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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

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POLIXENES. I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more importunate: 'tis
a sickness denying thee anything; a death to grant this.
CAMILLO. It is fifteen years since I saw my country; though I have
for the most part been aired abroad, I desire to lay my bones
there. Besides, the penitent King, my master, hath sent for me;
to whose feeling sorrows I might be some allay, or I o'erween to
think so, which is another spur to my departure.
POLIXENES. As thou lov'st me, Camillo, wipe not out the rest of thy
services by leaving me now. The need I have of thee thine own
goodness hath made. Better not to have had thee than thus to want
thee; thou, having made me businesses which none without thee can
sufficiently manage, must either stay to execute them thyself, or
take away with thee the very services thou hast done; which if I
have not enough considered- as too much I cannot- to be more
thankful to thee shall be my study; and my profit therein the
heaping friendships. Of that fatal country Sicilia, prithee,
speak no more; whose very naming punishes me with the remembrance
of that penitent, as thou call'st him, and reconciled king, my
brother; whose loss of his most precious queen and children are
even now to be afresh lamented. Say to me, when saw'st thou the
Prince Florizel, my son? Kings are no less unhappy, their issue
not being gracious, than they are in losing them when they have
approved their virtues.
CAMILLO. Sir, it is three days since I saw the Prince. What his
happier affairs may be are to me unknown; but I have missingly
noted he is of late much retired from court, and is less frequent
to his princely exercises than formerly he hath appeared.
POLIXENES. I have considered so much, Camillo, and with some care,
so far that I have eyes under my service which look upon his
removedness; from whom I have this intelligence, that he is
seldom from the house of a most homely shepherd- a man, they say,
that from very nothing, and beyond the imagination of his
neighbours, is grown into an unspeakable estate.
CAMILLO. I have heard, sir, of such a man, who hath a daughter of
most rare note. The report of her is extended more than can be
thought to begin from such a cottage.
POLIXENES. That's likewise part of my intelligence; but, I fear, the
angle that plucks our son thither. Thou shalt accompany us to the
place; where we will, not appearing what we are, have some
question with the shepherd; from whose simplicity I think it not
uneasy to get the cause of my son's resort thither. Prithee be my
present partner in this business, and lay aside the thoughts of
CAMILLO. I willingly obey your command.
POLIXENES. My best Camillo! We must disguise ourselves.

Bohemia. A road near the SHEPHERD'S cottage

Enter AUTOLYCUS, singing

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,
With heigh! the sweet birds, O, how they sing!
Doth set my pugging tooth on 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,
Are summer songs for me and my aunts,
While we lie tumbling in the hay.

I have serv'd 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?
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,
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 nam'd me Autolycus; who, being, I as am, litter'd under
Mercury, was likewise a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. With
die and drab I purchas'd 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!


CLOWN. Let me see: every 'leven wether tods; every tod 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 counters. Let me see: what am I to
buy for our sheep-shearing feast? Three pound of sugar, 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 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; race or two of ginger, but that I may beg; four
pound of prunes, and as many of raisins o' th' sun.
AUTOLYCUS. [Grovelling on the ground] O that ever I was born!
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 to lay on
thee, rather than have these off.
AUTOLYCUS. O sir, the loathsomeness of them offend me more than the
stripes I have received, which are mighty ones and millions.
CLOWN. Alas, poor man! a million of beating may come to a great
AUTOLYCUS. I am robb'd, 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.
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. [Helping him up]
AUTOLYCUS. O, good sir, tenderly, O!
CLOWN. Alas, poor soul!
AUTOLYCUS. O, good sir, softly, good sir; I fear, sir, my shoulder
blade is out.
CLOWN. How now! Canst stand?
AUTOLYCUS. Softly, dear sir [Picks his pocket]; good sir, softly.
You ha' done me a charitable office.
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 anything I want. Offer me no
money, I pray you; that kills my heart.
CLOWN. What manner of fellow was he that robb'd 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.
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; then
he compass'd 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,
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
look'd big and spit at him, he'd have run.
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 my
CLOWN. Shall I bring thee on the way?
AUTOLYCUS. No, good-fac'd sir; no, sweet sir.
CLOWN. Then fare thee well. I must go buy spices for our
AUTOLYCUS. Prosper you, sweet sir! Exit CLOWN
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 bring
out another, and the shearers prove sheep, let me be unroll'd,
and my name put in the book of virtue!
Jog on, jog on, the footpath way,
And merrily hent the stile-a;
A merry heart goes all the day,
Your sad tires in a mile-a. Exit

Bohemia. The SHEPHERD'S cottage


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.
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 obscur'd
With a swain's wearing; and me, poor lowly maid,
Most goddess-like prank'd up. But that our feasts
In every mess have folly, and the feeders
Digest it with a custom, I should blush
To see you so attir'd; swoon, I think,
To show myself a glass.
FLORIZEL. I bless the time
When my good falcon made her flight across
Thy father's ground.
PERDITA. Now Jove afford you cause!
To me the difference forges dread; your greatness
Hath not been us'd to fear. Even now I tremble
To think your father, by some accident,
Should pass this way, as you did. O, the Fates!
How would he look to see his work, so noble,
Vilely bound up? What would he say? Or how
Should I, in these my borrowed flaunts, behold
The sternness of his presence?
FLORIZEL. Apprehend
Nothing but jollity. The gods themselves,
Humbling their deities to love, have taken
The shapes of beasts upon them: Jupiter
Became a bull and bellow'd; the green Neptune
A ram and bleated; and the fire-rob'd god,
Golden Apollo, a poor humble swain,
As I seem now. Their transformations
Were never for a piece of beauty rarer,
Nor in a way so chaste, since my desires
Run not before mine honour, nor my lusts
Burn hotter than my faith.
PERDITA. O, but, sir,
Your resolution cannot hold when 'tis
Oppos'd, as it must be, by th' pow'r of the King.
One of these two must be necessities,
Which then will speak, that you must change this purpose,
Or I my life.
FLORIZEL. Thou dearest Perdita,
With these forc'd 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 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 any thing
That you behold the while. Your guests are coming.
Lift up your countenance, as it were the day
Of celebration of that nuptial which
We two have sworn shall come.
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.

