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Act 4, Scene 3 (330 - 820)

POLIXENES: O, father, you'll know more of that hereafter.     [330]
[To CAMILLO.] Is it not too far gone? 'Tis time to part them.
He's simple, and tells much. [To FLORIZEL.] How now, fair
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 ransacked     [335]
The pedlar's silken treasury, and have poured 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     [340]
For a reply, at least if you make a care
Of happy holding her.

FLORIZEL:           Old sir, I know
She prizes not such trifles as these are.
The gifts she looks from me are packed and locked
Up in my heart, which I have given already,     [345]
But not delivered. 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 fanned snow that's bolted     [350]
By th' northern blasts twice o'er.

POLIXENES:                         What follows this?
How prettily th' 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.     [355]

FLORIZEL:      Do, and be witness to't.

POLIXENES: And this my neighbour too?

FLORIZEL:                                    And he, and more
Than he, and men -- the earth, the heavens, and all:
That were I crowned the most imperial monarch,
Thereof most worthy, were I the fairest youth
That ever made eye swerve, had force and knowledge     [360]
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.

POLIXENES:           Fairly offered.

CAMILLO: This shows a sound affection.     [365]

SHEPHERD:                               But, my daughter,
Say you the like to him?

PERDITA:                I cannot speak
So well, nothing so well; no, nor mean better.
By th' pattern of mine own thoughts I cut out
The purity of his.

SHEPHERD:      Take hands, a bargain!
And, friends unknown, you shall bear witness to't:     [370]
I give my daughter to him, and will make
Her portion equal his.

FLORIZEL:               O, that must be
I' th' 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,     [375]
Contract us 'fore these witnesses.

SHEPHERD:                          Come, your hand;
And, daughter, yours.

POLIXENES:           Soft, swain, awhile, beseech you.
Have you a father?

FLORIZEL:          I have; but what of him?

POLIXENES: Knows he of this?

FLORIZEL:                     He neither does, nor shall.

POLIXENES: Methinks a father     [380]
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?     [385]
Know man from man? dispute his own estate?
Lies he not bed-rid? and again does nothing
But what he did being childish?

FLORIZEL:                          No, good sir;
He has his health, and ampler strength indeed
Than most have of his age.     [390]

POLIXENES:                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     [395]
In such a business.

FLORIZEL:          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.

POLIXENES:                Let him know't.

FLORIZEL: He shall not.     [400]

POLIXENES: Prithee let him.

FLORIZEL: No, he must not.

SHEPHERD: Let him, my son. He shall not need to grieve
At knowing of thy choice.

FLORIZEL:                Come, come, he must not.
Mark our contract.     [405]

POLIXENES:      Mark your divorce, young sir,

[Discovering himself.]

Whom son I dare not call. Thou art too base
To be acknowledged. Thou, a sceptre's heir,
That thus affects 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     [410]
Of excellent witchcraft, whom of force must know
The royal fool thou cop'st with --

SHEPHERD:                               O, my heart!

POLIXENES: I'll have thy beauty scratched with briers and made
More homely than thy state. For thee, fond boy,
If I may ever know thou dost but sigh     [415]
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,
Farther than Deucalion off. Mark thou my words.
Follow us to the court. Thou, churl, for this time,     [420]
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     [425]
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.


PERDITA:                Even here undone!
I was not much afeard; for once or twice     [430]
I was about to speak, and tell him plainly
The self-same sun that shines upon his court
Hides not his visage from our cottage, but
Looks on alike. [To FLORIZEL.] Will't please you, sir, be gone?
I told you what would come of this. Beseech you     [435]
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.

CAMILLO:                         Why, how now, father?
Speak ere thou diest.

SHEPHERD:           I cannot speak, nor think,
Nor dare to know that which I know. [To FLORIZEL.] O sir,     [440]
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     [445]
Where no priest shovels in dust. [To PERDITA.] 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.     [450]


FLORIZEL:      Why look you so upon me?
I am but sorry, not afeard; delayed,
But nothing altered. What I was, I am:
More straining on for plucking back, not following
My leash unwillingly.

CAMILLO:           Gracious my lord,
You know your father's temper. At this time     [455]
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.     [460]

FLORIZEL:           I not purpose it.
I think Camillo?

CAMILLO:      Even he, my lord.

PERDITA: How often have I told you 'twould be thus!
How often said my dignity would last
But till 'twere known!

