The Winter's Tale
|THE WINTER'S TALE
|The Winter's Tale is a play by William Shakespeare, first published in the First Folio in 1623. Although it was listed as a comedy when it first appeared, some modern editors have relabeled the play a romance. Some critics, among them W. W. Lawrence (Lawrence, 9-13), consider it to be one of Shakespeare's "problem plays", because the first three acts are filled with intense psychological drama, while the last two acts are comedic and supply a happy ending.|
DRAMATIS PERSONAE (Persons Represented):
LEONTES, King of Sicilia.
- MAMILLIUS, his son.
- CAMILLO, Sicilian Lord.
- ANTIGONUS, Sicilian Lord.
- CLEOMENES, Sicilian Lord.
- DION, Sicilian Lord.
- Other Sicilian Lords.
- Sicilian Gentlemen.
- Officers of a Court of Judicature.
- POLIXENES, King of Bohemia.
- FLORIZEL, his son.
- ARCHIDAMUS, a Bohemian Lord.
- A Mariner.
- An Old Shepherd, reputed father of Perdita.
- CLOWN, his son.
- Servant to the Old Shepherd.
- AUTOLYCUS, a rogue.
- TIME, as Chorus.
- HERMIONE, Queen to Leontes.
- PERDITA, daughter to Leontes and Hermione.
- PAULINA, wife to Antigonus.
- EMILIA, a lady attending on the Queen.
- Other Ladies, attending on the Queen.
- MOPSA, shepherdess.
- DORCAS, shepherdess.
- Lords, Ladies, and Attendants; Satyrs for a Dance; Shepherds, Shepherdesses, Guards, &c.
SCENE: Sometimes in Sicilia; sometimes in Bohemia.
ACT I. 
SCENE I. Sicilia. An Antechamber in LEONTES' Palace. 
[Enter CAMILLO and ARCHIDAMUS]
- If you shall chance, Camillo, to visit Bohemia, on the
- like occasion whereon my services are now on foot, you shall see,
- as I have said, great difference betwixt our Bohemia and your
- I think this coming summer the King of Sicilia means to
- pay Bohemia the visitation which he justly owes him.
- Wherein our entertainment shall shame us we will be
- justified in our loves; for indeed,—
- Beseech you,—
- Verily, I speak it in the freedom of my knowledge: we
- cannot with such magnificence—in so rare—I know not what to
- say.—We will give you sleepy drinks, that your senses,
- unintelligent of our insufficience, may, though they cannot
- praise us, as little accuse us.
- You pay a great deal too dear for what's given freely.
- Believe me, I speak as my understanding instructs me
- and as mine honesty puts it to utterance.
- Sicilia cannot show himself overkind to Bohemia. They were
- trained together in their childhoods; and there rooted betwixt
- them then such an affection which cannot choose but branch now.
- Since their more mature dignities and royal necessities made
- separation of their society, their encounters, though not
- personal, have been royally attorneyed with interchange of gifts,
- letters, loving embassies; that they have seemed to be together,
- though absent; shook hands, as over a vast; and embraced as it
- were from the ends of opposed winds. The heavens continue their
- I think there is not in the world either malice or matter to
- alter it. You have an unspeakable comfort of your young Prince
- Mamillius: it is a gentleman of the greatest promise that ever
- came into my note.
- I very well agree with you in the hopes of him. It is a
- gallant child; one that indeed physics the subject, makes old
- hearts fresh: they that went on crutches ere he was born desire
- yet their life to see him a man.
- Would they else be content to die?
- Yes; if there were no other excuse why they should desire to
- If the king had no son, they would desire to live on crutches
- till he had one.
SCENE II. The same. A Room of State in the Palace. 
[Enter LEONTES, POLIXENES, HERMIONE, MAMILLIUS, CAMILLO, and Attendants.]
- Nine changes of the watery star hath been
- The shepherd's note since we have left our throne
- Without a burden: time as long again
- Would be fill'd up, my brother, with our thanks;
- And yet we should, for perpetuity,
- Go hence in debt: and therefore, like a cipher,
- Yet standing in rich place, I multiply
- With one we-thank-you many thousands more
- That go before it.
- Stay your thanks a while,
- And pay them when you part.
- Sir, that's to-morrow.
- I am question'd by my fears, of what may chance
- Or breed upon our absence; that may blow
- No sneaping winds at home, to make us say,
- 'This is put forth too truly.' Besides, I have stay'd
- To tire your royalty.
- We are tougher, brother,
- Than you can put us to't.
- No longer stay.
- One seven-night longer.
- Very sooth, to-morrow.
- We'll part the time between's then: and in that
- I'll no gainsaying.
- Press me not, beseech you, so,
- There is no tongue that moves, none, none i' the world,
- So soon as yours, could win me: so it should now,
- Were there necessity in your request, although
- 'Twere needful I denied it. My affairs
- Do even drag me homeward: which to hinder,
- Were, in your love a whip to me; my stay
- To you a charge and trouble: to save both,
- Farewell, our brother.
- Tongue-tied, our queen? Speak you.
- I had thought, sir, to have held my peace until
- You had drawn oaths from him not to stay. You, sir,
- Charge him too coldly. Tell him, you are sure
- All in Bohemia's well: this satisfaction
- The by-gone day proclaimed: say this to him,
- He's beat from his best ward.
- Well said, Hermione.
- To tell he longs to see his son, were strong:
- But let him say so then, and let him go;
- But let him swear so, and he shall not stay,
- We'll thwack him hence with distaffs.—
- Yet of your royal presence[To POLIXENES.] I'll adventure
- The borrow of a week. When at Bohemia
- You take my lord, I'll give him my commission
- To let him there a month behind the gest
- Prefix'd for's parting:—yet, good deed, Leontes,
- I love thee not a jar of the clock behind
- What lady she her lord.—You'll stay?
- No, madam.
- Nay, but you will?
- I may not, verily.
- You put me off with limber vows; but I,
- Though you would seek to unsphere the stars with oaths,
- Should yet say 'Sir, no going.' Verily,
- You shall not go; a lady's verily is
- As potent as a lord's. Will go yet?
- Force me to keep you as a prisoner,
- Not like a guest: so you shall pay your fees
- When you depart, and save your thanks. How say you?
- My prisoner or my guest? by your dread verily,
- One of them you shall be.
- Your guest, then, madam:
- To be your prisoner should import offending;
- Which is for me less easy to commit
- Than you to punish.
- Not your gaoler then,
- But your kind hostess. Come, I'll question you
- Of my lord's tricks and yours when you were boys.
- You were pretty lordings then.
- We were, fair queen,
- Two lads that thought there was no more behind
- But such a day to-morrow as to-day,
- And to be boy eternal.
- Was not my lord the verier wag o' the two?
- We were as twinn'd lambs that did frisk i' the sun
- And bleat the one at th' other. What we chang'd
- Was innocence for innocence; we knew not
- The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dream'd
- That any did. Had we pursu'd that life,
- And our weak spirits ne'er been higher rear'd
- With stronger blood, we should have answer'd heaven
- Boldly 'Not guilty,' the imposition clear'd
- Hereditary ours.
- By this we gather
- You have tripp'd since.
- O my most sacred lady,
- Temptations have since then been born to 's! for
- In those unfledg'd days was my wife a girl;
- Your precious self had then not cross'd the eyes
- Of my young play-fellow.
- Grace to boot!
- Of this make no conclusion, lest you say
- Your queen and I are devils: yet, go on;
- The offences we have made you do we'll answer;
- If you first sinn'd with us, and that with us
- You did continue fault, and that you slipp'd not
- With any but with us.
- Is he won yet?
- He'll stay, my lord.
- At my request he would not.
- Hermione, my dearest, thou never spok'st
- To better purpose.
- Never but once.
- What! have I twice said well? when was't before?
- I pr'ythee tell me; cram 's with praise, and make 's
- As fat as tame things: one good deed dying tongueless
- Slaughters a thousand waiting upon that.
- Our praises are our wages; you may ride 's
- With one soft kiss a thousand furlongs ere
- With spur we heat an acre. But to the goal:—
- My last good deed was to entreat his stay;
- What was my first? it has an elder sister,
- Or I mistake you: O, would her name were Grace!
- But once before I spoke to the purpose—when?
- Nay, let me have't; I long.
- Why, that was when
- Three crabbed months had sour'd themselves to death,
- Ere I could make thee open thy white hand
- And clap thyself my love; then didst thou utter
- 'I am yours for ever.'
- It is Grace indeed.
- Why, lo you now, I have spoke to the purpose twice;
- The one for ever earn'd a royal husband;
- Th' other for some while a friend.
[Giving her hand to POLIXENES.]
- Too hot, too hot! [Aside.]
- To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods.
- I have tremor cordis on me;—my heart dances;
- But not for joy,—not joy.—This entertainment
- May a free face put on; derive a liberty
- From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom,
- And well become the agent: 't may, I grant:
- But to be paddling palms and pinching fingers,
- As now they are; and making practis'd smiles
- As in a looking-glass; and then to sigh, as 'twere
- The mort o' the deer: O, that is entertainment
- My bosom likes not, nor my brows,—Mamillius,
- Art thou my boy?
- Ay, my good lord.
- I' fecks!
- Why, that's my bawcock. What! hast smutch'd thy nose?—
- They say it is a copy out of mine. Come, captain,
- We must be neat;—not neat, but cleanly, captain:
- And yet the steer, the heifer, and the calf,
- Are all call'd neat.—Still virginalling
[Observing POL. and HER.]
- Upon his palm?—How now, you wanton calf!
- Art thou my calf?
- Yes, if you will, my lord.
- Thou want'st a rough pash, and the shoots that I have,
- To be full like me:—yet they say we are
- Almost as like as eggs; women say so,
- That will say anything: but were they false
- As o'er-dy'd blacks, as wind, as waters,—false
- As dice are to be wish'd by one that fixes
- No bourn 'twixt his and mine; yet were it true
- To say this boy were like me.—Come, sir page,
- Look on me with your welkin eye: sweet villain!
- Most dear'st! my collop!—Can thy dam?—may't be?
- Affection! thy intention stabs the centre:
- Thou dost make possible things not so held,
- Communicat'st with dreams;—how can this be?—
- With what's unreal thou co-active art,
- And fellow'st nothing: then 'tis very credent
- Thou mayst co-join with something; and thou dost,—
- And that beyond commission; and I find it,—
- And that to the infection of my brains
- And hardening of my brows.
- What means Sicilia?
- He something seems unsettled.
- How! my lord!
- What cheer? How is't with you, best brother?
- You look
- As if you held a brow of much distraction:
- Are you mov'd, my lord?
- No, in good earnest.—
- How sometimes nature will betray its folly,
- Its tenderness, and make itself a pastime
- To harder bosoms! Looking on the lines
- Of my boy's face, methoughts I did recoil
- Twenty-three years; and saw myself unbreech'd,
- In my green velvet coat; my dagger muzzled,
- Lest it should bite its master, and so prove,
- As ornaments oft do, too dangerous.
- How like, methought, I then was to this kernel,
- This squash, this gentleman.—Mine honest friend,
- Will you take eggs for money?
- No, my lord, I'll fight.
- You will? Why, happy man be 's dole!—My brother,
- Are you so fond of your young prince as we
- Do seem to be of ours?
- If at home, sir,
- He's all my exercise, my mirth, my matter:
- Now my sworn friend, and then mine enemy;
- My parasite, my soldier, statesman, all:
- He makes a July's day short as December;
- And with his varying childness cures in me
- Thoughts that would thick my blood.
- So stands this squire
- Offic'd with me. We two will walk, my lord,
- And leave you to your graver steps.—Hermione,
- How thou lov'st us show in our brother's welcome;
- Let what is dear in Sicily be cheap:
- Next to thyself and my young rover, he's
- Apparent to my heart.
- If you would seek us,
- We are yours i' the garden. Shall's attend you there?
- To your own bents dispose you: you'll be found,
- Be you beneath the sky. [Aside.] I am angling now.
- Though you perceive me not how I give line.
- Go to, go to!
[Observing POL. and HER.]
- How she holds up the neb, the bill to him!
- And arms her with the boldness of a wife
- To her allowing husband!
- Gone already!
[Exeunt POLIXENES, HERMIONE, and Attendants.]
Inch-thick, knee-deep, o'er head and ears a fork'd one!—
- Go, play, boy, play:— thy mother plays, and I
- Play too; but so disgrac'd a part, whose issue
- Will hiss me to my grave: contempt and clamour
- Will be my knell.—Go, play, boy, play.—There have been,
- Or I am much deceiv'd, cuckolds ere now;
- And many a man there is, even at this present,
- Now while I speak this, holds his wife by the arm
- That little thinks she has been sluic'd in his absence,
- And his pond fish'd by his next neighbour, by
- Sir Smile, his neighbour; nay, there's comfort in't,
- Whiles other men have gates, and those gates open'd,
- As mine, against their will: should all despair
- That hath revolted wives, the tenth of mankind
- Would hang themselves. Physic for't there's none;
- It is a bawdy planet, that will strike
- Where 'tis predominant; and 'tis powerful, think it,
- From east, west, north, and south: be it concluded,
- No barricado for a belly: know't;
- It will let in and out the enemy
- With bag and baggage. Many thousand of us
- Have the disease, and feel't not.—How now, boy!
- I am like you, they say.
- Why, that's some comfort.—
- What! Camillo there?
- Ay, my good lord.
- Go play, Mamillius; thou'rt an honest man.—
Camillo, this great sir will yet stay longer.
- You had much ado to make his anchor hold:
- When you cast out, it still came home.
- Didst note it?
- He would not stay at your petitions; made
- His business more material.
- Didst perceive it?—
- They're here with me already; whispering, rounding,
- 'Sicilia is a so-forth.' 'Tis far gone
- When I shall gust it last.—How came't, Camillo,
- That he did stay?
- At the good queen's entreaty.
- At the queen's be't: good should be pertinent;
- But so it is, it is not. Was this taken
- By any understanding pate but thine?
- For thy conceit is soaking, will draw in
- More than the common blocks:—not noted, is't,
- But of the finer natures? by some severals
- Of head-piece extraordinary? lower messes
- Perchance are to this business purblind? say.
- Business, my lord! I think most understand
- Bohemia stays here longer.
- Stays here longer.
- Ay, but why?
- To satisfy your highness, and the entreaties
- Of our most gracious mistress.
- Th' entreaties of your mistress!—satisfy!—
- Let that suffice. I have trusted thee, Camillo,
- With all the nearest things to my heart, as well
- My chamber-councils, wherein, priest-like, thou
- Hast cleans'd my bosom; I from thee departed
- Thy penitent reform'd: but we have been
- Deceiv'd in thy integrity, deceiv'd
- In that which seems so.
- Be it forbid, my lord!
- To bide upon't,—thou art not honest; or,
- If thou inclin'st that way, thou art a coward,
- Which hoxes honesty behind, restraining
- From course requir'd; or else thou must be counted
- A servant grafted in my serious trust,
- And therein negligent; or else a fool
- That seest a game play'd home, the rich stake drawn,
- And tak'st it all for jest.
