Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Hardin Aasand
Not Peer Reviewed

The Winter's Tale (Modern)


1
[1.1]
Enter Camillo and Archidamus.
Archidamus If you shall chance, Camillo, to visit Bohemia on the like occasion 5whereon my services are now on-foot, you shall see (as I have said) great difference betwixt our Bohemia and your Sicilia.
Camillo I think this coming summer the King of Sicilia means to pay Bohemia the visitation which he justly owes him.
Archidamus Wherein our entertainment shall shame us, we will be justified in our loves. For indeed --
Camillo Beseech you --
Archidamus Verily, I speak it in the freedom of my knowledge. We 15cannot with such magnificence -- in so rare -- I know not what to say. We will give you sleepy drinks, that your senses (unintelligent of our insufficiency) may, though they cannot praise us, as little accuse us.
20Camillo You pay a great deal too dear for what's given freely.
Archidamus Believe me, I speak as my understanding instructs me and as mine honesty puts it to utterance.
CamilloSicilia cannot show himself overkind to 25Bohemia. 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) hath been royally 30attornied 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 loves.
35Archidamus 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.
Camillo I very well agree with you in the hopes of him. 40It 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.
Archidamus Would they else be content to die?
Camillo Yes, if there were no other excuse why they should 45desire to live.
Archidamus If the King had no son, they would desire to live on crutches till he had one.
Exeunt.
[1.2]
Enter Leontes, Hermione, Mamillius, Polixenes, Camillo.
50Polixenes Nine changes of the watery star hath been
The shepherds' note since we have left our throne
Without a burden. Time as long again
Would be filled up, my brother, with our thanks,
And yet we should for perpetuity
55Go 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.
Leontes
Stay your thanks a while
60And pay them when you part.
Polixenes
Sir, that's tomorrow.
I am questioned by my fear of what may chance
Or breed upon our absence that may blow
No sneaping winds at home to make us say,
65"This is put forth too truly." Besides, I have stayed
To tire your royalty.
Leontes
We are tougher, brother,
Than you can put us to it.
Polixenes
No longer stay.
70Leontes
One seven night longer.
Polixenes
Very sooth, tomorrow.
Leontes We'll part the time between's then, and in that
I'll no gainsaying.
Polixenes
Press me not, beseech you, so.
75There is no tongue that moves, none, none i'th' 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
80Were in your love a whip to me; my stay,
To you a charge and trouble. To save both,
Farewell, our brother.
Leontes
Tongue-tied, our Queen? Speak you.
Hermione I had thought, sir, to have held my peace until
85You 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 bygone-day proclaimed, say this to him,
He's beat from his best ward.
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.
95Yet of your royal presence 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
Prefixed for's parting. Yet, good deed, Leontes,
100I love thee not a jar o'th' clock behind
What lady she her lord. You'll stay?
Polixenes
No, madam.
Hermione
Nay, but you will?
Polixenes
I may not, verily.
105Hermione
Verily?
You put me off with limber vows. But I,
Though you would seek t'unsphere the stars with oaths,
Should yet say "Sir, no going." Verily
You shall not go; a lady's "Verily" is
110As potent as a lord's. Will you 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",
115One of them you shall be.
Polixenes
Your guest then, madam:
To be your prisoner should import offending,
Which is for me less easy to commit
Than you to punish.
120Hermione
Not your jailer 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?
125Two lads that thought there was no more behind
But such a day tomorrow as today,
And to be boy eternal.
Hermione
Was not my Lord
The verier wag o'th' two?
130Polixenes We were as twinned lambs that did frisk i'th' sun
And bleat the one at th' other. What we changed
Was innocence for innocence. We knew not
The doctrine of ill-doing nor dreamed
That any did. Had we pursued that life
135And our weak spirits ne'er been higher reared
With stronger blood, we should have answered heaven
Boldly, "Not guilty"; the imposition cleared,
Hereditary ours.
Hermione
By this we gather
140You have tripped since.
Polixenes
O my most sacred Lady,
Temptations have since then been born to's, for
In those unfledged days was my wife a girl.
Your precious self had then not crossed the eyes
145Of my young playfellow.
Hermione
Grace to boot!
Of this make no conclusion, lest you say
Your queen and I are devils. Yet go on.
Th'offences we have made you do we'll answer,
150If you first sinned with us and that with us
You did continue fault, and that you slipped not
With any but with us.
Leontes
Is he won yet?
Hermione
He'll stay, my Lord.
155Leontes
At my request, he would not.
Hermione, my dearest, thou never spok'st
To better purpose.
Hermione
Never?
Leontes
Never, but once.
160Hermione What? Have I twice said well? When was't before?
I prithee 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
165With one soft kiss a thousand furlongs ere
With spur we heat an acre. But to th' goal:
My last good deed was to entreat his stay.
What was my first? It has an elder sister,
Or I mistake you. Oh, would her name were Grace!
170But once before I spoke to th' purpose? When?
Nay, let me have't! I long.
Leontes
Why, that was when
Three crabbèd months had soured themselves to death
Ere I could make thee open thy white hand:
175And clap thyself, my love; then didst thou utter,
"I am yours for ever."
Hermione
'Tis Grace indeed.
Why, lo you now, I have spoke to th' purpose twice:
The one forever earned a royal husband,
180Th' other for some while a friend.
[Takes Polixenes by the hand]
Leontes
[Aside] Too hot, too hot!
To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods.
I have tremor cordis on me. My heart dances,
But not for joy, not joy. This entertainment
185May a free face put on; derive a liberty
From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom,
And well become the agent. It may, I grant.
But to be paddling palms and pinching fingers,
As now they are, and making practised smiles
190As in a looking-glass, and then to sigh, as 'twere --,
The mort o'th' deer -- Oh, that is entertainment
My bosom likes not, nor my brows. Mamillius,
Art thou my boy?
Mamillius
Ay, my good Lord.
195Leontes
I'fecks!
Why, that's my bawcock. What? Has't smutched 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
200Are all called neat -- still virginalling
Upon his palm? -- [To Mamillius] How now, you wanton calf,
Art thou my calf?
Mamillius
Yes, if you will, my Lord.
Leontes Thou want'st a rough pash and the shoots that I have
205To be full like me, yet they say we are
Almost as like as egg -- women say so
That will say anything. But were they false
As o're-dyed blacks, as wind, as waters? False
As dice are to be wished by one that fixes
210No bourne '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 dearest, my collop. Can thy dam? May't be? --
Affection, thy intention stabs the center.
215Thou dost make possible things not so held,
Communicat'st with dreams (how can this be?)
With what's unreal thou coactive art
And fellowst nothing. Then 'tis very credent,
Thou mayst co-join with something and thou dost --
220And that beyond commission -- and I find it --
And that to the infection of my brains
And hardening of my brows.
Polixenes
What means Sicilia?
Hermione
He something seems unsettled.
225Polixenes
How, my Lord?
Leontes What cheer? How is't with you, best brother?
Hermione You look as if you held a brow of much distraction.
Are you moved, my Lord?
Leontes
No, in good earnest.
230How 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 unbreeched
235In 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 -- [To Mamillius] Mine honest friend,
240Will you take eggs for money?
Mamillius
No, my Lord, I'll fight.
Leontes You will? Why, happy man be's dole! [To Polixenes] My brother,
Are you so fond of your young prince as we
Do seem to be of ours?
245Polixenes
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,
250And with his varying childness cures in me
Thoughts that would thick my blood.
Leontes
So stands this squire
Officed with me. We two will walk, my Lord,
And leave you to your graver steps. Hermione,
255How 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.
Hermione
If you would seek us,
260We are yours i'th'garden. Shall's attend you there?
Leontes 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!
265How she holds up the neb, the bill to him,
And arms her with the boldness of a wife
To her allowing husband.
[Exeunt Hermione and Polixenes.]
Gone already!
Inch-thick, knee-deep, o'er head and ears a forked one --
[To Mamillius] Go play, boy, play. Thy mother plays, and I
270Play too, but so disgraced a part, whose issue
Will hiss me to my grave. Contempt and clamor
Will be my knell -- [To Mamillius] Go play, boy, play -- [Aside] There have been,
Or I am much deceived, cuckolds ere now,
And many a man there is, even at this present,
275Now, while I speak this, holds his wife by th' arm,
That little thinks she has been sluiced in's absence,
And his pond fished by his next neighbor, by
Sir Smile, his neighbor. Nay, there's comfort in't
Whiles other men have gates, and those gates opened
280As mine against their will. Should all despair
That have 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
285From 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 on's
Have the disease and feel it not. [To Mamillius] How now, boy?
290Mamillius
I am like you, they say.
Leontes
Why, that's some comfort.
What? Camillo, there?
Camillo
[Coming forward] Ay, my good Lord.
Leontes Go play, Mamillius, thou'rt an honest man.
[Exit Mamillius]
295Camillo, this great sir will yet stay longer.
Camillo You had much ado to make his anchor hold.
When you cast out, it still came home.
Leontes
Didst note it?
Camillo He would not stay at your petitions, made
300His business more material.
Leontes
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 cam't, Camillo,
305That he did stay?
Camillo
At the good queen's entreaty.
Leontes "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?
310For 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 headpiece extraordinary? Lower messes
Perchance are to this business purblind? Say.
315Camillo Business, my lord? I think most understand
Bohemia stays here longer.
Leontes
Ha?
Camillo
Stays here longer.
Leontes Ay, but why?
320Camillo To satisfy your Highness and the entreaties
Of our most gracious mistress.
Leontes
"Satisfy"?
"Th' entreaties of your mistress"? "Satisfy"?
Let that suffice. I have trusted thee, Camillo,
325With all the nearest things to my heart, as well
My chamber-counsels, wherein, priest-like, thou START Hast cleansed my bosom. I from thee departed
Thy penitent reformed, but we have been
Deceived in thy integrity, deceived
330In that which seems so.
Camillo
Be it forbid, my lord!
Leontes To bide upon't: thou art not honest, or
If thou inclin'st that way, thou art a coward,
Which hoxes honesty behind, restraining
335From course required, or else thou must be counted
A servant grafted in my serious trust
And therein negligent; or else a fool
That see'st a game played home, the rich stake drawn,
And tak'st it all for jest.
340Camillo
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,
345Sometime puts forth. In your affairs, my Lord,
If ever I were wilful-negligent,
It was my folly; if industriously
I played the fool, it was my negligence,
Not weighing well the end; if ever fearful
350To do a thing where I the issue doubted,
Whereof the execution did cry out
Against the non-performance, 'twas a fear
Which oft infects the wisest. These, my lord,
Are such allowed infirmities that honesty
355Is 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.
Leontes
Have not you seen, Camillo --
360But 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, rumor
Cannot be mute -- or thought -- for cogitation
Resides not in that man that does not think
365My 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
370Before her troth-plight. Say't, and justify't.
Camillo 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
375Than this, which to reiterate were sin
As deep as that, though true.
Leontes
Is whispering nothing?
Is leaning cheek to cheek? Is meeting noses?
Kissing with inside lip? Stopping the career
380Of 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,
385That 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.
390Camillo
Good my Lord, be cured
Of this diseased opinion, and betimes,
For 'tis most dangerous.
Leontes
Say it be, 'tis true.
Camillo
No, no, my Lord.
395Leontes
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,
400Inclining to them both; were my wife's liver
Infected as her life, she would not live
The running of one glass.
Camillo
Who does infect her?
Leontes Why he that wears her like her medal, hanging
405About his neck -- Bohemia who, if I
Had servants true about me that bare eyes
To see alike mine honor as their profits,
Their own particular thrifts, they would do that
Which should undo more doing. Ay, and thou
410His cupbearer, whom I from meaner form
Have benched and reared 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,
415Which draught to me were cordial.
Camillo
Sir, my lord,
I could do this, and that with no rash potion,
But with a lingering dram that should not work
Maliciously like poison, but I cannot
420Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress,
So sovereignly being honorable.
I have loved thee--
Leontes
Make that thy question and go rot!
Dost think I am so muddy, so unsettled,
425To appoint myself in this vexation?