Enter SHEPHERD, with POLIXENES and CAMILLO, disguised;

SHEPHERD. Fie, daughter! When my old wife liv'd, upon
This day she was both pantler, butler, cook;
Both dame and servant; welcom'd all; serv'd 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
With labour, and the thing she took to quench it
She would to each one sip. You are retired,
As if you were a feasted one, and not
The hostess of the meeting. Pray you bid
These unknown friends to's welcome, for it is
A way to make us better friends, more known.
Come, quench your blushes, and present yourself
That which you are, Mistress o' th' Feast. Come on,
And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing,
As your good flock shall prosper.
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 flow'rs there, Dorcas. Reverend sirs,
For you there's rosemary and rue; these keep
Seeming and savour all the winter long.
Grace and remembrance be to you both!
And welcome to our shearing.
POLIXENES. Shepherdess-
A fair one are you- well you fit our ages
With flow'rs of winter.
PERDITA. Sir, the year growing ancient,
Not yet on summer's death nor on the birth
Of trembling winter, the fairest flow'rs o' th' season
Are our carnations and streak'd gillyvors,
Which some call nature's bastards. Of that kind
Our rustic garden's barren; and I care not
To get slips of them.
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
Which you say adds to nature, is an art
That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry
A gentler scion to the wildest stock,
And make conceive a bark of baser kind
By bud of nobler race. This is an art
Which does mend nature- change it rather; but
The art itself is nature.
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;
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 flow'rs for you:
Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram;
The marigold, that goes to bed wi' th' sun,
And with him rises weeping; these are flow'rs
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.
PERDITA. Out, alas!
You'd be so lean that blasts of January
Would blow you through and through. Now, my fair'st friend,
I would I had some flow'rs o' th' spring that might
Become your time of day- and yours, and yours,
That wear upon your virgin branches yet
Your maidenheads growing. O Proserpina,
From the flowers now that, frighted, thou let'st fall
From Dis's waggon!- daffodils,
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty; violets, dim
But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes
Or Cytherea's breath; pale primroses,
That die unmarried ere they can behold
Bright Phoebus in his strength- a malady
Most incident to maids; bold oxlips, and
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;
Not like a corse; or if- not to be buried,
But quick, and in mine arms. Come, take your flow'rs.
Methinks I play as I have seen them do
In Whitsun pastorals. Sure, this robe of mine
Does change my disposition.
FLORIZEL. 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;
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,
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,
And the true blood which peeps fairly through't,
Do plainly give you out an unstain'd shepherd,
With wisdom I might fear, my Doricles,
You woo'd me the false way.
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.
PERDITA. I'll swear for 'em.
POLIXENES. This is the prettiest low-born lass that ever
Ran on the green-sward; nothing she does or seems
But smacks of something greater than herself,
Too noble for this place.
CAMILLO. He tells her something
That makes her blood look out. Good sooth, she is
The queen of curds and cream.
CLOWN. Come on, strike up.
DORCAS. 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. [Music]


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:
He looks like sooth. He says he loves my daughter;
I think so too; for never gaz'd the moon
Upon the water as he'll stand and read,
As 'twere my daughter's eyes; and, to be plain,
I think there is not half a kiss to choose
Who loves another best.
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.


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.
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 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-mouth'd rascal would, as it were,
mean mischief, and break a foul gap into the matter, he makes the
maid to answer 'Whoop, do me no harm, good man'- puts him off,
slights him, with 'Whoop, do me no harm, good man.'
POLIXENES. This is a brave fellow.
CLOWN. Believe me, thou talkest of an admirable conceited fellow.
Has he any unbraided wares?
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, caddisses, cambrics,
lawns. Why he sings 'em over as they were gods or goddesses; you
would think a smock were she-angel, he so 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.
CLOWN. You have of these pedlars that have more in them than you'd
think, sister.
PERDITA. Ay, good brother, or go about to think.

Enter AUTOLYCUS, Singing

Lawn as white as driven snow;
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;
Golden quoifs and stomachers,
For my lads to give their dears;
Pins and poking-sticks of steel-
What maids lack from head to heel.
Come, buy of me, come; come buy, come buy;
Buy, lads, or else your lasses cry.
Come, buy.

CLOWN. If I were not in love with Mopsa, thou shouldst take no
money of me; but being enthrall'd as I am, it will also be the
bondage of certain ribbons and gloves.
MOPSA. I was promis'd them against the feast; but they come not too
late now.
DORCAS. He hath promis'd you more than that, or there be liars.
MOPSA. He hath paid you all he promis'd 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 their
plackets where they should bear their faces? Is there not
milking-time, when you are going to bed, or kiln-hole, to whistle
off these secrets, but you must be tittle-tattling before all our
guests? 'Tis well they are whisp'ring. Clammer your tongues, and
not a word more.
MOPSA. I have done. Come, you promis'd me a tawdry-lace, and a pair
of sweet gloves.
CLOWN. Have I not told thee how I was cozen'd by the way, and lost
all my money?
AUTOLYCUS. And indeed, sir, there are cozeners abroad; 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
CLOWN. What hast here? Ballads?
MOPSA. Pray now, buy some. I love a ballad 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 money-bags at a burden, and how she
long'd to eat adders' heads and toads carbonado'd.
MOPSA. Is it true, think you?
AUTOLYCUS. Very true, and but a month old.
DORCAS. Bless me from marrying a usurer!
AUTOLYCUS. Here'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. 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 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 turn'd into a cold
fish for she would not exchange flesh with one that lov'd her.
The ballad is very pitiful, and as true.
DORCAS. 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.
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. 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 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. 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. If to either, thou dost ill.
DORCAS. What, neither?
DORCAS. 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. Come,
bring away thy pack after me. Wenches, I'll buy for you both.
Pedlar, let's have the first choice. Follow me, girls.
Exit with DORCAS and MOPSA
AUTOLYCUS. And you shall pay well for 'em.
Exit AUTOLYCUS, Singing

Will you buy any tape,
Or lace for your cape,
My dainty duck, my dear-a?
Any silk, any thread,
Any toys for your head,
Of the new'st and fin'st, fin'st wear-a?
Come to the pedlar;
Money's a meddler
That doth utter all men's ware-a.

