[Enter Florizell and Perdita.]
These your unusual weeds to each part of you
Does give a life—no shepherdess, but Flora
Peering in April’s front. This your sheep-shearing
Is as a meeting of the petty gods,
 And you the queen on ’t.
PERDITA Sir, my gracious lord,
To chide at your extremes it not becomes me;
O, pardon that I name them! Your high self,
The gracious mark o’ th’ land, you have obscured
 With a swain’s wearing, and me, poor lowly maid,
Most goddesslike pranked up. But that our feasts
In every mess have folly, and the feeders
Digest it with a custom, I should blush
To see you so attired, swoon, I think,
 To show myself a glass.
FLORIZELL I bless the time
When my good falcon made her flight across
Thy father’s ground.
PERDITA Now Jove afford you cause.
 To me the difference forges dread. Your greatness
Hath not been used to fear. Even now I tremble
To think your father by some accident
Should pass this way as you did. O the Fates,
How would he look to see his work, so noble,
 Vilely bound up? What would he say? Or how
Should I, in these my borrowed flaunts, behold
The sternness of his presence?
Nothing but jollity. The gods themselves,
 Humbling their deities to love, have taken
The shapes of beasts upon them. Jupiter
Became a bull, and bellowed; the green Neptune
A ram, and bleated; and the fire-robed god,
Golden Apollo, a poor humble swain,
 As I seem now. Their transformations
Were never for a piece of beauty rarer,
Nor in a way so chaste, since my desires
Run not before mine honor, nor my lusts
Burn hotter than my faith.
PERDITA O, but sir,
Your resolution cannot hold when ’tis
Opposed, as it must be, by th’ power of the King.
One of these two must be necessities,
Which then will speak: that you must change this
Or I my life.
FLORIZELL Thou dear’st Perdita,
With these forced thoughts I prithee darken not
The mirth o’ th’ feast. Or I’ll be thine, my fair,
 Or not my father’s. For I cannot be
Mine own, nor anything to any, if
I be not thine. To this I am most constant,
Though destiny say no. Be merry, gentle.
Strangle such thoughts as these with anything
 That you behold the while. Your guests are coming.
Lift up your countenance as it were the day
Of celebration of that nuptial which
We two have sworn shall come.
PERDITA O Lady Fortune,
 Stand you auspicious!
FLORIZELL See, your guests approach.
Address yourself to entertain them sprightly,
And let’s be red with mirth.
[Enter Shepherd, Shepherd’s Son, Mopsa, Dorcas,
Shepherds and Shepherdesses, Servants, Musicians,
and Polixenes and Camillo in disguise.]
Fie, daughter, when my old wife lived, upon
 This day she was both pantler, butler, cook,
Both dame and servant; welcomed all; served all;
Would sing her song and dance her turn, now here
At upper end o’ th’ table, now i’ th’ middle;
On his shoulder, and his; her face afire
 With labor, and the thing she took to quench it
She would to each one sip. You are retired
As if you were a feasted one and not
The hostess of the meeting. Pray you bid
These unknown friends to ’s welcome, for it is
 A way to make us better friends, more known.
Come, quench your blushes and present yourself
That which you are, mistress o’ th’ feast. Come on,
And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing,
As your good flock shall prosper.
PERDITA , [to Polixenes] Sir, welcome.
It is my father’s will I should take on me
The hostess-ship o’ th’ day. [ To Camillo.] You’re
Give me those flowers there, Dorcas.—Reverend
For you there’s rosemary and rue. These keep
Seeming and savor all the winter long.
Grace and remembrance be to you both,
And welcome to our shearing.
A fair one are you—well you fit our ages
With flowers of winter.
PERDITA Sir, the year growing ancient,
Not yet on summer’s death nor on the birth
 Of trembling winter, the fairest flowers o’ th’ season
Are our carnations and streaked gillyvors,
Which some call nature’s bastards. Of that kind
Our rustic garden’s barren, and I care not
To get slips of them.
POLIXENES Wherefore, gentle maiden,
Do you neglect them?
PERDITA For I have heard it said
There is an art which in their piedness shares
With great creating nature.