- My gracious lord,
- I may be negligent, foolish, and fearful;
- In every one of these no man is free,
- But that his negligence, his folly, fear,
- Among the infinite doings of the world,
- Sometime puts forth: in your affairs, my lord,
- If ever I were wilful-negligent,
- It was my folly; if industriously
- I play'd the fool, it was my negligence,
- Not weighing well the end; if ever fearful
- To do a thing, where I the issue doubted,
- Whereof the execution did cry out
- Against the non-performance, 'twas a fear
- Which oft affects the wisest: these, my lord,
- Are such allow'd infirmities that honesty
- Is never free of. But, beseech your grace,
- Be plainer with me; let me know my trespass
- By its own visage: if I then deny it,
- 'Tis none of mine.
- Have not you seen, Camillo,—
- But that's past doubt: you have, or your eye-glass
- Is thicker than a cuckold's horn,—or heard,—
- For, to a vision so apparent, rumour
- Cannot be mute,—or thought,—for cogitation
- Resides not in that man that does not think it,—
- My wife is slippery? If thou wilt confess,—
- Or else be impudently negative,
- To have nor eyes nor ears nor thought,—then say
- My wife's a hobby-horse; deserves a name
- As rank as any flax-wench that puts to
- Before her troth-plight: say't and justify't.
- I would not be a stander-by to hear
- My sovereign mistress clouded so, without
- My present vengeance taken: 'shrew my heart,
- You never spoke what did become you less
- Than this; which to reiterate were sin
- As deep as that, though true.
- Is whispering nothing?
- Is leaning cheek to cheek? is meeting noses?
- Kissing with inside lip? Stopping the career
- Of laughter with a sigh?—a note infallible
- Of breaking honesty;—horsing foot on foot?
- Skulking in corners? wishing clocks more swift;
- Hours, minutes; noon, midnight? and all eyes
- Blind with the pin and web but theirs, theirs only,
- That would unseen be wicked?—is this nothing?
- Why, then the world and all that's in't is nothing;
- The covering sky is nothing; Bohemia nothing;
- My wife is nothing; nor nothing have these nothings,
- If this be nothing.
- Good my lord, be cur'd
- Of this diseas'd opinion, and betimes;
- For 'tis most dangerous.
- Say it be, 'tis true.
- No, no, my lord.
- It is; you lie, you lie:
- I say thou liest, Camillo, and I hate thee;
- Pronounce thee a gross lout, a mindless slave;
- Or else a hovering temporizer, that
- Canst with thine eyes at once see good and evil,
- Inclining to them both.—Were my wife's liver
- Infected as her life, she would not live
- The running of one glass.
- Who does infect her?
- Why, he that wears her like her medal, hanging
- About his neck, Bohemia: who—if I
- Had servants true about me, that bare eyes
- To see alike mine honour as their profits,
- Their own particular thrifts,—they would do that
- Which should undo more doing: ay, and thou,
- His cupbearer,—whom I from meaner form
- Have bench'd and rear'd to worship; who mayst see,
- Plainly as heaven sees earth and earth sees heaven,
- How I am galled,—mightst bespice a cup,
- To give mine enemy a lasting wink;
- Which draught to me were cordial.
- Sir, my lord,
- I could do this; and that with no rash potion,
- But with a ling'ring dram, that should not work
- Maliciously like poison: but I cannot
- Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress,
- So sovereignly being honourable.
- I have lov'd thee,—
- Make that thy question, and go rot!
- Dost think I am so muddy, so unsettled,
- To appoint myself in this vexation; sully
- The purity and whiteness of my sheets,—
- Which to preserve is sleep; which being spotted
- Is goads, thorns, nettles, tails of wasps;
- Give scandal to the blood o' the prince, my son,—
- Who I do think is mine, and love as mine,—
- Without ripe moving to 't?—Would I do this?
- Could man so blench?
- I must believe you, sir:
- I do; and will fetch off Bohemia for't;
- Provided that, when he's remov'd, your highness
- Will take again your queen as yours at first,
- Even for your son's sake; and thereby for sealing
- The injury of tongues in courts and kingdoms
- Known and allied to yours.
- Thou dost advise me
- Even so as I mine own course have set down:
- I'll give no blemish to her honour, none.
- My lord,
- Go then; and with a countenance as clear
- As friendship wears at feasts, keep with Bohemia
- And with your queen: I am his cupbearer.
- If from me he have wholesome beverage,
- Account me not your servant.
- This is all:
- Do't, and thou hast the one-half of my heart;
- Do't not, thou splitt'st thine own.
- I'll do't, my lord.
- I will seem friendly, as thou hast advis'd me.
- O miserable lady!—But, for me,
- What case stand I in? I must be the poisoner
- Of good Polixenes: and my ground to do't
- Is the obedience to a master; one
- Who, in rebellion with himself, will have
- All that are his so too.—To do this deed,
- Promotion follows: if I could find example
- Of thousands that had struck anointed kings
- And flourish'd after, I'd not do't; but since
- Nor brass, nor stone, nor parchment, bears not one,
- Let villainy itself forswear't. I must
- Forsake the court: to do't, or no, is certain
- To me a break-neck. Happy star reign now!
- Here comes Bohemia.
- This is strange! methinks
- My favour here begins to warp. Not speak?—
- Good-day, Camillo.
- Hail, most royal sir!
- What is the news i' the court?
- None rare, my lord.
- The king hath on him such a countenance
- As he had lost some province, and a region
- Lov'd as he loves himself; even now I met him
- With customary compliment; when he,
- Wafting his eyes to the contrary, and falling
- A lip of much contempt, speeds from me;
- So leaves me to consider what is breeding
- That changes thus his manners.
- I dare not know, my lord.
- How! dare not! do not. Do you know, and dare not
- Be intelligent to me? 'Tis thereabouts;
- For, to yourself, what you do know, you must,
- And cannot say, you dare not. Good Camillo,
- Your chang'd complexions are to me a mirror
- Which shows me mine chang'd too; for I must be
- A party in this alteration, finding
- Myself thus alter'd with't.
- There is a sickness
- Which puts some of us in distemper; but
- I cannot name the disease; and it is caught
- Of you that yet are well.
- How! caught of me!
- Make me not sighted like the basilisk:
- I have look'd on thousands who have sped the better
- By my regard, but kill'd none so. Camillo,—
- As you are certainly a gentleman; thereto
- Clerk-like, experienc'd, which no less adorns
- Our gentry than our parents' noble names,
- In whose success we are gentle,—I beseech you,
- If you know aught which does behove my knowledge
- Thereof to be inform'd, imprison't not
- In ignorant concealment.
- I may not answer.
- A sickness caught of me, and yet I well!
- I must be answer'd.—Dost thou hear, Camillo,
- I conjure thee, by all the parts of man
- Which honour does acknowledge,—whereof the least
- Is not this suit of mine,—that thou declare
- What incidency thou dost guess of harm
- Is creeping toward me; how far off, how near;
- Which way to be prevented, if to be;
- If not, how best to bear it.
- Sir, I will tell you;
- Since I am charg'd in honour, and by him
- That I think honourable: therefore mark my counsel,
- Which must be ev'n as swiftly follow'd as
- I mean to utter it, or both yourself and me
- Cry lost, and so goodnight!
- On, good Camillo.
- I am appointed him to murder you.
- By whom, Camillo?
- By the king.
- For what?
- He thinks, nay, with all confidence he swears,
- As he had seen 't or been an instrument
- To vice you to't, that you have touch'd his queen
- O, then my best blood turn
- To an infected jelly, and my name
- Be yok'd with his that did betray the best!
- Turn then my freshest reputation to
- A savour that may strike the dullest nostril
- Where I arrive, and my approach be shunn'd,
- Nay, hated too, worse than the great'st infection
- That e'er was heard or read!
- Swear his thought over
- By each particular star in heaven and
- By all their influences, you may as well
- Forbid the sea for to obey the moon
- As, or by oath remove, or counsel shake
- The fabric of his folly, whose foundation
- Is pil'd upon his faith, and will continue
- The standing of his body.
- How should this grow?
- I know not: but I am sure 'tis safer to
- Avoid what's grown than question how 'tis born.
- If, therefore you dare trust my honesty,—
- That lies enclosed in this trunk, which you
- Shall bear along impawn'd,—away to-night.
- Your followers I will whisper to the business;
- And will, by twos and threes, at several posterns,
- Clear them o' the city: for myself, I'll put
- My fortunes to your service, which are here
- By this discovery lost. Be not uncertain;
- For, by the honour of my parents, I
- Have utter'd truth: which if you seek to prove,
- I dare not stand by; nor shall you be safer
- Than one condemn'd by the king's own mouth, thereon
- His execution sworn.
- I do believe thee;
- I saw his heart in his face. Give me thy hand;
- Be pilot to me, and thy places shall
- Still neighbour mine. My ships are ready, and
- My people did expect my hence departure
- Two days ago.—This jealousy
- Is for a precious creature: as she's rare,
- Must it be great; and, as his person's mighty,
- Must it be violent; and as he does conceive
- He is dishonour'd by a man which ever
- Profess'd to him, why, his revenges must
- In that be made more bitter. Fear o'ershades me;
- Good expedition be my friend, and comfort
- The gracious queen, part of this theme, but nothing
- Of his ill-ta'en suspicion! Come, Camillo;
- I will respect thee as a father, if
- Thou bear'st my life off hence: let us avoid.
- It is in mine authority to command
- The keys of all the posterns: please your highness
- To take the urgent hour: come, sir, away.
ACT II. 
SCENE I. Sicilia. A Room in the Palace. 
[Enter HERMIONE, MAMILLIUS, and Ladies.]
- Take the boy to you: he so troubles me,
- 'Tis past enduring.
- Come, my gracious lord,
- Shall I be your playfellow?
- No, I'll none of you.
- Why, my sweet lord?
- You'll kiss me hard, and speak to me as if
- I were a baby still.—I love you better.
- And why so, my lord?
- Not for because
- Your brows are blacker; yet black brows, they say,
- Become some women best; so that there be not
- Too much hair there, but in a semicircle
- Or a half-moon made with a pen.
- Who taught you this?
- I learn'd it out of women's faces.—Pray now,
- What colour are your eyebrows?
- Blue, my lord.
- Nay, that's a mock: I have seen a lady's nose
- That has been blue, but not her eyebrows.
- Hark ye:
- The queen your mother rounds apace. We shall
- Present our services to a fine new prince
- One of these days; and then you'd wanton with us,
- If we would have you.
- She is spread of late
- Into a goodly bulk: good time encounter her!
- What wisdom stirs amongst you? Come, sir, now
- I am for you again: pray you sit by us,
- And tell's a tale.
- Merry or sad shall't be?
- As merry as you will.
- A sad tale's best for winter. I have one
- Of sprites and goblins.
- Let's have that, good sir.
- Come on, sit down;—come on, and do your best
- To fright me with your sprites: you're powerful at it.
- There was a man,—
- Nay, come, sit down: then on.
- Dwelt by a churchyard:—I will tell it softly;
- Yond crickets shall not hear it.
- Come on then,
- And give't me in mine ear.
[Enter LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, Lords, and Guards.]
- Was he met there? his train? Camillo with him?
- Behind the tuft of pines I met them; never
- Saw I men scour so on their way: I ey'd them
- Even to their ships.
- How bles'd am I
- In my just censure, in my true opinion!—
- Alack, for lesser knowledge!—How accurs'd
- In being so blest!—There may be in the cup
- A spider steep'd, and one may drink, depart,
- And yet partake no venom; for his knowledge
- Is not infected; but if one present
- The abhorr'd ingredient to his eye, make known
- How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides,
- With violent hefts;—I have drunk, and seen the spider.
- Camillo was his help in this, his pander:—
- There is a plot against my life, my crown;
- All's true that is mistrusted:—that false villain
- Whom I employ'd, was pre-employ'd by him:
- He has discover'd my design, and I
- Remain a pinch'd thing; yea, a very trick
- For them to play at will.—How came the posterns
- So easily open?
- By his great authority;
- Which often hath no less prevail'd than so,
- On your command.
- I know't too well.—
- Give me the boy:—I am glad you did not nurse him:
- Though he does bear some signs of me, yet you
- Have too much blood in him.
- What is this? sport?
- Bear the boy hence; he shall not come about her;
- Away with him!—and let her sport herself
[Exit MAMILLIUS, with some of the Guards.]
- With that she's big with;—for 'tis Polixenes
- Has made thee swell thus.
- But I'd say he had not,
- And I'll be sworn you would believe my saying,
- Howe'er you learn the nayward.
- You, my lords,
- Look on her, mark her well; be but about
- To say, 'she is a goodly lady' and
- The justice of your hearts will thereto add,
- Tis pity she's not honest, honourable':
- Praise her but for this her without-door form,—
- Which, on my faith, deserves high speech,—and straight
- The shrug, the hum or ha,—these petty brands
- That calumny doth use:—O, I am out,
- That mercy does; for calumny will sear
- Virtue itself:—these shrugs, these hum's, and ha's,
- When you have said 'she's goodly,' come between,
- Ere you can say' she's honest': but be it known,
- From him that has most cause to grieve it should be,
- She's an adultress!
- Should a villain say so,
- The most replenish'd villain in the world,
- He were as much more villain: you, my lord,
- Do but mistake.
- You have mistook, my lady,
- Polixenes for Leontes: O thou thing,
- Which I'll not call a creature of thy place,
- Lest barbarism, making me the precedent,
- Should a like language use to all degrees,
- And mannerly distinguishment leave out
- Betwixt the prince and beggar!—I have said,
- She's an adultress; I have said with whom:
- More, she's a traitor; and Camillo is
- A federary with her; and one that knows
- What she should shame to know herself
- But with her most vile principal, that she's
- A bed-swerver, even as bad as those
- That vulgars give boldest titles; ay, and privy
- To this their late escape.
- No, by my life,
- Privy to none of this. How will this grieve you,
- When you shall come to clearer knowledge, that
- You thus have publish'd me! Gentle my lord,
- You scarce can right me throughly then, to say
- You did mistake.
- No; if I mistake
- In those foundations which I build upon,
- The centre is not big enough to bear
- A school-boy's top.—Away with her to prison!
- He who shall speak for her is afar off guilty
- But that he speaks.
- There's some ill planet reigns:
- I must be patient till the heavens look
- With an aspect more favourable.—Good my lords,
- I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
- Commonly are; the want of which vain dew
- Perchance shall dry your pities; but I have
- That honourable grief lodg'd here, which burns
- Worse than tears drown: beseech you all, my lords,
- With thoughts so qualified as your charities
- Shall best instruct you, measure me;—and so
- The king's will be perform'd!
- [To the GUARD.] Shall I be heard?
- Who is't that goes with me?—Beseech your highness
- My women may be with me; for, you see,
- My plight requires it.—Do not weep, good fools;
- There is no cause: when you shall know your mistress
- Has deserv'd prison, then abound in tears
- As I come out: this action I now go on
- Is for my better grace.—Adieu, my lord:
- I never wish'd to see you sorry; now
- I trust I shall.—My women, come; you have leave.
- Go, do our bidding; hence!
[Exeunt QUEEN and Ladies, with Guards.]
- Beseech your highness, call the queen again.