FLORIZEL:           It cannot fail, but by
The violation of my faith, and then     [465]
Let nature crush the sides o' th' earth together,
And mar the seeds within! Lift up thy looks.
From my succession wipe me, father, I
Am heir to my affection.

CAMILLO:                Be advised.

FLORIZEL: I am -- and by my fancy. If my reason     [470]
Will thereto be obedient, I have reason;
If not, my senses, better pleased with madness,
Do bid it welcome.

CAMILLO:          This is desperate, sir.

FLORIZEL: So call it; but it does fulfil my vow;
I needs must think it honesty. Camillo,     [475]
Not for Bohemia, nor the pomp that may
Be thereat gleaned, for all the sun sees, or
The close earth wombs, or the profound seas hide
In unknown fathoms, will I break my oath
To this my fair beloved. Therefore, I pray you,     [480]
As you have ever been my father's honoured 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,     [485]
And so deliver: I am put to sea
With her whom here I cannot hold on shore;
And most opportune to her need I have
A vessel rides fast by, but not prepared
For this design. What course I mean to hold     [490]
Shall nothing benefit your knowledge, nor
Concern me the reporting.

CAMILLO:                     O my lord,
I would your spirit were easier for advice,
Or stronger for your need.

FLORIZEL:                Hark, Perdita!
[To CAMILLO.] I'll hear you by and by.

CAMILLO:                               He's irremovable,
Resolved for flight. Now were I happy if     [495]
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.     [500]

FLORIZEL:               Now, good Camillo,
I am so fraught with curious business that
I leave out ceremony.

CAMILLO:                Sir, I think
You have heard of my poor services, i' th' love
That I have borne your father?

FLORIZEL:                          Very nobly
Have you deserved. It is my father's music     [505]
To speak your deeds; not little of his care
To have them recompensed as thought on.

CAMILLO:                                   Well, my lord,
If you may please to think I love the King,
And through him what's nearest to him, which is
Your gracious self, embrace but my direction,     [510]
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,     [515]
There's no disjunction to be made, but by
(As heavens forfend!) your ruin -- marry her,
And with my best endeavours in your absence,
Your discontenting father strive to qualify,
And bring him up to liking.     [520]

FLORIZEL:                     How, Camillo,
May this, almost a miracle, be done?
That I may call thee something more than man,
And after that trust to thee.

CAMILLO:                     Have you thought on
A place whereto you'll go?

FLORIZEL:                Not any yet:
But as th' unthought-on accident is guilty     [525]
To what we wildly do, so we profess
Ourselves to be the slaves of chance, and flies
Of every wind that blows.

CAMILLO:                Then list to me.
This follows, if you will not change your purpose
But undergo this flight: make for Sicilia,     [530]
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     [535]
His welcomes forth; asks thee, the son, forgiveness,
As 'twere i' th' father's person; kisses the hands
Of your fresh princess; o'er and o'er divides him
'Twixt his unkindness and his kindness: th' me
He chides to hell, and bids the other grow     [540]
Faster than thought or time.

FLORIZEL:                     Worthy Camillo,
What colour for my visitation shall I
Hold up before him?

CAMILLO:           Sent by the King your father
To greet him and to give him comforts. Sir,
The manner of your bearing towards him, with     [545]
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,     [550]
And speak his very heart.

FLORIZEL:                     I am bound to you.
There is some sap in this.

CAMILLO:                A course more promising
Than a wild dedication of yourselves
To unpathed waters, undreamed shores, most certain
To miseries enough; no hope to help you,     [555]
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,     [560]
Whose fresh complexion and whose heart together
Affliction alters.

PERDITA:      One of these is true:
I think affliction may subdue the cheek,
But not take in the mind.

CAMILLO:                    Yea? Say you so?
There shall not at your father's house these seven years     [565]
Be born another such.

FLORIZEL:           My good Camillo,
She's as forward of her breeding as
She is i' th' rear 'our birth.

CAMILLO:                    I cannot say 'tis pity
She lacks instructions, for she seems a mistress
To most that teach.     [570]

PERDITA:           Your pardon, sir; for this
I'll blush you thanks.

FLORIZEL:           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 furnished like Bohemia's son,     [575]
Nor shall appear in Sicilia.

CAMILLO:                     My lord,
Fear none of this. I think you know my fortunes
Do all lie there. It shall be so my care
To have you royally appointed, as if
The scene you play were mine. For instance, sir,     [580]
That you may know you shall not want -- one word.

