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  • 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)

    Scoena Secunda.
    Enter Leontes, Hermione, Mamillius, Polixenes, Camillo.
    50Pol. Nine Changes of the Watry-Starre hath been
    The Shepheards Note, since we haue left our Throne
    Without a Burthen: Time as long againe
    Would be fill'd vp (my Brother) with our Thanks,
    And yet we should, for perpetuitie,
    55Goe hence in debt: And therefore, like a Cypher
    (Yet standing in rich place) I multiply
    With one we thanke you, many thousands moe,
    That goe before it.
    Leo. Stay your Thanks a while,
    60And pay them when you part.
    Pol. Sir, that's to morrow:
    I am question'd by my feares, of what may chance,
    Or breed vpon our absence, that may blow
    No sneaping Winds at home, to make vs say,
    65This is put forth too truly: besides, I haue stay'd
    To tyre your Royaltie.
    Leo. We are tougher (Brother)
    Then you can put vs to't.
    Pol. No longer stay.
    70Leo. One Seue' night longer.
    Pol. Very sooth, to morrow.
    Leo. Wee'le part the time betweene's then: and in that
    Ile no gaine-saying.
    Pol. Presse me not ('beseech you) so:
    75There is no Tongue that moues; none, none i'th' World
    So soone as yours, could win me: so it should now,
    Were there necessitie in your request, although
    'Twere needfull I deny'd it. My Affaires
    Doe euen drag me home-ward: which to hinder,
    80Were (in your Loue) a Whip to me; my stay,
    To you a Charge, and Trouble: to saue both,
    Farewell (our Brother.)
    Leo. Tongue-ty'd our Queene? speake you.
    Her. I had thought (Sir) to haue held my peace, vntill
    85You had drawne Oathes from him, not to stay: you (Sir)
    Charge him too coldly. Tell him, you are sure
    All in Bohemia's well: this satisfaction,
    The by-gone-day proclaym'd, say this to him,
    He's beat from his best ward.
    90Leo. Well said, Hermione.
    Her. To tell, he longs to see his Sonne, were strong:
    But let him say so then, and let him goe;
    But let him sweare so, and he shall not stay,
    Wee'l thwack him hence with Distaffes.
    95Yet of your Royall presence, Ile aduenture
    The borrow of a Weeke. When at Bohemia
    You take my Lord, Ile giue him my Commission,
    To let him there a Moneth, behind the Gest
    Prefix'd for's parting: yet (good-deed) Leontes,
    100I loue thee not a Iarre o'th' Clock, behind
    278The Winters Tale.
    What Lady she her Lord. You'le stay?
    Pol. No, Madame.
    Her. Nay, but you will?
    Pol. I may not verely.
    105Her. Verely?
    You put me off with limber Vowes: but I,
    Though you would seek t' vnsphere the Stars with Oaths,
    Should yet say, Sir, no going: Verely
    You shall not goe; a Ladyes Verely 'is
    110As potent as a Lords. Will you goe yet?
    Force me to keepe you as a Prisoner,
    Not like a Guest: so you shall pay your Fees
    When you depart, and saue your Thanks. How say you?
    My Prisoner? or my Guest? by your dread Verely,
    115One of them you shall be.
    Pol. Your Guest then, Madame:
    To be your Prisoner, should import offending;
    Which is for me, lesse easie to commit,
    Then you to punish.
    120Her. Not your Gaoler then,
    But your kind Hostesse. Come, Ile question you
    Of my Lords Tricks, and yours, when you were Boyes:
    You were pretty Lordings then?
    Pol. We were (faire Queene)
    125Two Lads, that thought there was no more behind,
    But such a day to morrow, as to day,
    And to be Boy eternall.
    Her. Was not my Lord
    The veryer Wag o'th' two?
    130Pol. We were as twyn'd Lambs, that did frisk i'th' Sun,
    And bleat the one at th' other: what we chang'd,
    Was Innocence, for Innocence: we knew not
    The Doctrine of ill-doing, nor dream'd
    That any did: Had we pursu'd that life,
    135And our weake Spirits ne're been higher rear'd
    With stronger blood, we should haue answer'd Heauen
    Boldly, not guilty; the Imposition clear'd,
    Hereditarie ours.
    Her. By this we gather
    140You haue tript since.
    Pol. O my most sacred Lady,
    Temptations haue since then been borne to's: for
    In those vnfledg'd dayes, was my Wife a Girle;
    Your precious selfe had then not cross'd the eyes
    145Of my young Play-fellow.
    Her. Grace to boot:
    Of this make no conclusion, least you say
    Your Queene and I are Deuils: yet goe on,
    Th' offences we haue made you doe, wee'le answere,
    150If you first sinn'd with vs: and that with vs
    You did continue fault; and that you slipt not
    With any, but with vs.
    Leo. Is he woon yet?
    Her. Hee'le stay (my Lord.)
    155Leo. At my request, he would not:
    Hermione (my dearest) thou neuer spoak'st
    To better purpose.
    Her. Neuer?