- Be certain what you do, sir, lest your justice
- Prove violence, in the which three great ones suffer,
- Yourself, your queen, your son.
- For her, my lord,—
- I dare my life lay down,—and will do't, sir,
- Please you to accept it,—that the queen is spotless
- I' the eyes of heaven and to you; I mean
- In this which you accuse her.
- If it prove
- She's otherwise, I'll keep my stables where
- I lodge my wife; I'll go in couples with her;
- Than when I feel and see her no further trust her;
- For every inch of woman in the world,
- Ay, every dram of woman's flesh is false,
- If she be.
- Hold your peaces.
- Good my lord,—
- It is for you we speak, not for ourselves:
- You are abus'd, and by some putter-on
- That will be damn'd for't: would I knew the villain,
- I would land-damn him. Be she honour-flaw'd,—
- I have three daughters; the eldest is eleven;
- The second and the third, nine and some five;
- If this prove true, they'll pay for 't. By mine honour,
- I'll geld 'em all: fourteen they shall not see,
- To bring false generations: they are co-heirs;
- And I had rather glib myself than they
- Should not produce fair issue.
- Cease; no more.
- You smell this business with a sense as cold
- As is a dead man's nose: but I do see't and feel't
- As you feel doing thus; and see withal
- The instruments that feel.
- If it be so,
- We need no grave to bury honesty;
- There's not a grain of it the face to sweeten
- Of the whole dungy earth.
- What! Lack I credit?
- I had rather you did lack than I, my lord,
- Upon this ground: and more it would content me
- To have her honour true than your suspicion;
- Be blam'd for't how you might.
- Why, what need we
- Commune with you of this, but rather follow
- Our forceful instigation? Our prerogative
- Calls not your counsels; but our natural goodness
- Imparts this; which, if you,—or stupified
- Or seeming so in skill,—cannot or will not
- Relish a truth, like us, inform yourselves
- We need no more of your advice: the matter,
- The loss, the gain, the ord'ring on't, is all
- Properly ours.
- And I wish, my liege,
- You had only in your silent judgment tried it,
- Without more overture.
- How could that be?
- Either thou art most ignorant by age,
- Or thou wert born a fool. Camillo's flight,
- Added to their familiarity,—
- Which was as gross as ever touch'd conjecture,
- That lack'd sight only, nought for approbation,
- But only seeing, all other circumstances
- Made up to th' deed,—doth push on this proceeding.
- Yet, for a greater confirmation,—
- For, in an act of this importance, 'twere
- Most piteous to be wild,—I have despatch'd in post
- To sacred Delphos, to Apollo's temple,
- Cleomenes and Dion, whom you know
- Of stuff'd sufficiency: now, from the oracle
- They will bring all, whose spiritual counsel had,
- Shall stop or spur me. Have I done well?
- Well done, my lord,—
- Though I am satisfied, and need no more
- Than what I know, yet shall the oracle
- Give rest to the minds of others such as he
- Whose ignorant credulity will not
- Come up to th' truth: so have we thought it good
- From our free person she should be confin'd;
- Lest that the treachery of the two fled hence
- Be left her to perform. Come, follow us;
- We are to speak in public; for this business
- Will raise us all.
- [Aside.] To laughter, as I take it,
- If the good truth were known.
SCENE II. The same. The outer Room of a Prison. 
[Enter PAULINA and Attendants.]
- The keeper of the prison,—call to him;
- Let him have knowledge who I am.
[Exit an Attendant.]
- No court in Europe is too good for thee;
- What dost thou then in prison?
[Re-enter Attendant, with the Keeper.]
Now, good sir,
- You know me, do you not?
- For a worthy lady,
- And one who much I honour.
- Pray you, then,
- Conduct me to the queen.
- I may not, madam;
- To the contrary I have express commandment.
- Here's ado, to lock up honesty and honour from
- The access of gentle visitors!—Is't lawful,
- Pray you, to see her women? any of them?
- So please you, madam, to put
- Apart these your attendants,
- Shall bring Emilia forth.
- I pray now, call her.
- Withdraw yourselves.
- And, madam,
- I must be present at your conference.
- Well, be't so, pr'ythee.
Here's such ado to make no stain a stain
- As passes colouring.
[Re-enter KEEPER, with EMILIA.]
Dear gentlewoman, how fares our gracious lady?
- As well as one so great and so forlorn
- May hold together: on her frights and griefs,—
- Which never tender lady hath borne greater,—
- She is, something before her time, deliver'd.
- A boy?
- A daughter; and a goodly babe,
- Lusty, and like to live: the queen receives
- Much comfort in't; says 'My poor prisoner,
- I am as innocent as you.'
- I dare be sworn;—
- These dangerous unsafe lunes i' the king, beshrew them!
- He must be told on't, and he shall: the office
- Becomes a woman best; I'll take't upon me;
- If I prove honey-mouth'd, let my tongue blister;
- And never to my red-look'd anger be
- The trumpet any more.—Pray you, Emilia,
- Commend my best obedience to the queen;
- If she dares trust me with her little babe,
- I'll show't the king, and undertake to be
- Her advocate to th' loud'st. We do not know
- How he may soften at the sight o' the child:
- The silence often of pure innocence
- Persuades, when speaking fails.
- Most worthy madam,
- Your honour and your goodness is so evident,
- That your free undertaking cannot miss
- A thriving issue: there is no lady living
- So meet for this great errand. Please your ladyship
- To visit the next room, I'll presently
- Acquaint the queen of your most noble offer;
- Who but to-day hammer'd of this design,
- But durst not tempt a minister of honour,
- Lest she should be denied.
- Tell her, Emilia,
- I'll use that tongue I have: if wit flow from it
- As boldness from my bosom, let't not be doubted
- I shall do good.
- Now be you bless'd for it!
- I'll to the queen: please you come something nearer.
- Madam, if't please the queen to send the babe,
- I know not what I shall incur to pass it,
- Having no warrant.
- You need not fear it, sir:
- This child was prisoner to the womb, and is,
- By law and process of great nature thence
- Freed and enfranchis'd: not a party to
- The anger of the king, nor guilty of,
- If any be, the trespass of the queen.
- I do believe it.
- Do not you fear: upon mine honour, I
- Will stand betwixt you and danger.
SCENE III. The same. A Room in the Palace. 
[Enter LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, Lords, and other Attendants.]
- Nor night nor day no rest: it is but weakness
- To bear the matter thus,—mere weakness. If
- The cause were not in being,—part o' the cause,
- She the adultress; for the harlot king
- Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
- And level of my brain, plot-proof; but she
- I can hook to me:—say that she were gone,
- Given to the fire, a moiety of my rest
- Might come to me again.—Who's there?
- My lord?
- How does the boy?
- He took good rest to-night;
- 'Tis hop'd his sickness is discharg'd.
- To see his nobleness!
- Conceiving the dishonour of his mother,
- He straight declin'd, droop'd, took it deeply,
- Fasten'd and fix'd the shame on't in himself,
- Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep,
- And downright languish'd.—Leave me solely:—go,
- See how he fares.
[Exit FIRST ATTENDANT.]
—Fie, fie! no thought of him;
- The very thought of my revenges that way
- Recoil upon me: in himself too mighty,
- And in his parties, his alliance,—let him be,
- Until a time may serve: for present vengeance,
- Take it on her. Camillo and Polixenes
- Laugh at me; make their pastime at my sorrow:
- They should not laugh if I could reach them; nor
- Shall she, within my power.
[Enter PAULINA, with a Child.]
- You must not enter.
- Nay, rather, good my lords, be second to me:
- Fear you his tyrannous passion more, alas,
- Than the queen's life? a gracious innocent soul,
- More free than he is jealous.
- That's enough.
- Madam, he hath not slept to-night; commanded
- None should come at him.
- Not so hot, good sir;
- I come to bring him sleep. 'Tis such as you,—
- That creep like shadows by him, and do sigh
- At each his needless heavings,—such as you
- Nourish the cause of his awaking: I
- Do come, with words as med'cinal as true,
- Honest as either, to purge him of that humour
- That presses him from sleep.
- What noise there, ho?
- No noise, my lord; but needful conference
- About some gossips for your highness.
- Away with that audacious lady!—Antigonus,
- I charg'd thee that she should not come about me:
- I knew she would.
- I told her so, my lord,
- On your displeasure's peril, and on mine,
- She should not visit you.
- What, canst not rule her?
- From all dishonesty he can: in this,—
- Unless he take the course that you have done,
- Commit me for committing honour,—trust it,
- He shall not rule me.
- La you now, you hear
- When she will take the rein, I let her run;
- But she'll not stumble.
- Good my liege, I come,—
- And, I beseech you, hear me, who professes
- Myself your loyal servant, your physician,
- Your most obedient counsellor: yet that dares
- Less appear so, in comforting your evils,
- Than such as most seem yours:—I say I come
- From your good queen.
- Good queen!
- Good queen, my lord, good queen: I say, good queen;
- And would by combat make her good, so were I
- A man, the worst about you.
- Force her hence!
- Let him that makes but trifles of his eyes
- First hand me: on mine own accord I'll off;
- But first I'll do my errand—The good queen,
- For she is good, hath brought you forth a daughter;
- Here 'tis; commends it to your blessing.
[Laying down the child.]
- A mankind witch! Hence with her, out o' door:
- A most intelligencing bawd!
- Not so:
- I am as ignorant in that as you
- In so entitling me; and no less honest
- Than you are mad; which is enough, I'll warrant,
- As this world goes, to pass for honest.
- Will you not push her out? Give her the bastard:—
- Thou dotar, [To ANTIGONUS], thou art woman-tir'd, unroosted
- By thy Dame Partlet here:—take up the bastard;
- Take't up, I say; give't to thy crone.
- For ever
- Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou
- Tak'st up the princess by that forced baseness
- Which he has put upon't!
- He dreads his wife.
- So I would you did; then 'twere past all doubt
- You'd call your children yours.
- A nest of traitors?
- I am none, by this good light.
- Nor I; nor any,
- But one that's here; and that's himself: for he
- The sacred honour of himself, his queen's,
- His hopeful son's, his babe's, betrays to slander,
- Whose sting is sharper than the sword's; and will not,—
- For, as the case now stands, it is a curse
- He cannot be compell'd to 't,—once remove
- The root of his opinion, which is rotten
- As ever oak or stone was sound.
- A callat
- Of boundless tongue, who late hath beat her husband,
- And now baits me!—This brat is none of mine;
- It is the issue of Polixenes:
- Hence with it! and together with the dam,
- Commit them to the fire.
- It is yours!
- And, might we lay the old proverb to your charge,
- So like you 'tis the worse.—Behold, my lords,
- Although the print be little, the whole matter
- And copy of the father,—eye, nose, lip,
- The trick of his frown, his forehead; nay, the valley,
- The pretty dimples of his chin and cheek; his smiles;
- The very mould and frame of hand, nail, finger:—
- And thou, good goddess Nature, which hast made it
- So like to him that got it, if thou hast
- The ordering of the mind too, 'mongst all colours
- No yellow in't, lest she suspect, as he does,
- Her children not her husband's!
- A gross hag!
- And, losel, thou art worthy to be hang'd
- That wilt not stay her tongue.
- Hang all the husbands
- That cannot do that feat, you'll leave yourself
- Hardly one subject.
- Once more, take her hence.
- A most unworthy and unnatural lord
- Can do no more.
- I'll have thee burn'd.
- I care not.
- It is an heretic that makes the fire,
- Not she which burns in't. I'll not call you tyrant
- But this most cruel usage of your queen,—
- Not able to produce more accusation
- Than your own weak-hing'd fancy,—something savours
- Of tyranny, and will ignoble make you,
- Yea, scandalous to the world.
- On your allegiance,
- Out of the chamber with her! Were I a tyrant,
- Where were her life? She durst not call me so,
- If she did know me one. Away with her!
- I pray you, do not push me; I'll be gone.—
- Look to your babe, my lord; 'tis yours: Jove send her
- A better guiding spirit!—What needs these hands?
- You that are thus so tender o'er his follies,
- Will never do him good, not one of you.
- So, so:—farewell; we are gone.
- Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to this.-
- My child?—away with't.—even thou, that hast
- A heart so tender o'er it, take it hence,
- And see it instantly consum'd with fire;
- Even thou, and none but thou. Take it up straight:
- Within this hour bring me word 'tis done,—
- And by good testimony,—or I'll seize thy life,
- With that thou else call'st thine. If thou refuse,
- And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so;
- The bastard-brains with these my proper hands
- Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire;
- For thou set'st on thy wife.
- I did not, sir:
- These lords, my noble fellows, if they please,
- Can clear me in't.
- We can:—my royal liege,
- He is not guilty of her coming hither.
- You're liars all.
- Beseech your highness, give us better credit:
- We have always truly serv'd you; and beseech
- So to esteem of us: and on our knees we beg,—
- As recompense of our dear services,
- Past and to come,—that you do change this purpose,
- Which, being so horrible, so bloody, must
- Lead on to some foul issue: we all kneel.
- I am a feather for each wind that blows:—
- Shall I live on, to see this bastard kneel
- And call me father? better burn it now,
- Than curse it then. But, be it; let it live:—
- It shall not neither.—[To ANTIGONUS.] You, sir, come you hither:
- You that have been so tenderly officious
- With Lady Margery, your midwife, there,
- To save this bastard's life,—for 'tis a bastard,
- So sure as this beard's grey,—what will you adventure
- To save this brat's life?
- Anything, my lord,
- That my ability may undergo,
- And nobleness impose: at least, thus much;
- I'll pawn the little blood which I have left
- To save the innocent:—anything possible.
- It shall be possible. Swear by this sword
- Thou wilt perform my bidding.
- I will, my lord.
- Mark, and perform it,—seest thou? for the fail
- Of any point in't shall not only be
- Death to thyself, but to thy lewd-tongu'd wife,
- Whom for this time we pardon. We enjoin thee,
- As thou art liegeman to us, that thou carry
- This female bastard hence; and that thou bear it
- To some remote and desert place, quite out
- Of our dominions; and that there thou leave it,
- Without more mercy, to it own protection
- And favour of the climate. As by strange fortune
- It came to us, I do in justice charge thee,
- On thy soul's peril and thy body's torture,
- That thou commend it strangely to some place
- Where chance may nurse or end it. Take it up.
- I swear to do this, though a present death
- Had been more merciful.—Come on, poor babe:
- Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens
- To be thy nurses! Wolves and bears, they say,
- Casting their savageness aside, have done
- Like offices of pity.—Sir, be prosperous
- In more than this deed does require!—and blessing,
- Against this cruelty, fight on thy side,
- Poor thing, condemn'd to loss!
[Exit with the child.]
- No, I'll not rear
- Another's issue.
- Please your highness, posts
- From those you sent to the oracle are come
- An hour since: Cleomenes and Dion,
- Being well arriv'd from Delphos, are both landed,
- Hasting to the court.
- So please you, sir, their speed
- Hath been beyond account.
- Twenty-three days
- They have been absent: 'tis good speed; foretells
- The great Apollo suddenly will have
- The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords;
- Summon a session, that we may arraign
- Our most disloyal lady; for, as she hath
- Been publicly accus'd, so shall she have
- A just and open trial. While she lives,
- My heart will be a burden to me. Leave me;
- And think upon my bidding.
