The Winter's Tale By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scene 4

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

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-odour from me?
reflect I not on thy baseness court-contempt? Think'st thou, for
that I insinuate, or toaze from thee thy business, I am therefore
no courtier? I am courtier cap-a-pie, and one that will either
push on or pluck back thy business there: whereupon I command
thee to open thy affair.

My business, sir, is to the king.

What advocate hast thou to him?

I know not, an't like you.

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

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

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

This cannot be but a great courtier.

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

He seems to be the more noble in being fantastical: a great man,
I'll warrant; I know by the picking on's teeth.

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

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.

Age, thou hast lost thy labour.

Why, sir?

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.

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

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.

Think you so, sir?

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.

Has the old man e'er a son, sir, do you hear, an't like you, sir?

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-vitae 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.

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, — ston'd and flayed alive.

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.

After I have done what I promised?

Ay, sir.

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

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

O, that's the case of the shepherd's son. Hang him, he'll be made
an example.

Comfort, good comfort! We must to the king and show our 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.

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

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

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

[Exeunt Shepherd and Clown.]

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.


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After Camillo reveals Leontes' plan to kill Polixenes, Camillo is sentenced to die for treason.