Sully the purity and whitenesse of my sheets --
Which to preserve is sleep; which being spotted
Is goads, thorns, nettles; tails of wasps --
Give scandal to the blood o'th' prince, my son,
430Who I do think is mine and love as mine,
Without ripe moving to't? Would I do this?
Could man so blench?
Camillo
I must believe you, sir,
I do and will fetch off Bohemia for't,
435Provided that when he's removed 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.
440Leontes
Thou dost advise me,
Even so as I mine own course have set down;
I'll give no blemish to her honor, none.
Camillo
My Lord,
Go then, and with a countenance as clear
445As 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.
Leontes
This is all.
450Do't, and thou hast the one half of my heart;
Do't not, thou splitt'st thine own.
Camillo
I'll do't, my Lord.
Leontes I will seem friendly, as thou hast advised me.
Exit
Camillo O miserable lady! But for me,
455What 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,
460Promotion follows. If I could find example
Of thousands that had struck anointed kings
And flourished after, I'd not do't. But since
Nor brass, nor stone, nor parchment bears not one,
Let villany itself forswear't. I must
465Forsake the court: to do't or no is certain
To me a breakneck. Happy star reign now!
Here comes Bohemia.
Enter Polixenes.
Polixenes
[Aside] This is strange. Methinks
My favor here begins to warp. Not speak?
470[To Camillo] Good day, Camillo.
Camillo
Hail, most royal sir.
Polixenes
What is the news i'th'court?
Camillo
None rare, my Lord.
Polixenes The King hath on him such a countenance,
475As he had lost some province, and a region
Loved as he loves himself; even now I met him
With customary compliment, when he,
Wafting his eyes to th'contrary and falling
A lip of much contempt, speeds from me and
480So leaves me to consider what is breeding
That changes thus his manners.
Camillo I dare not know, my Lord.
Polixenes How, dare not? Do not? Do you know, and dare not?
Be intelligent to me, 'tis thereabouts;
485For to yourself what you do know you must
And cannot say you dare not. Good Camillo,
Your changed complexions are to me a mirror
Which shows me mine changed too, for I must be
A party in this alteration, finding
490Myself thus altered with't.
Camillo
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.
495Polixenes
How caught of me?
Make me not sighted like the basilisk.
I have looked on thousands who have sped the better
By my regard, but killed none so. Camillo --
As you are certainly a gentleman, thereto
500Clerk-like experienced, which no less adorns
Our gentry than our parents' noble names,
In whose success we are gentle -- I beseech you,
If you know ought which does behoove my knowledge
Thereof to be informed, imprisoned not
505In ignorant concealment.
Camillo
I may not answer.
Polixenes A sickness caught of me, and yet I well?
I must be answered. Dost thou hear, Camillo?
I conjure thee, by all the parts of man
510Which honor 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.
515If not, how best to bear it.
Camillo
Sir, I will tell you,
Since I am charged in honor, and by him
That I think honorable; therefore mark my counsel,
Which must be even as swiftly followed as
520I mean to utter it, or both yourself and me,
Cry lost, and so good night!
Polixenes
On, good Camillo.
Camillo I am appointed him to murder you.
Polixenes
By whom, Camillo?
525Camillo
By the King!
Polixenes
For what?
Camillo
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 touched his Queen
530Forbiddenly.
Polixenes
Oh then, my best blood turn
To an infected jelly and my name
Be yoked with his that did betray the best!
Turn then my freshest reputation to
535A savor that may strike the dullest nostril
Where I arrive and my approach be shunned,
Nay, hated too, worse then the greatest infection
That ere was heard or read.
Camillo
Swear his thought over
540By 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
545Is piled upon his faith and will continue
The standing of his body.
Polixenes
How should this grow?
Camillo I know not, but I am sure 'tis safer to
Avoid what's grown than question how 'tis born.
550If therefore you dare trust my honesty
That lies enclosèd in this trunk, which you
Shall bear along impawned, away tonight!
Your followers I will whisper to the business,
And will by twos and threes at several posterns
555Clear them o'th'city. For myself, I'll put
My fortunes to your service, which are here
By this discovery lost. Be not uncertain,
For, by the honor of my parents, I
Have uttered truth, which, if you seek to prove,
560I dare not stand by; nor shall you be safer,
Than one condemned by the king's own mouth
Thereon his execution sworn.
Polixenes
I do believe thee;
I saw his heart in's face. Give me thy hand,
565Be pilot to me, and thy places shall
Still neighbor 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,
570Must it be great; and, as his person's mighty,
Must it be violent; and, as he does conceive
He is dishonored by a man which ever
Professed to him, why, his revenges must
In that be made more bitter. Fear o'ershades me!
575Good expedition be my friend, and comfort
The gracious queen, part of his 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.
580Camillo It is in mine authority to command
The keys of all the posterns; please your highness
To take the urgent hour. Come, sir, away.
Exeunt.
[2.1]
Enter Hermione, Mamillius, Ladies. Leontes, 585Antigonus, Lords [stand aside].
Hermione Take the boy to you; he so troubles me,
'Tis past enduring.
1 Lady
Come, my gracious lord.
Shall I be your playfellow?
590Mamillius
No, I'll none of you.
1 Lady Why, my sweet lord?
Mamillius [To 1 Lady] You'll kiss me hard and speak to me as if
I were a baby still. [To 2 Lady] I love you better.
2 Lady
And why so, my lord?
595Mamillius
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 semi-circle
Or a half-moon made with a pen.
6002 Lady
Who taught this?
Mamillius I learned it out of women's faces. Pray now,
What color are your eyebrows?
2 Lady
Blue, my lord.
Mamillius Nay, that's a mock! I have seen a lady's nose
605That has been blue, but not her eyebrows.
1 Lady
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,
610If we would have you.
2 Lady
She is spread of late
Into a goodly bulk -- good time encounter her!
Hermione What wisdom stirs amongst you? Come, sir, now
I am for you again. Pray you sit by us,
615And tell's a tale.
Mamillius
Merry or sad shall't be?
Hermione
As merry as you will.
Mamillius
A sad tale's best for winter.
I have one of sprites and goblins.
620Hermione
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.
Mamillius
There was a man --
Hermione
Nay, come sit down.
[Gestures Mamillius to sit] Then on.
625Mamillius -- Dwelt by a churchyard. I will tell it softly,
Yond crickets shall not hear it.
Hermione Come on then, and giv't me in mine ear.
[Leontes, Antigonus, and Lords come forward].
Leontes Was he met there? His train? Camillo with
him?
630Lord Behind the tuft of pines I met them; never
Saw I men scour so on their way. I eyed them
Even to their ships.
Leontes
How blest am I
In my just censure, in my true opinion!
635Alack, for lesser knowledge! How accursed
In being so blest! There may be in the cup
A spider steeped and one may drink, depart,
And yet partake no venom, for his knowledge
Is not infected, but if one present
640Th' abhorred 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.
645All's true that is mistrusted. That false villain
Whom I employed was pre-employed by him.
He has discovered my design, and I
Remain a pinched thing, yea, a very trick
For them to play at will. How came the posterns
650So easily open?
Lord
By his great authority,
Which often hath no less prevailed than so
On your command.
Leontes
I know't too well.
655[To Hermione] 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.
Hermione
What is this? Sport?
Leontes [To the Ladies] Bear the boy hence. He shall not come about her!
660Away with him, [To Hermione] and let her sport herself
With that she's big with, for 'tis Polixenes
Has made thee swell thus.
[Ladies exit with Mamillius.]
Hermione
But I'd say he had not,
And I'll be sworn you would believe my saying,
665Howe'er you lean to th'nayward.
Leontes
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
670"'Tis pity she's not honest" honorable.
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. Oh, I am out,
675That 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't known
From him that has most cause to grieve it should be,
680She's an adulteress!
Hermione
Should a villain say so,
The most replenished villain in the world,
He were as much more villain. You, my lord,
Do but mistake.
685Leontes
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
690And mannerly distinguishment leave out
Betwixt the prince and beggar. I have said
She's an adulteress; I have said with whom.
More, she's a traitor, and Camillo is
A federary with her and one that knows
695What 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 bold'st titles; ay, and privy
To this their late escape.
700Hermione
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 published me? Gentle, my Lord,
You scarce can right me throughly than to say
705You did mistake.
Leontes
No, if I mistake
In those foundations which I build upon,
The center is not big enough to bear
A school-boy's top. [To the Lords] Away with her to prison!
710He who shall speak for her is a far-off guilty,
But that he speaks.
I must be patient till the heavens look
With an aspect more favorable. Good, my lords,
715I 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 honorable grief lodged here which burns
Worse than tears drown. Beseech you all, my lords,
720With thoughts so qualified as your charities
Shall best instruct you measure me; and so,
The King's will be performed.
[The guards delay removing Hermione.]
Leontes
Shall I be heard?
Hermione Who is't that goes with me? Beseech your Highness
725My women may be with me, for you see
My plight requires it. [To the women] Do not weep, good fools,
There is no cause. When you shall know your mistress
Has deserved prison, then abound in tears
As I come out; this action I now go on
730Is for my better grace. [To Leontes] Adieu, my Lord,
I never wished to see you sorry; now
I trust I shall. My women, come, you have leave.
[Exit Hermione under guard, with her women.]
Leontes Go, do our bidding. Hence!
Lord Beseech your Highness, call the Queen again.
735Antigonus Be certain what you do, sir, lest your justice
Prove violence, in the which three great ones suffer:
Yourself, your Queen, your son.
Lord
For her, my Lord,
I dare my life lay down, and will do't, sir,
740Please you t' accept it, that the Queen is spotless
I'th' eyes of heaven, and to you -- I mean
In this which you accuse her.
Antigonus
If it prove
She's otherwise, I'll keep my stables where
745I lodge my wife; I'll go in couples with her.
Than when I feel and see her, no farther trust her;
For every inch of woman in the world,
Ay, every dram of woman's flesh, is false
If she be.
750Leontes
Hold your peaces.
Lord
Good, my lord --
Antigonus It is for you we speak, not for ourselves.
You are abused, and by some putter-on
That will be damned for't. Would I knew the villain,
755I would land-damn him; be she honor-flawed,
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 honor,
I'll geld 'em all; fourteen they shall not see
760To bring false generations. They are co-heirs,
And I had rather glib myself then they
Should not produce fair issue.
Leontes
Cease, no more!
You smell this business with a sense as cold
765As is a dead man's nose; but I do see't and feel't,
As you feel doing thus [Grabbing Antigonus's beard] and see withal
The instruments that feel.
Antigonus
If it be so,
We need no grave to bury honesty.
770There's not a grain of it the face to sweeten
Of the whole dungy earth.
Leontes
What? Lack I credit?
Lord I had rather you did lack than I, my Lord,
Upon this ground, and more it would content me
775To have her honor true than your suspicion
Be blamed for't how you might.
Leontes
Why, what need we
Commune with you of this, but rather follow
Our forceful instigation? Our prerogative
780Calls 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,
785The loss, the gain, the ordering on't
Is all properly ours.
Antigonus
And I wish, my liege,
You had only in your silent judgement tried it,
Without more overture.
790Leontes
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 touched conjecture,
795That lacked sight only, naught 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
800Most piteous to be wild, I have dispatched in post
To sacred Delphos to Apollo's temple,
Cleomines and Dion, whom you know
Of stuffed-sufficiency; now, from the oracle
They will bring all whose spiritual counsel had
805Shall stop or spur me. Have I done well?
Lord Well done, my Lord.
Leontes Though I am satisfied and need no more
Than what I know, yet shall the oracle
Give rest to th' minds of others, such as he
810Whose ignorant credulity will not
Come up to th' truth. So have we thought it good
From our free person she should be confined,
Lest that the treachery of the two fled hence
Be left her to perform. Come, follow us.
815We are to speak in public; for this business
Will raise us all.
Antigonus
[Aside] To laughter, as I take it,
If the good truth were known.
Exeunt.
