The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 4

page Act 4 Scene 4 Page 31

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CAMILLO

Nay, you shall have no hat.

CAMILLO

No, you won’t have a hat.
Giving it to PERDITA
He gives it to Perdita.
750Come, lady, come. Farewell, my friend.
Come along, lady, come. Farewell, my friend.

AUTOLYCUS

Adieu, sir.

AUTOLYCUS

Goodbye, sir.

FLORIZEL

O Perdita, what have we twain forgot!
Pray you, a word.

FLORIZEL

Oh, Perdita, we’ve forgotten something now! Please, let’s have a word.

CAMILLO

[Aside] What I do next, shall be to tell the king
755Of this escape and whither they are bound;
Wherein my hope is I shall so prevail
To force him after: in whose company
I shall review Sicilia, for whose sight
I have a woman’s longing.

CAMILLO

(aside) Next I’ll tell the king that they’ve escaped and where they are going. Then I hope I can persuade him to follow after them, and in his company I’ll then return to Sicilia, which I’ve longed to see again.

FLORIZEL

760Fortune speed us!
Thus we set on, Camillo, to the sea-side.

FLORIZEL

May fortune speed us! So we set forth to sea, Camillo.

CAMILLO

The swifter speed the better.

CAMILLO

The faster the better.
Exeunt FLORIZEL, PERDITA, and CAMILLO
FLORIZEL, PERDITA, and CAMILLO exit.

AUTOLYCUS

I understand the business, I hear it: to have an
open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand, is
765necessary for a cut-purse; a good nose is requisite
also, to smell out work for the 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
770this year connive at us, and we may do any thing
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
775do’t: I hold it the more knavery to conceal it;
and therein am I constant to my profession.

AUTOLYCUS

I think I understand this matter and am hearing it right. It’s necessary for a thief to have an open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand. A good nose is needed, too, to find work for the other senses. I see that this is a time when the unfair man thrives. What an exchange this would have been even without payment! What a profit I got through this exchange! Surely the gods are indulging us, and we can do whatever we want on a whim. The prince himself is doing wrong, sneaking away from his father with his girlfriend. If I thought it were an honest deed to tell the king, I wouldn’t do it. I think it is more dishonest to conceal it, so I’ll remain true to my profession and say nothing.