Winter's Tale, de William Shakespeare


CHARACTERS OF THE PLAY
LEONTES, king of Sicilia.
MAMILLIUS, young prince of Sicilia.
CAMILLO, ANTIGONUS, CLEOMENES, DION, four Lords of Sicilia.
POLIXENES, King of Bohemia.
FLORIZEL, Prince of Bohemia.
ARCHIDAMUS, a Lord of Bohemia.
OLD SHEPHERD, reputed father of Perdita.
CLOWN, his son.
AUTOLYCUS, a rogue.
HERMIONE, queen to Leontes.
PERDITA, daughter to LEONTES: and Hermione.
PAULINA, wife to Antigonus.
EMILIA, a lady attending on Hermione,
MOPSA and DORCAS, shepherdesses.
A Gaoler, a Mariner, other Lords and Gentlemen, Ladies, Officers, and Servants, Shepherds, and Shepherdesses.
Time, as Chorus.


Scene - Sicilia, and Bohemia.




ACT I


SCENE I. Antechamber in LEONTES' palace.


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:
I 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:
Beseech 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 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 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 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, have been royally attorneyed
with interchange of gifts, letters, loving
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 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 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:
Yes; 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.


Exeunt


SCENE II. A room of state in the same.


Enter LEONTES, HERMIONE, MAMILLIUS, POLIXENES, CAMILLO, and Attendants


POLIXENES:
Nine changes of the watery star hath been
The shepherd's note since we have left our throne
Without a burthen time as long again
Would be find up, my brother, with our thanks;
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 moe
That go before it.

LEONTES:
Stay your thanks a while;
And pay them when you part.

POLIXENES:
Sir, that's to-morrow.
I am question'd by my fears, of what may chance
Or breed upon our absence; that may blow
No sneaping winds at home, to make us say
'This is put forth too truly' besides, I have stay'd
To tire your royalty.

LEONTES:
We are tougher, brother,
Than you can put us to't.

POLIXENES:
No longer stay.

LEONTES:
One seven-night longer.

POLIXENES:
Very sooth, to-morrow.

LEONTES:
We'll part the time between's then; and in that
I'll no gainsaying.

POLIXENES:
Press me not, beseech you, so.
There is no tongue that moves, none, none i' the world,
So soon as yours could win me: so it should now,
Were there necessity in your request, although
'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:
Tongue-tied, our queen?
speak you.

HERMIONE:
I had thought, sir, to have held my peace until
You have drawn oaths from him not to stay. You, sir,
Charge him too coldly. Tell him, you are sure
All in Bohemia's well; this satisfaction
The by-gone day proclaim'd: 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:
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.
Yet of your royal presence I'll adventure
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
Prefix'd for's parting: yet, good deed, Leontes,
I love thee not a jar o' the clock behind
What lady-she her lord. You'll stay?

POLIXENES:
No, madam.

HERMIONE:
Nay, but you will?

POLIXENES:
I may not, verily.

HERMIONE:
Verily!
You put me off with limber vows; but I,
Though you would seek to unsphere the
stars with oaths,
Should yet say 'Sir, no going.' Verily,
You shall not go: a lady's 'Verily' 's
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?
My prisoner? or my guest? by your dread 'Verily,'
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:
Not your gaoler, 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,
Two lads that thought there was no more behind
But such a day to-morrow as to-day,
And to be boy eternal.

HERMIONE:
Was not my lord
The verier wag o' the two?

POLIXENES:
We were as twinn'd lambs that did frisk i' the sun,
And bleat the one at the other: what we changed
Was innocence for innocence; we knew not
The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dream'd
That any did. Had we pursued that life,
And our weak spirits ne'er been higher rear'd
With stronger blood, we should have answer'd heaven
Boldly 'not guilty;' the imposition clear'd
Hereditary ours.

HERMIONE:
By this we gather
You have tripp'd 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;
Your precious self had then not cross'd the eyes
Of my young play-fellow.