[2.2]
820
Enter Paulina, a Gentleman [and attendants]
Paulina The keeper of the prison, call to him.
Let him have knowledge who I am.
[Exit Gentleman]
Good lady,
No court in Europe is too good for thee.
What dost thou then in prison?
[Enter Jailer and Gentleman]
Now, good sir,
825You know me, do you not?
Jailer
For a worthy lady,
And one who much I honor.
Paulina
Pray you then,
Conduct me to the queen.
830Jailer
I may not, madam.
To the contrary I have express commandment.
Paulina Here's ado, to lock up honesty and honor from
Th' access of gentle visitors. Is't lawful pray you
To see her women? Any of them? Emilia?
835Jailer So please you, madam,
To put apart these your attendants, I
Shall bring Emilia forth.
Paulina
I pray now call her;
Withdraw yourselves.
[Exeunt Gentleman and attendants]
840Jailer
And, madam,
I must be present at your conference.
Paulina Well, be't so, prithee. [Exit Jailer]
Here's such ado to make no stain a stain
As passes coloring.
[Enter Jailer and Emilia.]
Dear gentlewoman,
845How fares our gracious lady?
Emilia 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 delivered.
850Paulina
A boy?
Emilia
A daughter, and a goodly babe,
Lusty and like to live; the Queen receives
Much comfort in't, says, "my poor prisoner,
I am innocent as you."
855Paulina
I dare be sworn,
These dangerous, unsafe lunes i'th' 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-mouthed, let my tongue blister
860And never to my red-looked 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
865Her advocate to th' loudest. We do not know
How he may soften at the sight o'th'child.
The silence often of pure innocence
Persuades when speaking fails.
Emilia
Most worthy madam,
870Your honor 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
875Acquaint the Queen of your most noble offer,
Who but today hammered of this design,
But durst not tempt a minister of honor
Lest she should be denied.
Paulina
Tell her, Emilia,
880I'll use that tongue I have; if wit flow from't
As boldness from my bosom, le't not be doubted
I shall do good.
Emilia
Now be you blest for it!
I'll to the Queen. Please you come something nearer.
885Jailer [To Paulina] Madam, if't please the Queen to send the babe,
I know not what I shall incur to pass it,
Having no warrant.
Paulina
You need not fear it, sir,
This child was prisoner to the womb and is
890By law and process of great nature thence
Freed and enfranchised, not a party to
The anger of the King, nor guilty of,
If any be, the trespass of the Queen.
Jailer I do believe it.
895Paulina Do not you fear! Upon mine honor, I
Will stand betwixt you and danger.
Exeunt.
[2.3]
[Enter Leontes]
900Leontes 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'th cause,
She, th' adulteress; for the harlot-king
Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
905And 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?
[Enter Servant]
Servant
My lord?
910Leontes How does the boy?
Servant He took good rest tonight. 'Tis hoped
His sickness is discharged.
Leontes
To see his nobleness
Conceiving the dishonor of his mother!
915He straight declined, drooped, took it deeply,
Fastened, and fixed the shame on't in himself;
Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep,
And downright languished. Leave me solely. Go,
See how he fares.
[Exit Servant.]
Fie, fie, no thought of him.
920The 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
925Laugh 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 baby], Antigonus, Lords and Servants.
Lord
You must not enter.
930Paulina 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.
Antigonus
That's enough.
935Servant Madam, he hath not slept tonight, commanded
None should come at him.
Paulina
Not so hot, good sir.
I come to bring him sleep. 'Tis such as you
That creep like shadows by him and do sigh
940At each his needless heavings, such as you
Nourish the cause of his awaking. I
Do come with words as medicinal as true --
Honest as either -- to purge him of that humor
That presses him from sleep.
945Leontes
[To Paulina, taking notice of voice] What noise there, ho?
Paulina No noise, my Lord, but needful conference
About some gossips for your Highness.
Leontes
How?
Away with that audacious lady! Antigonus,
950I charged thee that she should not come about me.
I knew she would.
Antigonus
I told her so, my lord,
On your displeasure's peril and on mine
She should not visit you.
955Leontes
What? Canst not rule her?
Paulina From all dishonesty he can; in this --
Unless he take the course that you have done,
Commit me for committing honor -- trust it,
He shall not rule me.
960Antigonus
La you now, you hear.
When she will take the rein I let her run,
But she'll not stumble.
Paulina
Good, my liege, I come,
And I beseech you hear me, who professes
965Myself your loyal servant, your physician,
Your most obedient counselor yet that dares
Less appear so in comforting your evils,
Than such as most seem yours. I say, I come
From your good queen.
970Leontes
"Good" queen?
Paulina 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.
975Leontes
Force her hence.
Paulina 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.
980Here 'tis. Commends it to your blessing.
[Laying down the baby]
Leontes
Out!
A mankind witch? Hence with her, out o'door!
A most intelligencing bawd.
Paulina
Not so!
985I 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.
Leontes
Traitors!
990Will you not push her out? [To Antigonus] Give her the bastard,
Thou dotard! Thou art woman-tired, unroosted
By thy dame Partlet here. Take up the bastard,
Take't up, I say! Give't to thy crone.
Paulina
[To Antigonus] Forever
995Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou
Tak'st up the princess by that forced baseness
Which he has put upon't.
Leontes
He dreads his wife.
Paulina So I would you did; then 'twere past all doubt
1000You'd call your children yours.
Leontes
A nest of traitors!
Antigonus
I am none, by this good light.
Paulina
Nor I, nor any
But one that's here, and that's himself. For he
1005The sacred honor 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 compelled to't -- once remove
1010The root of his opinion, which is rotten,
As ever oak or stone was sound.
Leontes
A callet
Of boundless tongue, who late hath beat her husband
And now baits me. This brat is none of mine.
1015It is the issue of Polixenes.
Hence with it, and together with the dam
Commit them to the fire!
Paulina
It is yours,
And might we lay th'old proverb to your charge,
1020So 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's frown, his forehead, nay, the valley,
The pretty dimples of his chin, and cheek, his smiles
1025The very mold 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 colors
No yellow in't, lest she suspect, as he does,
1030Her children not her husband's.
Leontes
A gross hag!
[To Antigonus] And, lozel, thou art worthy to be hanged
That wilt not stay her tongue.
Antigonus
Hang all the husbands
1035That cannot do that feat, you'll leave yourself
Hardly one subject.
Leontes
Once more, take her hence!
Paulina A most unworthy and unnatural lord
Can do no more.
1040Leontes
I'll ha' thee burnt.
Paulina
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,
1045Not able to produce more accusation
Than your own weak-hinged fancy, something savors
Of tyranny and will ignoble make you,
Yea, scandalous to the world.
Leontes
[To Antigonus] On your allegiance,
1050Out 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!
Paulina [To Lords] I pray you do not push me; I'll be gone.
Look to your babe, my Lord, 'tis yours. Jove send her
1055A 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.
Exit.
Leontes
Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to this.
1060My child? Away with't! Even thou that hast
A heart so tender o'er it, take it hence,
And see it instantly consumed with fire.
Even thou, and none but thou. Take it up straight;
Within this hour bring me word 'tis done,
1065And by good testimony, or I'll seize thy life
With what 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,
1070For thou set'st on thy wife.
Antigonus
I did not, sir.
These lords, my noble fellows, if they please,
Can clear me in't.
Lords
We can, my royal liege.
1075He is not guilty of her coming hither.
Leontes You're liars all!
Lords Beseech your Highness, give us better credit.
We have always truly served you and beseech
So to esteem of us, and on our knees we beg
1080As 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.
Leontes I am a feather for each wind that blows.
1085Shall I live on to see this bastard kneel
And call me father? Better burn it now
Then curse it then. But be it; let it live.
It shall not neither. You sir, come you hither,
You that have been so tenderly officious
1090With Lady Margerie, your midwife there,
To save this bastard's life, for 'tis a bastard,
So sure as this beard's gray. What will you adventure
To save this brat's life?
Antigonus
Anything, my lord,
1095That 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.
Leontes It shall be possible. Swear by this sword
1100Thou wilt perform my bidding.
Antigonus
[Places hand on hilt of sword] I will, my lord.
Leontes 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-tongued wife,
1105Whom 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
1110Without more mercy, to it own protection
And favor 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
1115Where chance may nurse or end it. Take it up.
Antigonus I swear to do this, though a present death
Had been more merciful. Come on, poor babe,
[Takes up baby]
Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens
To be thy nurses. Wolves and bears, they say,
1120Casting their savageness aside have done
Like offices of pity-- [To Leontes] Sir, be prosperous
In more than this deed does require -- [To baby] and blessing
Against this cruelty fight on thy side,
Poor thing, condemned to loss.
Exit [with child]
1125Leontes
No, I'll not rear
Another's issue.
Enter a Servant.
Servant
Please your Highness, posts
From those you sent to th'oracle are come
An hour since. Cleomines and Dion,
1130Being well arrived from Delphos, are both landed,
Hasting to th'court.
Servant
So please you, sir, their speed
Hath been beyond account.
Leontes
Twenty-three days
1135They 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
1140Been publicly accused, 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.
Exeunt.
[3.1]
1145
Enter Cleomines and Dion.
Cleomines The climate's delicate, the air most sweet,
Fertile the isle, the temple much surpassing
The common praise it bears.
Dion
I shall report,
1150For 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'th'offering!
1155Cleomines
But of all, the burst
And the ear-deafening voice o'th'oracle,
Kin to Jove's thunder, so surprised my sense
That I was nothing.
Dion
If th' event o'th' journey
1160Prove 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.
Cleomines
Great Apollo,
Turn all to th'best! These proclamations,
1165So forcing faults upon Hermione
I little like.
Dion
The violent carriage of it
Will clear or end the business when the oracle
Thus by Apollo's great divine sealed up
1170Shall the contents discover, something rare
Even then will rush to knowledge. Go. Fresh horses!
And gracious be the issue.
Exeunt.
[3.2]
Enter Leontes, Lords, [and] Officers.
Leontes 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 beloved. Let us be cleared
1180Of being tyrannous, since we so openly
Proceed in justice, which shall have due course,
Even to the guilt or the purgation.
Produce the prisoner.
Officer It is his Highness' pleasure that the queen
1185Appear in person, here in court.
[Enter Hermione for trial, with Paulina and Ladies]
Silence!
Leontes Read the indictment.
Officer [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, 1190and conspiring with Camillo to take away the life of our soveraign lord the king, thy royal husband, the pretence whereof being by circumstances partly laid open, thou, Hermione, contrary to the faith and allegiance of a true subject, didst counsel and aid them, for their better safety, to fly away by 1195night.
Hermione 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
1200To say, "Not guilty". Mine integrity,
Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it,
Be so received. But thus, if powers divine
Behold our humane actions, as they do,
I doubt not then but innocence shall make
1205False accusation blush and tyranny
Tremble at patience. You, my lord, best know
Whom 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
1210Than history can pattern, though devised
And played 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
1215To prate and talk for life and honor fore
Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it
As I weigh grief, which I would spare. For honor,
'Tis a derivative from me to mine,
And only that I stand for. I appeal
1220To 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 strained t' appear thus; if one jot beyond
1225The bound of honor or in act or will
That way inclining, hardened be the hearts
Of all that hear me, and my nearest of kin
Cry fie upon my grave.
Leontes
I never heard yet
1230That any of these bolder vices wanted
Less impudence to gainsay what they did
Than to perform it first.
Hermione
That's true enough,
Though 'tis a saying, sir, not due to me.
1235Leontes
You will not own it.
Hermione
More than mistress of
Which comes to me in name of fault I must not
At all acknowledge. For Polixenes,
With whom I am accused, I do confess
1240I loved him as in honor he required,
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
1245Both disobedience and ingratitude
To you and toward your friend, whose love had spoke
Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely,
That it was yours. Now for conspiracy,
I know not how it tastes, though it be dished
1250For 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 then I, are ignorant.
Leontes You knew of his departure, as you know
1255What you have underta'en to do in's absence.
Hermione
Sir,
You speak a language that I understand not.
My life stands in the level of your dreams,
Which I'll lay down.
