Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare
The Winter’s Tale
ACT V. SCENE II—The same. Before the Palace.
Aut. Now, had I not the dash of my former
life in me, would preferment drop on my head.
I brought the old man and his son aboard the
prince; told him I heard them talk of a fardel,
and I know not what; but he at that time over-
fond of the shepherd’s daughter,—so he then
took her to ben,—who began to be much sea-sick
and himself little better, extremity of weather
continuing, this mystery remained undiscov-
ered. But ’tis all one to me; for had I been the
finder-out of this secret, it would not have
relished among my other discredits. Here come
those I have done good to against my will, and
already appearing in the blossoms of their for-
Enter Shepherd and Clown.
Shep. Come boy; I am past more children,
but thy sons and daughters will be all gentle-
Clo. You are well met, sir: you denied to
fight with me this other day, because I was no
gentleman born. See you these clothes? say you
see them not, and think me still no gentleman
born: you were best say these robes are not
gentlemen born. Give me the lie, do; and try
whether I am not now a gentleman born.
Aut. I know you are now, sir, a gentleman
Clo. Ay, and have been so any time these
Shep. And so have I boy!
Clo. So you have:—but I was a gentleman
born before my father; for the king’s son took
me by the hand and called me brother; and
then the two kings called my father brother;
and then the prince, my brother, and the
princess, my sister called my father father; and
so we wept: and there was the first gentleman-
like tears that ever we shed.
Shep. We may live, son, to shed many more.
Clo. Ay; or else ’twere hard luck, being in so
preposterous estate as we are.
Aut. I humbly beseech you, sir, to pardon
me all the faults I have committed to your
worship, and to give me your good report to
the prince my master.
Shep. Pr’ythee, son, do; for we must be
gentle, now we are gentlemen.
Clo. Thou wilt amend thy life?
Aut. Ay, an it like your good worship.
Clo. Give me thy hand: I will swear to the
prince thou art as honest a true fellow as any is
Shep. You may say it, but not swear it.
Clo. Not swear it, now I am a gentle-
man? Let boors and franklins say it, I’ll swear
Shep. How if it be false son?
Clo. If it be ne’er so false, a true gentleman
may swear it in the behalf of his friend.—And
I’ll swear to the prince, thou art a tall fellow of
thy hands, and that thou wilt not be drunk;
but I know tho art no tall fellow of thy hands,
and that thou wilt be drunk: but I’ll swear it;
and I would thou wouldst be a tall fellow of thy
Aut. I will prove so, sir, to my power.
Clo. Ay, by any means, prove a tall fellow:
if I do not wonder how thou darest venture to
be drunk, not being a tall fellow, trust me not.
—Hark! the kings and the princess, our kindred,
are going to see the queen’s picture. Come, fol-
low us: we’ll be thy good masters. [Exeunt.
(On 10/30/14 – Join me for the continuation of “The Winter’s Tale”,
ACT V. SCENE III—The same. A Room in PAULINA’s