HERMIONE:
Grace to boot!
Of this make no conclusion, lest you say
Your queen and I are devils: yet go on;
The offences we have made you do we'll answer,
If you first sinn'd with us and that with us
You did continue fault and that you slipp'd not
With any but with us.

LEONTES:
Is he won yet?

HERMIONE:
He'll stay my lord.

LEONTES:
At my request he would not.
Hermione, my dearest, thou never spokest
To better purpose.

HERMIONE:
Never?

LEONTES:
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
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 beat an acre. But to the goal:
My last good deed was to entreat his stay:
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 the purpose: when?
Nay, let me have't; I long.

LEONTES:
Why, that was when
Three crabbed months had sour'd themselves to death,
Ere I could make thee open thy white hand
And clap thyself my love: then didst thou utter
'I am yours for ever.'

HERMIONE:
'Tis grace indeed.
Why, lo you now, I have spoke to the purpose twice:
The one for ever earn'd a royal husband;
The other for some while a friend.

LEONTES:
[Aside] Too hot, too hot!
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,
And well become the agent; 't may, I grant;
But to be paddling palms and pinching fingers,
As now they are, and making practised smiles,
As in a looking-glass, and then to sigh, as 'twere
The mort o' the deer; O, that is entertainment
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
smutch'd thy 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 call'd neat. Still virginalling
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,
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'er-dyed blacks, as wind, as waters, false
As dice are to be wish'd by one that fixes
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?
Affection! thy intention stabs the centre:
Thou dost make possible things not so held,
Communicatest with dreams; how can this be?
With what's unreal thou coactive art,
And fellow'st nothing: then 'tis very credent
Thou mayst co-join with something; and thou dost,
And that beyond commission, and I find it,
And that to the infection of my brains
And hardening of my brows.

POLIXENES:
What means Sicilia?

HERMIONE:
He something seems unsettled.

POLIXENES:
How, my lord!
What cheer? how is't with you, best brother?

HERMIONE:
You look as if you held a brow of much distraction
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
Of my boy's face, methoughts I did recoil
Twenty-three years, and saw myself unbreech'd,
In my green velvet coat, my dagger muzzled,
Lest it should bite its master, and so prove,
As ornaments oft do, too dangerous:
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.

LEONTES:
You will! why, happy man be's dole! My brother,
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,
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 squire
Officed with me: we two will walk, my lord,
And leave you to your graver steps. Hermione,
How thou lovest us, show in our brother's welcome;
Let what is dear in Sicily be cheap:
Next to thyself and my young rover, he's
Apparent to my heart.

HERMIONE:
If you would seek us,
We are yours i' the garden: shall's attend you there?

LEONTES:
To your own bents dispose you: you'll be found,
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
To her allowing husband!

Exeunt POLIXENES, HERMIONE, and Attendants

Gone already!
Inch-thick, knee-deep, o'er head and
ears a fork'd one!
Go, play, boy, play: thy mother plays, and I
Play too, but so disgraced a part, whose issue
Will hiss me to my grave: contempt and clamour
Will be my knell. Go, play, boy, play.
There have been,
Or I am much deceived, cuckolds ere now;
And many a man there is, even at this present,
Now while I speak this, holds his wife by the arm,
That little thinks she has been sluiced in's absence
And his pond fish'd by his next neighbour, by
Sir Smile, his neighbour: nay, there's comfort in't
Whiles other men have gates and those gates open'd,
As mine, against their will. Should all despair
That have revolted wives, the tenth of mankind
Would hang themselves. Physic for't there is none;
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
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:
Ay, my good lord.

LEONTES:
Go play, Mamillius; thou'rt an honest man.

Exit Mamillius

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:
Didst note it?

CAMILLO:
He would not stay at your petitions: made
His business more material.

LEONTES:
Didst perceive it?

Aside

They're here with me already, whispering, 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:
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,
But of the finer natures? by some severals
Of head-piece extraordinary? lower messes
Perchance are to this business purblind? say.

CAMILLO:
Business, my lord! I think most understand
Bohemia stays here longer.

LEONTES:
Ha!

CAMILLO:
Stays here longer.