POLIXENES Say there be;
Yet nature is made better by no mean
But nature makes that mean. So, over that art
Which you say adds to nature is an art
That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry
 A gentler scion to the wildest stock,
And make conceive a bark of baser kind
By bud of nobler race. This is an art
Which does mend nature, change it rather, but
The art itself is nature.
PERDITA So it is.
Then make your garden rich in gillyvors,
And do not call them bastards.
PERDITA I’ll not put
The dibble in earth to set one slip of them,
 No more than, were I painted, I would wish
This youth should say ’twere well, and only
Desire to breed by me. Here’s flowers for you:
Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram,
 The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ th’ sun
And with him rises weeping. These are flowers
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age. You’re very welcome.
I should leave grazing, were I of your flock,
 And only live by gazing.
PERDITA Out, alas!
You’d be so lean that blasts of January
Would blow you through and through. ([To
Florizell.]) Now, my fair’st friend,
 I would I had some flowers o’ th’ spring, that might
Become your time of day, ([to the Shepherdesses])
and yours, and yours,
That wear upon your virgin branches yet
Your maidenheads growing. O Proserpina,
 For the flowers now that, frighted, thou let’st fall
From Dis’s wagon! Daffodils,
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty; violets dim,
But sweeter than the lids of Juno’s eyes
 Or Cytherea’s breath; pale primroses,
That die unmarried ere they can behold
Bright Phoebus in his strength—a malady
Most incident to maids; bold oxlips and
The crown imperial; lilies of all kinds,
 The flower-de-luce being one—O, these I lack
To make you garlands of, and my sweet friend,
To strew him o’er and o’er.
FLORIZELL What, like a corse?
No, like a bank for love to lie and play on,
 Not like a corse; or if, not to be buried,
But quick and in mine arms. Come, take your
Methinks I play as I have seen them do
In Whitsun pastorals. Sure this robe of mine
 Does change my disposition.
FLORIZELL What you do
Still betters what is done. When you speak, sweet,
I’d have you do it ever. When you sing,
I’d have you buy and sell so, so give alms,
 Pray so; and for the ord’ring your affairs,
To sing them too. When you do dance, I wish you
A wave o’ th’ sea, that you might ever do
Nothing but that, move still, still so,
And own no other function. Each your doing,
 So singular in each particular,
Crowns what you are doing in the present deeds,
That all your acts are queens.
PERDITA O Doricles,
Your praises are too large. But that your youth
 And the true blood which peeps fairly through ’t
Do plainly give you out an unstained shepherd,
With wisdom I might fear, my Doricles,
You wooed me the false way.
FLORIZELL I think you have
 As little skill to fear as I have purpose
To put you to ’t. But come, our dance, I pray.
Your hand, my Perdita. So turtles pair
That never mean to part.
PERDITA I’ll swear for ’em.
POLIXENES , [to Camillo]
This is the prettiest lowborn lass that ever
Ran on the greensward. Nothing she does or seems
But smacks of something greater than herself,
Too noble for this place.
CAMILLO He tells her something
 That makes her blood look out. Good sooth, she is
The queen of curds and cream.
SHEPHERD’S SON , [to Musicians] Come on, strike up.
Mopsa must be your mistress? Marry, garlic
To mend her kissing with.
MOPSA Now, in good time!
Not a word, a word. We stand upon our manners.—
Come, strike up. [ Music begins.]
[Here a Dance of Shepherds and Shepherdesses.]
Pray, good shepherd, what fair swain is this
Which dances with your daughter?
 They call him Doricles, and boasts himself
To have a worthy feeding. But I have it
Upon his own report, and I believe it.
He looks like sooth. He says he loves my daughter.
I think so too, for never gazed the moon
 Upon the water as he’ll stand and read,
As ’twere, my daughter’s eyes. And, to be plain,
I think there is not half a kiss to choose
Who loves another best.
POLIXENES She dances featly.
 So she does anything, though I report it
That should be silent. If young Doricles
Do light upon her, she shall bring him that
Which he not dreams of.
[Enter a Servant.]
SERVANT O, master, if you did but hear the peddler at
 the door, you would never dance again after a tabor
and pipe; no, the bagpipe could not move you. He
sings several tunes faster than you’ll tell money. He
utters them as he had eaten ballads and all men’s
ears grew to his tunes.