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Speeches (Lines) for Old Shepherd
in "Winter's Tale"

Total: 42

# Act, Scene, Line
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Speech text



(stage directions). [Enter a Shepherd]

Old Shepherd. I would there were no age between sixteen and
three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the
rest; for there is nothing in the between but
getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry,
stealing, fighting—Hark you now! Would any but
these boiled brains of nineteen and two-and-twenty
hunt this weather? They have scared away two of my
best sheep, which I fear the wolf will sooner find
than the master: if any where I have them, 'tis by
the seaside, browsing of ivy. Good luck, an't be thy
will what have we here! Mercy on 's, a barne a very
pretty barne! A boy or a child, I wonder? A
pretty one; a very pretty one: sure, some 'scape:
though I am not bookish, yet I can read
waiting-gentlewoman in the 'scape. This has been
some stair-work, some trunk-work, some
behind-door-work: they were warmer that got this
than the poor thing is here. I'll take it up for
pity: yet I'll tarry till my son come; he hallooed
but even now. Whoa, ho, hoa!



Clown. Hilloa, loa!

Old Shepherd. What, art so near? If thou'lt see a thing to talk
on when thou art dead and rotten, come hither. What
ailest thou, man?



Clown. I have seen two such sights, by sea and by land!
but I am not to say it is a sea, for it is now the
sky: betwixt the firmament and it you cannot thrust
a bodkin's point.

Old Shepherd. Why, boy, how is it?



Clown. I would you did but see how it chafes, how it rages,
how it takes up the shore! but that's not the
point. O, the most piteous cry of the poor souls!
sometimes to see 'em, and not to see 'em; now the
ship boring the moon with her main-mast, and anon
swallowed with yest and froth, as you'ld thrust a
cork into a hogshead. And then for the
land-service, to see how the bear tore out his
shoulder-bone; how he cried to me for help and said
his name was Antigonus, a nobleman. But to make an
end of the ship, to see how the sea flap-dragoned
it: but, first, how the poor souls roared, and the
sea mocked them; and how the poor gentleman roared
and the bear mocked him, both roaring louder than
the sea or weather.

Old Shepherd. Name of mercy, when was this, boy?



Clown. Now, now: I have not winked since I saw these
sights: the men are not yet cold under water, nor
the bear half dined on the gentleman: he's at it

Old Shepherd. Would I had been by, to have helped the old man!



Clown. I would you had been by the ship side, to have
helped her: there your charity would have lacked footing.

Old Shepherd. Heavy matters! heavy matters! but look thee here,
boy. Now bless thyself: thou mettest with things
dying, I with things newborn. Here's a sight for
thee; look thee, a bearing-cloth for a squire's
child! look thee here; take up, take up, boy;
open't. So, let's see: it was told me I should be
rich by the fairies. This is some changeling:
open't. What's within, boy?



Clown. You're a made old man: if the sins of your youth
are forgiven you, you're well to live. Gold! all gold!

Old Shepherd. This is fairy gold, boy, and 'twill prove so: up
with't, keep it close: home, home, the next way.
We are lucky, boy; and to be so still requires
nothing but secrecy. Let my sheep go: come, good
boy, the next way home.



Clown. Go you the next way with your findings. I'll go see
if the bear be gone from the gentleman and how much
he hath eaten: they are never curst but when they
are hungry: if there be any of him left, I'll bury

Old Shepherd. That's a good deed. If thou mayest discern by that
which is left of him what he is, fetch me to the
sight of him.



Clown. Marry, will I; and you shall help to put him i' the ground.

Old Shepherd. 'Tis a lucky day, boy, and we'll do good deeds on't.



Florizel. See, your guests approach:
Address yourself to entertain them sprightly,
And let's be red with mirth.
[Enter Shepherd, Clown, MOPSA, DORCAS, and]
others, with POLIXENES and CAMILLO disguised]

Old Shepherd. Fie, daughter! when my old wife lived, upon
This day she was both pantler, butler, cook,
Both dame and servant; welcomed all, served all;
Would sing her song and dance her turn; now here,
At upper end o' the table, now i' the middle;
On his shoulder, and his; her face o' fire
With labour and the thing she took to quench it,
She would to each one sip. You are retired,
As if you were a feasted one and not
The hostess of the meeting: pray you, bid
These unknown friends to's welcome; for it is
A way to make us better friends, more known.
Come, quench your blushes and present yourself
That which you are, mistress o' the feast: come on,
And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing,
As your good flock shall prosper.



Polixenes. Pray, good shepherd, what fair swain is this
Which dances with your daughter?

Old Shepherd. They call him Doricles; and boasts himself
To have a worthy feeding: but I have it
Upon his own report and I believe it;
He looks like sooth. He says he loves my daughter:
I think so too; for never gazed the moon
Upon the water as he'll stand and read
As 'twere my daughter's eyes: and, to be plain.
I think there is not half a kiss to choose
Who loves another best.



Polixenes. She dances featly.

Old Shepherd. So she does any thing; though I report it,
That should be silent: if young Doricles
Do light upon her, she shall bring him that
Which he not dreams of.



Servant. Master, there is three carters, three shepherds,
three neat-herds, three swine-herds, that have made
themselves all men of hair, they call themselves
Saltiers, and they have a dance which the wenches
say is a gallimaufry of gambols, because they are
not in't; but they themselves are o' the mind, if it
be not too rough for some that know little but
bowling, it will please plentifully.

Old Shepherd. Away! we'll none on 't: here has been too much
homely foolery already. I know, sir, we weary you.



Servant. One three of them, by their own report, sir, hath
danced before the king; and not the worst of the
three but jumps twelve foot and a half by the squier.

