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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. 295
    Worthy enough a Heardsman: yea him too,
    2280That makes himselfe (but for our Honor therein)
    Vnworthy thee. If euer henceforth, thou
    These rurall Latches, to his entrance open,
    Or hope his body more, with thy embraces,
    I will deuise a death, as cruell for thee
    2285As thou art tender to't. Exit.
    Perd. Euen heere vndone:
    I was not much a-fear'd: for once, or twice
    I was about to speake, and tell him plainely,
    The selfe-same Sun, that shines vpon his Court,
    2290Hides not his visage from our Cottage, but
    Lookes on alike. Wilt please you (Sir) be gone?
    I told you what would come of this: Beseech you
    Of your owne state take care: This dreame of mine
    Being now awake, Ile Queene it no inch farther,
    2295But milke my Ewes, and weepe.
    Cam. Why how now Father,
    Speake ere thou dyest.
    Shep. I cannot speake, nor thinke,
    Nor dare to know, that which I know: O Sir,
    2300You haue vndone a man of fourescore three,
    That thought to fill his graue in quiet: yea,
    To dye vpon the bed my father dy'de,
    To lye close by his honest bones; but now
    Some Hangman must put on my shrowd, and lay me
    2305Where no Priest shouels-in dust. Oh cursed wretch,
    That knew'st this was the Prince, and wouldst aduenture
    To mingle faith with him. Vndone, vndone:
    If I might dye within this houre, I haue liu'd
    To die when I desire. Exit.
    2310Flo. Why looke you so vpon me?
    I am but sorry, not affear'd: delaid,
    But nothing altred: What I was, I am:
    More straining on, for plucking backe; not following
    My leash vnwillingly.
    2315Cam. Gracious my Lord,
    You know my Fathers temper: at this time
    He will allow no speech: (which I do ghesse
    You do not purpose to him:) and as hardly
    Will he endure your sight, as yet I feare;
    2320Then till the fury of his Highnesse settle
    Come not before him.
    Flo. I not purpose it:
    I thinke Camillo.
    Cam. Euen he, my Lord.
    2325Per. How often haue I told you 'twould be thus?
    How often said my dignity would last
    But till 'twer knowne?
    Flo. It cannot faile, but by
    The violation of my faith, and then
    2330Let Nature crush the sides o'th earth together,
    And marre the seeds within. Lift vp thy lookes:
    From my succession wipe me (Father) I
    Am heyre to my affection.
    Cam. Be aduis'd.
    2335Flo. I am: and by my fancie, if my Reason
    Will thereto be obedient: I haue reason:
    If not, my sences better pleas'd with madnesse,
    Do bid it welcome.
    Cam. This is desperate (sir.)
    2340Flo. So call it: but it do's fulfill my vow:
    I needs must thinke it honesty. Camillo,
    Not for Bohemia, nor the pompe that may
    Be thereat gleaned: for all the Sun sees, or
    The close earth wombes, or the profound seas, hides
    2345In vnknowne fadomes, will I breake my oath
    To this my faire belou'd: Therefore, I pray you,
    As you haue euer bin my Fathers honour'd friend,
    When he shall misse me, as (in faith I meane not
    To see him any more) cast your good counsailes
    2350Vpon his passion: Let my selfe, and Fortune
    Tug for the time to come. This you may know,
    And so deliuer, I am put to Sea
    With her, who heere I cannot hold on shore:
    And most opportune to her neede, I haue
    2355A Vessell rides fast by, but not prepar'd
    For this designe. What course I meane to hold
    Shall nothing benefit your knowledge, nor
    Concerne me the reporting.
    Cam. O my Lord,
    2360I would your spirit were easier for aduice,
    Or stronger for your neede.
    Flo. Hearke Perdita,
    Ile heare you by and by.
    Cam. Hee's irremoueable,
    2365Resolu'd for flight: Now were I happy if
    His going, I could frame to serue my turne,
    Saue him from danger, do him loue and honor,
    Purchase the sight againe of deere Sicillia,
    And that vnhappy King, my Master, whom
    2370I so much thirst to see.
    Flo. Now good Camillo,
    I am so fraught with curious businesse, that
    I leaue out ceremony.
    Cam. Sir, I thinke
    2375You haue heard of my poore seruices, i'th loue
    That I haue borne your Father?
    Flo. Very nobly
    Haue you deseru'd: It is my Fathers Musicke
    To speake your deeds: not little of his care
    2380To haue them recompenc'd, as thought on.
    Cam. Well (my Lord)
    If you may please to thinke I loue the King,
    And through him, what's neerest to him, which is
    Your gracious selfe; embrace but my direction,
    2385If your more ponderous and setled proiect
    May suffer alteration. On mine honor,
    Ile point you where you shall haue such receiuing
    As shall become your Highnesse, where you may
    Enioy your Mistris; from the whom, I see
    2390There's no disiunction to be made, but by
    (As heauens forefend) your ruine: Marry her,
    And with my best endeuours, in your absence,
    Your discontenting Father, striue to qualifie
    And bring him vp to liking.
    2395Flo. How Camillo
    May this (almost a miracle) be done?
    That I may call thee something more then man,
    And after that trust to thee.
    Cam. Haue you thought on
    2400A place whereto you'l go?
    Flo. Not any yet:
    But as th' vnthought-on accident is guiltie
    To what we wildely do, so we professe
    Our selues to be the slaues of chance, and flyes
    2405Of euery winde that blowes.
    Cam. Then list to me:
    This followes, if you will not change your purpose
    But vndergo this flight: make for Sicillia,
    And there present your selfe, and your fayre Princesse,
    2410(For so I see she must be) 'fore Leontes;