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Act 4, Scene 4 (1 - 329)


FLORIZEL: 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.     [5]

PERDITA:                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' th' land, you have obscured
With a swain's wearing, and me, poor lowly maid,
Most goddess-like pranked up. But that our feasts     [10]
In every mess have folly, and the feeders
Digest it with a custom, I should blush
To see you so attired -- swoon, I think,
To show myself a glass.

FLORIZEL:                I bless the time
When my good falcon made her flight across     [15]
Thy father's ground.

PERDITA:           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!     [20]
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?

FLORIZEL:                          Apprehend
Nothing but jollity. The gods themselves,     [25]
Humbling their deities to love, have taken
The shapes of beasts upon them. Jupiter
Became a bull and bellowed; the green Neptune
A ram and bleated; and the fire-robed god,
Golden Apollo, a poor humble swain,     [30]
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.     [35]

PERDITA:                     O but, sir,
Your resolution cannot hold when 'tis
Opposed (as it must be) by th' 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.     [40]

FLORIZEL:      Thou dear'st Perdita,
With these forced thoughts I prithee darken not
The mirth o' th' 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,     [45]
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     [50]
We two have sworn shall come.

PERDITA:                         O Lady Fortune,
Stand you auspicious!

FLORIZEL:           See, your guests approach,
Address yourself to entertain them sprightly,
And let's be red with mirth.


SHEPHERD: Fie, daughter, when my old wife lived, upon     [55]
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;
On his shoulder, and his; her face o' fire     [60]
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     [65]
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,
As your good flock shall prosper.     [70]

PERDITA: [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,
For you there's rosemary and rue; these keep
Seeming and savour all the winter long.     [75]
Grace and remembrance be to you both,
And welcome to our shearing!

POLIXENES:                     Shepherdess --
A fair one are you! -- well you fit our ages
With flowers of winter.

PERDITA:                Sir, the year growing ancient,
Not yet on summer's death, nor on the birth     [80]
Of trembling winter, the fairest flowers o' th' season
Are 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.     [85]

POLIXENES:      Wherefore, gentle maiden,
Do you neglect them?

PERDITA:           For I have heard it said,
There is an art which in their piedness shares
With great creating Nature.

POLIXENES:                     Say there be;
Yet Nature is made better by no mean
But Nature makes that mean; so over that art     [90]
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     [95]
Which does mend Nature -- change it rather; but
The art itself is Nature.

PERDITA:                So it is.

POLIXENES: Then make your garden rich in gillyvors,
And do not call them bastards.

PERDITA:                               I'll not put
The dibble in earth to set one slip of them;     [100]
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, savory, marjoram,
The marigold, that goes to bed wi' th' sun,     [105]
And with him rises weeping. These are flowers
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age. Y' are very welcome.

CAMILLO: I should leave grazing, were I of your flock,
And only live by gazing.     [110]

PERDITA:                    Out, alas!
You'ld 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 SHEPHERDESSES]
and yours, and yours,
That wear upon your virgin branches yet     [115]
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,     [120]
But 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     [125]
The crown imperial; lilies of all kinds,
The flow'r-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!

FLORIZEL:                    What? like a corse?

PERDITA: No, like a bank, for love to lie and play on;     [130]
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.     [135]

FLORIZEL:                     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     [140]
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,
So singular in each particular,
Crowns what you are doing in the present deeds,     [145]
That all your acts are queens.

PERDITA:                          O Doricles,
Your praises are too large. But that your youth,
And the true blood which peeps fairly through't,
Do plainly give you out an unstained shepherd,
With wisdom I might fear, my Doricles,     [150]
You wooed me the false way.

FLORIZEL:                     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.     [155]

PERDITA:                I'll swear for 'em.

POLIXENES: 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.

CAMILLO:                He tells her something
That makes her blood look out. Good sooth she is     [160]
The queen of curds and cream.

CLOWN:                          Come on. Strike up.

DORICLES: Mopsa must be your mistress; marry, garlic,
To mend her kissing with!

MOPSA:                     Now in good time!

CLOWN: Not a word, a word, we stand upon our manners.
Come, strike up.     [165]

Here a dance of Shepherds and Shepherdesses.

POLIXENES: Pray, good shepherd, what fair swain is this
Which dances with your daughter?

SHEPHERD: They call him Doricles, and boasts himself
To have a worthy feeding; but I have it
Upon his own report, and I believe it.     [170]
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     [175]
Who loves another best.

POLIXENES:           She dances featly.

SHEPHERD: 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.     [180]


SERVANT: O master! if you did but hear the pedlar 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 them as he had eaten ballads and
all men's ears grew to his tunes.     [185]

CLOWN: 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.

SERVANT: He hath songs for man or woman, of all sizes; no
milliner can so fit his customers with gloves. He has the     [190]
prettiest love-songs for maids, so without bawdry, which is
strange; with such delicate burdens 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     [195]
me no harm, good man▓ -- puts him off, slights him, with
│Whoop, do me no harm, good man.▓

POLIXENES: This is a brave fellow.