[They talk aside.]

AUTOLYCUS: Ha, ha, what a fool Honesty is! and Trust,
his sworn brother, a very simple gentleman! I have sold
all my trumpery; not a counterfeit stone, not a ribbon,
glass, pomander, brooch, table-book, ballad, knife, tape,     [585]
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     [590]
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     [595]
might have pinched a placket, it was senseless; 'twas
nothing to geld a codpiece of a purse; I would have
filed keys off that hung in chains. No hearing, no feeling,
but my sir's song, and admiring the nothing of it. So that
in this time of lethargy I picked and cut most of their     [600]
festival purses; and had not the old man come in with
a hubbub against his daughter and the King's son, and
scared my choughs from the chaff, I had not left a purse
alive in the whole army.

[CAMILLO, FLORIZEL, and PERDITA come forward.]

CAMILLO: Nay, but my letters, by this means being there     [605]
So soon as you arrive, shall clear that doubt.

FLORIZEL: And those that you'll procure from King Leontes?

CAMILLO: Shall satisfy your father.

PERDITA:                                    Happy be you!
All that you speak shows fair.

CAMILLO: Who have we here? [Seeing Autolycus.]     [610]
We'll make an instrument of this; omit
Nothing may give us aid.

AUTOLYCUS: [Aside.] If they have overheard me now --
why, hanging.

CAMILLO: How now, good fellow? why shak'st thou so?     [615]
Fear not, man, here's no harm intended to thee.

AUTOLYCUS: I am a poor fellow, sir.

CAMILLO: 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 --     [620]
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.

[Giving money.]

AUTOLYCUS: I am a poor fellow, sir. [Aside.] I know ye
well enough.     [625]

CAMILLO: Nay, prithee dispatch. The gentleman is
half flayed already.

AUTOLYCUS: Are you in earnest, sir? [Aside.] I smell the
trick on't.

FLORIZEL: Dispatch, I prithee.     [630]

AUTOLYCUS: Indeed I have had earnest, but I cannot with
conscience take it.

CAMILLO: Unbuckle, unbuckle.

[FLORIZEL and AUTOLYCUS exchange garments.]

Fortunate mistress (let my prophecy
Come home to ye!), you must retire yourself     [635]
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     [640]
Get undescried.

PERDITA:      I see the play so lies
That I must bear a part.

CAMILLO:                No remedy.
Have you done there?

FLORIZEL: Should I now meet my father,
He would not call me son.     [645]

CAMILLO:                Nay, you shall have no hat.

[Giving it to PERDITA.]

Come, lady, come. Farewell, my friend.

AUTOLYCUS: Adieu, sir.

FLORIZEL: O Perdita! what have we twain forgot?
Pray you a word.

CAMILLO: [Aside.] What I do next shall be to tell the King     [650]
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 re-view Sicilia, for whose sight
I have a woman's longing.     [655]

FLORIZEL:                Fortune speed us!
Thus we set on, Camillo, to th' sea-side.

CAMILLO: The swifter speed the better.

Exit [with FLORIZEL and PERDITA].

AUTOLYCUS: I understand the business, I hear it. To have
an open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand, is necessary
for a cutpurse; a good nose is requisite also, to smell out     [660]
work for th' other senses. I see this is the time that the
unjust man doth thrive. What an exchange had this been,
without boot! What a boot is here, with this exchange!
Sure the gods do this year connive at us, and we may do
any thing extempore. The Prince himself is about a piece     [665]
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.     [670]


Aside, aside, here is more matter for a hot brain. Every
lane's end, every shop, church, session, hanging, yields
a careful man work.

CLOWN: See, see; what a man you are now! There is
no other way but to tell the King she's a changeling, and     [675]
none of your flesh and blood.

SHEPHERD: Nay, but hear me.

CLOWN: Nay -- but hear me.

SHEPHERD: Go to then.

CLOWN: She being none of your flesh and blood, your flesh     [680]
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.     [685]

SHEPHERD: 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

CLOWN: Indeed brother-in-law was the farthest off you     [690]
could have been to him, and then your blood had been the
dearer by I know not how much an ounce.

AUTOLYCUS: [Aside.] Very wisely, puppies!

SHEPHERD: Well; let us to the King. There is that in this
fardel will make him scratch his beard.     [695]

AUTOLYCUS: [Aside.] I know not what impediment this
complaint may be to the flight of my master.

