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The Winter’s Tale
Entire Play

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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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ACT 1
Scene 1
Enter Camillo and Archidamus.

ARCHIDAMUS If you shall chance, Camillo, to visit Bohemia
 on the like occasion whereon my services
 are now on foot, you shall see, as I have said, great
 difference betwixt our Bohemia and your Sicilia.
CAMILLO 5I think this coming summer the King of
 Sicilia means to pay Bohemia the visitation which
 he justly owes him.
ARCHIDAMUS Wherein our entertainment shall shame
 us; we will be justified in our loves. For indeed—
CAMILLO 10Beseech you—
ARCHIDAMUS Verily, I speak it in the freedom of my
 knowledge. We cannot with such magnificence—in
 so rare—I know not what to say. We will give you
 sleepy drinks, that your senses, unintelligent of our
15 insufficience, may, though they cannot praise us, as
 little accuse us.
CAMILLO You pay a great deal too dear for what’s given
 freely.
ARCHIDAMUS Believe me, I speak as my understanding
20 instructs me and as mine honesty puts it to
 utterance.
CAMILLO Sicilia cannot show himself over-kind to Bohemia.
 They were trained together in their childhoods,
 and there rooted betwixt them then such an
7

9
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 1. SC. 2

25 affection which cannot choose but branch now.
 Since their more mature dignities and royal necessities
 made separation of their society, their encounters,
 though not personal, hath been royally
 attorneyed with interchange of gifts, letters, loving
30 embassies, that they have seemed to be together
 though absent, shook hands as over a vast, and
 embraced as it were from the ends of opposed
 winds. The heavens continue their loves.
ARCHIDAMUS I think there is not in the world either
35 malice or matter to alter it. You have an unspeakable
 comfort of your young Prince Mamillius. It is a
 gentleman of the greatest promise that ever came
 into my note.
CAMILLO I very well agree with you in the hopes of
40 him. It is a gallant child—one that indeed physics
 the subject, makes old hearts fresh. They that went
 on crutches ere he was born desire yet their life to
 see him a man.
ARCHIDAMUS Would they else be content to die?
CAMILLO 45Yes, if there were no other excuse why they
 should desire to live.
ARCHIDAMUS If the King had no son, they would desire
 to live on crutches till he had one.
They exit.


Scene 2
Enter Leontes, Hermione, Mamillius, Polixenes, Camillo,
and Attendants.


POLIXENES 
 Nine changes of the wat’ry star hath been
 The shepherd’s note since we have left our throne
 Without a burden. Time as long again

11
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Would be filled up, my brother, with our thanks,
5 And yet we should for perpetuity
 Go hence in debt. And therefore, like a cipher,
 Yet standing in rich place, I multiply
 With one “We thank you” many thousands more
 That go before it.
LEONTES 10 Stay your thanks awhile,
 And pay them when you part.
POLIXENES  Sir, that’s tomorrow.
 I am questioned by my fears of what may chance
 Or breed upon our absence, that may blow
15 No sneaping winds at home to make us say
 “This is put forth too truly.” Besides, I have stayed
 To tire your Royalty.
LEONTES  We are tougher, brother,
 Than you can put us to ’t.
POLIXENES 20 No longer stay.
LEONTES 
 One sev’nnight longer.
POLIXENES  Very sooth, tomorrow.
LEONTES 
 We’ll part the time between ’s, then, and in that
 I’ll no gainsaying.
POLIXENES 25 Press me not, beseech you, so.
 There is no tongue that moves, none, none i’ th’
 world,
 So soon as yours could win me. So it should now,
 Were there necessity in your request, although
30 ’Twere needful I denied it. My affairs
 Do even drag me homeward, which to hinder
 Were in your love a whip to me, my stay
 To you a charge and trouble. To save both,
 Farewell, our brother.
LEONTES 35 Tongue-tied, our queen?
 Speak you.

13
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ACT 1. SC. 2

HERMIONE 
 I had thought, sir, to have held my peace until
 You had drawn oaths from him not to stay. You, sir,
 Charge him too coldly. Tell him you are sure
40 All in Bohemia’s well. This satisfaction
 The bygone day proclaimed. Say this to him,
 He’s beat from his best ward.
LEONTES  Well said, Hermione.
HERMIONE 
 To tell he longs to see his son were strong.
45 But let him say so then, and let him go.
 But let him swear so and he shall not stay;
 We’ll thwack him hence with distaffs.
 To Polixenes. Yet of your royal presence I’ll
 adventure
50 The borrow of a week. When at Bohemia
 You take my lord, I’ll give him my commission
 To let him there a month behind the gest
 Prefixed for ’s parting.—Yet, good deed, Leontes,
 I love thee not a jar o’ th’ clock behind
55 What lady she her lord.—You’ll stay?
POLIXENES  No, madam.
HERMIONE 
 Nay, but you will?
POLIXENES  I may not, verily.
HERMIONE  Verily?
60 You put me off with limber vows. But I,
 Though you would seek t’ unsphere the stars with
 oaths,
 Should yet say “Sir, no going.” Verily,
 You shall not go. A lady’s “verily” is
65 As potent as a lord’s. Will you go yet?
 Force me to keep you as a prisoner,
 Not like a guest, so you shall pay your fees
 When you depart and save your thanks. How say you?

15
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 1. SC. 2

 My prisoner or my guest? By your dread “verily,”
70 One of them you shall be.
POLIXENES  Your guest, then, madam.
 To be your prisoner should import offending,
 Which is for me less easy to commit
 Than you to punish.
HERMIONE 75 Not your jailer, then,
 But your kind hostess. Come, I’ll question you
 Of my lord’s tricks and yours when you were boys.
 You were pretty lordings then?
POLIXENES  We were, fair queen,
80 Two lads that thought there was no more behind
 But such a day tomorrow as today,
 And to be boy eternal.
HERMIONE  Was not my lord
 The verier wag o’ th’ two?
POLIXENES 
85 We were as twinned lambs that did frisk i’ th’ sun
 And bleat the one at th’ other. What we changed
 Was innocence for innocence. We knew not
 The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dreamed
 That any did. Had we pursued that life,
90 And our weak spirits ne’er been higher reared
 With stronger blood, we should have answered
 heaven
 Boldly “Not guilty,” the imposition cleared
 Hereditary ours.
HERMIONE 95 By this we gather
 You have tripped since.
POLIXENES  O my most sacred lady,
 Temptations have since then been born to ’s, for
 In those unfledged days was my wife a girl;
100 Your precious self had then not crossed the eyes
 Of my young playfellow.
HERMIONE  Grace to boot!
 Of this make no conclusion, lest you say

17
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Your queen and I are devils. Yet go on.
105 Th’ offenses we have made you do we’ll answer,
 If you first sinned with us, and that with us
 You did continue fault, and that you slipped not
 With any but with us.
LEONTES  Is he won yet?
HERMIONE 
110 He’ll stay, my lord.
LEONTES  At my request he would not.
 Hermione, my dearest, thou never spok’st
 To better purpose.
HERMIONE  Never?
LEONTES 115 Never but once.
HERMIONE 
 What, have I twice said well? When was ’t before?
 I prithee tell me. Cram ’s with praise, and make ’s
 As fat as tame things. One good deed dying
 tongueless
120 Slaughters a thousand waiting upon that.
 Our praises are our wages. You may ride ’s
 With one soft kiss a thousand furlongs ere
 With spur we heat an acre. But to th’ goal:
 My last good deed was to entreat his stay.
125 What was my first? It has an elder sister,
 Or I mistake you. O, would her name were Grace!
 But once before I spoke to th’ purpose? When?
 Nay, let me have ’t; I long.
LEONTES  Why, that was when
130 Three crabbèd months had soured themselves to
 death
 Ere I could make thee open thy white hand
 And clap thyself my love; then didst thou utter
 “I am yours forever.”
HERMIONE 135 ’Tis grace indeed.
 Why, lo you now, I have spoke to th’ purpose twice.

19
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 1. SC. 2

 The one forever earned a royal husband,
 Th’ other for some while a friend.
She gives Polixenes her hand.
LEONTES, aside  Too hot, too hot!
140 To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods.
 I have tremor cordis on me. My heart dances,
 But not for joy, not joy. This entertainment
 May a free face put on, derive a liberty
 From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom,
145 And well become the agent. ’T may, I grant.
 But to be paddling palms and pinching fingers,
 As now they are, and making practiced smiles
 As in a looking glass, and then to sigh, as ’twere
 The mort o’ th’ deer—O, that is entertainment
150 My bosom likes not, nor my brows.—Mamillius,
 Art thou my boy?
MAMILLIUS  Ay, my good lord.
LEONTES  I’ fecks!
 Why, that’s my bawcock. What, hast smutched thy
155 nose?
 They say it is a copy out of mine. Come, captain,
 We must be neat—not neat, but cleanly, captain.
 And yet the steer, the heifer, and the calf
 Are all called neat.—Still virginalling
160 Upon his palm?—How now, you wanton calf?
 Art thou my calf?
MAMILLIUS  Yes, if you will, my lord.
LEONTES 
 Thou want’st a rough pash and the shoots that I
 have
165 To be full like me; yet they say we are
 Almost as like as eggs. Women say so,
 That will say anything. But were they false
 As o’erdyed blacks, as wind, as waters, false
 As dice are to be wished by one that fixes

21
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ACT 1. SC. 2

170 No bourn ’twixt his and mine, yet were it true
 To say this boy were like me. Come, sir page,
 Look on me with your welkin eye. Sweet villain,
 Most dear’st, my collop! Can thy dam?—may ’t
 be?—
175 Affection, thy intention stabs the center.
 Thou dost make possible things not so held,
 Communicat’st with dreams—how can this be?
 With what’s unreal thou coactive art,
 And fellow’st nothing. Then ’tis very credent
180 Thou may’st co-join with something; and thou dost,
 And that beyond commission, and I find it,
 And that to the infection of my brains
 And hard’ning of my brows.
POLIXENES  What means Sicilia?
HERMIONE 
185 He something seems unsettled.
POLIXENES  How, my lord?
LEONTES 
 What cheer? How is ’t with you, best brother?
HERMIONE  You look
 As if you held a brow of much distraction.
190 Are you moved, my lord?
LEONTES  No, in good earnest.
 How sometimes nature will betray its folly,
 Its tenderness, and make itself a pastime
 To harder bosoms! Looking on the lines
195 Of my boy’s face, methoughts I did recoil
 Twenty-three years, and saw myself unbreeched,
 In my green velvet coat, my dagger muzzled
 Lest it should bite its master and so prove,
 As ornaments oft do, too dangerous.
200 How like, methought, I then was to this kernel,
 This squash, this gentleman.—Mine honest friend,
 Will you take eggs for money?
MAMILLIUS  No, my lord, I’ll fight.

23
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 1. SC. 2

LEONTES 
 You will? Why, happy man be ’s dole!—My brother,
205 Are you so fond of your young prince as we
 Do seem to be of ours?
POLIXENES  If at home, sir,
 He’s all my exercise, my mirth, my matter,
 Now my sworn friend and then mine enemy,
210 My parasite, my soldier, statesman, all.
 He makes a July’s day short as December,
 And with his varying childness cures in me
 Thoughts that would thick my blood.
LEONTES  So stands this
215 squire
 Officed with me. We two will walk, my lord,
 And leave you to your graver steps.—Hermione,
 How thou lov’st us show in our brother’s welcome.
 Let what is dear in Sicily be cheap.
220 Next to thyself and my young rover, he’s
 Apparent to my heart.
HERMIONE  If you would seek us,
 We are yours i’ th’ garden. Shall ’s attend you there?
LEONTES 
 To your own bents dispose you. You’ll be found,
225 Be you beneath the sky. Aside. I am angling now,
 Though you perceive me not how I give line.
 Go to, go to!
 How she holds up the neb, the bill to him,
 And arms her with the boldness of a wife
230 To her allowing husband!
Exit Hermione, Polixenes, and Attendants.
 Gone already.
 Inch thick, knee-deep, o’er head and ears a forked
 one!—
 Go play, boy, play. Thy mother plays, and I
235 Play too, but so disgraced a part, whose issue

25
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Will hiss me to my grave. Contempt and clamor
 Will be my knell. Go play, boy, play.—There have
 been,
 Or I am much deceived, cuckolds ere now;
240 And many a man there is, even at this present,
 Now while I speak this, holds his wife by th’ arm,
 That little thinks she has been sluiced in ’s absence,
 And his pond fished by his next neighbor, by
 Sir Smile, his neighbor. Nay, there’s comfort in ’t
245 Whiles other men have gates and those gates
 opened,
 As mine, against their will. Should all despair
 That have revolted wives, the tenth of mankind
 Would hang themselves. Physic for ’t there’s none.
250 It is a bawdy planet, that will strike
 Where ’tis predominant; and ’tis powerful, think it,
 From east, west, north, and south. Be it concluded,
 No barricado for a belly. Know ’t,
 It will let in and out the enemy
255 With bag and baggage. Many thousand on ’s
 Have the disease and feel ’t not.—How now, boy?
MAMILLIUS 
 I am like you, they say.
LEONTES  Why, that’s some comfort.—
 What, Camillo there?
CAMILLO, coming forward 260 Ay, my good lord.
LEONTES 
 Go play, Mamillius. Thou ’rt an honest man.
Mamillius exits.
 Camillo, this great sir will yet stay longer.
CAMILLO 
 You had much ado to make his anchor hold.
 When you cast out, it still came home.
LEONTES 265 Didst note it?

27
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ACT 1. SC. 2

CAMILLO 
 He would not stay at your petitions, made
 His business more material.
LEONTES  Didst perceive it?
 Aside. They’re here with me already, whisp’ring,
270 rounding:
 “Sicilia is a so-forth.” ’Tis far gone
 When I shall gust it last.—How came ’t, Camillo,
 That he did stay?
CAMILLO  At the good queen’s entreaty.
LEONTES 
275 “At the queen’s” be ’t. “Good” should be pertinent,
 But so it is, it is not. Was this taken
 By any understanding pate but thine?
 For thy conceit is soaking, will draw in
 More than the common blocks. Not noted, is ’t,
280 But of the finer natures, by some severals
 Of headpiece extraordinary? Lower messes
 Perchance are to this business purblind? Say.
CAMILLO 
 Business, my lord? I think most understand
 Bohemia stays here longer.
LEONTES 
285 Ha?
CAMILLO  Stays here longer.
LEONTES  Ay, but why?
CAMILLO 
 To satisfy your Highness and the entreaties
 Of our most gracious mistress.
LEONTES 290 Satisfy?
 Th’ entreaties of your mistress? Satisfy?
 Let that suffice. I have trusted thee, Camillo,
 With all the nearest things to my heart, as well
 My chamber-counsels, wherein, priestlike, thou
295 Hast cleansed my bosom; I from thee departed
 Thy penitent reformed. But we have been

29
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ACT 1. SC. 2

 Deceived in thy integrity, deceived
 In that which seems so.
CAMILLO  Be it forbid, my lord!
LEONTES 
300 To bide upon ’t: thou art not honest; or,
 If thou inclin’st that way, thou art a coward,
 Which hoxes honesty behind, restraining
 From course required; or else thou must be
 counted
305 A servant grafted in my serious trust
 And therein negligent; or else a fool
 That seest a game played home, the rich stake
 drawn,
 And tak’st it all for jest.
CAMILLO 310 My gracious lord,
 I may be negligent, foolish, and fearful.
 In every one of these no man is free,
 But that his negligence, his folly, fear,
 Among the infinite doings of the world,
315 Sometime puts forth. In your affairs, my lord,
 If ever I were willful-negligent,
 It was my folly; if industriously
 I played the fool, it was my negligence,
 Not weighing well the end; if ever fearful
320 To do a thing where I the issue doubted,
 Whereof the execution did cry out
 Against the non-performance, ’twas a fear
 Which oft infects the wisest. These, my lord,
 Are such allowed infirmities that honesty
325 Is never free of. But, beseech your Grace,
 Be plainer with me; let me know my trespass
 By its own visage. If I then deny it,
 ’Tis none of mine.
LEONTES  Ha’ not you seen, Camillo—
330 But that’s past doubt; you have, or your eyeglass

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ACT 1. SC. 2

 Is thicker than a cuckold’s horn—or heard—
 For to a vision so apparent, rumor
 Cannot be mute—or thought—for cogitation
 Resides not in that man that does not think—
335 My wife is slippery? If thou wilt confess—
 Or else be impudently negative
 To have nor eyes nor ears nor thought—then say
 My wife’s a hobby-horse, deserves a name
 As rank as any flax-wench that puts to
340 Before her troth-plight. Say ’t, and justify ’t.
CAMILLO 
 I would not be a stander-by to hear
 My sovereign mistress clouded so without
 My present vengeance taken. ’Shrew my heart,
 You never spoke what did become you less
345 Than this, which to reiterate were sin
 As deep as that, though true.
LEONTES  Is whispering nothing?
 Is leaning cheek to cheek? Is meeting noses?
 Kissing with inside lip? Stopping the career
350 Of laughter with a sigh?—a note infallible
 Of breaking honesty. Horsing foot on foot?
 Skulking in corners? Wishing clocks more swift?
 Hours minutes? Noon midnight? And all eyes
 Blind with the pin and web but theirs, theirs only,
355 That would unseen be wicked? Is this nothing?
 Why, then the world and all that’s in ’t is nothing,
 The covering sky is nothing, Bohemia nothing,
 My wife is nothing, nor nothing have these nothings,
 If this be nothing.
CAMILLO 360 Good my lord, be cured
 Of this diseased opinion, and betimes,
 For ’tis most dangerous.
LEONTES  Say it be, ’tis true.

