The Winter's Tale

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Autolycus, singing
peer out (v.) peep out, show oneself


When daffodils begin to peer,

With heigh, the doxy over the dale,
doxy (n.) beggar's mistress, whore; sweetheart

Why, then comes in the sweet o'the year,
sweet (n.) 5 delightful time, pleasant part

For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale.
pale (n.) 3 paleness, pallor [of the cheeks]

The white sheet bleaching on the hedge,

With heigh, the sweet birds O, how they sing!

Doth set my pugging tooth an edge,
pugging (adj.) [unclear meaning] pulling, thieving, pilfering

For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.

The lark, that tirra-lyra chants,
tirra-lyra (n.) onomatopoeic representation of the sound of the lark See Topics: Sounds

With heigh, with heigh, the thrush and the jay,

Are summer songs for me and my aunts
aunt (n.) 2 mistress, whore, prostitute
summer (adj.) joyful, pleasant, happy

While we lie tumbling in the hay.
tumble (v.) 1 have sexual intercourse with

I have served Prince Florizel, and in my time wore

three-pile; but now I am out of service.
three-pile (n.) costly velvet [with a pile formed from three threads]

But shall I go mourn for that, my dear?

The pale moon shines by night:

And when I wander here and there

I then do most go right.

If tinkers may have leave to live,

And bear the sow-skin budget,
budget (n.) tool-bag, pouch

Then my account I well may give,

And in the stocks avouch it.
avouch (v.) 1 declare, assert, affirm

My traffic is sheets; when the kite builds, look to lesser
kite (n.) bird of prey; thieving bird [of ill omen; also, strong term of abuse]
traffic (n.) 1 trade, commerce, business, merchandise

linen. My father named me Autolycus, who, being, as I

am, littered under Mercury, was likewise a snapper-up
litter (v.) [comparing humans to animals] bring forth, be born

of unconsidered trifles. With die and drab I purchased
die (n.) one of a pair of dice
drab (n.) harlot, slut, whore

this caparison, and my revenue is the silly cheat.
caparison (n.) 2 dress, outfit, clothing
cheat (n.) trick, fraud, deception
silly (adj.) 4 simple, lowly, humble

Gallows and knock are too powerful on the highway:
knock (n.) hard blow, harsh stroke, buffet

beating and hanging are terrors to me. For the life to come, I

sleep out the thought of it. A prize! A prize!

Enter Clown


Let me see: every 'leven wether tods, every tod
tod (v.) produce a tod [about 28 pounds] of wool
wether (n.) sheep, ram

yields pound and odd shilling; fifteen hundred shorn,

what comes the wool to?


cock (n.) 2 woodcock [known for its foolishness]
springe (n.) snare, trap

If the springe hold, the cock's mine.


I cannot do't without counters. Let me see: what
counter, compter (n.) 1 round piece of metal used for counting

am I to buy for our sheep-shearing feast? Three pound

of sugar, five pound of currants, rice – what will this

sister of mine do with rice? But my father hath made her

mistress of the feast, and she lays it on. She hath made
lay on / upon (v.) 1 set to, set about, undertake vigorously

me four-and-twenty nosegays for the shearers,
three-man-song (adj.) capable of singing three-part songs

three-man-song men all, and very good ones; but they are

most of them means and bases – but one Puritan
mean (n.) 11 middle-part singer, tenor, alto

amongst them, and he sings psalms to hornpipes. I must

have saffron to colour the warden pies; mace; dates –
saffron (n.) 1 orange-red dye [for colouring some types of food or drink]
warden (adj.) made from a variety of baking pear

none, that's out of my note; nutmegs, seven; a race or
note (n.) 8 list, record, roll
race (n.) 7 [of ginger] root

two of ginger, but that I may beg; four pound of prunes,

and as many of raisins o'th' sun.
raisins of the sun sun-dried grapes


(grovelling on the ground) O that ever I was



I'th' name of me!


O, help me, help me! Pluck but off these

rags; and then, death, death!


Alack, poor soul! Thou hast need of more rags

to lay on thee, rather than have these off.


