Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Hardin Aasand
Peer Reviewed

The Winter's Tale (Folio 1, 1623)

The Winters Tale. 299
Paul. I should so:
Were I the Ghost that walk'd, Il'd bid you marke
Her eye, and tell me for what dull part in't
You chose her: then Il'd shrieke, that euen your eares
2805Should rift to heare me, and the words that follow'd,
Should be, Remember mine.
Leo. Starres, Starres,
And all eyes else, dead coales: feare thou no Wife;
Ile haue no Wife, Paulina.
2810Paul. Will you sweare
Neuer to marry, but by my free leaue?
Leo. Neuer (Paulina) so be bless'd my Spirit.
Paul. Then good my Lords, beare witnesse to his Oath.
Cleo. You tempt him ouer-much.
2815Paul. Vnlesse another,
As like Hermione, as is her Picture,
Affront his eye.
Cleo. Good Madame, I haue done.
Paul. Yet if my Lord will marry: if you will, Sir;
2820No remedie but you will: Giue me the Office
To chuse you a Queene: she shall not be so young
As was your former, but she shall be such
As (walk'd your first Queenes Ghost) it should take ioy
To see her in your armes.
2825Leo. My true Paulina,
We shall not marry, till thou bidst vs.
Paul. That
Shall be when your first Queene's againe in breath:
Neuer till then.
2830Enter a Seruant.
Ser. One that giues out himselfe Prince Florizell,
Sonne of Polixenes, with his Princesse (she
The fairest I haue yet beheld) desires accesse
To your high presence.
2835Leo. What with him? he comes not
Like to his Fathers Greatnesse: his approach
(So out of circumstance, and suddaine) tells vs,
'Tis not a Visitation fram'd, but forc'd
By need, and accident. What Trayne?
2840Ser. But few,
And those but meane.
Leo. His Princesse (say you) with him?
Ser. I: the most peerelesse peece of Earth, I thinke,
That ere the Sunne shone bright on.
2845Paul. Oh Hermione,
As euery present Time doth boast it selfe
Aboue a better, gone; so must thy Graue
Giue way to what's seene now. Sir, you your selfe
Haue said, and writ so; but your writing now
2850Is colder then that Theame: she had not beene,
Nor was not to be equall'd, thus your Verse
Flow'd with her Beautie once; 'tis shrewdly ebb'd,
To say you haue seene a better.
Ser. Pardon, Madame:
2855The one, I haue almost forgot (your pardon:)
The other, when she ha's obtayn'd your Eye,
Will haue your Tongue too. This is a Creature,
Would she begin a Sect, might quench the zeale
Of all Professors else; make Proselytes
2860Of who she but bid follow.
Paul. How? not women?
Ser. Women will loue her, that she is a Woman
More worth then any Man: Men, that she is
The rarest of all Women.
2865Leo. Goe Cleomines,
Your selfe (assisted with your honor'd Friends)
Bring them to our embracement. Still 'tis strange,
He thus should steale vpon vs. Exit.
Paul. Had our Prince
2870(Iewell of Children) seene this houre, he had payr'd
Well with this Lord; there was not full a moneth
Betweene their births.
Leo. 'Prethee no more; cease: thou know'st
He dyes to me againe, when talk'd-of: sure
2875When I shall see this Gentleman, thy speeches
Will bring me to consider that, which may
Vnfurnish me of Reason. They are come.
Enter Florizell, Perdita, Cleomines, and others.
Your Mother was most true to Wedlock, Prince,
2880For she did print your Royall Father off,
Conceiuing you. Were I but twentie one,
Your Fathers Image is so hit in you,
(His very ayre) that I should call you Brother,
As I did him, and speake of something wildly
2885By vs perform'd before. Most dearely welcome,
And your faire Princesse (Goddesse) oh: alas,
I lost a couple, that 'twixt Heauen and Earth
Might thus haue stood, begetting wonder, as
You (gracious Couple) doe: and then I lost
2890(All mine owne Folly) the Societie,
Amitie too of your braue Father, whom
(Though bearing Miserie) I desire my life
Once more to looke on him.
Flo. By his command
2895Haue I here touch'd Sicilia, and from him
Giue you all greetings, that a King (at friend)
Can send his Brother: and but Infirmitie
(Which waits vpon worne times) hath something seiz'd
His wish'd Abilitie, he had himselfe
2900The Lands and Waters, 'twixt your Throne and his,
Measur'd, to looke vpon you; whom he loues
(He bad me say so) more then all the Scepters,
And those that beare them, liuing.
Leo. Oh my Brother,
2905(Good Gentleman) the wrongs I haue done thee, stirre
Afresh within me: and these thy offices
(So rarely kind) are as Interpreters
Of my behind-hand slacknesse. Welcome hither,
As is the Spring to th' Earth. And hath he too
2910Expos'd this Paragon to th' fearefull vsage
(At least vngentle) of the dreadfull Neptune,
To greet a man, not worth her paines; much lesse,
Th' aduenture of her person?
Flo. Good my Lord,
2915She came from Libia.
Leo. Where the Warlike Smalus,
That Noble honor'd Lord, is fear'd, and lou'd?
Flo. Most Royall Sir,
From thence: from him, whose Daughter
2920His Teares proclaym'd his parting with her: thence
(A prosperous South-wind friendly) we haue cross'd,
To execute the Charge my Father gaue me,
For visiting your Highnesse: My best Traine
I haue from your Sicilian Shores dismiss'd;
2925Who for Bohemia bend, to signifie
Not onely my successe in Libia (Sir)
But my arriuall, and my Wifes, in safetie
Here, where we are.
Leo. The blessed Gods
2930Purge all Infection from our Ayre, whilest you
Doe Clymate here: you haue a holy Father,
A graceful Gentleman, against whose person