ACT III. 
SCENE I. Sicilia. A Street in some Town. 
[Enter CLEOMENES and DION.]
- The climate's delicate; the air most sweet;
- Fertile the isle; the temple much surpassing
- The common praise it bears.
- I shall report,
- For most it caught me, the celestial habits,—
- Methinks I so should term them,—and the reverence
- Of the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice!
- How ceremonious, solemn, and unearthly,
- It was i' the offering!
- But of all, the burst
- And the ear-deaf'ning voice o' the oracle,
- Kin to Jove's thunder, so surprised my sense
- That I was nothing.
- If the event o' the journey
- Prove as successful to the queen,—O, be't so!—
- As it hath been to us rare, pleasant, speedy,
- The time is worth the use on't.
- Great Apollo
- Turn all to th' best! These proclamations,
- So forcing faults upon Hermione,
- I little like.
- The violent carriage of it
- Will clear or end the business: when the oracle,—
- Thus by Apollo's great divine seal'd up,—
- Shall the contents discover, something rare
- Even then will rush to knowledge.—Go,—fresh horses;—
- And gracious be the issue!
SCENE II. The same. A Court of Justice 
[Enter LEONTES, Lords, and Officers appear, properly seated.]
- This sessions,—to our great grief we pronounce,—
- Even pushes 'gainst our heart;—the party tried,
- The daughter of a king, our wife; and one
- Of us too much belov'd. Let us be clear'd
- Of being tyrannous, since we so openly
- Proceed in justice; which shall have due course,
- Even to the guilt or the purgation.—
- Produce the prisoner.
- It is his highness' pleasure that the queen
- Appear in person here in court.—
[HERMIONE, is brought in guarded; PAULINA, and Ladies attending.]
- Read the indictment.
- [Reads.] 'Hermione, queen to the worthy Leontes, king of
- Sicilia, thou art here accused and arraigned of high treason, in
- committing adultery with Polixenes, king of Bohemia; and
- conspiring with Camillo to take away the life of our sovereign
- lord the king, thy royal husband: the pretence whereof being by
- circumstances partly laid open, thou, Hermione, contrary to the
- faith and allegiance of true subject, didst counsel and aid them,
- for their better safety, to fly away by night.'
- Since what I am to say must be but that
- Which contradicts my accusation, and
- The testimony on my part no other
- But what comes from myself, it shall scarce boot me
- To say 'Not guilty': mine integrity
- Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it,
- Be so receiv'd. But thus,—if powers divine
- Behold our human actions,—as they do,—
- I doubt not, then, but innocence shall make
- False accusation blush, and tyranny
- Tremble at patience.—You, my lord, best know—
- Who least will seem to do so,—my past life
- Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true,
- As I am now unhappy: which is more
- Than history can pattern, though devis'd
- And play'd to take spectators; for behold me,—
- A fellow of the royal bed, which owe
- A moiety of the throne, a great king's daughter,
- The mother to a hopeful prince,—here standing
- To prate and talk for life and honour 'fore
- Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it
- As I weigh grief, which I would spare: for honour,
- 'Tis a derivative from me to mine,
- And only that I stand for. I appeal
- To your own conscience, sir, before Polixenes
- Came to your court, how I was in your grace,
- How merited to be so; since he came,
- With what encounter so uncurrent I
- Have strain'd t' appear thus: if one jot beyond
- The bound of honour, or in act or will
- That way inclining, harden'd be the hearts
- Of all that hear me, and my near'st of kin
- Cry, Fie upon my grave!
- I ne'er heard yet
- That any of these bolder vices wanted
- Less impudence to gainsay what they did
- Than to perform it first.
- That's true enough;
- Though 'tis a saying, sir, not due to me.
- You will not own it.
- More than mistress of
- Which comes to me in name of fault, I must not
- At all acknowledge. For Polixenes,—
- With whom I am accus'd,—I do confess
- I lov'd him, as in honour he requir'd;
- With such a kind of love as might become
- A lady like me; with a love even such,
- So and no other, as yourself commanded:
- Which not to have done, I think had been in me
- Both disobedience and ingratitude
- To you and toward your friend; whose love had spoke,
- Ever since it could speak, from an infant, freely,
- That it was yours. Now for conspiracy,
- I know not how it tastes; though it be dish'd
- For me to try how: all I know of it
- Is that Camillo was an honest man;
- And why he left your court, the gods themselves,
- Wotting no more than I, are ignorant.
- You knew of his departure, as you know
- What you have underta'en to do in's absence.
- You speak a language that I understand not:
- My life stands in the level of your dreams,
- Which I'll lay down.
- Your actions are my dreams;
- You had a bastard by Polixenes,
- And I but dream'd it:—as you were past all shame,—
- Those of your fact are so,—so past all truth:
- Which to deny concerns more than avails; for as
- Thy brat hath been cast out, like to itself,
- No father owning it,—which is, indeed,
- More criminal in thee than it,—so thou
- Shalt feel our justice; in whose easiest passage
- Look for no less than death.
- Sir, spare your threats:
- The bug which you would fright me with, I seek.
- To me can life be no commodity:
- The crown and comfort of my life, your favour,
- I do give lost; for I do feel it gone,
- But know not how it went: my second joy,
- And first-fruits of my body, from his presence
- I am barr'd, like one infectious: my third comfort,
- Starr'd most unluckily, is from my breast,—
- The innocent milk in it most innocent mouth,—
- Hal'd out to murder: myself on every post
- Proclaim'd a strumpet; with immodest hatred
- The child-bed privilege denied, which 'longs
- To women of all fashion; lastly, hurried
- Here to this place, i' the open air, before
- I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege,
- Tell me what blessings I have here alive,
- That I should fear to die. Therefore proceed.
- But yet hear this; mistake me not;—no life,—
- I prize it not a straw,—but for mine honour
- (Which I would free), if I shall be condemn'd
- Upon surmises—all proofs sleeping else,
- But what your jealousies awake—I tell you
- 'Tis rigour, and not law.—Your honours all,
- I do refer me to the oracle:
- Apollo be my judge!
- This your request
- Is altogether just: therefore, bring forth,
- And in Apollo's name, his oracle:
[Exeunt certain Officers.]
- The Emperor of Russia was my father;
- O that he were alive, and here beholding
- His daughter's trial! that he did but see
- The flatness of my misery; yet with eyes
- Of pity, not revenge!
[Re-enter OFFICERS, with CLEOMENES and DION.]
- You here shall swear upon this sword of justice,
- That you, Cleomenes and Dion, have
- Been both at Delphos, and from thence have brought
- This seal'd-up oracle, by the hand deliver'd
- Of great Apollo's priest; and that since then,
- You have not dar'd to break the holy seal,
- Nor read the secrets in't.
- All this we swear.
- Break up the seals and read.
- [Reads.] 'Hermione is chaste; Polixenes blameless;
- Camillo a true subject; Leontes a jealous tyrant; his innocent
- babe truly begotten; and the king shall live without an heir, if
- that which is lost be not found.'
- Now blessed be the great Apollo!
- Hast thou read truth?
- Ay, my lord; even so
- As it is here set down.
- There is no truth at all i' the oracle:
- The sessions shall proceed: this is mere falsehood!
[Enter a Servant hastily.]
- My lord the king, the king!
- What is the business?
- O sir, I shall be hated to report it:
- The prince your son, with mere conceit and fear
- Of the queen's speed, is gone.
- How! gone?
- Is dead.
- Apollo's angry; and the heavens themselves
- Do strike at my injustice. [HERMIONE faints.]
- How now there!
- This news is mortal to the queen:—Look down
- And see what death is doing.
- Take her hence:
- Her heart is but o'ercharg'd; she will recover.—
- I have too much believ'd mine own suspicion:—
- Beseech you tenderly apply to her
- Some remedies for life.—Apollo, pardon
[Exeunt PAULINA and Ladies with HERMIONE.]
My great profaneness 'gainst thine oracle!—
- I'll reconcile me to Polixenes;
- New woo my queen; recall the good Camillo—
- Whom I proclaim a man of truth, of mercy;
- For, being transported by my jealousies
- To bloody thoughts and to revenge, I chose
- Camillo for the minister to poison
- My friend Polixenes: which had been done,
- But that the good mind of Camillo tardied
- My swift command, though I with death and with
- Reward did threaten and encourage him,
- Not doing it and being done: he, most humane,
- And fill'd with honour, to my kingly guest
- Unclasp'd my practice; quit his fortunes here,
- Which you knew great; and to the certain hazard
- Of all incertainties himself commended,
- No richer than his honour:—how he glisters
- Thorough my rust! And how his piety
- Does my deeds make the blacker!
- Woe the while!
- O, cut my lace, lest my heart, cracking it,
- Break too!
- What fit is this, good lady?
- What studied torments, tyrant, hast for me?
- What wheels? racks? fires? what flaying? boiling
- In leads or oils? what old or newer torture
- Must I receive, whose every word deserves
- To taste of thy most worst? Thy tyranny
- Together working with thy jealousies,—
- Fancies too weak for boys, too green and idle
- For girls of nine,—O, think what they have done,
- And then run mad indeed,—stark mad! for all
- Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it.
- That thou betray'dst Polixenes, 'twas nothing;
- That did but show thee, of a fool, inconstant,
- And damnable ingrateful; nor was't much
- Thou wouldst have poison'd good Camillo's honour,
- To have him kill a king; poor trespasses,—
- More monstrous standing by: whereof I reckon
- The casting forth to crows thy baby daughter,
- To be or none or little, though a devil
- Would have shed water out of fire ere done't;
- Nor is't directly laid to thee, the death
- Of the young prince, whose honourable thoughts,—
- Thoughts high for one so tender,—cleft the heart
- That could conceive a gross and foolish sire
- Blemish'd his gracious dam: this is not,—no,
- Laid to thy answer: but the last,—O lords,
- When I have said, cry Woe!,—the queen, the queen,
- The sweetest, dearest creature's dead; and vengeance for't
- Not dropp'd down yet.
- The higher powers forbid!
- I say she's dead: I'll swear't. If word nor oath
- Prevail not, go and see: if you can bring
- Tincture, or lustre, in her lip, her eye,
- Heat outwardly or breath within, I'll serve you
- As I would do the gods.—But, O thou tyrant!
- Do not repent these things; for they are heavier
- Than all thy woes can stir; therefore betake thee
- To nothing but despair. A thousand knees
- Ten thousand years together, naked, fasting,
- Upon a barren mountain, and still winter
- In storm perpetual, could not move the gods
- To look that way thou wert.
- Go on, go on:
- Thou canst not speak too much; I have deserv'd
- All tongues to talk their bitterest!
- Say no more:
- Howe'er the business goes, you have made fault
- I' the boldness of your speech.
- I am sorry for't:
- All faults I make, when I shall come to know them,
- I do repent. Alas, I have show'd too much
- The rashness of a woman: he is touch'd
- To th' noble heart—What's gone and what's past help,
- Should be past grief: do not receive affliction
- At my petition; I beseech you, rather
- Let me be punish'd, that have minded you
- Of what you should forget. Now, good my liege,
- Sir, royal sir, forgive a foolish woman:
- The love I bore your queen,—lo, fool again!—
- I'll speak of her no more, nor of your children;
- I'll not remember you of my own lord,
- Who is lost too: take your patience to you,
- And I'll say nothing.
- Thou didst speak but well,
- When most the truth; which I receive much better
- Than to be pitied of thee. Pr'ythee, bring me
- To the dead bodies of my queen and son:
- One grave shall be for both; upon them shall
- The causes of their death appear, unto
- Our shame perpetual. Once a day I'll visit
- The chapel where they lie; and tears shed there
- Shall be my recreation: so long as nature
- Will bear up with this exercise, so long
- I daily vow to use it.—Come, and lead me
- To these sorrows.
SCENE III. Bohemia. A desert Country near the Sea. 
[Enter ANTIGONUS with the Child, and a Mariner.]
- Thou art perfect, then our ship hath touch'd upon
- The deserts of Bohemia?
- Ay, my lord; and fear
- We have landed in ill time: the skies look grimly,
- And threaten present blusters. In my conscience,
- The heavens with that we have in hand are angry,
- And frown upon 's.
- Their sacred wills be done!—Go, get aboard;
- Look to thy bark: I'll not be long before
- I call upon thee.
- Make your best haste; and go not
- Too far i' the land: 'tis like to be loud weather;
- Besides, this place is famous for the creatures
- Of prey that keep upon't.
- Go thou away:
- I'll follow instantly.
- I am glad at heart
- To be so rid o' th' business.
- Come, poor babe:—
- I have heard (but not believ'd), the spirits of the dead
- May walk again: if such thing be, thy mother
- Appear'd to me last night; for ne'er was dream
- So like a waking. To me comes a creature,
- Sometimes her head on one side, some another:
- I never saw a vessel of like sorrow,
- So fill'd and so becoming: in pure white robes,
- Like very sanctity, she did approach
- My cabin where I lay: thrice bow'd before me;
- And, gasping to begin some speech, her eyes
- Became two spouts: the fury spent, anon
- Did this break from her: 'Good Antigonus,
- Since fate, against thy better disposition,
- Hath made thy person for the thrower-out
- Of my poor babe, according to thine oath,—
- Places remote enough are in Bohemia,
- There weep, and leave it crying; and, for the babe
- Is counted lost for ever, Perdita
- I pr'ythee call't. For this ungentle business,
- Put on thee by my lord, thou ne'er shalt see
- Thy wife Paulina more': so, with shrieks,
- She melted into air. Affrighted much,
- I did in time collect myself; and thought
- This was so and no slumber. Dreams are toys;
- Yet, for this once, yea, superstitiously,
- I will be squar'd by this. I do believe
- Hermione hath suffer'd death, and that
- Apollo would, this being indeed the issue
- Of King Polixenes, it should here be laid,
- Either for life or death, upon the earth
- Of its right father. Blossom, speed thee well!
- [Laying down the child.]
- There lie; and there thy character: there thes;
- [Laying down a bundle.]
- Which may if fortune please, both breed thee, pretty,
- And still rest thine.—The storm begins:—poor wretch,
- That for thy mother's fault art thus expos'd
- To loss and what may follow!—Weep I cannot,
- But my heart bleeds: and most accurs'd am I
- To be by oath enjoin'd to this.—Farewell!
- The day frowns more and more:—thou'rt like to have
- A lullaby too rough:—I never saw
- The heavens so dim by day. A savage clamour!—
- Well may I get aboard!—This is the chace:
- I am gone for ever.
[Exit, pursued by a bear.]
[Enter an old SHEPHERD.]
- I would there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or
- that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the
- between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry,
- stealing, fighting.—Hark you now! Would any but these boiled
- brains of nineteen and two-and-twenty hunt this weather? They
- have scared away two of my best sheep, which I fear the wolf will
- sooner find than the master: if any where I have them, 'tis by
- the sea-side, browsing of ivy.—Good luck, an't be thy will! what
- have we here? [Taking up the child.] Mercy on's, a bairn: A very
- pretty bairn! A boy or a child, I wonder? A pretty one; a very
- pretty one: sure, some scape: though I am not bookish, yet I can
- read waiting-gentlewoman in the scape. This has been some
- stair-work, some trunk-work, some behind-door-work; they were
- warmer that got this than the poor thing is here. I'll take it up
- for pity: yet I'll tarry till my son comes; he hallaed but even
- now.—Whoa, ho hoa!
