweet as damask roses;
Masks for faces and for noses;
Bugle bracelet, necklace amber,
Perfume for a lady's chamber;
Golden quoifs and stomachers,
For my lads to give their dears:
Pins and poking-sticks of steel,
What maids lack from head to heel:
Come buy of me, come; come buy, come buy;
Buy lads, or else your lasses cry: Come buy.
If I were not in love with Mopsa, thou shouldst take
no money of me; but being enthralled as I am, it
will also be the bondage of certain ribbons and gloves.
I was promised them against the feast; but they come
not too late now.
He hath promised you more than that, or there be liars.
He hath paid you all he promised you; may be, he has
paid you more, which will shame you to give him again.
Is there no manners left among maids? will they
wear their plackets where they should bear their
faces? Is there not milking-time, when you are
going to bed, or kiln-hole, to whistle off these
secrets, but you must be tittle-tattling before all
our guests? 'tis well they are whispering: clamour
your tongues, and not a word more.
I have done. Come, you promised me a tawdry-lace
and a pair of sweet gloves.
Have I not told thee how I was cozened by the way
and lost all my money?
And indeed, sir, there are cozeners abroad;
therefore it behoves men to be wary.
Fear not thou, man, thou shalt lose nothing here.
I hope so, sir; for I have about me many parcels of charge.
What hast here? ballads?
Pray now, buy some: I love a ballad in print o'
life, for then we are sure they are true.
Here's one to a very doleful tune, how a usurer's
wife was brought to bed of twenty money-bags at a
burthen and how she longed to eat adders' heads and
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
Tale-porter, 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 moe
ballads; we'll buy the other things anon.
Here's another ballad of a fish, that appeared upon
the coast on Wednesday the four-score of April,
forty thousand fathom above water, and sung this
ballad against the hard hearts of maids: it was
thought she was a woman and was turned into a cold
fish for she would not exchange flesh with one that
loved her: the ballad is very pitiful and as true.
Is it true too, think you?
Five justices' hands at it, and witnesses more than
my pack will hold.
Lay it by too: another.
This is a merry ballad, but a very pretty one.
Let's have some merry ones.
Why, this is a passing merry one and goes to
the tune of 'Two maids wooing a man:' there's
scarce a maid westward but she sings it; 'tis in
request, I can tell you.
We can both sing it: if thou'lt bear a part, thou
shalt hear; 'tis in three parts.
We had the tune on't a month ago.
I can bear my part; you must know 'tis my
occupation; have at it with you.
Get you hence, for I must go
Where it fits not you to know.
It becomes thy oath full well,
Thou to me thy secrets tell.
Me too, let me go thither.
Or thou goest to the orange or mill.
If to either, thou dost ill.
Thou hast sworn my love to be.
Thou hast sworn it more to me:
Then whither goest? say, whither?
We'll have this song out anon by ourselves: my
father and the gentlemen are in sad talk, and we'll
not trouble them. Come, bring away thy pack after
me. Wenches, I'll buy for you both. Pedlar, let's
have the first choice. Follow me, girls.
Exit with DORCAS and MOPSA
And you shall pay well for 'em.
Will you buy any tape,
Or lace for your cape,
My dainty duck, my dear-a?
Any silk, any thread,
Any toys for your head,
Of the new'st and finest, finest wear-a?
Come to the pedlar;
Money's a medler.
That doth utter all men's ware-a.
Master, there is three carters, three shepherds,
three neat-herds, three swine-herds, that have made
themselves all men of hair, they call themselves
Saltiers, and they have a dance which the wenches
say is a gallimaufry of gambols, because they are
not in't; but they themselves are o' the mind, if it
be not too rough for some that know little but
bowling, it will please plentifully.
Away! we'll none on 't: here has been too much
homely foolery already. I know, sir, we weary you.
You weary those that refresh us: pray, let's see
these four threes of herdsmen.
One three of them, by their own report, sir, hath
danced before the king; and not the worst of the
three but jumps twelve foot and a half by the squier.
Leave your prating: since these good men are
pleased, let them come in; but quickly now.
Why, they stay at door, sir.
Here a dance of twelve Satyrs
O, father, you'll know more of that hereafter.
Is it not too far gone? 'Tis time to part them.
He's simple and tells much.
How now, fair shepherd!
Your heart is full of something that does take
Your mind from feasting. Sooth, when I was young
And handed love as you do, I was wont
To load my she with knacks: I would have ransack'd
The pedlar's silken treasury and have pour'd it
To her acceptance; you have let him go
And nothing marted with him. If your lass
Interpretation should abuse and call this
Your lack of love or bounty, you were straited
For a reply, at least if you make a care
Of happy holding her.
Old sir, I know
She prizes not such trifles as these are:
The gifts she looks from me are pack'd and lock'd
Up in my heart; which I have given already,
But not deliver'd. O, hear me breathe my life
Before this ancient sir, who, it should seem,
Hath sometime loved! I take thy hand, this hand,
As soft as dove's down and as white as it,
Or Ethiopian's tooth, or the fann'd
snow that's bolted
By the northern blasts twice o'er.
What follows this?
How prettily the young swain seems to wash
The hand was fair before! I have put you out:
But to your protestation; let me hear
What you profess.
Do, and be witness to 't.
And this my neighbour too?
And he, and more
Than he, and men, the earth, the heavens, and all:
That, were I crown'd the most imperial monarch,
Thereof most worthy, were I the fairest youth
That ever made eye swerve, had force and knowledge
More than was ever man's, I would not prize them
Without her love; for her employ them all;
Commend them and condemn them to her service
Or to their own perdition.
This shows a sound affection.
But, my daughter,
Say you the like to him?
I cannot speak
So well, nothing so well; no, nor mean better:
By the pattern of mine own thoughts I cut out
The purity of his.
Take hands, a bargain!
And, friends unknown, you shall bear witness to 't:
I give my daughter to him, and will make
Her portion equal his.
O, that must be
I' the virtue of your daughter: one being dead,
I shall have more than you can dream of yet;
Enough then for your wonder. But, come on,
Contract us 'fore these witnesses.
Come, your hand;
And, daughter, yours.
Soft, swain, awhile, beseech you;
Have you a father?
I have: but what of him?
Knows he of this?
He neither does nor shall.
Methinks a father
Is at the nuptial of his son a guest
That best becomes the table. Pray you once more,
Is not your father grown incapable
Of reasonable affairs? is he not stupid
With age and altering rheums? can he speak? hear?
Know man from man? dispute his own estate?
Lies he not bed-rid? and again does nothing
But what he did being childish?
No, good sir;
He has his health and ampler strength indeed
Than most have of his age.
By my white beard,
You offer him, if this be so, a wrong
Something unfilial: reason my son
Should choose himself a wife, but as good reason
The father, all whose joy is nothing else
But fair posterity, should hold some counsel
In such a business.
I yield all this;
But for some other reasons, my grave sir,
Which 'tis not fit you know, I not acquaint
My father of this business.
Let him know't.
He shall not.
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.
Mark your divorce, young sir,
Whom son I dare not call; thou art too base
To be acknowledged: thou a sceptre's heir,
That thus affect'st a sheep-hook! Thou old traitor,
I am sorry that by hanging thee I can
But shorten thy life one week. And thou, fresh piece
Of excellent witchcraft, who of force must know
The royal fool thou copest with,--
O, my heart!
