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The Winter's Tale eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 81 pages of information about The Winter's Tale.

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 bless’d 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’ the fardel?  Wherefore that box?

Shepherd.  Sir, there lies such secrets in this fardel and box which none must know but the king; and which he shall know within this hour, if I may come to the speech of him.

Autolycus
Age, thou hast lost thy labour.

Shepherd
Why, sir?

Autolycus.  The king is not at the palace; he is gone aboard a new ship to purge melancholy and air himself:  for, if thou beest capable of things serious, thou must know the king is full of grief.

Shepherd
So ’tis said, sir,—­about his son, that should have married a
shepherd’s daughter.

Autolycus.  If that shepherd be not in 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 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 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, sir?

Autolycus.  He has a son,—­who shall be flayed alive; then ’nointed over with honey, set on the head of a wasp’s nest; then stand till he be three quarters and a dram dead; then 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 offences being so capital?  Tell me,—­for you seem to be honest plain men,—­what you have to the king:  being something gently considered, I’ll bring you where he is aboard, tender your persons to his presence, whisper him in your behalfs; and if it be in man besides the king to effect your suits, here is man shall do it.

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