...must disguise ourselves.
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 an edge,
For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.
The lark, that tirralirra 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 served Prince Florizell 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 named me Autolycus, who,
being, as I am, littered under Mercury, was likewise
a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. With die and
drab I purchased 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!
...the wool to?
If the springe hold, the cock’s
He lies down.
...o’ th’ sun.
writhing as if in pain
O, that ever I was
...name of me!
O, help me, help me! Pluck but off these
rags, and then death, death.
...have these off.
O sir, the loathsomeness of them offends
me more than the stripes I have received, which are
mighty ones and millions.
...a great matter.
I am robbed, sir, and beaten, my money
and apparel ta’en from me, and these detestable
things put upon me.
...or a footman?
A footman, sweet sir, a footman.
...me thy hand.
O, good sir, tenderly, O!
...Alas, poor soul.
O, good sir, softly, good sir. I fear, sir, my
shoulder blade is out.
...now? Canst stand?
stealing the Shepherd’s Son’s purse
dear sir, good sir, softly. You ha’ done me a charitable
...money for thee.
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.
...that robbed you?
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 whipped out of
...more but abide.
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 compassed 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.
...fairs, and bearbaitings.
Very true, sir: he, sir, he. That’s the rogue
that put me into this apparel.
...he’d have run.
I must confess to you, sir, I am no fighter. I
am false of heart that way, and that he knew, I
...do you now?
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 kinsman’s.
...on the way?
No, good-faced sir, no, sweet sir.
...for our sheep-shearing.
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 unrolled and my
name put in the book of virtue. Sings.
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.
...about to think.
Enter Autolycus, wearing a false beard, 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 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.
Buy, lads, or else your lasses cry.
...all my money?
And indeed, sir, there are cozeners abroad;
therefore it behooves men to be wary.
...lose nothing here.
I hope so, sir, for I have about me many
parcels of charge.
...they are true.
Here’s one to a very doleful tune, how a
usurer’s wife was brought to bed of twenty moneybags
at a burden, and how she longed to eat adders’
heads and toads carbonadoed.
...true, think you?
Very true, and but a month old.
...marrying a usurer!
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?
...other things anon.
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 turned into
a cold fish for she would not exchange flesh with
one that loved her. The ballad is very pitiful, and as
...too, think you?
Five justices’ hands at it, and witnesses
more than my pack will hold.
...by too. Another.
This is a merry ballad, but a very pretty
...some merry ones.
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.
...a month ago.
I can bear my part. You must know ’tis my
occupation. Have at it with you.
Get you hence, for I must go
Where it fits not you to know.
...thou dost ill.
... What, neither?
...choice.—Follow me, girls.
And you shall pay well for ’em. Song.
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 peddler.
Money’s a meddler
That doth utter all men’s ware-a.
...aside and talk.
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 remembered. My
clown, who wants but something to be a reasonable
man, grew so in love with the wenches’ song that he
would not stir his pettitoes till he had both tune and
words, which so drew the rest of the herd to me that
all their other senses stuck in ears. You 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
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.
...give us aid.
If they have overheard me now, why, hanging.
...intended to thee.
I am a poor fellow, sir.
...there’s some boot.
He hands Autolycus money.
I am a poor fellow, sir. Aside.
I know you
...half flayed already.
Are you in earnest, sir? Aside.
I smell the
trick on ’t.
...Dispatch, I prithee.
Indeed, I have had earnest, but I cannot
with conscience take it.
... Unbuckle, unbuckle.
Florizell and Autolycus exchange garments.
...come.—Farewell, my friend.
...speed the better.
I understand the business; I hear it. To have
an open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand is
necessary for a cutpurse; a good nose is requisite
also, to smell out 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 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.
...much an ounce.
Very wisely, puppies.
...scratch his beard.
I know not what impediment this
complaint may be to the flight of my master.
...be at’ palace.
Though I am not naturally honest,
I am so sometimes by chance. Let me pocket up my
peddler’s excrement. (He removes his false beard.)
How now, rustics, whither are you bound?
...like your Worship.
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!
...plain fellows, sir.
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.
...like you, sir?
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 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
or pluck back thy business there. Whereupon I
command thee to open thy affair.
...to the King.
What advocate hast thou to him?
...cock nor hen.
How blest are we that are not simple men!
Yet Nature might have made me as these are.
Therefore I will not disdain.
...on ’s teeth.
The fardel there. What’s i’ th’ fardel?
Wherefore that box?
...speech of him.
Age, thou hast lost thy labor.
... Why, sir?
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,
thou must know the King is full of grief.
...a shepherd’s daughter.
If that shepherd be not in handfast, let him
fly. The curses he shall have, the tortures he shall
feel, will break the back of man, the heart of
...you so, sir?
Not he alone shall suffer what wit can
make heavy and vengeance bitter; but those that are
germane to him, though removed fifty times, shall
all come under the hangman—which, though it be
great pity, yet it is necessary. An old sheep-whistling
rogue, a ram tender, to offer to have his daughter
come into grace! Some say he shall be stoned, but
that death is too soft for him, say I. Draw our throne
into a sheepcote? All deaths are too few, the sharpest
...like you, sir?
He 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
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,
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
in man besides the King to effect your suits, here is
man shall do it.
...bring it you.
After I have done what I promised?
... Ay, sir.
Well, give me the moiety. Shepherd hands him money.
Are you a party in this business?
...out of it.
O, that’s the case of the shepherd’s son!
Hang him, he’ll be made an example.
...be brought you.
I will trust you. Walk before toward the
seaside. Go on the right hand. I will but look upon
the hedge, and follow you.
...do us good.
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.
...good my lord.
Enter Autolycus and a Gentleman.
Beseech you, sir, were you present at this
...found the child.
I would most gladly know the issue of it.
...knowledge. Let’s along.
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, overfond of the
shepherd’s daughter—so he then took her to be—
who began to be much seasick, and himself little
better, extremity of weather continuing, this mystery
remained undiscovered. But ’tis all one to
me, for had I been the finder-out of this secret, it
would not have relished among my other
Enter Shepherd and Shepherd’s Son, both dressed in rich clothing.
Here come those I have done good to against my
will, and already appearing in the blossoms of their
...a gentleman born.
I know you are now, sir, a gentleman born.
...as we are.
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.
...amend thy life?
Ay, an it like your good Worship.
...of thy hands.
I will prove so, sir, to my power.
...thy good masters.