Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Hardin Aasand
Not Peer Reviewed

The Winter's Tale (Modern)

Enter Leontes, Polixenes, Florizel, Perdita, Camillo, 3185Paulina, Lords, etc.
O grave and good Paulina, the great comfort
That I have had of thee!
What, sovereign sir,
I did not well, I meant well. All my services
3190You have paid home, but that you have vouchsafed
With your crowned brother and these your contracted
Heirs of your kingdoms, my poor house to visit,
It is a surplus of your grace which never
My life may last to answer.
O Paulina,
We honor you with trouble, but we came
To see the statue of our queen. Your gallery
Have we passed through, not without much content
In many singularities, but we saw not
3200That which my daughter came to look upon,
The statue of her mother.
As she lived peerless,
So her dead likeness I do well believe
Excels whatever yet you looked upon,
3205Or hand of man hath done. Therefore I keep it
Lonely, apart. But here it is; prepare
To see the life as lively mocked as ever
Still sleep mocked death.
[Drawing aside curtain to reveal Hermione as a statue]
Behold, and say 'tis well.
I like your silence; it the more shows off
3210Your wonder, but yet speak. First you, my liege,
Comes it not something near?
Her natural posture.
Chide me, dear stone, that I may say indeed
Thou art Hermione -- or rather, thou art she
3215In thy not chiding, for she was as tender
As infancy and grace. But yet, Paulina,
Hermione was not so much wrinkled, nothing
So aged as this seems.
O, not by much.
So much the more our carver's excellence,
Which lets go by some sixteen years and makes her
As she lived now.
As now she might have done,
So much to my good comfort as it is
3225Now piercing to my soul. O, thus she stood,
Even with such life of majesty -- warm life,
As now it coldly stands -- when first I wooed her.
I am ashamed; does not the stone rebuke me
For being more stone than it? O royal piece!
3230There's magic in thy majesty, which has
My evils conjured to remembrance and
From thy admiring daughter took the spirits,
Standing like stone with thee.
And give me leave,
3235And do not say 'tis superstition that
I kneel and then implore her blessing. Lady,
Dear Queen, that ended when I but began,
Give me that hand of yours to kiss.
O, patience!
3240The statue is but newly fixed; the color's
Not dry.
My Lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on,
Which sixteen winters cannot blow away,
So many summers dry; scarce any joy
3245Did ever so long live; no sorrow,
But killed itself much sooner.
Dear my brother,
Let him that was the cause of this have power
To take off so much grief from you as he
3250Will piece up in himself.
Indeed, my lord,
If I had thought the sight of my poor image
Would thus have wrought you -- for the stone is mine --
I'd not have showed it.
[Moves to draw curtain]
Do not draw the curtain.
No longer shall you gaze on't, lest your fancy
May think anon it moves.
Let be, let be!
Would I were dead but that me thinks already --
3260What was he that did make it? See, my lord,
Would you not deem it breathed? And that those veins
Did verily bear blood?
Masterly done.
The very life seems warm upon her lip.
The fixure of her eye has motion in't,
As we are mocked with art.
I'll draw the curtain.
My Lord's almost so far transported that
He'll think anon it lives.
O sweet Paulina,
Make me to think so twenty year together;
No settled senses of the world can match
The pleasure of that madness. Let't alone.
I am sorry, sir, I have thus far stirred you, but
3275I could afflict you farther.
Do, Paulina.
For this affliction has a taste as sweet
As any cordial comfort. Still methinks
There is an air comes from her. What fine chisel
3280Could ever yet cut breath? Let no man mock me,
For I will kiss her.
Good, my lord, forbear.
The ruddiness upon her lip is wet;
You'll mar it if you kiss it, stain your own
3285With oily painting. Shall I draw the curtain?
No, not these twenty years.
So long could I
Stand by, a looker-on.
Either forbear,
3290Quit presently the chapel, or resolve you
For more amazement; if you can behold it,
I'll make the statue move indeed, descend
And take you by the hand; but then you'll think --
Which I protest against -- I am assisted
3295By wicked powers.
What you can make her do,
I am content to look on; what to speak,
I am content to hear, for 'tis as easy
To make her speak as move.
It is required
You do awake your faith; then, all stand still.
Or those that think it is unlawful business
I am about, let them depart.
3305No foot shall stir.
Music! Awake her! Strike!
[Music sounds]
[To Hermione] 'Tis time! Descend! Be stone no more! Approach!
Strike all that look upon with marvel. Come!
I'll fill your grave up. Stir! Nay, come away;
3310Bequeath to death your numbness, for from him
Dear life redeems you.
[To Leontes] You perceive she stirs.
[Hermione descends]
Start not; her actions shall be holy as
You hear my spell is lawful; [To Leontes] do not shun her
Until you see her die again, for then
3315You kill her double. Nay, present your hand.
When she was young, you wooed her; now, in age,
Is she become the suitor?
O, she's warm!
If this be magic, let it be an art
3320Lawful as eating.
She embraces him.
She hangs about his neck --
If she pertain to life, let her speak too.
Ay, and make it manifest where she has lived,
3325Or how stolen from the dead?
That she is living,
Were it but told you, should be hooted at
Like an old tale; but it appears she lives,
Though yet she speak not. Mark a little while.
3330[To Perdita] Please you to interpose, fair madam. Kneel,
And pray your mother's blessing; [To Hermione] Turn, good lady;
Our Perdita is found!
You gods, look down,
And from your sacred vials pour your graces
3335Upon my daughter's head! Tell me, mine own,
Where hast thou been preserved? Where lived? How found
Thy father's court? For thou shalt hear that I,
Knowing by Paulina that the oracle
Gave hope thou wast in being, have preserved
3340Myself to see the issue.
There's time enough for that,
Lest they desire upon this push to trouble
Your joys with like relation. Go together,
You precious winners all; your exultation
3345Partake to everyone. I, an old turtle,
Will wing me to some withered bough, and there
My mate -- that's never to be found again --
Lament, till I am lost.
O peace, Paulina!
3350Thou shouldst a husband take by my consent,
As I by thine a wife. This is a match,
And made between's by vows. Thou hast found mine --
But how is to be questioned; for I saw her,
As I thought, dead, and have in vain said many
3355A prayer upon her grave. I'll not seek far,
For him I partly know his mind, to find thee
An honorable husband. Come, Camillo,
And take her by the hand, whose worth and honesty
Is richly noted, and here justified
3360By us, a pair of kings. Let's from this place.
[To Hermione] What? Look upon my brother. Both your pardons
That ere I put between your holy looks
My ill suspicion. This your son-in-law,
And son unto the king, whom heavens directing,
3365Is troth-plight to your daughter. Good Paulina,
Lead us from hence, where we may leisurely
Each one demand and answer to his part
Performed in this wide gap of time since first
We were dissevered. Hastily lead away.