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

O master, if you did but hear the pedlar at the door, you
would never dance again after a tabor and pipe; no, the bagpipe
could not move you: he sings several tunes faster than you'll
tell money: he utters them as he had eaten ballads, and all men's
ears grew to his tunes.

He could never come better: he shall come in. I love a ballad
but even too well, if it be doleful matter merrily set down, or
a very pleasant thing indeed and sung lamentably.

He hath songs for man or woman of all sizes; no milliner can so
fit his customers with gloves: he has the prettiest love-songs
for maids; so without bawdry, which is strange; with such
delicate burdens of 'dildos' and 'fadings', 'jump her and thump
her'; and where some stretch-mouth'd rascal would, as it were,
mean mischief, and break a foul gap into the matter, he makes the
maid to answer 'Whoop, do me no harm, good man', — puts him off,
slights him, with 'Whoop, do me no harm, good man.'

This is a brave fellow.

Believe me, thou talkest of an admirable conceited fellow.
Has he any unbraided wares?

He hath ribbons of all the colours i' the rainbow; points, more
than all the lawyers in Bohemia can learnedly handle, though
they come to him by the gross; inkles, caddisses, cambrics,
lawns; why he sings 'em over as they were gods or goddesses;
you would think a smock were a she-angel, he so chants to the
sleeve-hand and the work about the square on't.

Pr'ythee bring him in; and let him approach singing.

Forewarn him that he use no scurrilous words in his tunes.


You have of these pedlars that have more in them than you'd
think, sister.

Ay, good brother, or go about to think.

[Enter AUTOLYCUS, singing.]

Lawn as white as driven snow;
Cypress black as e'er was crow;
Gloves as sweet as damask-roses;
Masks for faces and for noses;
Bugle-bracelet, necklace amber,
Perfume for a lady's chamber;
Golden quoifs and stomachers,
For my lads to give their dears;
Pins and poking-sticks of steel,
What maids lack from head to heel.
Come, buy of me, come; come buy, come buy;
Buy, lads, or else your lasses cry:
Come, buy.

If I were not in love with Mopsa, thou shouldst take no money
of me; but being enthralled as I am, it will also be the
bondage of certain ribbons and gloves.

I was promis'd them against the feast; but they come not too
late now.

He hath promised you more than that, or there be liars.

He hath paid you all he promised you: may be he has paid you
more, — which will shame you to give him again.

Is there no manners left among maids? will they wear their
plackets where they should bear their faces? Is there not
milking-time, when you are going to bed, or kiln-hole, to whistle
off these secrets, but you must be tittle-tattling before all our
guests? 'tis well they are whispering. Clamour your tongues, and
not a word more.

I have done. Come, you promised me a tawdry lace, and a pair
of sweet gloves.

Have I not told thee how I was cozened by the way, and lost
all my money?

And indeed, sir, there are cozeners abroad; therefore it
behoves men to be wary.

Fear not thou, man; thou shalt lose nothing here.

I hope so, sir; for I have about me many parcels of charge.

What hast here? ballads?

Pray now, buy some: I love a ballad in print a-life; for then
we are sure they are true.

Here's one to a very doleful tune. How a usurer's wife was
brought to bed of twenty money-bags at a burden, and how she
long'd to eat adders' heads and toads carbonadoed.

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