Re-enter SERVANT

SERVANT. Master, there is three carters, three shepherds, three
neat-herds, three swineherds, that have made themselves all men
of hair; they call themselves Saltiers, and they have 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
SHEPHERD. Away! We'll none on't; here has been too much 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 danc'd
before the King; and not the worst of the three but jumps twelve
foot and a half by th' squier.
SHEPHERD. Leave your prating; since these good men are pleas'd, let
them come in; but quickly now.
SERVANT. Why, they stay at door, sir. Exit

Here a dance of twelve SATYRS

POLIXENES. [To SHEPHERD] O, father, you'll know more of that
[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 ransack'd
The pedlar's silken treasury and have pour'd it
To her acceptance: you have let him go
And nothing marted with him. If your lass
Interpretation should abuse and call this
Your lack of love or bounty, you were straited
For a reply, at least if you make a care
Of happy holding her.
FLORIZEL. Old sir, I know
She prizes not such trifles as these are.
The gifts she looks from me are pack'd and lock'd
Up in my heart, which I have given already,
But not deliver'd. O, hear me breathe my life
Before this ancient sir, whom, it should seem,
Hath sometime lov'd. I take thy hand- this hand,
As soft as dove's down and as white as it,
Or Ethiopian's tooth, or the fann'd snow that's bolted
By th' northern blasts twice o'er.
POLIXENES. What follows this?
How prettily the young swain seems to wash
The hand was fair before! I have put you out.
But to your protestation; let me hear
What you profess.
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 crown'd the most imperial monarch,
Thereof most worthy, were I the fairest youth
That ever made eye swerve, had force and knowledge
More than was ever man's, I would not prize them
Without her love; for her employ them all;
Commend them and condemn them to her service
Or to their own perdition.
POLIXENES. Fairly offer'd.
CAMILLO. 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.
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
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,
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
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,
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.
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
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.
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.
POLIXENES. [Discovering himself] Mark your divorce, young sir,
Whom son I dare not call; thou art too base
To be acknowledg'd- 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
Of excellent witchcraft, who of force must know
The royal fool thou cop'st with-
SHEPHERD. O, my heart!
POLIXENES. I'll have thy beauty scratch'd with briers and made
More homely than thy state. For thee, fond boy,
If I may ever know thou dost but sigh
That thou no more shalt see this knack- as never
I mean thou shalt- we'll bar thee from succession;
Not hold thee of our blood, no, not our kin,
Farre than Deucalion off. Mark thou my words.
Follow us to the court. Thou churl, for this time,
Though full of our displeasure, yet we free thee
From the dead blow of it. And you, enchantment,
Worthy enough a herdsman- yea, him too
That makes himself, but for our honour therein,
Unworthy thee- if ever henceforth thou
These rural latches to his entrance open,
Or hoop his body more with thy embraces,
I will devise a death as cruel for thee
As thou art tender to't. Exit
PERDITA. Even here undone!
I was not much afeard; for once or twice
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,
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,
You have undone a man of fourscore-three
That thought to fill his grave in quiet, yea,
To die upon the bed my father died,
To lie close by his honest bones; but now
Some hangman must put on my shroud and lay me
Where no priest shovels in dust. [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 liv'd
To die when I desire. Exit
FLORIZEL. Why look you so upon me?
I am but sorry, not afeard; delay'd,
But nothing alt'red. 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
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.
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
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 advis'd.
FLORIZEL. I am- and by my fancy; if my reason
Will thereto be obedient, I have reason;
If not, my senses, better pleas'd 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,
Not for Bohemia, nor the pomp that may
Be thereat glean'd, for all the sun sees or
The close earth wombs, or the profound seas hides
In unknown fathoms, will I break my oath
To this my fair belov'd. Therefore, I pray you,
As you have ever been my father's honour'd friend,
When he shall miss me- as, in faith, I mean not
To see him any more- cast your good counsels
Upon his passion. Let myself and Fortune
Tug for the time to come. This you may know,
And so deliver: I am put to sea
With her who here I cannot hold on shore.
And most opportune to her need I have
A vessel rides fast by, but not prepar'd
For this design. What course I mean to hold
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. [Takes her aside]
[To CAMILLO] I'll hear you by and by.
CAMILLO. He's irremovable,
Resolv'd for flight. Now were I happy if
His going I could frame to serve my turn,
Save him from danger, do him love and honour,
Purchase the sight again of dear Sicilia
And that unhappy king, my master, whom
I so much thirst to see.
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 deserv'd. It is my father's music
To speak your deeds; not little of his care
To have them recompens'd 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.
If your more ponderous and settled project
May suffer alteration, on mine honour,
I'll point you where you shall have such receiving
As shall become your Highness; where you may
Enjoy your mistress, from the whom, I see,
There's no disjunction to be made but by,
As heavens 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.
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
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,
And there present yourself and your fair princess-
For so, I see, she must be- fore Leontes.
She shall be habited as it becomes
The partner of your bed. Methinks I see
Leontes opening his free arms and weeping
His welcomes forth; asks thee there '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' one
He chides to hell, and bids the other grow
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
What you as from your father shall deliver,
Things known betwixt us three, I'll write you down;
The which shall point you forth at every sitting
What you must say, that he shall not perceive
But that you have your father's bosom there
And speak his very heart.
FLORIZEL. I am bound to you.
There is some sap in this.
CAMILLO. A course more promising
Than a wild dedication of yourselves
To unpath'd waters, undream'd shores, most certain
To miseries enough; no hope to help you,
But as you shake off one to take another;
Nothing so certain as your anchors, who
Do their best office if they can but stay you
Where you'll be loath to be. Besides, you know
Prosperity's the very bond of love,
Whose fresh complexion and whose heart together
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
Be born another such.
FLORIZEL. My good Camillo,
She is as forward of her breeding as
She is i' th' rear o' our birth.
CAMILLO. I cannot say 'tis pity
She lacks instructions, for she seems a mistress
To most that teach.
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 furnish'd like Bohemia's son;
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,
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, 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 rememb'red. My
clown, who wants but something to be a reasonable man, grew so in
love with the wenches' song that he would not stir his pettitoes
till he had both tune and words, which so drew the rest of the
herd to me that all their other senses stuck in ears. You might
have pinch'd a placket, it was senseless; 'twas nothing to geld a
codpiece of a purse; I would have fil'd 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 pick'd and
cut most of their festival purses; and had not the old man come
in with whoobub against his daughter and the King's son and
scar'd my choughs from the chaff, I had not left a purse alive in
the whole army.


CAMILLO. Nay, but my letters, by this means being there
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. [seeing AUTOLYCUS] Who have we here?
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?
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- 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
CAMILLO. Nay, prithee dispatch. The gentleman is half flay'd
AUTOLYCUS. Are you in camest, sir? [Aside] I smell the trick
FLORIZEL. Dispatch, I prithee.
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
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
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.
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. [They converse apart]
CAMILLO. [Aside] What I do next shall be to tell the King
Of this escape, and whither they are bound;
Wherein my hope is I shall so prevail
To force him after; in whose company
I shall re-view Sicilia, for whose sight
I have a woman's longing.
FLORIZEL. Fortune speed us!
Thus we set on, Camillo, to th' sea-side.
CAMILLO. The swifter speed the better.
AUTOLYCUS. I understand the business, I hear it. To have an open
ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand, is necessary for a
cut-purse; a good nose is requisite also, to smell out work for
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 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 the more
knavery to conceal it; and therein am I constant to my