LEONTES:
Ay, but why?

CAMILLO:
To satisfy your highness and the entreaties
Of our most gracious mistress.

LEONTES:
Satisfy!
The 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-councils, wherein, priest-like, thou
Hast cleansed my bosom, I from thee departed
Thy penitent reform'd: but we have been
Deceived in thy integrity, deceived
In that which seems so.

CAMILLO:
Be it forbid, my lord!

LEONTES:
To bide upon't, thou art not honest, or,
If thou inclinest that way, thou art a coward,
Which hoxes honesty behind, restraining
From course required; or else thou must be counted
A servant grafted in my serious trust
And therein negligent; or else a fool
That seest a game play'd home, the rich stake drawn,
And takest it all for jest.

CAMILLO:
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,
Sometime puts forth. In your affairs, my lord,
If ever I were wilful-negligent,
It was my folly; if industriously
I play'd the fool, it was my negligence,
Not weighing well the end; if ever fearful
To do a thing, where I the issue doubted,
Where of the execution did cry out
Against the non-performance, 'twas a fear
Which oft infects the wisest: these, my lord,
Are such allow'd infirmities that honesty
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,
But that's past doubt, you have, or your eye-glass
Is thicker than a cuckold's horn, or heard,
For to a vision so apparent rumour
Cannot be mute, or thought, for cogitation
Resides not in that man that does not think,
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
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
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
Of laughing 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,
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:
Good my lord, be cured
Of this diseased opinion, and betimes;
For 'tis most dangerous.

LEONTES:
Say it be, 'tis true.

CAMILLO:
No, no, my lord.

LEONTES:
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,
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 a medal, hanging
About his neck, Bohemia: who, if I
Had servants true about me, that bare eyes
To see alike mine honour as their profits,
Their own particular thrifts, they would do that
Which should undo more doing: ay, and thou,
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;
Which draught to me were cordial.

CAMILLO:
Sir, my lord,
I could do this, and that with no rash potion,
But with a lingering dram that should not work
Maliciously like poison: but I cannot
Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress,
So sovereignly being honourable.
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
The purity and whiteness of my sheets,
Which to preserve is sleep, which being spotted
Is goads, thorns, nettles, tails of wasps,
Give scandal to the blood o' the prince my son,
Who I do think is mine and love as mine,
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
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
Even so as I mine own course have set down:
I'll give no blemish to her honour, none.

CAMILLO:
My lord,
Go then; and with a countenance as clear
As friendship wears at feasts, keep with Bohemia
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;
Do't not, thou split'st thine own.

CAMILLO:
I'll do't, my lord.

LEONTES:
I will seem friendly, as thou hast advised me.


Exit


CAMILLO:
O miserable lady! But, for me,
What case stand I in? I must be the poisoner
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,
Promotion follows. If I could find example
Of thousands that had struck anointed kings
And flourish'd after, I'ld not do't; but since
Nor brass nor stone nor parchment bears not one,
Let villany itself forswear't. I must
Forsake the court: to do't, or no, is certain
To me a break-neck. Happy star, reign now!
Here comes Bohemia.


Re-enter POLIXENES


POLIXENES:
This is strange: methinks
My favour here begins to warp. Not speak?
Good day, Camillo.

CAMILLO:
Hail, most royal sir!

POLIXENES:
What is the news i' the court?

CAMILLO:
None rare, my lord.

POLIXENES:
The king hath on him such a countenance
As he had lost some province and a region
Loved as he loves himself: even now I met him
With customary compliment; when he,
Wafting his eyes to the contrary and falling
A lip of much contempt, speeds from me and
So leaves me to consider what is breeding
That changeth 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;
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
A party in this alteration, finding
Myself thus alter'd 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:
How! caught of me!
Make me not sighted like the basilisk:
I have look'd on thousands, who have sped the better
By my regard, but kill'd none so. Camillo,
As you are certainly a gentleman, thereto
Clerk-like 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 behove my knowledge
Thereof to be inform'd, imprison't not
In ignorant concealment.

CAMILLO:
I may not answer.

