Archives For William Shakespeare

Tack About (v.)

Tack About means to change course or to run against the wind. It was sited in Shakespeare’s The Two  Noble Kinsmen (TNK III.iv.10 [Gaoler's Daughter alone speaks of a ship] Up with a course or two, and tack about.)


Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Winter’s Tale


ACT IV. SCENE III.—The same. A Shepherd’s Cottage.

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,

your flesh and blood has not offended the king;

and so your flesh and blood is not to be pun-

ished 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, an 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-


Clo. Indeed, brother-in-law was the furthest

off you 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 com-

plaint may be to the flight of my master. [Aside.

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. [Aside, and 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 hav-

ing, 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 that 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


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 my gait in it the

measure of the court? receives not thy nose

court-odour from me? reflect I not on thy base-

ness court-contempt? Thinkest thou, for that

I insinuate, or toze from thee thy business, I

am therefore no courtier? I am courtier cap-

a-pé; and one that will either push on or pluck

back thy business there: whereupon I com-

mand 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 phea-

sant, say you have none.

(On 10/22/14 – Join me for the continuation of “The Winter’s Tale”,

ACT IV. SCENE III—The same. A Shepherd’s Cottage.

Lamentable (adj.)

Lamentable means sorrowful, mournful, or sad. It was sited in Shakespeare’s King John (KL III.i.22 [Constance asks Salisbury] Why holds thine eye that lamentable rheum.)


Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Winter’s Tale


ACT IV. SCENE III.—The same. A Shepherd’s Cottage.

Flo. Despatch, I pr’ythee.

Aut. Indeed, I have had earnest; but I can-

not with conscience take it.

Cam. Unbuckle, unbuckle.—

[FLO. and AUTOL. exchange garments.

Fortunate mistress,—let my prophecy

Come home to you!—you must retire yourself

Into some covert; take your sweetheart’s hat,

And pluck it o’er your brows; muffle your face;

Dismantle you; and, as you can, disliken

The truth of your own seeming; that you


For I do fear eyes over,—to shipboard

Get undescried.

Per.                   I see the play so lies

That I must bear a part.

Cam.                              No remedy.—

Have you done there?

Flo.                    Should I now meet my father,

He would not call me son.

Cam. Nay, you shall have no hat.—

[Giving it to PERDITA.

Come, lady, come.—Farewell, my friend.

Aut. Adieu, sir.

Flo. O Perdita, what have we twain forgot?

Pray you, a word.         [They converse apart.

Cam. What I do next, shall be to tell the

king                                              [Aside.

Of this escape, and whither they are bound;

Wherein, my hope is, I shall so prevail

To force him after: in whose company

I shall review Sicilia; for whose sight

I have a woman’s longing.

Flo.                                   Fortune speed us!—

Thus we set on, Camillo, to the sea-side.

Cam. The swifter speed the better.

[Exeunt FLOR., PER., and CAM.

Aut. I understand the business,—I hear it:

to have an open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble

hand, is necessary for a cut-purse; a good nose

is requisite also, to smell out work for the other

senses. I see this is the time that the unjust

man doth thrive. What an exchange had this

been without boot? what a boot is here with

this exchange? Sure, the gods do this year con-

nive at us, and we may do anything 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 hon-

esty to acquaint the king withal, I would not

do’t: I hod it the more knavery to conceal it;

and therein am I constant to my profession.

Re-enter Clown and Shepherd.

Aside, aside;—here is more matter for a hot

brain: every lane’s end, every shope, church,

session, hanging, yields a careful man work.

Clo. See. see: what a man you are now!

(On 10/21/14 – Join me for the continuation of “The Winter’s Tale”,

ACT IV. SCENE III—The same. A Shepherd’s Cottage.

Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Winter’s Tale


ACT IV. SCENE III.—The same. A Shepherd’s Cottage.


