Internet Shakespeare Editions

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.
    What Lady she her Lord. You'le stay?
    Pol. No, Madame.
    Her. Nay, but you will?
    Pol. I may not verely.
    105Her. Verely?
    You put me off with limber Vowes: but I,
    Though you would seek t' vnsphere the Stars with Oaths,
    Should yet say, Sir, no going: Verely
    You shall not goe; a Ladyes Verely 'is
    110As potent as a Lords. Will you goe yet?
    Force me to keepe you as a Prisoner,
    Not like a Guest: so you shall pay your Fees
    When you depart, and saue your Thanks. How say you?
    My Prisoner? or my Guest? by your dread Verely,
    115One of them you shall be.
    Pol. Your Guest then, Madame:
    To be your Prisoner, should import offending;
    Which is for me, lesse easie to commit,
    Then you to punish.
    120Her. Not your Gaoler then,
    But your kind Hostesse. Come, Ile question you
    Of my Lords Tricks, and yours, when you were Boyes:
    You were pretty Lordings then?
    Pol. We were (faire Queene)
    125Two Lads, that thought there was no more behind,
    But such a day to morrow, as to day,
    And to be Boy eternall.
    Her. Was not my Lord
    The veryer Wag o'th' two?
    130Pol. We were as twyn'd Lambs, that did frisk i'th' Sun,
    And bleat the one at th' other: what we chang'd,
    Was Innocence, for Innocence: we knew not
    The Doctrine of ill-doing, nor dream'd
    That any did: Had we pursu'd that life,
    135And our weake Spirits ne're been higher rear'd
    With stronger blood, we should haue answer'd Heauen
    Boldly, not guilty; the Imposition clear'd,
    Hereditarie ours.
    Her. By this we gather
    140You haue tript since.
    Pol. O my most sacred Lady,
    Temptations haue since then been borne to's: for
    In those vnfledg'd dayes, was my Wife a Girle;
    Your precious selfe had then not cross'd the eyes
    145Of my young Play-fellow.
    Her. Grace to boot:
    Of this make no conclusion, least you say
    Your Queene and I are Deuils: yet goe on,
    Th' offences we haue made you doe, wee'le answere,
    150If you first sinn'd with vs: and that with vs
    You did continue fault; and that you slipt not
    With any, but with vs.
    Leo. Is he woon yet?
    Her. Hee'le stay (my Lord.)
    155Leo. At my request, he would not:
    Hermione (my dearest) thou neuer spoak'st
    To better purpose.
    Her. Neuer?
    Leo. Neuer, but once.
    160Her.What? haue I twice said well? when was't before?
    I prethee tell me: cram's with prayse, and make's
    As fat as tame things: One good deed, dying tonguelesse,
    Slaughters a thousand, wayting vpon that.
    Our prayses are our Wages. You may ride's
    165With one soft Kisse a thousand Furlongs, ere
    With Spur we heat an Acre. But to th' Goale:
    My last good deed, was to entreat his stay.
    What was my first? it ha's an elder Sister,
    Or I mistake you: O, would her Name were Grace.
    170But once before I spoke to th' purpose? when?
    Nay, let me haue't: I long.
    Leo. Why, that was when
    Three crabbed Moneths had sowr'd themselues to death,
    Ere I could make thee open thy white Hand:
    175A clap thy selfe, my Loue; then didst thou vtter,
    I am yours for euer.
    Her. 'Tis Grace indeed.
    Why lo-you now; I haue spoke to th' purpose twice:
    The one, for euer earn'd a Royall Husband;
    180Th' other, for some while a Friend.
    Leo. Too hot, too hot:
    To mingle friendship farre, is mingling bloods.
    I haue Tremor Cordis on me: my heart daunces,
    But not for ioy; not ioy. This Entertainment
    185May a free face put on: deriue a Libertie
    From Heartinesse, from Bountie, fertile Bosome,
    And well become the Agent: 't may; I graunt:
    But to be padling Palmes, and pinching Fingers,
    As now they are, and making practis'd Smiles
    190As in a Looking-Glasse; and then to sigh, as 'twere
    The Mort o'th' Deere: oh, that is entertainment
    My Bosome likes not, nor my Browes. Mamillius,
    Art thou my Boy?
    Mam. I, my good Lord.
    195Leo. I'fecks:
    Why that's my Bawcock: what? has't smutch'd thy Nose?
    They say it is a Coppy out of mine. Come Captaine,
    We must be neat; not neat, but cleanly, Captaine:
    And yet the Steere, the Heycfer, and the Calfe,
    200Are all call'd Neat. Still Virginalling
    Vpon his Palme? How now (you wanton Calfe)
    Art thou my Calfe?
    Mam. Yes, if you will (my Lord.)
    Leo. Thou want'st a rough pash, & the shoots that I haue
    205To be full, like me: yet they say we are
    Almost as like as Egges; Women say so,
    (That will say any thing.) But were they false
    As o're-dy'd Blacks, as Wind, as Waters; false
    As Dice are to be wish'd, by one that fixes
    210No borne 'twixt his and mine; yet were it true,
    To say this Boy were like me. Come (Sir Page)
    Looke on me with your Welkin eye: sweet Villaine,
    Most dear'st, my Collop: Can thy Dam, may't be
    Affection? thy Intention stabs the Center.
    215Thou do'st make possible things not so held,
    Communicat'st with Dreames (how can this be?)
    With what's vnreall: thou coactiue art,
    And fellow'st nothing. Then 'tis very credent,
    Thou may'st co-ioyne with something, and thou do'st,
    220(And that beyond Commission) and I find it,
    (And that to the infection of my Braines,
    And hardning of my Browes.)
    Pol. What meanes Sicilia?
    Her. He something seemes vnsetled.
    225Pol. How? my Lord?
    Leo. What cheere? how is't with you, best Brother?
    Her. You look as if you held a Brow of much distraction:
    Are you mou'd (my Lord?)
    Leo. No, in good earnest.
    230How sometimes Nature will betray it's folly?
    It's tendernesse? and make it selfe a Pastime
    To harder bosomes? Looking on the Lynes