I'll have thy beauty scratch'd with briers, and made
More homely than thy state. For thee, fond boy,
If I may ever know thou dost but sigh
That thou no more shalt see this knack, as never
I mean thou shalt, we'll bar thee from succession;
Not hold thee of our blood, no, not our kin,
Far than Deucalion off: mark thou my words:
Follow us to the court. Thou churl, for this time,
Though full of our displeasure, yet we free thee
From the dead blow of it. And you, enchantment.--
Worthy enough a herdsman: yea, him too,
That makes himself, but for our honour therein,
Unworthy thee,--if ever henceforth thou
These rural latches to his entrance open,
Or hoop his body more with thy embraces,
I will devise a death as cruel for thee
As thou art tender to't.
Even here undone!
I was not much afeard; for once or twice
I was about to speak and tell him plainly,
The selfsame sun that shines upon his court
Hides not his visage from our cottage but
Looks on alike. Will't please you, sir, be gone?
I told you what would come of this: beseech you,
Of your own state take care: this dream of mine,--
Being now awake, I'll queen it no inch farther,
But milk my ewes and weep.
Why, how now, father!
Speak ere thou diest.
I cannot speak, nor think
Nor dare to know that which I know. O sir!
You have undone a man of fourscore three,
That thought to fill his grave in quiet, yea,
To die upon the bed my father died,
To lie close by his honest bones: but now
Some hangman must put on my shroud and lay me
Where no priest shovels in dust. O cursed wretch,
That knew'st this was the prince,
and wouldst adventure
To mingle faith with him! Undone! undone!
If I might die within this hour, I have lived
To die when I desire.
Why look you so upon me?
I am but sorry, not afeard; delay'd,
But nothing alter'd: what I was, I am;
More straining on for plucking back, not following
My leash unwillingly.
Gracious my lord,
You know your father's temper: at this time
He will allow no speech, which I do guess
You do not purpose to him; and as hardly
Will he endure your sight as yet, I fear:
Then, till the fury of his highness settle,
Come not before him.
I not purpose it.
I think, Camillo?
Even he, my lord.
How often have I told you 'twould be thus!
How often said, my dignity would last
But till 'twere known!
It cannot fail but by
The violation of my faith; and then
Let nature crush the sides o' the earth together
And mar the seeds within! Lift up thy looks:
From my succession wipe me, father; I
Am heir to my affection.
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 fulfil my vow;
I needs must think it honesty. Camillo,
Not for Bohemia, nor the pomp that may
Be thereat glean'd, for all the sun sees or
The close earth wombs or the profound sea hides
In unknown fathoms, will I break my oath
To this my fair beloved: therefore, I pray you,
As you have ever been my father's honour'd friend,
When he shall miss me,--as, in faith, I mean not
To see him any more,--cast your good counsels
Upon his passion; let myself and fortune
Tug for the time to come. This you may know
And so deliver, I am put to sea
With her whom here I cannot hold on shore;
And most opportune to our need I have
A 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!
I would your spirit were easier for advice,
Or stronger for your need.
Drawing her aside
I'll hear you by and by.
Resolved for flight. Now were I happy, if
His going I could frame to serve my turn,
Save him from danger, do him love and honour,
Purchase the sight again of dear Sicilia
And that unhappy king, my master, whom
I so much thirst to see.
Now, good Camillo;
I am so fraught with curious business that
I leave out ceremony.
Sir, I think
You have heard of my poor services, i' the love
That I have borne your father?
Have you deserved: it is my father's music
To speak your deeds, not little of his care
To have them recompensed as thought on.
Well, my lord,
If you may please to think I love the king
And through him what is nearest to him, which is
Your gracious self, embrace but my direction:
If your more ponderous and settled project
May suffer alteration, on mine honour,
I'll point you where you shall have such receiving
As shall become your highness; where you may
Enjoy your mistress, from the whom, I see,
There's no disjunction to be made, but by--
As heavens forefend!--your ruin; marry her,
And, with my best endeavours in your absence,
Your discontenting father strive to qualify
And bring him up to liking.
May this, almost a miracle, be done?
That I may call thee something more than man
And after that trust to thee.
Have you thought on
A place whereto you'll go?
Not any yet:
But as the unthought-on accident is guilty
To what we wildly do, so we profess
Ourselves to be the slaves of chance and flies
Of every wind that blows.
Then list to me:
This follows, if you will not change your purpose
But undergo this flight, make for Sicilia,
And there present yourself and your fair princess,
For so I see she must be, 'fore Leontes:
She shall be habited as it becomes
The partner of your bed. Methinks I see
Leontes opening his free arms and weeping
His welcomes forth; asks thee the son forgiveness,
As 'twere i' the father's person; kisses the hands
Of your fresh princess; o'er and o'er divides him
'Twixt his unkindness and his kindness; the one
He chides to hell and bids the other grow
Faster than thought or time.
What colour for my visitation shall I
Hold up before him?
Sent by the king your father
To greet him and to give him comforts. Sir,
The manner of your bearing towards him, with
What you as from your father shall deliver,
Things known betwixt us three, I'll write you down:
The which shall point you forth at every sitting
What you must say; that he shall not perceive
But that you have your father's bosom there
And speak his very heart.
I am bound to you:
There is some sap in this.
A cause more promising
Than a wild dedication of yourselves
To unpath'd waters, undream'd shores, most certain
To miseries enough; no hope to help you,
But as you shake off one to take another;
Nothing so certain as your anchors, who
Do their best office, if they can but stay you
Where you'll be loath to be: besides you know
Prosperity's the very bond of love,
Whose fresh complexion and whose heart together
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
Be born another such.
My good Camillo,
She is as forward of her breeding as
She is i' the rear our birth.
I cannot say 'tis pity
She lacks instructions, for she seems a mistress
To most that teach.
Your pardon, sir; for this
I'll blush you thanks.
My prettiest Perdita!
But O, the thorns we stand upon! Camillo,
Preserver of my father, now of me,
The medicine of our house, how shall we do?
We are not furnish'd like Bohemia's son,
Nor shall appear in Sicilia.
Fear none of this: I think you know my fortunes
Do all lie there: it shall be so my care
To have you royally appointed as if
The scene you play were mine. For instance, sir,
That you may know you shall not want, one word.
They talk aside
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, glass, pomander, brooch, table-book, ballad,
knife, tape, glove, shoe-tie, bracelet, horn-ring,
to keep my pack from fasting: they throng who
should buy first, as if my trinkets had been
hallowed and brought a benediction to the buyer:
by which means I saw whose purse was best in
picture; and what I saw, to my good use I
remembered. My clown, who wants but something to
be a reasonable man, grew so in love with the
wenches' song, that he would not stir his pettitoes
till he had both tune and words; which so drew the
rest of the herd to me that all their other senses
stuck in ears: you might have pinched a placket, it
was senseless; 'twas nothing to geld a codpiece of a
purse; I could have filed keys off that hung in
chains: no hearing, no feeling, but my sir's song,
and admiring the nothing of it. So that in this
time of lethargy I picked and cut most of their
festival purses; and had not the old man come in
with a whoo-bub against his daughter and the king's
son and scared my choughs from the chaff, I had not
left a purse alive in the whole army.
