Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

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

    Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Hardin Aasand
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The Winter's Tale (Modern)

    Enter Leontes, Polixenes, Florizel, Perdita, Camillo, 3185Paulina, Lords, etc.
    Leontes O grave and good Paulina, the great comfort
    That I have had of thee!
    What, sovereign sir,
    I did not well, I meant well. All my services
    3190You have paid home, but that you have vouchsafed
    With your crowned brother and these your contracted
    Heirs of your kingdoms, my poor house to visit,
    It is a surplus of your grace which never
    My life may last to answer.
    O Paulina,
    We honor you with trouble, but we came
    To see the statue of our queen. Your gallery
    Have we passed through, not without much content
    In many singularities, but we saw not
    3200That which my daughter came to look upon,
    The statue of her mother.
    As she lived peerless,
    So her dead likeness I do well believe
    Excels whatever yet you looked upon,
    3205Or hand of man hath done. Therefore I keep it
    Lonely, apart. But here it is; prepare
    To see the life as lively mocked as ever
    Still sleep mocked death.
    [Drawing aside curtain to reveal Hermione as a statue]
    Behold, and say 'tis well.
    I like your silence; it the more shows off
    3210Your wonder, but yet speak. First you, my liege,
    Comes it not something near?
    Her natural posture.
    Chide me, dear stone, that I may say indeed
    Thou art Hermione -- or rather, thou art she
    3215In thy not chiding, for she was as tender
    As infancy and grace. But yet, Paulina,
    Hermione was not so much wrinkled, nothing
    So aged as this seems.
    O, not by much.
    3220Paulina So much the more our carver's excellence,
    Which lets go by some sixteen years and makes her
    As she lived now.
    As now she might have done,
    So much to my good comfort as it is
    3225Now piercing to my soul. O, thus she stood,
    Even with such life of majesty -- warm life,
    As now it coldly stands -- when first I wooed her.
    I am ashamed; does not the stone rebuke me
    For being more stone than it? O royal piece!
    3230There's magic in thy majesty, which has
    My evils conjured to remembrance and
    From thy admiring daughter took the spirits,
    Standing like stone with thee.
    And give me leave,
    3235And do not say 'tis superstition that
    I kneel and then implore her blessing. Lady,
    Dear Queen, that ended when I but began,
    Give me that hand of yours to kiss.
    O, patience!
    3240The statue is but newly fixed; the color's
    Not dry.
    My Lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on,
    Which sixteen winters cannot blow away,
    So many summers dry; scarce any joy
    3245Did ever so long live; no sorrow,
    But killed itself much sooner.
    Dear my brother,
    Let him that was the cause of this have power
    To take off so much grief from you as he
    3250Will piece up in himself.
    Indeed, my lord,
    If I had thought the sight of my poor image
    Would thus have wrought you -- for the stone is mine --
    I'd not have showed it.
    [Moves to draw curtain]
    Do not draw the curtain.
    Paulina No longer shall you gaze on't, lest your fancy
    May think anon it moves.
    Let be, let be!
    Would I were dead but that me thinks already --
    3260What was he that did make it? See, my lord,
    Would you not deem it breathed? And that those veins
    Did verily bear blood?
    Masterly done.
    The very life seems warm upon her lip.
    3265Leontes The fixure of her eye has motion in't,
    As we are mocked with art.
    I'll draw the curtain.
    My Lord's almost so far transported that
    He'll think anon it lives.
    O sweet Paulina,
    Make me to think so twenty year together;
    No settled senses of the world can match
    The pleasure of that madness. Let't alone.
    Paulina I am sorry, sir, I have thus far stirred you, but
    3275I could afflict you farther.
    Do, Paulina.
    For this affliction has a taste as sweet
    As any cordial comfort. Still methinks
    There is an air comes from her. What fine chisel
    3280Could ever yet cut breath? Let no man mock me,
    For I will kiss her.
    Good, my lord, forbear.
    The ruddiness upon her lip is wet;
    You'll mar it if you kiss it, stain your own
    3285With oily painting. Shall I draw the curtain?
    No, not these twenty years.
    So long could I
    Stand by, a looker-on.
    Either forbear,
    3290Quit presently the chapel, or resolve you
    For more amazement; if you can behold it,
    I'll make the statue move indeed, descend
    And take you by the hand; but then you'll think --
    Which I protest against -- I am assisted
    3295By wicked powers.
    What you can make her do,
    I am content to look on; what to speak,
    I am content to hear, for 'tis as easy
    To make her speak as move.
    It is required
    You do awake your faith; then, all stand still.
    Or those that think it is unlawful business
    I am about, let them depart.
    3305No foot shall stir.
    Music! Awake her! Strike!
    [Music sounds]
    [To Hermione] 'Tis time! Descend! Be stone no more! Approach!
    Strike all that look upon with marvel. Come!
    I'll fill your grave up. Stir! Nay, come away;
    3310Bequeath to death your numbness, for from him
    Dear life redeems you. [To Leontes] You perceive she stirs.
    [Hermione descends]
    Start not; her actions shall be holy as
    You hear my spell is lawful; [To Leontes] do not shun her
    Until you see her die again, for then
    3315You kill her double. Nay, present your hand.
    When she was young, you wooed her; now, in age,
    Is she become the suitor?
    O, she's warm!
    If this be magic, let it be an art
    3320Lawful as eating.
    She embraces him.
    Camillo She hangs about his neck --
    If she pertain to life, let her speak too.
    Polixenes Ay, and make it manifest where she has lived,
    3325Or how stolen from the dead?
    That she is living,
    Were it but told you, should be hooted at
    Like an old tale; but it appears she lives,
    Though yet she speak not. Mark a little while.
    3330[To Perdita] Please you to interpose, fair madam. Kneel,
    And pray your mother's blessing; [To Hermione] Turn, good lady;
    Our Perdita is found!
    You gods, look down,
    And from your sacred vials pour your graces
    3335Upon my daughter's head! Tell me, mine own,
    Where hast thou been preserved? Where lived? How found
    Thy father's court? For thou shalt hear that I,
    Knowing by Paulina that the oracle
    Gave hope thou wast in being, have preserved
    3340Myself to see the issue.
    There's time enough for that,
    Lest they desire upon this push to trouble
    Your joys with like relation. Go together,
    You precious winners all; your exultation
    3345Partake to everyone. I, an old turtle,
    Will wing me to some withered bough, and there
    My mate -- that's never to be found again --
    Lament, till I am lost.
    O peace, Paulina!
    3350Thou shouldst a husband take by my consent,
    As I by thine a wife. This is a match,
    And made between's by vows. Thou hast found mine --
    But how is to be questioned; for I saw her,
    As I thought, dead, and have in vain said many
    3355A prayer upon her grave. I'll not seek far,
    For him I partly know his mind, to find thee
    An honorable husband. Come, Camillo,
    And take her by the hand, whose worth and honesty
    Is richly noted, and here justified
    3360By us, a pair of kings. Let's from this place.
    [To Hermione] What? Look upon my brother. Both your pardons
    That ere I put between your holy looks
    My ill suspicion. This your son-in-law,
    And son unto the king, whom heavens directing,
    3365Is troth-plight to your daughter. Good Paulina,
    Lead us from hence, where we may leisurely
    Each one demand and answer to his part
    Performed in this wide gap of time since first
    We were dissevered. Hastily lead away.