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

You weary those that refresh us: pray, let's see these four
threes of herdsmen.

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 squire.

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

Why, they stay at door, sir.


[Enter Twelve Rustics, habited like Satyrs. They dance, and then

O, father, you'll know more of that hereafter. —
[To CAMILLO.] Is it not too far gone? — 'Tis time to part them. —
He's simple and tells much. [To FLORIZEL.] How now, fair shepherd!
Your heart is full of something that does take
Your mind from feasting. Sooth, when I was young
And handed love as you do, I was wont
To load my she with knacks: I would have ransack'd
The pedlar's silken treasury and have pour'd it
To her acceptance; you have let him go,
And nothing marted with him. If your lass
Interpretation should abuse, and call this
Your lack of love or bounty, you were straited
For a reply, at least if you make a care
Of happy holding her.

Old sir, I know
She prizes not such trifles as these are:
The gifts she looks from me are pack'd and lock'd
Up in my heart; which I have given already,
But not deliver'd. — O, hear me breathe my life
Before this ancient sir, who, it should seem,
Hath sometime lov'd, — I take thy hand! this hand,
As soft as dove's down, and as white as it,
Or Ethiopian's tooth, or the fann'd snow that's bolted
By the northern blasts twice o'er.

What follows this? —
How prettily the young swain seems to wash
The hand was fair before! — I have put you out:
But to your protestation; let me hear
What you profess.

Do, and be witness to't.

And this my neighbour, too?

And he, and more
Than he, and men, — the earth, the heavens, and all: —
That, — were I crown'd the most imperial monarch,
Thereof most worthy; were I the fairest youth
That ever made eye swerve; had force and knowledge
More than was ever man's, — I would not prize them
Without her love: for her employ them all;
Commend them, and condemn them to her service,
Or to their own perdition.

Fairly offer'd.

This shows a sound affection.

But, my daughter,
Say you the like to him?

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.

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.

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.

Come, your hand; —
And, daughter, yours.

Soft, swain, awhile, beseech you;
Have you a father?

I have; but what of him?

Knows he of this?

He neither does nor shall.

Methinks a father
Is, at the nuptial of his son, a guest
That best becomes the table. Pray you, once more;
Is not your father grown incapable
Of reasonable affairs? is he not stupid
With age and altering rheums? can he speak? hear?
Know man from man? dispute his own estate?
Lies he not bed-rid? and again does nothing
But what he did being childish?

No, good sir;
He has his health, and ampler strength indeed
Than most have of his age.

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