CAMILLO, FLORIZEL, and PERDITA come forward
Nay, but my letters, by this means being there
So soon as you arrive, shall clear that doubt.
And those that you'll procure from King Leontes--
Shall satisfy your father.
Happy be you!
All that you speak shows fair.
Who have we here?
We'll make an instrument of this, omit
Nothing may give us aid.
If they have overheard me now, why, hanging.
How now, good fellow! why shakest thou so? Fear
not, man; here's no harm intended to thee.
I am a poor fellow, sir.
Why, be so still; here's nobody will steal that from
thee: yet for the outside of thy poverty we must
make an exchange; therefore discase thee instantly,
--thou must think there's a necessity in't,--and
change garments with this gentleman: though the
pennyworth on his side be the worst, yet hold thee,
there's some boot.
I am a poor fellow, sir.
I know ye well enough.
Nay, prithee, dispatch: the gentleman is half
Are you in earnest, sir?
I smell the trick on't.
Dispatch, I prithee.
Indeed, I have had earnest: but I cannot with
conscience take it.
FLORIZEL and AUTOLYCUS exchange garments
Fortunate 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
The truth of your own seeming; that you may--
For I do fear eyes over--to shipboard
I see the play so lies
That I must bear a part.
Have you done there?
Should I now meet my father,
He would not call me son.
Nay, you shall have no hat.
Giving it to PERDITA
Come, lady, come. Farewell, my friend.
O Perdita, what have we twain forgot!
Pray you, a word.
[Aside] What I do next, shall be to tell the king
Of this escape and whither they are bound;
Wherein my hope is I shall so prevail
To force him after: in whose company
I shall review Sicilia, for whose sight
I have a woman's longing.
Fortune speed us!
Thus we set on, Camillo, to the sea-side.
The swifter speed the better.
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 a cut-purse; a good nose is requisite
also, to smell out work for the other senses. I see
this is the time that the unjust man doth thrive.
What an exchange had this been without boot! What
a boot is here with this exchange! Sure the gods do
this year connive at us, and we may do any thing
extempore. The prince himself is about a piece of
iniquity, stealing away from his father with his
clog at his heels: if I thought it were a piece of
honesty to acquaint the king withal, I would not
do't: I hold it the more knavery to conceal it;
and therein am I constant to my profession.
Re-enter Clown and Shepherd
Aside, aside; here is more matter for a hot brain:
every lane's end, every shop, church, session,
hanging, yields a careful man 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 what she has with her: this being
done, let the law go whistle: I warrant you.
I will tell the king all, every word, yea, and his
son's pranks too; who, I may say, is no honest man,
neither to his father nor to me, to go about to make
me the king's brother-in-law.
Indeed, brother-in-law was the farthest off you
could have been to him and then your blood had been
the dearer by I know how much an ounce.
[Aside] Very wisely, puppies!
Well, let us to the king: there is that in this
fardel will make him scratch his beard.
[Aside] I know not what impediment this complaint
may be to the flight of my master.
Pray heartily he be at palace.
[Aside] Though I am not naturally honest, I am so
sometimes by chance: let me pocket up my pedlar's excrement.
Takes off his false beard
How now, rustics! whither are you bound?
To the palace, an it like your worship.
Your affairs there, what, with whom, the condition
of that fardel, the place of your dwelling, your
names, your ages, of what having, breeding, and any
thing that is fitting to be known, discover.
We are but plain fellows, sir.
A lie; you are rough and hairy. Let me have no
lying: it becomes none but tradesmen, and they
often give us soldiers the lie: but we pay them for
it with stamped coin, not stabbing steel; therefore
they do not give us the lie.
Your worship had like to have given us one, if you
had not taken yourself with the manner.
Are you a courtier, an't like you, sir?
Whether it like me or no, I am a courtier. Seest
thou not the air of the court in these enfoldings?
hath not my gait in it the measure of the court?
receives not thy nose court-odor from me? reflect I
not on thy baseness court-contempt? Thinkest thou,
for that I insinuate, or toaze from thee thy
business, I am therefore no courtier? I am courtier
cap-a-pe; and one that will either push on or pluck
back thy business there: whereupon I command thee to
open thy affair.
My business, sir, is to the king.
What advocate hast thou to him?
I know not, an't like you.
Advocate's the court-word for a pheasant: say you
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
The fardel there? what's i' the fardel?
Wherefore that box?
Sir, there lies such secrets in this fardel and box,
which none must know but the king; and which he
shall know within this hour, if I may come to the
speech of him.
Age, thou hast lost thy labour.
The king is not at the palace; he is gone aboard a
new ship to purge melancholy and air himself: for,
if thou beest capable of things serious, thou must
know the king is full of grief.
So 'tis said, sir; about his son, that should have
married a shepherd's daughter.
If that shepherd be not in hand-fast, let him fly:
the curses he shall have, the tortures he shall
feel, will break the back of man, the heart of monster.
Think you so, sir?
Not he alone shall suffer what wit can make heavy
and vengeance bitter; but those that are germane to
him, though removed fifty times, shall all come
under the hangman: which though it be great pity,
yet it is necessary. An old sheep-whistling rogue a
ram-tender, to offer to have his daughter come into
grace! Some say he shall be stoned; but that death
is too soft for him, say I draw our throne into a
sheep-cote! all deaths are too few, the sharpest too easy.
Has the old man e'er a son, sir, do you hear. an't
like you, sir?
He has a son, who shall be flayed alive; then
'nointed over with honey, set on the head of a
wasp's nest; then stand till he be three quarters
and a dram dead; then recovered again with
aqua-vitae or some other hot infusion; then, raw as
he is, and in the hottest day prognostication
proclaims, shall be be set against a brick-wall, the
sun looking with a southward eye upon him, where he
is to behold him with flies blown to death. But what
talk we of these traitorly rascals, whose miseries
are to be smiled at, their offences being so
capital? Tell me, for you seem to be honest plain
men, what you have to the king: being something
gently considered, I'll bring you where he is
aboard, tender your persons to his presence,
whisper him in your behalfs; and if it be in man
besides the king to effect your suits, here is man
shall do it.
He seems to be of great authority: close with him,
give him gold; and though authority be a stubborn
bear, yet he is oft led by the nose with gold: show
the inside of your purse to the outside of his hand,
and no more ado. Remember '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 you.
After I have done what I promised?
Well, give me the moiety. Are you a party in this business?
In some sort, sir: but though my case be a pitiful
one, I hope I shall not be flayed out of it.
O, that's the case of the shepherd's son: hang him,
he'll be made an example.
Comfort, good comfort! We must to the king and show
our strange sights: he must know 'tis none of your
daughter nor my sister; we are gone else. Sir, I
will give you as much as this old man does when the
business is performed, and remain, as he says, your
pawn till it be brought you.
I will trust you. Walk before toward the sea-side;
go on the right hand: I will but look upon the
hedge and follow you.
We are blest in this man, as I may say, even blest.
Let's before as he bids us: he was provided to do us good.
Exeunt Shepherd and Clown
If I had a mind to be honest, I see Fortune would
not suffer me: she drops booties in my mouth. I am
courted now with a double occasion, gold and a means
to do the prince my master good; which who knows how
that may turn back to my advancement? I will bring
these two moles, these blind ones, aboard him: if he
think it fit to shore them again and that the
complaint they have to the king concerns him
nothing, let him call me rogue for being so far
officious; for I am proof against that title and
what shame else belongs to't. To him will I present
them: there may be matter in it.