CLOWN: Believe me, thou talkest of an admirable conceited
fellow. Has he any unbraided wares?     [200]

SERVANT: He hath ribbons of all the colours i' th' rainbow;
points more than all the lawyers in Bohemia can learnedly
handle, though they come to him by th' gross; inkles, caddises,
cambrics, lawns. Why, he sings 'em over as they were gods or
goddesses: you would think a smock were a she-angel, he so     [205]
chants to the sleeve-hand and the work about the square on't.

CLOWN: Prithee bring him in, and let him approach singing.

PERDITA: Forewarn him that he use no scurrilous words
in's tunes.

[Exit Servant.]

CLOWN: You have of these pedlars, that have more in them     [210]
than you'ld think, sister.

PERDITA: Ay, good brother, or go about to think.

Enter AUTOLYCUS singing.

AUTOLYCUS: Lawn as white as driven snow,
Cypress black as e'er was crow,
Gloves as sweet as damask roses,     [215]
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;     [220]
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!     [225]

CLOWN: 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.

MOPSA: I was promised them against the feast, but they come
not too late now.     [230]

DORICLES: He hath promised you more than that, or there be

MOPSA: He hath paid you all he promised you. May be he has
paid you more, which will shame you to give him again.

CLOWN: Is there no manners left among maids? Will they wear     [235]
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 be tittle-tattling before all our
guests? 'Tis well they are whispering. Clamour your tongues,
and not a word more.     [240]

MOPSA: I have done. Come, you promised me a tawdry-lace
and a pair of sweet gloves.

CLOWN: Have I not told thee how I was cozened by the
way, and lost all my money?

AUTOLYCUS: And indeed, sir, there are cozeners abroad,     [245]
therefore it behoves men to be wary.

CLOWN: Fear not thou, man, thou shalt lose nothing here.

AUTOLYCUS: I hope so, sir, for I have about me many
parcels of charge.

CLOWN: What hast here? Ballads?     [250]

MOPSA: Pray now buy some. I love a ballet in print, a-life, for
then we are sure they are true.

AUTOLYCUS: Here's one to a very doleful tune, how a usurer's
wife was brought to bed of twenty moneybags at a burden, and
how she longed to eat adders' heads, and toads carbonadoed.     [255]

MOPSA: Is it true, think you?

AUTOLYCUS: Very true, and but a month old.

DORICLES: Bless me from marrying a usurer!

AUTOLYCUS: Here's the midwife's name to't, one Mistress
Tale-porter, and five or six honest wives that were present.     [260]
Why should I carry lies abroad?

MOPSA: Pray you now buy it.

CLOWN: Come on, lay it by; and let's first see moe ballads.
We'll buy the other things anon.

AUTOLYCUS: Here's another ballad, of a fish that appeared upon     [265]
the coast on Wednesday the fourscore 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.     [270]

DORICLES: Is it true too, think you?

AUTOLYCUS: Five justices' hands at it, and witnesses more
than my pack will hold.

CLOWN: Lay it by too. Another.

AUTOLYCUS: This is a merry ballad, but a very pretty one.     [275]

MOPSA: Let's have some merry ones.

AUTOLYCUS: 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.

MOPSA: We can both sing it. If thou'lt bear a part, thou shalt     [280]
hear; 'tis in three parts.

DORICLES: We had the tune on't a month ago.

AUTOLYCUS: I can bear my part, you must know 'tis my
occupation. Have at it with you.


AUTOLYCUS: Get you hence, for I must go     [285]
Where it fits not you to know.

DORICLES: Whither?

MOPSA:      O, whither?

DORICLES: Whither?

MOPSA: It becomes thy oath full well,
Thou to me thy secrets tell.     [290]

DORICLES: Me too; let me go thither.

MOPSA: Or thou goest to th' grange, or mill.

DORICLES: If to either, thou dost ill.


DORICLES:     What, neither?

AUTOLYCUS: Neither.     [295]

DORICLES: Thou hast sworn my love to be.

MOPSA: Thou hast sworn it more to me:
Then whither goest? say, whither?

CLOWN: We'll have this song out anon by ourselves. My father
and the gentlemen are in sad talk, and we'll not trouble them.     [300]
Come bring away thy pack after me. Wenches, I'll buy for you
both. Pedlar, let's have the first choice. Follow me, girls.


AUTOLYCUS: And you shall pay well for 'em.


Will you buy any tape,
Or lace for your cape,     [305]
My 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 pedlar,     [310]
Money's a meddler,
That doth utter all men's ware-a.


SERVANT: 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     [315]
dance which the wenches say is a gallimaufry of gambols,
because they are not in't; but they themselves are o' th' mind
(if it be not too rough for some that know little but bowling)
it will please plentifully.

SHEPHERD: Away! we'll none on't. Here has been too much     [320]
homely foolery already. I know, sir, we weary you.

POLIXENES: You weary those that refresh us. Pray let's
see these four threes of herdsmen.

SERVANT: One three of them, by their own report, sir, hath
danced before the King; and not the worst of the three but     [325]
jumps twelve foot and a half by th' squier.

SHEPHERD: Leave your prating. Since these good men are
pleased, let them come in; but quickly now.

SERVANT: Why, they stay at door, sir.

Here a dance of twelve Satyrs.

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