List iconThe Winter’s Tale:
Act 4, scene 4
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The Winter’s Tale
Act 4, scene 4



Characters in the Play

Entire Play

The “tale” of The Winter’s Tale unfolds in scenes set sixteen years apart. In the first part of the play, Leontes, king…

Act 1, scene 1

Archidamus, a Bohemian courtier, exclaims about the magnificent hospitality he has found in Sicilia. Camillo explains about the long friendship…

Act 1, scene 2

Leontes suddenly grows insanely jealous of the friendship between his queen, Hermione, and his visiting friend Polixenes. Leontes forces Camillo…

Act 2, scene 1

Leontes learns of the departure of Polixenes and Camillo and has Hermione arrested for adultery and treason. He announces that…

Act 2, scene 2

Paulina attempts to visit Hermione in prison. Learning that the queen has given birth to a baby girl, Paulina decides…

Act 2, scene 3

Paulina brings the baby to the tormented Leontes, who first orders the baby burned, then orders Antigonus to take the…

Act 3, scene 1

The couriers, en route from Delphos with the oracle’s response, discuss the ceremony they observed and express their hopes for…

Act 3, scene 2

As Hermione tries to defend herself in open court, the oracle is read and she is declared chaste and Polixenes…

Act 3, scene 3

Antigonus leaves the baby in Bohemia, where Polixenes is king. In a sudden storm, the ship sinks and Antigonus is…

Act 4, scene 1

Father Time appears and bridges the sixteen-year gap following the abandonment of Perdita in Bohemia.

Act 4, scene 2

Camillo asks permission to return to Sicilia. Polixenes refuses his request and asks Camillo instead to go with him in…

Act 4, scene 3

Autolycus, a con man, steals the shepherd’s son’s money and decides to use the upcoming sheep-shearing feast as an occasion…

Act 4, scene 4

At the sheepshearing feast, Florizell and Perdita declare their love before the disguised Polixenes and Camillo. When Polixenes orders Florizell…

Act 5, scene 1

Paulina insists that Leontes must not remarry, despite the urgings of his courtiers. Florizell and Perdita arrive, and are greeted…

Act 5, scene 2

Autolycus learns from courtiers that Leontes’ lost daughter has been found; he then meets the newly elevated shepherd and shepherd’s…

Act 5, scene 3

Leontes, Polixenes, Perdita, Florizell, and Camillo go with Paulina to view the statue of Hermione. Leontes grieves over her death,…

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Scene 4
Enter Florizell and Perdita.

 These your unusual weeds to each part of you
 Does give a life—no shepherdess, but Flora
 Peering in April’s front. This your sheep-shearing
 Is as a meeting of the petty gods,
5 And you the queen on ’t.
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
10 With a swain’s wearing, and me, poor lowly maid,
 Most goddesslike pranked 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, swoon, I think,
15 To show myself a glass.
FLORIZELL  I bless the time
 When my good falcon made her flight across
 Thy father’s ground.
PERDITA  Now Jove afford you cause.
20 To me the difference forges dread. Your greatness

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 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,
25 Vilely bound up? What would he say? Or how
 Should I, in these my borrowed flaunts, behold
 The sternness of his presence?
FLORIZELL  Apprehend
 Nothing but jollity. The gods themselves,
30 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,
35 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 honor, nor my lusts
 Burn hotter than my faith.
PERDITA 40 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
45 purpose
 Or I my life.
FLORIZELL  Thou dear’st Perdita,
 With these forced thoughts I prithee darken not
 The mirth o’ th’ feast. Or I’ll be thine, my fair,
50 Or not my father’s. For I cannot be
 Mine own, nor anything 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 anything
55 That you behold the while. Your guests are coming.

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 Lift up your countenance as it were the day
 Of celebration of that nuptial which
 We two have sworn shall come.
PERDITA  O Lady Fortune,
60 Stand you auspicious!
FLORIZELL  See, your guests approach.
 Address yourself to entertain them sprightly,
 And let’s be red with mirth.