As Polixenes suspected, his son was wooing the Old Shepherd's daughter Perdita. The young lovers were preparing for the sheep-shearing festival held at the shepherd's estate. Perdita had disguised Florizel in some country clothes and had given him the name of Doricles, just in case anyone recognised him but the disguise did not allay her fears that their romance would be discovered by his father.
"These unusual clothes make you look quite different," Florizel said to Perdita. "Not a shepherdess, but the goddess Flora ushering in spring. Your sheep-shearing celebration is a gathering of the rural deities, and you are their queen."
"Sir, my gracious lord, to rebuke your rather lavish compliments is unbecoming- but forgive me if I elaborate. Your Royal Highness is the focus of every eye in the country, but you are attired in rural rags. And as for me, I’m only a lowly country girl made up to be worshipped! At our feasts we have all kinds of jokers and the harvesters love every minute of it. I will be embarrassed to see you dressed like that, and I'll be forever reluctant to look in the mirror just in case I look that way too."
"I bless the day my good falcon made her flight across your father's land."
"Jove give you cause to say so! Our difference in class makes me nervous- your position means you’ve never had that feeling. Even now I tremble that your father, by some accident, should pass this way just as you did. Oh, the Fates! He would be pleased to see his son dressed like this! What would he say? And how should I, in fancy dress, behold the sternness of his presence?"
"Expect only joy! Doesn't Ovid tell us that the gods themselves resorted to disguise in the pursuit of love? Jupiter became a bull and spent his days bellowing. Neptune became a lamb and was happy to bleat. Apollo dressed himself as farm lad, just like me now! Their transformations were not for a beauty rarer than you, nor in a way so chaste- since neither my desires run before my honour, nor my lusts burn hotter than my vow to marry you."
"Oh, but, sir, your resolve cannot sustain opposition from your father the King, which is inevitable. One of two things must happen. You will submit to his will or I will be forced to change my life."
"Dear Perdita, don't darken the mood of the feast by thinking like that. I'll be yours, Perdita, not my father's. If I cannot be my own man, I won't be worth anything to anybody. To this I am most constant, regardless of destiny. Be merry, be gentle. Get rid of such thoughts as these with anything that will occupy your mind. Your guests will soon be here- cheer up! Pretend this is our wedding day!"
"Oh lady Fortune, look over us!"
"Look, the guests for the feast are starting to arrive. Let’s welcome them with smiling faces."
The Old Shepherd and Clown led a group of guests to the tables prepared in the courtyard. Two shepherdesses, Mopsa and Dorcas, were in high spirits. Quite a few other agricultural workers from the valley joined them. The jovial and unconcerned atmosphere allowed a disguised Polixenes and Camillo join the gathering unimpeded.
"Goodness, daughter! When my old wife was alive, on harvest feast she was pantry mistress, butler, cook, hostess and servant. Welcomed all, served all, sang her songs and danced her turn. One minute at the top of the table and then in the middle of the table, her face red with work, supping on some mead to quench her own thirst and that of her guests. And you act as though you're here as guest not hostess! Now, please, welcome these new friends and make them better friends. Do your duty as hostess of the feast. Welcome all to your sheep-shearing feast, and your good flock shall prosper."
And the first of the guest's to receive Perdita's personal welcome was Polixenes.
"Sir, welcome. It is my father's will I should be the hostess of the day."
Polixenes smiled broadly, obviously captivated by Perdita's beauty. She then welcomed Camillo.
"You're welcome, too, sir."
Camillo was also intrigued by the mysteriously familiar beauty of this young woman.
"Dorcas, give me those flowers," Perdita called. "Welcome guests, for you gentlemen there's rosemary and rue. These keep their appearance and aroma all winter long. May they remind you of us and allow to you to forget past misdemeanours, and a welcome to our shearing celebrations."
"Shepherdess, and a beautiful one at that, these flowers of winter are appropriate to our years," Polixenes said.
"Sir," Perdita replied, "the year is getting on, summer's but not over and the winter is not upon us. The fairest flowers of the seasons are the carnations and those gillyflowers with streaky pink tones, which some call nature's bastards. Our rustic garden's barren of those and I had no wish to seek out cuttings."
"Why, gentle maiden, do you neglect them?" Polixenes asked.
"For I have heard it said there are things which their streakiness shares with the great creating spirit of Nature."
"So it is said. Yet Nature is made better by none other those derived from Nature- ourselves. You see, sweet maid, we marry a gentler offshoot to the wildest stock, and create something base from something noble: this is an art that interferes with Nature and changes it, but is itself natural."
"Then make your garden rich in gillyflowers and don't call them crossbreed blossoms," Polixenes said.
"I'll not put the trowel in earth to plant one cutting, no more than if I was made up with the false face of cosmetics and this youth said that it was my cosmetic face that made him want to marry me. But here are flowers for you. Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram. The marigold that goes to bed with the sun and with him rises weeping. These are flowers of middle summer, and I think they are given to men of middle age. You're very welcome."
"If I was in your flock," Camillo said, "I would forget about grazing and live by gazing."
"Sir, you embarrass me! You’d be so thin the January winds would blow you away."
Perdita turned to Florizel: "Now, my friend, I wish I had some spring flowers, more suited to your time of life. And some for the shepherdesses, too. Flowers from Persephone, the beautiful kind she was collecting when the myth tells us she was taken to Hades. Daffodils that flower and dazzle with their beauty even before the swallows arrive on the winds of March. Violets are as sweet as Juno, Queen of the gods, and as the breath of Venus. Primroses, young and fragile, with no experience of love. Give me oxlips and lilies and irises, enough flowers for me to make garlands to cover my sweet friend!"
"What, like a corpse?" exclaimed Florizel.
"No, like a riverbank where love can bask and play. Not like a corpse, or if so, not a body to be buried, but alive and in my arms. Come, take your flowers. I think I am playing as they do in the Whitsun festivities. My dress changes my mood."
"What you do always exceeds what you have just done. When you speak, sweet, I’d have you repeat it. When you sing, I’d have you give us an encore, so run your household and give alms. Sing too- and when you do dance, I wish you were like an ocean wave, repeating the movement forever! That and no other function! Everything you do is so singularly wonderful it exceeds what you did only a moment ago."
"Oh, Doricles, your praise is too lavish! If it wasn't for your youth and breeding, which are apparent and show you are an inappropriate shepherd, I’d think you were trying to seduce me with flattery," Perdita said out of Polixenes' hearing.
"I think you have as little reason to fear as I have reason to frighten you. But listen, it's our dance. Your hand, my Perdita. We will be like turtle doves that pair never meaning to part."
"I'll do as they do," Perdita replied.
As the young couple danced, Polixenes and Camillo observed their every move.
"This is the prettiest low-born lass ever found on a farm! Everything she does hints at something greater than her situation. Far too noble for this place," Polixenes said.
"Look at them! He has told her something that makes her blush," Camillo said. "Look out, by God, she is the queen of curds and cream."
Meanwhile Clown yelled at the musicians, "Come on, strike up!"