33
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ACT 1. SC. 2

CAMILLO 
 No, no, my lord.
LEONTES 365 It is. You lie, you lie.
 I say thou liest, Camillo, and I hate thee,
 Pronounce thee a gross lout, a mindless slave,
 Or else a hovering temporizer that
 Canst with thine eyes at once see good and evil,
370 Inclining to them both. Were my wife’s liver
 Infected as her life, she would not live
 The running of one glass.
CAMILLO  Who does infect her?
LEONTES 
 Why, he that wears her like her medal, hanging
375 About his neck—Bohemia, who, if I
 Had servants true about me, that bare eyes
 To see alike mine honor as their profits,
 Their own particular thrifts, they would do that
 Which should undo more doing. Ay, and thou,
380 His cupbearer—whom I from meaner form
 Have benched and reared to worship, who mayst see
 Plainly as heaven sees Earth and Earth sees heaven
 How I am galled—mightst bespice a cup
 To give mine enemy a lasting wink,
385 Which draft to me were cordial.
CAMILLO  Sir, my lord,
 I could do this, and that with no rash potion,
 But with a ling’ring dram that should not work
 Maliciously like poison. But I cannot
390 Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress,
 So sovereignly being honorable. I have loved thee—
LEONTES Make that thy question, and go rot!
 Dost think I am so muddy, so unsettled,
 To appoint myself in this vexation, sully
395 The purity and whiteness of my sheets—
 Which to preserve is sleep, which being spotted

35
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ACT 1. SC. 2

 Is goads, thorns, nettles, tails of wasps—
 Give scandal to the blood o’ th’ Prince, my son,
 Who I do think is mine and love as mine,
400 Without ripe moving to ’t? Would I do this?
 Could man so blench?
CAMILLO  I must believe you, sir.
 I do, and will fetch off Bohemia for ’t—
 Provided that, when he’s removed, your Highness
405 Will take again your queen as yours at first,
 Even for your son’s sake, and thereby for sealing
 The injury of tongues in courts and kingdoms
 Known and allied to yours.
LEONTES  Thou dost advise me
410 Even so as I mine own course have set down.
 I’ll give no blemish to her honor, none.
CAMILLO  My lord,
 Go then, and with a countenance as clear
 As friendship wears at feasts, keep with Bohemia
415 And with your queen. I am his cupbearer.
 If from me he have wholesome beverage,
 Account me not your servant.
LEONTES  This is all.
 Do ’t and thou hast the one half of my heart;
420 Do ’t not, thou splitt’st thine own.
CAMILLO  I’ll do ’t, my lord.
LEONTES 
 I will seem friendly, as thou hast advised me.
He exits.
CAMILLO 
 O miserable lady! But, for me,
 What case stand I in? I must be the poisoner
425 Of good Polixenes, and my ground to do ’t
 Is the obedience to a master, one
 Who in rebellion with himself will have
 All that are his so too. To do this deed,

37
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ACT 1. SC. 2

 Promotion follows. If I could find example
430 Of thousands that had struck anointed kings
 And flourished after, I’d not do ’t. But since
 Nor brass, nor stone, nor parchment bears not one,
 Let villainy itself forswear ’t. I must
 Forsake the court. To do ’t or no is certain
435 To me a breakneck. Happy star reign now!
 Here comes Bohemia.

Enter Polixenes.

POLIXENES, aside  This is strange. Methinks
 My favor here begins to warp. Not speak?—
 Good day, Camillo.
CAMILLO 440 Hail, most royal sir.
POLIXENES 
 What is the news i’ th’ court?
CAMILLO  None rare, my lord.
POLIXENES 
 The King hath on him such a countenance
 As he had lost some province and a region
445 Loved as he loves himself. Even now I met him
 With customary compliment, when he,
 Wafting his eyes to th’ contrary and falling
 A lip of much contempt, speeds from me, and
 So leaves me to consider what is breeding
450 That changes thus his manners.
CAMILLO  I dare not know, my
 lord.
POLIXENES 
 How, dare not? Do not? Do you know and dare not?
 Be intelligent to me—’tis thereabouts;
455 For to yourself what you do know, you must,
 And cannot say you dare not. Good Camillo,
 Your changed complexions are to me a mirror
 Which shows me mine changed too, for I must be

39
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ACT 1. SC. 2

 A party in this alteration, finding
460 Myself thus altered with ’t.
CAMILLO  There is a sickness
 Which puts some of us in distemper, but
 I cannot name the disease, and it is caught
 Of you that yet are well.
POLIXENES 465 How caught of me?
 Make me not sighted like the basilisk.
 I have looked on thousands who have sped the
 better
 By my regard, but killed none so. Camillo,
470 As you are certainly a gentleman, thereto
 Clerklike experienced, which no less adorns
 Our gentry than our parents’ noble names,
 In whose success we are gentle, I beseech you,
 If you know aught which does behoove my
475 knowledge
 Thereof to be informed, imprison ’t not
 In ignorant concealment.
CAMILLO  I may not answer.
POLIXENES 
 A sickness caught of me, and yet I well?
480 I must be answered. Dost thou hear, Camillo?
 I conjure thee by all the parts of man
 Which honor does acknowledge, whereof the least
 Is not this suit of mine, that thou declare
 What incidency thou dost guess of harm
485 Is creeping toward me; how far off, how near;
 Which way to be prevented, if to be;
 If not, how best to bear it.
CAMILLO  Sir, I will tell you,
 Since I am charged in honor and by him
490 That I think honorable. Therefore mark my counsel,
 Which must be e’en as swiftly followed as
 I mean to utter it, or both yourself and me
 Cry lost, and so goodnight.

41
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ACT 1. SC. 2

POLIXENES  On, good Camillo.
CAMILLO 
495 I am appointed him to murder you.
POLIXENES 
 By whom, Camillo?
CAMILLO  By the King.
POLIXENES  For what?
CAMILLO 
 He thinks, nay with all confidence he swears,
500 As he had seen ’t or been an instrument
 To vice you to ’t, that you have touched his queen
 Forbiddenly.
POLIXENES  O, then my best blood turn
 To an infected jelly, and my name
505 Be yoked with his that did betray the Best!
 Turn then my freshest reputation to
 A savor that may strike the dullest nostril
 Where I arrive, and my approach be shunned,
 Nay, hated too, worse than the great’st infection
510 That e’er was heard or read.
CAMILLO  Swear his thought over
 By each particular star in heaven and
 By all their influences, you may as well
 Forbid the sea for to obey the moon
515 As or by oath remove or counsel shake
 The fabric of his folly, whose foundation
 Is piled upon his faith and will continue
 The standing of his body.
POLIXENES  How should this grow?
CAMILLO 
520 I know not. But I am sure ’tis safer to
 Avoid what’s grown than question how ’tis born.
 If therefore you dare trust my honesty,
 That lies enclosèd in this trunk which you
 Shall bear along impawned, away tonight!

43
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 1. SC. 2

525 Your followers I will whisper to the business,
 And will by twos and threes at several posterns
 Clear them o’ th’ city. For myself, I’ll put
 My fortunes to your service, which are here
 By this discovery lost. Be not uncertain,
530 For, by the honor of my parents, I
 Have uttered truth—which if you seek to prove,
 I dare not stand by; nor shall you be safer
 Than one condemned by the King’s own mouth,
 thereon
535 His execution sworn.
POLIXENES  I do believe thee.
 I saw his heart in ’s face. Give me thy hand.
 Be pilot to me and thy places shall
 Still neighbor mine. My ships are ready and
540 My people did expect my hence departure
 Two days ago. This jealousy
 Is for a precious creature. As she’s rare,
 Must it be great; and as his person’s mighty,
 Must it be violent; and as he does conceive
545 He is dishonored by a man which ever
 Professed to him, why, his revenges must
 In that be made more bitter. Fear o’ershades me.
 Good expedition be my friend, and comfort
 The gracious queen, part of his theme, but nothing
550 Of his ill-ta’en suspicion. Come, Camillo,
 I will respect thee as a father if
 Thou bear’st my life off hence. Let us avoid.
CAMILLO 
 It is in mine authority to command
 The keys of all the posterns. Please your Highness
555 To take the urgent hour. Come, sir, away.
They exit.


ACT 2
Scene 1
Enter Hermione, Mamillius, and Ladies.

HERMIONE 
 Take the boy to you. He so troubles me
 ’Tis past enduring.
FIRST LADY  Come, my gracious lord,
 Shall I be your playfellow?
MAMILLIUS 
5 No, I’ll none of you.
FIRST LADY  Why, my sweet lord?
MAMILLIUS 
 You’ll kiss me hard and speak to me as if
 I were a baby still.—I love you better.
SECOND LADY 
 And why so, my lord?
MAMILLIUS 10 Not for because
 Your brows are blacker—yet black brows, they say,
 Become some women best, so that there be not
 Too much hair there, but in a semicircle,
 Or a half-moon made with a pen.
SECOND LADY 15 Who taught this?
MAMILLIUS 
 I learned it out of women’s faces.—Pray now,
 What color are your eyebrows?
FIRST LADY  Blue, my lord.
47

49
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 2. SC. 1

MAMILLIUS 
 Nay, that’s a mock. I have seen a lady’s nose
20 That has been blue, but not her eyebrows.
FIRST LADY  Hark ye,
 The Queen your mother rounds apace. We shall
 Present our services to a fine new prince
 One of these days, and then you’d wanton with us
25 If we would have you.
SECOND LADY  She is spread of late
 Into a goodly bulk. Good time encounter her!
HERMIONE 
 What wisdom stirs amongst you?—Come, sir, now
 I am for you again. Pray you sit by us,
30 And tell ’s a tale.
MAMILLIUS  Merry or sad shall ’t be?
HERMIONE As merry as you will.
MAMILLIUS 
 A sad tale’s best for winter. I have one
 Of sprites and goblins.
HERMIONE 35 Let’s have that, good sir.
 Come on, sit down. Come on, and do your best
 To fright me with your sprites. You’re powerful at it.
MAMILLIUS 
 There was a man—
HERMIONE  Nay, come sit down, then on.
MAMILLIUS 
40 Dwelt by a churchyard. I will tell it softly,
 Yond crickets shall not hear it.
HERMIONE 
 Come on then, and give ’t me in mine ear.

They talk privately.

Enter Leontes, Antigonus, and Lords.

LEONTES 
 Was he met there? His train? Camillo with him?

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ACT 2. SC. 1

LORD 
 Behind the tuft of pines I met them. Never
45 Saw I men scour so on their way. I eyed them
 Even to their ships.
LEONTES  How blest am I
 In my just censure, in my true opinion!
 Alack, for lesser knowledge! How accursed
50 In being so blest! There may be in the cup
 A spider steeped, and one may drink, depart,
 And yet partake no venom, for his knowledge
 Is not infected; but if one present
 Th’ abhorred ingredient to his eye, make known
55 How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides,
 With violent hefts. I have drunk, and seen the spider.
 Camillo was his help in this, his pander.
 There is a plot against my life, my crown.
 All’s true that is mistrusted. That false villain
60 Whom I employed was pre-employed by him.
 He has discovered my design, and I
 Remain a pinched thing, yea, a very trick
 For them to play at will. How came the posterns
 So easily open?
LORD 65 By his great authority,
 Which often hath no less prevailed than so
 On your command.
LEONTES I know ’t too well.
 To Hermione. Give me the boy. I am glad you did
70 not nurse him.
 Though he does bear some signs of me, yet you
 Have too much blood in him.
HERMIONE  What is this? Sport?
LEONTES, to the Ladies 
 Bear the boy hence. He shall not come about her.
75 Away with him, and let her sport herself

53
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ACT 2. SC. 1

 With that she’s big with, (to Hermione) for ’tis
 Polixenes
 Has made thee swell thus.
A Lady exits with Mamillius.
HERMIONE  But I’d say he had not,
80 And I’ll be sworn you would believe my saying,
 Howe’er you lean to th’ nayward.
LEONTES  You, my lords,
 Look on her, mark her well. Be but about
 To say “She is a goodly lady,” and
85 The justice of your hearts will thereto add
 “’Tis pity she’s not honest, honorable.”
 Praise her but for this her without-door form,
 Which on my faith deserves high speech, and
 straight
90 The shrug, the “hum,” or “ha,” these petty brands
 That calumny doth use—O, I am out,
 That mercy does, for calumny will sear
 Virtue itself—these shrugs, these “hum”s and “ha”s,
 When you have said she’s goodly, come between
95 Ere you can say she’s honest. But be ’t known,
 From him that has most cause to grieve it should be,
 She’s an adult’ress.
HERMIONE  Should a villain say so,
 The most replenished villain in the world,
100 He were as much more villain. You, my lord,
 Do but mistake.
LEONTES  You have mistook, my lady,
 Polixenes for Leontes. O thou thing,
 Which I’ll not call a creature of thy place
105 Lest barbarism, making me the precedent,
 Should a like language use to all degrees,
 And mannerly distinguishment leave out
 Betwixt the prince and beggar.—I have said
 She’s an adult’ress; I have said with whom.
110 More, she’s a traitor, and Camillo is
 A federary with her, and one that knows

55
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ACT 2. SC. 1

 What she should shame to know herself
 But with her most vile principal: that she’s
 A bed-swerver, even as bad as those
115 That vulgars give bold’st titles; ay, and privy
 To this their late escape.
HERMIONE  No, by my life,
 Privy to none of this. How will this grieve you,
 When you shall come to clearer knowledge, that
120 You thus have published me! Gentle my lord,
 You scarce can right me throughly then to say
 You did mistake.
LEONTES  No. If I mistake
 In those foundations which I build upon,
125 The center is not big enough to bear
 A schoolboy’s top.—Away with her to prison.
 He who shall speak for her is afar off guilty
 But that he speaks.
HERMIONE  There’s some ill planet reigns.
130 I must be patient till the heavens look
 With an aspect more favorable. Good my lords,
 I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
 Commonly are, the want of which vain dew
 Perchance shall dry your pities. But I have
135 That honorable grief lodged here which burns
 Worse than tears drown. Beseech you all, my lords,
 With thoughts so qualified as your charities
 Shall best instruct you, measure me; and so
 The King’s will be performed.
LEONTES 140 Shall I be heard?
HERMIONE 
 Who is ’t that goes with me? Beseech your Highness
 My women may be with me, for you see
 My plight requires it.—Do not weep, good fools;
 There is no cause. When you shall know your
145 mistress
 Has deserved prison, then abound in tears
 As I come out. This action I now go on

57
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ACT 2. SC. 1

 Is for my better grace.—Adieu, my lord.
 I never wished to see you sorry; now
150 I trust I shall.—My women, come; you have leave.
LEONTES Go, do our bidding. Hence!
Hermione exits, under guard, with her Ladies.
LORD 
 Beseech your Highness, call the Queen again.
ANTIGONUS 
 Be certain what you do, sir, lest your justice
 Prove violence, in the which three great ones suffer:
155 Yourself, your queen, your son.
LORD  For her, my lord,
 I dare my life lay down—and will do ’t, sir,
 Please you t’ accept it—that the Queen is spotless
 I’ th’ eyes of heaven, and to you—I mean
160 In this which you accuse her.
ANTIGONUS  If it prove
 She’s otherwise, I’ll keep my stables where
 I lodge my wife. I’ll go in couples with her;
 Than when I feel and see her, no farther trust her.
165 For every inch of woman in the world,
 Ay, every dram of woman’s flesh, is false,
 If she be.
LEONTES  Hold your peaces.
LORD  Good my lord—
ANTIGONUS 
170 It is for you we speak, not for ourselves.
 You are abused, and by some putter-on
 That will be damned for ’t. Would I knew the
 villain!
 I would land-damn him. Be she honor-flawed,
175 I have three daughters—the eldest is eleven;
 The second and the third, nine and some five;
 If this prove true, they’ll pay for ’t. By mine honor,
 I’ll geld ’em all; fourteen they shall not see
 To bring false generations. They are co-heirs,

59
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 2. SC. 1

180 And I had rather glib myself than they
 Should not produce fair issue.
LEONTES  Cease. No more.
 You smell this business with a sense as cold
 As is a dead man’s nose. But I do see ’t and feel ’t,
185 As you feel doing thus, and see withal
 The instruments that feel.
ANTIGONUS  If it be so,
 We need no grave to bury honesty.
 There’s not a grain of it the face to sweeten
190 Of the whole dungy Earth.
LEONTES  What? Lack I credit?
LORD 
 I had rather you did lack than I, my lord,
 Upon this ground. And more it would content me
 To have her honor true than your suspicion,
195 Be blamed for ’t how you might.
LEONTES  Why, what need we
 Commune with you of this, but rather follow
 Our forceful instigation? Our prerogative
 Calls not your counsels, but our natural goodness
200 Imparts this, which if you—or stupefied
 Or seeming so in skill—cannot or will not
 Relish a truth like us, inform yourselves
 We need no more of your advice. The matter,
 The loss, the gain, the ord’ring on ’t is all
205 Properly ours.
ANTIGONUS  And I wish, my liege,
 You had only in your silent judgment tried it,
 Without more overture.
LEONTES  How could that be?
210 Either thou art most ignorant by age,
 Or thou wert born a fool. Camillo’s flight,
 Added to their familiarity—
 Which was as gross as ever touched conjecture,
 That lacked sight only, naught for approbation

61
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 2. SC. 2

215 But only seeing, all other circumstances
 Made up to th’ deed—doth push on this
 proceeding.
 Yet, for a greater confirmation—
 For in an act of this importance ’twere
220 Most piteous to be wild—I have dispatched in post
 To sacred Delphos, to Apollo’s temple,
 Cleomenes and Dion, whom you know
 Of stuffed sufficiency. Now from the oracle
 They will bring all, whose spiritual counsel had
225 Shall stop or spur me. Have I done well?
LORD  Well done,
 my lord.
LEONTES 
 Though I am satisfied and need no more
 Than what I know, yet shall the oracle
230 Give rest to th’ minds of others, such as he
 Whose ignorant credulity will not
 Come up to th’ truth. So have we thought it good
 From our free person she should be confined,
 Lest that the treachery of the two fled hence
235 Be left her to perform. Come, follow us.
 We are to speak in public, for this business
 Will raise us all.
ANTIGONUS, aside  To laughter, as I take it,
 If the good truth were known.
They exit.