Enter Shepherd, Shepherd’s Son, Mopsa, Dorcas,
Shepherds and Shepherdesses, Servants, Musicians,
and Polixenes and Camillo in disguise.

 Fie, daughter, when my old wife lived, upon
65 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 afire
70 With labor, 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
75 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.
PERDITA, to Polixenes 80 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
85 sirs,

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 For you there’s rosemary and rue. These keep
 Seeming and savor all the winter long.
 Grace and remembrance be to you both,
 And welcome to our shearing.
POLIXENES 90 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
95 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.
POLIXENES 100 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 105 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
110 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.
PERDITA 115 So it is.
 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,

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ACT 4. SC. 4

120 No more than, were I painted, I would wish
 This youth should say ’twere well, and only
 Desire to breed by me. Here’s flowers for you:
 Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram,
125 The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ th’ 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,
130 And only live by gazing.
PERDITA  Out, alas!
 You’d be so lean that blasts of January
 Would blow you through and through. (To
Now, my fair’st friend,
135 I would I had some flowers o’ th’ spring, that might
 Become your time of day, (to the Shepherdesses)
 and yours, and yours,
 That wear upon your virgin branches yet
 Your maidenheads growing. O Proserpina,
140 For the flowers now that, frighted, thou let’st fall
 From Dis’s wagon! 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
145 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
 The crown imperial; lilies of all kinds,
150 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.
FLORIZELL  What, like a corse?

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 No, like a bank for love to lie and play on,
155 Not like a corse; or if, not to be buried,
 But quick and in mine arms. Come, take your
 Methinks I play as I have seen them do
 In Whitsun pastorals. Sure this robe of mine
160 Does change my disposition.
FLORIZELL  What you do
 Still betters what is done. When you speak, sweet,
 I’d have you do it ever. When you sing,
 I’d have you buy and sell so, so give alms,
165 Pray so; and for the ord’ring your affairs,
 To sing them too. When you do dance, I wish you
 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,
170 So singular in each particular,
 Crowns what you are doing in the present deeds,
 That all your acts are queens.
PERDITA  O Doricles,
 Your praises are too large. But that your youth
175 And the true blood which peeps fairly through ’t
 Do plainly give you out an unstained shepherd,
 With wisdom I might fear, my Doricles,
 You wooed me the false way.
FLORIZELL  I think you have
180 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.
PERDITA  I’ll swear for ’em.
POLIXENES, to Camillo 
185 This is the prettiest lowborn lass that ever
 Ran on the greensward. Nothing she does or seems
 But smacks of something greater than herself,
 Too noble for this place.

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ACT 4. SC. 4

CAMILLO  He tells her something
190 That makes her blood look out. Good sooth, she is
 The queen of curds and cream.
SHEPHERD’S SON, to Musicians  Come on, strike up.
 Mopsa must be your mistress? Marry, garlic
 To mend her kissing with.
MOPSA 195 Now, in good time!
 Not a word, a word. We stand upon our manners.—
 Come, strike up. Music begins.
Here a Dance of Shepherds and Shepherdesses.
 Pray, good shepherd, what fair swain is this
 Which dances with your daughter?
200 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
205 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.
POLIXENES  She dances featly.
210 So she does anything, 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.

Enter a Servant.

SERVANT O, master, if you did but hear the peddler at
215 the door, you would never dance again after a tabor
 and pipe; no, the bagpipe could not move you. He

The Winter’s Tale
ACT 4. SC. 4

 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.
SHEPHERD’S SON 220He 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.
225 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 burdens
 of dildos and fadings, “Jump her and thump
 her.” And where some stretch-mouthed rascal
230 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
POLIXENES 235This is a brave fellow.
SHEPHERD’S SON Believe me, thou talkest of an admirable
 conceited fellow. Has he any unbraided
SERVANT He hath ribbons of all the colors i’ th’ rainbow;
240 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
245 chants to the sleeve-hand and the work about the
 square on ’t.
SHEPHERD’S SON Prithee bring him in, and let him
 approach singing.
PERDITA Forewarn him that he use no scurrilous words
250 in ’s tunes.Servant exits.
SHEPHERD’S SON You have of these peddlers that have
 more in them than you’d think, sister.

