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The Winter's Tale

Act IV, Scene 3

A road near the Shepherd's cottage.
[Enter AUTOLYCUS singing]
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      When daf|fodils | begin | to peer,
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      With hey | the dox|y ov|er the dale,
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      Why then | comes^in | the sweet | of the year,
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      For the red | blood^reigns | in the wint|er's pale.
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      The white sheet bleach|ing on | the hedge,
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      With hey the sweet birds, O how they sing:
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      Doth set my pugging tooth on edge,
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      For a quart | of ale | is a dish | for a king.
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      The lark,| that tir|ra-ly|ra chants,
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      With | hey,| the thrush | and the jay:
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      Are sum|mer songs | for me | and my aunts
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      While we | lie tumb|ling in | the hay.
I have served Prince Florizel, and in my time wore three pile, but now I am out of service.
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      But shall | I go mourn | for that |(my dear)
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        the pale moon shines | by night:|
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      And when | I wand|er here | and there
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        I then | do most | go right.|
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      If tink|ers may | have leave | to live,
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        and bear | the sow-skin budget,|
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      Then my | account | I well | may give,
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        and in | the stocks | avouch | it.
My traffic is sheets: when the kite builds, look to lesser linen. My father named me Autolycus, who being (as I am) littered under Mercury, was likewise a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles: With die and drab, I purchased this caparison, and my revenue is the silly cheat. Gallows, and knock, are too powerful on the highway. beating and hanging are terrors to me: for the life to come, I sleep out the thought of it. A prize, a prize.
Let me see, every 'leven wether tods, every tod yields pound and odd shilling: fifteen hundred shorn, what comes the wool to?
If the springe hold, the cock's mine.
I cannot do it without counters. Let me see, what am I to buy for our sheep-shearing feast? Three pound of sugar, five pound of currants, rice: what will this sister of mine do with rice? But my father hath made her mistress of the feast, and she lays it on. She hath made me four and twenty nosegays for the shearers (three-man-song-men, all, and very good ones) but they are most of them means and bases; but one puritan amongst them, and he sings psalms to horn-pipes. I must have saffron to color the warden pies, mace: dates, none: that's out of my note: nutmegs, seven; a race or two of ginger, but that I may beg: four pound of prunes, and as many of raisins of the sun.
Oh, that ever I was born.
In the name of me.
Oh help me, help me: pluck but off these rags: and then, death, death.
Alack poor soul, thou hast need of more rags to lay on thee, rather than have these off.
Oh sir, the loathsomeness of them offends me, more than the stripes I have received, which are mighty ones and millions.
Alas poor man, a million of beating may come to a great matter.
I am robbed sir, and beaten: my money, and apparel tane from me, and these detestable things put upon me.
What, by a horseman, or a footman?
A footman (sweet sir) a footman.
Indeed, he should be a footman, by the garments he has left with thee: if this be a horseman's coat, it hath seen very hot service. Lend me thy hand, I'll help thee. Come, lend me thy hand.
Oh good sir, tenderly, oh.
Alas poor soul.
Oh good sir, softly, good sir: I fear (sir) my shoulder-blade is out.
How now? Canst stand?
Softly, dear sir: good sir, softly: You have done me a charitable office.
Dost lack any money? I have a little money for thee.
No, good sweet sir: no, I beseech you sir: I have a kinsman not past three quarters of a mile hence, unto whom I was going; I shall there have money, or anything I want: offer me no money I pray you, that kills my heart.
What manner of fellow was he that robbed you?
A fellow (sir) that I have known to go about with troll-my-dames: I knew him once a servant of the prince: I cannot tell good sir, for which of his virtues it was, but he was certainly whipped out of the court.
His vices you would say: there's no virtue whipped out of the court: they cherish it to make it stay there; and yet it will no more but abide.
Vices I would say (sir). I know this man well, he hath been since an ape-bearer, then a process-server (a bailiff) then he compassed a motion of the Prodigal Son, and married a tinker's wife, within a mile where my land and living lies. and (having flown over many knavish professions) he settled only in rogue: some call him Autolycus.
Out upon him: prig, for my life prig: he haunts wakes, fairs, and bear-baitings.
Very true sir; he sir he: that's the rogue that put me into this apparel.
Not a more cowardly rogue in all Bohemia; if you had but looked big, and spit at him, he'ld have run.
I must confess to you (sir) I am no fighter: I am false of heart that way, and that he knew I warrant him.
How do you now?
Sweet sir, much better than I was: I can stand, and walk: I will even take my leave of you, and pace softly towards my kinsman's.
Shall I bring thee on the way?
No, good-faced sir, no sweet sir.
Then fare thee well, I must go buy spices for our sheep-shearing.
Prosper you sweet sir. Your purse is not hot enough to purchase your spice: I'll be with you at your sheep-shearing too: if I make not this cheat bring out another, and the shearers prove sheep, let me be unrolled, and my name put in the book of virtue.
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      Jog^on,| jog^on,| the footpath way,
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      And mer|rily hent | the stile-|a:
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      A mer|ry heart | goes^all | the day,
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      Your sad | tires^in | a mile-|a.

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