Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Hardin Aasand
Peer Reviewed

The Winter's Tale (Folio 1, 1623)

Scena Secunda.
820Enter Paulina, a Gentleman, Gaoler, Emilia.
Paul. The Keeper of the prison, call to him:
Let him haue knowledge who I am. Good Lady,
No Court in Europe is too good for thee,
What dost thou then in prison? Now good Sir,
825You know me, do you not?
Gao. For a worthy Lady,
And one, who much I honour.
Pau. Pray you then,
Conduct me to the Queene.
830Gao. I may not (Madam)
To the contrary I haue expresse commandment.
Pau. Here's a-do, to locke vp honesty & honour from
Th' accesse of gentle visitors. Is't lawfull pray you
To see her Women? Any of them? Emilia?
835Gao. So please you (Madam)
To put a-part these your attendants, I
Shall bring Emilia forth.
Pau. I pray now call her:
With-draw your selues.
840Gao. And Madam,
I must be present at your Conference.
Pau. Well: be't so: prethee.
Heere's such a-doe, to make no staine, a staine,
As passes colouring. Deare Gentlewoman,
845How fares our gracious Lady?
Emil. As well as one so great, and so forlorne
May hold together: On her frights, and greefes
(Which neuer tender Lady hath borne greater)
She is, something before her time, deliuer'd.
850Pau. A boy?
Emil. A daughter, and a goodly babe,
Lusty, and like to liue: the Queene receiues
Much comfort in't: Sayes, my poore prisoner,
I am innocent as you,
855Pau. I dare be sworne:
These dangerous, vnsafe Lunes i'th' King, beshrew them:
He must be told on't, and he shall: the office
Becomes a woman best. Ile take't vpon me,
If I proue hony-mouth'd, let my tongue blister.
860And neuer to my red-look'd Anger bee
The Trumpet any more: pray you (Emilia)
Commend my best obedience to the Queene,
If she dares trust me with her little babe,
I'le shew't the King, and vndertake to bee
865Her Aduocate to th' lowd'st. We do not know
How he may soften at the sight o'th' Childe:
The silence often of pure innocence
Perswades, when speaking failes.
Emil. Most worthy Madam,
870Your honor, and your goodnesse is so euident,
That your free vndertaking cannot misse
A thriuing yssue: there is no Lady liuing
So meete for this great errand; please your Ladiship
To visit the next roome, Ile presently
875Acquaint the Queene of your most noble offer,
Who, but to day hammered of this designe,
But durst not tempt a minister of honour
Least she should be deny'd.
284The Winters Tale.
Paul. Tell her (Emilia)
880Ile vse that tongue I haue: If wit flow from't
As boldnesse from my bosome, le't not be doubted
I shall do good,
Emil. Now be you blest for it.
Ile to the Queene: please you come something neerer.
885Gao. Madam, if't please the Queene to send the babe,
I know not what I shall incurre, to passe it,
Hauing no warrant.
Pau. You neede not feare it (sir)
This Childe was prisoner to the wombe, and is
890By Law and processe of great Nature, thence
Free'd, and enfranchis'd, not a partie to
The anger of the King, nor guilty of
(If any be) the trespasse of the Queene.
Gao. I do beleeue it.
895Paul. Do not you feare: vpon mine honor, I
Will stand betwixt you, and danger. Exeunt