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ACT 4. SC. 4

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

Enter Autolycus, wearing a false beard, singing.

 Lawn as white as driven snow,
255 Cypress 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,
260 Golden coifs 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.
265 Buy, lads, or else your lasses cry.
 Come buy.

SHEPHERD’S SON 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
270 ribbons and gloves.
MOPSA I was promised them against the feast, but they
 come not too late now.
DORCAS He hath promised you more than that, or there
 be liars.
MOPSA 275He hath paid you all he promised you. Maybe
 he has paid you more, which will shame you to give
 him again.
SHEPHERD’S SON Is there no manners left among
 maids? Will they wear their plackets where they
280 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 whisp’ring.
 Clamor your tongues, and not a word more.

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ACT 4. SC. 4

MOPSA 285I have done. Come, you promised me a tawdry
 lace and a pair of sweet gloves.
SHEPHERD’S SON 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;
290 therefore it behooves men to be wary.
SHEPHERD’S SON Fear not thou, man. Thou shalt lose
 nothing here.
AUTOLYCUS I hope so, sir, for I have about me many
 parcels of charge.
SHEPHERD’S SON 295What hast here? Ballads?
MOPSA Pray now, buy some. I love a ballad in print
 alife, 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
300 at a burden, and how she longed to eat adders’
 heads and toads carbonadoed.
MOPSA Is it true, think you?
AUTOLYCUS Very true, and but a month old.
DORCAS Bless me from marrying a usurer!
AUTOLYCUS 305Here’s the midwife’s name to ’t, one Mistress
 Taleporter, and five or six honest wives that
 were present. Why should I carry lies abroad?
MOPSA, to Shepherd’s Son Pray you now, buy it.
SHEPHERD’S SON, to Autolycus Come on, lay it by, and
310 let’s first see more ballads. We’ll buy the other
 things anon.
AUTOLYCUS Here’s another ballad, of a fish that appeared
 upon the coast on Wednesday the fourscore
 of April, forty thousand fathom above water, and
315 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
DORCAS 320Is it true too, think you?

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ACT 4. SC. 4

AUTOLYCUS Five justices’ hands at it, and witnesses
 more than my pack will hold.
SHEPHERD’S SON Lay it by too. Another.
AUTOLYCUS This is a merry ballad, but a very pretty
325 one.
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
330 request, I can tell you.
MOPSA We can both sing it. If thou ’lt bear a part, thou
 shalt hear; ’tis in three parts.
DORCAS We had the tune on ’t a month ago.
AUTOLYCUS I can bear my part. You must know ’tis my
335 occupation. Have at it with you.


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

DORCAS   Whither?
MOPSA    O, whither?
DORCAS 340   Whither?
MOPSA  It becomes thy oath full well
 Thou to me thy secrets tell.

DORCAS   Me too. Let me go thither.
MOPSA  Or thou goest to th’ grange or mill.
DORCAS 345 If to either, thou dost ill.
AUTOLYCUS   Neither.
DORCAS    What, neither?
AUTOLYCUS    Neither.
DORCAS  Thou hast sworn my love to be.
MOPSA 350 Thou hast sworn it more to me.
  Then whither goest? Say whither.

SHEPHERD’S SON We’ll have this song out anon by
 ourselves. My father and the gentlemen are in sad

The Winter’s Tale
ACT 4. SC. 4

 talk, and we’ll not trouble them. Come, bring away
355 thy pack after me.—Wenches, I’ll buy for you
 both.—Peddler, let’s have the first choice.—Follow
 me, girls.
He exits with Mopsa, Dorcas, Shepherds and

AUTOLYCUS And you shall pay well for ’em.