- [Within.] Hilloa, loa!
- What, art so near? If thou'lt see a thing to talk on when
- thou art dead and rotten, come hither.
What ail'st thou, man?
- I have seen two such sights, by sea and by land!—but I am
- not to say it is a sea, for it is now the sky: betwixt the
- firmament and it, you cannot thrust a bodkin's point.
- Why, boy, how is it?
- I would you did but see how it chafes, how it rages, how it
- takes up the shore! But that's not to the point. O, the most
- piteous cry of the poor souls! sometimes to see 'em, and not to
- see 'em; now the ship boring the moon with her mainmast, and anon
- swallowed with yest and froth, as you'd thrust a cork into a
- hogshead. And then for the land service,—to see how the bear
- tore out his shoulder-bone; how he cried to me for help, and said
- his name was Antigonus, a nobleman.—But to make an end of the
- ship,—to see how the sea flap-dragon'd it:—but first, how the
- poor souls roared, and the sea mocked them;—and how the poor
- gentleman roared, and the bear mocked him,—both roaring louder
- than the sea or weather.
- Name of mercy! when was this, boy?
- Now, now; I have not winked since I saw these sights: the men are
- not yet cold under water, nor the bear half dined on the
- gentleman; he's at it now.
- Would I had been by to have helped the old man!
- I would you had been by the ship-side, to have helped her:
- there your charity would have lacked footing.
- Heavy matters, heavy matters! [Aside.] But look thee here, boy.
- Now bless thyself: thou mettest with things dying, I with things
- new-born. Here's a sight for thee; look thee, a bearing-cloth for
- a squire's child! look thee here; take up, take up, boy; open't.
- So, let's see:—it was told me I should be rich by the fairies:
- this is some changeling:—open't. What's within, boy?
- You're a made old man; if the sins of your youth are forgiven
- you, you're well to live. Gold! all gold!
- This is fairy-gold, boy, and 'twill prove so: up with it,
- keep it close: home, home, the next way! We are lucky, boy: and
- to be so still requires nothing but secrecy—Let my sheep go:—
- come, good boy, the next way home.
- Go you the next way with your findings. I'll go see if the
- bear be gone from the gentleman, and how much he hath eaten: they
- are never curst but when they are hungry: if there be any of him
- left, I'll bury it.
- That's a good deed. If thou mayest discern by that which is left
- of him what he is, fetch me to the sight of him.
- Marry, will I; and you shall help to put him i' the ground.
- 'Tis a lucky day, boy; and we'll do good deeds on't.
ACT IV. 
SCENE I. 
[Enter Time, as Chorus.]
- I,—that please some, try all; both joy and terror
- Of good and bad; that make and unfold error,—
- Now take upon me, in the name of Time,
- To use my wings. Impute it not a crime
- To me or my swift passage, that I slide
- O'er sixteen years, and leave the growth untried
- Of that wide gap, since it is in my power
- To o'erthrow law, and in one self-born hour
- To plant and o'erwhelm custom. Let me pass
- The same I am, ere ancient'st order was
- Or what is now received: I witness to
- The times that brought them in; so shall I do
- To the freshest things now reigning, and make stale
- The glistering of this present, as my tale
- Now seems to it. Your patience this allowing,
- I turn my glass, and give my scene such growing
- As you had slept between. Leontes leaving
- The effects of his fond jealousies, so grieving
- That he shuts up himself; imagine me,
- Gentle spectators, that I now may be
- In fair Bohemia; and remember well,
- I mention'd a son o' the king's, which Florizel
- I now name to you; and with speed so pace
- To speak of Perdita, now grown in grace
- Equal with wondering: what of her ensues,
- I list not prophesy; but let Time's news
- Be known when 'tis brought forth:—a shepherd's daughter,
- And what to her adheres, which follows after,
- Is the argument of Time. Of this allow,
- If ever you have spent time worse ere now;
- If never, yet that Time himself doth say
- He wishes earnestly you never may.
SCENE II. Bohemia. A Room in the palace of POLIXENES. 
[Enter POLIXENES and CAMILLO.]
- I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more importunate: 'tis
- a sickness denying thee anything; a death to grant this.
- It is fifteen years since I saw my country; though I have
- for the most part been aired abroad, I desire to lay my bones
- there. Besides, the penitent king, my master, hath sent for me;
- to whose feeling sorrows I might be some allay, or I o'erween to
- think so,—which is another spur to my departure.
- As thou lovest me, Camillo, wipe not out the rest of thy
- services by leaving me now: the need I have of thee, thine own
- goodness hath made; better not to have had thee than thus to want
- thee; thou, having made me businesses which none without thee can
- sufficiently manage, must either stay to execute them thyself, or
- take away with thee the very services thou hast done; which if I
- have not enough considered,—as too much I cannot,—to be more
- thankful to thee shall be my study; and my profit therein the
- heaping friendships. Of that fatal country Sicilia, pr'ythee,
- speak no more; whose very naming punishes me with the remembrance
- of that penitent, as thou call'st him, and reconciled king, my
- brother; whose loss of his most precious queen and children are
- even now to be afresh lamented. Say to me, when sawest thou the
- Prince Florizel, my son? Kings are no less unhappy, their issue
- not being gracious, than they are in losing them when they have
- approved their virtues.
- Sir, it is three days since I saw the prince. What his
- happier affairs may be, are to me unknown; but I have missingly
- noted he is of late much retired from court, and is less frequent
- to his princely exercises than formerly he hath appeared.
- I have considered so much, Camillo, and with some care;
- so far that I have eyes under my service which look upon his
- removedness; from whom I have this intelligence,—that he is
- seldom from the house of a most homely shepherd;—a man, they
- say, that from very nothing, and beyond the imagination of his
- neighbours, is grown into an unspeakable estate.
- I have heard, sir, of such a man, who hath a daughter of
- most rare note: the report of her is extended more than can be
- thought to begin from such a cottage.
- That's likewise part of my intelligence: but, I fear, the
- angle that plucks our son thither. Thou shalt accompany us to the
- place; where we will, not appearing what we are, have some
- question with the shepherd; from whose simplicity I think it not
- uneasy to get the cause of my son's resort thither. Pr'ythee, be
- my present partner in this business, and lay aside the thoughts
- of Sicilia.
- I willingly obey your command.
- My best Camillo!—We must disguise ourselves.
SCENE III. The same. A Road near the Shepherd's cottage. 
[Enter AUTOLYCUS, singing.]
- When daffodils begin to peer,—
- With, hey! 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, hey! 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, hey! with, hey! 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 named me Autolycus; who being, I as am, littered under
- Mercury, was likewise a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. With
- die and drab I purchased 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?
- [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; a race or two of ginger',—but that I may beg;
- 'four pound of prunes, and as many of raisins o' the sun'.
- [Grovelling on the ground.] O that ever I was born!
- I' the name of me,—
- O, help me, help me! Pluck but off these rags; and then, 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 robb'd, sir, and beaten; my money and apparel ta'en from me,
- and these detestable things put upon me.
- What, by a horseman or a footman?
- 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: come, lend me thy
[Helping him up.]
- O, good sir, tenderly, O!
- Alas, poor soul!
- O, good sir, softly, good sir: I fear, sir, my shoulder
- blade is out.
- How now! canst stand?
- 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 robbed 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 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.
- 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
- compassed 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 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 him.
- 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.
- Shall I bring thee on the way?
- No, good-faced sir; no, sweet sir.
- Then fare thee well: I must go buy spices for our sheep-shearing.
- Prosper you, sweet sir!
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 enrolled,
- and my name put in the book of virtue!
- Jog on, jog on, the footpath way,
- And merrily hent the stile-a:
- A merry heart goes all the day,
- Your sad tires in a mile-a.
SCENE IV. The same. A Shepherd's Cottage. 
[Enter FLORIZEL and PERDITA.]
- These your unusual weeds to each part of you
- Do 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.
- 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' the land, you have obscur'd
- With a swain's wearing; and me, poor lowly maid,
- Most goddess-like prank'd 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 attir'd; swoon, I think,
- To show myself a glass.
- I bless the time
- When my good falcon made her flight across
- Thy father's ground.
- Now Jove afford you cause!
- To me the difference forges dread: your greatness
- Hath not been us'd 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 borrow'd 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 bellow'd; the green Neptune
- A ram and bleated; and the fire-rob'd 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 honour, nor my lusts
- Burn hotter than my faith.
- O, but, sir,
- Your resolution cannot hold when 'tis
- Oppos'd, as it must be, by the power of the king:
- One of these two must be necessities,
- Which then will speak, that you must change this purpose,
- Or I my life.
- Thou dearest Perdita,
- With these forc'd thoughts, I pr'ythee, darken not
- The mirth o' the 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 any thing
- 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.
- O lady Fortune,
- Stand you auspicious!
- See, your guests approach:
- Address yourself to entertain them sprightly,
- And let's be red with mirth.
[Enter Shepherd, with POLIXENES and CAMILLO, disguised; CLOWN,
- MOPSA, DORCAS, with others.]
- Fie, daughter! When my old wife liv'd, upon
- This day she was both pantler, butler, cook;
- Both dame and servant; welcom'd all; serv'd all;
- Would sing her song and dance her turn; now here
- At upper end o' the table, now i' the middle;
- On his shoulder, and his; her face o' fire
- With labour, and the thing she took to quench it
- She would to each one sip. You are retir'd,
- As if you were a feasted one, and not
- The hostess of the meeting: pray you, bid
- These unknown friends to us 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' the feast: come on,
- And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing,
- As your good flock shall prosper.
- [To POLIXENES.] Sir, welcome!
- It is my father's will I should take on me
- The hostess-ship o' the day:—[To CAMILLO.] You're welcome, sir!
- Give me those flowers there, Dorcas.—Reverend sirs,
- For you there's rosemary and rue; these keep
- Seeming and savour 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.
- Sir, the year growing ancient,—
- Not yet on summer's death nor on the birth
- Of trembling winter,—the fairest flowers o' the season
- Are our carnations and streak'd gillyvors,
- Which some call nature's bastards: of that kind
- Our rustic garden's barren; and I care not
- To get slips of them.
- Wherefore, gentle maiden,
- Do you neglect them?
- For I have heard it said
- There is an art which, in their piedness, shares
- With great creating nature.
- Say there be;
- Yet nature is made better by no mean
- But nature makes that mean; so, o'er 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.
- So it is.
- Then make your garden rich in gillyvors,
- And do not call them bastards.
- 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 therefore
- Desire to breed by me.—Here's flowers for you;
- Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram;
- The marigold, that goes to bed with the 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.
- Out, alas!
- You'd be so lean that blasts of January
- Would blow you through and through.—Now, my fairest friend,
- I would I had some flowers o' the spring that might
- Become your time of day;—and yours, and yours,
- That wear upon your virgin branches yet
- Your maidenheads growing.—O Proserpina,
- From the flowers now, that, frighted, thou lett'st fall
- From Dis's waggon!,—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!
- 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 flowers;
- Methinks I play as I have seen them do
- In Whitsun pastorals: sure, this robe of mine
- Does change my disposition.
- 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 ordering your affairs,
- To sing them too: when you do dance, I wish you
- A wave o' the 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.
- O Doricles,
- Your praises are too large: but that your youth,
- And the true blood which peeps fairly through it,
- Do plainly give you out an unstained shepherd,
- With wisdom I might fear, my Doricles,
- You woo'd me the false way.
- 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.
- I'll swear for 'em.
- This is the prettiest low-born lass that ever
- Ran on the green-sward: nothing she does or seems
- But smacks of something greater than herself,
- Too noble for this place.
- He tells her something
- That makes her blood look out: good sooth, she is
- The queen of curds and cream.
- Come on, strike up.
- Mopsa must be your mistress; marry, garlic,
- To mend her kissing with!
- Now, in good time!
- Not a word, a word; we stand upon our manners.—
- Come, strike up.
[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 gaz'd 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.
- 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.]
- O master, if you did but hear the pedlar 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.
- He could never come better: he shall come in. I love a ballad but
- even too well, if it be doleful matter merrily set down, or a
- very pleasant thing indeed and sung lamentably.
- He hath songs for man or woman of all sizes; no milliner can so
- fit his customers with gloves: he has the prettiest love-songs
- for maids; so without bawdry, which is strange; with such
- delicate burdens of 'dildos' and 'fadings', 'jump her and thump
- her'; and where some stretch-mouth'd rascal would, as it were,
- mean mischief, and break a foul gap into the matter, he makes the
- maid to answer 'Whoop, do me no harm, good man',—puts him off,
- slights him, with 'Whoop, do me no harm, good man.'
- This is a brave fellow.
- Believe me, thou talkest of an admirable conceited fellow.
- Has he any unbraided wares?
- He hath ribbons of all the colours i' the rainbow; points,
- more than all the lawyers in Bohemia can learnedly handle, though
- they come to him by the gross; inkles, caddisses, cambrics,
- lawns; why he sings 'em over as they were gods or goddesses; you
- would think a smock were she-angel, he so chants to the
- sleeve-hand and the work about the square on't.
- Pr'ythee bring him in; and let him approach singing.
- Forewarn him that he use no scurrilous words in his tunes.
- You have of these pedlars that have more in them than you'd
- think, sister.
- Ay, good brother, or go about to think.
[Enter AUTOLYCUS, singing.]
- Lawn as white as driven snow;
- Cypress black as e'er was crow;
- Gloves as sweet as damask-roses;
- Masks for faces and for noses;
- Bugle-bracelet, necklace amber,
- Perfume for a lady's chamber;
- Golden quoifs and stomachers,
- For my lads to give their dears;
- Pins and poking-sticks of steel,
- What maids lack from head to heel.
- Come, buy of me, come; come buy, come buy;
- Buy, lads, or else your lasses cry:
- Come, buy.
- If I were not in love with Mopsa, thou shouldst take no
- money of me; but being enthralled as I am, it will also be the
- bondage of certain ribbons and gloves.
- I was promis'd them against the feast; but they come not too
- late now.
- He hath promised you more than that, or there be liars.
- He hath paid you all he promised you: may be he has paid you
- more,—which will shame you to give him again.
- Is there no manners left among maids? will they wear their
- plackets where they should bear their faces? Is there not
- milking-time, when you are going to bed, or kiln-hole, to whistle
- off these secrets, but you must be tittle-tattling before all our
- guests? 'tis well they are whispering. Clamour your tongues, and
- not a word more.
- I have done. Come, you promised me a tawdry lace, and a pair
- of sweet gloves.
- Have I not told thee how I was cozened by the way, and lost
- all my money?
- And indeed, sir, there are cozeners abroad; therefore it
- behoves men to be wary.
- Fear not thou, man; thou shalt lose nothing here.
- I hope so, sir; for I have about me many parcels of charge.
- What hast here? ballads?
- Pray now, buy some: I love a ballad in print a-life; for
- then we are sure they are true.