"Mopsa must be your girlfriend," Dorcas the shepherdess said to Clown. "Give her garlic to sweeten her kisses!"
"Is that a fact!" Mopsa snorted.
"None of that!" Clown said. "We're on our best behaviour. Band, strike up!"
Now the musicians on their fiddles and hurdy-gurdies began to play music that the young farmers, shearers and shepherds could dance to.
"Tell me, good shepherd," Polixenes asked Perdita’s father, "who is the handsome young man dancing with your daughter?"
"They call him Doricles, and he boasts of having come from a good home. I have his word for it and I believe him. It certainly looks true. He says he loves my daughter. I think so too, for the moon never gazed upon the water as he stands and reads, as it were, my daughter's eyes. To be plain, I think there is not half a kiss to choose who loves the other best."
"She dances gracefully," Polixenes said.
"As she does everything- even if I say it when I should be modest. If young Doricles does marry her, she shall bring him a happiness he hasn't even dreamed of."
Polixenes was about to quiz the Old Shepherd thoroughly when one of the farm servants interrupted.
"Oh, master, if you heard the peddler at the gate, you would never dance again to a tabor and pipe, even the bagpipe wouldn’t move you. This fellow sings several tunes faster than you can count money. He sings as though he had eaten ballads and all men's ears were under his spell."
"He couldn't have come at a better time," Clown said. "Bring him in. I love a ballad whether it is a silly song with a merry tune or a happy song that sounds sad."
"He has songs for man and woman," the servant added, "songs of all kinds, no milliner can fit his customers as precisely. He has the prettiest love-songs for maids, all without smut, which is unusual. None of the predictable double meanings."
"He sounds as if he could hold an audience," Polixenes said.
"Believe me," Clown said, "you make him sound like an amazing fellow. Does this travelling man have any bargains with him?"
"He has ribbons of all the colours of the rainbow," the servant replied, "and lace with more points than all the lawyers in Bohemia can understand. He gets everything wholesale- linens, ribbons and fine materials. Why he sings about his wares as though a dress were an angel, and he chants about cuffs and breast stitching."
"Bring him in and let him get singing," Clown said.
"Warn him," Perdita said, "that he can't use any scurrilous words in his tunes."
The servant left to bring in the peddler.
"You have some peddlers who have more in them than you think, sister," Clown said.
"Yes, brother, or like to think they have!"
The peddler came into to the yard singing away. It was Autolycus with a false beard.
"Lawn as white as driven snow,
Cypress black as the crow,
Gloves as sweet as damask rose,
Masks for faces and for noses,
Bugle bracelet, necklace amber,
Perfume for a lady's chamber,
Golden caps and corsets
For my lads to give their dears:
Pins and poking-sticks of steel;
What maids lack from head to heel:
Come buy from me, come, come buy, come buy;
Buy lads, or else your lasses will cry: Come buy."
Many of the guests at the tables turned and listened to Autolycus, who brought a basket of his wares for sale.
"If I were not in love with Mopsa, you wouldn’t get any money out of me," Clown said to Autolycus, "but being enthralled as I am, I suppose I’ll have to pay for gifts of ribbons and gloves."
"I was promised them for the feast," Mopsa said, "so they're here just in time."
"He has promised you more than that," Dorcas added, "or there be liars."
"He has certainly paid you all he promised you," Mopsa sniped to Dorcas, "possibly he has paid you more, which will shame you to give him again."
"Whatever happened to manners among the maids?” Clown asked. "Will they make what is private public? Is there not milking-time, or when you are going to bed, or the kitchen to gossip rather than tittle-tattling before all our guests? Just as well they're not listening. Clam up your tongues and not a word more."
"I have said all I’m going to say," Mopsa said. "Come, you promised me a lovely scarf and a pair of sweet gloves."
"Have I not told you how I was robbed on the road and lost all my money?"
"And indeed, sir," Autolycus said "there are robbers about. Therefore it pays men to be wary."
"Fear not, man, you shall lose nothing while you are here," Clown assured the peddler.
"I hope so, sir. For I have with me many items of value."
"What have you here? Ballads?" Clown asked.
"Pay now for one," Mopsa pleaded to Clown, "I love a song about life, then we know for sure it's true."
"Here's one to a very doleful tune," Autolycus said, "about how a money-lender’s wife who gave birth to twenty money-bags at the same time and how she longed to eat adders' heads followed by sliced and grilled toads."
"Is it true, do you think?" Mopsa asked.
"Very true, and was only written a month ago."
"Save me from marrying a money-lender!" Dorcas squealed.
"Here's the name of midwife who saw it, a certain Mistress Taleporter. There were also five or six honest wives present. Why should I go around telling lies?" Autolycus asked grandly.
"Please, Clown, pay for him to sing!" Mopsa begged.
"Come on then, keep it for later. First let’s hear more of your ballads. We'll pay you to sing now."
"Here's another ballad, about a fish that appeared on the coast on Wednesday the twenty-fourth of April, forty-thousand fanthoms above where it should have been, and sung this ballad against the hard hearts of maids. It was thought the fish was originally a woman and was turned into a cold fish because she wouldn't exchange flesh with the one who loved her. The ballad is very sad but true."
"Is it true too, you think?" Dorcas asked captivated.
"Five justices confirmed it, and there were more witnesses than my backpack will hold."
"Leave it to later, another," Clown said.
"This is a merry ballad, but a very pretty one."
"Let's have some merry ones," Mopsa said.
"Why, this is a very merry one and goes to the tune of Two Maids Wooing a Man. There's scarcely a maid about who doesn't sing it. It's always requested, I can tell you."
"We can both sing it," Mopsa said, "If you take a part, then you shall hear it. It’s in three parts."
"We had the tune of it a month ago,” Dorcas added.
"I can sing my part, you must know it’s my occupation!" Autolycus said. "Let's have a go:
“Get you hence, for I must go
Where it fits not you to know."
"Where?" Dorcas sang.
"Oh, where?" Mopsa sang.
"Where?" from Dorcas.
"It becomes your oath full well,
You to me your secrets tell." Mopsa yelled.
"Me too, let me go there." Dorcas sang.
"Or you go to the grange or mill." from Mopsa.
"If to either, you do ill." from Dorcas.
"Neither." Autolycus sang.
"What, neither?" from Dorcas.
"Neither." From Autolycus.
"You have sworn my love to be." Dorcas sang.
"You have sworn it more to me.
Then where goes it? Say, where?” Mopsa sang.
"We can hear this song by ourselves," Clown said, "my father and the gentlemen are deep in sad talk, and we'll not trouble them. Come, peddler, bring away your pack. Wenches, I'll buy songs for both of you. Peddler, let's have the first choice. Follow me, girls."
Clown, Dorcas and Mopsa left the courtyard to hear their songs in private.
"And you shall pay well for 'em," Autolycus yelled and began singing:
"Will you buy any tape,
Or lace for your cape,
My dainty duck, my dear-ah?
Any silk, any thread,
Any toys for your head,
Of the newest and finest, finest wear-ah?
Come to the peddler;
Money's a meddler.
That does utter all men's ware-ah."
In the courtyard the servant appeared again to tell the Old Shepherd about more visitors:
"Master, we have three carters, three shepherds, three cowherds and three swineherds, who have disguised themselves as hairy men. They call themselves Saltiers, and they have a dance which the wenches say is a mad medley of silly songs just because they are not in it, but they themselves are of the mind, if it be not too rough for some that know little but are not too genteel, it will please many."
