The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 4

page Act 4 Scene 4 Page 32

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Re-enter Clown and Shepherd
The YOKEL and the SHEPHERD reenter.
Aside, aside; here is more matter for a hot brain:
every lane’s end, every shop, church, session,
hanging, yields a careful man work.
Aha, here is more to do for a sharp mind. Every lane, every shop, church, meeting, or hanging gives a careful man an opportunity.

CLOWN

780See, see; what a man you are now!
There is no other way but to tell the king
she’s a changeling and none of your flesh and blood.

YOKEL

See, look at the situation you are in now! There’s no way out but to tell the king that she’s a

changeling

A child believed to have been secretly swapped for the parents’ real child by fairies.

changeling
and not your flesh and blood.

SHEPHERD

Nay, but hear me.

SHEPHERD

Perhaps, but listen to me.

CLOWN

Nay, but hear me.

YOKEL

No, listen to me.

SHEPHERD

785Go to, then.

SHEPHERD

Go on, then.

CLOWN

She being none of your flesh and blood, your flesh
and blood has not offended the king; and so your
flesh and blood is not to be punished by him. Show
those things you found about her, those secret
790things, all but what she has with her: this being
done, let the law go whistle: I warrant you.

YOKEL

Since she’s not actually related to you, your family hasn’t offended the king, and so he shouldn’t punish your family. Show him what secret things you’ve found with her, everything but what she has on her. Once that’s done, the law will have nothing on you, I guarantee you.

SHEPHERD

I will tell the king all, every word, yea, and his
son’s pranks too; who, I may say, is no honest man,
neither to his father nor to me, to go about to make
795me the king’s brother-in-law.

SHEPHERD

I’ll tell the king everything, yes, every word, and I’ll reveal his son’s pranks, too. I must say, his son isn’t an honest man to either his father or to me, trying to make me the king’s brother-in-law.

CLOWN

Indeed, brother-in-law was the farthest off you
could have been to him and then your blood had been
the dearer by I know how much an ounce.

YOKEL

Indeed, brother-in-law is the furthest you could be from him, and your blood would have been not at all more valuable.