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About this text

  • Title: The Winter's Tale (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Hardin Aasand
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-367-0

    Copyright Hardin Aasand. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Hardin Aasand
    Peer Reviewed

    The Winter's Tale (Folio 1, 1623)


    The Winters Tale.

    Actus Primus. Scœna Prima.

    Enter Camillo and Archidamus.

    IF you shall chance (Camillo) to visit Bohemia, on
    5the like occasion whereon my seruices are now
    on-foot, you shall see (as I haue said) great dif-
    ference betwixt our Bohemia, and your Sicilia.
    Cam. I thinke, this comming Summer, the King of
    Sicilia meanes to pay Bohemia the Visitation, which hee
    10iustly owes him.
    Arch. Wherein our Entertainment shall shame vs: we
    will be iustified in our Loues: for indeed---
    Cam. 'Beseech you---
    Arch. Verely I speake it in the freedome of my know-
    15ledge: we cannot with such magnificence--- in so rare---
    I know not what to say--- Wee will giue you sleepie
    Drinkes, that your Sences (vn-intelligent of our insuffi-
    cience) may, though they cannot prayse vs, as little ac-
    cuse vs.
    20Cam. You pay a great deale to deare, for what's giuen
    Arch. 'Beleeue me, I speake as my vnderstanding in-
    structs me, and as mine honestie puts it to vtterance.
    Cam. Sicilia cannot shew himselfe ouer-kind to Bohe-
    25mia: They were trayn'd together in their Child-hoods;
    and there rooted betwixt them then such an affection,
    which cannot chuse but braunch now. Since their more
    mature Dignities, and Royall Necessities, made seperati-
    on of their Societie, their Encounters (though not Perso-
    30nall) hath been Royally attornyed with enter-change of
    Gifts, Letters, louing Embassies, that they haue seem'd to
    be together, though absent: shooke hands, as ouer a Vast;
    and embrac'd as it were from the ends of opposed Winds.
    The Heauens continue their Loues.
    35Arch. I thinke there is not in the World, either Malice
    or Matter, to alter it. You haue an vnspeakable comfort
    of your young Prince Mamillius: it is a Gentleman of the
    greatest Promise, that euer came into my Note.
    Cam. I very well agree with you, in the hopes of him:
    40it is a gallant Child; one, that (indeed) Physicks the Sub-
    iect, makes old hearts fresh: they that went on Crutches
    ere he was borne, desire yet their life, to see him a Man.
    Arch. Would they else be content to die?
    Cam. Yes; if there were no other excuse, why they should
    45desire to liue.
    Arch. If the King had no Sonne, they would desire to
    liue on Crutches till he had one.

    Scœna Secunda.

    Enter Leontes, Hermione, Mamillius, Polixenes, Camillo.
    50Pol. Nine Changes of the Watry-Starre hath been
    The Shepheards Note, since we haue left our Throne
    Without a Burthen: Time as long againe
    Would be fill'd vp (my Brother) with our Thanks,
    And yet we should, for perpetuitie,
    55Goe hence in debt: And therefore, like a Cypher
    (Yet standing in rich place) I multiply
    With one we thanke you, many thousands moe,
    That goe before it.
    Leo. Stay your Thanks a while,
    60And pay them when you part.
    Pol. Sir, that's to morrow:
    I am question'd by my feares, of what may chance,
    Or breed vpon our absence, that may blow
    No sneaping Winds at home, to make vs say,
    65This is put forth too truly: besides, I haue stay'd
    To tyre your Royaltie.
    Leo. We are tougher (Brother)
    Then you can put vs to't.
    Pol. No longer stay.
    70Leo. One Seue' night longer.
    Pol. Very sooth, to morrow.
    Leo. Wee'le part the time betweene's then: and in that
    Ile no gaine-saying.
    Pol. Presse me not ('beseech you) so:
    75There is no Tongue that moues; none, none i'th' World
    So soone as yours, could win me: so it should now,
    Were there necessitie in your request, although
    'Twere needfull I deny'd it. My Affaires
    Doe euen drag me home-ward: which to hinder,
    80Were (in your Loue) a Whip to me; my stay,
    To you a Charge, and Trouble: to saue both,
    Farewell (our Brother.)
    Leo. Tongue-ty'd our Queene? speake you.
    Her. I had thought (Sir) to haue held my peace, vntill
    85You had drawne Oathes from him, not to stay: you (Sir)
    Charge him too coldly. Tell him, you are sure
    All in Bohemia's well: this satisfaction,
    The by-gone-day proclaym'd, say this to him,
    He's beat from his best ward.
    90Leo. Well said, Hermione.
    Her. To tell, he longs to see his Sonne, were strong:
    But let him say so then, and let him goe;
    But let him sweare so, and he shall not stay,
    Wee'l thwack him hence with Distaffes.
    95Yet of your Royall presence, Ile aduenture
    The borrow of a Weeke. When at Bohemia
    You take my Lord, Ile giue him my Commission,
    To let him there a Moneth, behind the Gest
    Prefix'd for's parting: yet (good-deed) Leontes,
    100I loue thee not a Iarre o'th' Clock, behind