    Leo. Neuer, but once.
    160Her.What? haue I twice said well? when was't before?
    I prethee tell me: cram's with prayse, and make's
    As fat as tame things: One good deed, dying tonguelesse,
    Slaughters a thousand, wayting vpon that.
    Our prayses are our Wages. You may ride's
    165With one soft Kisse a thousand Furlongs, ere
    With Spur we heat an Acre. But to th' Goale:
    My last good deed, was to entreat his stay.
    What was my first? it ha's an elder Sister,
    Or I mistake you: O, would her Name were Grace.
    170But once before I spoke to th' purpose? when?
    Nay, let me haue't: I long.
    Leo. Why, that was when
    Three crabbed Moneths had sowr'd themselues to death,
    Ere I could make thee open thy white Hand:
    175A clap thy selfe, my Loue; then didst thou vtter,
    I am yours for euer.
    Her. 'Tis Grace indeed.
    Why lo-you now; I haue spoke to th' purpose twice:
    The one, for euer earn'd a Royall Husband;
    180Th' other, for some while a Friend.
    Leo. Too hot, too hot:
    To mingle friendship farre, is mingling bloods.
    I haue Tremor Cordis on me: my heart daunces,
    But not for ioy; not ioy. This Entertainment
    185May a free face put on: deriue a Libertie
    From Heartinesse, from Bountie, fertile Bosome,
    And well become the Agent: 't may; I graunt:
    But to be padling Palmes, and pinching Fingers,
    As now they are, and making practis'd Smiles
    190As in a Looking-Glasse; and then to sigh, as 'twere
    The Mort o'th' Deere: oh, that is entertainment
    My Bosome likes not, nor my Browes. Mamillius,
    Art thou my Boy?
    Mam. I, my good Lord.
    195Leo. I'fecks:
    Why that's my Bawcock: what? has't smutch'd thy Nose?
    They say it is a Coppy out of mine. Come Captaine,
    We must be neat; not neat, but cleanly, Captaine:
    And yet the Steere, the Heycfer, and the Calfe,
    200Are all call'd Neat. Still Virginalling
    Vpon his Palme? How now (you wanton Calfe)
    Art thou my Calfe?
    Mam. Yes, if you will (my Lord.)
    Leo. Thou want'st a rough pash, & the shoots that I haue
    205To be full, like me: yet they say we are
    Almost as like as Egges; Women say so,
    (That will say any thing.) But were they false
    As o're-dy'd Blacks, as Wind, as Waters; false
    As Dice are to be wish'd, by one that fixes
    210No borne 'twixt his and mine; yet were it true,
    To say this Boy were like me. Come (Sir Page)
    Looke on me with your Welkin eye: sweet Villaine,
    Most dear'st, my Collop: Can thy Dam, may't be
    Affection? thy Intention stabs the Center.
    215Thou do'st make possible things not so held,
    Communicat'st with Dreames (how can this be?)
    With what's vnreall: thou coactiue art,
    And fellow'st nothing. Then 'tis very credent,
    Thou may'st co-ioyne with something, and thou do'st,
    220(And that beyond Commission) and I find it,
    (And that to the infection of my Braines,
    And hardning of my Browes.)
    Pol. What meanes Sicilia?
    Her. He something seemes vnsetled.
    225Pol. How? my Lord?
    Leo. What cheere? how is't with you, best Brother?
    Her. You look as if you held a Brow of much distraction:
    Are you mou'd (my Lord?)
    Leo. No, in good earnest.
    230How sometimes Nature will betray it's folly?
    It's tendernesse? and make it selfe a Pastime
    To harder bosomes? Looking on the Lynes
    The Winters Tale. 279
    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)
    Aa2 My
    280The Winters Tale.
    365My Wife is slipperie? If thou wilt confesse,
    Or else be impudently negatiue,
    To haue nor Eyes, nor Eares, nor Thought, then say
    My Wife's a Holy-Horse, deserues a Name
    As ranke as any Flax-Wench, that puts to
    370Before her troth-plight: say't, and iustify't.
    Cam. I would not be a stander-by, to heare
    My Soueraigne Mistresse clouded so, without
    My present vengeance taken: 'shrew my heart,
    You neuer spoke what did become you lesse
    375Then this; which to reiterate, were sin
    As deepe as that, though true.
    Leo. Is whispering nothing?
    Is leaning Cheeke to Cheeke? is meating Noses?
    Kissing with in-side Lip? stopping the Cariere
    380Of Laughter, with a sigh? (a Note infallible
    Of breaking Honestie) horsing foot on foot?
    Skulking in corners? wishing Clocks more swift?
    Houres, Minutes? Noone, Mid-night? and all Eyes
    Blind with the Pin and Web, but theirs; theirs onely,
    385That would vnseene be wicked? Is this nothing?
    Why then the World, and all that's in't, is nothing,
    The couering Skie is nothing, Bohemia nothing,
    My Wife is nothing, nor Nothing haue these Nothings,
    If this be nothing.