1260Leontes
Your actions are my dreams.
You had a bastard by Polixenes,
And I but dreamed it; as you were past all shame,
Those of your fact are so, so past all truth,
Which to deny concerns more then avails; for as
1265Thy 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.
1270Hermione
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 favor,
I do give lost, for I do feel it gone,
1275But know not how it went. My second joy
And first fruits of my body, from his presence
I am barred, like one infectious. My third comfort
Starred most unluckily, is from my breast --
The innocent milk in it most innocent mouth --
1280Hal'd out to murder. Myself on every post
Proclaimed a strumpet, with immodest hatred
The child-bed privilege denied, which longs
To women of all fashion. Lastly, hurried
Here, to this place, i'th' open air, before
1285I 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 honor,
1290Which I would free. If I shall be condemned
Upon surmises, all proofs sleeping else
But what your jealousies awake, I tell you
'Tis rigor and not law. Your honors all,
I do refer me to the oracle:
1295Apollo be my judge.
Lord
This your request
Is altogether just. Therefore, bring forth,
And in Apollo's name, his oracle.
[Exeunt certain officers]
Hermione The emperor of Russia was my father.
1300Oh 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.
[Enter Cleomines and Dion with officers]
Officer
You here shall swear upon this sword of justice,
1305That you, Cleomines and Dion, have
Been both at Delphos and from thence have brought
This sealed-up oracle by the hand delivered
Of great Apollo's priest; and that since then,
You have not dared to break the holy seal
1310Nor read the secrets in't.
Cleomines and Dion
All this we swear.
Leontes Break up the seals and read.
Officer [Reads] Hermione is chaste, Polixenes blameless, Camillo a true subject, Leontes a jealous tyrant, his innocent babe 1315truly begotten, and the king shall live without an heir if that which is lost be not found.
Lords Now blessed be the great Apollo.
Hermione Praised!
Leontes
Hast thou read truth?
1320Officer
Ay, my lord, even so
As it is here set down.
Leontes There is no truth at all i'th'oracle!
The sessions shall proceed. This is mere falsehood.
[Enter Servant]
Servant
My lord, the King, the King!
Leontes
What is the business?
1325Servant 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.
Leontes
How "gone"?
Servant
Is dead!
1330Leontes Apollo's angry, and the heavens themselves
Do strike at my injustice!
[Hermione falls]
How now there?
Paulina This news is mortal to the Queen! Look down
And see what death is doing.
Leontes
Take her hence!
1335Her heart is but o'er-charged; she will recover.
I have too much believed mine own suspicion.
Beseech you tenderly apply to her
Some remedies for life.
[Paulia and Ladies exit with Hermione]
Apollo, pardon
My great profanenesse 'gainst thine oracle.
1340I'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
1345Camillo 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
1350Not doing it and being done, he -- most humane,
And filled with honor -- to my kingly guest
Unclasped my practice, quit his fortunes here,
Which you knew great, and to the hazard
Of all incertainties himself commended,
1355No richer than his honor. How he glisters
Through my rust, and how his piety
Does my deeds make the blacker!
[Enter Paulina]
Paulina
Woe the while!
Oh cut my lace, lest my heart, cracking it,
1360Break too.
Lord
What fit is this? Good lady?
Paulina What studied torments, tyrant, hast for me?
What wheels, racks, fires? What flaying? Boiling
In leads or oils? What old or newer torture
1365Must 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 -- Oh think what they have done,
1370And then run mad indeed, stark-mad, for all
Thy bygone fooleries were but spices of it.
That thou betrayedst Polixenes, 'twas nothing.
That did but show thee of a fool, inconstant,
And damnable ingrateful. Nor was't much,
1375Thou wouldst have poisoned good Camillo's honor
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
1380Would have shed water out of fire ere done't.
Nor is't directly laid to thee the death
Of the young prince, whose honorable thoughts,
Thoughts high for one so tender, cleft the heart
That could conceive a gross and foolish sire
1385Blemished 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 dropped down yet.
1390Lord
The higher powers forbid!
Paulina I say she's dead! I'll swear't! If word nor oath
Prevail not, go and see. If you can bring
Tincture or luster in her lip, her eye,
Heat outwardly, or breath within, I'll serve you
1395As 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
1400Upon a barren mountain and still winter
In storm perpetual, could not move the gods
To look that way thou wert.
Leontes
Go on, go on!
Thou canst not speak too much. I have deserved
1405All tongues to talk their bitt'rest.
Lord
[To Paulina] Say no more.
Howe'er the business goes, you have made fault
I'th'boldness of your speech.
Paulina
I am sorry for't.
1410All faults I make, when I shall come to know them,
I do repent. Alas, I have showed too much
The rashness of a woman. He is touched
To th'noble heart. What's gone and what's past help
Should be past grief. [To Leontes] Do not receive affliction
1415At my petition; I beseech you, rather,
Let me be punished 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!
1420I'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.
Leontes
Thou didst speak but well,
1425When most the truth which I receive much better
Than to be pitied of thee. Prithee 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
1430Our 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
1435To these sorrows.
Exeunt.
[3.3]
[Enter Antigonus carrying baby, followed by a mariner]
Antigonus Thou art perfect, then, our ship hath touched upon
1440The deserts of Bohemia?
Mariner
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
1445And frown upon's.
Antigonus Their sacred wills be done. Go, get aboard,
Look to thy bark. I'll not be long before
I call upon thee.
Mariner
Make your best haste, and go not
1450Too far i'th'land. 'Tis like to be loud weather.
Besides, this place is famous for the creatures
Of prey that keep upon't.
Antigonus
Go thou away,
I'll follow instantly.
1455Mariner
I am glad at heart
To be so rid o'th business.
Exit
Antigonus
Come, poor babe.
I have heard -- but not believed -- the spirits o'th'dead
May walk again. If such thing be, thy mother
1460Appeared to me last night, for never 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 filled and so becoming; in pure white robes
1465Like very sanctity she did approach
My cabin where I lay, thrice bowed before me,
And, gasping to begin some speech, her eyes
Became two spouts; the fury spent, anon
Did this break from her: "Good Antigonus,
1470Since 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
1475Is counted lost forever, Perdita
I prithee call't. For this ungentle business
Put on thee by my lord, thou never shalt see
Thy wife Paulina more!" And so, with shrieks
She melted into air. Affrighted much,
1480I 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 squared by this. I do believe
Hermione hath suffered death, and that
1485Apollo 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!
[Places the baby and a scroll upon the ground]
There lie, and there thy character; there these,
[He lays down a bundle]
1490Which may, if Fortune please, both breed thee, pretty,
And still rest thine.
[Thunder]
The storm begins, poor wretch,
That for thy mother's fault art thus exposed
To loss and what may follow. Weep I cannot,
But my heart bleeds, and most accursed am I
1495To be by oath enjoined 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.
[The sound of a storm, with horns and dogs barking]
A savage clamor!
Well may I get aboard! This is the chase.
1500I am gone forever!
Exit pursued by a bear.
[Enter Old Shepherd]
Shepherd I would there were no age between ten 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, 1505fighting -- 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 then the master. If anywhere I have them, 'tis by the seaside, 1510browsing of ivy. Good luck, an't be thy will! What have we here? [Seeing the baby] 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 1515been 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 come. He hallooed but even now. Whoa-ho-hoa!
1520
Enter Clown
Clown Hilloa, loa!
Shepherd What? Art so near? If thou'lt see a thing to talk on when thou art dead and rotten, come hither. What ailst thou, man?
1525Clown 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.
Shepherd Why, boy, how is it?
1530Clown 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. Oh, 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 main mast, and anon swallowed 1535with yeast 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 shoulderbone, 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 1540flap-dragoned 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.
Shepherd Name of mercy, when was this, boy?
1545Clown 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.
Shepherd Would I had been by to have helped the old man.
1550Clown I would you had been by the ship side, to have helped her. There your charity would have lacked footing.
Shepherd Heavy matters, heavy matters. But look thee here, boy. Now bless thyself. Thou meet'st with things dying, I with things newborn. Here's a sight for thee! 1555Look 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?
Clown [Opens box] You're a made old man. If the sins of your 1560youth are forgiven you, you're well to live. Gold, all gold.
Shepherd This is fairy gold boy, and 'twill prove so. Up with't, keep it close. Home, home, the next way. We are lucky, boy, and to be so still requires nothing but 1565secrecy. Let my sheep go. Come, good boy, the next way home.
Clown 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 1570are hungry. If there be any of him left, I'll bury it.
Shepherd That's a good deed. If thou mayst discern by that which is left of him what he is, fetch me to th'sight of him.
Clown 'Marry, will I, and you shall help to put him 1575i'th' ground.
Shepherd 'Tis a lucky day, boy, and we'll do good deeds on't.
Exeunt.
[4.1]
Enter Time, the Chorus.
1580Time I, that please some, try all; both joy and terror
Of good and bad, that makes and unfolds 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
1585O'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
1590Or what is now received. I witness to
The times that brought them in. So shall I do
To th' freshest things now reigning and make stale
The glistering of this present, as my tale
Now seems to it. Your patience this allowing,
1595I turn my glass and give my scene such growing
As you had slept between: Leontes leaving
Th'effects of his fond jealousies, so grieving
That he shuts up himself. Imagine me,
Gentle spectators, that I now may be
1600In fair Bohemia. And remember well,
I mentioned a son o'th'king's, which Florizel
I now name to you, and with speed so pace
To speak of Perdita, now grown in grace
Equal with wond'ring. What of her ensues
1605I 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 th'argument of Time; of this allow,
If ever you have spent time worse, ere now.
1610If never, yet that Time himself doth say
He wishes earnestly you never may.
Exit
[4.2]
Enter Polixenes and Camillo.
Polixenes I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more 1615importunate. 'Tis a sickness denying thee anything, a death to grant this.
Camillo 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, 1620my 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.
Polixenes As thou lov'st me, Camillo, wipe not out the rest of thy services by leaving me now. The need I have of 1625thee 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, 1630which 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, prithee speak no more,whose very naming punishes me with the remembrance 1635of that penitent, as thou callst 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 saw'st thou the prince Florizel, my son? Kings are no less unhappy, their issue not being gracious, than 1640they are in losing them when they have approved their virtues.
Camillo 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 1645court and is less frequent to his princely exercises than formerly he hath appeared.
Polixenes I have considered so much, Camillo, and with some care, so far, that I have eyes under my service which look upon his removednesse, from whom I have 1650this 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 neighbors is grown into an unspeakable estate.
Camillo I have heard, sir, of such a man, who hath a 1655daughter of most rare note: the report of her is extended more than can be thought to begin from such a cottage.
Polixenes 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 1660appearing 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. Prithee, be my present partner in this business and lay aside the thoughts of Sicilia.
1665Camillo I willingly obey your command.
Polixenes My best Camillo, we must disguise ourselves.
[Exeunt.]
[4.3
Enter Autolycus singing
When daffodils begin to peer
1670With heigh, the doxy over the dale,
Why then comes in the sweet o'the year,
For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale.
The white sheet bleaching on the hedge,
With heigh, the sweet birds, O how they sing!
1675Doth set my pugging tooth on edge,
For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.
The lark that tirra lirra chants,
With heigh, with heigh, the thrush and the jay,
Are summer songs for me and my aunts
1680While we lie tumbling in the hay.
I have served 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,
1685And 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,
1690And in the stocks avouch it.
My traffic is sheets. When the kite builds, look to lesser linen. My father named me Autolycus, who being as I am littered under Mercury, was likewise a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. With die and drab, 1695I 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!
1700
Enter Clown.
Clown Let me see, every 'leven wether tods, every tod yields pound and odd shilling. Fifteen hundred shorn, what comes the wool to?
Autolycus [Aside] If the springe hold, the cock's mine.
1705Clown I cannot do't without counters. [Taking out a list] 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 1710hath 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 basses but one puritan amongst them, and he sings psalms to hornpipes. I must have saffron to color the warden pies; mace; 1715dates, 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'th'sun.