Scene 2
Enter Paulina, a Gentleman, and Paulina’s Attendants.

PAULINA, to Gentleman 
 The keeper of the prison, call to him.
 Let him have knowledge who I am.
Gentleman exits.
 Good lady,

63
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 2. SC. 2

 No court in Europe is too good for thee.
5 What dost thou then in prison?

Enter Jailer, with the Gentleman.

 Now, good sir,
 You know me, do you not?
JAILER  For a worthy lady
 And one who much I honor.
PAULINA 10 Pray you then,
 Conduct me to the Queen.
JAILER  I may not, madam.
 To the contrary I have express commandment.
PAULINA 
 Here’s ado, to lock up honesty and honor from
15 Th’ access of gentle visitors. Is ’t lawful, pray you,
 To see her women? Any of them? Emilia?
JAILER So please you, madam,
 To put apart these your attendants, I
 Shall bring Emilia forth.
PAULINA 20 I pray now, call her.—
 Withdraw yourselves.
Attendants and Gentleman exit.
JAILER 
 And, madam, I must be present at your conference.
PAULINA Well, be ’t so, prithee.Jailer exits.
 Here’s such ado to make no stain a stain
25 As passes coloring.

Enter Emilia with Jailer.

 Dear gentlewoman,
 How fares our gracious lady?
EMILIA 
 As well as one so great and so forlorn
 May hold together. On her frights and griefs,
30 Which never tender lady hath borne greater,
 She is something before her time delivered.

65
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 2. SC. 2

PAULINA 
 A boy?
EMILIA  A daughter, and a goodly babe,
 Lusty and like to live. The Queen receives
35 Much comfort in ’t, says “My poor prisoner,
 I am innocent as you.”
PAULINA  I dare be sworn.
 These dangerous unsafe lunes i’ th’ King, beshrew
 them!
40 He must be told on ’t, and he shall. The office
 Becomes a woman best. I’ll take ’t upon me.
 If I prove honey-mouthed, let my tongue blister
 And never to my red-looked anger be
 The trumpet anymore. Pray you, Emilia,
45 Commend my best obedience to the Queen.
 If she dares trust me with her little babe,
 I’ll show ’t the King and undertake to be
 Her advocate to th’ loud’st We do not know
 How he may soften at the sight o’ th’ child.
50 The silence often of pure innocence
 Persuades when speaking fails.
EMILIA  Most worthy madam,
 Your honor and your goodness is so evident
 That your free undertaking cannot miss
55 A thriving issue. There is no lady living
 So meet for this great errand. Please your Ladyship
 To visit the next room, I’ll presently
 Acquaint the Queen of your most noble offer,
 Who but today hammered of this design,
60 But durst not tempt a minister of honor
 Lest she should be denied.
PAULINA  Tell her, Emilia,
 I’ll use that tongue I have. If wit flow from ’t
 As boldness from my bosom, let ’t not be doubted
65 I shall do good.

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The Winter’s Tale
ACT 2. SC. 3

EMILIA  Now be you blest for it!
 I’ll to the Queen. Please you come something
 nearer.
JAILER, to Paulina 
 Madam, if ’t please the Queen to send the babe,
70 I know not what I shall incur to pass it,
 Having no warrant.
PAULINA  You need not fear it, sir.
 This child was prisoner to the womb, and is
 By law and process of great nature thence
75 Freed and enfranchised, not a party to
 The anger of the King, nor guilty of,
 If any be, the trespass of the Queen.
JAILER I do believe it.
PAULINA 
 Do not you fear. Upon mine honor, I
80 Will stand betwixt you and danger.
They exit.


Scene 3
Enter Leontes.

LEONTES 
 Nor night nor day no rest. It is but weakness
 To bear the matter thus, mere weakness. If
 The cause were not in being—part o’ th’ cause,
 She th’ adult’ress, for the harlot king
5 Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
 And level of my brain, plot-proof. But she
 I can hook to me. Say that she were gone,
 Given to the fire, a moiety of my rest
 Might come to me again.—Who’s there?

Enter a Servant.

SERVANT 10 My lord.

69
The Winter’s Tale
ACT 2. SC. 3

LEONTES How does the boy?
SERVANT He took good rest tonight. ’Tis hoped
 His sickness is discharged.
LEONTES  To see his nobleness,
15 Conceiving the dishonor of his mother.
 He straight declined, drooped, took it deeply,
 Fastened and fixed the shame on ’t in himself,
 Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep,
 And downright languished. Leave me solely. Go,
20 See how he fares.Servant exits.
 Fie, fie, no thought of him.
 The very thought of my revenges that way
 Recoil upon me—in himself too mighty,
 And in his parties, his alliance. Let him be
25 Until a time may serve. For present vengeance,
 Take it on her. Camillo and Polixenes
 Laugh at me, make their pastime at my sorrow.
 They should not laugh if I could reach them, nor
 Shall she within my power.

Enter Paulina, carrying the baby, with Servants,
Antigonus, and Lords.


LORD 30 You must not enter.
PAULINA 
 Nay, rather, good my lords, be second to me.
 Fear you his tyrannous passion more, alas,
 Than the Queen’s life? A gracious innocent soul,
 More free than he is jealous.
ANTIGONUS 35 That’s enough.
SERVANT 
 Madam, he hath not slept tonight, commanded
 None should come at him.
PAULINA  Not so hot, good sir.
 I come to bring him sleep. ’Tis such as you
40 That creep like shadows by him and do sigh

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ACT 2. SC. 3

 At each his needless heavings, such as you
 Nourish the cause of his awaking. I
 Do come with words as medicinal as true,
 Honest as either, to purge him of that humor
45 That presses him from sleep.
LEONTES  What noise there, ho?
PAULINA 
 No noise, my lord, but needful conference
 About some gossips for your Highness.
LEONTES  How?—
50 Away with that audacious lady. Antigonus,
 I charged thee that she should not come about me.
 I knew she would.
ANTIGONUS  I told her so, my lord,
 On your displeasure’s peril and on mine,
55 She should not visit you.
LEONTES  What, canst not rule her?
PAULINA 
 From all dishonesty he can. In this,
 Unless he take the course that you have done—
 Commit me for committing honor—trust it,
60 He shall not rule me.
ANTIGONUS  La you now, you hear.
 When she will take the rein I let her run,
 But she’ll not stumble.
PAULINA  Good my liege, I come—
65 And I beseech you hear me, who professes
 Myself your loyal servant, your physician,
 Your most obedient counselor, yet that dares
 Less appear so in comforting your evils
 Than such as most seem yours—I say I come
70 From your good queen.
LEONTES Good queen?
PAULINA 
 Good queen, my lord, good queen, I say “good
 queen,”

73
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ACT 2. SC. 3

 And would by combat make her good, so were I
75 A man, the worst about you.
LEONTES  Force her hence.
PAULINA 
 Let him that makes but trifles of his eyes
 First hand me. On mine own accord I’ll off,
 But first I’ll do my errand.—The good queen,
80 For she is good, hath brought you forth a
 daughter—
 Here ’tis—commends it to your blessing.
She lays down the baby.
LEONTES  Out!
 A mankind witch! Hence with her, out o’ door.
85 A most intelligencing bawd.
PAULINA  Not so.
 I am as ignorant in that as you
 In so entitling me, and no less honest
 Than you are mad—which is enough, I’ll warrant,
90 As this world goes, to pass for honest.
LEONTES  Traitors,
 Will you not push her out? To Antigonus. Give her
 the bastard,
 Thou dotard; thou art woman-tired, unroosted
95 By thy Dame Partlet here. Take up the bastard,
 Take ’t up, I say. Give ’t to thy crone.
PAULINA, to Antigonus  Forever
 Unvenerable be thy hands if thou
 Tak’st up the Princess by that forced baseness
100 Which he has put upon ’t.
LEONTES  He dreads his wife.
PAULINA 
 So I would you did. Then ’twere past all doubt
 You’d call your children yours.
LEONTES  A nest of traitors!
ANTIGONUS 
105 I am none, by this good light.

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ACT 2. SC. 3

PAULINA  Nor I, nor any
 But one that’s here, and that’s himself. For he
 The sacred honor of himself, his queen’s,
 His hopeful son’s, his babe’s, betrays to slander,
110 Whose sting is sharper than the sword’s; and will
 not—
 For, as the case now stands, it is a curse
 He cannot be compelled to ’t—once remove
 The root of his opinion, which is rotten
115 As ever oak or stone was sound.
LEONTES  A callet
 Of boundless tongue, who late hath beat her
 husband
 And now baits me! This brat is none of mine.
120 It is the issue of Polixenes.
 Hence with it, and together with the dam
 Commit them to the fire.
PAULINA  It is yours,
 And, might we lay th’ old proverb to your charge,
125 So like you ’tis the worse.—Behold, my lords,
 Although the print be little, the whole matter
 And copy of the father—eye, nose, lip,
 The trick of ’s frown, his forehead, nay, the valley,
 The pretty dimples of his chin and cheek, his
130 smiles,
 The very mold and frame of hand, nail, finger.
 And thou, good goddess Nature, which hast made it
 So like to him that got it, if thou hast
 The ordering of the mind too, ’mongst all colors
135 No yellow in ’t, lest she suspect, as he does,
 Her children not her husband’s.
LEONTES  A gross hag!—
 And, losel, thou art worthy to be hanged
 That wilt not stay her tongue.
ANTIGONUS 140 Hang all the husbands
 That cannot do that feat, you’ll leave yourself
 Hardly one subject.

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ACT 2. SC. 3

LEONTES  Once more, take her hence.
PAULINA 
 A most unworthy and unnatural lord
145 Can do no more.
LEONTES  I’ll ha’ thee burnt.
PAULINA  I care not.
 It is an heretic that makes the fire,
 Not she which burns in ’t. I’ll not call you tyrant;
150 But this most cruel usage of your queen,
 Not able to produce more accusation
 Than your own weak-hinged fancy, something
 savors
 Of tyranny, and will ignoble make you,
155 Yea, scandalous to the world.
LEONTES, to Antigonus  On your allegiance,
 Out of the chamber with her! Were I a tyrant,
 Where were her life? She durst not call me so
 If she did know me one. Away with her!
PAULINA, to Lords 
160 I pray you do not push me; I’ll be gone.—
 Look to your babe, my lord; ’tis yours. Jove send her
 A better guiding spirit.—What needs these hands?
 You that are thus so tender o’er his follies
 Will never do him good, not one of you.
165 So, so. Farewell, we are gone.She exits.
LEONTES, to Antigonus 
 Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to this.
 My child? Away with ’t! Even thou, that hast
 A heart so tender o’er it, take it hence,
 And see it instantly consumed with fire.
170 Even thou, and none but thou. Take it up straight.
 Within this hour bring me word ’tis done,
 And by good testimony, or I’ll seize thy life,
 With what thou else call’st thine. If thou refuse
 And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so.

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175 The bastard brains with these my proper hands
 Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire,
 For thou sett’st on thy wife.
ANTIGONUS  I did not, sir.
 These lords, my noble fellows, if they please,
180 Can clear me in ’t.
LORDS  We can, my royal liege.
 He is not guilty of her coming hither.
LEONTES You’re liars all.
LORD 
 Beseech your Highness, give us better credit.
185 We have always truly served you, and beseech
 So to esteem of us. And on our knees we beg,
 As recompense of our dear services
 Past and to come, that you do change this purpose,
 Which being so horrible, so bloody, must
190 Lead on to some foul issue. We all kneel.
LEONTES 
 I am a feather for each wind that blows.
 Shall I live on to see this bastard kneel
 And call me father? Better burn it now
 Than curse it then. But be it; let it live.
195 It shall not neither. To Antigonus. You, sir, come
 you hither,
 You that have been so tenderly officious
 With Lady Margery, your midwife there,
 To save this bastard’s life—for ’tis a bastard,
200 So sure as this beard’s gray. What will you
 adventure
 To save this brat’s life?
ANTIGONUS  Anything, my lord,
 That my ability may undergo
205 And nobleness impose. At least thus much:
 I’ll pawn the little blood which I have left
 To save the innocent. Anything possible.

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LEONTES 
 It shall be possible. Swear by this sword
 Thou wilt perform my bidding.
ANTIGONUS, his hand on the hilt 210 I will, my lord.
LEONTES 
 Mark, and perform it, seest thou; for the fail
 Of any point in ’t shall not only be
 Death to thyself but to thy lewd-tongued wife,
 Whom for this time we pardon. We enjoin thee,
215 As thou art liegeman to us, that thou carry
 This female bastard hence, and that thou bear it
 To some remote and desert place quite out
 Of our dominions, and that there thou leave it,
 Without more mercy, to it own protection
220 And favor of the climate. As by strange fortune
 It came to us, I do in justice charge thee,
 On thy soul’s peril and thy body’s torture,
 That thou commend it strangely to some place
 Where chance may nurse or end it. Take it up.
ANTIGONUS 
225 I swear to do this, though a present death
 Had been more merciful.—Come on, poor babe.
He picks up the baby.
 Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens
 To be thy nurses! Wolves and bears, they say,
 Casting their savageness aside, have done
230 Like offices of pity. To Leontes. Sir, be prosperous
 In more than this deed does require.—And blessing
 Against this cruelty fight on thy side,
 Poor thing, condemned to loss.
He exits, carrying the baby.
LEONTES  No, I’ll not rear
235 Another’s issue.

Enter a Servant.

SERVANT  Please your Highness, posts

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 From those you sent to th’ oracle are come
 An hour since. Cleomenes and Dion,
 Being well arrived from Delphos, are both landed,
240 Hasting to th’ court.
LORD, to Leontes  So please you, sir, their speed
 Hath been beyond account.
LEONTES  Twenty-three days
 They have been absent. ’Tis good speed, foretells
245 The great Apollo suddenly will have
 The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords.
 Summon a session, that we may arraign
 Our most disloyal lady; for, as she hath
 Been publicly accused, so shall she have
250 A just and open trial. While she lives,
 My heart will be a burden to me. Leave me,
 And think upon my bidding.
They exit.


ACT 3
Scene 1
Enter Cleomenes and Dion.

CLEOMENES 
 The climate’s delicate, the air most sweet,
 Fertile the isle, the temple much surpassing
 The common praise it bears.
DION  I shall report,
5 For most it caught me, the celestial habits—
 Methinks I so should term them—and the reverence
 Of the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice,
 How ceremonious, solemn, and unearthly
 It was i’ th’ off’ring!
CLEOMENES 10 But of all, the burst
 And the ear-deaf’ning voice o’ th’ oracle,
 Kin to Jove’s thunder, so surprised my sense
 That I was nothing.
DION  If th’ event o’ th’ journey
15 Prove as successful to the Queen—O, be ’t so!—
 As it hath been to us rare, pleasant, speedy,
 The time is worth the use on ’t.
CLEOMENES  Great Apollo
 Turn all to th’ best! These proclamations,
20 So forcing faults upon Hermione,
 I little like.
DION  The violent carriage of it
 Will clear or end the business when the oracle,
87

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 Thus by Apollo’s great divine sealed up,
25 Shall the contents discover. Something rare
 Even then will rush to knowledge. Go. Fresh horses;
 And gracious be the issue.
They exit.


Scene 2
Enter Leontes, Lords, and Officers.

LEONTES 
 This sessions, to our great grief we pronounce,
 Even pushes ’gainst our heart: the party tried
 The daughter of a king, our wife, and one
 Of us too much beloved. Let us be cleared
5 Of being tyrannous, since we so openly
 Proceed in justice, which shall have due course
 Even to the guilt or the purgation.
 Produce the prisoner.
OFFICER 
 It is his Highness’ pleasure that the Queen
10 Appear in person here in court.

Enter Hermione, as to her trial, Paulina, and Ladies.

 Silence!
LEONTES Read the indictment.
OFFICER reads Hermione, queen to the worthy Leontes,
 King of Sicilia, thou art here accused and arraigned
15 of high treason, in committing adultery with Polixenes,
 King of Bohemia, and conspiring with Camillo
 to take away the life of our sovereign lord the King, thy
 royal husband; the pretense whereof being by circumstances
 partly laid open, thou, Hermione, contrary to
20 the faith and allegiance of a true subject, didst counsel
 and aid them, for their better safety, to fly away by
 night.


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HERMIONE 
 Since what I am to say must be but that
 Which contradicts my accusation, and
25 The testimony on my part no other
 But what comes from myself, it shall scarce boot me
 To say “Not guilty.” Mine integrity,
 Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it,
 Be so received. But thus: if powers divine
30 Behold our human actions, as they do,
 I doubt not then but innocence shall make
 False accusation blush and tyranny
 Tremble at patience. You, my lord, best know,
 Whom least will seem to do so, my past life
35 Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true,
 As I am now unhappy; which is more
 Than history can pattern, though devised
 And played to take spectators. For behold me,
 A fellow of the royal bed, which owe
40 A moiety of the throne, a great king’s daughter,
 The mother to a hopeful prince, here standing
 To prate and talk for life and honor fore
 Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it
 As I weigh grief, which I would spare. For honor,
45 ’Tis a derivative from me to mine,
 And only that I stand for. I appeal
 To your own conscience, sir, before Polixenes
 Came to your court, how I was in your grace,
 How merited to be so; since he came,
50 With what encounter so uncurrent I
 Have strained t’ appear thus; if one jot beyond
 The bound of honor, or in act or will
 That way inclining, hardened be the hearts
 Of all that hear me, and my near’st of kin
55 Cry fie upon my grave.

