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extempore. The prince himself is about a piece of iniquity; stealing away from his father, with his clog at his heels: If I thought it were a piece of honesty to acquaint the king withal, I would not do’t: I hold it the more knavery to conceal it: and therein am I constant to my profession.
Enter Clown and Shepherd. Aside, aside ;-here is more matter for a hot brain: Every lane's end, every shop, church, session, hanging, yields a careful man work.
Clo. 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.
Shep. Nay, but hear me.
Clo. 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 war
Shep. 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. Clo. Indeed, brother-in-law was the farthest off
could have been to him; and then your blood had been the dearer, by I know how much an ounce. Aut. Very wisely; puppies !
[Aside. Shep. Well; let us to the king; there is that in this fardel will make him scratch his beard.
Aut. I know not what impediment this complaint may be to the flight of my master.
Clo. ’Pray heartily he be at palace.
Aut. 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?
Shep. To the palace, an it like your worship
Aut. Your affairs there; what; with whom; the condition of that fardel; the place of your dwelling; your names ; your ages ; of what having, a breeding ; and anything that is fitting to be known, discover.
Clo. We are but plain fellows, sir.
Aut. A lie; you are rough and hairy: Let me have no lying; it becomes none but tradesmen, and they often give us soldiers the lie: but we pay them for it with stamped coin, not stabbing steel; therefore they do not give us the lie."
Clo. Your worship had like to have given us one, if you had not taken yourself with the manner.
Shep. Are you a courtier, an't like you, sir?
Aut. Whether it like me, or no, I am a courtier. See'st 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-odour from me? reflect I not on thy baseness, court-contempt? Think'st thou, for that I insinuate, or toze from thee thy business, I am therefore no courtier? I am courtier cap-a-pè; and one that will either push on or pluck back thy business there: whereupon I command thee to open thy affair.
Shep. My business, sir, is to the king.
Clo. Advocate's the court-word for a pheasant; say, you have none.
Shep. None, sir; I have no pheasant, cock nor hen.
Aut. How bless'd are we that are not simple men! Yet nature might have made me as these are, Therefore I'll not disdain.
Clo. This cannot be but a great courtier.
Shep. His garments are rich, but he wears them not handsomely
Clo. He seems to be the more noble in being fantastical: a great man, I'll warrant; I know by the picking on 's teeth.
Aut. The fardel there? what's i' the fardel? Wherefore that box?
b As they are paid for lying, they do not give us the lie.
c With the manner in the fact.
Shep. 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.
Aut. Age, thou hast lost thy labour.
Aut. The king is not at the palace : he is gone aboard a new ship to purge melancholy, and air himself: For if thou be'st capable of things serious, thou must know the king is full of grief.
Shep. So 't is said, sir, about his son, that should have married a shepherd's daughter.
Aut. If that shepherd be not in hand-fast, let him fly; the curses he shall have, the tortures he shall feel, will break the back of man, the heart of monster.
Clo. Think you so, sir?
Aut. Not he alone shall suffer what wit can make heavy, and vengeance bitter; but those that are germane to him, though removed fifty times, shall all come under the hangman: which though it be great pity, yet it is necessary. An old sheep-whistling rogue, a ram-tender, to offer to have his daughter come into grace! Some say, he shall be stoned ; but that death is too soft for him, say I: Draw our throne into a sheep-cote! all deaths are too few, the sharpest too easy.
Clo. Has the old man e'er a son, sir, do you hear, an 't like
Aut. He has a son, who shall be flayed alive; then, 'nointed over with honey, set on the head of a wasp's nest ; then stand, till he be three quarters and a dram dead; then recovered again with aqua-vitæ, or some other hot infusion ; then, raw as he is, and in the hottest day prognostication proclaims, shall he be set against a brick wall, the sun looking with a southward eye upon him, where he is to behold him with flies blown to death. But what talk we of these traitorly rascals, whose miseries are to be smiled at, their offences being so capital ? Tell me (for you seem to be honest plain men) what you have to the king: being something gently considered, I'll bring you where he is aboard, tender your persons to his presence, whisper him in your behalfs; and, if it be in man, besides the king, to effect your suits, here is man shall do it.
Clo. 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!
Shep. 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.
Aut. After I have done what I promised ?
Aut. Well, give me the moiety :-Are you a party in this business?
Clo. In some sort, sir: but though my case be a pitiful one, I hope I shall not be flayed out of it.
Aut. O, that's the case of the shepherd's son :-Hang him, he 'll be made an example.
Clo. Comfort, good comfort: we must to the king, and show our strange sights : he must know, 't is 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. Aut. I will trust you.
Walk before toward the sea-side; go on the right hand ; I will but look upon the hedge, and
Clo. We are blessed in this man, as I may say, even blessed.
Shep. Let's before, as he bids us: he was provided to do us good.
[Exeunt Shepherd and Clown. Aut. If 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 these 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 what shame else belongs to't: To him will I present them; there may be matter in it.
We have every
SCENE II._" Every 'leven wether-tods." SHAKSPERE has here brought his agricultural knowledge to bear. reason to believe that he was a practical farmer; for, after he had bought his estate in Stratford Fields, in 1602, we find him suing one Philip Rogers for a debt of 35 shillings and 10 pence, for corn delivered ; and in 1605 he purchased a moiety of the tithes of Stratford, which he probably had to collect in kind. When he puts this speech, therefore, in the mouth of the Clown, we may reasonably conclude that he knew, of his own experience, that the average produce of eleven wethers was a tod of wool; and that the value of a tod was a “ pound and odd shilling.” Ritson says, “ It appears from Stafford's ' Breefe Conceipte of English Pollicye,' 1581, that the price of a tod of wool was at that period twenty or two-and-twenty shillings ; so that the medium price was exactly pound and odd shilling.""
2 Scene II.-“6 Three-man song-men all." Singers of three-part songs, i.e. songs for three voices. And in some old plays we find the term three-men's songs. In · The Turnament of Tottenham,' an ancient ballad (see Percy's “ Reliques,' ii. 15) ascribed to Gilbert Pilkington, and supposed to have been written before the time of Edward III., a six-men's song is thus mentioned :
“ In every corner of the house
Was melody delicious,
Of six-men's song.”
3 Scene II.-“ Means and bases." Means are tenors—intermediate voices, between the treble and bass.