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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.
    2675Tell me (for you seeme to be honest plaine men) what you
    haue to the King: being something gently consider'd, Ile
    bring you where he is aboord, tender your persons to his
    presence, whisper him in your behalfes; and if it be in
    man, besides the King, to effect your Suites, here is man
    2680shall doe it.
    Clow. He seemes to be of great authoritie: close with
    him, giue him Gold; and though Authoritie be a stub-
    borne Beare, yet hee is oft led by the Nose with Gold:
    shew the in-side of your Purse to the out-side of his
    2685hand, and no more adoe. Remember ston'd, and flay'd
    Shep. And't please you (Sir) to vndertake the Businesse
    for vs, here is that Gold I haue: Ile make it as much
    more, and leaue this young man in pawne, till I bring it
    Aut. After I haue done what I promised?
    Shep. I Sir.
    Aut. Well, giue me the Moitie: Are you a partie in
    this Businesse?
    2695Clow. In some sort, Sir: but though my case be a pit-
    tifull one, I hope I shall not be flayd out of it.
    Aut. Oh, that's the case of the Shepheards Sonne:
    hang him, hee'le be made an example.
    Clow. Comfort, good comfort: We must to the King,
    2700and shew our strange sights: he must know 'tis none of
    your Daughter, nor my Sister: wee are gone else. Sir, I
    will giue you as much as this old man do's, when the Bu-
    sinesse is performed, and remaine (as he sayes) your pawne
    till it be brought you.
    2705Aut. I will trust you. Walke before toward the Sea-
    side, goe on the right hand, I will but looke vpon the
    Hedge, and follow you.
    Clow. We are bless'd, in this man: as I may say, euen
    2710Shep. Let's before, as he bids vs: he was prouided to
    doe vs good.
    Aut. If I had a mind to be honest, I see Fortune would
    not suffer mee: shee drops Booties in my mouth. I am
    courted now with a double occasion: (Gold, and a means
    2715to doe the Prince my Master good; which, who knowes
    how that may turne backe to my aduancement?) I will
    bring these two Moales, these blind-ones, aboord him: if
    he thinke it fit to shoare them againe, and that the Com-
    plaint they haue to the King, concernes him nothing, let
    2720him call me Rogue, for being so farre officious, for I am
    proofe against that Title, and what shame else belongs
    to't: To him will I present them, there may be matter in

    Actus Quintus. Scena Prima.

    Enter Leontes, Cleomines, Dion, Paulina, Seruants:
    Florizel, Perdita.
    Cleo. Sir, you haue done enough, and haue perform'd
    A Saint-like Sorrow: No fault could you make,
    Which you haue not redeem'd; indeed pay'd downe
    2730More penitence, then done trespas: At the last
    Doe, as the Heauens haue done; forget your euill,
    With them, forgiue your selfe.
    Leo. Whilest I remember
    Her, and her Vertues, I cannot forget
    2735My blemishes in them, and so still thinke of
    The wrong I did my selfe: which was so much,
    That Heire-lesse it hath made my Kingdome, and
    Destroy'd the sweet'st Companion, that ere man
    Bred his hopes out of, true.
    2740Paul. Too true (my Lord:)
    If one by one, you wedded all the World,
    Or from the All that are, tooke something good,
    To make a perfect Woman; she you kill'd,
    Would be vnparallell'd.
    2745Leo. I thinke so. Kill'd?
    She I kill'd? I did so: but thou strik'st me
    Sorely, to say I did: it is as bitter
    Vpon thy Tongue, as in my Thought. Now, good now,
    Say so but seldome.
    2750Cleo. Not at all, good Lady:
    You might haue spoken a thousand things, that would
    Haue done the time more benefit, and grac'd
    Your kindnesse better.
    Paul. You are one of those
    2755Would haue him wed againe.
    Dio. If you would not so,
    You pitty not the State, nor the Remembrance
    Of his most Soueraigne Name: Consider little,
    What Dangers, by his Highnesse faile of Issue,
    2760May drop vpon his Kingdome, and deuoure
    Incertaine lookers on. What were more holy,
    Then to reioyce the former Queene is well?
    What holyer, then for Royalties repayre,
    For present comfort, and for future good,
    2765To blesse the Bed of Maiestie againe
    With a sweet Fellow to't?
    Paul. There is none worthy,
    (Respecting her that's gone:) besides the Gods
    Will haue fulfill'd their secret purposes:
    2770For ha's not the Diuine Apollo said?
    Is't not the tenor of his Oracle,
    That King Leontes shall not haue an Heire,
    Till his lost Child be found? Which, that it shall,
    Is all as monstrous to our humane reason,
    2775As my Antigonus to breake his Graue,
    And come againe to me: who, on my life,
    Did perish with the Infant. 'Tis your councell,
    My Lord should to the Heauens be contrary,
    Oppose against their wills. Care not for Issue,
    2780The Crowne will find an Heire. Great Alexander
    Left his to th' Worthiest: so his Successor
    Was like to be the best.
    Leo. Good Paulina,
    Who hast the memorie of Hermione
    2785I know in honor: O, that euer I
    Had squar'd me to thy councell: then, euen now,
    I might haue look'd vpon my Queenes full eyes,
    Haue taken Treasure from her Lippes.
    Paul. And left them
    2790More rich, for what they yeelded.
    Leo. Thou speak'st truth:
    No more such Wiues, therefore no Wife: one worse,
    And better vs'd, would make her Sainted Spirit
    Againe possesse her Corps, and on this Stage
    2795(Where we Offendors now appeare) Soule-vext,
    And begin, why to me?
    Paul. Had she such power,
    She had iust such cause.
    Leo. She had, and would incense me
    2800To murther her I marryed.
    Paul. I