    390Cam. Good my Lord, be cur'd
    Of this diseas'd Opinion, and betimes,
    For 'tis most dangerous.
    Leo. Say it be, 'tis true.
    Cam. No, no, my Lord.
    395Leo. It is: you lye, you lye:
    I say thou lyest Camillo, and I hate thee,
    Pronounce thee a grosse Lowt, a mindlesse Slaue,
    Or else a houering Temporizer, that
    Canst with thine eyes at once see good and euill,
    400Inclining to them both: were my Wiues Liuer
    Infected (as her life) she would not liue
    The running of one Glasse.
    Cam. Who do's infect her?
    Leo. Why he that weares her like her Medull, hanging
    405About his neck (Bohemia) who, if I
    Had Seruants true about me, that bare eyes
    To see alike mine Honor, as their Profits,
    (Their owne particular Thrifts) they would doe that
    Which should vndoe more doing: I, and thou
    410His Cup-bearer, whom I from meaner forme
    Haue Bench'd, and rear'd to Worship, who may'st see
    Plainely, as Heauen sees Earth, and Earth sees Heauen,
    How I am gall'd, might'st be-spice a Cup,
    To giue mine Enemy a lasting Winke:
    415Which Draught to me, were cordiall.
    Cam. Sir (my Lord)
    I could doe this, and that with no rash Potion,
    But with a lingring Dram, that should not worke
    Maliciously, like Poyson: But I cannot
    420Beleeue this Crack to be in my dread Mistresse
    (So soueraignely being Honorable.)
    I haue lou'd thee,
    Leo. Make that thy question, and goe rot:
    Do'st thinke I am so muddy, so vnsetled,
    425To appoint my selfe in this vexation?
    Sully the puritie and whitenesse of my Sheetes
    (Which to preserue, is Sleepe; which being spotted,
    Is Goades, Thornes, Nettles, Tayles of Waspes)
    Giue scandall to the blood o'th' Prince, my Sonne,
    430(Who I doe thinke is mine, and loue as mine)
    Without ripe mouing to't? Would I doe this?
    Could man so blench?
    Cam. I must beleeue you (Sir)
    I doe, and will fetch off Bohemia for't:
    435Prouided, that when hee's remou'd, your Highnesse
    Will take againe your Queene, as yours at first,
    Euen for your Sonnes sake, and thereby for sealing
    The Iniurie of Tongues, in Courts and Kingdomes
    Knowne, and ally'd to yours.
    440Leo. Thou do'st aduise me,
    Euen so as I mine owne course haue set downe:
    Ile giue no blemish to her Honor, none.
    Cam. My Lord,
    Goe then; and with a countenance as cleare
    445As Friendship weares at Feasts, keepe with Bohemia,
    And with your Queene: I am his Cup-bearer,
    If from me he haue wholesome Beueridge,
    Account me not your Seruant.
    Leo. This is all:
    450Do't, and thou hast the one halfe of my heart;
    Do't not, thou splitt'st thine owne.
    Cam. Ile do't, my Lord.
    Leo. I wil seeme friendly, as thou hast aduis'd me.
    Cam. O miserable Lady. But for me,
    455What case stand I in? I must be the poysoner
    Of good Polixenes, and my ground to do't,
    Is the obedience to a Master; one,
    Who in Rebellion with himselfe, will haue
    All that are his, so too. To doe this deed,
    460Promotion followes: If I could find example
    Of thousand's that had struck anoynted Kings,
    And flourish'd after, Il'd not do't: But since
    Nor Brasse, nor Stone, nor Parchment beares not one,
    Let Villanie it selfe forswear't. I must
    465Forsake the Court: to do't, or no, is certaine
    To me a breake-neck. Happy Starre raigne now,
    Here comes Bohemia. Enter Polixenes.
    Pol. This is strange: Me thinkes
    My fauor here begins to warpe. Not speake?
    470Good day Camillo.
    Cam. Hayle most Royall Sir.
    Pol. What is the Newes i'th' Court?
    Cam. None rare (my Lord.)
    Pol. The King hath on him such a countenance,
    475As he had lost some Prouince, and a Region
    Lou'd, as he loues himselfe: euen now I met him
    With customarie complement, when hee
    Wafting his eyes to th' contrary, and falling
    A Lippe of much contempt, speedes from me, and
    480So leaues me, to consider what is breeding,
    That changes thus his Manners.
    Cam. I dare not know (my Lord.)
    Pol. How, dare not? doe not? doe you know, and dare not?
    Be intelligent to me, 'tis thereabouts:
    485For to your selfe, what you doe know, you must,
    And cannot say, you dare not. Good Camillo,
    Your chang'd complexions are to me a Mirror,
    Which shewes me mine chang'd too: for I must be
    A partie in this alteration, finding
    490My selfe thus alter'd with't.
    Cam. There is a sicknesse
    Which puts some of vs in distemper, but
    I cannot name the Disease, and it is caught
    Of you, that yet are well.
    495Pol. How caught of me?
    Make me not sighted like the Basilisque.
    I haue
    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.