Aside, aside- here is more matter for a hot brain. Every lane's
end, every shop, church, session, hanging, yields a careful man
CLOWN. See, see; what a man you are now! There is no other way but
to tell the King she's a changeling and none of your flesh and
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 and blood
has not offended the King; and so your flesh and blood is not to
be punish'd 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 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 could have
been to him; and then your blood had been the dearer by I know
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.
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 excrement.
[Takes off his false beard] How now, rustics! Whither are you
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, your 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 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, 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 court? Receives not thy nose court-odour
from me? Reflect I not on thy baseness court-contempt? Think'st
thou, for that I insinuate, that toaze from thee thy business, I
am therefore no courtier? I am courtier cap-a-pe, and one that
will either push on or pluck back thy business there; whereupon I
command the 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.
CLOWN. Advocate's the court-word for a pheasant; say you have none.
SHEPHERD. None, sir; I have no pheasant, cock nor hen.
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 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? Wherefore that
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. Age, thou hast lost thy labour.
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 must know the King is full of
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, 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
remov'd 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 ston'd; but that
death is too soft for him, say I. Draw our throne into a
sheep-cote!- all deaths are too few, the sharpest too easy.
CLOWN. Has the old man e'er a son, sir, do you hear, an't like you,
AUTOLYCUS. He has a son- who shall be flay'd 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 recover'd 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 these traitorly rascals, whose miseries are to be
smil'd 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 consider'd, I'll bring you where he is aboard,
tender your persons to his presence, whisper him in your behalfs;
and if it be in man besides the King to effect your suits, here
is man shall do it.
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 purse to the
outside of his hand, and no more ado. Remember- ston'd and flay'd
SHEPHERD. An't please you, sir, to undertake the business for us,
here is that gold I have. I'll make it as much more, and leave
this young man in pawn till I bring it you.
AUTOLYCUS. After I have done what I promised?
SHEPHERD. Ay, sir.
AUTOLYCUS. Well, give me the moiety. Are you a party in this
CLOWN. In some sort, sir; but though my case be a pitiful one, I
hope I shall not be flay'd 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 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, and follow you.
CLOWN. We are blest in this man, as I may say, even blest.
SHEPHERD. Let's before, as he bids us. He was provided to do us
good. 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, 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. Exit


Sicilia. The palace of LEONTES


CLEOMENES. Sir, you have done enough, and have perform'd
A saint-like sorrow. No fault could you make
Which you have not redeem'd; indeed, paid down
More penitence than done trespass. At the last,
Do as the heavens have done: forget your evil;
With them forgive yourself.
LEONTES. Whilst I remember
Her and her virtues, I cannot forget
My blemishes in them, and so still think of
The wrong I did myself; which was so much
That heirless it hath made my kingdom, and
Destroy'd the sweet'st companion that e'er man
Bred his hopes out of.
PAULINA. True, too true, my lord.
If, one by one, you wedded all the world,
Or from the all that are took something good
To make a perfect woman, she you kill'd
Would be unparallel'd.
LEONTES. I think so. Kill'd!
She I kill'd! I did so; but thou strik'st me
Sorely, to say I did. It is as bitter
Upon thy tongue as in my thought. Now, good now,
Say so but seldom.
CLEOMENES. Not at all, good lady.
You might have spoken a thousand things that would
Have done the time more benefit, and grac'd
Your kindness better.
PAULINA. You are one of those
Would have him wed again.
DION. If you would not so,
You pity not the state, nor the remembrance
Of his most sovereign name; consider little
What dangers, by his Highness' fail of issue,
May drop upon his kingdom and devour
Incertain lookers-on. What were more holy
Than to rejoice the former queen is well?
What holier than, for royalty's repair,
For present comfort, and for future good,
To bless the bed of majesty again
With a sweet fellow to't?
PAULINA. There is none worthy,
Respecting her that's gone. Besides, the gods
Will have fulfill'd their secret purposes;
For has not the divine Apollo said,
Is't not the tenour of his oracle,
That King Leontes shall not have an heir
Till his lost child be found? Which that it shall,
Is all as monstrous to our human reason
As my Antigonus to break his grave
And come again to me; who, on my life,
Did perish with the infant. 'Tis your counsel
My lord should to the heavens be contrary,
Oppose against their wills. [To LEONTES] Care not for issue;
The crown will find an heir. Great Alexander
Left his to th' worthiest; so his successor
Was like to be the best.
LEONTES. Good Paulina,
Who hast the memory of Hermione,
I know, in honour, O that ever I
Had squar'd me to thy counsel! Then, even now,
I might have look'd upon my queen's full eyes,
Have taken treasure from her lips-
PAULINA. And left them
More rich for what they yielded.
LEONTES. Thou speak'st truth.
No more such wives; therefore, no wife. One worse,
And better us'd, would make her sainted spirit
Again possess her corpse, and on this stage,
Where we offend her now, appear soul-vex'd,
And begin 'Why to me'-
PAULINA. Had she such power,
She had just cause.
LEONTES. She had; and would incense me
To murder her I married.
PAULINA. I should so.
Were I the ghost that walk'd, I'd bid you mark
Her eye, and tell me for what dull part in't
You chose her; then I'd shriek, that even your ears
Should rift to hear me; and the words that follow'd
Should be 'Remember mine.'
LEONTES. Stars, stars,
And all eyes else dead coals! Fear thou no wife;
I'll have no wife, Paulina.
PAULINA. Will you swear
Never to marry but by my free leave?
LEONTES. Never, Paulina; so be blest my spirit!
PAULINA. Then, good my lords, bear witness to his oath.
CLEOMENES. You tempt him over-much.
PAULINA. Unless another,
As like Hermione as is her picture,
Affront his eye.
CLEOMENES. Good madam-
PAULINA. I have done.
Yet, if my lord will marry- if you will, sir,
No remedy but you will- give me the office
To choose you a queen. She shall not be so young
As was your former; but she shall be such
As, walk'd your first queen's ghost, it should take joy
To see her in your arms.
LEONTES. My true Paulina,
We shall not marry till thou bid'st us.
Shall be when your first queen's again in breath;
Never till then.