- Here's one to a very doleful tune. How a usurer's wife
- was brought to bed of twenty money-bags at a burden, and how she
- long'd to eat adders' heads and toads carbonadoed.
- Is it true, think you?
- Very true; and but a month old.
- Bless me from marrying a usurer!
- Here's the midwife's name to't, one Mistress Taleporter,
- and five or six honest wives that were present. Why should I
- carry lies abroad?
- Pray you now, buy it.
- Come on, lay it by; and let's first see more ballads; we'll
- buy the other things anon.
- Here's another ballad, of a fish that appeared upon the
- coast on Wednesday the fourscore of April, forty thousand fathom
- above water, and sung this ballad against the hard hearts of
- maids: it was thought she was a woman, and was turned into a cold
- fish for she would not exchange flesh with one that loved her.
- The ballad is very pitiful, and as true.
- Is it true too, think you?
- Five justices' hands at it; and witnesses more than my pack will
- Lay it by too: another.
- This is a merry ballad; but a very pretty one.
- Let's have some merry ones.
- Why, this is a passing merry one, and goes to the tune of 'Two
- maids wooing a man.' There's scarce a maid westward but she sings
- it: 'tis in request, I can tell you.
- can both sing it: if thou'lt bear a part thou shalt hear; 'tis in
- three parts.
- We had the tune on't a month ago.
- I can bear my part; you must know 'tis my occupation: have at it
- with you.
- Get you hence, for I must go
- Where it fits not you to know.
- O, whither?
- It becomes thy oath full well
- Thou to me thy secrets tell.
- Me too! Let me go thither.
- Or thou goest to the grange or mill:
- If to either, thou dost ill.
- What, neither?
- Thou hast sworn my love to be;
- Thou hast sworn it more to me;
- Then whither goest?—say, whither?
- We'll have this song out anon by ourselves; my father and the
- gentlemen are in sad talk, and we'll not trouble them.—Come,
- bring away thy pack after me.—Wenches, I'll buy for you both:—
- Pedlar, let's have the first choice.—Follow me, girls.
- [Exit with DORCAS and MOPSA.]
- [Aside.] And you shall pay well for 'em.
- Will you buy any tape,
- Or lace for your cape,
- My dainty duck, my dear-a?
- Any silk, any thread,
- Any toys for your head,
- Of the new'st and fin'st, fin'st wear-a?
- Come to the pedlar;
- Money's a meddler
- That doth utter all men's ware-a.
[Exeunt Clown, AUT., DOR., and MOP.]
- Master, there is three carters, three shepherds, three
- neat-herds, three swine-herds, that have made themselves all men
- of hair; they call themselves saltiers: and they have dance which
- the wenches say is a gallimaufry of gambols, because they are not
- in't; but they themselves are o' the mind (if it be not too rough
- for some that know little but bowling) it will please
- Away! we'll none on't; here has been too much homely foolery
- already.—I know, sir, we weary you.
- You weary those that refresh us: pray, let's see these
- four threes of herdsmen.
- One three of them, by their own report, sir, hath danced
- before the king; and not the worst of the three but jumps twelve
- foot and a half by the squire.
- Leave your prating: since these good men are pleased, let
- them come in; but quickly now.
- Why, they stay at door, sir.
[Enter Twelve Rustics, habited like Satyrs. They dance, and then
- O, father, you'll know more of that hereafter.—
- Is it not too far gone?—'Tis time to part them.—
- He's simple and tells much. [Aside.] How now, fair shepherd!
- Your heart is full of something that does take
- Your mind from feasting. Sooth, when I was young
- And handed love as you do, I was wont
- To load my she with knacks: I would have ransack'd
- The pedlar's silken treasury and have pour'd it
- To her acceptance; you have let him go,
- And nothing marted with him. If your lass
- Interpretation should abuse, and call this
- Your lack of love or bounty, you were straited
- For a reply, at least if you make a care
- Of happy holding her.
- Old sir, I know
- She prizes not such trifles as these are:
- The gifts she looks from me are pack'd and lock'd
- Up in my heart; which I have given already,
- But not deliver'd.—O, hear me breathe my life
- Before this ancient sir, who, it should seem,
- Hath sometime lov'd,—I take thy hand! this hand,
- As soft as dove's down, and as white as it,
- Or Ethiopian's tooth, or the fann'd snow that's bolted
- By the northern blasts twice o'er.
- What follows this?—
- How prettily the young swain seems to wash
- The hand was fair before!—I have put you out:
- But to your protestation; let me hear
- What you profess.
- Do, and be witness to't.
- And this my neighbour, too?
- And he, and more
- Than he, and men,—the earth, the heavens, and all:—
- That,—were I crown'd the most imperial monarch,
- Thereof most worthy; were I the fairest youth
- That ever made eye swerve; had force and knowledge
- More than was ever man's,—I would not prize them
- Without her love: for her employ them all;
- Commend them, and condemn them to her service,
- Or to their own perdition.
- Fairly offer'd.
- This shows a sound affection.
- But, my daughter,
- Say you the like to him?
- I cannot speak
- So well, nothing so well; no, nor mean better:
- By the pattern of mine own thoughts I cut out
- The purity of his.
- Take hands, a bargain!—
- And, friends unknown, you shall bear witness to't:
- I give my daughter to him, and will make
- Her portion equal his.
- O, that must be
- I' the virtue of your daughter: one being dead,
- I shall have more than you can dream of yet;
- Enough then for your wonder: but come on,
- Contract us 'fore these witnesses.
- Come, your hand;—
- And, daughter, yours.
- Soft, swain, awhile, beseech you;
- Have you a father?
- I have; but what of him?
- Knows he of this?
- He neither does nor shall.
- Methinks a father
- Is, at the nuptial of his son, a guest
- That best becomes the table. Pray you, once more;
- Is not your father grown incapable
- Of reasonable affairs? is he not stupid
- With age and altering rheums? can he speak? hear?
- Know man from man? dispute his own estate?
- Lies he not bed-rid? and again does nothing
- But what he did being childish?
- No, good sir;
- He has his health, and ampler strength indeed
- Than most have of his age.
- By my white beard,
- You offer him, if this be so, a wrong
- Something unfilial: reason my son
- Should choose himself a wife; but as good reason
- The father,—all whose joy is nothing else
- But fair posterity,—should hold some counsel
- In such a business.
- I yield all this;
- But, for some other reasons, my grave sir,
- Which 'tis not fit you know, I not acquaint
- My father of this business.
- Let him know't.
- He shall not.
- Pr'ythee let him.
- No, he must not.
- Let him, my son: he shall not need to grieve
- At knowing of thy choice.
- Come, come, he must not.—
- Mark our contract.
- [Discovering himself.] Mark your divorce, young sir,
- Whom son I dare not call; thou art too base
- To be acknowledged: thou a sceptre's heir,
- That thus affects a sheep-hook!—Thou, old traitor,
- I am sorry that, by hanging thee, I can but
- Shorten thy life one week.—And thou, fresh piece
- Of excellent witchcraft, who of force must know
- The royal fool thou cop'st with,—
- O, my heart!
- I'll have thy beauty scratch'd with briers, and made
- More homely than thy state. For thee, fond boy,—
- If I may ever know thou dost but sigh
- That thou no more shalt see this knack,—as never
- I mean thou shalt,—we'll bar thee from succession;
- Not hold thee of our blood, no, not our kin,
- Far than Deucalion off:—mark thou my words:
- Follow us to the court.—Thou churl, for this time,
- Though full of our displeasure, yet we free thee
- From the dead blow of it.—And you, enchantment,—
- Worthy enough a herdsman; yea, him too
- That makes himself, but for our honour therein,
- Unworthy thee,—if ever henceforth thou
- These rural latches to his entrance open,
- Or hoop his body more with thy embraces,
- I will devise a death as cruel for thee
- As thou art tender to't.
- Even here undone!
- I was not much afeard: for once or twice
- I was about to speak, and tell him plainly
- The self-same sun that shines upon his court
- Hides not his visage from our cottage, but
- Looks on alike.—[To FLORIZEL.] Will't please you, sir, be gone?
- I told you what would come of this! Beseech you,
- Of your own state take care: this dream of mine,
- Being now awake, I'll queen it no inch further,
- But milk my ewes, and weep.
- Why, how now, father!
- Speak ere thou diest.
- I cannot speak, nor think,
- Nor dare to know that which I know.—[To FLORIZEL.] O, sir,
- You have undone a man of fourscore-three,
- That thought to fill his grave in quiet; yea,
- To die upon the bed my father died,
- To lie close by his honest bones! but now
- Some hangman must put on my shroud, and lay me
- Where no priest shovels in dust.—[To PERDITA.] O cursed wretch,
- That knew'st this was the prince, and wouldst adventure
- To mingle faith with him!,—Undone, undone!
- If I might die within this hour, I have liv'd
- To die when I desire.
- Why look you so upon me?
- I am but sorry, not afeard; delay'd,
- But nothing alt'red: what I was, I am:
- More straining on for plucking back; not following
- My leash unwillingly.
- Gracious, my lord,
- You know your father's temper: at this time
- He will allow no speech,—which I do guess
- You do not purpose to him,—and as hardly
- Will he endure your sight as yet, I fear:
- Then, till the fury of his highness settle,
- Come not before him.
- I not purpose it.
- I think Camillo?
- Even he, my lord.
- How often have I told you 'twould be thus!
- How often said my dignity would last
- But till 'twere known!
- It cannot fail but by
- The violation of my faith; and then
- Let nature crush the sides o' the earth together
- And mar the seeds within!—Lift up thy looks.—
- From my succession wipe me, father; I
- Am heir to my affection.
- Be advis'd.
- I am,—and by my fancy; if my reason
- Will thereto be obedient, I have reason;
- If not, my senses, better pleas'd with madness,
- Do bid it welcome.
- This is desperate, sir.
- So call it: but it does fulfil my vow:
- I needs must think it honesty. Camillo,
- Not for Bohemia, nor the pomp that may
- Be thereat glean'd; for all the sun sees or
- The close earth wombs, or the profound seas hide
- In unknown fathoms, will I break my oath
- To this my fair belov'd: therefore, I pray you,
- As you have ever been my father's honour'd friend
- When he shall miss me,—as, in faith, I mean not
- To see him any more,—cast your good counsels
- Upon his passion: let myself and fortune
- Tug for the time to come. This you may know,
- And so deliver,—I am put to sea
- With her, who here I cannot hold on shore;
- And, most opportune to her need, I have
- A vessel rides fast by, but not prepar'd
- For this design. What course I mean to hold
- Shall nothing benefit your knowledge, nor
- Concern me the reporting.
- O, my lord,
- I would your spirit were easier for advice,
- Or stronger for your need.
- Hark, Perdita.—[Takes her aside.]
- [To CAMILLO.]I'll hear you by and by.
- He's irremovable,
- Resolv'd for flight. Now were I happy if
- His going I could frame to serve my turn;
- Save him from danger, do him love and honour;
- Purchase the sight again of dear Sicilia
- And that unhappy king, my master, whom
- I so much thirst to see.
- Now, good Camillo,
- I am so fraught with curious business that
- I leave out ceremony.
- Sir, I think
- You have heard of my poor services, i' the love
- That I have borne your father?
- Very nobly
- Have you deserv'd: it is my father's music
- To speak your deeds; not little of his care
- To have them recompens'd as thought on.
- Well, my lord,
- If you may please to think I love the king,
- And, through him, what's nearest to him, which is
- Your gracious self, embrace but my direction,—
- If your more ponderous and settled project
- May suffer alteration,—on mine honour,
- I'll point you where you shall have such receiving
- As shall become your highness; where you may
- Enjoy your mistress,—from the whom, I see,
- There's no disjunction to be made, but by,
- As heavens forfend! your ruin,—marry her;
- And,—with my best endeavours in your absence—
- Your discontenting father strive to qualify,
- And bring him up to liking.
- How, Camillo,
- May this, almost a miracle, be done?
- That I may call thee something more than man,
- And, after that, trust to thee.
- Have you thought on
- A place whereto you'll go?
- Not any yet;
- But as the unthought-on accident is guilty
- To what we wildly do; so we profess
- Ourselves to be the slaves of chance, and flies
- Of every wind that blows.
- Then list to me:
- This follows,—if you will not change your purpose,
- But undergo this flight,—make for Sicilia;
- And there present yourself and your fair princess,—
- For so, I see, she must be,—'fore Leontes:
- She shall be habited as it becomes
- The partner of your bed. Methinks I see
- Leontes opening his free arms, and weeping
- His welcomes forth; asks thee, the son, forgiveness,
- As 'twere i' the father's person; kisses the hands
- Of your fresh princess; o'er and o'er divides him
- 'Twixt his unkindness and his kindness,—the one
- He chides to hell, and bids the other grow
- Faster than thought or time.
- Worthy Camillo,
- What colour for my visitation shall I
- Hold up before him?
- 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 down;
- The which shall point you 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.
- I am bound to you:
- There is some sap in this.
- A course more promising
- Than a wild dedication of yourselves
- To unpath'd waters, undream'd shores, most certain
- To miseries enough: no hope to help you;
- 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,
- Whose fresh complexion and whose heart together
- Affliction alters.
- One of these is true:
- I think affliction may subdue the cheek,
- But not take in the mind.
- Yea, say you so?
- There shall not at your father's house, these seven years
- Be born another such.
- My good Camillo,
- She is as forward of her breeding as
- She is i' the rear our birth.
- I cannot say 'tis pity
- She lacks instruction; for she seems a mistress
- To most that teach.
- Your pardon, sir; for this:
- I'll blush you thanks.
- 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.
- My lord,
- Fear none of this: I think you know my fortunes
- Do all lie there: it shall be so my care
- To have you royally appointed as if
- The scene you play were mine. For instance, sir,
- That you may know you shall not want,—one word.
[They talk aside.]
- Ha, ha! what a fool Honesty is! and Trust, his sworn
- brother, a very simple gentleman! I have sold all my trumpery;
- not a counterfeit stone, not a riband, glass, pomander, 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 remembered. My
- clown (who wants but something 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 hearing, 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 had not the old man
- come in with whoobub against his daughter and the king's son, and
- scared my choughs from the chaff, I had not left a purse alive in
- the whole army.
[CAMILLO, FLORIZEL, and PERDITA come forward.]
- Nay, but my letters, by this means being there
- So soon as you arrive, shall clear that doubt.
- And those that you'll procure from king Leontes,—
- Shall satisfy your father.
- Happy be you!
- All that you speak shows fair.
- [seeing AUTOLYCUS.] Who have we here?
- We'll make an instrument of this; omit
- Nothing may give us aid.
- [Aside.] If they have overheard me now,—why, hanging.
- How now, good fellow! why shakest thou so? Fear not, man; here's
- no harm intended to thee.
- I am a poor fellow, sir.
- Why, be so still; 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.]
- I am a poor fellow, sir:—[Aside.] I know ye well enough.
- Nay, pr'ythee dispatch: the gentleman is half flay'd already.
- Are you in camest, sir?—[Aside.] I smell the trick on't.
- Dispatch, I pr'ythee.
- Indeed, I have had earnest; but I cannot with conscience
- take it.
