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.
    Of my Boyes face, me thoughts I did requoyle
    Twentie three yeeres, and saw my selfe vn-breech'd,
    235In my greene Veluet Coat; my Dagger muzzel'd,
    Least it should bite it's Master, and so proue
    (As Ornaments oft do's) too dangerous:
    How like (me thought) I then was to this Kernell,
    This Squash, this Gentleman. Mine honest Friend,
    240Will you take Egges for Money?
    Mam. No (my Lord) Ile fight.
    Leo. You will: why happy man be's dole. My Brother
    Are you so fond of your young Prince, as we
    Doe seeme to be of ours?
    245Pol. If at home (Sir)
    He's all my Exercise, my Mirth, my Matter;
    Now my sworne Friend, and then mine Enemy;
    My Parasite, my Souldier: States-man; all:
    He makes a Iulyes day, short as December,
    250And with his varying child-nesse, cures in me
    Thoughts, that would thick my blood.
    Leo. So stands this Squire
    Offic'd with me: We two will walke (my Lord)
    And leaue you to your grauer steps. Hermione,
    255How thou lou'st vs, shew in our Brothers welcome;
    Let what is deare in Sicily, be cheape:
    Next to thy selfe, and my young Rouer, he's
    Apparant to my heart.
    Her. If you would seeke vs,
    260We are yours i'th' Garden: shall's attend you there?
    Leo. To your owne bents dispose you: you'le be found,
    Be you beneath the Sky: I am angling now,
    (Though you perceiue me not how I giue Lyne)
    Goe too, goe too.
    265How she holds vp the Neb? the Byll to him?
    And armes her with the boldnesse of a Wife
    To her allowing Husband. Gone already,
    Ynch-thick, knee-deepe; ore head and eares a fork'd one.
    Goe play (Boy) play: thy Mother playes, and I
    270Play too; but so disgrac'd a part, whose issue
    Will hisse me to my Graue: Contempt and Clamor
    Will be my Knell. Goe play (Boy) play, there haue been
    (Or I am much deceiu'd) Cuckolds ere now,
    And many a man there is (euen at this present,
    275Now, while I speake this) holds his Wife by th' Arme,
    That little thinkes she ha's been sluyc'd in's absence,
    And his Pond fish'd by his next Neighbor (by
    Sir Smile, his Neighbor:) nay, there's comfort in't,
    Whiles other men haue Gates, and those Gates open'd
    280(As mine) against their will. Should all despaire
    That haue reuolted Wiues, the tenth of Mankind
    Would hang themselues. Physick for't, there's none:
    It is a bawdy Planet, that will strike
    Where 'tis predominant; and 'tis powrefull: thinke it:
    285From East, West, North, and South, be it concluded,
    No Barricado for a Belly. Know't,
    It will let in and out the Enemy,
    With bag and baggage: many thousand on's
    Haue the Disease, and feele't not. How now Boy?
    290Mam. I am like you say.
    Leo. Why, that's some comfort.
    What? Camillo there?
    Cam. I, my good Lord.
    Leo. Goe play (Mamillius) thou'rt an honest man:
    295Camillo, this great Sir will yet stay longer.
    Cam. You had much adoe to make his Anchor hold,
    When you cast out, it still came home.
    Leo. Didst note it?
    Cam. He would not stay at your Petitions, made
    300His Businesse more materiall.
    Leo. Didst perceiue it?
    They're here with me already; whisp'ring, rounding:
    Sicilia is a so-forth: 'tis farre gone,
    When I shall gust it last. How cam't (Camillo)
    305That he did stay?
    Cam. At the good Queenes entreatie.
    Leo. At the Queenes be't: Good should be pertinent,
    But so it is, it is not. Was this taken
    By any vnderstanding Pate but thine?
    310For thy Conceit is soaking, will draw in
    More then the common Blocks. Not noted, is't,
    But of the finer Natures? by some Seueralls
    Of Head-peece extraordinarie? Lower Messes
    Perchance are to this Businesse purblind? say.
    315Cam.Businesse, my Lord? I thinke most vnderstand
    Bohemia stayes here longer.
    Leo. Ha?
    Cam. Stayes here longer.
    Leo. I, but why?
    320 Cam. To satisfie your Highnesse, and the Entreaties
    Of our most gracious Mistresse.
    Leo. Satisfie?
    Th' entreaties of your Mistresse? Satisfie?
    Let that suffice. I haue trusted thee (Camillo)
    325With all the neerest things to my heart, as well
    My Chamber-Councels, wherein (Priest-like) thou
    Hast cleans'd my Bosome: I, from thee departed
    Thy Penitent reform'd: but we haue been
    Deceiu'd in thy Integritie, deceiu'd
    330In that which seemes so.
    Cam. Be it forbid (my Lord.)
    Leo. To bide vpon't: thou art not honest: or
    If thou inclin'st that way, thou art a Coward,
    Which hoxes honestie behind, restrayning
    335From Course requir'd: or else thou must be counted
    A Seruant, grafted in my serious Trust,
    And therein negligent: or else a Foole,
    That seest a Game play'd home, the rich Stake drawne,
    And tak'st it all for ieast.
    340Cam. My gracious Lord,
    I may be negligent, foolish, and fearefull,
    In euery one of these, no man is free,
    But that his negligence, his folly, feare,
    Among the infinite doings of the World,
    345Sometime puts forth in your affaires (my Lord.)
    If euer I were wilfull-negligent,
    It was my folly: if industriously
    I play'd the Foole, it was my negligence,
    Not weighing well the end: if euer fearefull
    350To doe a thing, where I the issue doubted,
    Whereof the execution did cry out
    Against the non-performance, 'twas a feare
    Which oft infects the wisest: these (my Lord)
    Are such allow'd Infirmities, that honestie
    355Is neuer free of. But beseech your Grace
    Be plainer with me, let me know my Trespas
    By it's owne visage; if I then deny it,
    'Tis none of mine.
    Leo. Ha' not you seene Camillo?
    360(But that's past doubt: you haue, or your eye-glasse
    Is thicker then a Cuckolds Horne) or heard?
    (For to a Vision so apparant, Rumor
    Cannot be mute) or thought? (for Cogitation
    Resides not in that man, that do's not thinke)