CLOWN: Pray heartily he be at' palace.

AUTOLYCUS: [Aside.] Though I am not naturally honest, I
am so sometimes by chance. Let me pocket up my pedlar's     [700]
excrement. [Takes off his false beard.] How now, rustics, whither
are you bound?

SHEPHERD: To th' palace, and it like your worship.

AUTOLYCUS: Your affairs there? What? with whom? The
condition of that fardel? The place of your dwelling? Your     [705]
names? Your ages? of what having? Breeding? And anything
that is fitting to be known -- discover.

CLOWN: We are but plain fellows, sir.

AUTOLYCUS: A lie; you are rough and hairy. Let me have
no lying. It becomes none but tradesmen, and they often give     [710]
us soldiers the lie, but we pay them for it with stamped coin,
not stabbing steel, therefore they do not give us the lie.

CLOWN: Your worship had like to have given us one,
if you had not taken yourself with the manner.

SHEPHERD: Are you a courtier, and't like you, sir?     [715]

AUTOLYCUS: 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-odour from me? Reflect I not on thy
baseness court-contempt? Think'st thou, for that I     [720]
insinuate, that toze 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.

SHEPHERD: My business, sir, is to the King.     [725]

AUTOLYCUS: What advocate hast thou to him?

SHEPHERD: I know not, and't like you.

CLOWN: Advocate's the court-word for a pheasant.
Say you have none.

SHEPHERD: None sir; I have no pheasant cock, nor hen.     [730]

AUTOLYCUS: How blessed are we that are not simple men!
Yet nature might have made me as these are,
Therefore I will not disdain.

CLOWN: This cannot be but a great courtier.

SHEPHERD: His garments are rich, but he wears them     [735]
not handsomely.

CLOWN: He seems to be the more noble in being
fantastical. A great man, I'll warrant; I know by the
picking on's teeth.

AUTOLYCUS: The fardel there? What's i' th' fardel?     [740]
Wherefore that box?

SHEPHERD: 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 th'
speech of him.     [745]

AUTOLYCUS: Age, thou hast lost thy labour.

SHEPHERD: Why, sir?

AUTOLYCUS: The King is not at the palace. He is gone
aboard a new ship to purge melancholy and air
himself; for if thou be'st capable of things serious, thou     [750]
must know the King is full of grief.

SHEPHERD: So 'tis said, sir -- about his son, that should
have married a shepherd's daughter.

AUTOLYCUS: If that shepherd be not in hand-fast, let him
fly. The curses he shall have, the tortures he shall feel,     [755]
will break the back of man, the heart of monster.

CLOWN: Think you so, sir?

AUTOLYCUS: 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     [760]
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 sheepcote! -- all deaths are too few, the sharpest too easy.     [765]

CLOWN: Has the old man e'er a son, sir, do you hear,
and't like you, sir?

AUTOLYCUS: 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     [770]
recovered again with aqua-vitae or some other hot infusion;
then, raw as he is, and in the hottest day prognostication
proclaims, shall he be set against a brick-wall, the sun
looking with a southward eye upon him, where he is to
behold him with flies blown to death. But what talk we of     [775]
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     [780]
in your behalfs; and if it be in man besides the King to effect
your suits, here is man shall do it.

CLOWN: 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     [785]
purse to the outside of his hand, and no more ado.
Remember ³stoned,² and ³flayed alive.²

SHEPHERD: And'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.     [790]

AUTOLYCUS: After I have done what I promised?

SHEPHERD: Ay, sir.

AUTOLYCUS: Well, give me the moiety. Are you a party
in this business?

CLOWN: In some sort, sir; but though my case be a pitiful     [795]
one, I hope I shall not be flayed out of it.

AUTOLYCUS: O, that's the case of the shepherd's son.
Hang him, he'll be made an example.

CLOWN: Comfort, good comfort! We must to the King, and
show our strange sights. He must know 'tis none of your     [800]
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.

AUTOLYCUS: I will trust you. Walk before toward the
sea-side, go on the right hand, I will but look upon the hedge,     [805]
and follow you.

CLOWN: We are blessed in this man, as I may say, even

SHEPHERD: Let's before, as he bids us. He was provided to
do us good.     [810]

[Exeunt SHEPHERD and CLOWN.]

AUTOLYCUS: 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,     [815]
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.     [820]


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