- Unbuckle, unbuckle.
[FLORIZEL and AUTOLYCUS 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 may,—
- For I do fear eyes over,—to shipboard
- Get undescried.
- I see the play so lies
- That I must bear a part.
- No remedy.—
- Have you done there?
- Should I now meet my father,
- He would not call me son.
- Nay, you shall have no hat.—
- [Giving it to PERDITA.]
- Come, lady, come.—Farewell, my friend.
- Adieu, sir.
- O Perdita, what have we twain forgot!
- Pray you a word.
[They converse apart.]
- [Aside.] What I do next, shall be to tell the king
- 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 re-view Sicilia; for whose sight
- I have a woman's longing.
- Fortune speed us!—
- Thus we set on, Camillo, to the sea-side.
- The swifter speed the better.
[Exeunt FLORIZEL, PERDITA, and CAMILLO.]
- 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 connive
- 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 honesty to
- acquaint the king withal, I would not do't: I hold it the more
- knavery to conceal it; and therein am I constant to my
[Re-enter CLOWN and SHEPHERD.]
Aside, aside;—here is more matter for a hot brain: every lane's
- end, every shop, church, session, hanging, yields a careful man
- See, see; what a man you are now! There is no other way but
- to tell the king she's a changeling, and none of your flesh and
- Nay, but hear me.
- Nay, but hear me.
- Go to, then.
- 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 punished 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.
- I will tell the king all, every word,—yea, and 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
- Indeed, brother-in-law was the farthest off you could have
- been to him; and then your blood had been the dearer by I know
- how much an ounce.
- [Aside.] Very wisely, puppies!
- Well, let us to the king: there is that in this fardel
- will make him scratch his beard!
- [Aside.] I know not what impediment this complaint may
- be to the flight of my master.
- Pray heartily he be at palace.
- 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?
- To the palace, an it like your worship.
- Your affairs there, what, with whom, the condition of that
- fardel, the place of your dwelling, your names, your ages, of
- what having, breeding, and anything that is fitting to be known?
- We are but plain fellows, sir.
- A lie: you are rough and hairy. Let me have no lying; it becomes
- none but tradesmen, and they often give us soldiers the lie: but
- we pay them for it with stamped coin, not stabbing steel;
- therefore they do not give us the lie.
- Your worship had like to have given us one, if you had not
- taken yourself with the manner.
- Are you a courtier, an't like you, sir?
- Whether it like me or no, I am a courtier. Seest thou not the air
- of the court in these enfoldings? hath not my gait in it the
- measure of the court? receives not thy nose court-odour from me?
- reflect I not on thy baseness court-contempt? Think'st thou, for
- that I insinuate, that toaze from thee thy business, I am
- therefore no courtier? I am courtier cap-a-pe, and one that will
- either push on or pluck back thy business there: whereupon I
- command the to open thy affair.
- My business, sir, is to the king.
- What advocate hast thou to him?
- I know not, an't like you.
- Advocate's the court-word for a pheasant, say you have none.
- None, sir; I have no pheasant, cock nor hen.
- How bless'd are we that are not simple men!
- Yet nature might have made me as these are,
- Therefore I will not disdain.
- This cannot be but a great courtier.
- His garments are rich, but he wears them not handsomely.
- He seems to be the more noble in being fantastical: a great man,
- I'll warrant; I know by the picking on's teeth.
- The fardel there? what's i' the fardel? Wherefore that box?
- Sir, there lies such secrets in this fardel and box which
- none must know but the king; and which he shall know within this
- hour, if I may come to the speech of him.
- Age, thou hast lost thy labour.
- Why, sir?
- The king is not at the palace; he is gone aboard a new ship to
- purge melancholy and air himself: for, if thou beest capable of
- things serious, thou must know the king is full of grief.
- So 'tis said, sir,—about his son, that should have married a
- shepherd's daughter.
- If that shepherd be not in hand-fast, let him fly: the curses he
- shall have, the tortures he shall feel, will break the back of
- man, the heart of monster.
- Think you so, sir?
- Not he alone shall suffer what wit can make heavy and vengeance
- bitter; but those that are germane to him, though removed fifty
- times, shall all come under the hangman: which, though it be
- great pity, yet it is necessary. An old sheep-whistling rogue, a
- ram-tender, to offer to have his daughter come into grace! Some
- say he shall be stoned; but that death is too soft for him, say
- I. Draw our throne into a sheep-cote!—all deaths are too few,
- the sharpest too easy.
- Has the old man e'er a son, sir, do you hear, an't like you, sir?
- He has a son,—who shall be flayed alive; then 'nointed over with
- honey, set on the head of a wasp's nest; then stand till he be
- three quarters and a dram dead; then recovered again with
- aqua-vitae or some other hot infusion; then, raw as he is, and in
- the hottest day prognostication proclaims, shall he be set
- against a brick wall, the sun looking with a southward eye upon
- him,—where he is to behold him with flies blown to death. But
- what talk we of these traitorly rascals, whose miseries are to be
- smiled at, their offences being so capital? Tell me,—for you
- seem to be honest plain men, what you have to the king: being
- something gently considered, I'll bring you where he is aboard,
- tender your persons to his presence, whisper him in your behalfs;
- and if it be in man besides the king to effect your suits, here
- is man shall do it.
- He seems to be of great authority: close with him, give him gold;
- and though authority be a stubborn bear, yet he is oft led by the
- nose with gold: show the inside of your purse to the outside of
- his hand, and no more ado. Remember,—ston'd and flayed alive.
- An't please you, sir, to undertake the business for us, here is
- that gold I have: I'll make it as much more, and leave this young
- man in pawn till I bring it you.
- After I have done what I promised?
- Ay, sir.
- Well, give me the moiety. Are you a party in this business?
- In some sort, sir: but though my case be a pitiful one, I hope I
- shall not be flayed out of it.
- O, that's the case of the shepherd's son. Hang him, he'll be made
- an example.
- Comfort, good comfort! We must to the king and show our strange
- sights. He must know 'tis none of your daughter nor my sister; we
- are gone else. Sir, I will give you as much as this old man does,
- when the business is performed; and remain, as he says, your pawn
- till it be brought you.
- I will trust you. Walk before toward the sea-side; go on the
- right-hand; I will but look upon the hedge, and follow you.
- We are blessed in this man, as I may say, even blessed.
- Let's before, as he bids us: he was provided to do us good.
[Exeunt Shepherd and Clown.]
- If I had a mind to be honest, I see Fortune would not suffer me:
- she drops booties in my mouth. I am courted now with a double
- occasion,—gold, and a means to do the prince my master good;
- which who knows how that may turn back to my advancement? I will
- bring these two moles, these blind ones, aboard him: if he think
- it fit to shore them again, and that the complaint they have to
- the king concerns him nothing, let him call me rogue for being so
- far officious; for I am proof against that title, and what shame
- else belongs to't. To him will I present them: there may be
- matter in it.
ACT V. 
SCENE I. Sicilia. A Room in the palace of LEONTES. 
[Enter LEONTES, CLEOMENES, DION, PAULINA, and others.]
- Sir, you have done enough, and have perform'd
- A saint-like sorrow: no fault could you make
- Which you have not redeem'd; indeed, paid down
- More penitence than done trespass: at the last,
- Do as the heavens have done,forget your evil;
- With them, forgive yourself.
- Whilst I remember
- Her and her virtues, I cannot forget
- My blemishes in them; and so still think of
- The wrong I did myself: which was so much
- That heirless it hath made my kingdom, and
- Destroy'd the sweet'st companion that e'er man
- Bred his hopes out of.
- True, too true, my lord;
- If, one by one, you wedded all the world,
- Or from the all that are took something good,
- To make a perfect woman, she you kill'd
- Would be unparallel'd.
- I think so.—Kill'd!
- She I kill'd! I did so: but thou strik'st me
- Sorely, to say I did: it is as bitter
- Upon thy tongue as in my thought: now, good now,
- Say so but seldom.
- Not at all, good lady;
- You might have spoken a thousand things that would
- Have done the time more benefit, and grac'd
- Your kindness better.
- You are one of those
- Would have him wed again.
- If you would not so,
- You pity not the state, nor the remembrance
- Of his most sovereign name; consider little
- What dangers, by his highness' fail of issue,
- May drop upon his kingdom, and devour
- Incertain lookers-on. What were more holy
- Than to rejoice the former queen is well?
- What holier than,—for royalty's repair,
- For present comfort, and for future good,—
- To bless the bed of majesty again
- With a sweet fellow to't?
- There is none worthy,
- Respecting her that's gone. Besides, the gods
- Will have fulfill'd their secret purposes;
- For has not the divine Apollo said,
- Is't not the tenour of his oracle,
- That king Leontes shall not have an heir
- Till his lost child be found? which that it shall,
- Is all as monstrous to our human reason
- As my Antigonus to break his grave
- And come again to me; who, on my life,
- Did perish with the infant. 'Tis your counsel
- My lord should to the heavens be contrary,
- Oppose against their wills.—[To LEONTES.] Care not for issue;
- The crown will find an heir: great Alexander
- Left his to the worthiest; so his successor
- Was like to be the best.
- Good Paulina,—
- Who hast the memory of Hermione,
- I know, in honour,—O that ever I
- Had squar'd me to thy counsel!—then, even now,
- I might have look'd upon my queen's full eyes,
- Have taken treasure from her lips,—
- And left them
- More rich for what they yielded.
- Thou speak'st truth.
- No more such wives; therefore, no wife: one worse,
- And better us'd, would make her sainted spirit
- Again possess her corpse; and on this stage,—
- Where we offend her now,—appear soul-vexed,
- And begin 'Why to me?'
- Had she such power,
- She had just cause.
- She had; and would incense me
- To murder her I married.
- I should so.
- Were I the ghost that walk'd, I'd bid you mark
- Her eye, and tell me for what dull part in't
- You chose her: then I'd shriek, that even your ears
- Should rift to hear me; and the words that follow'd
- Should be 'Remember mine!'
- Stars, stars,
- And all eyes else dead coals!—fear thou no wife;
- I'll have no wife, Paulina.
- Will you swear
- Never to marry but by my free leave?
- Never, Paulina; so be bless'd my spirit!
- Then, good my lords, bear witness to his oath.
- You tempt him over-much.
- Unless another,
- As like Hermione as is her picture,
- Affront his eye.
- Good madam,—
- I have done.
- Yet, if my lord will marry,—if you will, sir,
- No remedy but you will,—give me the office
- To choose you a queen: she shall not be so young
- As was your former; but she shall be such
- As, walk'd your first queen's ghost, it should take joy
- To see her in your arms.
- My true Paulina,
- We shall not marry till thou bidd'st us.
- Shall be when your first queen's again in breath;
- Never till then.
[Enter a GENTLEMAN.]
- One that gives out himself Prince Florizel,
- Son of Polixenes, with his princess,—she
- The fairest I have yet beheld,—desires access
- To your high presence.
- What with him? he comes not
- Like to his father's greatness: his approach,
- So out of circumstance and sudden, tells us
- 'Tis not a visitation fram'd, but forc'd
- By need and accident. What train?
- But few,
- And those but mean.
- His princess, say you, with him?
- Ay; the most peerless piece of earth, I think,
- That e'er the sun shone bright on.
- O Hermione,
- As every present time doth boast itself
- Above a better gone, so must thy grave
- Give way to what's seen now! Sir, you yourself
- Have said and writ so,—but your writing now
- Is colder than that theme,—'She had not been,
- Nor was not to be equall'd'; thus your verse
- Flow'd with her beauty once; 'tis shrewdly ebb'd,
- To say you have seen a better.
- Pardon, madam:
- The one I have almost forgot,—your pardon;—
- The other, when she has obtain'd your eye,
- Will have your tongue too. This is a creature,
- Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal
- Of all professors else; make proselytes
- Of who she but bid follow.
- How! not women?
- Women will love her that she is a woman
- More worth than any man; men, that she is
- The rarest of all women.
- Go, Cleomenes;
- Yourself, assisted with your honour'd friends,
- Bring them to our embracement.—
[Exeunt CLEO, Lords, and Gent.]
Still, 'tis strange
- He thus should steal upon us.
- Had our prince,—
- Jewel of children,—seen this hour, he had pair'd
- Well with this lord: there was not full a month
- Between their births.
- Pr'ythee no more; cease; Thou know'st
- He dies to me again when talk'd of: sure,
- When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches
- Will bring me to consider that which may
- Unfurnish me of reason.—They are come.—
[Re-enter CLEOMENES, with FLORIZEL, PERDITA, and Attendants.]
Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince;
- For she did print your royal father off,
- Conceiving you: were I but twenty-one,
- Your father's image is so hit in you,
- His very air, that I should call you brother,
- As I did him, and speak of something wildly
- By us perform'd before. Most dearly welcome!
- And your fair princess,—goddess! O, alas!
- I lost a couple that 'twixt heaven and earth
- Might thus have stood, begetting wonder, as
- You, gracious couple, do! And then I lost,—
- All mine own folly,—the society,
- Amity too, of your brave father, whom,
- Though bearing misery, I desire my life
- Once more to look on him.
- By his command
- Have I here touch'd Sicilia, and from him
- Give you all greetings that a king, at friend,
- Can send his brother: and, but infirmity,—
- Which waits upon worn times,—hath something seiz'd
- His wish'd ability, he had himself
- The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his
- Measur'd, to look upon you; whom he loves,
- He bade me say so,—more than all the sceptres
- And those that bear them, living.
- O my brother,—
- Good gentleman!—the wrongs I have done thee stir
- Afresh within me; and these thy offices,
- So rarely kind, are as interpreters
- Of my behind-hand slackness!—Welcome hither,
- As is the spring to the earth. And hath he too
- Expos'd this paragon to the fearful usage,—
- At least ungentle,—of the dreadful Neptune,
- To greet a man not worth her pains, much less
- The adventure of her person?
- Good, my lord,
- She came from Libya.
- Where the warlike Smalus,
- That noble honour'd lord, is fear'd and lov'd?
- Most royal sir, from thence; from him whose daughter
- His tears proclaim'd his, parting with her: thence,—
- A prosperous south-wind friendly, we have cross'd,
- To execute the charge my father gave me,
- For visiting your highness: my best train
- I have from your Sicilian shores dismiss'd;
- Who for Bohemia bend, to signify
- Not only my success in Libya, sir,
- But my arrival and my wife's in safety
- Here, where we are.
- The blessed gods
- Purge all infection from our air whilst you
- Do climate here! You have a holy father,
- A graceful gentleman; against whose person,
- So sacred as it is, I have done sin:
- For which the heavens, taking angry note,
- Have left me issueless; and your father's bless'd,—
- As he from heaven merits it,—with you,
- Worthy his goodness. What might I have been,
- Might I a son and daughter now have look'd on,
- Such goodly things as you!
[Enter a Lord.]
- Most noble sir,
- That which I shall report will bear no credit,
- Were not the proof so nigh. Please you, great sir,
- Bohemia greets you from himself by me;
- Desires you to attach his son, who has,—
- His dignity and duty both cast off,—
- Fled from his father, from his hopes, and with
- A shepherd's daughter.
- Where's Bohemia? speak.