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LEONTES  I ne’er heard yet
 That any of these bolder vices wanted
 Less impudence to gainsay what they did
 Than to perform it first.
HERMIONE 60 That’s true enough,
 Though ’tis a saying, sir, not due to me.
LEONTES 
 You will not own it.
HERMIONE  More than mistress of
 Which comes to me in name of fault, I must not
65 At all acknowledge. For Polixenes,
 With whom I am accused, I do confess
 I loved him as in honor he required,
 With such a kind of love as might become
 A lady like me, with a love even such,
70 So and no other, as yourself commanded,
 Which not to have done, I think, had been in me
 Both disobedience and ingratitude
 To you and toward your friend, whose love had
 spoke,
75 Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely
 That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy,
 I know not how it tastes, though it be dished
 For me to try how. All I know of it
 Is that Camillo was an honest man;
80 And why he left your court, the gods themselves,
 Wotting no more than I, are ignorant.
LEONTES 
 You knew of his departure, as you know
 What you have underta’en to do in ’s absence.
HERMIONE Sir,
85 You speak a language that I understand not.
 My life stands in the level of your dreams,
 Which I’ll lay down.
LEONTES  Your actions are my dreams.

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 You had a bastard by Polixenes,
90 And I but dreamed it. As you were past all shame—
 Those of your fact are so—so past all truth,
 Which to deny concerns more than avails; for as
 Thy brat hath been cast out, like to itself,
 No father owning it—which is indeed
95 More criminal in thee than it—so thou
 Shalt feel our justice, in whose easiest passage
 Look for no less than death.
HERMIONE  Sir, spare your threats.
 The bug which you would fright me with I seek.
100 To me can life be no commodity.
 The crown and comfort of my life, your favor,
 I do give lost, for I do feel it gone,
 But know not how it went. My second joy
 And first fruits of my body, from his presence
105 I am barred like one infectious. My third comfort,
 Starred most unluckily, is from my breast,
 The innocent milk in it most innocent mouth,
 Haled out to murder; myself on every post
 Proclaimed a strumpet; with immodest hatred
110 The childbed privilege denied, which longs
 To women of all fashion; lastly, hurried
 Here to this place, i’ th’ open air, before
 I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege,
 Tell me what blessings I have here alive,
115 That I should fear to die? Therefore proceed.
 But yet hear this (mistake me not: no life,
 I prize it not a straw, but for mine honor,
 Which I would free), if I shall be condemned
 Upon surmises, all proofs sleeping else
120 But what your jealousies awake, I tell you
 ’Tis rigor, and not law. Your Honors all,
 I do refer me to the oracle.
 Apollo be my judge.
LORD  This your request

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ACT 3. SC. 2

125 Is altogether just. Therefore bring forth,
 And in Apollo’s name, his oracle.Officers exit.
HERMIONE 
 The Emperor of Russia was my father.
 O, that he were alive and here beholding
 His daughter’s trial, that he did but see
130 The flatness of my misery, yet with eyes
 Of pity, not revenge.

Enter Cleomenes, Dion, with Officers.

OFFICER, presenting a sword 
 You here shall swear upon this sword of justice
 That you, Cleomenes and Dion, have
 Been both at Delphos, and from thence have
135 brought
 This sealed-up oracle, by the hand delivered
 Of great Apollo’s priest, and that since then
 You have not dared to break the holy seal
 Nor read the secrets in ’t.
CLEOMENES, DION 140All this we swear.
LEONTES Break up the seals and read.
OFFICER reads Hermione is chaste, Polixenes blameless,
 Camillo a true subject, Leontes a jealous tyrant,
 his innocent babe truly begotten; and the King shall
145 live without an heir if that which is lost be not
 found.

LORDS 
 Now blessèd be the great Apollo!
HERMIONE  Praised!
LEONTES Hast thou read truth?
OFFICER 
150 Ay, my lord, even so as it is here set down.
LEONTES 
 There is no truth at all i’ th’ oracle.
 The sessions shall proceed. This is mere falsehood.

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Enter a Servant.

SERVANT 
 My lord the King, the King!
LEONTES  What is the business?
SERVANT 
155 O sir, I shall be hated to report it.
 The Prince your son, with mere conceit and fear
 Of the Queen’s speed, is gone.
LEONTES  How? Gone?
SERVANT  Is dead.
LEONTES 
160 Apollo’s angry, and the heavens themselves
 Do strike at my injustice.
Hermione falls.
 How now there?
PAULINA 
 This news is mortal to the Queen. Look down
 And see what death is doing.
LEONTES 165 Take her hence.
 Her heart is but o’ercharged. She will recover.
 I have too much believed mine own suspicion.
 Beseech you, tenderly apply to her
 Some remedies for life.

Paulina exits with Officers carrying Hermione.

170 Apollo, pardon
 My great profaneness ’gainst thine oracle.
 I’ll reconcile me to Polixenes,
 New woo my queen, recall the good Camillo,
 Whom I proclaim a man of truth, of mercy;
175 For, being transported by my jealousies
 To bloody thoughts and to revenge, I chose
 Camillo for the minister to poison

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ACT 3. SC. 2

 My friend Polixenes, which had been done
 But that the good mind of Camillo tardied
180 My swift command, though I with death and with
 Reward did threaten and encourage him,
 Not doing it and being done. He, most humane
 And filled with honor, to my kingly guest
 Unclasped my practice, quit his fortunes here,
185 Which you knew great, and to the hazard
 Of all incertainties himself commended,
 No richer than his honor. How he glisters
 Through my rust, and how his piety
 Does my deeds make the blacker!

Enter Paulina.

PAULINA 190 Woe the while!
 O, cut my lace, lest my heart, cracking it,
 Break too!
LORD  What fit is this, good lady?
PAULINA, to Leontes 
 What studied torments, tyrant, hast for me?
195 What wheels, racks, fires? What flaying? Boiling
 In leads or oils? What old or newer torture
 Must I receive, whose every word deserves
 To taste of thy most worst? Thy tyranny,
 Together working with thy jealousies,
200 Fancies too weak for boys, too green and idle
 For girls of nine, O, think what they have done,
 And then run mad indeed, stark mad, for all
 Thy bygone fooleries were but spices of it.
 That thou betrayedst Polixenes, ’twas nothing;
205 That did but show thee of a fool, inconstant
 And damnable ingrateful. Nor was ’t much
 Thou wouldst have poisoned good Camillo’s honor,
 To have him kill a king: poor trespasses,
 More monstrous standing by, whereof I reckon

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ACT 3. SC. 2

210 The casting forth to crows thy baby daughter
 To be or none or little, though a devil
 Would have shed water out of fire ere done ’t.
 Nor is ’t directly laid to thee the death
 Of the young prince, whose honorable thoughts,
215 Thoughts high for one so tender, cleft the heart
 That could conceive a gross and foolish sire
 Blemished his gracious dam. This is not, no,
 Laid to thy answer. But the last—O lords,
 When I have said, cry woe!—the Queen, the Queen,
220 The sweet’st, dear’st creature’s dead, and vengeance
 for ’t
 Not dropped down yet.
LORD  The higher powers forbid!
PAULINA 
 I say she’s dead. I’ll swear ’t. If word nor oath
225 Prevail not, go and see. If you can bring
 Tincture or luster in her lip, her eye,
 Heat outwardly or breath within, I’ll serve you
 As I would do the gods.—But, O thou tyrant,
 Do not repent these things, for they are heavier
230 Than all thy woes can stir. Therefore betake thee
 To nothing but despair. A thousand knees
 Ten thousand years together, naked, fasting,
 Upon a barren mountain, and still winter
 In storm perpetual, could not move the gods
235 To look that way thou wert.
LEONTES  Go on, go on.
 Thou canst not speak too much. I have deserved
 All tongues to talk their bitt’rest.
LORD, to Paulina  Say no more.
240 Howe’er the business goes, you have made fault
 I’ th’ boldness of your speech.
PAULINA  I am sorry for ’t.
 All faults I make, when I shall come to know them,

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 I do repent. Alas, I have showed too much
245 The rashness of a woman. He is touched
 To th’ noble heart.—What’s gone and what’s past
 help
 Should be past grief. Do not receive affliction
 At my petition. I beseech you, rather
250 Let me be punished, that have minded you
 Of what you should forget. Now, good my liege,
 Sir, royal sir, forgive a foolish woman.
 The love I bore your queen—lo, fool again!—
 I’ll speak of her no more, nor of your children.
255 I’ll not remember you of my own lord,
 Who is lost too. Take your patience to you,
 And I’ll say nothing.
LEONTES  Thou didst speak but well
 When most the truth, which I receive much better
260 Than to be pitied of thee. Prithee, bring me
 To the dead bodies of my queen and son.
 One grave shall be for both. Upon them shall
 The causes of their death appear, unto
 Our shame perpetual. Once a day I’ll visit
265 The chapel where they lie, and tears shed there
 Shall be my recreation. So long as nature
 Will bear up with this exercise, so long
 I daily vow to use it. Come, and lead me
 To these sorrows.
They exit.


Scene 3
Enter Antigonus carrying the babe, and a Mariner.

ANTIGONUS 
 Thou art perfect, then, our ship hath touched upon
 The deserts of Bohemia?

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ACT 3. SC. 3

MARINER  Ay, my lord, and fear
 We have landed in ill time. The skies look grimly
5 And threaten present blusters. In my conscience,
 The heavens with that we have in hand are angry
 And frown upon ’s.
ANTIGONUS 
 Their sacred wills be done. Go, get aboard.
 Look to thy bark. I’ll not be long before
10 I call upon thee.
MARINER  Make your best haste, and go not
 Too far i’ th’ land. ’Tis like to be loud weather.
 Besides, this place is famous for the creatures
 Of prey that keep upon ’t.
ANTIGONUS 15 Go thou away.
 I’ll follow instantly.
MARINER  I am glad at heart
 To be so rid o’ th’ business.He exits.
ANTIGONUS  Come, poor babe.
20 I have heard, but not believed, the spirits o’ th’ dead
 May walk again. If such thing be, thy mother
 Appeared to me last night, for ne’er was dream
 So like a waking. To me comes a creature,
 Sometimes her head on one side, some another.
25 I never saw a vessel of like sorrow,
 So filled and so becoming. In pure white robes,
 Like very sanctity, she did approach
 My cabin where I lay, thrice bowed before me,
 And, gasping to begin some speech, her eyes
30 Became two spouts. The fury spent, anon
 Did this break from her: “Good Antigonus,
 Since fate, against thy better disposition,
 Hath made thy person for the thrower-out
 Of my poor babe, according to thine oath,
35 Places remote enough are in Bohemia.
 There weep, and leave it crying. And, for the babe
 Is counted lost forever, Perdita

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 I prithee call ’t. For this ungentle business
 Put on thee by my lord, thou ne’er shalt see
40 Thy wife Paulina more.” And so, with shrieks,
 She melted into air. Affrighted much,
 I did in time collect myself and thought
 This was so and no slumber. Dreams are toys,
 Yet for this once, yea, superstitiously,
45 I will be squared by this. I do believe
 Hermione hath suffered death, and that
 Apollo would, this being indeed the issue
 Of King Polixenes, it should here be laid,
 Either for life or death, upon the earth
50 Of its right father.—Blossom, speed thee well.
 There lie, and there thy character; there these,
He lays down the baby, a bundle, and a box.
 Which may, if fortune please, both breed thee, pretty,
 And still rest thine. Thunder. The storm begins.
 Poor wretch,
55 That for thy mother’s fault art thus exposed
 To loss and what may follow. Weep I cannot,
 But my heart bleeds, and most accurst am I
 To be by oath enjoined to this. Farewell.
 The day frowns more and more. Thou ’rt like to have
60 A lullaby too rough. I never saw
 The heavens so dim by day.
Thunder, and sounds of hunting.
 A savage clamor!
 Well may I get aboard! This is the chase.
 I am gone forever!He exits, pursued by a bear.

Enter Shepherd.

SHEPHERD 65I would there were no age between ten and
 three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the
 rest, for there is nothing in the between but getting
 wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing,

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ACT 3. SC. 3

 fighting—Hark you now. Would any but these
70 boiled brains of nineteen and two-and-twenty hunt
 this weather? They have scared away two of my best
 sheep, which I fear the wolf will sooner find than
 the master. If anywhere I have them, ’tis by the
 seaside, browsing of ivy. Good luck, an ’t be thy will,
75 what have we here? Mercy on ’s, a bairn! A very
 pretty bairn. A boy or a child, I wonder? A pretty
 one, a very pretty one. Sure some scape. Though I
 am not bookish, yet I can read waiting-gentlewoman
 in the scape. This has been some stair-work,
80 some trunk-work, some behind-door work. They
 were warmer that got this than the poor thing is
 here. I’ll take it up for pity. Yet I’ll tarry till my son
 come. He halloed but even now.—Whoa-ho-ho!

Enter Shepherd’s Son.

SHEPHERD’S SON Hilloa, loa!
SHEPHERD 85What, art so near? If thou ’lt see a thing to
 talk on when thou art dead and rotten, come hither.
 What ail’st thou, man?
SHEPHERD’S SON I have seen two such sights, by sea
 and by land—but I am not to say it is a sea, for it is
90 now the sky; betwixt the firmament and it, you
 cannot thrust a bodkin’s point.
SHEPHERD Why, boy, how is it?
SHEPHERD’S SON I would you did but see how it chafes,
 how it rages, how it takes up the shore. But that’s
95 not to the point. O, the most piteous cry of the poor
 souls! Sometimes to see ’em, and not to see ’em.
 Now the ship boring the moon with her mainmast,
 and anon swallowed with yeast and froth, as you’d
 thrust a cork into a hogshead. And then for the land
100 service, to see how the bear tore out his shoulder-bone,
 how he cried to me for help, and said his

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ACT 3. SC. 3

 name was Antigonus, a nobleman. But to make an
 end of the ship: to see how the sea flap-dragoned it.
 But, first, how the poor souls roared and the sea
105 mocked them, and how the poor gentleman roared
 and the bear mocked him, both roaring louder than
 the sea or weather.
SHEPHERD Name of mercy, when was this, boy?
SHEPHERD’S SON Now, now. I have not winked since I
110 saw these sights. The men are not yet cold under
 water, nor the bear half dined on the gentleman.
 He’s at it now.
SHEPHERD Would I had been by to have helped the old
 man.
SHEPHERD’S SON 115I would you had been by the ship side,
 to have helped her. There your charity would have
 lacked footing.
SHEPHERD Heavy matters, heavy matters. But look
 thee here, boy. Now bless thyself. Thou met’st with
120 things dying, I with things newborn. Here’s a sight
 for thee. Look thee, a bearing cloth for a squire’s
 child. Look thee here. Take up, take up, boy. Open
 ’t. So, let’s see. It was told me I should be rich by
 the fairies. This is some changeling. Open ’t. What’s
125 within, boy?
SHEPHERD’S SON, opening the box  You’re a made old
 man. If the sins of your youth are forgiven you,
 you’re well to live. Gold, all gold.
SHEPHERD This is fairy gold, boy, and ’twill prove so.
130 Up with ’t, keep it close. Home, home, the next way.
 We are lucky, boy, and to be so still requires
 nothing but secrecy. Let my sheep go. Come, good
 boy, the next way home.
SHEPHERD’S SON Go you the next way with your
135 findings. I’ll go see if the bear be gone from the
 gentleman and how much he hath eaten. They are

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ACT 3. SC. 3

 never curst but when they are hungry. If there be
 any of him left, I’ll bury it.
SHEPHERD That’s a good deed. If thou mayest discern
140 by that which is left of him what he is, fetch me to
 th’ sight of him.
SHEPHERD’S SON Marry, will I, and you shall help to
 put him i’ th’ ground.
SHEPHERD ’Tis a lucky day, boy, and we’ll do good
145 deeds on ’t.
They exit.


ACT 4
Scene 1
Enter Time, the Chorus.

TIME 
 I, that please some, try all—both joy and terror
 Of good and bad, that makes and unfolds error—
 Now take upon me, in the name of Time,
 To use my wings. Impute it not a crime
5 To me or my swift passage that I slide
 O’er sixteen years, and leave the growth untried
 Of that wide gap, since it is in my power
 To o’erthrow law and in one self-born hour
 To plant and o’erwhelm custom. Let me pass
10 The same I am ere ancient’st order was
 Or what is now received. I witness to
 The times that brought them in. So shall I do
 To th’ freshest things now reigning, and make stale
 The glistering of this present, as my tale
15 Now seems to it. Your patience this allowing,
 I turn my glass and give my scene such growing
 As you had slept between. Leontes leaving,
 Th’ effects of his fond jealousies so grieving
 That he shuts up himself, imagine me,
20 Gentle spectators, that I now may be
 In fair Bohemia. And remember well
 I mentioned a son o’ th’ King’s, which Florizell
 I now name to you, and with speed so pace
119

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ACT 4. SC. 2

 To speak of Perdita, now grown in grace
25 Equal with wond’ring. What of her ensues
 I list not prophesy; but let Time’s news
 Be known when ’tis brought forth. A shepherd’s
 daughter
 And what to her adheres, which follows after,
30 Is th’ argument of Time. Of this allow,
 If ever you have spent time worse ere now.
 If never, yet that Time himself doth say
 He wishes earnestly you never may.
He exits.


Scene 2
Enter Polixenes and Camillo.

