The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 4

page Act 4 Scene 4 Page 34

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SHEPHERD

Are you a courtier, an’t like you, sir?

SHEPHERD

Are you from the court, if you please, sir?

AUTOLYCUS

Whether it like me or no, I am a courtier. Seest
thou not the air of the court in these enfoldings?
hath not my gait in it the measure of the court?
825receives not thy nose court-odor from me? reflect I
not on thy baseness court-contempt? Thinkest thou,
for that I insinuate, or toaze from thee thy
business, I am therefore no courtier? I am courtier
cap-a-pe; and one that will either push on or pluck
830back thy business there: whereupon I command thee to
open thy affair.

AUTOLYCUS

I am from the court, whether it please me or not. Don’t you see an air of the court in my clothes? Don’t I walk as though I’m from the court? Don’t you smell the odor of the court on me? Don’t I treat your base rank with the contempt of the court? Do you think that because I subtly draw out your business from you, that I’m not from the court? I am a courtier from head to foot. And I’ll either push along or prevent your business there, so I command you to tell me what it’s about.

SHEPHERD

My business, sir, is to the king.

SHEPHERD

My business, sir, is with the king.

AUTOLYCUS

What advocate hast thou to him?

AUTOLYCUS

Do you have an advocate with him?

SHEPHERD

I know not, an’t like you.

SHEPHERD

I don’t know.

CLOWN

835Advocate’s the court-word for a pheasant: say you
have none.

YOKEL

SHEPHERD

None, sir; I have no pheasant, cock nor hen.

SHEPHERD

None, sir. I don’t have a pheasant, either a male or a female one.

AUTOLYCUS

How blessed are we that are not simple men!
Yet nature might have made me as these are,
840Therefore I will not disdain.

AUTOLYCUS

How blessed are we that are smart! Yet nature could have made me just like them, so I won’t treat them with contempt.

CLOWN

This cannot be but a great courtier.

YOKEL

He must be a great man at the court.

SHEPHERD

His garments are rich, but he wears
them not handsomely.

SHEPHERD

His garments look expensive, but he doesn’t wear them well.