"Away! We'll have none on of it. There has been too much tom-foolery here already,” the Old Shepherd said and added to Polixenes “I know, sir, we weary you.”
"You only weary those who want to refresh us. Please, let's see these four trios of herdsmen."
"One of the three," the servant said, "has, or so he claims, danced before the King. And not the least talented of the three jumps twelve and a half foot by the square."
"Okay, curtail your prattling. Since these good men are keen to see this, let them come in, but quickly now," said Old Shepherd.
"Why, they're at the door, sir."
The servant escorted the dancing satyrs to their audience and they spent some time treating the guests to their routine. Polixenes and the shepherd continued their conversation throughout the entertainment.
"Oh, Old Shepherd," Polixenes said, "you'll know more of that hereafter."
Polixenes whispered to Camillo: "Is it not too far gone? It's time to part them. He's simple and tells much."
Now the disguised Polixenes turned his attention to his disguised son: "Well, fair shepherd! Your heart is full of something that takes your mind off the feast. Indeed, when I was young and in love as you are, I was in the habit of spoiling my girl with gifts. I would have ransacked the peddler’s silken treasury and lavished her with gifts- you have let him go and have bought your beloved nothing. If your lass takes a dim view of that and rebukes you for your lack of love or bounty, you'd be pushed for a reply, you should at least make an effort to keep her yours."
"Old sir," Florizel replied to his father, "I know she prizes not such material trifles as these. The gifts she looks for from me are packed and locked up in my heart, which I have given already, but not delivered. Oh, hear me swear my life before you sir, whom, it would seem, once loved! I take this hand, Perdita's hand, as soft and as white as dove's down, or as white as an Ethiopian's tooth, or twice as white as the blowing snow that's brought by the northern winds."
"What follows this? How prettily the young swain seems to wash the hand which was fair before! I have put you out. But to your protestation, let me hear what you do profess."
"Do, and be witness to it."
"And my companion too?" Polixenes said in reference to Camillo.
"And he, and more than he- all men, the earth, the heavens, and all. If I were crowned the most imperial monarch, the most worthy of men, if I were the fairest, the strongest, the most intelligent and powerful man ever seen, it would mean nothing without Perdita. To her I offer all my superior qualities and my failings I reject."
"Fairly offered," Polixenes observed.
"This shows a genuine affection," Camillo said.
"But, my daughter, do you say the same to him?" the shepherd asked?
"I cannot speak so well, nothing so well, nor can I mean better. The pattern of my own thoughts matches his."
"Take hands, a bargain!" the shepherd yelled. "New friends, you shall bear witness to it. I give my daughter to him, and will make her dowry equal his wealth."
"Oh, that must be in the virtue of your daughter," Florizel said. "When a certain individual is dead I will have more than you can ever dream of. Enough to keep you wondering. But, hurry, betroth us before these witnesses."
"Come, your hand young man. And, daughter, yours."
Polixenes fidgeted nervously, he knew he would soon have to reveal his identity.
"Soft, swain, a while, I ask you- do you have a father?"
"I have. But what of him?"
"Does he know about your wedding plans?"
"He neither does nor shall."
"I think a father is the most important guest at the nuptial of his son. Please, tell me, is your father too old to manage his affairs? Is he senile and doddering with age? Can he speak? Hear? Know one man from the other? Bedridden and incontinent? Childish?"
"No, good sir. He has his health and indeed ampler strength than have most of his years."
"By my white beard," Polixenes said, "you wrong him with this unfilial behaviour. It is fair that a son should choose himself a wife, but it is just as fair that the father, whose joy is nothing else but posterity, should have some say in such a business."
"I agree with all of this," Florizel said, "but for some other reasons, my grave sir, which it is inappropriate for you to know, I have not acquainted my father with my wedding plans."
"Let him know of them."
"He shall not."
"Please, let him."
"No, he must not."
"Let him, my son," Old Shepherd said, "he will have no need to grieve at your choice."
"Come, come, he must not. Mark our vows," Florizel defiantly said.
At this Polixenes threw off his disguise in a thunderous rage:
"Mark your divorce, young sir! I dare not call you son! You are too base to be acknowledged. You, an heir to the throne taking up with a shepherd's daughter! And as for uoy Old Shephered, You’re an old traitor, I am sorry that by hanging you I can only shorten your life by a mere week! And as for you, you cunning little vixen, you will find out what kind of fire you are playing with!"
"Oh, my heart!" the shepherd squealed.
"I'll have your beauty scratched with brier brushes until you’re quite the plain Jane!” Polixenes bawled at Perdita. "As for you, fond boy, if I ever hear of you seeing this trickster again – and I intend you will not- Bohemia will be bar you from the succession, an outcast, not of my blood, not of my kin- a fellow I would not know from any of the masses begotten by Deucalion when he renewed the human race after the flood. Pay heed to my warning. Follow us to the court. Shepherd, you old peasant, despite my intense displeasure I will spare you my deadly rage. You, beautiful witch, worthy enough for a herdsman, and Florizel too if it were not for my royal blood running through him. He has compromised his royal stature. If you ever open your cottage doors or attempt to lure him again I will devise for you a death of cruelty as unearthly as your beauty.”
Polixenes snapped his fingers to indicate his departure should be organised. Camillo stayed close to Florizel- he was hatching a plan.
"Even here undone!" Perdita sobbed. "I wasn’t very frightened. Once or twice I was about to speak and tell him plainly that the self-same sun that shines upon his court hides not its face from our cottage but looks on alike. Florizel, will it please you to go? I told you what would come of this. Take care of your own position. This dream of mine is now over- I'll be queen for not a moment longer. I’ll milk my ewes and weep."
"Why, father!" Camillo said to Old Shepherd, overlooking Polixenes’ leniency, "Speak before facing the ultimate penalty!"
"I cannot speak, cannot think, or even dare to know that which I know. Oh, Doricles, you have undone a man of fourscore and three- I thought I would fill my grave without any ballyhoo! I thought I’d die upon the bed my father died upon. And lie close to his honest bones. But look at this! Some hangman must put on my shroud and lay me in a place without a priestly blessing. Oh, pernicious girl, you knew that this was the Prince but adventured to mingle vows with him! Undone! Undone! If I might die within this hour, I have lived to die when I desire."
The Old Shepherd went sobbing to his house.
"Why do you look at me so, man?" Florizel asked, still not yet recognising Camillo. "I am sorry, but not frightened. I may have been delayed but nothing has changed. What I was I still am. I am more determined than ever to complete what I started, no leash will drag me around unwillingly."
"Gracious, my lord," Camillo said. "You know your father's temper. At the moment he will allow no persuasion, though I guess that was not your intention, but he can hardly look at you let alone listen to you. Until he has calmed down keep out of his way."
"I will not... Camillo, is that you?"
"Indeed, my lord."
"How often have I told you it would be like this?" Perdita sobbed to Florizel. “How often did I say my dignity would be intact only until we were discovered?"
"It cannot fail- the violation of my vow to you will destroy us, let Nature crush the sides of the earth together and mar the seeds of life within! Lift up your face. Father, wipe me from my succession and I will still be heir to a great love."