- Here in your city; I now came from him:
- I speak amazedly; and it becomes
- My marvel and my message. To your court
- Whiles he was hast'ning,—in the chase, it seems,
- Of this fair couple,—meets he on the way
- The father of this seeming lady and
- Her brother, having both their country quitted
- With this young prince.
- Camillo has betray'd me;
- Whose honour and whose honesty, till now,
- Endur'd all weathers.
- Lay't so to his charge;
- He's with the king your father.
- Who? Camillo?
- Camillo, sir; I spake with him; who now
- Has these poor men in question. Never saw I
- Wretches so quake: they kneel, they kiss the earth;
- Forswear themselves as often as they speak:
- Bohemia stops his ears, and threatens them
- With divers deaths in death.
- O my poor father!—
- The heaven sets spies upon us, will not have
- Our contract celebrated.
- You are married?
- We are not, sir, nor are we like to be;
- The stars, I see, will kiss the valleys first:—
- The odds for high and low's alike.
- My lord,
- Is this the daughter of a king?
- She is,
- When once she is my wife.
- That once, I see by your good father's speed,
- Will come on very slowly. I am sorry,
- Most sorry, you have broken from his liking,
- Where you were tied in duty; and as sorry
- Your choice is not so rich in worth as beauty,
- That you might well enjoy her.
- Dear, look up:
- Though Fortune, visible an enemy,
- Should chase us with my father, power no jot
- Hath she to change our loves.—Beseech you, sir,
- Remember since you ow'd no more to time
- Than I do now: with thought of such affections,
- Step forth mine advocate; at your request
- My father will grant precious things as trifles.
- Would he do so, I'd beg your precious mistress,
- Which he counts but a trifle.
- Sir, my liege,
- Your eye hath too much youth in't: not a month
- 'Fore your queen died, she was more worth such gazes
- Than what you look on now.
- I thought of her
- Even in these looks I made.—[To FLORIZEL.] But your petition
- Is yet unanswer'd. I will to your father.
- Your honour not o'erthrown by your desires,
- I am friend to them and you: upon which errand
- I now go toward him; therefore, follow me,
- And mark what way I make. Come, good my lord.
SCENE II. The same. Before the Palace. 
[Enter AUTOLYCUS and a Gentleman.]
- Beseech you, sir, were you present at this relation?
- I was by at the opening of the fardel, heard the old shepherd
- deliver the manner how he found it: whereupon, after a little
- amazedness, we were all commanded out of the chamber; only this,
- methought I heard the shepherd say he found the child.
- I would most gladly know the issue of it.
- I make a broken delivery of the business; but the changes I
- perceived in the king and Camillo were very notes of admiration:
- They seem'd almost, with staring on one another, to tear the
- cases of their eyes; there was speech in their dumbness, language
- in their very gesture; they looked as they had heard of a world
- ransomed, or one destroyed: a notable passion of wonder appeared
- in them; but the wisest beholder, that knew no more but seeing
- could not say if the importance were joy or sorrow;—but in the
- extremity of the one, it must needs be. Here comes a gentleman
- that happily knows more.
[Enter a Gentleman.]
The news, Rogero?
- Nothing but bonfires: the oracle is fulfilled: the king's
- daughter is found: such a deal of wonder is broken out within
- this hour that ballad-makers cannot be able to express it.
- Here comes the Lady Paulina's steward: he can deliver you more.
[Enter a third Gentleman.]
How goes it now, sir? This news, which is called true, is so like
- an old tale that the verity of it is in strong suspicion. Has the
- king found his heir?
- Most true, if ever truth were pregnant by circumstance. That
- which you hear you'll swear you see, there is such unity in the
- proofs. The mantle of Queen Hermione; her jewel about the neck of
- it; the letters of Antigonus, found with it, which they know to
- be his character; the majesty of the creature in resemblance of
- the mother; the affection of nobleness, which nature shows above
- her breeding; and many other evidences,—proclaim her with all
- certainty to be the king's daughter. Did you see the meeting of
- the two kings?
- Then you have lost a sight which was to be seen, cannot be spoken
- of. There might you have beheld one joy crown another, so and in
- such manner that it seemed sorrow wept to take leave of them; for
- their joy waded in tears. There was casting up of eyes, holding
- up of hands, with countenance of such distraction that they were
- to be known by garment, not by favour. Our king, being ready to
- leap out of himself for joy of his found daughter, as if that joy
- were now become a loss, cries 'O, thy mother, thy mother!' then
- asks Bohemia forgiveness; then embraces his son-in-law; then
- again worries he his daughter with clipping her; now he thanks
- the old shepherd, which stands by like a weather-bitten conduit
- of many kings' reigns. I never heard of such another encounter,
- which lames report to follow it, and undoes description to do it.
- What, pray you, became of Antigonus, that carried hence the
- Like an old tale still, which will have matter to rehearse,
- though credit be asleep and not an ear open. He was torn to
- pieces with a bear: this avouches the shepherd's son, who has not
- only his innocence,—which seems much,—to justify him, but a
- handkerchief and rings of his, that Paulina knows.
- What became of his bark and his followers?
- Wrecked the same instant of their master's death, and in the view
- of the shepherd: so that all the instruments which aided to
- expose the child were even then lost when it was found. But, O,
- the noble combat that 'twixt joy and sorrow was fought in
- Paulina! She had one eye declined for the loss of her husband,
- another elevated that the oracle was fulfilled: she lifted the
- princess from the earth, and so locks her in embracing, as if she
- would pin her to her heart, that she might no more be in danger
- of losing.
- The dignity of this act was worth the audience of kings and
- princes; for by such was it acted.
- One of the prettiest touches of all, and that which angled for
- mine eyes,—caught the water, though not the fish,—was, when at
- the relation of the queen's death, with the manner how she came
- to it,—bravely confessed and lamented by the king,—how
- attentivenes wounded his daughter; till, from one sign of dolour
- to another, she did with an 'Alas!'—I would fain say, bleed
- tears; for I am sure my heart wept blood. Who was most marble
- there changed colour; some swooned, all sorrowed: if all the
- world could have seen it, the woe had been universal.
- Are they returned to the court?
- No: the princess hearing of her mother's statue, which is in the
- keeping of Paulina,—a piece many years in doing and now newly
- performed by that rare Italian master, Julio Romano, who, had he
- himself eternity, and could put breath into his work, would
- beguile nature of her custom, so perfectly he is her ape: he so
- near to Hermione hath done Hermione that they say one would speak
- to her and stand in hope of answer:—thither with all greediness
- of affection are they gone; and there they intend to sup.
- I thought she had some great matter there in hand; for she hath
- privately twice or thrice a day, ever since the death of
- Hermione, visited that removed house. Shall we thither, and with
- our company piece the rejoicing?
- Who would be thence that has the benefit of access? every wink of
- an eye some new grace will be born: our absence makes us
- unthrifty to our knowledge. Let's along.
- 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 be,—who began to be much
- sea-sick, and himself little better, extremity of weather
- continuing, this mystery remained undiscover'd. But 'tis all one
- to me; for had I been the finder-out of this secret, it would not
- have relish'd among my other discredits. Here come those I have
- done good to against my will, and already appearing in the
- blossoms of their fortune.
[Enter Shepherd and Clown.]
- Come, boy; I am past more children, but thy sons and daughters
- will be all gentlemen born.
- 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.
- I know you are now, sir, a gentleman born.
- Ay, and have been so any time these four hours.
- And so have I, boy!
- 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.
- We may live, son, to shed many more.
- Ay; or else 'twere hard luck, being in so preposterous estate as
- we are.
- 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.
- Pr'ythee, son, do; for we must be gentle, now we are gentlemen.
- Thou wilt amend thy life?
- Ay, an it like your good worship.
- Give me thy hand: I will swear to the prince thou art as honest a
- true fellow as any is in Bohemia.
- You may say it, but not swear it.
- Not swear it, now I am a gentleman? Let boors and franklins say
- it, I'll swear it.
- How if it be false, son?
- 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 thou 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 hands.
- I will prove so, sir, to my power.
- 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 princes, our kindred, are going
- to see the queen's picture. Come, follow us: we'll be thy good
SCENE III. The same. A Room in PAULINA's house. 
[Enter LEONTES, POLIXENES, FLORIZEL, PERDITA, CAMILLO, PAULINA,
- Lords and Attendants.]
- O grave and good Paulina, the great comfort
- That I have had of thee!
- What, sovereign sir,
- I did not well, I meant well. All my services
- You have paid home: but that you have vouchsaf'd,
- With your crown'd brother and these your contracted
- Heirs of your kingdoms, my poor house to visit,
- It is a surplus of your grace which never
- My life may last to answer.
- O Paulina,
- We honour you with trouble:—but we came
- To see the statue of our queen: your gallery
- Have we pass'd through, not without much content
- In many singularities; but we saw not
- That which my daughter came to look upon,
- The statue of her mother.
- As she liv'd peerless,
- So her dead likeness, I do well believe,
- Excels whatever yet you look'd upon
- Or hand of man hath done; therefore I keep it
- Lonely, apart. But here it is: prepare
- To see the life as lively mock'd as ever
- Still sleep mock'd death: behold; and say 'tis well.
[PAULINA undraws a curtain, and discovers HERMIONE, standing as a
I like your silence,—it the more shows off
- Your wonder: but yet speak;—first, you, my liege.
- Comes it not something near?
- Her natural posture!—
- Chide me, dear stone, that I may say indeed
- Thou art Hermione; or rather, thou art she
- In thy not chiding; for she was as tender
- As infancy and grace.—But yet, Paulina,
- Hermione was not so much wrinkled; nothing
- So aged, as this seems.
- O, not by much!
- So much the more our carver's excellence;
- Which lets go by some sixteen years, and makes her
- As she liv'd now.
- As now she might have done,
- So much to my good comfort, as it is
- Now piercing to my soul. O, thus she stood,
- Even with such life of majesty,—warm life,
- As now it coldly stands,—when first I woo'd her!
- I am asham'd: does not the stone rebuke me
- For being more stone than it?—O royal piece,
- There's magic in thy majesty; which has
- My evils conjur'd to remembrance; and
- From thy admiring daughter took the spirits,
- Standing like stone with thee!
- And give me leave;
- And do not say 'tis superstition, that
- I kneel, and then implore her blessing.—Lady,
- Dear queen, that ended when I but began,
- Give me that hand of yours to kiss.
- O, patience!
- The statue is but newly fix'd, the colour's
- Not dry.
- My lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on,
- Which sixteen winters cannot blow away,
- So many summers dry; scarce any joy
- Did ever so long live; no sorrow
- But kill'd itself much sooner.
- Dear my brother,
- Let him that was the cause of this have power
- To take off so much grief from you as he
- Will piece up in himself.
- Indeed, my lord,
- If I had thought the sight of my poor image
- Would thus have wrought you,—for the stone is mine,—
- I'd not have show'd it.
- Do not draw the curtain.
- No longer shall you gaze on't; lest your fancy
- May think anon it moves.
- Let be, let be.—
- Would I were dead, but that, methinks, already—
- What was he that did make it? See, my lord,
- Would you not deem it breath'd, and that those veins
- Did verily bear blood?
- Masterly done:
- The very life seems warm upon her lip.
- The fixture of her eye has motion in't,
- As we are mock'd with art.
- I'll draw the curtain:
- My lord's almost so far transported that
- He'll think anon it lives.
- O sweet Paulina,
- Make me to think so twenty years together!
- No settled senses of the world can match
- The pleasure of that madness. Let 't alone.
- I am sorry, sir, I have thus far stirr'd you: but
- I could afflict you further.
- Do, Paulina;
- For this affliction has a taste as sweet
- As any cordial comfort.—Still, methinks,
- There is an air comes from her: what fine chisel
- Could ever yet cut breath? Let no man mock me,
- For I will kiss her!
- Good my lord, forbear:
- The ruddiness upon her lip is wet;
- You'll mar it if you kiss it; stain your own
- With oily painting. Shall I draw the curtain?
- No, not these twenty years.
- So long could I
- Stand by, a looker on.
- Either forbear,
- Quit presently the chapel, or resolve you
- For more amazement. If you can behold it,
- I'll make the statue move indeed, descend,
- And take you by the hand, but then you'll think,—
- Which I protest against,—I am assisted
- By wicked powers.
- What you can make her do
- I am content to look on: what to speak,
- I am content to hear; for 'tis as easy
- To make her speak as move.
- It is requir'd
- You do awake your faith. Then all stand still;
- Or those that think it is unlawful business
- I am about, let them depart.
- No foot shall stir.
- Music, awake her: strike.—[Music.]
- 'Tis time; descend; be stone no more; approach;
- Strike all that look upon with marvel. Come;
- I'll fill your grave up: stir; nay, come away;
- Bequeath to death your numbness, for from him
- Dear life redeems you.—You perceive she stirs.
[HERMIONE comes down from the pedestal.]
Start not; her actions shall be holy as
- You hear my spell is lawful: do not shun her
- Until you see her die again; for then
- You kill her double. Nay, present your hand:
- When she was young you woo'd her; now in age
- Is she become the suitor.
- O, she's warm!
- If this be magic, let it be an art
- Lawful as eating.
- She embraces him.
- She hangs about his neck:
- If she pertain to life, let her speak too.
- Ay, and make it manifest where she has liv'd,
- Or how stol'n from the dead.
- That she is living,
- Were it but told you, should be hooted at
- Like an old tale; but it appears she lives,
- Though yet she speak not. Mark a little while.—
- Please you to interpose, fair madam: kneel,
- And pray your mother's blessing.—Turn, good lady;
- Our Perdita is found.
[Presenting PERDITA, who kneels to HERMIONE.]
- You gods, look down,
- And from your sacred vials pour your graces
- Upon my daughter's head!—Tell me, mine own,
- Where hast thou been preserv'd? where liv'd? how found
- Thy father's court? for thou shalt hear that I,—
- Knowing by Paulina that the oracle
- Gave hope thou wast in being,—have preserv'd
- Myself to see the issue.
- There's time enough for that;
- Lest they desire upon this push to trouble
- Your joys with like relation.—Go together,
- You precious winners all; your exultation
- Partake to every one. I, an old turtle,
- Will wing me to some wither'd bough, and there
- My mate, that's never to be found again,
- Lament till I am lost.
- O peace, Paulina!
- Thou shouldst a husband take by my consent,
- As I by thine a wife: this is a match,
- And made between's by vows. Thou hast found mine;
- But how, is to be question'd: for I saw her,
- As I thought, dead; and have, in vain, said many
- A prayer upon her grave. I'll not seek far,—
- For him, I partly know his mind,—to find thee
- An honourable husband.—Come, Camillo,
- And take her by the hand, whose worth and honesty
- Is richly noted, and here justified
- By us, a pair of kings.—Let's from this place.—
- What! look upon my brother:—both your pardons,
- That e'er I put between your holy looks
- My ill suspicion.—This your son-in-law,
- And son unto the king, whom heavens directing,
- Is troth-plight to your daughter.—Good Paulina,
- Lead us from hence; where we may leisurely
- Each one demand, and answer to his part
- Perform'd in this wide gap of time, since first
- We were dissever'd: hastily lead away.!
|This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.|