The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 4

page Act 4 Scene 4 Page 28

Original Text

Modern Text

CAMILLO

I cannot say ’tis pity
She lacks instructions, for she seems a mistress
To most that teach.

CAMILLO

I can’t say it’s a pity she’s uneducated, because she seems more intelligent than those that teach.

PERDITA

Your pardon, sir; for this
665I’ll blush you thanks.

PERDITA

Pardon me, sir, I’ll thank you with my blushing.

FLORIZEL

My prettiest Perdita!
But O, the thorns we stand upon! Camillo,
Preserver of my father, now of me,
The medicine of our house, how shall we do?
670We are not furnish’d like Bohemia’s son,
Nor shall appear in Sicilia.

FLORIZEL

My pretty Perdita! But, oh, the danger we’re in! Camillo, you’ve rescued my father and now me. You heal our family. What will we do? I’m not dressed like the king’s son, and I certainly won’t look like royalty once we reach Sicilia.

CAMILLO

My lord,
Fear none of this: I think you know my fortunes
Do all lie there: it shall be so my care
675To have you royally appointed as if
The scene you play were mine. For instance, sir,
That you may know you shall not want, one word.

CAMILLO

My lord, don’t worry about it. I think you know that my fortune is still in Sicilia. I’ll make sure you are dressed as royally as if I were dressing you for a play I had written. Let me have a word with you, to reassure you that you won’t be left in need.
They talk aside
They talk off to the side.
Re-enter AUTOLYCUS
AUTOLYCUS reenters.

AUTOLYCUS

Ha, ha! what a fool Honesty is! and Trust, his
sworn brother, a very simple gentleman! I have sold
680all 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
685hallowed 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
690wenches’ 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
695purse; 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
700with a whoo-bub 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.

AUTOLYCUS

Ha ha! Honesty is such a fool, and Trust, his brother, is so naïve! I have sold all my goods—not a fake stone, or a ribbon, glass, brooch, book, ballad, knife, tape, glove, shoelace, bracelet, or ring made of horn remains in my pack. They crowded around me to see who could buy first, as if my trinkets were blessed and brought grace to the buyer. It let me know who had the fullest purse, and what I saw I remembered to put to use later. The yokel, who lacks just one quality to be a reasonable man, loved the girls’ song so much that he wouldn’t leave until he had bought both the tune and the words. And all the others were so entranced that it was as though all their other senses were committed to hearing. You could have stolen a skirt because no one could feel anything. It was easy to strip a purse from a

codpiece

Part of a man’s clothing attached to the front of his hose and covering his genitals.

codpiece
, and I could have used a file to take keys off a chain. There was no hearing or feeling anything except for that song, and admiration for it. So while they were spellbound I stole most of their purses, which were filled with money for the festival. If the old man hadn’t come in wailing about his daughter and the king’s son and scared my little birds from the feed, I would have taken purses from every one.