POLIXENES:
A sickness caught of me, and yet I well!
I must be answer'd. Dost thou hear, Camillo,
I conjure thee, by all the parts of man
Which honour does acknowledge, whereof the least
Is not this suit of mine, that thou declare
What incidency thou dost guess of harm
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 honour and by him
That I think honourable: therefore mark my counsel,
Which must be even as swiftly follow'd as
I mean to utter it, or both yourself and me
Cry lost, and so good night!

POLIXENES:
On, good Camillo.

CAMILLO:
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,
As he had seen't or been an instrument
To vice you to't, that you have touch'd his queen
Forbiddenly.

POLIXENES:
O, then my best blood turn
To an infected jelly and my name
Be yoked with his that did betray the Best!
Turn then my freshest reputation to
A savour that may strike the dullest nostril
Where I arrive, and my approach be shunn'd,
Nay, hated too, worse than the great'st infection
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
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:
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 enclosed in this trunk which you
Shall bear along impawn'd, away to-night!
Your followers I will whisper to the business,
And will by twos and threes at several posterns
Clear them o' the city. For myself, I'll put
My fortunes to your service, which are here
By this discovery lost. Be not uncertain;
For, by the honour of my parents, I
Have utter'd truth: which if you seek to prove,
I dare not stand by; nor shall you be safer
Than one condemn'd by the king's own mouth, thereon
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 neighbour mine. My ships are ready and
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
He is dishonour'd by a man which ever
Profess'd 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
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
To take the urgent hour. Come, sir, away.


Exeunt



ACT II


SCENE I. A room in LEONTES' palace
.


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:
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:
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:
Who taught you this?

MAMILLIUS:
I learnt it out of women's faces. Pray now
What colour are your eyebrows?

FIRST LADY:
Blue, my lord.

MAMILLIUS:
Nay, that's a mock: I have seen a lady's nose
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'ld wanton with us,
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,
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:
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:
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.


Enter LEONTES, with ANTIGONUS, Lords and others


LEONTES:
Was he met there? his train? Camillo with him?

FIRST LORD:
Behind the tuft of pines I met them; never
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
In being so blest! There may be in the cup
A spider steep'd, and one may drink, depart,
And yet partake no venom, for his knowledge
Is not infected: but if one present
The abhorr'd ingredient to his eye, make known
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
Whom I employ'd was pre-employ'd by him:
He has discover'd my design, and I
Remain a pinch'd thing; yea, a very trick
For them to play at will. How came the posterns
So easily open?

FIRST LORD:
By his great authority;
Which often hath no less prevail'd than so
On your command.

LEONTES:
I know't too well.
Give me the boy: I am glad you did 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:
Bear the boy hence; he shall not come about her;
Away with him! and let her sport herself
With that she's big with; for 'tis Polixenes
Has made thee swell thus.

HERMIONE:
But I'ld say he had not,
And I'll be sworn you would believe my saying,
Howe'er you lean to the nayward.

LEONTES:
You, my lords,
Look on her, mark her well; be but about
To say 'she is a goodly lady,' and
The justice of your bearts will thereto add
'Tis pity she's not honest, honourable'
Praise her but for this her without-door form,
Which on my faith deserves high speech, and straight
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 hums and ha's,
When you have said 'she's goodly,' come between
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 adulteress.

HERMIONE:
Should a villain say so,
The most replenish'd villain in the world,
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,
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 adulteress; I have said with whom:
More, she's a traitor and Camillo is
A federary with her, and one that knows
What she should shame to know herself
But with her most vile principal, that she's
A bed-swerver, even as bad as those
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
You thus have publish'd 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,
The centre is not big enough to bear
A school-boy'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:
I must be patient till the heavens look
With an aspect more favourable. 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
That honourable 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 perform'd!

LEONTES:
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 mistress
Has deserved prison, then abound in tears
As I come out this action I now go on
Is for my better grace. Adieu, my lord:
I never wish'd to see you sorry; now
I trust I shall. My women, come; you have leave.

LEONTES:
Go, do our bidding; hence!