Autolycus [Groveling on the ground] Oh, that ever I was born.
Clown I'th'name of me --
1720Autolycus Oh, help me, help me! Pluck but off these rags, and then, death, death!
Clown Alack, poor soul, thou hast need of more rags to lay on thee rather than have these off.
Autolycus O sir, the loathsomeness of them offend me1725more than the stripes I have received, which are mighty ones and millions.
Clown Alas, poor man, a million of beating may come to a great matter.
Autolycus I am robbed, sir, and beaten; my money and 1730apparel ta'en from me, and these detestable things put upon me.
Clown What, by a horseman or a footman?
Autolycus A footman, sweet sir, a footman.
Clown Indeed, he should be a footman by the garments 1735he 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 hand.
[Helps Autolycus to stand]
Autolycus Oh, good sir, tenderly, Oh!
Clown Alas, poor soul!
1740Autolycus Oh, good sir, softly, good sir! I fear, sir, my shoulder blade is out.
Clown How now? Canst stand?
Autolycus Softly, dear sir! Good sir, softly! [Picking Clown's pocket] You have done me a charitable office.
1745Clown Dost lack any money? I have a little money for thee.
Autolycus 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 any 1750thing I want. Offer me no money I pray you; that kills my heart.
Clown What manner of fellow was he that robbed you?
Autolycus A fellow, sir, that I have known to go about 1755with 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.
Clown His vices you would say. There's no virtue whipped 1760out of the court: they cherish it to make it stay there, and yet it will no more but abide.
Autolycus 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 1765son 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.
Clown Out upon him! Prig, for my life, prig! He haunts 1770wakes, fairies, and bearbaitings.
Autolycus Very true, sir, he, sir, he. That's the rogue that put me into this apparel.
Clown Not a more cowardly rogue in all Bohemia. If you had but looked big and spit at him, he'd have 1775run.
Autolycus I must confess to you, sir, I am no fighter. I am false of heart that way, and that he knew, I warrant him.
Clown How do you now?
Autolycus Sweet sir, much better than I was. I can stand 1780and walk. I will even take my leave of you and pace softly towards my kinsman's.
Clown Shall I bring thee on the way?
Autolycus No, good-faced sir, no, sweet sir.
Clown Then fare thee well. I must go buy spices for our 1785sheep-shearing.
Exit.
Autolycus 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 unrolled 1790and my name put in the book of virtue!
[Sings]
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.
Exit
1795
[4.4]
[Enter Florizel and Perdita]
Florizel These your unusual weeds to each part of you
Does give a life -- no shepherdess, but Flora
1800Peering in April's front. This your sheep-shearing
Is as a meeting of the petty gods,
And you the queen on't.
Perdita
Sir, my gracious lord,
To chide at your extremes it not becomes me.
1805Oh pardon that I name them! Your high self,
The gracious mark o'th'land, you have obscured
With a swain's wearing, and me, poor lowly maid,
Most goddess-like pranked up! But that our feasts
In every mess have folly and the feeders
1810Digest it with a custom, I should blush
To see you so attired, swoon I think,
To show myself a glass.
Florizel
I bless the time
When my good falcon made her flight across
1815Thy father's ground.
Perdita
Now Jove afford you cause!
To me the difference forges dread; your greatness
Hath not been used to fear. Even now I tremble
To think your father by some accident
1820Should pass this way, as you did. Oh, the Fates!
How would he look to see his work, so noble,
Vilely bound up? What would he say? Or how
Should I, in these my borrowed flaunts, behold
The sternness of his presence?
1825Florizel
Apprehend
Nothing but jollity. The gods themselves,
Humbling their deities to love, have taken
The shapes of beasts upon them. Jupiter
Became a bull and bellowed; the green Neptune
1830A ram and bleated; and the fire-robed god
Golden Apollo, a poor humble swain,
As I seem now. Their transformations
Were never for a piece of beauty rarer,
Nor in a way so chaste, since my desires
1835Run not before mine honor, nor my lusts
Burn hotter than my faith.
Perdita
O but sir,
Your resolution cannot hold when 'tis
Opposed, as it must be, by th' power of the king.
1840One of these two must be necessities
Which then will speak that you must change this purpose,
Or I my life.
Florizel
Thou dearest Perdita,
With these forced thoughts I prithee darken not
1845The mirth o'th'feast, or I'll be thine, my fair,
Or not my father's. For I cannot be
Mine own nor anything to any if
I be not thine. To this I am most constant,
Though destiny say no. Be merry, gentle,
1850Strangle such thoughts as these with anything
That you behold the while. Your guests are coming.
Lift up your countenance as it were the day
Of celebration of that nuptial which
We two have sworn shall come.
1855Perdita
O Lady Fortune,
Stand you auspicious!
[Enter the Old Shepherd, Clown, Mopsa, Dorcas, Servants, shepherds and shepherdesses, Polixenes and Camillo both disguised]
Florizel
See, your guests approach.
Address yourself to entertain them sprightly,
And let's be red with mirth.
1860Shepherd
Fie, daughter, when my old wife lived, upon
This day she was both pantler, butler, cook,
Both dame and servant: welcomed all; served all;
Would sing her song, and dance her turn; now here
At upper end o'th table; now, i'th middle;
1865On his shoulder, and his; her face o' fire
With labor, and the thing she took to quench it
She would to each one sip. You are retired
As if you were a feasted one and not
The hostess of the meeting. Pray you, bid
1870These unknown friends to's welcome, for it is
A way to make us better friends, more known.
Come, quench your blushes and present yourself
That which you are, mistress o'th' feast. Come on,
And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing,
1875As your good flock shall prosper.
Perdita
[To Polixenes] Sir, welcome.
It is my father's will I should take on me
The hostess-ship o'th'day; [To Camillo] You're welcome, sir.
Give me those flowers there, Dorcas. Reverend sirs,
1880For you, there's rosemary and rue; these keep
Seeming and savor all the winter long.
Grace and remembrance be to you both
And welcome to our shearing.
Polixenes
Shepherdess,
1885A fair one are you. Well you fit our ages
With flowers of winter.
Perdita
Sir, the year growing ancient,
Not yet on summer's death nor on the birth
Of trembling winter, the fairest flowers o'th' season
1890Are our carnations and streaked gillyvors,
Which some call nature's bastards. Of that kind
Our rustic garden's barren, and I care not
To get slips of them.
Polixenes
Wherefore, gentle maiden,
1895Do you neglect them?
Perdita
For I have heard it said
There is an art which in their piedness shares
With great creating nature.
Polixenes
Say there be,
1900Yet nature is made better by no mean
But nature makes that mean. So over that art
Which you say adds to nature is an art
That nature makes; you see, sweet maid, we marry
A gentler scion to the wildest stock,
1905And make conceive a bark of baser kind
By bud of nobler race. This is an art
Which does mend nature; change it rather, but
The art itself is nature.
Perdita
So it is.
1910Polixenes Then make your garden rich in gillyvors,
And do not call them bastards.
Perdita
I'll not put
The dibble in earth to set one slip of them,
No more than, were I painted, I would wish
1915This 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' sun,
And with him rises, weeping. These are flowers
1920Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age. You're very welcome.
Camillo I should leave grazing were I of your flock,
And only live by gazing.
Perdita
Out, alas!
1925You'd be so lean that blasts of January
Would blow you through and through. [To Florizel] Now, my fair'st friend,
I would I had some flowers o'th'spring that might
Become your time of day; [To the sheperdesses] and yours, and yours,
That wear upon your virgin branches yet
1930Your maidenheads growing -- O Proserpina,
For the flowers now that frighted, thou let'st fall
From Dis's wagon! Daffodils,
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty; violets dim,
1935But 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
1940The crown imperial; lillies of all kinds,
The flower-de-luce being one. Oh, these I lack
To make you garlands of, and my sweet friend,
To strew him o'er and o'er.
Florizel
What? like a corpse?
1945Perdita No, like a bank for love to lie and play on,
Not like a corpse; 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 Whitson pastorals. Sure this robe of mine
1950Does change my disposition.
Florizel
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,
1955Pray so, and for the ordering your affairs,
To sing them too. When you do dance, I wish you
A wave o'th sea that you might ever do
Nothing but that; move still, still so,
And own no other function. Each your doing,
1960So singular in each particular,
Crowns what you are doing in the present deeds,
That all your acts are queen's.
Perdita
O Doricles,
Your praises are too large, but that your youth
1965And the true blood which peeps fairly through't
Do plainly give you out an unstained shepherd,
With wisdom I might fear, my Doricles,
You wooed me the false way.
Florizel
I think you have
1970As little skill to fear as I have purpose
To put you to't. But come, our dance I pray.
Your hand, my Perdita -- so turtles pair
That never mean to part.
Perdita
I'll swear for 'em.
[Perdita and Florizel dance]
1975Polixenes [To Camillo This is the prettiest low-born lass that ever
Ran on the greensward. Nothing she does or seems
But smacks of something greater than herself,
Too noble for this place.
Camillo
He tells her something
1980That makes her blood look on't. Good sooth, she is
The queen of curds and cream.
Clown [To musicians] Come on! Strike up!
Dorcas Mopsa must be your mistress? Marry, garlic to mend her kissing with!
1985Mopsa Now, in good time!
Clown Not a word, a word; we stand upon our manners. Come, strike up!
Here a dance of shepherds and shepherdesses
1990Polixenes Pray, good shepherd, what fair swain is this
Which dances with your daughter?
Shepherd They call him Doricles and boasts himself
To have a worthy feeding. But I have it
Upon his own report, and I believe it;
1995He looks like sooth. He says he loves my daughter.
I think so too; for never gazed the moon
Upon the water as he'll stand and read
As 'twere my daughter's eyes; And to be plain,
I think there is not half a kiss to choose
2000Who loves another best.
Polixenes
She dances featly.
Shepherd So she does anything, though I report it
That should be silent. If young Doricles
Do light upon her, she shall bring him that
2005Which he not dreams of.
Enter Servant
Servant O Master, if you did but hear the peddler at the door, you would never dance again after a tabor and pipe; no, the bagpipe could not move you. He sings several tunes, faster than you'll tell money. He utters 2010them as he had eaten ballads, and all men's ears grew to his tunes.
Clown 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 2015sung lamentably.
Servant 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 2020dildos and fadings, "Jump her and thump her." And where some stretch-mouthed 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"; put's him off, slights him with "Whoop, do me no 2025harm, good man."
Polixenes This is a brave fellow.
Clown Believe me, thou talkst of an admirable conceited fellow. Has he any unbraided wares?
Servant He hath ribbons of all the colors i'th 2030rainbow; points, more than all the lawyers in Bohemia can learnedly handle, though they come to him by th' gross; inkles, caddises, cambrics, lawn; why he sings 'em over as they were gods or goddesses. You would think a smock were a she-angel, he so chants to 2035the sleeve-hand and the work about the square on't.
Clown Prithee bring him in, and let him approach singing.
Perdita Forewarn him that he use no scurrilous words in's tunes.
[Exit Servant.]
2040Clown You have of these peddlers that have more in them than you'd think, sister.
Perdita Ay, good brother, or go about to think.
Enter Autolycus [in disguise] singing.
Lawn as white as driven snow,
2045Cypress black as ere was crow,
Gloves as sweet as damask roses,
Masks for faces and for noses,
Bugle-bracelet, necklace amber;
Perfume for a lady's chamber,
2050Golden coifs 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,
2055Buy, lads, or else your lasses cry. Come buy.
Clown 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.
Mopsa I was promised them against the feast, but they 2060come not too late now.
Dorcas He hath promised you more than that, or there be liars.
Mopsa He hath paid you all he promised you. Maybe he has paid you more, which will shame you to give him 2065again.
Clown 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 of these secrets, but you must 2070be tittle-tattling before all our guests? 'Tis well they are whispering. Clamor your tongues and not a word more.
Mopsa I have done. Come, you promised me a tawdry-lace and a pair of sweet gloves.
Clown Have I not told thee how I was cozened by the 2075way and lost all my money?