  Will you buy any tape,
360  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 fin’st, fin’st wear-a?
365  Come to the peddler.
  Money’s a meddler
 That doth utter all men’s ware-a.

He exits.

Enter a Servant.

SERVANT, to Shepherd  Master, there is three carters,
 three shepherds, three neatherds, three swineherds,
370 that have made themselves all men of hair.
 They call themselves saultiers, 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’ th’ mind, if it be not too rough for
375 some that know little but bowling, it will please
SHEPHERD Away! We’ll none on ’t. Here has been too
 much homely foolery already.—I know, sir, we
 weary you.
POLIXENES 380You weary those that refresh us. Pray, let’s
 see these four threes of herdsmen.

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ACT 4. SC. 4

SERVANT 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 th’
385 square.
SHEPHERD Leave your prating. Since these good men
 are pleased, let them come in—but quickly now.
SERVANT Why, they stay at door, sir.

He admits the herdsmen.

Here a Dance of twelve herdsmen, dressed as Satyrs.
Herdsmen, Musicians, and Servants exit.
POLIXENES, to Shepherd 
 O father, you’ll know more of that hereafter.
390 Aside to Camillo. Is it not too far gone? ’Tis time to
 part them.
 He’s simple, and tells much. To Florizell. How now,
 fair shepherd?
 Your heart is full of something that does take
395 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
 The peddler’s silken treasury and have poured it
 To her acceptance. You have let him go
400 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.
FLORIZELL 405 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,
 But not delivered. To Perdita. O, hear me breathe
410 my life
 Before this ancient sir, who, it should seem,

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 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
415 bolted
 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.
420 But to your protestation. Let me hear
 What you profess.
FLORIZELL  Do, and be witness to ’t.
 And this my neighbor too?
FLORIZELL  And he, and more
425 Than he, and men—the Earth, the heavens, and
 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
430 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.
435 This shows a sound affection.
SHEPHERD  But my daughter,
 Say you the like to him?
PERDITA  I cannot speak
 So well, nothing so well, no, nor mean better.
440 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:
 I give my daughter to him and will make
445 Her portion equal his.

The Winter’s Tale
ACT 4. SC. 4

FLORIZELL  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,
450 Contract us fore these witnesses.
SHEPHERD  Come, your hand—
 And daughter, yours.
POLIXENES, To Florizell  Soft, swain, awhile, beseech
455 Have you a father?
FLORIZELL  I have, but what of him?
 Knows he of this?
FLORIZELL  He neither does nor shall.
POLIXENES Methinks a father
460 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 alt’ring rheums? Can he speak? Hear?
465 Know man from man? Dispute his own estate?
 Lies he not bedrid, and again does nothing
 But what he did being childish?
FLORIZELL  No, good sir.
 He has his health and ampler strength indeed
470 Than most have of his age.
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
475 The father, all whose joy is nothing else
 But fair posterity, should hold some counsel
 In such a business.
FLORIZELL  I yield all this;
 But for some other reasons, my grave sir,

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ACT 4. SC. 4

480 Which ’tis not fit you know, I not acquaint
 My father of this business.
POLIXENES  Let him know ’t.
 He shall not.
POLIXENES  Prithee let him.
FLORIZELL 485 No, he must not.
 Let him, my son. He shall not need to grieve
 At knowing of thy choice.
FLORIZELL  Come, come, he must not.
 Mark our contract.
POLIXENES, removing his disguise 490 Mark your divorce,
 young sir,
 Whom son I dare not call. Thou art too base
 To be acknowledged. Thou a scepter’s heir
 That thus affects a sheep-hook!—Thou, old traitor,
495 I am sorry that by hanging thee I can
 But shorten thy life one week.—And thou, fresh
 Of excellent witchcraft, whom of force must know
 The royal fool thou cop’st with—
SHEPHERD 500 O, my heart!
 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
 That thou no more shalt see this knack—as never
505 I mean thou shalt—we’ll bar thee from succession,
 Not hold thee of our blood, no, not our kin,
 Far’r than Deucalion off. Mark thou my words.
 Follow us to the court. To Shepherd. Thou, churl,
 for this time,
510 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,

