The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 4

page Act 4 Scene 4 Page 9

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POLIXENES

She dances featly.

POLIXENES

She dances well.

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
210Which he not dreams of.

SHEPHERD

She does everything well. I’ll tell you something I shouldn’t: if young Doricles does marry her, she’ll bring him greater fortune than he guesses.
Enter Servant
A servant enters.

SERVANT

O master, if you did but hear the pedlar at the
door, you would never dance again after a tabour and
pipe; no, the bagpipe could not move you: he sings
several tunes faster than you’ll tell money; he
215utters them as he had eaten ballads and all men’s
ears grew to his tunes.

SERVANT

Oh, master, if you had heard the peddler at the door, you’d never again dance to a tambourine and a pipe, and a bagpipe wouldn’t tempt you. He sings several songs faster than you can count money. He sings them as readily as if he had digested them completely, and all men can’t help but listen.

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
220indeed and sung lamentably.

YOKEL

He couldn’t have come at a better time. Let him in. I love a ballad almost too much, especially a sad subject set to a happy tune, or a pleasant subject sung mournfully.

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
225burthens of dildos and fadings, ‘jump her and thump
her;’ and where some stretch-mouthed 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
230‘Whoop, do me no harm, good man.’

SERVANT

He has songs for all men and women. He fits them to his customers closer than gloves. He has pretty love songs for the maid, without any lewdness, which is unusual, and with

delicate refrains full of dildos and orgasms

The servant apparently doesn’t understand that the songs are, in fact, full of sexual puns.

delicate refrains full of dildos and orgasms
, like “jump her and thump her.” And if an obscene rascal would try to make mischief and interrupt the song, the peddler makes the maid answer, “Hey, do me no harm, good man,” and puts him off that way.