Old Shepherd. Leave your prating: since these good men are
pleased, let them come in; but quickly now.



Camillo. This shows a sound affection.

Old Shepherd. But, my daughter,
Say you the like to him?



Perdita. I cannot speak
So well, nothing so well; no, nor mean better:
By the pattern of mine own thoughts I cut out
The purity of his.

Old Shepherd. Take hands, a bargain!
And, friends unknown, you shall bear witness to 't:
I give my daughter to him, and will make
Her portion equal his.



Florizel. O, that must be
I' the virtue of your daughter: one being dead,
I shall have more than you can dream of yet;
Enough then for your wonder. But, come on,
Contract us 'fore these witnesses.

Old Shepherd. Come, your hand;
And, daughter, yours.



Florizel. No, he must not.

Old Shepherd. Let him, my son: he shall not need to grieve
At knowing of thy choice.



Polixenes. Mark your divorce, young sir,
[Discovering himself]
Whom son I dare not call; thou art too base
To be acknowledged: thou a sceptre's heir,
That thus affect'st a sheep-hook! Thou old traitor,
I am sorry that by hanging thee I can
But shorten thy life one week. And thou, fresh piece
Of excellent witchcraft, who of force must know
The royal fool thou copest with,—

Old Shepherd. O, my heart!



Camillo. Why, how now, father!
Speak ere thou diest.

Old Shepherd. I cannot speak, nor think
Nor dare to know that which I know. O sir!
You have undone a man of fourscore three,
That thought to fill his grave in quiet, yea,
To die upon the bed my father died,
To lie close by his honest bones: but now
Some hangman must put on my shroud and lay me
Where no priest shovels in dust. O cursed wretch,
That knew'st this was the prince,
and wouldst adventure
To mingle faith with him! Undone! undone!
If I might die within this hour, I have lived
To die when I desire.



Clown. See, 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.

Old Shepherd. Nay, but hear me.



Clown. Nay, but hear me.

Old Shepherd. Go to, 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
things, all but what she has with her: this being
done, let the law go whistle: I warrant you.

Old 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
me the king's brother-in-law.



Autolycus. [Aside] Very wisely, puppies!

Old Shepherd. Well, let us to the king: there is that in this
fardel will make him scratch his beard.



Autolycus. [Aside] Though I am not naturally honest, I am so
sometimes by chance: let me pocket up my pedlar's excrement.
[Takes off his false beard]
How now, rustics! whither are you bound?

Old Shepherd. To the palace, an it like your worship.



Clown. Your worship had like to have given us one, if you
had not taken yourself with the manner.

Old Shepherd. Are you a courtier, an't like you, 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?
receives 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
back thy business there: whereupon I command thee to
open thy affair.

Old Shepherd. My business, sir, is to the king.



Autolycus. What advocate hast thou to him?

Old Shepherd. I know not, an't like you.



Clown. Advocate's the court-word for a pheasant: say you
have none.

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



Clown. This cannot be but a great courtier.

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



Autolycus. The fardel there? what's i' the fardel?
Wherefore that box?

Old Shepherd. Sir, there lies such secrets in this fardel and box,
which none must know but the king; and which he
shall know within this hour, if I may come to the
speech of him.



Autolycus. Age, thou hast lost thy labour.

Old Shepherd. Why, sir?



Autolycus. The king is not at the palace; he is gone aboard a
new ship to purge melancholy and air himself: for,
if thou beest capable of things serious, thou must
know the king is full of grief.

Old Shepherd. So 'tis said, sir; about his son, that should have
married a shepherd's daughter.



Clown. He seems to be of great authority: close with him,
give him gold; and though authority be a stubborn
bear, yet he is oft led by the nose with gold: show
the inside of your purse to the outside of his hand,
and no more ado. Remember 'stoned,' and 'flayed alive.'

Old Shepherd. An't please you, sir, to undertake the business for
us, 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.



Autolycus. After I have done what I promised?

Old Shepherd. Ay, sir.



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

Old Shepherd. Let's before as he bids us: he was provided to do us good.



Autolycus. Now, had I not the dash of my former life in me,
would preferment drop on my head. I brought the old
man and his son aboard the prince: told him I heard
them talk of a fardel and I know not what: but he
at that time, overfond of the shepherd's daughter,
so he then took her to be, who began to be much
sea-sick, and himself little better, extremity of
weather continuing, this mystery remained
undiscovered. But 'tis all one to me; for had I
been the finder out of this secret, it would not
have relished among my other discredits.
[Enter Shepherd and Clown]
Here come those I have done good to against my will,
and already appearing in the blossoms of their fortune.

Old Shepherd. Come, boy; I am past moe children, but thy sons and
daughters will be all gentlemen born.



Clown. Ay, and have been so any time these four hours.

Old Shepherd. And so have I, boy.



Clown. So you have: but I was a gentleman born before my
father; for the king's son took me by the hand, and
called me brother; and then the two kings called my
father brother; and then the prince my brother and
the princess my sister called my father father; and
so we wept, and there was the first gentleman-like
tears that ever we shed.

Old Shepherd. We may live, son, to shed many more.



Autolycus. I humbly beseech you, sir, to pardon me all the
faults I have committed to your worship and to give
me your good report to the prince my master.

Old Shepherd. Prithee, son, do; for we must be gentle, now we are



Clown. Give me thy hand: I will swear to the prince thou
art as honest a true fellow as any is in Bohemia.

Old Shepherd. You may say it, but not swear it.



Clown. Not swear it, now I am a gentleman? Let boors and
franklins say it, I'll swear it.

Old Shepherd. How if it be false, son?

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