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 That makes himself, but for our honor therein,
 Unworthy thee—if ever henceforth thou
515 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.He exits.
PERDITA  Even here undone.
520 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. To Florizell. Will ’t please you, sir,
525 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.
CAMILLO, to Shepherd 530 Why, how now, father?
 Speak ere thou diest.
SHEPHERD  I cannot speak, nor think,
 Nor dare to know that which I know. To Florizell.
 O sir,
535 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
540 Where no priest shovels in dust. To Perdita. O
 cursèd wretch,
 That knew’st this was the Prince, and wouldst
 To mingle faith with him!—Undone, undone!
545 If I might die within this hour, I have lived
 To die when I desire.He exits.
FLORIZELL, to Perdita  Why look you so upon me?
 I am but sorry, not afeard; delayed,

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 But nothing altered. What I was, I am,
550 More straining on for plucking back, not following
 My leash unwillingly.
CAMILLO  Gracious my lord,
 You know your father’s temper. At this time
 He will allow no speech, which I do guess
555 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.
FLORIZELL  I not purpose it.
560 I think Camillo?
CAMILLO, removing his disguise  Even he, my lord.
PERDITA, to Florizell 
 How often have I told you ’twould be thus?
 How often said my dignity would last
 But till ’twere known?
FLORIZELL 565 It cannot fail but by
 The violation of my faith; and then
 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
570 Am heir to my affection.
CAMILLO  Be advised.
 I am, and by my fancy. If my reason
 Will thereto be obedient, I have reason.
 If not, my senses, better pleased with madness,
575 Do bid it welcome.
CAMILLO  This is desperate, sir.
 So call it; but it does fulfill my vow.
 I needs must think it honesty. Camillo,
 Not for Bohemia nor the pomp that may
580 Be thereat gleaned, for all the sun sees or
 The close earth wombs or the profound seas hides

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 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 honored friend,
585 When he shall miss me, as in faith I mean not
 To see him anymore, 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
590 With her who 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
595 Concern me the reporting.
CAMILLO  O my lord,
 I would your spirit were easier for advice
 Or stronger for your need.
FLORIZELL  Hark, Perdita.—
600 I’ll hear you by and by.
Florizell and Perdita walk aside.
CAMILLO  He’s irremovable,
 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 honor,
605 Purchase the sight again of dear Sicilia
 And that unhappy king, my master, whom
 I so much thirst to see.
FLORIZELL, coming forward  Now, good Camillo,
 I am so fraught with curious business that
610 I leave out ceremony.
CAMILLO  Sir, I think
 You have heard of my poor services i’ th’ love
 That I have borne your father?
FLORIZELL  Very nobly
615 Have you deserved. It is my father’s music

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 To speak your deeds, not little of his care
 To have them recompensed as thought on.
CAMILLO  Well, my
620 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,
 If your more ponderous and settled project
 May suffer alteration. On mine honor,
625 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 forfend, your ruin—marry her,
630 And with my best endeavors in your absence,
 Your discontenting father strive to qualify
 And bring him up to liking.
FLORIZELL  How, Camillo,
 May this, almost a miracle, be done,
635 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?
FLORIZELL  Not any yet.
640 But as th’ 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.
CAMILLO  Then list to me.
645 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
650 The partner of your bed. Methinks I see

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 Leontes opening his free arms and weeping
 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
655 ’Twixt his unkindness and his kindness. Th’ one
 He chides to hell and bids the other grow
 Faster than thought or time.
FLORIZELL  Worthy Camillo,
 What color for my visitation shall I
660 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
 What you, as from your father, shall deliver,
665 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.
FLORIZELL 670 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
675 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
680 Where you’ll be loath to be. Besides, you know
 Prosperity’s the very bond of love,
 Whose fresh complexion and whose heart together
 Affliction alters.
PERDITA  One of these is true.
685 I think affliction may subdue the cheek
 But not take in the mind.