Autolycus And, indeed sir, there are cozeners abroad. Therefore, it behooves men to be wary.
Clown Fear not, thou man. Thou shalt lose nothing here.
Autolycus I hope so, sir, for I have about me many parcels 2080of charge.
Clown What hast here? Ballads?
Mopsa Pray now, buy some. I love a ballet in print, a-life, for then we are sure they are true.
Autolycus Here's one to a very doleful tune, how a 2085usurer's wife was brought to bed of twenty money bags at a burden, and how she longed to eat adder's heads and toads carbonadoed.
Mopsa Is it true, think you?
Autolycus Very true, and but a month old.
2090Dorcas Bless me from marrying a usurer!
Autolycus 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?
Mopsa Pray you now, buy it.
2095Clown Come on, lay it by, and let's first see more ballads. We'll buy the other things anon.
Autolycus 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 2100the 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.
Dorcas Is it true too, think you?
2105Autolycus Five justices' hands at it, and witnesses more than my pack will hold.
Clown Lay it by, too. Another.
Autolycus This is a merry ballad, but a very pretty one.
Mopsa Let's have some merry ones.
2110Autolycus 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.
Mopsa We can both sing it. If thou'lt bear a part thou shalt hear; 'tis in three parts.
2115Dorcas We had the tune on't a month ago.
Autolycus I can bear my part. You must know 'tis my occupation. Have at it with you.
Song
Get you hence, for I must go
Autolycus Where it fits not you to know.
2120Dorcas
Whither?
Mopsa
Oh whither?
Dorcas
Whither?
Mopsa It becomes thy oath full well,
Thou to me thy secrets tell.
2125Dorcas Me too. Let me go thither.
Mopsa Or thou goest to th' grange or mill,
Dorcas If to either thou dost ill.
Autolycus
Neither.
Dorcas
What neither?
2130Autolycus
Neither.
Dorcas Thou hast sworn my love to be.
Mopsa Thou hast sworn it more to me.
Then whither goest? Say whither?
Clown We'll have this song out anon by ourselves. My 2135father 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. Peddler, let's have the first choice. Follow me, girls.
[Exit Clown with Dorcas and Mopsa.]
Autolycus And you shall pay well for 'em.
Song
Will you buy any tape, or lace for your cape?
2140My dainty duck, my dear-a?
Any silk, any thread, any toys for your head
Of the newest, and finest, finest wear-a.
Come to the peddler, money's a meddler,
That doth utter all men's ware-a.
Exit
[Enter a Servant]
2145Servant [To Shepherd] Master, there is three carters, three shepherds, three neatherds, three swineherds that have made themselves all men of hair. They call themselves saltiers, and they have a dance which the wenches say is a galimaufry of gambols because they are not in't; but 2150they themselves are o'th' mind, if it be not too rough for some that know little but bowling, it will please plentifully.
Shepherd Away! We'll none on't. Here has been too much homely foolery already. I know, sir, we 2155weary you.
Polixenes You weary those that refresh us. Pray, let's see these four threes of herdsmen.
Servant One three of them, by their own report, sir, hath danced before the king; and not the worst of the 2160three but jumps twelve foot and a half by th'square.
Shepherd Leave your prating. Since these good men are pleased, let them come in, but quickly now.
Servant Why, they stay at door, sir.
[He brings in the dancers.]
Here a dance of twelve satyrs.
2165Polixenes [To the Old Shepherd] O father, you'll know more of that hereafter.
[To Camillo] Is it not too far gone? 'Tis time to part them.
He's simple and tells much.[To Florizel] How now, fair shepherd?
Your heart is full of something that does take
Your mind from feasting. Sooth, when I was young
2170And handed love, as you do, I was wont
To load my she with knacks. I would have ransacked
The peddler's silken treasury and have poured it
To her acceptance. You have let him go
And nothing marted with him. If your lass
2175Interpretation 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.
Florizel
Old sir, I know
2180She prizes not such trifles as these are
The gifts she looks from me are packed and locked
Up in my heart, which I have given already,
But not delivered. [To Perdita] Oh hear me breathe my life
Before this ancient sir, who, it should seem,
2185Hath sometime loved. I take thy hand, this hand,
As soft as dove's down, and as white as it,
Or Ethiopian's tooth, or the fanned snow that's bolted
By th' northern blasts twice o'er --
Polixenes
What follows this?
2190[To Camillo] How prettily th'young swain seems to wash
The hand was fair before! [To Florizel] I have put you out.
But to your protestation. Let me hear
What you profess.
Florizel
Do, and be witness to't.
2195Polixenes
And this my neighbor too?
Florizel
And he, and more
Than he and men -- the earth, the heavens, and all --
That were I crowned the most imperial monarch,
Thereof most worthy, were I the fairest youth
2200That 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.
2205Polixenes
Fairly offered.
Camillo
This shows a sound affection.
Shepherd
But, my daughter,
Say you the like to him?
Perdita
I cannot speak
2210So well, nothing so well, no, nor mean better.
By th'pattern of mine own thoughts I cut out
The purity of his.
Shepherd
Take hands, a bargain --
And friends unknown, you shall bear witness to't;
2215I give my daughter to him and will make
Her portion equal his.
Florizel
Oh, that must be
I'th'virtue of your daughter. One being dead,
I shall have more than you can dream of yet,
2220Enough then for your wonder. But come on,
Contract us 'fore these witnesses.
Shepherd
Come, your hand --
And daughter, yours.
Polixenes
Soft, swain, awhile, beseech you.
2225Have you a father?
Florizel
I have, but what of him?
Polixenes
Knows he of this?
Florizel
He neither does nor shall.
Polixenes Methinks a father
2230Is 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?
2235Know man from man? Dispute his owne estate?
Lies he not bed-rid, and again does nothing
But what he did being childish?
Florizel
No, good sir.
He has his health and ampler strength indeed
2240Than most have of his age.
Polixenes
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
2245The father, all whose joy is nothing else
But fair posterity, should hold some counsel
In such a business.
Florizel
I yield all this;
But for some other reasons, my grave sir,
2250Which 'tis not fit you know, I not acquaint
My father of this business.
Polixenes
Let him know't.
Florizel
He shall not.
Polixenes
Prithee let him.
2255Florizel
No, he must not.
Shepherd Let him, my son; he shall not need to grieve
At knowing of thy choice.
Florizel
Come, come, he must not.
Mark our contract.
2260Polixenes
[Removing disguise] Mark your divorce, young sir,
Whom son I dare not call. Thou art too base
To be acknowledged. Thou a scepter's heir
That thus affects a sheep-hook? Thou, old traitor,
I am sorry that by hanging thee I can
2265But shorten thy life one week. And thou, fresh piece
Of excellent witchcraft, whom of force must know
The royal fool thou cop'st with --
Shepherd
Oh, my heart!
Polixenes I'll have thy beauty scratched with briers and made
2270More homely than thy state.[To Florizel] For thee, fond boy,
If I may ever know thou dost but sigh,
That thou no more shalt never 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,
2275Far than Deucalion off. Mark thou my words.
Follow us to the court. [To Old Shepherd] Thou, churl, for this time,
Though full of our displeasure, yet we free thee
From the dead blow of it. [To Perdita] And you, enchantment,
Worthy enough a herdsman -- yea, him too
2280That makes himself but for our honor 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
2285As thou art tender to't.
Exit
Perdita
Even here undone!
I was not much afeared, for once or twice
I was about to speak and tell him plainly,
The selfsame sun that shines upon his court
2290Hides not his visage from our cottage, but
Looks on alike. [To Florizel] Wilt 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 farther,
2295But milk my ewes and weep.
Camillo
Why, how now, father?
Speak ere thou diest.
Shepherd
I cannot speak, nor think,
Nor dare to know that which I know.[To Florizel] O sir,
2300You 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
2305Where no priest shovels in dust.[To Perdita] O, cursèd 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 lived
To die when I desire.
Exit.
2310Florizel
[To Camillo] Why look you so upon me?
I am but sorry, not afeared; delayed,
But nothing altered. What I was, I am,
More straining on for plucking back, not following
My leash unwillingly.
2315Camillo
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.
2320Then, till the fury of his highness settle,
Come not before him.
Florizel
I not purpose it.
I think, Camillo?
Camillo
[removing disguise] Even he, my lord.
2325Perdita How often have I told you 'twould be thus?
How often said my dignity would last
But till 'twere known?
Florizel
It cannot fail but by
The violation of my faith, and then
2330Let nature crush the sides o'th earth together
And mar the seeds within. Lift up thy looks.
From my succession wipe me, father! I
Am heir to my affection.
Camillo
Be advised.
2335Florizel I am, and by my fancy; if my reason
Will thereto be obedient, I have reason.
If not, my senses, better pleased with madness,
Do bid it welcome.
Camillo
This is desperate, sir.
2340Florizel So call it, but it does fulfill my vow.
I needs must think it honesty. Camillo,
Not for Bohemia, nor the pomp that may
Be thereat gleaned, for all the sun sees or
The close earth wombs or the profound seas hides
2345In unknown fathoms, will I break my oath
To this my fair beloved. Therefore, I pray you,
As you have ever been my father's honored friend,
When he shall miss me, as in faith I mean not
To see him anymore, cast your good counsels
2350Upon 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
2355A vessel rides fast by, but not prepared
For this design. What course I mean to hold
Shall nothing benefit your knowledge nor
Concern me the reporting.
Camillo
O my lord,
2360I would your spirit were easier for advice
Or stronger for your need.
Florizel
Hark, Perdita --
[To Camillo] I'll hear you by and by.
[Florizel and Perdita walk together]
Camillo
He's irremoveable,
2365Resolved for flight. Now were I happy if
His going I could frame to serve my turn,
Save him from danger, do him love and honor,
Purchase the sight again of dear Sicilia,
And that unhappy king, my master, whom
2370I so much thirst to see.
Florizel
[Florizel steps forward] Now, good Camillo,
I am so fraught with curious business that
I leave out ceremony.
Camillo
Sir, I think
2375You have heard of my poor services i'th'love
That I have borne your father?
Florizel
Very nobly
Have you deserved. It is my father's music
To speak your deeds, not little of his care
2380To have them recompensed as thought on.
Camillo
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,
2385If your more ponderous and settled project
May suffer alteration. On mine honor,
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
2390There's no disjunction to be made but by --
As heavens forfend -- your ruin. Marry her,
And, with my best endeavors in your absence,
Your discontenting father strive to qualify
And bring him up to liking.
2395Florizel
How, Camillo,
May this, almost a miracle, be done,
That I may call thee something more than man,
And after that trust to thee?
Camillo
Have you thought on
2400A place whereto you'll go?
Florizel
Not any yet.
But as th'unthought-on accident is guilty
To what we wildly do, so we profess
Ourselves to be the slaves of chance and flies
2405Of every wind that blows.
Camillo
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,
2410For 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 there, "Son, forgiveness"
2415As 'twere i'th' father's person; kisses the hands
Of your fresh princess; o'er and o'er divides him
'Twixt his unkindness and his kindness. Th'one
He chides to hell and bids the other grow
Faster than thought or time.
2420Florizel
Worthy Camillo,
What color for my visitation shall I
Hold up before him?
Camillo
Sent by the king your father
To greet him, and to give him comforts. Sir,
2425The 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
2430But that you have your father's bosom there
And speak his very heart.
Florizel
I am bound to you.
There is some sap in this.
Camillo
A course more promising
2435Than a wild dedication of yourselves
To unpathed waters, undreamed 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
2440Do 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.
2445Perdita
One of these is true:
I think affliction may subdue the cheek
But not take in the mind.
Camillo
Yea? Say you so?
There shall not at your father's house these seven years
2450Be born another such.
Florizel
My good Camillo,
She's as forward of her breeding as
She is i'th'rear our birth.
Camillo
I cannot say 'tis pity
2455She lacks instructions, for she seems a mistress
To most that teach.
Perdita
Your pardon, sir. For this,
I'll blush you thanks.
Florizel
My prettiest Perdita!
2460But, Oh, 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 furnished like Bohemia's son
Nor shall appear in Sicilia.