"Be cautious, Florizel," said Camillo.
"I am, and by my emotions. If my reason will be obedient, I have reason. If not, my senses, preferring madness, will welcome it with open arms."
"This is desperate, sir."
"Call it what you will but I must fulfill my vow. I need to think it is honesty. Camillo, I will not break my oath for anything- not for the King of Bohemia, not for the pomp and glory of state, not for all that the sun sees, not for all the earth's secrets, not for all the sea's secrets will I break my vow. Therefore, I ask you, as you have ever been my father's honoured friend, when he shall miss me, since I intend never to see him again, put your wisdom at the disposal of his temper. I will squabble with Fortune to determine my fate. This you may know and tell him, I have put to sea with her whom I cannot freely embrace on land. And most opportune, I have a vessel nearby although not prepared for this eventuality. Where I intend to go will do you no good to know and do me no good to tell you."
"Oh, my lord! I wish you weren't so headstrong."
"Listen, Perdita. Camillo, I'll speak after I’ve had a few words with Perdita."
Camillo sighed to himself: “He's immovable,” he thought. “He's resolved to run away. Now wouldn't I be happy if I could have his going serve my purpose and save him from danger, do him love and honour, get to see my beloved homeland and that unhappy king, my master, whom I so dearly long to see.”
"Now, good Camillo, I am so preoccupied with this stressful business that I overlook farewells."
"Sir, I think you have heard of my modest services in the love that I have borne your father?"
"Very nobly you have served him. It is my father's music to sing your praises, he always aims to reward your advice as soon as it is delivered."
"Well, my lord if you may please to think I love the King and through him what is nearest to him, which is your gracious self, embrace my plan. If your more pressing business suffers alteration, on my word, I'll point you to a place where you shall be welcomed in a manner becoming Your Highness. A place where you may enjoy your mistress, from whom, I see, there's no separation except- heaven forbid- through ruin. Marry her, and in your absence all my endeavours will strive to get your disapproving father to relent in his opposition."
"Why, Camillo, could this, almost-a-miracle, be done? I must call you something more than a man and trust you with this task."
"Have you thought of a place where you'll go?"
"Not any yet- since it was the unexpected appearance of my father which has made us desperate. So we profess ourselves to be the slaves of chance and will be susceptible to every wind that blows."
"Then listen to me. This follows, if you will not change your purpose but are determined to flee, make for Sicily. On arrival present yourself and your fair princess, for so I see she must be, before King Leontes. She should be dressed in a manner becoming the partner of your bed. Methinks I see Leontes opening his free arms and weeping his welcomes forth. He will ask the son forgiveness, as if it was the father. He will kiss the hand of your princess over and over again. He will be reminded of his unkindness towards your father and will compensate with kindness towards you. He will chase the former to hell and nurture the latter to grow faster than thought or time."
"Worthy Camillo, what explanation for my visit shall I give?"
"Sent by King Polixenes, your father, to greet him and to give him comfort. Sir, the manner of your bearing towards him, with what you, as if from your father, shall deliver things known between us three. I'll write them down for you. I'll detail what you must say at every meeting, that way he'll think you are your father's ambassador, conveying the sentiments of Polixenes’ heart."
"I am bound to you! There is potential in this."
"It's a chance more promising than abandoning yourselves to uncharted waters, undreamed shores. That's certain to bring further miseries. Anyway, you know I’m not a fair weather friend."
"Affliction may take the colour from my cheek," Perdita said, "but it will not take root in my mind."
"It will be a long time," Camillo said, "before your father's house sees another as beautiful as you."
"My good Camillo," Florizel said, "she is as ahead of me in her upbringing as she is beneath me in birth."
"I cannot say it's a pity she lacks education, for she seems too grand for those who teach," Camillo added.
"Thank you, sir. You make me blush."
"My prettiest Perdita! Oh, but we’re still in a mess! Camillo, preserver of my father, now of me, the problem solver our house! What shall we do? I don't look like the heir to the Bohemian throne and I won't convince anyone in Sicily."
"My lord, don't worry about that. I think you know my estates and possessions are all there. I will be able to put all my goods at your disposal, have you attired like a prince. The scene you will play was penned me."
To avoid alarming Perdita, Camillo took Florizel aside to tell him what to do when they reached Sicily.
Meanwhile, Autolycus was wandering about the harbour area.
"Ha, ha! Honesty is a fool! And Trust, his twin brother, a very simple gentleman! I sold all my rubbish easily. Not a jewel, a ribbon, a glass, a perfume pouch, brooch, a notebook, a ballad, a knife, tape, a glove, a lace, a bracelet to weigh my pack down. The crowds rushed at me as if I was selling holy trinkets. Thus enabling me see who had the fattest and fullest purse and what I saw was in my memory, and then in my hand. Clown was so anxious to woo that wench that he had me singing constantly, that brought the rather tipsy revellers to my lair, and as they sat in wonder at my rather lame songs it let me relieve them of all their heavy, heavy coins. Indeed if it hadn't come to light that that old man had allowed his daughter to get involved with King Polixenes’ son I would still be at it!"
Camillo and Florizel returned to Perdita who was sitting on the harbour wall.
"No," Camillo said, "my letters being with you will vouch for you."
"And those that you'll procure from King Leontes-"
"Shall satisfy your father."
"You're amazing! Everything you say makes sense."
"Who have we here?" Camillo said on seeing Autolycus. "We'll make him a participant. Don’t ignore anything that can help us."
Autolycus saw Camillo staring at him and thought he had been found out, even with his disguise removed.
"If they've overheard me now, I’ll hang," he said to himself.
"Good fellow, why do you look so nervous? Fear not, man, there's no harm intended," Camillo said to Autolycus.
"I am a poor fellow, sir."
"Why, be calm. Nobody will steal from you. Yet for your impoverished look could come in handy," Camillo said spotting at Autolycus’ clothing, "we must make an exchange. Strip quickly, and change garments with this gentleman. Although you're getting the best bargain I’ll throw in a few coins just as token of thanks for your help."
"Oh, I am a poor fellow, sir," Autolycus said, thinking he recognised Camillo.
"Quickly, quickly, the gentleman is half stripped already."
"Are you serious, sir?" Autolycus asked innocently and muttered to himself, “I smell a rat.”
"Quickly, please!" Florizel added.
"Oh, sir, I cannot take your money with a clear conscience," Autolycus whimpered.
"Unbuckle, unbuckle!" Camillo barked as Autolycus and Florizel exchanged clothes. "Perdita, let's hope my hopes for you come through. You must disguise yourself. Take Florizel’s hat and pull it low over your face and change your clothes. Try to look and walk differently than you usually do, we want to get you onto the ship without alerting any prying eyes."
"I see the plan needs me to play a part," Autolycus said to himself.
"It’s unavoidable, Perdita. Are you ready, Florizel?"
"If I now met my father he wouldn't recognise me."
"You can’t have the hat," Camillo said as he took Autolycus’ hat from Florizel and gave it to Perdita.
"Come, lady, come. Farewell, dear man," Camillo waved Autolycus away.
"Oh, Perdita, speak to me- have we overlooked anything?"
As Perdita and Florizel were speaking quietly, Camillo was finalising his own plans. “Now, I must tell Polixenes of their escape,” he told himself. “With luck he will go speeding after them to Sicily, a place I so long to see again.”