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ACT 4. SC. 4

CAMILLO  Yea, say you so?
 There shall not at your father’s house these seven
690 Be born another such.
FLORIZELL  My good Camillo,
 She’s as forward of her breeding as she is
 I’ th’ rear our birth.
CAMILLO  I cannot say ’tis pity
695 She lacks instructions, for she seems a mistress
 To most that teach.
PERDITA  Your pardon, sir. For this
 I’ll blush you thanks.
FLORIZELL  My prettiest Perdita.
700 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,
 Nor shall appear in Sicilia.
CAMILLO 705 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,
710 That you may know you shall not want, one word.
They step aside and talk.

Enter Autolycus.

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,
715 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

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ACT 4. SC. 4

720 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
725 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
730 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 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, Florizell, and Perdita come forward.
CAMILLO, to Florizell 
735 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.
PERDITA  Happy be you!
740 All that you speak shows fair.
CAMILLO, noticing Autolycus  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.
CAMILLO 745How now, good fellow? Why shak’st thou so?
 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

The Winter’s Tale
ACT 4. SC. 4

750 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.
He hands Autolycus money.
AUTOLYCUS 755I am a poor fellow, sir. Aside. I know you
 well enough.
CAMILLO Nay, prithee, dispatch. The gentleman is half
 flayed already.
AUTOLYCUS Are you in earnest, sir? Aside. I smell the
760 trick on ’t.
FLORIZELL Dispatch, I prithee.
AUTOLYCUS Indeed, I have had earnest, but I cannot
 with conscience take it.
CAMILLO Unbuckle, unbuckle.
Florizell and Autolycus exchange garments.
765 Fortunate mistress—let my prophecy
 Come home to you!—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
770 The truth of your own seeming, that you may—
 For I do fear eyes over—to shipboard
 Get undescried.
PERDITA  I see the play so lies
 That I must bear a part.
CAMILLO 775 No remedy.—
 Have you done there?
FLORIZELL  Should I now meet my father,
 He would not call me son.
CAMILLO  Nay, you shall have no hat.
He gives Florizell’s hat to Perdita.
780 Come, lady, come.—Farewell, my friend.
AUTOLYCUS  Adieu, sir.

The Winter’s Tale
ACT 4. SC. 4

 O Perdita, what have we twain forgot?
 Pray you, a word.They talk aside.
CAMILLO, aside 
 What I do next shall be to tell the King
785 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.
FLORIZELL 790 Fortune speed us!—
 Thus we set on, Camillo, to th’ seaside.
CAMILLO The swifter speed the better.
Camillo, Florizell, and Perdita exit.
AUTOLYCUS I understand the business; I hear it. To have
 an open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand is
795 necessary for a cutpurse; a good nose is requisite
 also, to smell out 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
800 year connive at us, and we may do anything 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
805 the more knavery to conceal it, and therein am I
 constant to my profession.

Enter Shepherd’s Son and Shepherd, carrying the
bundle and the box.

 Aside, aside! Here is more matter for a hot brain.
 Every lane’s end, every shop, church, session, hanging,
 yields a careful man work.He moves aside.

The Winter’s Tale
ACT 4. SC. 4

SHEPHERD’S SON, to Shepherd 810See, 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
SHEPHERD Nay, but hear me.
SHEPHERD’S SON 815Nay, but hear me!
SHEPHERD Go to, then.
SHEPHERD’S SON 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
820 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.
SHEPHERD I will tell the King all, every word, yea, and
825 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.
SHEPHERD’S SON Indeed, brother-in-law was the farthest
 off you could have been to him, and then your
830 blood had been the dearer by I know how much an
AUTOLYCUS, aside Very wisely, puppies.
SHEPHERD Well, let us to the King. There is that in this
 fardel will make him scratch his beard.
AUTOLYCUS, aside 835I know not what impediment this
 complaint may be to the flight of my master.
SHEPHERD’S SON 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
840 peddler’s excrement. (He removes his false beard.)
 How now, rustics, whither are you bound?
SHEPHERD To th’ palace, an it like your Worship.
AUTOLYCUS Your affairs there? What, with whom, the
 condition of that fardel, the place of your dwelling,