Exit HERMIONE, guarded; with Ladies


FIRST 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,
Yourself, your queen, your son.

FIRST LORD:
For her, my lord,
I dare my life lay down and will do't, sir,
Please you to accept it, that the queen is spotless
I' the eyes of heaven and to you; I mean,
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;
For every inch of woman in the world,
Ay, every dram of woman's flesh is false, If she be.

LEONTES:
Hold your peaces.

FIRST LORD:
Good my lord,

ANTIGONUS:
It is for you we speak, not for ourselves:
You are abused and by some putter-on
That will be damn'd for't; would I knew the villain,
I would land-damn him. Be she honour-flaw'd,
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 honour,
I'll geld 'em all; fourteen they shall not see,
To bring false generations: they are co-heirs;
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
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
Of the whole dungy earth.

LEONTES:
What! lack I credit?

FIRST LORD:
I had rather you did lack than I, my lord,
Upon this ground; and more it would content me
To have her honour true than your suspicion,
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
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 ordering on't, is all
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?
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 touch'd conjecture,
That lack'd sight only, nought for approbation
But only seeing, all other circumstances
Made up to the deed, doth push on this proceeding:
Yet, for a greater confirmation,
For in an act of this importance 'twere
Most piteous to be wild, I have dispatch'd in post
To sacred Delphos, to Apollo's temple,
CLEOMENES: and DION: , whom you know
Of stuff'd sufficiency: now from the oracle
They will bring all; whose spiritual counsel had,
Shall stop or spur me. Have I done well?

FIRST LORD:
Well done, my lord.

LEONTES:
Though I am satisfied and need no more
Than what I know, yet shall the oracle
Give rest to the minds of others, such as he
Whose ignorant credulity will not
Come up to the truth. So have we thought it good
From our free person she should be confined,
Lest that the treachery of the two fled hence
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.


Exeunt


SCENE II. A prison.


Enter PAULINA, a Gentleman, and Attendants


PAULINA:
The keeper of the prison, call to him;
let him have knowledge who I am.

Exit Gentleman

Good lady,
No court in Europe is too good for thee;
What dost thou then in prison?

Re-enter Gentleman, with the Gaoler

Now, good sir,
You know me, do you not?

GAOLER:
For a worthy lady
And one whom much I honour.

PAULINA:
Pray you then,
Conduct me to the queen.

GAOLER:
I may not, madam:
To the contrary I have express commandment.

PAULINA:
Here's ado,
To lock up honesty and honour from
The access of gentle visitors!
Is't lawful, pray you,
To see her women? any of them? Emilia?

GAOLER:
So please you, madam,
To put apart these your attendants, I
Shall bring Emilia forth.

PAULINA:
I pray now, call her.
Withdraw yourselves.


Exeunt Gentleman and Attendants


GAOLER:
And, madam,
I must be present at your conference.

PAULINA:
Well, be't so, prithee.

Exit Gaoler

Here's such ado to make no stain a stain
As passes colouring.

Re-enter GAOLER, with EMILIA

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,
Which never tender lady hath born greater,
She is something before her time deliver'd.

PAULINA:
A boy?

EMILIA:
A daughter, and a goodly babe,
Lusty and like to live: the queen receives
Much comfort in't; says 'My poor prisoner,
I am innocent as you.'

PAULINA:
I dare be sworn
These dangerous unsafe lunes i' the king,
beshrew them!
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-mouth'd let my tongue blister
And never to my red-look'd anger be
The trumpet any more. Pray you, Emilia,
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 the loud'st. We do not know
How he may soften at the sight o' the child:
The silence often of pure innocence
Persuades when speaking fails.

EMILIA:
Most worthy madam,
Your honour and your goodness is so evident
That your free undertaking cannot miss
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 to-day hammer'd of this design,
But durst not tempt a minister of honour,
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
I shall do good.

EMILIA:
Now be you blest for it!
I'll to the queen: please you,
come something nearer.

GAOLER:
Madam, if't please the queen to send the babe,
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
Freed and enfranchised, not a party to
The anger of the king nor guilty of,
If any be, the trespass of the queen.