"Fortune speed us!” Florizel yelled. "We're off, Camillo."
"The swifter speed the better," Camillo called as Florizel and Perdita boarded their ship.
Autolycus continued to loiter and eavesdrop after the completion of his arrangement, and he was delighted with the information he had.
"I understand the business, I hear it! To have an open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand, is necessary for a pickpocket. A good nose is a prerequisite also, to smell out work for the other senses. I see this is time for the unjust man to thrive. What an exchange this has been, even without the money! And what a reward came with this exchange! Surely the gods are in cahoots with me! The Prince himself is up to no good, stealing away from his father with a burden he hopes to marry! If I thought it was a piece of honesty to acquaint the King with the facts I would not do it. I have certain standards to maintain, a bit of mischief is needed to conceal it ,allowing me to remain true to my profession.”
Autolycus then caught sight of the Old Shepherd and Clown who were still mourning their lot.
"I must step aside," Autolycus thought to himself. "Yet more material for a hot brain! Oh, every lane's end, every shop, church, court, hanging, yields a careful man work."
Clown and his father were bickering over their predicament.
"See, see; what a man you are now!” Clown said. "There is no other way but to tell the King she's a changeling and not your flesh and blood."
"No, but hear me."
"No, but hear me."
"Speak up, then."
"She not being your flesh and blood means your flesh and blood has not offended the King. So your flesh and blood is not to be punished by him. Show King Polixenes those things you found with her, those secret things, everything that was with her. After that, let the law go whistle. You'll see."
"I will tell King Polixenes everything. Every word, yes, and his son's pranks too, I may say, that lad is no honest man, neither to his father nor to me. The cheek of it, going about trying to make me the King's brother-in-law!"
"Indeed, brother-in-law was the farthest off you could have been to him and still your blood would be the dearer by I know-not-how-much," Clown said.
"Very wise, puppies!" Autolycus muttered to himself.
"Well, let's go to the King," the shepherd said. "There is all that's in the fardel to make him scratch his beard."
"I know not what impediment this complaint may be to the flight of my master," Autolycus said, deciding to intervene.
"Pray heartily he is at palace," Clown added.
"Though I am not naturally honest," Autolycus said to himself, "I am so sometimes by chance. Let me get rid of my peddler's disguise."
Autolycus took off his beard and accosted the shepherd and his son.
"How now, rustics! Where are you bound?"
"To the palace, if it pleases your worship."
"You have business there? What? With whom? The condition of that fardel? The place of your dwelling? Your names? Your ages, your wealth, your lineage, and anything that is fitting to be known, tell."
"We are but plain fellows, sir."
"A lie! You are rough and hairy. Let me have no lying, it becomes none but tradesmen, and they often deceive us soldiers with their shoddy workmanship. Alas, we give them money when they should get the sword. Therefore they don’t lie."
"Your worship almost lied by saying we were lying," Clown said.
"Are you a courtier, can I ask, sir?" the Old Shepherd said.
"You can ask. Yes I am a courtier. Do you see the court in these garments? Is my walk not aristocratic? Do you not smelly courtly fragrances from me? Do I not look upon you with a courtly sneer? Do you think because I coax your intentions from you prior to permitting you to see King Polixenes, I am not a courtier? I am courtier from head to toe. It is I who will decide whether your business progresses to the King's attention. Therefore, tell me everything."
"My business, sir, is for the King alone."
"What advocate have you employed?"
"I don't know, if you please."
"Advocate's the court-word for a pheasant," Clown whispered to his father. "Say you have none."
"None, sir. I have no pheasant, neither cock nor hen."
"How blessed are we who are not simple! Yet nature might have made me as these are, therefore I will be disdainful."
"He can only be but a great courtier."
"His garments are rich, but he wears them not handsomely."
"He seems to be all the more noble in being an eccentric. A great man, I'll warrant. I know by the way he picks his teeth."
"The fardel there? What's in the fardel? Why have you brought that box?"
"Sir, there are such secrets in this fardel and box, which none must know but the King, and he shall know them within the hour, if I may come to speak to him."
"Old man, have you lost your faculties?"
"The King is not at the palace. He has gone aboard a new ship to rid himself of melancholy and get some fresh air. For if you are here on a serious errand you must know the King is full of grief."
"So it is said, sir," the shepherd said, "something about his son planning to marry a shepherd's daughter."
"If that shepherd is not under arrest, let him run. The curses he shall have, the tortures he shall feel will break the back of the man, the heart of any monster."
"You think so, sir?" Clown asked.
"Not only shall he suffer what invention can make heavy and vengeance bitter, but even those related to him, regardless of being fifty times removed, shall all come under the hangman. Though it is a great pity, it is necessary. An old sheep-whistling rogue, a ram-tender, to offer to have his daughter marry into the royal family! Some say he will be stoned, but that death is too soft for him, say I. Drag our throne into a sheep pen! All deaths are too few, the most brutal torture too easy."
"Has the old man a son, sir, did you hear. If I can ask, sir?" Clown stuttered.
"He has a son, who will be flayed alive and then anointed with honey and placed on the head of a wasp's nest. Then left to stand until he is almost dead but then resuscitated with a liquor or some other hot infusion and then, raw as he is, on the hottest day of the year he shall be set against a brick-wall, the sun looking down upon him with its searing southerly rays, where it will toast him until the flies finish him off. But why do we talk about these traitorly rascals, whose miseries are to be smiled at, their offences being so capital? Tell me, for you seem to be honest plain men, what you have for the King. For a small gratuity I'll take you where he is aboard, introduce you to him and whisper in his ear on your behalf. If any other than the King can help you it is I."
"He seems to be a man of great authority," Clown said to his father. "Deal with him, give him gold, and though authority is a stubborn bear, it's often led by the nose with gold. Show the inside of your purse to the outside of his hand, and no more time wasting. Remember stoned and flayed alive."
"If you please, sir, to undertake the business for us, here is the gold I have. I'll make it as much again and until I bring it to you, I’ll leave my young son in pawn."
"After I have done what I promised?"
"Well, give me what you have. Young man," Autolycus asked Clown, "are you a party to 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, you mean the case of the Old Shepherd's son- hang him, he'll be made an example."
"We must get to the King," Clown whispered to his father," and show our strange sights. He must know Perdita's neither your daughter nor my sister, otherwise we are goners. Sir, I will give you as much as this old man does when the business is complete, and remain, as he says, your pawn till it be brought to you."
"I will trust you. Walk on ahead toward the seashore, go on the right hand. I will but relieve myself at this hedge and then follow you."
"Father, we are blessed in this man, as I may say, blessed."
"Let's go as he told us. He is willing to do us good."
Clown and his father followed Autolycus’ instructions, as he prepared to abscond with their money.
"If I had a mind to be honest, I see Fortune would not suffer me- she drops rewards in my lap. I am courted now with a double occasion, gold and the means to do the Prince, my master, some good. Who knows how that may turn back to my advancement? I will bring these two moles, these blind ones, aboard the Prince's ship. If he think it fit to put them ashore and that the matter they have with the King doesn't concern him, let him call me rogue for being so far officious; for I am proof against that title and what shame else belongs to it. To him will I take them, something may come of it."