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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.
    can reade Waiting-Gentlewoman in the scape: this has
    1515beene some staire-worke, some Trunke-worke, some be-
    hinde-doore worke: they were warmer that got this,
    then the poore Thing is heere. Ile take it vp for pity, yet
    Ile tarry till my sonne come: he hallow'd but euen now.

    Enter Clowne.

    Clo. Hilloa, loa.
    Shep. What? art so neere? If thou'lt see a thing to
    talke on, when thou art dead and rotten, come hither:
    what ayl'st thou, man?
    1525Clo. I haue seene two such sights, by Sea & by Land:
    but I am not to say it is a Sea, for it is now the skie, be-
    twixt the Firmament and it, you cannot thrust a bodkins
    Shep. Why boy, how is it?
    1530Clo. I would you did but see how it chafes, how it ra-
    ges, how it takes vp the shore, but that's not to the point:
    Oh, the most pitteous cry of the poore soules, sometimes
    to see 'em, and not to see 'em: Now the Shippe boaring
    the Moone with her maine Mast, and anon swallowed
    1535with yest and froth, as you'ld thrust a Corke into a hogs-
    head. And then for the Land-seruice, to see how the
    Beare tore out his shoulder-bone, how he cride to mee
    for helpe, and said his name was Antigonus, a Nobleman:
    But to make an end of the Ship, to see how the Sea flap-
    1540dragon'd it: but first, how the poore soules roared, and
    the sea mock'd them: and how the poore Gentleman roa-
    red, and the Beare mock'd him, both roaring lowder
    then the sea, or weather.
    Shep. Name of mercy, when was this boy?
    1545Clo. Now, now: I haue not wink'd since I saw these
    sights: the men are not yet cold vnder water, nor the
    Beare halfe din'd on the Gentleman: he's at it now.
    Shep. Would I had bin by, to haue help'd the olde
    1550Clo. I would you had beene by the ship side, to haue
    help'd her; there your charity would haue lack'd footing.
    Shep. Heauy matters, heauy matters: but looke thee
    heere boy. Now blesse thy selfe: thou met'st with things
    dying, I with things new borne. Here's a sight for thee:
    1555Looke thee, a bearing-cloath for a Squires childe: looke
    thee heere, take vp, take vp (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?
    Clo. You're a mad olde man: If the sinnes of your
    1560youth are forgiuen you, you're well to liue. Golde, all
    Shep. This is Faiery Gold boy, and 'twill proue so: vp
    with't, keepe it close: home, home, the next way. We
    are luckie (boy) and to bee so still requires nothing but
    1565secrecie. Let my sheepe go: Come (good boy) the next
    way home.
    Clo. Go you the next way with your Findings, Ile go
    see if the Beare bee gone from the Gentleman, and how
    much he hath eaten: they are neuer curst but when they
    1570are hungry: if there be any of him left, Ile bury it.
    Shep. That's a good deed: if thou mayest discerne by
    that which is left of him, what he is, fetch me to th' sight
    of him.
    Clowne. 'Marry will I: and you shall helpe to put him
    1575i'th' ground.
    Shep. 'Tis a lucky day, boy, and wee'l do good deeds

    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.

    Scena Secunda.

    Enter Polixenes, and Camillo.
    Pol. I pray thee (good Camillo) be no more importu-
    1615nate: 'tis a sicknesse denying thee any thing: a death to
    grant this.
    Cam. It is fifteene yeeres since I saw my Countrey:
    though I haue (for the most part) bin ayred abroad, I de-
    sire to lay my bones there. Besides, the penitent King
    1620(my Master) hath sent for me, to whose feeling sorrowes
    I might be some allay, or I oreweene to thinke so) which
    is another spurre to my departure.
    Pol. As thou lou'st me (Camillo) wipe not out the rest
    of thy seruices, by leauing me now: the neede I haue of
    1625thee, thine owne goodnesse hath made: better not to
    haue had thee, then thus to want thee, thou hauing made
    me Businesses, (which none (without thee) can suffici-
    ently manage) must either stay to execute them thy selfe,
    or take away with thee the very seruices thou hast done:
    1630which if I haue not enough considered (as too much I
    cannot) to bee more thankefull to thee, shall bee my stu-
    die, and my profite therein, the heaping friendshippes.
    Of that fatall Countrey Sicillia, prethee speake no more,
    whose very naming, punnishes me with the remembrance