Aut. Ha, ha! what a fool Honesty is! and

Trust, his sworn brother, a very simple gentle-

man! I have sold all my trumpery; not a

counterfeit stone, not a riand, glass, poman-

der, brooch, table-book, ballad, knife, tape,

glove, shoe-tie, bracelet, horn-ring, to keep my

pack from fasting;—they throng who should

buy first, as if my trinkets had been hallowed,

and brought a benediction to the buyer: by

which means I saw whose purse was best in

picture; and what I saw, to my good use I re-

membered. My clown (who wants but some-

thing to be a reasonable man) grew so in love

with the wenches’ song that he would not stir

his pettitoes till he had both tune and words;

which so drew the rest of the herd to me, that

all their other senses stuck in ears: you might

have pinched a placket,—it was senseless; ’twas

nothing to geld a codpiece of a purse; I would

have filed keys off that hung in chains: no hear-

ing, no feeling, but my sir’s song, and admiring

the nothing of it. So that, in this time of

lethargy, I picked and  cut most of their festival

purses; and scared my choughs from the chaff, I

had not left a purse alive in the whole army.

[CAM., FLO., and PER. come forward.

Cam. Nay, but my letters, by this means

being there

So soon as you arrive, shall clear that doublt.

Flo. And those that you’ll procure from king


Cam. Shall satisfy your father.

Per.                                      Happy be you!

All that you speak shows fair.

Cam.                               Who have we here?—


We’ll make an instrument of this; omit

Nothing may give us aid.

Aut. If they have overheard e now,—why,

hanging.                                          [Aside.

Cam. How now, good fellow! why shakest

thou so? Fear not, man; here’s nobody will

steal that from thee: yet, for the outside of thy

poverty, we must make an exchange; therefore,

discase thee instantly,—thou must think there’s

a necessity in’t,—and change garments with

this gentleman: though the pennyworth on his

side be the worst, yet hold thee, there’s some

boot.                                          [Giving money.

(On 10/20/14 – Join me for the continuation of “The Winter’s Tale”,

ACT IV. SCENE III—The same. A Shepherd’s Cottage.

Bare-gnawn (adj.) & Canker-bit (adj.)

Bare-gnawn means consumed, worn away to nothing. It was sited in Shakespeare’s King Lear (KL V.iii.120 [disguised, Edgar says to everyone] My name is lost, by treason’s tooth bare-gnawn and canker-bit.)

Canker-bit means worn-eaten, eaten away by canker grubs. It was sited in Shakespeare’s King Lear as noted above. Felina Silver Robinson.

Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Winter’s Tale


ACT IV. SCENE III.—The same. A Shepherd’s Cottage.

Flo.                                       Worthy Camillo,

What colour for my visitation shall I

Hold up before him?

Cam.                   Sent by the king your father

To greet him and to give him comforts. Sir,

The manner of your bearing towards him, with

What you, as from your father, shall deliver,

Things known betwixt us three, I’ll write you


The which shall point your forth at every sitting,

What you must say; that he shall not perceive

But that you have your father’s bosom there,

And speak his very heart.

Flo.                                    I am bound to you:

There is some sap in this.

Cam.                            A course more promissing

Than a wild dedication of yourselves [certain

To unpath’d waters, undream’d shores, most

To miseries enough: no hope to help;

But, as you shake off one, to take another:

Nothing so certain as your anchors; who

Do their best office if they can but stay you

Where you’ll be loath to be: besides, you know

Prosperity’s the very bond of love,          [gether

Whose fresh complexion and whose heard to-

Affliction alters.

Per.                  One of these is true:

I think affliction may subdue the cheek,

But not take in the mind.

Cam.                                Yea, say you so?

There shall not, at your father’s house, these

seven years

Be born another such.

Flo.                                My good Camillo.

She is as forward of her breeding as

She is i’ the rear our birth.

Cam.                                I cannot say ’tis pity

She lacks instruction; for she seems a mistress

To most that teach.

Per.                          Your pardon, sir, for this:

I’ll blush you thanks.

Flo. My prettiest Perdita!—

But, O, the thorns we stand upon!—Camillo,—

Preserver of my father, now of me;

The medicine of our house!—how shall we do?

We are not furnish’d like Bohemia’s son;

Nor shall appear in Sicilia

Cam.                               My lord,

Fear none of this: I think you know my for-


Do all lie there: it shall be so my care

To have you royall appointed as if       [sir,

The scene you play were mine. For instance,

That you may know you shall not want,—one

word.                                      [They talk aside.

(On 10/19/14 – Join me for the continuation of “The Winter’s Tale”,

ACT IV. SCENE III—The same. A Shepherd’s Cottage.