POLIXENES I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more
 importunate. ’Tis a sickness denying thee anything,
 a death to grant this.
CAMILLO It is fifteen years since I saw my country.
5 Though I have for the most part been aired abroad,
 I desire to lay my bones there. Besides, the penitent
 king, my master, hath sent for me, to whose feeling
 sorrows I might be some allay—or I o’erween to
 think so—which is another spur to my departure.
POLIXENES 10As thou lov’st me, Camillo, wipe not out the
 rest of thy services by leaving me now. The need I
 have of thee thine own goodness hath made. Better
 not to have had thee than thus to want thee. Thou,
 having made me businesses which none without
15 thee can sufficiently manage, must either stay to
 execute them thyself or take away with thee the very
 services thou hast done, which if I have not enough
 considered, as too much I cannot, to be more
 thankful to thee shall be my study, and my profit
20 therein the heaping friendships. Of that fatal country

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ACT 4. SC. 2

 Sicilia, prithee speak no more, whose very
 naming punishes me with the remembrance of that
 penitent, as thou call’st him, and reconciled king
 my brother, whose loss of his most precious queen
25 and children are even now to be afresh lamented.
 Say to me, when sawst thou the Prince Florizell, my
 son? Kings are no less unhappy, their issue not
 being gracious, than they are in losing them when
 they have approved their virtues.
CAMILLO 30Sir, it is three days since I saw the Prince.
 What his happier affairs may be are to me unknown,
 but I have missingly noted he is of late
 much retired from court and is less frequent to his
 princely exercises than formerly he hath appeared.
POLIXENES 35I have considered so much, Camillo, and
 with some care, so far that I have eyes under my
 service which look upon his removedness, from
 whom I have this intelligence: that he is seldom
 from the house of a most homely shepherd, a man,
40 they say, that from very nothing, and beyond the
 imagination of his neighbors, is grown into an
 unspeakable estate.
CAMILLO I have heard, sir, of such a man, who hath a
 daughter of most rare note. The report of her is
45 extended more than can be thought to begin from
 such a cottage.
POLIXENES That’s likewise part of my intelligence, but,
 I fear, the angle that plucks our son thither. Thou
 shalt accompany us to the place, where we will, not
50 appearing what we are, have some question with
 the shepherd, from whose simplicity I think it not
 uneasy to get the cause of my son’s resort thither.
 Prithee be my present partner in this business, and
 lay aside the thoughts of Sicilia.
CAMILLO 55I willingly obey your command.

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ACT 4. SC. 3

POLIXENES My best Camillo. We must disguise
 ourselves.
They exit.


Scene 3
Enter Autolycus singing.

AUTOLYCUS 
 When daffodils begin to peer,
  With heigh, the doxy over the dale,
 Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year,
  For the red blood reigns in the winter’s pale.

5 The white sheet bleaching on the hedge,
  With heigh, the sweet birds, O how they sing!
 Doth set my pugging tooth an edge,
  For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.

 The lark, that tirralirra chants,
10  With heigh, with heigh, the thrush and the jay,
 Are summer songs for me and my aunts,
  While we lie tumbling in the hay.


 I have served Prince Florizell and in my time wore
 three-pile, but now I am out of service.

15 But shall I go mourn for that, my dear?
  The pale moon shines by night,
 And when I wander here and there,
  I then do most go right.

 If tinkers may have leave to live,
20  And bear the sow-skin budget,
 Then my account I well may give,
  And in the stocks avouch it.


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ACT 4. SC. 3

 My traffic is sheets. When the kite builds, look to
 lesser linen. My father named me Autolycus, who,
25 being, as I am, littered under Mercury, was likewise
 a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. With die and
 drab I purchased this caparison, and my revenue is
 the silly cheat. Gallows and knock are too powerful
 on the highway. Beating and hanging are terrors to
30 me. For the life to come, I sleep out the thought of
 it. A prize, a prize!

Enter Shepherd’s Son.

SHEPHERD’S SON Let me see, every ’leven wether tods,
 every tod yields pound and odd shilling; fifteen
 hundred shorn, what comes the wool to?
AUTOLYCUS, aside 35If the springe hold, the cock’s
 mine.He lies down.
SHEPHERD’S SON I cannot do ’t without counters. Let
 me see, what am I to buy for our sheep-shearing
 feast? (He reads a paper.) Three pound of sugar,
40 five pound of currants, rice—what will this sister of
 mine do with rice? But my father hath made her
 mistress of the feast, and she lays it on. She hath
 made me four-and-twenty nosegays for the shearers,
 three-man song men all, and very good ones;
45 but they are most of them means and basses, but
 one Puritan amongst them, and he sings psalms to
 hornpipes. I must have saffron to color the warden
 pies; mace; dates, none, that’s out of my note;
 nutmegs, seven; a race or two of ginger, but that I
50 may beg; four pound of prunes, and as many of
 raisins o’ th’ sun.
AUTOLYCUS, writhing as if in pain O, that ever I was
 born!
SHEPHERD’S SON I’ th’ name of me!

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ACT 4. SC. 3

AUTOLYCUS 55O, help me, help me! Pluck but off these
 rags, and then death, death.
SHEPHERD’S SON Alack, poor soul, thou hast need of
 more rags to lay on thee rather than have these off.
AUTOLYCUS O sir, the loathsomeness of them offends
60 me more than the stripes I have received, which are
 mighty ones and millions.
SHEPHERD’S SON Alas, poor man, a million of beating
 may come to a great matter.
AUTOLYCUS I am robbed, sir, and beaten, my money
65 and apparel ta’en from me, and these detestable
 things put upon me.
SHEPHERD’S SON What, by a horseman, or a footman?
AUTOLYCUS A footman, sweet sir, a footman.
SHEPHERD’S SON Indeed, he should be a footman by
70 the garments he has left with thee. If this be a
 horseman’s coat, it hath seen very hot service. Lend
 me thy hand; I’ll help thee. Come, lend me thy
 hand.
AUTOLYCUS O, good sir, tenderly, O!
SHEPHERD’S SON 75Alas, poor soul.
AUTOLYCUS O, good sir, softly, good sir. I fear, sir, my
 shoulder blade is out.
SHEPHERD’S SON How now? Canst stand?
AUTOLYCUS, stealing the Shepherd’s Son’s purse Softly,
80 dear sir, good sir, softly. You ha’ done me a charitable
 office.
SHEPHERD’S SON Dost lack any money? I have a little
 money for thee.
AUTOLYCUS No, good sweet sir, no, I beseech you, sir. I
85 have a kinsman not past three-quarters of a mile
 hence, unto whom I was going. I shall there have
 money or anything I want. Offer me no money, I
 pray you; that kills my heart.
SHEPHERD’S SON What manner of fellow was he that
90 robbed you?

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ACT 4. SC. 3

AUTOLYCUS A fellow, sir, that I have known to go about
 with troll-my-dames. I knew him once a servant of
 the Prince. I cannot tell, good sir, for which of his
 virtues it was, but he was certainly whipped out of
95 the court.
SHEPHERD’S SON His vices, you would say. There’s no
 virtue whipped out of the court. They cherish it to
 make it stay there, and yet it will no more but abide.
AUTOLYCUS Vices, I would say, sir. I know this man
100 well. He hath been since an ape-bearer, then a
 process-server, a bailiff. Then he compassed a motion
 of the Prodigal Son, and married a tinker’s wife
 within a mile where my land and living lies, and,
 having flown over many knavish professions, he
105 settled only in rogue. Some call him Autolycus.
SHEPHERD’S SON Out upon him! Prig, for my life, prig!
 He haunts wakes, fairs, and bearbaitings.
AUTOLYCUS Very true, sir: he, sir, he. That’s the rogue
 that put me into this apparel.
SHEPHERD’S SON 110Not a more cowardly rogue in all
 Bohemia. If you had but looked big and spit at him,
 he’d have run.
AUTOLYCUS I must confess to you, sir, I am no fighter. I
 am false of heart that way, and that he knew, I
115 warrant him.
SHEPHERD’S SON How do you now?
AUTOLYCUS Sweet sir, much better than I was. I can
 stand and walk. I will even take my leave of you and
 pace softly towards my kinsman’s.
SHEPHERD’S SON 120Shall I bring thee on the way?
AUTOLYCUS No, good-faced sir, no, sweet sir.
SHEPHERD’S SON Then fare thee well. I must go buy
 spices for our sheep-shearing.
AUTOLYCUS Prosper you, sweet sir.
Shepherd’s Son exits.
125 Your purse is not hot enough to purchase your

133
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ACT 4. SC. 4

 spice. I’ll be with you at your sheep-shearing too. If
 I make not this cheat bring out another, and the
 shearers prove sheep, let me be unrolled and my
 name put in the book of virtue.
Sings.130 Jog on, jog on, the footpath way,
  And merrily hent the stile-a.
 A merry heart goes all the day,
  Your sad tires in a mile-a.

He exits.


Scene 4
Enter Florizell and Perdita.

FLORIZELL 
 These your unusual weeds to each part of you
 Does give a life—no shepherdess, but Flora
 Peering in April’s front. This your sheep-shearing
 Is as a meeting of the petty gods,
5 And you the queen on ’t.
PERDITA  Sir, my gracious lord,
 To chide at your extremes it not becomes me;
 O, pardon that I name them! Your high self,
 The gracious mark o’ th’ land, you have obscured
10 With a swain’s wearing, and me, poor lowly maid,
 Most goddesslike pranked up. But that our feasts
 In every mess have folly, and the feeders
 Digest it with a custom, I should blush
 To see you so attired, swoon, I think,
15 To show myself a glass.
FLORIZELL  I bless the time
 When my good falcon made her flight across
 Thy father’s ground.
PERDITA  Now Jove afford you cause.
20 To me the difference forges dread. Your greatness

135
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ACT 4. SC. 4

 Hath not been used to fear. Even now I tremble
 To think your father by some accident
 Should pass this way as you did. O the Fates,
 How would he look to see his work, so noble,
25 Vilely bound up? What would he say? Or how
 Should I, in these my borrowed flaunts, behold
 The sternness of his presence?
FLORIZELL  Apprehend
 Nothing but jollity. The gods themselves,
30 Humbling their deities to love, have taken
 The shapes of beasts upon them. Jupiter
 Became a bull, and bellowed; the green Neptune
 A ram, and bleated; and the fire-robed god,
 Golden Apollo, a poor humble swain,
35 As I seem now. Their transformations
 Were never for a piece of beauty rarer,
 Nor in a way so chaste, since my desires
 Run not before mine honor, nor my lusts
 Burn hotter than my faith.
PERDITA 40 O, but sir,
 Your resolution cannot hold when ’tis
 Opposed, as it must be, by th’ power of the King.
 One of these two must be necessities,
 Which then will speak: that you must change this
45 purpose
 Or I my life.
FLORIZELL  Thou dear’st Perdita,
 With these forced thoughts I prithee darken not
 The mirth o’ th’ feast. Or I’ll be thine, my fair,
50 Or not my father’s. For I cannot be
 Mine own, nor anything to any, if
 I be not thine. To this I am most constant,
 Though destiny say no. Be merry, gentle.
 Strangle such thoughts as these with anything
55 That you behold the while. Your guests are coming.

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 Lift up your countenance as it were the day
 Of celebration of that nuptial which
 We two have sworn shall come.
PERDITA  O Lady Fortune,
60 Stand you auspicious!
FLORIZELL  See, your guests approach.
 Address yourself to entertain them sprightly,
 And let’s be red with mirth.

Enter Shepherd, Shepherd’s Son, Mopsa, Dorcas,
Shepherds and Shepherdesses, Servants, Musicians,
and Polixenes and Camillo in disguise.


SHEPHERD 
 Fie, daughter, when my old wife lived, upon
65 This day she was both pantler, butler, cook,
 Both dame and servant; welcomed all; served all;
 Would sing her song and dance her turn, now here
 At upper end o’ th’ table, now i’ th’ middle;
 On his shoulder, and his; her face afire
70 With labor, and the thing she took to quench it
 She would to each one sip. You are retired
 As if you were a feasted one and not
 The hostess of the meeting. Pray you bid
 These unknown friends to ’s welcome, for it is
75 A way to make us better friends, more known.
 Come, quench your blushes and present yourself
 That which you are, mistress o’ th’ feast. Come on,
 And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing,
 As your good flock shall prosper.
PERDITA, to Polixenes 80 Sir, welcome.
 It is my father’s will I should take on me
 The hostess-ship o’ th’ day. To Camillo. You’re
 welcome, sir.—
 Give me those flowers there, Dorcas.—Reverend
85 sirs,

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 For you there’s rosemary and rue. These keep
 Seeming and savor all the winter long.
 Grace and remembrance be to you both,
 And welcome to our shearing.
POLIXENES 90 Shepherdess—
 A fair one are you—well you fit our ages
 With flowers of winter.
PERDITA  Sir, the year growing ancient,
 Not yet on summer’s death nor on the birth
95 Of trembling winter, the fairest flowers o’ th’ season
 Are our carnations and streaked gillyvors,
 Which some call nature’s bastards. Of that kind
 Our rustic garden’s barren, and I care not
 To get slips of them.
POLIXENES 100 Wherefore, gentle maiden,
 Do you neglect them?
PERDITA  For I have heard it said
 There is an art which in their piedness shares
 With great creating nature.
POLIXENES 105 Say there be;
 Yet nature is made better by no mean
 But nature makes that mean. So, over that art
 Which you say adds to nature is an art
 That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry
110 A gentler scion to the wildest stock,
 And make conceive a bark of baser kind
 By bud of nobler race. This is an art
 Which does mend nature, change it rather, but
 The art itself is nature.
PERDITA 115 So it is.
POLIXENES 
 Then make your garden rich in gillyvors,
 And do not call them bastards.
PERDITA  I’ll not put
 The dibble in earth to set one slip of them,

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ACT 4. SC. 4

120 No more than, were I painted, I would wish
 This youth should say ’twere well, and only
 therefore
 Desire to breed by me. Here’s flowers for you:
 Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram,
125 The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ th’ sun
 And with him rises weeping. These are flowers
 Of middle summer, and I think they are given
 To men of middle age. You’re very welcome.
CAMILLO 
 I should leave grazing, were I of your flock,
130 And only live by gazing.
PERDITA  Out, alas!
 You’d be so lean that blasts of January
 Would blow you through and through. (To
 Florizell.) 
Now, my fair’st friend,
135 I would I had some flowers o’ th’ spring, that might
 Become your time of day, (to the Shepherdesses)
 and yours, and yours,
 That wear upon your virgin branches yet
 Your maidenheads growing. O Proserpina,
140 For the flowers now that, frighted, thou let’st fall
 From Dis’s wagon! Daffodils,
 That come before the swallow dares, and take
 The winds of March with beauty; violets dim,
 But sweeter than the lids of Juno’s eyes
145 Or Cytherea’s breath; pale primroses,
 That die unmarried ere they can behold
 Bright Phoebus in his strength—a malady
 Most incident to maids; bold oxlips and
 The crown imperial; lilies of all kinds,
150 The flower-de-luce being one—O, these I lack
 To make you garlands of, and my sweet friend,
 To strew him o’er and o’er.
FLORIZELL  What, like a corse?

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ACT 4. SC. 4

PERDITA 
 No, like a bank for love to lie and play on,
155 Not like a corse; or if, not to be buried,
 But quick and in mine arms. Come, take your
 flowers.
 Methinks I play as I have seen them do
 In Whitsun pastorals. Sure this robe of mine
160 Does change my disposition.
FLORIZELL  What you do
 Still betters what is done. When you speak, sweet,
 I’d have you do it ever. When you sing,
 I’d have you buy and sell so, so give alms,
165 Pray so; and for the ord’ring your affairs,
 To sing them too. When you do dance, I wish you
 A wave o’ th’ sea, that you might ever do
 Nothing but that, move still, still so,
 And own no other function. Each your doing,
170 So singular in each particular,
 Crowns what you are doing in the present deeds,
 That all your acts are queens.
PERDITA  O Doricles,
 Your praises are too large. But that your youth
175 And the true blood which peeps fairly through ’t
 Do plainly give you out an unstained shepherd,
 With wisdom I might fear, my Doricles,
 You wooed me the false way.
FLORIZELL  I think you have
180 As little skill to fear as I have purpose
 To put you to ’t. But come, our dance, I pray.
 Your hand, my Perdita. So turtles pair
 That never mean to part.
PERDITA  I’ll swear for ’em.
POLIXENES, to Camillo 
185 This is the prettiest lowborn lass that ever
 Ran on the greensward. Nothing she does or seems
 But smacks of something greater than herself,
 Too noble for this place.

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ACT 4. SC. 4

CAMILLO  He tells her something
190 That makes her blood look out. Good sooth, she is
 The queen of curds and cream.
SHEPHERD’S SON, to Musicians  Come on, strike up.
DORCAS 
 Mopsa must be your mistress? Marry, garlic
 To mend her kissing with.
MOPSA 195 Now, in good time!
SHEPHERD’S SON 
 Not a word, a word. We stand upon our manners.—
 Come, strike up. Music begins.
Here a Dance of Shepherds and Shepherdesses.
POLIXENES 
 Pray, good shepherd, what fair swain is this
 Which dances with your daughter?
SHEPHERD 
200 They call him Doricles, and boasts himself
 To have a worthy feeding. But I have it
 Upon his own report, and I believe it.
 He looks like sooth. He says he loves my daughter.
 I think so too, for never gazed the moon
205 Upon the water as he’ll stand and read,
 As ’twere, my daughter’s eyes. And, to be plain,
 I think there is not half a kiss to choose
 Who loves another best.
POLIXENES  She dances featly.
SHEPHERD 
210 So she does anything, though I report it
 That should be silent. If young Doricles
 Do light upon her, she shall bring him that
 Which he not dreams of.

Enter a Servant.