GAOLER:
I do believe it.

PAULINA:
Do not you fear: upon mine honour,
I will stand betwixt you and danger.

Exeunt


SCENE III. A room in LEONTES' palace.


Enter LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, Lords, and Servants


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' the cause,
She the adulteress; for the harlot king
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?

FIRST SERVANT:
My lord?

LEONTES:
How does the boy?

FIRST SERVANT:
He took good rest to-night;
'Tis hoped his sickness is discharged.

LEONTES:
To see his nobleness!
Conceiving the dishonour of his mother,
He straight declined, droop'd, took it deeply,
Fasten'd and fix'd the shame on't in himself,
Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep,
And downright languish'd. Leave me solely go,
See how he fares.

Exit Servant

Fie, fie! no thought of him:
The thought of my revenges that way
Recoil upon me: in himself too mighty,
And in his parties, his alliance; let him be
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, with a child


FIRST LORD:
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:
That's enough.

SECOND 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,
That creep like shadows by him and do sigh
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 humour
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!
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,
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 honour, trust it,
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;
And, I beseech you, hear me, who profess
Myself your loyal servant, your physician,
Your most obedient counsellor, yet that dare
Less appear so in comforting your evils,
Than such as most seem yours I say, I come
From your good queen.

LEONTES:
Good queen!

PAULINA:
Good queen, my lord,
Good queen; I say good queen;
And would by combat make her good, so were I
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,
For she is good, hath brought you forth a daughter;
Here 'tis; commends it to your blessing.


Laying down the child


LEONTES:
Out!
A mankind witch! Hence with her, out o' door:
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,
As this world goes, to pass for honest.

LEONTES:
Traitors!
Will you not push her out? Give her the bastard.
Thou dotard! thou art woman-tired, unroosted
By thy dame Partlet here. Take up the bastard;
Take't up, I say; give't to thy crone.

PAULINA:
For ever
Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou
Takest up the princess by that forced baseness
Which he has put upon't!

LEONTES:
He dreads his wife.

PAULINA:
So I would you did; then 'twere past all doubt
You'ld call your children yours.

LEONTES:
A nest of traitors!

ANTIGONUS:
I am none, by this good light.

PAULINA:
Nor I, nor any
But one that's here, and that's himself, for he
The sacred honour of himself, his queen's,
His hopeful son's, his babe's, betrays to slander,
Whose sting is sharper than the sword's;
and will not
For, as the case now stands, it is a curse
He cannot be compell'd to't once remove
The root of his opinion, which is rotten
As ever oak or stone was sound.

LEONTES:
A callat
Of boundless tongue, who late hath beat her husband
And now baits me! This brat is none of mine;
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 the old proverb to your charge,
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 smiles,
The very mould 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 colours
No yellow in't, lest she suspect, as he does,
Her children not her husband's!

LEONTES:
A gross hag
And, lozel, thou art worthy to be hang'd,
That wilt not stay her tongue.

ANTIGONUS:
Hang all the husbands
That cannot do that feat, you'll leave yourself
Hardly one subject.

LEONTES:
Once more, take her hence.

PAULINA:
A most unworthy and unnatural lord
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;
But this most cruel usage of your queen,
Not able to produce more accusation
Than your own weak-hinged fancy, something savours
Of tyranny and will ignoble make you,
Yea, scandalous to the world.

LEONTES:
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:
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.
So, so: farewell; we are gone.


Exit


LEONTES:
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;
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;
The bastard brains with these my proper hands
Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire;
For thou set'st on thy wife.

ANTIGONUS:
I did not, sir
These lords, my noble fellows, if they please,
Can clear me in't.

LORDS:
We can my royal liege,
He is not guilty of her coming hither.

LEONTES:
You're liars all.

FIRST LORD:
Beseech your highness, give us better credit:
We have always truly served you, and beseech you
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
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.
It shall not neither. 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,
So sure as this beard's grey,
what will you adventure
To save this brat's life?

