Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Hardin Aasand
Peer Reviewed

The Winter's Tale (Folio 1, 1623)

Actus Quartus. Scena Prima.
Enter Time, the Chorus.
1580Time. I that please some, try all: both ioy and terror
Of good, and bad: that makes, and vnfolds error,
Now take vpon me (in the name of Time)
To vse my wings: Impute it not a crime
To me, or my swift passage, that I slide
1585Ore sixteene yeeres, and leaue the growth vntride
Of that wide gap, since it is in my powre
To orethrow Law, and in one selfe-borne howre
To plant, and ore-whelme Custome. Let me passe
The same I am, ere ancient'st Order was,
1590Or what is now receiu'd. I witnesse 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 seemes to it: your patience this allowing,
1595I turne my glasse, and giue my Scene such growing
As you had slept betweene: Leontes leauing
Th' effects of his fond iealousies, so greeuing
That he shuts vp himselfe. Imagine me
(Gentle Spectators) that I now may be
1600In faire Bohemia, and remember well,
I mentioned a sonne o'th' Kings, which Florizell
I now name to you: and with speed so pace
To speake of Perdita, now growne in grace
Equall with wond'ring. What of her insues
1605I list not prophesie: but let Times newes
Be knowne when 'tis brought forth. A shepherds daugh-
And what to her adheres, which followes after,
Is th' argument of Time: of this allow,
If euer you haue spent time worse, ere now:
1610If neuer, yet that Time himselfe doth say,
He wishes earnestly, you neuer may.