SERVANT O, master, if you did but hear the peddler at
215 the door, you would never dance again after a tabor
 and pipe; no, the bagpipe could not move you. He

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The Winter’s Tale
ACT 4. SC. 4

 sings several tunes faster than you’ll tell money. He
 utters them as he had eaten ballads and all men’s
 ears grew to his tunes.
SHEPHERD’S SON 220He could never come better. He shall
 come in. I love a ballad but even too well if it be
 doleful matter merrily set down, or a very pleasant
 thing indeed and sung lamentably.
SERVANT He hath songs for man or woman, of all sizes.
225 No milliner can so fit his customers with gloves. He
 has the prettiest love songs for maids, so without
 bawdry, which is strange, with such delicate burdens
 of dildos and fadings, “Jump her and thump
 her.” And where some stretch-mouthed rascal
230 would, as it were, mean mischief and break a foul
 gap into the matter, he makes the maid to answer
 “Whoop, do me no harm, good man”; puts him off,
 slights him, with “Whoop, do me no harm, good
 man.”
POLIXENES 235This is a brave fellow.
SHEPHERD’S SON Believe me, thou talkest of an admirable
 conceited fellow. Has he any unbraided
 wares?
SERVANT He hath ribbons of all the colors i’ th’ rainbow;
240 points more than all the lawyers in Bohemia
 can learnedly handle, though they come to him by
 th’ gross; inkles, caddises, cambrics, lawns—why,
 he sings ’em over as they were gods or goddesses.
 You would think a smock were a she-angel, he so
245 chants to the sleeve-hand and the work about the
 square on ’t.
SHEPHERD’S SON Prithee bring him in, and let him
 approach singing.
PERDITA Forewarn him that he use no scurrilous words
250 in ’s tunes.Servant exits.
SHEPHERD’S SON You have of these peddlers that have
 more in them than you’d think, sister.

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ACT 4. SC. 4

PERDITA Ay, good brother, or go about to think.

Enter Autolycus, wearing a false beard, singing.

AUTOLYCUS 
 Lawn as white as driven snow,
255 Cypress black as e’er was crow,
 Gloves as sweet as damask roses,
 Masks for faces and for noses,
 Bugle bracelet, necklace amber,
 Perfume for a lady’s chamber,
260 Golden coifs and stomachers
 For my lads to give their dears,
 Pins and poking-sticks of steel,
 What maids lack from head to heel,
 Come buy of me, come. Come buy, come buy.
265 Buy, lads, or else your lasses cry.
 Come buy.

SHEPHERD’S SON If I were not in love with Mopsa, thou
 shouldst take no money of me; but being enthralled
 as I am, it will also be the bondage of certain
270 ribbons and gloves.
MOPSA I was promised them against the feast, but they
 come not too late now.
DORCAS He hath promised you more than that, or there
 be liars.
MOPSA 275He hath paid you all he promised you. Maybe
 he has paid you more, which will shame you to give
 him again.
SHEPHERD’S SON Is there no manners left among
 maids? Will they wear their plackets where they
280 should bear their faces? Is there not milking time,
 when you are going to bed, or kiln-hole, to whistle
 of these secrets, but you must be tittle-tattling
 before all our guests? ’Tis well they are whisp’ring.
 Clamor your tongues, and not a word more.

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MOPSA 285I have done. Come, you promised me a tawdry
 lace and a pair of sweet gloves.
SHEPHERD’S SON Have I not told thee how I was cozened
 by the way and lost all my money?
AUTOLYCUS And indeed, sir, there are cozeners abroad;
290 therefore it behooves men to be wary.
SHEPHERD’S SON Fear not thou, man. Thou shalt lose
 nothing here.
AUTOLYCUS I hope so, sir, for I have about me many
 parcels of charge.
SHEPHERD’S SON 295What hast here? Ballads?
MOPSA Pray now, buy some. I love a ballad in print
 alife, for then we are sure they are true.
AUTOLYCUS Here’s one to a very doleful tune, how a
 usurer’s wife was brought to bed of twenty moneybags
300 at a burden, and how she longed to eat adders’
 heads and toads carbonadoed.
MOPSA Is it true, think you?
AUTOLYCUS Very true, and but a month old.
DORCAS Bless me from marrying a usurer!
AUTOLYCUS 305Here’s the midwife’s name to ’t, one Mistress
 Taleporter, and five or six honest wives that
 were present. Why should I carry lies abroad?
MOPSA, to Shepherd’s Son Pray you now, buy it.
SHEPHERD’S SON, to Autolycus Come on, lay it by, and
310 let’s first see more ballads. We’ll buy the other
 things anon.
AUTOLYCUS Here’s another ballad, of a fish that appeared
 upon the coast on Wednesday the fourscore
 of April, forty thousand fathom above water, and
315 sung this ballad against the hard hearts of maids. It
 was thought she was a woman, and was turned into
 a cold fish for she would not exchange flesh with
 one that loved her. The ballad is very pitiful, and as
 true.
DORCAS 320Is it true too, think you?

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ACT 4. SC. 4

AUTOLYCUS Five justices’ hands at it, and witnesses
 more than my pack will hold.
SHEPHERD’S SON Lay it by too. Another.
AUTOLYCUS This is a merry ballad, but a very pretty
325 one.
MOPSA Let’s have some merry ones.
AUTOLYCUS Why, this is a passing merry one and goes
 to the tune of Two Maids Wooing a Man. There’s
 scarce a maid westward but she sings it. ’Tis in
330 request, I can tell you.
MOPSA We can both sing it. If thou ’lt bear a part, thou
 shalt hear; ’tis in three parts.
DORCAS We had the tune on ’t a month ago.
AUTOLYCUS I can bear my part. You must know ’tis my
335 occupation. Have at it with you.

Song.


AUTOLYCUS  Get you hence, for I must go
 Where it fits not you to know.

DORCAS   Whither?
MOPSA    O, whither?
DORCAS 340   Whither?
MOPSA  It becomes thy oath full well
 Thou to me thy secrets tell.

DORCAS   Me too. Let me go thither.
MOPSA  Or thou goest to th’ grange or mill.
DORCAS 345 If to either, thou dost ill.
AUTOLYCUS   Neither.
DORCAS    What, neither?
AUTOLYCUS    Neither.
DORCAS  Thou hast sworn my love to be.
MOPSA 350 Thou hast sworn it more to me.
  Then whither goest? Say whither.


SHEPHERD’S SON We’ll have this song out anon by
 ourselves. My father and the gentlemen are in sad

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 talk, and we’ll not trouble them. Come, bring away
355 thy pack after me.—Wenches, I’ll buy for you
 both.—Peddler, let’s have the first choice.—Follow
 me, girls.
He exits with Mopsa, Dorcas, Shepherds and
Shepherdesses.

AUTOLYCUS And you shall pay well for ’em.

Song.


  Will you buy any tape,
360  Or lace for your cape,
 My dainty duck, my dear-a?
  Any silk, any thread,
  Any toys for your head,
 Of the new’st and fin’st, fin’st wear-a?
365  Come to the peddler.
  Money’s a meddler
 That doth utter all men’s ware-a.

He exits.

Enter a Servant.

SERVANT, to Shepherd  Master, there is three carters,
 three shepherds, three neatherds, three swineherds,
370 that have made themselves all men of hair.
 They call themselves saultiers, and they have a
 dance which the wenches say is a gallimaufry of
 gambols, because they are not in ’t, but they themselves
 are o’ th’ mind, if it be not too rough for
375 some that know little but bowling, it will please
 plentifully.
SHEPHERD Away! We’ll none on ’t. Here has been too
 much homely foolery already.—I know, sir, we
 weary you.
POLIXENES 380You weary those that refresh us. Pray, let’s
 see these four threes of herdsmen.

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ACT 4. SC. 4

SERVANT One three of them, by their own report, sir,
 hath danced before the King, and not the worst of
 the three but jumps twelve foot and a half by th’
385 square.
SHEPHERD Leave your prating. Since these good men
 are pleased, let them come in—but quickly now.
SERVANT Why, they stay at door, sir.

He admits the herdsmen.

Here a Dance of twelve herdsmen, dressed as Satyrs.
Herdsmen, Musicians, and Servants exit.
POLIXENES, to Shepherd 
 O father, you’ll know more of that hereafter.
390 Aside to Camillo. Is it not too far gone? ’Tis time to
 part them.
 He’s simple, and tells much. To Florizell. How now,
 fair shepherd?
 Your heart is full of something that does take
395 Your mind from feasting. Sooth, when I was young
 And handed love, as you do, I was wont
 To load my she with knacks. I would have ransacked
 The peddler’s silken treasury and have poured it
 To her acceptance. You have let him go
400 And nothing marted with him. If your lass
 Interpretation should abuse and call this
 Your lack of love or bounty, you were straited
 For a reply, at least if you make a care
 Of happy holding her.
FLORIZELL 405 Old sir, I know
 She prizes not such trifles as these are.
 The gifts she looks from me are packed and locked
 Up in my heart, which I have given already,
 But not delivered. To Perdita. O, hear me breathe
410 my life
 Before this ancient sir, who, it should seem,

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 Hath sometime loved. I take thy hand, this hand
 As soft as dove’s down and as white as it,
 Or Ethiopian’s tooth, or the fanned snow that’s
415 bolted
 By th’ northern blasts twice o’er.
POLIXENES  What follows this?—
 How prettily th’ young swain seems to wash
 The hand was fair before.—I have put you out.
420 But to your protestation. Let me hear
 What you profess.
FLORIZELL  Do, and be witness to ’t.
POLIXENES 
 And this my neighbor too?
FLORIZELL  And he, and more
425 Than he, and men—the Earth, the heavens, and
 all—
 That were I crowned the most imperial monarch,
 Thereof most worthy, were I the fairest youth
 That ever made eye swerve, had force and knowledge
430 More than was ever man’s, I would not prize them
 Without her love; for her employ them all,
 Commend them and condemn them to her service
 Or to their own perdition.
POLIXENES  Fairly offered.
CAMILLO 
435 This shows a sound affection.
SHEPHERD  But my daughter,
 Say you the like to him?
PERDITA  I cannot speak
 So well, nothing so well, no, nor mean better.
440 By th’ pattern of mine own thoughts I cut out
 The purity of his.
SHEPHERD  Take hands, a bargain.—
 And, friends unknown, you shall bear witness to ’t:
 I give my daughter to him and will make
445 Her portion equal his.

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ACT 4. SC. 4

FLORIZELL  O, that must be
 I’ th’ virtue of your daughter. One being dead,
 I shall have more than you can dream of yet,
 Enough then for your wonder. But come on,
450 Contract us fore these witnesses.
SHEPHERD  Come, your hand—
 And daughter, yours.
POLIXENES, To Florizell  Soft, swain, awhile, beseech
 you.
455 Have you a father?
FLORIZELL  I have, but what of him?
POLIXENES 
 Knows he of this?
FLORIZELL  He neither does nor shall.
POLIXENES Methinks a father
460 Is at the nuptial of his son a guest
 That best becomes the table. Pray you once more,
 Is not your father grown incapable
 Of reasonable affairs? Is he not stupid
 With age and alt’ring rheums? Can he speak? Hear?
465 Know man from man? Dispute his own estate?
 Lies he not bedrid, and again does nothing
 But what he did being childish?
FLORIZELL  No, good sir.
 He has his health and ampler strength indeed
470 Than most have of his age.
POLIXENES  By my white beard,
 You offer him, if this be so, a wrong
 Something unfilial. Reason my son
 Should choose himself a wife, but as good reason
475 The father, all whose joy is nothing else
 But fair posterity, should hold some counsel
 In such a business.
FLORIZELL  I yield all this;
 But for some other reasons, my grave sir,

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ACT 4. SC. 4

480 Which ’tis not fit you know, I not acquaint
 My father of this business.
POLIXENES  Let him know ’t.
FLORIZELL 
 He shall not.
POLIXENES  Prithee let him.
FLORIZELL 485 No, he must not.
SHEPHERD 
 Let him, my son. He shall not need to grieve
 At knowing of thy choice.
FLORIZELL  Come, come, he must not.
 Mark our contract.
POLIXENES, removing his disguise 490 Mark your divorce,
 young sir,
 Whom son I dare not call. Thou art too base
 To be acknowledged. Thou a scepter’s heir
 That thus affects a sheep-hook!—Thou, old traitor,
495 I am sorry that by hanging thee I can
 But shorten thy life one week.—And thou, fresh
 piece
 Of excellent witchcraft, whom of force must know
 The royal fool thou cop’st with—
SHEPHERD 500 O, my heart!
POLIXENES 
 I’ll have thy beauty scratched with briers and made
 More homely than thy state.—For thee, fond boy,
 If I may ever know thou dost but sigh
 That thou no more shalt see this knack—as never
505 I mean thou shalt—we’ll bar thee from succession,
 Not hold thee of our blood, no, not our kin,
 Far’r than Deucalion off. Mark thou my words.
 Follow us to the court. To Shepherd. Thou, churl,
 for this time,
510 Though full of our displeasure, yet we free thee
 From the dead blow of it.—And you, enchantment,
 Worthy enough a herdsman—yea, him too,

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 That makes himself, but for our honor therein,
 Unworthy thee—if ever henceforth thou
515 These rural latches to his entrance open,
 Or hoop his body more with thy embraces,
 I will devise a death as cruel for thee
 As thou art tender to ’t.He exits.
PERDITA  Even here undone.
520 I was not much afeard, for once or twice
 I was about to speak and tell him plainly
 The selfsame sun that shines upon his court
 Hides not his visage from our cottage but
 Looks on alike. To Florizell. Will ’t please you, sir,
525 be gone?
 I told you what would come of this. Beseech you,
 Of your own state take care. This dream of mine—
 Being now awake, I’ll queen it no inch farther,
 But milk my ewes and weep.
CAMILLO, to Shepherd 530 Why, how now, father?
 Speak ere thou diest.
SHEPHERD  I cannot speak, nor think,
 Nor dare to know that which I know. To Florizell.
 O sir,
535 You have undone a man of fourscore three,
 That thought to fill his grave in quiet, yea,
 To die upon the bed my father died,
 To lie close by his honest bones; but now
 Some hangman must put on my shroud and lay me
540 Where no priest shovels in dust. To Perdita. O
 cursèd wretch,
 That knew’st this was the Prince, and wouldst
 adventure
 To mingle faith with him!—Undone, undone!
545 If I might die within this hour, I have lived
 To die when I desire.He exits.
FLORIZELL, to Perdita  Why look you so upon me?
 I am but sorry, not afeard; delayed,

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 But nothing altered. What I was, I am,
550 More straining on for plucking back, not following
 My leash unwillingly.
CAMILLO  Gracious my lord,
 You know your father’s temper. At this time
 He will allow no speech, which I do guess
555 You do not purpose to him; and as hardly
 Will he endure your sight as yet, I fear.
 Then, till the fury of his Highness settle,
 Come not before him.
FLORIZELL  I not purpose it.
560 I think Camillo?
CAMILLO, removing his disguise  Even he, my lord.
PERDITA, to Florizell 
 How often have I told you ’twould be thus?
 How often said my dignity would last
 But till ’twere known?
FLORIZELL 565 It cannot fail but by
 The violation of my faith; and then
 Let nature crush the sides o’ th’ Earth together
 And mar the seeds within. Lift up thy looks.
 From my succession wipe me, father. I
570 Am heir to my affection.
CAMILLO  Be advised.
FLORIZELL 
 I am, and by my fancy. If my reason
 Will thereto be obedient, I have reason.
 If not, my senses, better pleased with madness,
575 Do bid it welcome.
CAMILLO  This is desperate, sir.
FLORIZELL 
 So call it; but it does fulfill my vow.
 I needs must think it honesty. Camillo,
 Not for Bohemia nor the pomp that may
580 Be thereat gleaned, for all the sun sees or
 The close earth wombs or the profound seas hides

169
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ACT 4. SC. 4

 In unknown fathoms, will I break my oath
 To this my fair beloved. Therefore, I pray you,
 As you have ever been my father’s honored friend,
585 When he shall miss me, as in faith I mean not
 To see him anymore, cast your good counsels
 Upon his passion. Let myself and fortune
 Tug for the time to come. This you may know
 And so deliver: I am put to sea
590 With her who here I cannot hold on shore.
 And most opportune to our need I have
 A vessel rides fast by, but not prepared
 For this design. What course I mean to hold
 Shall nothing benefit your knowledge, nor
595 Concern me the reporting.
CAMILLO  O my lord,
 I would your spirit were easier for advice
 Or stronger for your need.
FLORIZELL  Hark, Perdita.—
600 I’ll hear you by and by.
Florizell and Perdita walk aside.
CAMILLO  He’s irremovable,
 Resolved for flight. Now were I happy if
 His going I could frame to serve my turn,
 Save him from danger, do him love and honor,
605 Purchase the sight again of dear Sicilia
 And that unhappy king, my master, whom
 I so much thirst to see.
FLORIZELL, coming forward  Now, good Camillo,
 I am so fraught with curious business that
610 I leave out ceremony.
CAMILLO  Sir, I think
 You have heard of my poor services i’ th’ love
 That I have borne your father?
FLORIZELL  Very nobly
615 Have you deserved. It is my father’s music

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 To speak your deeds, not little of his care
 To have them recompensed as thought on.
CAMILLO  Well, my
 lord,
620 If you may please to think I love the King
 And, through him, what’s nearest to him, which is
 Your gracious self, embrace but my direction,
 If your more ponderous and settled project
 May suffer alteration. On mine honor,
625 I’ll point you where you shall have such receiving
 As shall become your Highness, where you may
 Enjoy your mistress—from the whom I see
 There’s no disjunction to be made but by,
 As heavens forfend, your ruin—marry her,
630 And with my best endeavors in your absence,
 Your discontenting father strive to qualify
 And bring him up to liking.
FLORIZELL  How, Camillo,
 May this, almost a miracle, be done,
635 That I may call thee something more than man,
 And after that trust to thee?
CAMILLO  Have you thought on
 A place whereto you’ll go?
FLORIZELL  Not any yet.
640 But as th’ unthought-on accident is guilty
 To what we wildly do, so we profess
 Ourselves to be the slaves of chance, and flies
 Of every wind that blows.
CAMILLO  Then list to me.
645 This follows: if you will not change your purpose
 But undergo this flight, make for Sicilia,
 And there present yourself and your fair princess,
 For so I see she must be, ’fore Leontes.
 She shall be habited as it becomes
650 The partner of your bed. Methinks I see

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ACT 4. SC. 4

 Leontes opening his free arms and weeping
 His welcomes forth, asks thee, the son, forgiveness,
 As ’twere i’ th’ father’s person; kisses the hands
 Of your fresh princess; o’er and o’er divides him
655 ’Twixt his unkindness and his kindness. Th’ one
 He chides to hell and bids the other grow
 Faster than thought or time.
FLORIZELL  Worthy Camillo,
 What color for my visitation shall I
660 Hold up before him?
CAMILLO  Sent by the King your father
 To greet him and to give him comforts. Sir,
 The manner of your bearing towards him, with
 What you, as from your father, shall deliver,
665 Things known betwixt us three, I’ll write you down,
 The which shall point you forth at every sitting
 What you must say, that he shall not perceive
 But that you have your father’s bosom there
 And speak his very heart.
FLORIZELL 670 I am bound to you.
 There is some sap in this.
CAMILLO  A course more promising
 Than a wild dedication of yourselves
 To unpathed waters, undreamed shores, most
675 certain
 To miseries enough; no hope to help you,
 But as you shake off one to take another;
 Nothing so certain as your anchors, who
 Do their best office if they can but stay you
680 Where you’ll be loath to be. Besides, you know
 Prosperity’s the very bond of love,
 Whose fresh complexion and whose heart together
 Affliction alters.
PERDITA  One of these is true.
685 I think affliction may subdue the cheek
 But not take in the mind.

