The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 4

page Act 4 Scene 4 Page 37

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SHEPHERD

An’t please you, sir, to undertake the business for
900us, here is that gold I have: I’ll make it as much
more and leave this young man in pawn till I bring it you.

SHEPHERD

If it pleases you, sir, to take on this business for us, here is all the gold I have. I’ll pay you an equal amount more, and I’ll leave you this young man as a guarantee until I can bring the rest to you.

AUTOLYCUS

After I have done what I promised?

AUTOLYCUS

After I have done what I have promised?

SHEPHERD

Ay, sir.

SHEPHERD

Yes, sir.

AUTOLYCUS

Well, give me the moiety. Are you a party in this business?

AUTOLYCUS

Well then, give me the first half. Are you part of this deal?

CLOWN

905In some sort, sir: but though my case be a pitiful
one, I hope I shall not be flayed out of it.

YOKEL

In a way, sir. But even if my skin is pitiful, I hope I won’t be whipped out of it.

AUTOLYCUS

O, that’s the case of the shepherd’s son: hang him,
he’ll be made an example.

AUTOLYCUS

Oh no, that’s what will happen to the shepherd’s son. He’ll be hanged as an example.

CLOWN

Comfort, good comfort! We must to the king and show
910our strange sights: he must know ’tis none of your
daughter nor my sister; we are gone else. Sir, I
will give you as much as this old man does when the
business is performed, and remain, as he says, your
pawn till it be brought you.

YOKEL

(to the Shepherd) What a comfort! We must go to the king and show him our amazing proof. He must know that Perdita isn’t your daughter or my sister, or we’ll be dead. (to Autolycus) Sir, I will give you as much money as this old man does once the business is concluded, and until then, I’ll stay with you as a guarantee for payment.

AUTOLYCUS

915I will trust you. Walk before toward the sea-side;
go on the right hand: I will but look upon the
hedge and follow you.

AUTOLYCUS

I trust you. Walk straight ahead toward the sea. Go along the right hand side of the road. I just need to go to the bathroom and I’ll follow you.

CLOWN

We are blest in this man, as I may say, even blest.

YOKEL

We’re blessed to have this man with us, I say, blessed.

SHEPHERD

Let’s before as he bids us: he was provided to do us good.

SHEPHERD

Let’s go before he has to tell us again. He was put here to help us.
Exeunt SHEPHERD and CLOWN
The SHEPHERD and the YOKEL exit.

AUTOLYCUS

920If I had a mind to be honest, I see Fortune would
not suffer me: she drops booties in my mouth. I am
courted now with a double occasion, gold and a means
to do the prince my master good; which who knows how
that may turn back to my advancement? I will bring
925these two moles, these blind ones, aboard him: if he
think it fit to shore them again and that the
complaint they have to the king concerns him
nothing, let him call me rogue for being so far
officious; for I am proof against that title and
930what shame else belongs to’t. To him will I present
them: there may be matter in it.

AUTOLYCUS

Even if I wanted to be honest, I see Fate wouldn’t let me. She drops profits right in my pocket. I have two opportunities here: to get gold and to do something good for my master the prince—and who knows how that will help me in the future. I will bring these two gullible men aboard the ship with him. If he thinks their complaint to the king has nothing to do with him and wants to put them back on shore again, let him call me a rogue for being so interfering. I can’t be hurt by that name, or any shame attached to it. I’ll present them to him. There might be money in it.