2465Camillo
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,
2470That you may know you shall not want, one word --
[Camillo, Florizel, and Perdita talk together.]
Enter Autolycus
Autolycus 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 ribbon, 2475glass, 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 2480purse 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 2485of 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 2490nothing 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 a hubbub 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 2495army.
[Camillo, Florizel, and Perdita come forward]
Camillo [To Florizel and Perdita] Nay, but my letters, by this means being there
So soon as you arrive, shall clear that doubt.
Florizel And those that you'll procure from King Leontes?
Camillo
Shall satisfy your father.
2500Perdita
Happy be you!
All that you speak shows fair.
Camillo
[Noticing Autolycus] Who have we here?
We'll make an instrument of this; omit
Nothing may give us aide.
2505Autolycus [Aside If they have overheard me now -- why, hanging!
Camillo How now, good fellow! Why shak'st thou so? Fear not, man; Here's no harm intended to thee.
Autolycus I am a poor fellow, sir.
2510Camillo 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 penny-worth on his 2515side be the worst, yet hold thee, there's some boot. [Gives him money]
Autolycus I am a poor fellow, sir; [Aside] I know ye well enough.
Camillo Nay, prithee, dispatch -- the gentleman is half flayed already.
2520Autolycus Are you in earnest, sir? [Aside] I smell the trick on't.
Florizel Dispatch, I prithee.
Autolycus Indeed, I have had earnest, but I cannot with conscience take it.
Camillo Unbuckle, unbuckle.
[Florizel and Autolycus exchange clothes.]
2525Fortunate mistress -- let my prophecy
Come home to ye! -- 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
2530The truth of your own seeming that you may,
For I do fear eyes over, to shipboard
Get undescried.
Perdita
I see the play so lies
That I must bear a part.
2535Camillo
No remedy.
[To Florizel]Have you done there?
Florizel
Should I now meet my father,
He would not call me son.
Camillo
Nay, you shall have no hat. [Giving hat to Perdita]
2540Come, lady, come. Farewell, my friend.
Autolycus
Adieu, sir.
Florizel O Perdita! What have we twain forgot?
Pray you a word.
[The two talk together.]
Camillo
What I do next shall be to tell the king
2545Of this escape and whither they are bound;
Wherein my hope is I shall so prevail
To force him after, in whose company
I shall review Sicilia, for whose sight
I have a woman's longing.
2550Florizel
Fortune speed us!
Thus we set on, Camillo, to th' seaside.
Camillo The swifter speed the better.
Exeunt [Florizel, Perdita, and Camillo]
Autolycus I understand the business; I hear it. To have an open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand is necessary for 2555a cutpurse; a good nose is requisite also to smell out work for th' 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 2560do 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 2565I constant to my profession.
Enter Clown and Old Shepherd [carrying a bundle and a box]
Aside, aside -- here is more matter for a hot brain; every lane's end, every shop, church, session, hanging, yields a careful man work.
2570Clown 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 blood.
Shepherd Nay, but hear me --
Clown Nay, but hear me!
2575Shepherd Go to, then.
Clown 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 2580what she has with her. This being done, let the law go whistle, I warrant you.
Shepherd 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 2585the king's brother-in-law.
Clown 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.
Autolycus [Aside] Very wisely, puppies!
2590Shepherd Well! Let us to the king. There is that in this fardel will make him scratch his beard.
Autolycus [Aside] I know not what impediment this complaint may be to the flight of my master.
Clown Pray heartily he be at palace.
2595Autolycus [Aside] Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance. Let me pocket up my peddler's excrement.
[Removing false beard]
[To the Clown and Shepherd] How now, rustics! Whither are you bound?
Shepherd To th'palace, an it like your worship.
Autolycus Your affairs there? What? With whom? The 2600condition of that fardel? The place of your dwelling? Your names? Your ages? Of what having, breeding, and anything that is fitting to be known, discover!
Clown We are but plain fellows, sir.
Autolycus A lie! You are rough and hairy! Let me have 2605no 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.
Clown Your worship had like to have given us one if 2610you had not taken yourself with the manner.
Shepherd Are you a courtier, an't like you, sir?
Autolycus Whether it like me or no, I am a courtier. See'st thou not the air of the court in these enfoldings? Hath not my gait in it the measure of the court? Receives not 2615thy nose court odor from me? Reflect I not on thy baseness court-contempt? Think'st thou for that I insinuate to toze from thee thy business, I am therefore no courtier? I am courtier cap-á-pie, and one that will either push on or pluck back thy business there, 2620whereupon I command thee to open thy affair.
Shepherd My business, sir, is to the king.
Autolycus What advocate hast thou to him?
Shepherd I know not, an't like you.
Clown "Advocate"'s the court word for a pheasant. Say 2625you have none.
Shepherd None, sir. I have no pheasant, cock, nor hen.
Autolycus How blessed are we that are not simple men! Yet nature might have made me as these are. Therefore I will not disdain.
2630Clown This cannot be but a great courtier.
Shepherd His garments are rich, but he wears them not handsomely.
Clown He seems to be the more noble in being fantastical. A great man, I'll warrant. I know by the picking 2635on's teeth.
Autolycus The fardel there? What's i'th'fardel? Wherefore that box?
Shepherd Sir, there lies such secrets in this fardel and box which none must know but the king, and which he 2640shall know within this hour, if I may come to th'speech of him.
Autolycus Age, thou hast lost thy labor.
Shepherd Why, sir?
Autolycus The king is not at the palace; he is gone aboard 2645a new ship to purge melancholy and air himself; for if thou be'st capable of things serious, thou must know the king is full of grief.
Shepherd So, 'tis said, sir, about his son that should have married a shepherd's daughter.
2650Autolycus If that shepherd be not in handfast, let him fly. The curses he shall have, the tortures he shall feel, will break the back of man, the heart of monster.
Clown Think you so, sir?
Autolycus Not he alone shall suffer what wit can make 2655heavy 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 2660say he shall be stoned, but that death is too soft for him, say I. Draw our throne into a sheepcote? All deaths are too few, the sharpest too easy.
Clown Has the old man e'er a son, sir, do you hear, an't like you, sir?
2665Autolycus 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 aquavitae or some other hot infusion; then, raw as he is, and in the hottest day 2670prognostication 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 offenses being so capital? 2675Tell 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 2680shall do it.
Clown [To the Shepherd] 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 2685hand, and no more ado. Remember "stoned", and "flayed alive."
Shepherd 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 2690you.
Autolycus After I have done what I promised?
Shepherd Ay, sir.
Autolycus Well, give me the moiety. [To the Clown] Are you a party in this business?
2695Clown In some sort, sir, but though my case be a pitiful one, I hope I shall not be flayed out of it.
Autolycus Oh, that's the case of the shepherd's son! Hang him, he'll be made an example.
Clown Comfort, good comfort! [To the shepherd] We must to the king 2700and 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.
2705Autolycus I will trust you. Walk before toward the seaside. Go on the right hand. I will but look upon the hedge and follow you.
Clown We are blessed in this man, as I may say, even blessed.
2710Shepherd Let's before, as he bids us; he was provided to do us good.
[Exeunt Clown and Shepherd]
Autolycus 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 2715to 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 2720him 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.
Exit.
[5.1]
2725
Enter Leontes, Cleomines, Dion, Paulina, and Servants.
Cleomines Sir, you have done enough and have performed
A saint-like sorrow. No fault could you make
Which you have not redeemed, indeed, paid down
2730More penitence then done trespass. At the last,
Do as the heavens have done, forget your evil;
With them, forgive yourself.
Leontes
Whilst I remember
Her and her virtues, I cannot forget
2735My 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
Destroyed the sweet'st companion that e'er man
Bred his hopes out of. True?
2740Paulina
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 killed
Would be unparalleled.
2745Leontes
I think so. Killed?
She I killed? 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.
2750Cleomines
Not at all, good lady.
You might have spoken a thousand things that would
Have done the time more benefit and graced
Your kindness better.
Paulina
You are one of those
2755Would have him wed again.
Dion
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
2760May 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,
2765To bless the bed of majesty again
With a sweet fellow to't?
Paulina
There is none worthy,
Respecting her that's gone. Besides, the gods
Will have fulfilled their secret purposes.
2770For has not the divine Apollo said?
Is't not the tenor 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 humane reason
2775As 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 the king] Care not for issue.
2780The crown will find an heir. Great Alexander
Left his to th' worthiest, so his successor
Was like to be the best.
Leontes
Good Paulina,
Who hast the memory of Hermione,
2785I know, in honor. Oh, that ever I
Had squared me to thy counsel! Then, even now,
I might have looked upon my queen's full eyes,
Have taken treasure from her lips --
Paulina
And left them
2790More rich for what they yielded.
Leontes
Thou speak'st truth!
No more such wives, therefore no wife. One worse
And better used would make her sainted spirit
Again possess her corpse, and on this stage,
2795Where we offenders now appear, soul-vexed,
And begin, "Why to me?"
Paulina
Had she such power,
She had just cause.
Leontes
She had, and would incense me
2800To murder her I married.
Paulina I should so.
Were I the ghost that walked, 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
2805Should rift to hear me, and the words that followed
Should be, "Remember mine."
Leontes
Stars, stars,
And all eyes else, dead coals! Fear thou no wife;
I'll have no wife, Paulina.
2810Paulina
Will you swear
Never to marry but by my free leave?
Leontes
Never, Paulina, so be blessed my spirit.
Paulina Then, good my lords, bear witness to his oath.
Cleomines
You tempt him over-much.
2815Paulina
Unless another
As like Hermione as is her picture,
Affront his eye --
Cleomines
Good madam, I have done.
Paulina Yet if my lord will marry -- if you will, sir,
2820No 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, walked your first queen's ghost, it should take joy
To see her in your arms.
2825Leontes
My true Paulina,
We shall not marry till thou bidd'st us.
Paulina
That
Shall be when your first queen's again in breath.
Never till then.
2830
Enter a [Gentleman].
1 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.
2835Leontes
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 framed, but forced
By need and accident. What train?
28401 Gentleman
But few,
And those but mean.
Leontes
His princess, say you, with him?
1 Gentleman Ay, the most peerless piece of earth, I think,
That ere the sun shone bright on.
2845Paulina
O Hermione,
As every present time doth boast itself
Above a better, gone, so must thy grave
Give way to what's seen now. [To the Servant] Sir, you yourself
Have said and writ so, but your writing now
2850Is colder than that theme: she had not been,
Nor was not to be equaled; thus your verse
Flowed with her beauty once. 'Tis shrewdly ebbed
To say you have seen a better.
1 Gentleman
Pardon, madam,
2855The one I have almost forgot -- your pardon;
The other, when she has obtained 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
2860Of who she but bid follow.
Paulina
How? Not women!
1 Gentleman Women will love her that she is a woman
More worth than any man; men, that she is
The rarest of all women.
2865Leontes
Go, Cleomines,
Yourself, assisted with your honored friends,
Bring them to our embracement. Still 'tis strange
He thus should steal upon us.
[Exeunt Cleomines with others]
Paulina
Had our prince,
2870Jewel of children, seen this hour, he had paired
Well with this lord. There was not full a month
Between their births.
Leontes
Prithee no more; cease! thou know'st
He dies to me again when talked of. Sure
2875When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches
Will bring me to consider that which may
Unfurnish me of reason. They are come.
Enter Florizel, Perdita, Cleomines, and others.
Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince,
2880For 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
2885By us performed before. Most dearly welcome,
And your fair princess -- goddess! Oh, 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 --
2890All 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.
Florizel
By his command
2895Have I here touched 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 seized
His wished ability, he had himself
2900The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his
Measured to look upon you, whom he loves --
He bade me say so -- more than all the scepters,
And those that bear them, living.
Leontes
O my brother!
2905Good 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 th' earth. And hath he too
2910Exposed this paragon to th' fearful usage
At least ungentle, of the dreadful Neptune,
To greet a man not worth her pains, much less
Th' adventure of her person?