O sir, the loathsomeness of them offend me

more than the stripes I have received, which are mighty

ones and millions.


Alas, poor man! A million of beating may come

to a great matter.


I am robbed, sir, and beaten; my money and

apparel ta'en from me, and these detestable things put
apparel (n.) clothes, clothing, dress See Topics: Frequency count

upon me.


What, by a horseman or a footman?
footman (n.) 2 footpad, highwayman who robs on foot


A footman, sweet sir, a footman.


Indeed, he should be a footman, by the garments

he has left with thee. If this be a horseman's coat, it hath

seen very hot service. Lend me thy hand, I'll help thee.
hot (adj.) 4 active, vigorous

Come, lend me thy hand.

He helps him up


O, good sir, tenderly, O!


Alas, poor soul!


O, good sir, softly, good sir! I fear, sir, my
softly (adv.) slowly, gently

shoulder-blade is out.


How now? Canst stand?


Softly, dear sir; (he picks his pockets) good

sir, softly. You ha' done me a charitable office.
office (n.) 5 service, sympathy, kindness


Dost lack any money? I have a little money for



No, good, sweet sir; no, I beseech you, sir.

I have a kinsman not past three-quarters of a mile hence,

unto whom I was going. I shall there have money, or

anything I want. Offer me no money, I pray you: that

kills my heart.


What manner of fellow was he that robbed you?


A fellow, sir, that I have known to go about

with troll-my-dames. I knew him once a servant of the
troll-my-dame (n.) type of game in which balls are rolled [trolled] through hoops

Prince. I cannot tell, good sir, for which of his virtues it

was, but he was certainly whipped out of the court.


His vices, you would say. There's no virtue

whipped out of the court: they cherish it to make it stay

there; and yet it will no more but abide.
abide (v.) 4 stay a short while, pause before moving on


Vices I would say, sir. I know this man well.

He hath been since an ape-bearer; then a process-server,
ape-bearer (n.) showman with a performing monkey
process-server (n.) officer who serves a summon

a bailiff; then he compassed a motion of the Prodigal
bailiff (n.) sheriff's officer who serves writs, carries out arrests, etc
compass (v.) 7 go round with, travel about with; or: obtain, lay hold of
motion (n.) 11 puppet-show

Son, and married a tinker's wife within a mile where my

land and living lies; and having flown over many
living (n.) possessions, means of support, livelihood

knavish professions, he settled only in rogue. Some call

him Autolycus.


Out upon him! Prig, for my life, prig! He haunts
prig (n.) [slang] thief, crook, tinker

wakes, fairs, and bear-baitings.
wake (n.) 1 festival, revel, fete


Very true, sir; he, sir, he: that's the rogue

that put me into this apparel.
apparel (n.) clothes, clothing, dress See Topics: Frequency count


Not a more cowardly rogue in all Bohemia. If you

had but looked big and spit at him, he'd have run.


I must confess to you, sir, I am no fighter.

I am false of heart that way, and that he knew, I warrant
false (adj.) 5 defective, weak, inadequate
heart (n.) 1 courage, spirit, valour
warrant (v.) 3 act as a pledge for, give an assurance about



How do you now?


Sweet sir, much better than I was: I can

stand and walk. I will even take my leave of you, and

pace softly towards my kinsman's.
softly (adv.) slowly, gently


Shall I bring thee on the way?


No, good-faced sir; no, sweet sir.
good-faced (adj.) smooth-faced, pretty


Then fare thee well. I must go buy spices for our



Prosper you, sweet sir!

Exit Clown

Your purse is not hot enough to purchase your spice.

I'll be with you at your sheep-shearing too. If I make

not this cheat bring out another, and the shearers prove
cheat (n.) trick, fraud, deception

sheep, let me be unrolled, and my name put in the book
unroll (v.) strike off the roll, remove from the list

of virtue! (sings)

Jog on, jog on, the footpath way,

And merrily hent the stile-a:
hent (v.) 1 grasp, take hold of

A merry heart goes all the day,

Your sad tires in a mile-a.
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count


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