GENTLEMAN. One that gives out himself Prince Florizel,
Son of Polixenes, with his princess- she
The fairest I have yet beheld- desires access
To your high presence.
LEONTES. What with him? He comes not
Like to his father's greatness. His approach,
So out of circumstance and sudden, tells us
'Tis not a visitation fram'd, but forc'd
By need and accident. What train?
And those but mean.
LEONTES. His princess, say you, with him?
GENTLEMAN. Ay; the most peerless piece of earth, I think,
That e'er the sun shone bright on.
PAULINA. O Hermione,
As every present time doth boast itself
Above a better gone, so must thy grave
Give way to what's seen now! Sir, you yourself
Have said and writ so, but your writing now
Is colder than that theme: 'She had not been,
Nor was not to be equall'd.' Thus your verse
Flow'd with her beauty once; 'tis shrewdly ebb'd,
To say you have seen a better.
GENTLEMAN. Pardon, madam.
The one I have almost forgot- your pardon;
The other, when she has obtain'd your eye,
Will have your tongue too. This is a creature,
Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal
Of all professors else, make proselytes
Of who she but bid follow.
PAULINA. How! not women?
GENTLEMAN. Women will love her that she is a woman
More worth than any man; men, that she is
The rarest of all women.
LEONTES. Go, Cleomenes;
Yourself, assisted with your honour'd friends,
Bring them to our embracement. Exeunt
Still, 'tis strange
He thus should steal upon us.
PAULINA. Had our prince,
Jewel of children, seen this hour, he had pair'd
Well with this lord; there was not full a month
Between their births.
LEONTES. Prithee no more; cease. Thou know'st
He dies to me again when talk'd of. Sure,
When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches
Will bring me to consider that which may
Unfurnish me of reason.


They are come.
Your mother was most true to wedlock, Prince;
For she did print your royal father off,
Conceiving you. Were I but twenty-one,
Your father's image is so hit in you
His very air, that I should call you brother,
As I did him, and speak of something wildly
By us perform'd before. Most dearly welcome!
And your fair princess- goddess! O, alas!
I lost a couple that 'twixt heaven and earth
Might thus have stood begetting wonder as
You, gracious couple, do. And then I lost-
All mine own folly- the society,
Amity too, of your brave father, whom,
Though bearing misery, I desire my life
Once more to look on him.
FLORIZEL. By his command
Have I here touch'd Sicilia, and from him
Give you all greetings that a king, at friend,
Can send his brother; and, but infirmity,
Which waits upon worn times, hath something seiz'd
His wish'd ability, he had himself
The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his
Measur'd, to look upon you; whom he loves,
He bade me say so, more than all the sceptres
And those that bear them living.
LEONTES. O my brother-
Good gentleman!- the wrongs I have done thee stir
Afresh within me; and these thy offices,
So rarely kind, are as interpreters
Of my behind-hand slackness! Welcome hither,
As is the spring to th' earth. And hath he too
Expos'd this paragon to th' fearful usage,
At least ungentle, of the dreadful Neptune,
To greet a man not worth her pains, much less
Th' adventure of her person?
FLORIZEL. Good, my lord,
She came from Libya.
LEONTES. Where the warlike Smalus,
That noble honour'd lord, is fear'd and lov'd?
FLORIZEL. Most royal sir, from thence; from him whose daughter
His tears proclaim'd his, parting with her; thence,
A prosperous south-wind friendly, we have cross'd,
To execute the charge my father gave me
For visiting your Highness. My best train
I have from your Sicilian shores dismiss'd;
Who for Bohemia bend, to signify
Not only my success in Libya, sir,
But my arrival and my wife's in safety
Here where we are.
LEONTES. The blessed gods
Purge all infection from our air whilst you
Do climate here! You have a holy father,
A graceful gentleman, against whose person,
So sacred as it is, I have done sin,
For which the heavens, taking angry note,
Have left me issueless; and your father's blest,
As he from heaven merits it, with you,
Worthy his goodness. What might I have been,
Might I a son and daughter now have look'd on,
Such goodly things as you!

Enter a LORD

LORD. Most noble sir,
That which I shall report will bear no credit,
Were not the proof so nigh. Please you, great sir,
Bohemia greets you from himself by me;
Desires you to attach his son, who has-
His dignity and duty both cast off-
Fled from his father, from his hopes, and with
A shepherd's daughter.
LEONTES. Where's Bohemia? Speak.
LORD. Here in your city; I now came from him.
I speak amazedly; and it becomes
My marvel and my message. To your court
Whiles he was hast'ning- in the chase, it seems,
Of this fair couple- meets he on the way
The father of this seeming lady and
Her brother, having both their country quitted
With this young prince.
FLORIZEL. Camillo has betray'd me;
Whose honour and whose honesty till now
Endur'd all weathers.
LORD. Lay't so to his charge;
He's with the King your father.
LEONTES. Who? Camillo?
LORD. Camillo, sir; I spake with him; who now
Has these poor men in question. Never saw I
Wretches so quake. They kneel, they kiss the earth;
Forswear themselves as often as they speak.
Bohemia stops his ears, and threatens them
With divers deaths in death.
PERDITA. O my poor father!
The heaven sets spies upon us, will not have
Our contract celebrated.
LEONTES. You are married?
FLORIZEL. We are not, sir, nor are we like to be;
The stars, I see, will kiss the valleys first.
The odds for high and low's alike.
LEONTES. My lord,
Is this the daughter of a king?
When once she is my wife.
LEONTES. That 'once,' I see by your good father's speed,
Will come on very slowly. I am sorry,
Most sorry, you have broken from his liking
Where you were tied in duty; and as sorry
Your choice is not so rich in worth as beauty,
That you might well enjoy her.
FLORIZEL. Dear, look up.
Though Fortune, visible an enemy,
Should chase us with my father, pow'r no jot
Hath she to change our loves. Beseech you, sir,
Remember since you ow'd no more to time
Than I do now. With thought of such affections,
Step forth mine advocate; at your request
My father will grant precious things as trifles.
LEONTES. Would he do so, I'd beg your precious mistress,
Which he counts but a trifle.
PAULINA. Sir, my liege,
Your eye hath too much youth in't. Not a month
Fore your queen died, she was more worth such gazes
Than what you look on now.
LEONTES. I thought of her
Even in these looks I made. [To FLORIZEL] But your petition
Is yet unanswer'd. I will to your father.
Your honour not o'erthrown by your desires,
I am friend to them and you. Upon which errand
I now go toward him; therefore, follow me,
And mark what way I make. Come, good my lord. Exeunt

Sicilia. Before the palace of LEONTES


AUTOLYCUS. Beseech you, sir, were you present at this relation?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. I was by at the opening of the fardel, heard the
old shepherd deliver the manner how he found it; whereupon, after
a little amazedness, we were all commanded out of the chamber;
only this, methought I heard the shepherd say he found the child.
AUTOLYCUS. I would most gladly know the issue of it.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. I make a broken delivery of the business; but the
changes I perceived in the King and Camillo were very notes of
admiration. They seem'd almost, with staring on one another, to
tear the cases of their eyes; there was speech in their dumbness,
language in their very gesture; they look'd as they had heard of
a world ransom'd, or one destroyed. A notable passion of wonder
appeared in them; but the wisest beholder that knew no more but
seeing could not say if th' importance were joy or sorrow- but in
the extremity of the one it must needs be.