Florizel
Good my Lord,
2915She came from Libya.
Leontes
Where the warlike Smalus,
That noble honored lord, is feared and loved?
Florizel Most royal sir, from thence; from him whose daughter
2920His tears proclaimed his, parting with her. Thence,
A prosperous south-wind friendly, we have crossed
To execute the charge my father gave me
For visiting your Highness. My best train
I have from your Sicilian shores dismissed,
2925Who 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.
Leontes
The blessèd gods
2930Purge 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,
2935Have left me issueless. And your father's blessed,
As he from heaven merits it, with you,
Worthy his goodness. What might I have been
Might I a son and daughter now have looked on,
Such goodly things as you?
2940
Enter a Lord
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,
2945Desires 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.
Leontes
Where's Bohemia? Speak!
2950Lord 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 hastening -- in the chase, it seems,
Of this fair couple -- meets he on the way
2955The father of this seeming lady and
Her brother, having both their country quitted
With this young prince.
Florizel
Camillo has betrayed me,
Whose honor and whose honesty till now
2960Endured all weathers.
Lord
Lay't so to his charge.
He's with the king your father.
Leontes
Who? Camillo?
Lord Camillo, sir. I spake with him, who now
2965Has 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 diverse deaths in death.
2970Perdita
O my poor father!
The heaven sets spies upon us, will not have
Our contract celebrated.
Leontes
You are married?
Florizel We are not, sir, nor are we like to be.
2975The stars, I see, will kiss the valleys first;
The odds for high and low's alike.
Leontes
My lord,
Is this the daughter of a king?
Florizel
She is,
2980When once she is my wife.
Leontes 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
2985Your choice is not so rich in worth as beauty,
That you might well enjoy her.
Florizel
Dear, look up,
Though Fortune, visible an enemy,
Should chase us with my father, power no jot
2990Hath she to change our loves. Beseech you, sir,
Remember since you owed 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.
2995Leontes Would he do so, I'd beg your precious mistress,
Which he counts but a trifle.
Paulina
Sir, my liege,
Your eye hath too much youth in't. Not a month
'Fore your queen died, she was more worth such gazes
3000Than what you look on now.
Leontes
I thought of her,
Even in these looks I made. [To Florizel] But your petition
Is yet unanswered. I will to your father.
Your honor not o'erthrown by your desires,
3005I 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.
Exeunt.
[5.2]
3010
Enter Autolycus and a Gentleman.
Autolycus Beseech you, sir, were you present at this relation?
First Gentleman I was by at the opening of the fardel, heard the old shepherd deliver the manner how he found it; 3015whereupon, after a little amazedness, we were all commanded out of the chamber. Only this, methought I heard the shepherd say he found the child.
Autolycus I would most gladly know the issue of it.
First Gentleman I make a broken delivery of the business, 3020but the changes I perceived in the King and Camillo were very notes of admiration; they seemed 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 3025ransomed, 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 th' importance were joy or sorrow. But in the extremity of the one, it must needs be.
Enter another Gentleman [Ruggiero].
3030Here comes a gentleman that happily knows more. The news, Ruggiero?
2 Gentleman 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 3035be able to express it.
Enter another Gentleman.
Here comes the Lady Paulina's steward. He can deliver you more. 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?
30403 Gentleman 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's, her jewel about the neck of it, the letters of Antigonus found with it, which they know 3045to 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 3050two kings?
2 Gentleman No.
3 Gentleman Then have you 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 3055it 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 favor. Our king, being ready to leap out of himself for joy of 3060his found daughter, as if that joy were now become a loss, cries, "Oh, 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 3065a 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.
2 Gentleman What, pray you, became of Antigonus, that carried hence the child?
30703 Gentleman 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 3075and rings of his that Paulina knows.
First Gentleman What became of his bark and his followers?
3 Gentleman Wrecked the same instant of their master's death, and in the view of the shepherd, so that all the 3080instruments which aided to expose the child were even then lost when it was found. But oh, 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 3085princess 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.
First Gentleman The dignity of this act was worth the audience of kings and princes, for by such was it acted.
30903 Gentleman 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't, bravely confessed and lamented by the king, how attentiveness 3095wounded his daughter, till, from one sign of dolor 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 color. Some swooned, all sorrowed. If all the world could have seen't, the woe 3100had been universal.
First Gentleman Are they returned to the court?
3 Gentleman No. The princess, hearing of her mother's statue which is in the keeping of Paulina, a piece many year's in doing and now newly performed by that rare 3105Italian 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. 3110Thither, with all greediness of affection are they gone, and there they intend to sup.
2 Gentleman 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. 3115Shall we thither and with our company piece the rejoicing?
First Gentleman 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 3120knowledge. Let's along.
[Exeunt the Gentlemen.]
Autolycus 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 3125he at that time overfond of the shepherd's daughter -- so he then took her to be -- who began to be much seasick and himself little better, extremity of weather continuing, this mystery remained undiscovered. But 'tis all one to me, for had I been the finder-out of this secret, 3130it would not have relished among my other discredits.
Enter Shepherd and Clown [ornately dressed]
Here come those I have done good to against my will and already appearing in the blossoms of their fortune.
3135Shepherd Come, boy, I am past more children, but thy sons and daughters will be all gentlemen born.
Clown [To Autolycus] 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 3140and 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.
Autolycus I know you are now, sir, a gentleman born.
3145Clown Ay, and have been so any time these four hours.
Shepherd And so have I, boy.
Clown 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 3150called 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.
Shepherd We may live, son, to shed many more.
3155Clown Ay, or else 'twere hard luck being in so preposterous estate as we are.
Autolycus 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.
3160Shepherd Prithee, son, do, for we must be gentle now we are gentlemen.
Clown Thou wilt amend thy life?
Autolycus Ay, and it like your good worship.
Clown Give me thy hand. I will swear to the prince 3165thou art as honest a true fellow as any is in Bohemia.
Shepherd You may say it, but not swear it.
Clown Not swear it, now I am a gentleman? Let boors and franklins say it. I'll swear it.
Shepherd How if it be false, son?
3170Clown 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 3175swear it, and I would thou wouldst be a tall fellow of thy hands.
Autolycus I will prove so, sir, to my power.
Clown Ay, by any means prove a tall fellow. If I do not wonder how thou dar'st venture to be drunk, not being 3180a tall fellow, trust me not. Hark, the kings and princes, our kindred, are going to see the queen's picture. Come, follow us. We'll be thy good masters.
Exeunt.
[5.3]
Enter Leontes, Polixenes, Florizel, Perdita, Camillo, 3185Paulina, Lords, etc.
Leontes O grave and good Paulina, the great comfort
That I have had of thee!
Paulina
What, sovereign sir,
I did not well, I meant well. All my services
3190You have paid home, but that you have vouchsafed
With your crowned 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.
3195Leontes
O Paulina,
We honor you with trouble, but we came
To see the statue of our queen. Your gallery
Have we passed through, not without much content
In many singularities, but we saw not
3200That which my daughter came to look upon,
The statue of her mother.
Paulina
As she lived peerless,
So her dead likeness I do well believe
Excels whatever yet you looked upon,
3205Or hand of man hath done. Therefore I keep it
Lonely, apart. But here it is; prepare
To see the life as lively mocked as ever
Still sleep mocked death.
[Drawing aside curtain to reveal Hermione as a statue]
Behold, and say 'tis well.
I like your silence; it the more shows off
3210Your wonder, but yet speak. First you, my liege,
Comes it not something near?
Leontes
Her natural posture.
Chide me, dear stone, that I may say indeed
Thou art Hermione -- or rather, thou art she
3215In 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.
Polixenes
O, not by much.
3220Paulina So much the more our carver's excellence,
Which lets go by some sixteen years and makes her
As she lived now.
Leontes
As now she might have done,
So much to my good comfort as it is
3225Now piercing to my soul. O, thus she stood,
Even with such life of majesty -- warm life,
As now it coldly stands -- when first I wooed her.
I am ashamed; does not the stone rebuke me
For being more stone than it? O royal piece!
3230There's magic in thy majesty, which has
My evils conjured to remembrance and
From thy admiring daughter took the spirits,
Standing like stone with thee.
Perdita
And give me leave,
3235And 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.
Paulina
O, patience!
3240The statue is but newly fixed; the color's
Not dry.
Camillo
My Lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on,
Which sixteen winters cannot blow away,
So many summers dry; scarce any joy
3245Did ever so long live; no sorrow,
But killed itself much sooner.
Polixenes
Dear my brother,
Let him that was the cause of this have power
To take off so much grief from you as he
3250Will piece up in himself.
Paulina
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 showed it.
[Moves to draw curtain]
3255Leontes
Do not draw the curtain.
Paulina No longer shall you gaze on't, lest your fancy
May think anon it moves.
Leontes
Let be, let be!
Would I were dead but that me thinks already --
3260What was he that did make it? See, my lord,
Would you not deem it breathed? And that those veins
Did verily bear blood?
Polixenes
Masterly done.
The very life seems warm upon her lip.
3265Leontes The fixure of her eye has motion in't,
As we are mocked with art.
Paulina
I'll draw the curtain.
My Lord's almost so far transported that
He'll think anon it lives.
3270Leontes
O sweet Paulina,
Make me to think so twenty year together;
No settled senses of the world can match
The pleasure of that madness. Let't alone.
Paulina I am sorry, sir, I have thus far stirred you, but
3275I could afflict you farther.
Leontes
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
3280Could ever yet cut breath? Let no man mock me,
For I will kiss her.
Paulina
Good, my lord, forbear.
The ruddiness upon her lip is wet;
You'll mar it if you kiss it, stain your own
3285With oily painting. Shall I draw the curtain?
Leontes
No, not these twenty years.
Perdita
So long could I
Stand by, a looker-on.
Paulina
Either forbear,
3290Quit 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
3295By wicked powers.
Leontes
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.
3300Paulina
It is required
You do awake your faith; then, all stand still.
Or those that think it is unlawful business
I am about, let them depart.
Leontes
Proceed.
3305No foot shall stir.
Paulina
Music! Awake her! Strike!
[Music sounds]
[To Heriome] '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;
3310Bequeath to death your numbness, for from him
Dear life redeems you. [To Leontes] You perceive she stirs.
[Hermione descends]
Start not; her actions shall be holy as
You hear my spell is lawful; [To Leontes] do not shun her
Until you see her die again, for then
3315You kill her double. Nay, present your hand.
When she was young, you wooed her; now, in age,
Is she become the suitor?
Leontes
O, she's warm!
If this be magic, let it be an art
3320Lawful as eating.
Polixenes
She embraces him.
Camillo She hangs about his neck --
If she pertain to life, let her speak too.
Polixenes Ay, and make it manifest where she has lived,
3325Or how stolen from the dead?
Paulina
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.
3330[To Perdita] Please you to interpose, fair madam. Kneel,
And pray your mother's blessing; [To Hermione] Turn, good lady;
Our Perdita is found!
Hermione
You gods, look down,
And from your sacred vials pour your graces
3335Upon my daughter's head! Tell me, mine own,
Where hast thou been preserved? Where lived? 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 preserved
3340Myself to see the issue.
Paulina
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
3345Partake to everyone. I, an old turtle,
Will wing me to some withered bough, and there
My mate -- that's never to be found again --
Lament, till I am lost.
Leontes
O peace, Paulina!
3350Thou 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 questioned; for I saw her,
As I thought, dead, and have in vain said many
3355A prayer upon her grave. I'll not seek far,
For him I partly know his mind, to find thee
An honorable husband. Come, Camillo,
And take her by the hand, whose worth and honesty
Is richly noted, and here justified
3360By us, a pair of kings. Let's from this place.
[To Hermione] What? Look upon my brother. Both your pardons
That ere I put between your holy looks
My ill suspicion. This your son-in-law,
And son unto the king, whom heavens directing,
3365Is troth-plight to your daughter. Good Paulina,
Lead us from hence, where we may leisurely
Each one demand and answer to his part
Performed in this wide gap of time since first
We were dissevered. Hastily lead away.
Exeunt.