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ACT 4. SC. 4

CAMILLO  Yea, say you so?
 There shall not at your father’s house these seven
 years
690 Be born another such.
FLORIZELL  My good Camillo,
 She’s as forward of her breeding as she is
 I’ th’ rear our birth.
CAMILLO  I cannot say ’tis pity
695 She lacks instructions, for she seems a mistress
 To most that teach.
PERDITA  Your pardon, sir. For this
 I’ll blush you thanks.
FLORIZELL  My prettiest Perdita.
700 But O, the thorns we stand upon!—Camillo,
 Preserver of my father, now of me,
 The medicine of our house, how shall we do?
 We are not furnished like Bohemia’s son,
 Nor shall appear in Sicilia.
CAMILLO 705 My lord,
 Fear none of this. I think you know my fortunes
 Do all lie there. It shall be so my care
 To have you royally appointed as if
 The scene you play were mine. For instance, sir,
710 That you may know you shall not want, one word.
They step aside and talk.

Enter Autolycus.

AUTOLYCUS Ha, ha, what a fool Honesty is! And Trust,
 his sworn brother, a very simple gentleman! I have
 sold all my trumpery. Not a counterfeit stone, not a
 ribbon, glass, pomander, brooch, table book, ballad,
715 knife, tape, glove, shoe tie, bracelet, horn ring,
 to keep my pack from fasting. They throng who
 should buy first, as if my trinkets had been hallowed
 and brought a benediction to the buyer; by which
 means I saw whose purse was best in picture, and

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ACT 4. SC. 4

720 what I saw, to my good use I remembered. My
 clown, who wants but something to be a reasonable
 man, grew so in love with the wenches’ song that he
 would not stir his pettitoes till he had both tune and
 words, which so drew the rest of the herd to me that
725 all their other senses stuck in ears. You might have
 pinched a placket, it was senseless; ’twas nothing to
 geld a codpiece of a purse. I could have filed
 keys off that hung in chains. No hearing, no feeling,
 but my sir’s song and admiring the nothing of it. So
730 that in this time of lethargy I picked and cut most of
 their festival purses. And had not the old man come
 in with a hubbub against his daughter and the
 King’s son, and scared my choughs from the chaff, I
 had not left a purse alive in the whole army.
Camillo, Florizell, and Perdita come forward.
CAMILLO, to Florizell 
735 Nay, but my letters, by this means being there
 So soon as you arrive, shall clear that doubt.
FLORIZELL 
 And those that you’ll procure from King Leontes—
CAMILLO 
 Shall satisfy your father.
PERDITA  Happy be you!
740 All that you speak shows fair.
CAMILLO, noticing Autolycus  Who have we here?
 We’ll make an instrument of this, omit
 Nothing may give us aid.
AUTOLYCUS, aside 
 If they have overheard me now, why, hanging.
CAMILLO 745How now, good fellow? Why shak’st thou so?
 Fear not, man. Here’s no harm intended to thee.
AUTOLYCUS I am a poor fellow, sir.
CAMILLO Why, be so still. Here’s nobody will steal that
 from thee. Yet for the outside of thy poverty we

179
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ACT 4. SC. 4

750 must make an exchange. Therefore discase thee
 instantly—thou must think there’s a necessity in
 ’t—and change garments with this gentleman.
 Though the pennyworth on his side be the worst,
 yet hold thee, there’s some boot.
He hands Autolycus money.
AUTOLYCUS 755I am a poor fellow, sir. Aside. I know you
 well enough.
CAMILLO Nay, prithee, dispatch. The gentleman is half
 flayed already.
AUTOLYCUS Are you in earnest, sir? Aside. I smell the
760 trick on ’t.
FLORIZELL Dispatch, I prithee.
AUTOLYCUS Indeed, I have had earnest, but I cannot
 with conscience take it.
CAMILLO Unbuckle, unbuckle.
Florizell and Autolycus exchange garments.
765 Fortunate mistress—let my prophecy
 Come home to you!—you must retire yourself
 Into some covert. Take your sweetheart’s hat
 And pluck it o’er your brows, muffle your face,
 Dismantle you, and, as you can, disliken
770 The truth of your own seeming, that you may—
 For I do fear eyes over—to shipboard
 Get undescried.
PERDITA  I see the play so lies
 That I must bear a part.
CAMILLO 775 No remedy.—
 Have you done there?
FLORIZELL  Should I now meet my father,
 He would not call me son.
CAMILLO  Nay, you shall have no hat.
He gives Florizell’s hat to Perdita.
780 Come, lady, come.—Farewell, my friend.
AUTOLYCUS  Adieu, sir.

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ACT 4. SC. 4

FLORIZELL 
 O Perdita, what have we twain forgot?
 Pray you, a word.They talk aside.
CAMILLO, aside 
 What I do next shall be to tell the King
785 Of this escape, and whither they are bound;
 Wherein my hope is I shall so prevail
 To force him after, in whose company
 I shall re-view Sicilia, for whose sight
 I have a woman’s longing.
FLORIZELL 790 Fortune speed us!—
 Thus we set on, Camillo, to th’ seaside.
CAMILLO The swifter speed the better.
Camillo, Florizell, and Perdita exit.
AUTOLYCUS I understand the business; I hear it. To have
 an open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand is
795 necessary for a cutpurse; a good nose is requisite
 also, to smell out work for th’ other senses. I see this
 is the time that the unjust man doth thrive. What an
 exchange had this been without boot! What a boot
 is here with this exchange! Sure the gods do this
800 year connive at us, and we may do anything extempore.
 The Prince himself is about a piece of iniquity,
 stealing away from his father with his clog at his
 heels. If I thought it were a piece of honesty to
 acquaint the King withal, I would not do ’t. I hold it
805 the more knavery to conceal it, and therein am I
 constant to my profession.

Enter Shepherd’s Son and Shepherd, carrying the
bundle and the box.


 Aside, aside! Here is more matter for a hot brain.
 Every lane’s end, every shop, church, session, hanging,
 yields a careful man work.He moves aside.

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ACT 4. SC. 4

SHEPHERD’S SON, to Shepherd 810See, see, what a man
 you are now! There is no other way but to tell the
 King she’s a changeling and none of your flesh and
 blood.
SHEPHERD Nay, but hear me.
SHEPHERD’S SON 815Nay, but hear me!
SHEPHERD Go to, then.
SHEPHERD’S SON She being none of your flesh and
 blood, your flesh and blood has not offended the
 King, and so your flesh and blood is not to be
820 punished by him. Show those things you found
 about her, those secret things, all but what she has
 with her. This being done, let the law go whistle, I
 warrant you.
SHEPHERD I will tell the King all, every word, yea, and
825 his son’s pranks too; who, I may say, is no honest
 man, neither to his father nor to me, to go about to
 make me the King’s brother-in-law.
SHEPHERD’S SON Indeed, brother-in-law was the farthest
 off you could have been to him, and then your
830 blood had been the dearer by I know how much an
 ounce.
AUTOLYCUS, aside Very wisely, puppies.
SHEPHERD Well, let us to the King. There is that in this
 fardel will make him scratch his beard.
AUTOLYCUS, aside 835I know not what impediment this
 complaint may be to the flight of my master.
SHEPHERD’S SON Pray heartily he be at’ palace.
AUTOLYCUS, aside Though I am not naturally honest,
 I am so sometimes by chance. Let me pocket up my
840 peddler’s excrement. (He removes his false beard.)
 How now, rustics, whither are you bound?
SHEPHERD To th’ palace, an it like your Worship.
AUTOLYCUS Your affairs there? What, with whom, the
 condition of that fardel, the place of your dwelling,

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845 your names, your ages, of what having, breeding,
 and anything that is fitting to be known, discover!
SHEPHERD’S SON We are but plain fellows, sir.
AUTOLYCUS A lie; you are rough and hairy. Let me have
 no lying. It becomes none but tradesmen, and they
850 often give us soldiers the lie, but we pay them for it
 with stamped coin, not stabbing steel; therefore
 they do not give us the lie.
SHEPHERD’S SON Your Worship had like to have given
 us one, if you had not taken yourself with the
855 manner.
SHEPHERD Are you a courtier, an ’t like you, sir?
AUTOLYCUS Whether it like me or no, I am a courtier.
 Seest thou not the air of the court in these enfoldings?
 Hath not my gait in it the measure of the
860 court? Receives not thy nose court odor from me?
 Reflect I not on thy baseness court contempt?
 Think’st thou, for that I insinuate and toze from
 thee thy business, I am therefore no courtier? I am
 courtier cap-a-pie; and one that will either push on
865 or pluck back thy business there. Whereupon I
 command thee to open thy affair.
SHEPHERD My business, sir, is to the King.
AUTOLYCUS What advocate hast thou to him?
SHEPHERD I know not, an ’t like you.
SHEPHERD’S SON, aside to Shepherd 870Advocate’s the
 court word for a pheasant. Say you have none.
SHEPHERD, to Autolycus None, sir. I have no pheasant,
 cock nor hen.
AUTOLYCUS 
 How blest are we that are not simple men!
875 Yet Nature might have made me as these are.
 Therefore I will not disdain.
SHEPHERD’S SON, to Shepherd This cannot be but a
 great courtier.

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SHEPHERD His garments are rich, but he wears them
880 not handsomely.
SHEPHERD’S SON He seems to be the more noble in
 being fantastical. A great man, I’ll warrant. I know
 by the picking on ’s teeth.
AUTOLYCUS The fardel there. What’s i’ th’ fardel?
885 Wherefore that box?
SHEPHERD Sir, there lies such secrets in this fardel and
 box which none must know but the King, and
 which he shall know within this hour if I may come
 to th’ speech of him.
AUTOLYCUS 890Age, thou hast lost thy labor.
SHEPHERD Why, sir?
AUTOLYCUS The King is not at the palace. He is gone
 aboard a new ship to purge melancholy and air
 himself, for, if thou beest capable of things serious,
895 thou must know the King is full of grief.
SHEPHERD So ’tis said, sir—about his son, that should
 have married a shepherd’s daughter.
AUTOLYCUS If that shepherd be not in handfast, let him
 fly. The curses he shall have, the tortures he shall
900 feel, will break the back of man, the heart of
 monster.
SHEPHERD’S SON Think you so, sir?
AUTOLYCUS Not he alone shall suffer what wit can
 make heavy and vengeance bitter; but those that are
905 germane to him, though removed fifty times, shall
 all come under the hangman—which, though it be
 great pity, yet it is necessary. An old sheep-whistling
 rogue, a ram tender, to offer to have his daughter
 come into grace! Some say he shall be stoned, but
910 that death is too soft for him, say I. Draw our throne
 into a sheepcote? All deaths are too few, the sharpest
 too easy.
SHEPHERD’S SON Has the old man e’er a son, sir, do you
 hear, an ’t like you, sir?

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ACT 4. SC. 4

AUTOLYCUS 915He has a son, who shall be flayed alive; then
 ’nointed over with honey, set on the head of a
 wasps’-nest; then stand till he be three-quarters and
 a dram dead, then recovered again with aqua vitae
 or some other hot infusion; then, raw as he is, and
920 in the hottest day prognostication proclaims, shall
 he be set against a brick wall, the sun looking with a
 southward eye upon him, where he is to behold him
 with flies blown to death. But what talk we of these
 traitorly rascals, whose miseries are to be smiled at,
925 their offenses being so capital? Tell me—for you
 seem to be honest plain men—what you have to the
 King. Being something gently considered, I’ll bring
 you where he is aboard, tender your persons to his
 presence, whisper him in your behalfs; and if it be
930 in man besides the King to effect your suits, here is
 man shall do it.
SHEPHERD’S SON, to Shepherd He seems to be of
 great authority. Close with him, give him gold; and
 though authority be a stubborn bear, yet he is oft
935 led by the nose with gold. Show the inside of your
 purse to the outside of his hand, and no more ado.
 Remember: “stoned,” and “flayed alive.”
SHEPHERD, to Autolycus An ’t please you, sir, to
 undertake the business for us, here is that gold I
940 have. I’ll make it as much more, and leave this
 young man in pawn till I bring it you.
AUTOLYCUS After I have done what I promised?
SHEPHERD Ay, sir.
AUTOLYCUS Well, give me the moiety. Shepherd hands
 him money. 
945Are you a party in this business?
SHEPHERD’S SON In some sort, sir; but though my case
 be a pitiful one, I hope I shall not be flayed out of it.
AUTOLYCUS O, that’s the case of the shepherd’s son!
 Hang him, he’ll be made an example.
SHEPHERD’S SON, to Shepherd 950Comfort, good comfort.

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 We must to the King, and show our strange
 sights. He must know ’tis none of your daughter nor
 my sister. We are gone else.—Sir, I will give you as
 much as this old man does when the business is
955 performed, and remain, as he says, your pawn till it
 be brought you.
AUTOLYCUS I will trust you. Walk before toward the
 seaside. Go on the right hand. I will but look upon
 the hedge, and follow you.
SHEPHERD’S SON, to Shepherd 960We are blessed in this
 man, as I may say, even blessed.
SHEPHERD Let’s before, as he bids us. He was provided
 to do us good.Shepherd and his son exit.
AUTOLYCUS If I had a mind to be honest, I see Fortune
965 would not suffer me. She drops booties in my
 mouth. I am courted now with a double occasion:
 gold, and a means to do the Prince my master good;
 which who knows how that may turn back to my
 advancement? I will bring these two moles, these
970 blind ones, aboard him. If he think it fit to shore
 them again and that the complaint they have to the
 King concerns him nothing, let him call me rogue
 for being so far officious, for I am proof against that
 title and what shame else belongs to ’t. To him will I
975 present them. There may be matter in it.
He exits.


ACT 5
Scene 1
Enter Leontes, Cleomenes, Dion, Paulina, and
Servants.


CLEOMENES 
 Sir, you have done enough, and have performed
 A saintlike sorrow. No fault could you make
 Which you have not redeemed—indeed, paid down
 More penitence than done trespass. At the last,
5 Do as the heavens have done: forget your evil;
 With them forgive yourself.
LEONTES  Whilst I remember
 Her and her virtues, I cannot forget
 My blemishes in them, and so still think of
10 The wrong I did myself, which was so much
 That heirless it hath made my kingdom and
 Destroyed the sweet’st companion that e’er man
 Bred his hopes out of.
PAULINA  True, too true, my lord.
15 If one by one you wedded all the world,
 Or from the all that are took something good
 To make a perfect woman, she you killed
 Would be unparalleled.
LEONTES  I think so. Killed?
20 She I killed? I did so, but thou strik’st me
 Sorely to say I did. It is as bitter
195

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ACT 5. SC. 1

 Upon thy tongue as in my thought. Now, good now,
 Say so but seldom.
CLEOMENES  Not at all, good lady.
25 You might have spoken a thousand things that
 would
 Have done the time more benefit and graced
 Your kindness better.
PAULINA  You are one of those
30 Would have him wed again.
DION  If you would not so,
 You pity not the state nor the remembrance
 Of his most sovereign name, consider little
 What dangers by his Highness’ fail of issue
35 May drop upon his kingdom and devour
 Incertain lookers-on. What were more holy
 Than to rejoice the former queen is well?
 What holier than, for royalty’s repair,
 For present comfort, and for future good,
40 To bless the bed of majesty again
 With a sweet fellow to ’t?
PAULINA  There is none worthy,
 Respecting her that’s gone. Besides, the gods
 Will have fulfilled their secret purposes.
45 For has not the divine Apollo said,
 Is ’t not the tenor of his oracle,
 That King Leontes shall not have an heir
 Till his lost child be found? Which that it shall
 Is all as monstrous to our human reason
50 As my Antigonus to break his grave
 And come again to me—who, on my life,
 Did perish with the infant. ’Tis your counsel
 My lord should to the heavens be contrary,
 Oppose against their wills. Care not for issue.
55 The crown will find an heir. Great Alexander
 Left his to th’ worthiest; so his successor
 Was like to be the best.