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ACT 4. SC. 4

845 your names, your ages, of what having, breeding,
 and anything that is fitting to be known, discover!
SHEPHERD’S SON 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
850 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.
SHEPHERD’S SON Your Worship had like to have given
 us one, if you had not taken yourself with the
855 manner.
SHEPHERD Are you a courtier, an ’t like you, sir?
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
860 court? Receives not thy nose court odor from me?
 Reflect I not on thy baseness court contempt?
 Think’st thou, for that I insinuate and toze from
 thee thy business, I am therefore no courtier? I am
 courtier cap-a-pie; and one that will either push on
865 or pluck back thy business there. Whereupon I
 command thee to open thy affair.
SHEPHERD My business, sir, is to the King.
AUTOLYCUS What advocate hast thou to him?
SHEPHERD I know not, an ’t like you.
SHEPHERD’S SON, aside to Shepherd 870Advocate’s the
 court word for a pheasant. Say you have none.
SHEPHERD, to Autolycus None, sir. I have no pheasant,
 cock nor hen.
 How blest are we that are not simple men!
875 Yet Nature might have made me as these are.
 Therefore I will not disdain.
SHEPHERD’S SON, to Shepherd This cannot be but a
 great courtier.

The Winter’s Tale
ACT 4. SC. 4

SHEPHERD His garments are rich, but he wears them
880 not handsomely.
SHEPHERD’S SON 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?
885 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.
AUTOLYCUS 890Age, thou hast lost thy labor.
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 beest capable of things serious,
895 thou 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 handfast, let him
 fly. The curses he shall have, the tortures he shall
900 feel, will break the back of man, the heart of
SHEPHERD’S SON Think you so, sir?
AUTOLYCUS Not he alone shall suffer what wit can
 make heavy and vengeance bitter; but those that are
905 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
910 that death is too soft for him, say I. Draw our throne
 into a sheepcote? All deaths are too few, the sharpest
 too easy.
SHEPHERD’S SON Has the old man e’er a son, sir, do you
 hear, an ’t like you, sir?

The Winter’s Tale
ACT 4. SC. 4

AUTOLYCUS 915He has a son, who shall be flayed alive; then
 ’nointed over with honey, set on the head of a
 wasps’-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
920 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 these
 traitorly rascals, whose miseries are to be smiled at,
925 their offenses 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
930 in man besides the King to effect your suits, here is
 man shall do it.
SHEPHERD’S SON, to Shepherd He seems to be of
 great authority. Close with him, give him gold; and
 though authority be a stubborn bear, yet he is oft
935 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.”
SHEPHERD, to Autolycus An ’t please you, sir, to
 undertake the business for us, here is that gold I
940 have. I’ll make it as much more, and leave this
 young man in pawn till I bring it you.
AUTOLYCUS After I have done what I promised?
AUTOLYCUS Well, give me the moiety. Shepherd hands
 him money. 
945Are you a party in this business?
SHEPHERD’S SON In some sort, sir; but though my case
 be a pitiful 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.
SHEPHERD’S SON, to Shepherd 950Comfort, good comfort.

The Winter’s Tale
ACT 4. SC. 4

 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
955 performed, and remain, as he says, your pawn till it
 be brought you.
AUTOLYCUS I will trust you. Walk before toward the
 seaside. Go on the right hand. I will but look upon
 the hedge, and follow you.
SHEPHERD’S SON, to Shepherd 960We are blessed in this
 man, as I may say, even blessed.
SHEPHERD Let’s before, as he bids us. He was provided
 to do us good.Shepherd and his son exit.
AUTOLYCUS If I had a mind to be honest, I see Fortune
965 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
970 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
975 present them. There may be matter in it.
He exits.