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The Winter’s Tale
Act 5, scene 3

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Characters in the Play

Entire Play

The “tale” of The Winter’s Tale unfolds in scenes set sixteen years apart. In the first part of the play, Leontes, king…

Act 1, scene 1

Archidamus, a Bohemian courtier, exclaims about the magnificent hospitality he has found in Sicilia. Camillo explains about the long friendship…

Act 1, scene 2

Leontes suddenly grows insanely jealous of the friendship between his queen, Hermione, and his visiting friend Polixenes. Leontes forces Camillo…

Act 2, scene 1

Leontes learns of the departure of Polixenes and Camillo and has Hermione arrested for adultery and treason. He announces that…

Act 2, scene 2

Paulina attempts to visit Hermione in prison. Learning that the queen has given birth to a baby girl, Paulina decides…

Act 2, scene 3

Paulina brings the baby to the tormented Leontes, who first orders the baby burned, then orders Antigonus to take the…

Act 3, scene 1

The couriers, en route from Delphos with the oracle’s response, discuss the ceremony they observed and express their hopes for…

Act 3, scene 2

As Hermione tries to defend herself in open court, the oracle is read and she is declared chaste and Polixenes…

Act 3, scene 3

Antigonus leaves the baby in Bohemia, where Polixenes is king. In a sudden storm, the ship sinks and Antigonus is…

Act 4, scene 1

Father Time appears and bridges the sixteen-year gap following the abandonment of Perdita in Bohemia.

Act 4, scene 2

Camillo asks permission to return to Sicilia. Polixenes refuses his request and asks Camillo instead to go with him in…

Act 4, scene 3

Autolycus, a con man, steals the shepherd’s son’s money and decides to use the upcoming sheep-shearing feast as an occasion…

Act 4, scene 4

At the sheepshearing feast, Florizell and Perdita declare their love before the disguised Polixenes and Camillo. When Polixenes orders Florizell…

Act 5, scene 1

Paulina insists that Leontes must not remarry, despite the urgings of his courtiers. Florizell and Perdita arrive, and are greeted…

Act 5, scene 2

Autolycus learns from courtiers that Leontes’ lost daughter has been found; he then meets the newly elevated shepherd and shepherd’s…

Act 5, scene 3

Leontes, Polixenes, Perdita, Florizell, and Camillo go with Paulina to view the statue of Hermione. Leontes grieves over her death,…

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Scene 3
Enter Leontes, Polixenes, Florizell, Perdita, Camillo,
Paulina, and Lords.


LEONTES 
 O grave and good Paulina, the great comfort
 That I have had of thee!
PAULINA  What, sovereign sir,
 I did not well, I meant well. All my services
5 You 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.
LEONTES 10 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
15 That which my daughter came to look upon,
 The statue of her mother.
PAULINA  As she lived peerless,
 So her dead likeness, I do well believe,
 Excels whatever yet you looked upon
20 Or 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. Behold, and say ’tis well.
She draws a curtain
to reveal Hermione (like a statue).

 I like your silence. It the more shows off
25 Your wonder. But yet speak. First you, my liege.
 Comes it not something near?
LEONTES  Her natural posture!—
 Chide me, dear stone, that I may say indeed
 Thou art Hermione; or rather, thou art she

227
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 5. SC. 3

30 In thy not chiding, for she was as tender
 As infancy and grace.—But yet, Paulina,
 Hermione was not so much wrinkled, nothing
 So agèd as this seems.
POLIXENES  O, not by much!
PAULINA 
35 So much the more our carver’s excellence,
 Which lets go by some sixteen years and makes her
 As she lived now.
LEONTES  As now she might have done,
 So much to my good comfort as it is
40 Now 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,
45 There’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.
PERDITA  And give me leave,
50 And do not say ’tis superstition, that
 I kneel, and then implore her blessing.She kneels.
 Lady,
 Dear queen, that ended when I but began,
 Give me that hand of yours to kiss.
PAULINA 55 O, patience!
 The statue is but newly fixed; the color’s
 Not dry.
CAMILLO, to Leontes, who weeps 
 My lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on,
 Which sixteen winters cannot blow away,
60 So many summers dry. Scarce any joy
 Did ever so long live; no sorrow
 But killed itself much sooner.

