When daffodils begin to peer,
With heigh! the doxy over the dale,
Why, then comes in the sweet o' the year,
For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale.
The white sheet bleaching on the hedge,
With heigh! the sweet birds, O, how they sing!
Doth set my pugging tooth on edge,
For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.
The lark, that tirra-lirra chants,
With heigh! with heigh! the thrush and the jay,
Are summer songs for me and my aunts,
While we lie tumbling in the hay.
I have serv'd Prince Florizel, and in my time wore three-pile;
but now I am out of service.
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,
Then my account I well may give
And in the stocks avouch it.
My traffic is sheets; when the kite builds, look to lesser linen.
My father nam'd me Autolycus; who, being, I as am, litter'd under
Mercury, was likewise a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. With
die and drab I purchas'd this caparison; and my revenue is the
silly-cheat. Gallows and knock are too powerful on the highway;
beating and hanging are terrors to me; for the life to come, I
sleep out the thought of it. A prize! a prize!
Let me see: every 'leven wether tods; every tod yields pound
and odd shilling; fifteen hundred shorn, what comes the wool to?
AUTOLYCUS [Aside] If the springe hold, the cock's mine.
I cannot do 't without counters. Let me see: what 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 me four and twenty nosegays for the
shearers- three-man song-men all, and very good ones; but they
are most of them means and bases; but one Puritan amongst them,
and he sings psalms to hornpipes. I must have saffron to colour
the warden pies; mace; dates- none, that's out of my note;
nutmegs, seven; race or two of ginger, but that I may beg; four
pound of prunes, and as many of raisins o' th' sun.
AUTOLYCUS [Grovelling on the ground] O that ever I was born!
Softly, dear sir [Picks his pocket]; good sir, softly.
You ha' done me a charitable office.
Dost lack any money? I have a little money for thee.
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 robb'd you?
A fellow, sir, that I have known to go about with
troll-my-dames; I knew him once a servant of the Prince. I cannot
tell, good sir, for which of his virtues it was, but he was
certainly whipt out of the court.
His vices, you would say; there's no virtue whipt out of the
court. They cherish it to make it stay there; and yet it will no
more but abide.
Vices, I would say, sir. I know this man well; he hath
been since an ape-bearer; then a process-server, a bailiff; then
he compass'd a motion of the Prodigal Son, and married a tinker's
wife within a mile where my land and living lies; and, having
flown over many knavish professions, he settled only in rogue.
Some call him Autolycus.
Out upon him! prig, for my life, prig! He haunts wakes,
fairs, and bear-baitings.
Very true, sir; he, sir, he; that's the rogue that put
me into this apparel.
Not a more cowardly rogue in all Bohemia; if you had but
look'd 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 him.
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 sheep, let me be unroll'd,
and my name put in the book of virtue!