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Act 4, Scene 3

Enter AUTOLYCUS singing.

AUTOLYCUS: When daffodils begin to peer,
With heigh, the doxy over the dale!
Why, then comes in the sweet o' the year,
For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale.

The white sheet bleaching on the hedge,     [5]
With hey, the sweet birds, O how they sing!
Doth set my pugging tooth an edge,
For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.

The lark, that tirra-lirra chants,
With heigh, with heigh, the thrush and the jay!     [10]
Are summer songs for me and my aunts,
While we lie tumbling in the hay.

I have served Prince Florizel, and in my time wore three-pile,
but now I am out of service.

But shall I go mourn for that, my dear?     [15]
The pale moon shines by night;
And when I wander here and there,
I then do most go right.

If tinkers may have leave to live,
And bear the sow-skin budget,     [20]
Then my account I well may give,
And in the stocks avouch it.

My traffic is sheets; when the kite builds, look to lesser linen.
My father named me, Autolycus, who being, as I am, littered
under Mercury, was likewise a snapper-up of unconsidered     [25]
trifles. With die and drab I purchased this caparison, and my
revenue is the silly cheat. Gallows and knock are too powerful
on the highway. Beating and hanging are terrors to me. For
the life to come, I sleep out the thought of it. A prize, a prize!

Enter CLOWN.

CLOWN: Let me see: every 'leven wether tods, every tod     [30]
yields pound and odd shilling; fifteen hundred shorn, what
comes the wool to?

AUTOLYCUS: [Aside.] If the springe hold, the cock's mine.

CLOWN: I cannot do't without compters. Let me see: what am
I to buy for our sheep-shearing feast? Three pound of sugar,     [35]
five pound of currants, rice -- what will this sister of mine do
with rice? But my father hath made her mistress of the feast,
and she lays it on. She hath made me four and twenty nosegays
for the shearers (three-man song-men all, and very good ones),
but they are most of them means and bases; but one Puritan     [40]
amongst them, and he sings psalms to hornpipes. I must have
saffron to colour the warden pies; mace; dates, none -- that's
out of my note; nutmegs, seven; a race or two of ginger, but
that I may beg; four pounds of prunes, and as many of
raisins o' th' sun.     [45]

AUTOLYCUS: O that ever I was born!

[Rolling on the ground.]

CLOWN: I' th' name of me --

AUTOLYCUS: O, help me, help me! Pluck but off these
rags; and then, death, death!

CLOWN: Alack, poor soul, thou hast need of more rags     [50]
to lay on thee, rather than have these off.

AUTOLYCUS: O sir, the loathesomeness of them offends me
more than the stripes I have received, which are mighty
ones and millions.

CLOWN: Alas, poor man, a million of beating may come     [55]
to a great matter.

AUTOLYCUS: I am robbed, sir, and beaten; my money and
apparel ta'en from me, and these detestable things put upon me.

CLOWN: What, by a horseman, or a footman?

AUTOLYCUS: A footman, sweet sir, a footman.     [60]

CLOWN: Indeed, he should be a footman by the garments he has
left with thee. If this be a horseman's coat, it hath seen very hot
service. Lend me thy hand, I'll help thee. Come, lend me thy hand.

[Helps him up.]

AUTOLYCUS: O good sir, tenderly, O!

CLOWN: Alas, poor soul!     [65]

AUTOLYCUS: O good sir, softly, good sir! I fear, sir, my
shoulder-blade is out.

CLOWN: How now? canst stand?

AUTOLYCUS: Softly, dear sir; good sir, softly.

[Picks his pocket]

You ha' done me a charitable office.     [70]

CLOWN: Dost lack any money? I have a little money for thee.

AUTOLYCUS: No, good sweet Sir; no, I beseech you, sir. I have
a kinsman not past three quarters of a mile hence, unto whom
I was going. I shall there have money, or any, think I want, Offer
me no money, I pray you, that kills my heart.     [75]

CLOWN: What manner of fellow was he that robbed you?

AUTOLYCUS: A fellow, sir, that I have known to go about
with troll-my-dames. I knew him once a servant of the Prince.
I cannot tell, good sir, for which of his virtues it was, but he
was certainly whipt out of the court.     [80]

CLOWN: His vices, you would say; there's no virtue whipt out
of the court. They cherish it to make it stay there; and yet it will
no more but abide.

AUTOLYCUS: Vices, I would say, sir. I know this man well; he
hath been since an ape-bearer, then a process-server, a bailiff,     [85]
then he compassed a motion of the Prodigal Son, and married
a tinker's wife within a mile where my land and living lies; and,
having flown over many knavish professions, he settled only
in rogue. Some call him Autolycus.

CLOWN: Out upon him! prig, for my life, prig! He haunts wakes,     [90]
fairs, and bear-baitings.

AUTOLYCUS: Very true, Sir; he, sir, he. That's the rogue that put
me into this apparel.

CLOWN: Not a more cowardly rogue in all Bohemia. If you had
but looked big, and spit at him, he'ld have run.     [95]

AUTOLYCUS: I must confess to you, sir, I am no fighter. I am
false of heart that way, and that he knew, I warrant him.

CLOWN: How do you now?

AUTOLYCUS: Sweet sir, much better than I was: I can stand and
walk. I will even take my leave of you, and pace softly towards     [100]
my kinsman's.

CLOWN: Shall I bring thee on the way?

AUTOLYCUS: No, good-faced sir, no, sweet sir.

CLOWN: Then fare thee well, I must go buy spices for our
sheep-shearing.     [105]

Exit.

AUTOLYCUS: Prosper you, sweet sir! Your purse is not hot
enough to purchase your spice. I'll be with you at your sheep-
shearing too. If I make not this cheat brine out another, and the
shearers prove sheep, let me be unrolled, and my name put in
the book of virtue!     [110]

Song

Jog on, jog on, the foot-path way,
And merrily hent the stile-a;
A merry heart goes all the day,
Your sad tires in a mile-a.

Exit.


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