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ACT 5. SC. 1

LEONTES  Good Paulina,
 Who hast the memory of Hermione,
60 I know, in honor, O, that ever I
 Had squared me to thy counsel! Then even now
 I might have looked upon my queen’s full eyes,
 Have taken treasure from her lips—
PAULINA  And left them
65 More rich for what they yielded.
LEONTES  Thou speak’st truth.
 No more such wives, therefore no wife. One worse,
 And better used, would make her sainted spirit
 Again possess her corpse, and on this stage,
70 Where we offenders now appear, soul-vexed,
 And begin “Why to me?”
PAULINA  Had she such power,
 She had just cause.
LEONTES  She had, and would incense me
75 To murder her I married.
PAULINA  I should so.
 Were I the ghost that walked, I’d bid you mark
 Her eye, and tell me for what dull part in ’t
 You chose her. Then I’d shriek, that even your ears
80 Should rift to hear me, and the words that followed
 Should be “Remember mine.”
LEONTES  Stars, stars,
 And all eyes else dead coals! Fear thou no wife;
 I’ll have no wife, Paulina.
PAULINA 85 Will you swear
 Never to marry but by my free leave?
LEONTES 
 Never, Paulina, so be blest my spirit.
PAULINA 
 Then, good my lords, bear witness to his oath.
CLEOMENES 
 You tempt him over-much.

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ACT 5. SC. 1

PAULINA 90 Unless another
 As like Hermione as is her picture
 Affront his eye.
CLEOMENES  Good madam—
PAULINA  I have done.
95 Yet if my lord will marry—if you will, sir,
 No remedy but you will—give me the office
 To choose you a queen. She shall not be so young
 As was your former, but she shall be such
 As, walked your first queen’s ghost, it should take
100 joy
 To see her in your arms.
LEONTES  My true Paulina,
 We shall not marry till thou bid’st us.
PAULINA  That
105 Shall be when your first queen’s again in breath,
 Never till then.

Enter a Servant.

SERVANT 
 One that gives out himself Prince Florizell,
 Son of Polixenes, with his princess—she
 The fairest I have yet beheld—desires access
110 To your high presence.
LEONTES  What with him? He comes not
 Like to his father’s greatness. His approach,
 So out of circumstance and sudden, tells us
 ’Tis not a visitation framed, but forced
115 By need and accident. What train?
SERVANT  But few,
 And those but mean.
LEONTES  His princess, say you, with him?
SERVANT 
 Ay, the most peerless piece of earth, I think,
120 That e’er the sun shone bright on.

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ACT 5. SC. 1

PAULINA  O Hermione,
 As every present time doth boast itself
 Above a better gone, so must thy grave
 Give way to what’s seen now. To Servant. Sir, you
125 yourself
 Have said and writ so—but your writing now
 Is colder than that theme—she had not been
 Nor was not to be equalled. Thus your verse
 Flowed with her beauty once. ’Tis shrewdly ebbed
130 To say you have seen a better.
SERVANT  Pardon, madam.
 The one I have almost forgot—your pardon;
 The other, when she has obtained your eye,
 Will have your tongue too. This is a creature,
135 Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal
 Of all professors else, make proselytes
 Of who she but bid follow.
PAULINA  How, not women?
SERVANT 
 Women will love her that she is a woman
140 More worth than any man; men, that she is
 The rarest of all women.
LEONTES  Go, Cleomenes.
 Yourself, assisted with your honored friends,
 Bring them to our embracement.
Cleomenes and others exit.
145 Still, ’tis strange
 He thus should steal upon us.
PAULINA  Had our prince,
 Jewel of children, seen this hour, he had paired
 Well with this lord. There was not full a month
150 Between their births.
LEONTES  Prithee, no more; cease. Thou
 know’st
 He dies to me again when talked of. Sure,
 When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches

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ACT 5. SC. 1

155 Will bring me to consider that which may
 Unfurnish me of reason. They are come.

Enter Florizell, Perdita, Cleomenes, and others.

 Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince,
 For she did print your royal father off,
 Conceiving you. Were I but twenty-one,
160 Your father’s image is so hit in you,
 His very air, that I should call you brother,
 As I did him, and speak of something wildly
 By us performed before. Most dearly welcome,
 And your fair princess—goddess! O, alas,
165 I lost a couple that ’twixt heaven and Earth
 Might thus have stood, begetting wonder, as
 You, gracious couple, do. And then I lost—
 All mine own folly—the society,
 Amity too, of your brave father, whom,
170 Though bearing misery, I desire my life
 Once more to look on him.
FLORIZELL  By his command
 Have I here touched Sicilia, and from him
 Give you all greetings that a king, at friend,
175 Can send his brother. And but infirmity,
 Which waits upon worn times, hath something
 seized
 His wished ability, he had himself
 The lands and waters ’twixt your throne and his
180 Measured to look upon you, whom he loves—
 He bade me say so—more than all the scepters
 And those that bear them living.
LEONTES  O my brother,
 Good gentleman, the wrongs I have done thee stir
185 Afresh within me, and these thy offices,
 So rarely kind, are as interpreters
 Of my behindhand slackness. Welcome hither,
 As is the spring to th’ earth. And hath he too

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ACT 5. SC. 1

 Exposed this paragon to th’ fearful usage,
190 At least ungentle, of the dreadful Neptune,
 To greet a man not worth her pains, much less
 Th’ adventure of her person?
FLORIZELL  Good my lord,
 She came from Libya.
LEONTES 195 Where the warlike Smalus,
 That noble honored lord, is feared and loved?
FLORIZELL 
 Most royal sir, from thence, from him, whose
 daughter
 His tears proclaimed his, parting with her. Thence,
200 A prosperous south wind friendly, we have crossed
 To execute the charge my father gave me
 For visiting your Highness. My best train
 I have from your Sicilian shores dismissed,
 Who for Bohemia bend, to signify
205 Not only my success in Libya, sir,
 But my arrival and my wife’s in safety
 Here where we are.
LEONTES The blessèd gods
 Purge all infection from our air whilst you
210 Do climate here! You have a holy father,
 A graceful gentleman, against whose person,
 So sacred as it is, I have done sin,
 For which the heavens, taking angry note,
 Have left me issueless. And your father’s blest,
215 As he from heaven merits it, with you,
 Worthy his goodness. What might I have been
 Might I a son and daughter now have looked on,
 Such goodly things as you?

Enter a Lord.

LORD  Most noble sir,
220 That which I shall report will bear no credit,

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ACT 5. SC. 1

 Were not the proof so nigh. Please you, great sir,
 Bohemia greets you from himself by me,
 Desires you to attach his son, who has—
 His dignity and duty both cast off—
225 Fled from his father, from his hopes, and with
 A shepherd’s daughter.
LEONTES  Where’s Bohemia? Speak.
LORD 
 Here in your city. I now came from him.
 I speak amazedly, and it becomes
230 My marvel and my message. To your court
 Whiles he was hast’ning—in the chase, it seems,
 Of this fair couple—meets he on the way
 The father of this seeming lady and
 Her brother, having both their country quitted
235 With this young prince.
FLORIZELL  Camillo has betrayed me,
 Whose honor and whose honesty till now
 Endured all weathers.
LORD  Lay ’t so to his charge.
240 He’s with the King your father.
LEONTES  Who? Camillo?
LORD 
 Camillo, sir. I spake with him, who now
 Has these poor men in question. Never saw I
 Wretches so quake. They kneel, they kiss the earth,
245 Forswear themselves as often as they speak.
 Bohemia stops his ears and threatens them
 With divers deaths in death.
PERDITA  O my poor father!
 The heaven sets spies upon us, will not have
250 Our contract celebrated.
LEONTES  You are married?
FLORIZELL 
 We are not, sir, nor are we like to be.

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ACT 5. SC. 1

 The stars, I see, will kiss the valleys first.
 The odds for high and low’s alike.
LEONTES 255 My lord,
 Is this the daughter of a king?
FLORIZELL  She is
 When once she is my wife.
LEONTES 
 That “once,” I see, by your good father’s speed
260 Will come on very slowly. I am sorry,
 Most sorry, you have broken from his liking,
 Where you were tied in duty, and as sorry
 Your choice is not so rich in worth as beauty,
 That you might well enjoy her.
FLORIZELL, to Perdita 265 Dear, look up.
 Though Fortune, visible an enemy,
 Should chase us with my father, power no jot
 Hath she to change our loves.—Beseech you, sir,
 Remember since you owed no more to time
270 Than I do now. With thought of such affections,
 Step forth mine advocate. At your request,
 My father will grant precious things as trifles.
LEONTES 
 Would he do so, I’d beg your precious mistress,
 Which he counts but a trifle.
PAULINA 275 Sir, my liege,
 Your eye hath too much youth in ’t. Not a month
 ’Fore your queen died, she was more worth such
 gazes
 Than what you look on now.
LEONTES 280 I thought of her
 Even in these looks I made. To Florizell. But your
 petition
 Is yet unanswered. I will to your father.
 Your honor not o’erthrown by your desires,
285 I am friend to them and you. Upon which errand

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ACT 5. SC. 2

 I now go toward him. Therefore follow me,
 And mark what way I make. Come, good my lord.
They exit.


Scene 2
Enter Autolycus and a Gentleman.

AUTOLYCUS Beseech you, sir, were you present at this
 relation?
FIRST GENTLEMAN I was by at the opening of the fardel,
 heard the old shepherd deliver the manner how he
5 found it, whereupon, after a little amazedness, we
 were all commanded out of the chamber. Only this,
 methought, I heard the shepherd say: he found the
 child.
AUTOLYCUS I would most gladly know the issue of it.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 10I make a broken delivery of the
 business, but the changes I perceived in the King
 and Camillo were very notes of admiration. They
 seemed almost, with staring on one another, to tear
 the cases of their eyes. There was speech in their
15 dumbness, language in their very gesture. They
 looked as they had heard of a world ransomed, or
 one destroyed. A notable passion of wonder appeared
 in them, but the wisest beholder that knew
 no more but seeing could not say if th’ importance
20 were joy or sorrow; but in the extremity of the one it
 must needs be.

Enter another Gentleman.

 Here comes a gentleman that happily knows more.—
 The news, Rogero?
SECOND GENTLEMAN Nothing but bonfires. The oracle
25 is fulfilled: the King’s daughter is found! Such a

215
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ACT 5. SC. 2

 deal of wonder is broken out within this hour that
 ballad makers cannot be able to express it.

Enter another Gentleman.

 Here comes the Lady Paulina’s steward. He can
 deliver you more.—How goes it now, sir? This news
30 which is called true is so like an old tale that the
 verity of it is in strong suspicion. Has the King
 found his heir?
THIRD GENTLEMAN Most true, if ever truth were pregnant
 by circumstance. That which you hear you’ll
35 swear you see, there is such unity in the proofs. The
 mantle of Queen Hermione’s, her jewel about the
 neck of it, the letters of Antigonus found with it,
 which they know to be his character, the majesty of
 the creature in resemblance of the mother, the
40 affection of nobleness which nature shows above
 her breeding, and many other evidences proclaim
 her with all certainty to be the King’s daughter. Did
 you see the meeting of the two kings?
SECOND GENTLEMAN No.
THIRD GENTLEMAN 45Then have you lost a sight which
 was to be seen, cannot be spoken of. There might
 you have beheld one joy crown another, so and in
 such manner that it seemed sorrow wept to take
 leave of them, for their joy waded in tears. There
50 was casting up of eyes, holding up of hands, with
 countenance of such distraction that they were to
 be known by garment, not by favor. Our king, being
 ready to leap out of himself for joy of his found
 daughter, as if that joy were now become a loss,
55 cries “O, thy mother, thy mother!” then asks Bohemia
 forgiveness, then embraces his son-in-law, then
 again worries he his daughter with clipping her.
 Now he thanks the old shepherd, which stands by

217
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ACT 5. SC. 2

 like a weather-bitten conduit of many kings’ reigns.
60 I never heard of such another encounter, which
 lames report to follow it and undoes description to
 do it.
SECOND GENTLEMAN What, pray you, became of Antigonus,
 that carried hence the child?
THIRD GENTLEMAN 65Like an old tale still, which will
 have matter to rehearse though credit be asleep and
 not an ear open: he was torn to pieces with a bear.
 This avouches the shepherd’s son, who has not only
 his innocence, which seems much, to justify him,
70 but a handkerchief and rings of his that Paulina
 knows.
FIRST GENTLEMAN What became of his bark and his
 followers?
THIRD GENTLEMAN Wracked the same instant of their
75 master’s death and in the view of the shepherd, so
 that all the instruments which aided to expose the
 child were even then lost when it was found. But O,
 the noble combat that ’twixt joy and sorrow was
 fought in Paulina. She had one eye declined for the
80 loss of her husband, another elevated that the
 oracle was fulfilled. She lifted the Princess from the
 earth, and so locks her in embracing as if she would
 pin her to her heart that she might no more be in
 danger of losing.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 85The dignity of this act was worth the
 audience of kings and princes, for by such was it
 acted.
THIRD GENTLEMAN One of the prettiest touches of all,
 and that which angled for mine eyes—caught the
90 water, though not the fish—was when at the relation
 of the Queen’s death—with the manner how
 she came to ’t bravely confessed and lamented by
 the King—how attentiveness wounded his daughter,

219
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ACT 5. SC. 2

 till, from one sign of dolor to another, she did,
95 with an “Alas,” I would fain say bleed tears, for I am
 sure my heart wept blood. Who was most marble
 there changed color; some swooned, all sorrowed.
 If all the world could have seen ’t, the woe had been
 universal.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 100Are they returned to the court?
THIRD GENTLEMAN No. The Princess hearing of her
 mother’s statue, which is in the keeping of
 Paulina—a piece many years in doing and now
 newly performed by that rare Italian master, Julio
105 Romano, who, had he himself eternity and could
 put breath into his work, would beguile Nature of
 her custom, so perfectly he is her ape; he so near to
 Hermione hath done Hermione that they say one
 would speak to her and stand in hope of answer.
110 Thither with all greediness of affection are they
 gone, and there they intend to sup.
SECOND GENTLEMAN I thought she had some great
 matter there in hand, for she hath privately twice or
 thrice a day, ever since the death of Hermione,
115 visited that removed house. Shall we thither and
 with our company piece the rejoicing?
FIRST GENTLEMAN Who would be thence that has the
 benefit of access? Every wink of an eye some new
 grace will be born. Our absence makes us unthrifty
120 to our knowledge. Let’s along.
The Three Gentlemen exit.
AUTOLYCUS Now, had I not the dash of my former life
 in me, would preferment drop on my head. I
 brought the old man and his son aboard the Prince,
 told him I heard them talk of a fardel and I know
125 not what. But he at that time, overfond of the
 shepherd’s daughter—so he then took her to be—
 who began to be much seasick, and himself little

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 better, extremity of weather continuing, this mystery
 remained undiscovered. But ’tis all one to
130 me, for had I been the finder-out of this secret, it
 would not have relished among my other
 discredits.

Enter Shepherd and Shepherd’s Son,
both dressed in rich clothing.


 Here come those I have done good to against my
 will, and already appearing in the blossoms of their
135 fortune.
SHEPHERD Come, boy, I am past more children, but thy
 sons and daughters will be all gentlemen born.
SHEPHERD’S SON, to Autolycus You are well met, sir.
 You denied to fight with me this other day because I
140 was no gentleman born. See you these clothes? Say
 you see them not and think me still no gentleman
 born. You were best say these robes are not gentlemen
 born. Give me the lie, do, and try whether I am
 not now a gentleman born.
AUTOLYCUS 145I know you are now, sir, a gentleman born.
SHEPHERD’S SON Ay, and have been so any time these
 four hours.
SHEPHERD And so have I, boy.
SHEPHERD’S SON So you have—but I was a gentleman
150 born before my father. For the King’s son took me
 by the hand and called me brother, and then the
 two kings called my father brother, and then the
 Prince my brother and the Princess my sister called
 my father father; and so we wept, and there was the
155 first gentlemanlike tears that ever we shed.
SHEPHERD We may live, son, to shed many more.
SHEPHERD’S SON Ay, or else ’twere hard luck, being in
 so preposterous estate as we are.
AUTOLYCUS I humbly beseech you, sir, to pardon me all

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160 the faults I have committed to your Worship and to
 give me your good report to the Prince my master.
SHEPHERD Prithee, son, do, for we must be gentle now
 we are gentlemen.
SHEPHERD’S SON, to Autolycus Thou wilt amend thy
165 life?
AUTOLYCUS Ay, an it like your good Worship.
SHEPHERD’S SON Give me thy hand. I will swear to the
 Prince thou art as honest a true fellow as any is in
 Bohemia.
SHEPHERD 170You may say it, but not swear it.
SHEPHERD’S SON Not swear it, now I am a gentleman?
 Let boors and franklins say it; I’ll swear it.
SHEPHERD How if it be false, son?
SHEPHERD’S SON If it be ne’er so false, a true gentleman
175 may swear it in the behalf of his friend.—And
 I’ll swear to the Prince thou art a tall fellow of thy
 hands and that thou wilt not be drunk; but I know
 thou art no tall fellow of thy hands and that thou
 wilt be drunk. But I’ll swear it, and I would thou
180 wouldst be a tall fellow of thy hands.
AUTOLYCUS I will prove so, sir, to my power.
SHEPHERD’S SON Ay, by any means prove a tall fellow. If
 I do not wonder how thou dar’st venture to be
 drunk, not being a tall fellow, trust me not. Hark,
185 the Kings and Princes, our kindred, are going to see
 the Queen’s picture. Come, follow us. We’ll be thy
 good masters.
They exit.




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ACT 5. SC. 3

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.