Enter another GENTLEMAN

Here comes a gentleman that happily knows more. The news, Rogero?
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Nothing but bonfires. The oracle is fulfill'd:
the King's daughter is found. Such a deal of wonder is broken out
within this hour that ballad-makers cannot be able to express it.

Enter another GENTLEMAN

Here comes the Lady Paulina's steward; he can deliver you more.
How goes it now, sir? This news, which is call'd true, is so like
an old tale that the verity of it is in strong suspicion. Has the
King found his heir?
THIRD GENTLEMAN. Most true, if ever truth were pregnant by
circumstance. That which you hear you'll swear you see, there is
such unity in the proofs. The mantle of Queen Hermione's; her
jewel about the neck of it; the letters of Antigonus found with
it, which they know to be his character; the majesty of the
creature in resemblance of the mother; the affection of nobleness
which nature shows above her breeding; and many other evidences-
proclaim her with all certainty to be the King's daughter. Did
you see the meeting of the two kings?
THIRD GENTLEMAN. Then you have lost a sight which was to be seen,
cannot be spoken of. There might you have beheld one joy crown
another, so and in such manner that it seem'd sorrow wept to take
leave of them; for their joy waded in tears. There was casting up
of eyes, holding up of hands, with countenance of such
distraction that they were to be known by garment, not by favour.
Our king, being ready to leap out of himself for joy of his found
daughter, as if that joy were now become a loss, cries 'O, thy
mother, thy mother!' then asks Bohemia forgiveness; then embraces
his son-in-law; then again worries he his daughter with clipping
her. Now he thanks the old shepherd, which stands by like a
weather-bitten conduit of many kings' reigns. I never heard of
such another encounter, which lames report to follow it and
undoes description to do it.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. What, pray you, became of Antigonus, that carried
hence the child?
THIRD GENTLEMAN. Like an old tale still, which will have matter to
rehearse, though credit be asleep and not an ear open: he was
torn to pieces with a bear. This avouches the shepherd's son, who
has not only his innocence, which seems much, to justify him, but
a handkerchief and rings of his that Paulina knows.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. What became of his bark and his followers?
THIRD GENTLEMAN. Wreck'd the same instant of their master's death,
and in the view of the shepherd; so that all the instruments
which aided to expose the child were even then lost when it was
found. But, O, the noble combat that 'twixt joy and sorrow was
fought in Paulina! She had one eye declin'd for the loss of her
husband, another elevated that the oracle was fulfill'd. She
lifted the Princess from the earth, and so locks her in embracing
as if she would pin her to her heart, that she might no more be
in danger of losing.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. The dignity of this act was worth the audience of
kings and princes; for by such was it acted.
THIRD GENTLEMAN. One of the prettiest touches of all, and that
which angl'd for mine eyes- caught the water, though not the
fish- was, when at the relation of the Queen's death, with the
manner how she came to't bravely confess'd and lamented by the
King, how attentivenes wounded his daughter; till, from one sign
of dolour to another, she did with an 'Alas!'- I would fain say-
bleed tears; for I am sure my heart wept blood. Who was most
marble there changed colour; some swooned, all sorrowed. If all
the world could have seen't, the woe had been universal.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Are they returned to the court?
THIRD GENTLEMAN. No. The Princess hearing of her mother's statue,
which is in the keeping of Paulina- a piece many years in doing
and now newly perform'd by that rare Italian master, Julio
Romano, who, had he himself eternity and could put breath into
his work, would beguile nature of her custom, so perfectly he is
her ape. He so near to Hermione hath done Hermione that they say
one would speak to her and stand in hope of answer- thither with
all greediness of affection are they gone, and there they intend
to sup.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. I thought she had some great matter there in
hand; for she hath privately twice or thrice a day, ever since
the death of Hermione, visited that removed house. Shall we
thither, and with our company piece the rejoicing?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Who would be thence that has the benefit of
access? Every wink of an eye some new grace will be born. Our
absence makes us unthrifty to our knowledge. Let's along.
AUTOLYCUS. Now, had I not the dash of my former life in me, would
preferment drop on my head. I brought the old man and his son
aboard the Prince; told him I heard them talk of a fardel and I
know not what; but he at that time over-fond of the shepherd's
daughter- so he then took her to be- who began to be much
sea-sick, and himself little better, extremity of weather
continuing, this mystery remained undiscover'd. But 'tis all one
to me; for had I been the finder-out of this secret, it would not
have relish'd among my other discredits.


Here come those I have done good to against my will, and already
appearing in the blossoms of their fortune.
SHEPHERD. Come, boy; I am past moe children, but thy sons and
daughters will be all gentlemen born.
CLOWN. You are well met, sir. You denied to fight with me this
other day, because I was no gentleman born. See you these
clothes? Say you see them not and think me still no gentleman
born. You were best say these robes are not gentlemen born. Give
me the lie, do; and try whether I am not now a gentleman born.
AUTOLYCUS. I know you are now, sir, a gentleman born.
CLOWN. Ay, and have been so any time these four hours.
SHEPHERD. And so have I, boy.
CLOWN. So you have; but I was a gentleman born before my father;
for the King's son took me by the hand and call'd me brother; and
then the two kings call'd my father brother; and then the Prince,
my brother, and the Princess, my sister, call'd my father father.
And so we wept; and there was the first gentleman-like tears that
ever we shed.
SHEPHERD. We may live, son, to shed many more.
CLOWN. Ay; or else 'twere hard luck, being in so preposterous
estate as we are.
AUTOLYCUS. I humbly beseech you, sir, to pardon me all the faults I
have committed to your worship, and to give me your good report
to the Prince my master.
SHEPHERD. Prithee, son, do; for we must be gentle, now we are
CLOWN. Thou wilt amend thy life?
AUTOLYCUS. Ay, an it like your good worship.
CLOWN. Give me thy hand. I will swear to the Prince thou art as
honest a true fellow as any is in Bohemia.
SHEPHERD. You may say it, but not swear it.
CLOWN. Not swear it, now I am a gentleman? Let boors and franklins
say it: I'll swear it.
SHEPHERD. How if it be false, son?
CLOWN. If it be ne'er so false, a true gentleman may swear it in
the behalf of his friend. And I'll swear to the Prince thou art a
tall fellow of thy hands and that thou wilt not be drunk; but I
know thou art no tall fellow of thy hands and that thou wilt be
drunk. But I'll swear it; and I would thou wouldst be a tall
fellow of thy hands.
AUTOLYCUS. I will prove so, sir, to my power.
CLOWN. Ay, by any means, prove a tall fellow. If I do not wonder
how thou dar'st venture to be drunk not being a tall fellow,
trust me not. Hark! the kings and the princes, our kindred, are
going to see the Queen's picture. Come, follow us; we'll be thy
good masters. Exeunt

