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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. 281
    I haue look'd on thousands, who haue sped the better
    By my regard, but kill'd none so: Camillo,
    As you are certainely a Gentleman, thereto
    500Clerke-like experienc'd, which no lesse adornes
    Our Gentry, then our Parents Noble Names,
    In whose successe we are gentle: I beseech you,
    If you know ought which do's behoue my knowledge,
    Thereof to be inform'd, imprison't not
    505In ignorant concealement.
    Cam. I may not answere.
    Pol. A Sicknesse caught of me, and yet I well?
    I must be answer'd. Do'st thou heare Camillo,
    I coniure thee, by all the parts of man,
    510Which Honor do's acknowledge, whereof the least
    Is not this Suit of mine, that thou declare
    What incidencie thou do'st ghesse of harme
    Is creeping toward me; how farre off, how neere,
    Which way to be preuented, if to be:
    515If not, how best to beare it.
    Cam. Sir, I will tell you,
    Since I am charg'd in Honor, and by him
    That I thinke Honorable: therefore marke my counsaile,
    Which must be eu'n as swiftly followed, as
    520I meane to vtter it; or both your selfe, and me,
    Cry lost, and so good night.
    Pol. On, good Camillo.
    Cam. I am appointed him to murther you.
    Pol. By whom, Camillo?
    525Cam. By the King.
    Pol. For what?
    Cam. He thinkes, nay with all confidence he sweares,
    As he had seen't, or beene an Instrument
    To vice you to't, that you haue toucht his Queene
    Pol. Oh then, my best blood turne
    To an infected Gelly, and my Name
    Be yoak'd with his, that did betray the Best:
    Turne then my freshest Reputation to
    535A sauour, that may strike the dullest Nosthrill
    Where I arriue, and my approch be shun'd,
    Nay hated too, worse then the great'st Infection
    That ere was heard, or read.
    Cam. Sweare his thought ouer
    540By each particular Starre in Heauen, and
    By all their Influences; you may as well
    Forbid the Sea for to obey the Moone,
    As (or by Oath) remoue, or (Counsaile) shake
    The Fabrick of his Folly, whose foundation
    545Is pyl'd vpon his Faith, and will continue
    The standing of his Body.
    Pol. How should this grow?
    Cam. I know not: but I am sure 'tis safer to
    Auoid what's growne, then question how 'tis borne.
    550If therefore you dare trust my honestie,
    That lyes enclosed in this Trunke, which you
    Shall beare along impawnd, away to Night,
    Your Followers I will whisper to the Businesse,
    And will by twoes, and threes, at seuerall Posternes,
    555Cleare them o'th' Citie: For my selfe, Ile put
    My fortunes to your seruice (which are here
    By this discouerie lost.) Be not vncertaine,
    For by the honor of my Parents, I
    Haue vttred Truth: which if you seeke to proue,
    560I dare not stand by; nor shall you be safer,
    Then one condemnd by the Kings owne mouth:
    Thereon his Execution sworne.
    Pol. I doe beleeue thee:
    I saw his heart in's face. Giue me thy hand,
    565Be Pilot to me, and thy places shall
    Still neighbour mine. My Ships are ready, and
    My people did expect my hence departure
    Two dayes agoe. This Iealousie
    Is for a precious Creature: as shee's rare,
    570Must it be great; and, as his Person's mightie,
    Must it be violent: and, as he do's conceiue,
    He is dishonor'd by a man, which euer
    Profess'd to him: why his Reuenges must
    In that be made more bitter. Feare ore-shades me:
    575Good Expedition be my friend, and comfort
    The gracious Queene, part of his Theame; but nothing
    Of his ill-ta'ne suspition. Come Camillo,
    I will respect thee as a Father, if
    Thou bear'st my life off, hence: Let vs auoid.
    580Cam. It is in mine authoritie to command
    The Keyes of all the Posternes: Please your Highnesse
    To take the vrgent houre. Come Sir, away. Exeunt.

    Actus Secundus. Scena Prima.

    Enter Hermione, Mamillius, Ladies: Leontes,
    585Antigonus, Lords.
    Her. Take the Boy to you: he so troubles me,
    'Tis past enduring.
    Lady. Come (my gracious Lord)
    Shall I be your play-fellow?
    590Mam. No, Ile none of you.
    Lady. Why (my sweet Lord?)
    Mam. You'le kisse me hard, and speake to me, as if
    I were a Baby still. I loue you better.
    2. Lady. And why so (my Lord?)
    595Mam. Not for because
    Your Browes are blacker (yet black-browes they say
    Become some Women best, so that there be not
    Too much haire there, but in a Cemicircle,
    Or a halfe-Moone, made with a Pen.)
    6002. Lady. Who taught 'this?
    Mam. I learn'd it out of Womens faces: pray now,
    What colour are your eye-browes?
    Lady. Blew (my Lord.)
    Mam. Nay, that's a mock: I haue seene a Ladies Nose
    605That ha's beene blew, but not her eye-browes.
    Lady. Harke ye,
    The Queene (your Mother) rounds apace: we shall
    Present our seruices to a fine new Prince
    One of these dayes, and then youl'd wanton with vs,
    610If we would haue you.
    2. Lady. She is spread of late
    Into a goodly Bulke (good time encounter her.)
    Her. What wisdome stirs amongst you? Come Sir, now
    I am for you againe: 'Pray you sit by vs,
    615And tell's a Tale.
    Mam. Merry, or sad, shal't be?
    Her. As merry as you will.
    Mam. A sad Tale's best for Winter:
    I haue one of Sprights, and Goblins.
    620Her. Let's haue that (good Sir.)
    Come-on, sit downe, come-on, and doe your best,
    To fright me with your Sprights: you're powrefull at it.
    Aa3 Mam. There