The Winter’s Tale
Act IV, Scene 3
Bohemia. A road near the shepherd’s cottage.
- Enter Autolycus singing.
Autolycus1 - 30
- 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 hey, the sweet birds, O how they sing!
- Doth set my pugging tooth an edge,
- For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.
- The lark, that tirra-lyra chaunts,
- 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 bouget,
- 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, as I am,
- litter’d under Mercury, was likewise a snapper-up of
- unconsider’d 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!
- Enter Clown.
Clown31 - 33
- Let me see: every ’leven wether tods, every tod yields pound
- and odd shilling; fifteen hundred shorn, what comes the wool
- If the springe hold, the cock’s mine.
Clown35 - 46
- I cannot do’t without compters. 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 horn-pipes.
- I must have saffron to color the warden pies; mace; dates,
- none—that’s out of my note; nut-megs, seven; a race or two
- of ginger, but that I may beg; four pounds of prunes, and as
- many of raisins o’ th’ sun.
- O that ever I was born!
- Groveling on the ground.
- I’ th’ name of me—
Autolycus49 - 50
- O, help me, help me! Pluck but off these rags; and then,
- death, death!
Clown51 - 52
- Alack, poor soul, thou hast need of more rags to lay on
- thee, rather than have these off.
Autolycus53 - 54
- O sir, the loathsomeness of them offend me more than the
- stripes I have receiv’d, which are mighty ones and millions.
Clown55 - 56
- Alas, poor man, a million of beating may come to a great
Autolycus57 - 58
- I am robb’d, sir, and beaten; my money and apparel ta’en
- from me, and these detestable things put upon me.
- What, by a horseman, or a footman?
- A footman, sweet sir, a footman.
Clown61 - 64
- 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.
- O good sir, tenderly, O!
- Alas, poor soul!
Autolycus67 - 68
- O good sir, softly, good sir! I fear, sir, my shoulder-blade
- is out.
- How now? Canst stand?
Autolycus70 - 71
- Softly, dear sir;
- Picking his pocket
- good sir, softly. You ha’ done me a charitable office.
- Dost lack any money? I have a little money for thee.
Autolycus73 - 76
- No, good sweet sir; no, I beseech you, sir. I have a kinsman
- not past three quarters of a mile hence, unto whom I was
- going. I shall there have money, or any thing I want, Offer
- me no money, I pray you, that kills my heart.
- What manner of fellow was he that robb’d you?
Autolycus78 - 81
- 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.
Clown82 - 84
- 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.
Autolycus85 - 90
- 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.
Clown91 - 92
- Out upon him! Prig, for my life, prig! He haunts wakes,
- fairs, and bear-baitings.
Autolycus93 - 94
- Very true, sir; he, sir, he. That’s the rogue that put me
- into this apparel.
Clown95 - 96
- Not a more cowardly rogue in all Bohemia. If you had but
- look’d big, and spit at him, he’ld have run.
Autolycus97 - 98
- I must confess to you, sir, I am no fighter. I am false of
- heart that way, and that he knew, I warrant him.
- How do you now?
Autolycus100 - 102
- 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
- Shall I bring thee on the way?
- No, good-fac’d sir, no, sweet sir.
Clown105 - 106
- Then fare thee well, I must go buy spices for our
Autolycus107 - 115
- Prosper you, sweet sir! Your purse is not hot enough to
- purchase your spice. I’ll be with you at your sheep-shearing
- too. If I make not this cheat 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 foot-path way,
- And merrily hent the stile-a;
- A merry heart goes all the day,
- Your sad tires in a mile-a.