Sicilia. A chapel in PAULINA's house


LEONTES. O grave and good Paulina, the great comfort
That I have had of thee!
PAULINA. What, sovereign sir,
I did not well, I meant well. All my services
You have paid home; but that you have vouchsaf'd,
With your crown'd brother and these your contracted
Heirs of your kingdoms, my poor house to visit,
It is a surplus of your grace, which never
My life may last to answer.
LEONTES. O Paulina,
We honour you with trouble; but we came
To see the statue of our queen. Your gallery
Have we pass'd through, not without much content
In many singularities; but we saw not
That which my daughter came to look upon,
The statue of her mother.
PAULINA. As she liv'd peerless,
So her dead likeness, I do well believe,
Excels whatever yet you look'd upon
Or hand of man hath done; therefore I keep it
Lonely, apart. But here it is. Prepare
To see the life as lively mock'd as ever
Still sleep mock'd death. Behold; and say 'tis well.
[PAULINA draws a curtain, and discovers HERMIONE
standing like a statue]
I like your silence; it the more shows off
Your wonder; but yet speak. First, you, my liege.
Comes it not something near?
LEONTES. Her natural posture!
Chide me, dear stone, that I may say indeed
Thou art Hermione; or rather, thou art she
In thy not chiding; for she was as tender
As infancy and grace. But yet, Paulina,
Hermione was not so much wrinkled, nothing
So aged as this seems.
POLIXENES. O, not by much!
PAULINA. So much the more our carver's excellence,
Which lets go by some sixteen years and makes her
As she liv'd now.
LEONTES. As now she might have done,
So much to my good comfort as it is
Now piercing to my soul. O, thus she stood,
Even with such life of majesty- warm life,
As now it coldly stands- when first I woo'd her!
I am asham'd. Does not the stone rebuke me
For being more stone than it? O royal piece,
There's magic in thy majesty, which has
My evils conjur'd to remembrance, and
From thy admiring daughter took the spirits,
Standing like stone with thee!
PERDITA. And give me leave,
And do not say 'tis superstition that
I kneel, and then implore her blessing. Lady,
Dear queen, that ended when I but began,
Give me that hand of yours to kiss.
PAULINA. O, patience!
The statue is but newly fix'd, the colour's
Not dry.
CAMILLO. My lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on,
Which sixteen winters cannot blow away,
So many summers dry. Scarce any joy
Did ever so long live; no sorrow
But kill'd itself much sooner.
POLIXENES. Dear my brother,
Let him that was the cause of this have pow'r
To take off so much grief from you as he
Will piece up in himself.
PAULINA. Indeed, my lord,
If I had thought the sight of my poor image
Would thus have wrought you- for the stone is mine-
I'd not have show'd it.
LEONTES. Do not draw the curtain.
PAULINA. No longer shall you gaze on't, lest your fancy
May think anon it moves.
LEONTES. Let be, let be.
Would I were dead, but that methinks already-
What was he that did make it? See, my lord,
Would you not deem it breath'd, and that those veins
Did verily bear blood?
POLIXENES. Masterly done!
The very life seems warm upon her lip.
LEONTES. The fixture of her eye has motion in't,
As we are mock'd with art.
PAULINA. I'll draw the curtain.
My lord's almost so far transported that
He'll think anon it lives.
LEONTES. O sweet Paulina,
Make me to think so twenty years together!
No settled senses of the world can match
The pleasure of that madness. Let 't alone.
PAULINA. I am sorry, sir, I have thus far stirr'd you; but
I could afflict you farther.
LEONTES. Do, Paulina;
For this affliction has a taste as sweet
As any cordial comfort. Still, methinks,
There is an air comes from her. What fine chisel
Could ever yet cut breath? Let no man mock me,
For I will kiss her.
PAULINA. Good my lord, forbear.
The ruddiness upon her lip is wet;
You'll mar it if you kiss it; stain your own
With oily painting. Shall I draw the curtain?
LEONTES. No, not these twenty years.
PERDITA. So long could I
Stand by, a looker-on.
PAULINA. Either forbear,
Quit presently the chapel, or resolve you
For more amazement. If you can behold it,
I'll make the statue move indeed, descend,
And take you by the hand, but then you'll think-
Which I protest against- I am assisted
By wicked powers.
LEONTES. What you can make her do
I am content to look on; what to speak
I am content to hear; for 'tis as easy
To make her speak as move.
PAULINA. It is requir'd
You do awake your faith. Then all stand still;
Or those that think it is unlawful business
I am about, let them depart.
LEONTES. Proceed.
No foot shall stir.
PAULINA. Music, awake her: strike. [Music]
'Tis time; descend; be stone no more; approach;
Strike all that look upon with marvel. Come;
I'll fill your grave up. Stir; nay, come away.
Bequeath to death your numbness, for from him
Dear life redeems you. You perceive she stirs.
[HERMIONE comes down from the pedestal]
Start not; her actions shall be holy as
You hear my spell is lawful. Do not shun her
Until you see her die again; for then
You kill her double. Nay, present your hand.
When she was young you woo'd her; now in age
Is she become the suitor?
LEONTES. O, she's warm!
If this be magic, let it be an art
Lawful as eating.
POLIXENES. She embraces him.
CAMILLO. She hangs about his neck.
If she pertain to life, let her speak too.
POLIXENES. Ay, and make it manifest where she has liv'd,
Or how stol'n from the dead.
PAULINA. That she is living,
Were it but told you, should be hooted at
Like an old tale; but it appears she lives
Though yet she speak not. Mark a little while.
Please you to interpose, fair madam. Kneel,
And pray your mother's blessing. Turn, good lady;
Our Perdita is found.
HERMIONE. You gods, look down,
And from your sacred vials pour your graces
Upon my daughter's head! Tell me, mine own,
Where hast thou been preserv'd? Where liv'd? How found
Thy father's court? For thou shalt hear that I,
Knowing by Paulina that the oracle
Gave hope thou wast in being, have preserv'd
Myself to see the issue.
PAULINA. There's time enough for that,
Lest they desire upon this push to trouble
Your joys with like relation. Go together,
You precious winners all; your exultation
Partake to every one. I, an old turtle,
Will wing me to some wither'd bough, and there
My mate, that's never to be found again,
Lament till I am lost.
LEONTES. O peace, Paulina!
Thou shouldst a husband take by my consent,
As I by thine a wife. This is a match,
And made between's by vows. Thou hast found mine;
But how, is to be question'd; for I saw her,
As I thought, dead; and have, in vain, said many
A prayer upon her grave. I'll not seek far-
For him, I partly know his mind- to find thee
An honourable husband. Come, Camillo,
And take her by the hand whose worth and honesty
Is richly noted, and here justified
By us, a pair of kings. Let's from this place.
What! look upon my brother. Both your pardons,
That e'er I put between your holy looks
My ill suspicion. This your son-in-law,
And son unto the King, whom heavens directing,
Is troth-plight to your daughter. Good Paulina,
Lead us from hence where we may leisurely
Each one demand and answer to his part
Perform'd in this wide gap of time since first
We were dissever'd. Hastily lead away. Exeunt





by William Shakespeare

From off a hill whose concave womb reworded
A plaintful story from a sist'ring vale,
My spirits t'attend this double voice accorded,
And down I laid to list the sad-tuned tale,
Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale,
Tearing of papers, breaking rings atwain,
Storming her world with sorrow's wind and rain.

