The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 4 Scene 4
No Fear Act 4 Scene 4 Page 16

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Is it not too far gone? ’Tis time to part them.
370He’s simple and tells much.
Hasn’t it gone too far? It’s time to separate them.
He’s naïve and tells them too much.
How now, fair shepherd!
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
375To 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
380Your lack of love or bounty, you were straited
For a reply, at least if you make a care
Of happy holding her.
Come now, handsome shepherd!
There is something in your heart that is keeping your mind from enjoying the feast. When I was young and enjoyed love the way you do, I tended to give my girl lots of gifts. I would have ransacked the peddler’s silks and treasures and given her them for her approval. You’ve let him go without buying a thing. If your lass interprets this as a lack of love or a lack of money, you’ll have a hard time explaining it, at least if you want her to stay with you.


Old sir, I know
She prizes not such trifles as these are:
385The 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, who, it should seem,
Hath sometime loved! I take thy hand, this hand,
390As soft as dove’s down and as white as it,
Or Ethiopian’s tooth, or the fann’d
snow that’s bolted
By the northern blasts twice o’er.


Old sir, I know she doesn’t care for such trifles as these. The gifts she wants from me are from my heart, and they are hers already, though I haven’t delivered them yet. (to Perdita) Oh, listen to me telling my private thoughts to this old man, who it seems has been in love on occasion! I take your hand, as soft and as white as a dove’s downy feather, or the snow that is blown about by the wind.