Immagini della pagina

conceal it; and therein am I constant to my profession.

Reenter Clown and Shepherd.

Aside, aside; here is more matter for a hot brain: every lane's end, every shop, church, 700 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. Nay, but hear me.
Shep. Go to, then.

Clo. She being none of your flesh and blood, 710 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.

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- 720 in-law.

Clo. Indeed, brother-in-law was the farthest off you could have been to him and then your blood had been the dearer by I know how much

an ounce.

Aut. [Aside] Very wisely, puppies!

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

Aut. [Aside] I know not what impediment this complaint may be to the flight of my master. 730 728. fardel, bundle.

Clo. Pray heartily he be at palace.

Aut. [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?

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, 740 breeding, and any thing 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 750. us one, if you had not taken yourself with the


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

Aut. 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? Thinkest thou, for that I insinuate, or toaze from therefore no courtier?

731. at palace. F1 has at Pallace, probably indicating the pronunciation at th' palace.

734. excrement, outgrowth, beard.

739. condition, nature. VOL. IV

thee thy business, I am 760I am courtier cap-a-pe;

751. taken with the manner, taken in the act.

757. measure, stately pace. 760. toaze, (probably) touse, pluck. For the preceding or, F1 has at, probably by misprint..


2 B

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.

Aut. What advocate hast thou to him?
Shep. I know not, an 't like you.

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

Shep. None, sir; I have no pheasant, cock nor 770 hen.

Aut. How blessed are we that are not simple men! Yet nature might have made me as these are, Therefore I will 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?

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.

Shep. Why, sir?

Aut. 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.

Shep. So 'tis said, sir; about his son, that should have married a shepherd's daughter. Aut. If that shepherd be not in hand-fast, let

791. capable of, able to apprehend.

795. hand-fast, confinement.



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 800 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 810 hear, an 't like you, sir?

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 820 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

805. sheep-whistling, whistling after, tending.

812 f. This description is a somewhat heightened version of the death inflicted on Ambrogiuolo, the 'Iachimo' of the

immediate source of Cymbeline, Boccaccio, Dec. ii. 9.

825. being something gently considered, for a small consideration.'

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 830 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?

Shep. Ay, sir.

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 'tis none of your daughter nor my sister; we are 850 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 follow you.

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

Shep. Let's before as he bids us: he was pro- 850 vided to do us good.

[Exeunt Shepherd and Clown.

« IndietroContinua »