Upon her head a platted hive of straw,
Which fortified her visage from the sun,
Whereon the thought might think sometime it saw
The carcase of a beauty spent and done.
Time had not scythed all that youth begun,
Nor youth all quit, but spite of heaven's fell rage
Some beauty peeped through lattice of seared age.

Oft did she heave her napkin to her eyne,
Which on it had conceited characters,
Laund'ring the silken figures in the brine
That seasoned woe had pelleted in tears,
And often reading what contents it bears;
As often shrieking undistinguished woe,
In clamours of all size, both high and low.

Sometimes her levelled eyes their carriage ride,
As they did batt'ry to the spheres intend;
Sometime diverted their poor balls are tied
To th' orbed earth; sometimes they do extend
Their view right on; anon their gazes lend
To every place at once, and nowhere fixed,
The mind and sight distractedly commixed.

Her hair, nor loose nor tied in formal plat,
Proclaimed in her a careless hand of pride;
For some, untucked, descended her sheaved hat,
Hanging her pale and pined cheek beside;
Some in her threaden fillet still did bide,
And, true to bondage, would not break from thence,
Though slackly braided in loose negligence.

A thousand favours from a maund she drew
Of amber, crystal, and of beaded jet,
Which one by one she in a river threw,
Upon whose weeping margent she was set;
Like usury applying wet to wet,
Or monarchs' hands that lets not bounty fall
Where want cries some, but where excess begs all.

Of folded schedules had she many a one,
Which she perused, sighed, tore, and gave the flood;
Cracked many a ring of posied gold and bone,
Bidding them find their sepulchres in mud;
Found yet moe letters sadly penned in blood,
With sleided silk feat and affectedly
Enswathed and sealed to curious secrecy.

These often bathed she in her fluxive eyes,
And often kissed, and often 'gan to tear;
Cried, 'O false blood, thou register of lies,
What unapproved witness dost thou bear!
Ink would have seemed more black and damned here!
This said, in top of rage the lines she rents,
Big discontents so breaking their contents.

A reverend man that grazed his cattle nigh,
Sometime a blusterer that the ruffle knew
Of court, of city, and had let go by
The swiftest hours observed as they flew,
Towards this afflicted fancy fastly drew;
And, privileged by age, desires to know
In brief the grounds and motives of her woe.

So slides he down upon his grained bat,
And comely distant sits he by her side;
When he again desires her, being sat,
Her grievance with his hearing to divide.
If that from him there may be aught applied
Which may her suffering ecstasy assuage,
'Tis promised in the charity of age.

'Father,' she says, 'though in me you behold
The injury of many a blasting hour,
Let it not tell your judgement I am old:
Not age, but sorrow, over me hath power.
I might as yet have been a spreading flower,
Fresh to myself, if I had self-applied
Love to myself, and to no love beside.

'But woe is me! too early I attended
A youthful suit- it was to gain my grace-
O, one by nature's outwards so commended
That maidens' eyes stuck over all his face.
Love lacked a dwelling and made him her place;
And when in his fair parts she did abide,
She was new lodged and newly deified.

'His browny locks did hang in crooked curls;
And every light occasion of the wind
Upon his lips their silken parcels hurls.
What's sweet to do, to do will aptly find:
Each eye that saw him did enchant the mind;
For on his visage was in little drawn
What largeness thinks in Paradise was sawn.

'Small show of man was yet upon his chin;
His phoenix down began but to appear,
Like unshorn velvet, on that termless skin,
Whose bare out-bragged the web it seemed to wear:
Yet showed his visage by that cost more dear;
And nice affections wavering stood in doubt
If best were as it was, or best without.

'His qualities were beauteous as his form,
For maiden-tongued he was, and thereof free;
Yet if men moved him, was he such a storm
As oft 'twixt May and April is to see,
When winds breathe sweet, unruly though they be.
His rudeness so with his authorized youth
Did livery falseness in a pride of truth.

'Well could he ride, and often men would say,
"That horse his mettle from his rider takes:
Proud of subjection, noble by the sway,
What rounds, what bounds, what course, what stop he makes!"
And controversy hence a question takes
Whether the horse by him became his deed,
Or he his manage by th' well-doing steed.

'But quickly on this side the verdict went:
His real habitude gave life and grace
To appertainings and to ornament,
Accomplished in himself, not in his case,
All aids, themselves made fairer by their place,
Came for additions; yet their purposed trim
Pierced not his grace, but were all graced by him.

'So on the tip of his subduing tongue
All kind of arguments and question deep,
All replication prompt, and reason strong,
For his advantage still did wake and sleep.
To make the weeper laugh, the laugher weep,
He had the dialect and different skill,
Catching all passions in his craft of will,

'That he did in the general bosom reign
Of young, of old, and sexes both enchanted,
To dwell with him in thoughts, or to remain
In personal duty, following where he haunted.
Consents bewitched, ere he desire, have granted,
And dialogued for him what he would say,
Asked their own wills, and made their wills obey.

'Many there were that did his picture get,
To serve their eyes, and in it put their mind;
Like fools that in th' imagination set
The goodly objects which abroad they find
Of lands and mansions, theirs in thought assigned;
And labouring in moe pleasures to bestow them
Than the true gouty landlord which doth owe them.

'So many have, that never touched his hand,
Sweetly supposed them mistress of his heart.
My woeful self, that did in freedom stand,
And was my own fee-simple, not in part,
What with his art in youth, and youth in art,
Threw my affections in his charmed power
Reserved the stalk and gave him all my flower.

'Yet did I not, as some my equals did,
Demand of him, nor being desired yielded;
Finding myself in honour so forbid,
With safest distance I mine honour shielded.
Experience for me many bulwarks builded
Of proofs new-bleeding, which remained the foil
Of this false jewel, and his amorous spoil.

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