229
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ACT 5. SC. 3

POLIXENES  Dear my brother,
 Let him that was the cause of this have power
65 To take off so much grief from you as he
 Will piece up in himself.
PAULINA  Indeed, my lord,
 If I had thought the sight of my poor image
 Would thus have wrought you—for the stone is
70 mine—
 I’d not have showed it.
LEONTES  Do not draw the curtain.
PAULINA 
 No longer shall you gaze on ’t, lest your fancy
 May think anon it moves.
LEONTES 75 Let be, let be.
 Would I were dead but that methinks already—
 What was he that did make it?—See, my lord,
 Would you not deem it breathed? And that those
 veins
80 Did verily bear blood?
POLIXENES  Masterly done.
 The very life seems warm upon her lip.
LEONTES 
 The fixture of her eye has motion in ’t,
 As we are mocked with art.
PAULINA 85 I’ll draw the curtain.
 My lord’s almost so far transported that
 He’ll think anon it lives.
LEONTES  O sweet Paulina,
 Make me to think so twenty years together!
90 No settled senses of the world can match
 The pleasure of that madness. Let ’t alone.
PAULINA 
 I am sorry, sir, I have thus far stirred you, but
 I could afflict you farther.
LEONTES  Do, Paulina,
95 For this affliction has a taste as sweet

231
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 5. SC. 3

 As any cordial comfort. Still methinks
 There is an air comes from her. What fine chisel
 Could ever yet cut breath? Let no man mock me,
 For I will kiss her.
PAULINA 100 Good my lord, forbear.
 The ruddiness upon her lip is wet.
 You’ll mar it if you kiss it, stain your own
 With oily painting. Shall I draw the curtain?
LEONTES 
 No, not these twenty years.
PERDITA, rising 105 So long could I
 Stand by, a looker-on.
PAULINA  Either forbear,
 Quit presently the chapel, or resolve you
 For more amazement. If you can behold it,
110 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
 By wicked powers.
LEONTES  What you can make her do
115 I am content to look on; what to speak,
 I am content to hear, for ’tis as easy
 To make her speak as move.
PAULINA  It is required
 You do awake your faith. Then all stand still—
120 Or those that think it is unlawful business
 I am about, let them depart.
LEONTES  Proceed.
 No foot shall stir.
PAULINA  Music, awake her! Strike!
Music sounds.
125 ’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.
 Bequeath to death your numbness, for from him
 Dear life redeems you.—You perceive she stirs.

233
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 5. SC. 3

Hermione descends.

130 Start not. Her actions shall be holy as
 You hear my spell is lawful. Do not shun her
 Until you see her die again, for then
 You kill her double. Nay, present your hand.
 When she was young, you wooed her; now in age
135 Is she become the suitor?
LEONTES  O, she’s warm!
 If this be magic, let it be an art
 Lawful as eating.
POLIXENES  She embraces him.
CAMILLO 140She hangs about his neck.
 If she pertain to life, let her speak too.
POLIXENES 
 Ay, and make it manifest where she has lived,
 Or how stol’n from the dead.
PAULINA  That she is living,
145 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.
 To Perdita. Please you to interpose, fair madam.
 Kneel
150 And pray your mother’s blessing. To Hermione.
 Turn, good lady.
 Our Perdita is found.
HERMIONE  You gods, look down,
 And from your sacred vials pour your graces
155 Upon 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
160 Gave hope thou wast in being, have preserved
 Myself to see the issue.
PAULINA  There’s time enough for that,
 Lest they desire upon this push to trouble

235
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Your joys with like relation. Go together,
165 You precious winners all. Your exultation
 Partake 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.
LEONTES 170 O peace, Paulina.
 Thou 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—
175 But how is to be questioned, for I saw her,
 As I thought, dead, and have in vain said many
 A prayer upon her grave. I’ll not seek far—
 For him, I partly know his mind—to find thee
 An honorable husband.—Come, Camillo,
180 And take her by the hand, whose worth and honesty
 Is richly noted and here justified
 By us, a pair of kings. Let’s from this place.
 To Hermione. What, look upon my brother! Both
 your pardons
185 That e’er I put between your holy looks
 My ill suspicion. This your son-in-law
 And son unto the King, whom heavens directing,
 Is troth-plight to your daughter.—Good Paulina,
 Lead us from hence, where we may leisurely
190 Each one demand and answer to his part
 Performed in this wide gap of time since first
 We were dissevered. Hastily lead away.
They exit.