ANTIGONUS:
Any thing, my lord,
That my ability may undergo
And nobleness impose: at least thus much:
I'll pawn the little blood which I have left
To save the innocent: any thing possible.

LEONTES:
It shall be possible. Swear by this sword
Thou wilt perform my bidding.

ANTIGONUS:
I will, my lord.

LEONTES:
Mark and perform it, see'st 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,
As thou art liege-man 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 its own protection
And favour 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:
I swear to do this, though a present death
Had been more merciful. Come on, poor babe:
Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens
To be thy nurses! Wolves and bears, they say
Casting their savageness aside have done
Like offices of pity. Sir, be prosperous
In more than this deed does require! And blessing
Against this cruelty fight on thy side,
Poor thing, condemn'd to loss!


Exit with the child


LEONTES:
No, I'll not rear
Another's issue.


Enter a Servant


SERVANT:
Please your highness, posts
From those you sent to the oracle are come
An hour since: CLEOMENES: and DION: ,
Being well arrived from Delphos, are both landed,
Hasting to the court.

FIRST LORD:
So please you, sir, their speed
Hath been beyond account.

LEONTES:
Twenty-three days
They have been absent: 'tis good speed; foretells
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
A just and open trial. While she lives
My heart will be a burthen to me. Leave me,
And think upon my bidding.

Exeunt



ACT III


SCENE I. A sea-port in Sicilia
.


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,
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' the offering!

CLEOMENES:
But of all, the burst
And the ear-deafening voice o' the oracle,
Kin to Jove's thunder, so surprised my sense.
That I was nothing.

DION:
If the event o' the journey
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 the best! These proclamations,
So forcing faults upon Hermione,
I little like.

DION:
The violent carriage of it
Will clear or end the business: when the oracle,
Thus by Apollo's great divine seal'd up,
Shall the contents discover, something rare
Even then will rush to knowledge. Go: fresh horses!
And gracious be the issue!


Exeunt


SCENE II. A court of Justice.


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 clear'd
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
Appear in person here in court. Silence!


Enter HERMIONE guarded; PAULINA and Ladies attending


LEONTES:
Read the indictment.

OFFICER:
[Reads] Hermione, queen to the worthy
Leontes, king of Sicilia, thou art here accused and
arraigned 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 pretence
whereof being by circumstances partly laid open,
thou, Hermione, contrary to the faith and allegiance
of a true subject, didst counsel and aid them, for
their better safety, to fly away by night.

HERMIONE:
Since what I am to say must be but that
Which contradicts my accusation and
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
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,
Who least will seem to do so, my past life
Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true,
As I am now unhappy; which is more
Than history can pattern, though devised
And play'd to take spectators. For behold me
A fellow of the royal bed, which owe
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 honour 'fore
Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it
As I weigh grief, which I would spare: for honour,
'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,
With what encounter so uncurrent I
Have strain'd to appear thus: if one jot beyond
The bound of honour, or in act or will
That way inclining, harden'd be the hearts
Of all that hear me, and my near'st of kin
Cry fie upon my grave!

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:
That's true enough;
Through '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
At all acknowledge. For Polixenes,
With whom I am accused, I do confess
I loved him as in honour he required,
With such a kind of love as might become
A lady like me, with a love even such,
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,
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 dish'd
For me to try how: all I know of it
Is that Camillo was an honest man;
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,
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;
You had a bastard by Polixenes,
And I but dream'd 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,
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.
To me can life be no commodity:
The crown and comfort of my life, your favour,
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
I am barr'd, like one infectious. My third comfort
Starr'd most unluckily, is from my breast,
The innocent milk in its most innocent mouth,
Haled out to murder: myself on every post
Proclaimed a strumpet: with immodest hatred
The child-bed privilege denied, which 'longs
To women of all fashion; lastly, hurried
Here to this place, i' the open air, before
I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege,
Tell me what blessings I have here alive,
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 honour,
Which I would free, if I shall be condemn'd
Upon surmises, all proofs sleeping else
But what your jealousies awake, I tell you
'Tis rigor and not law. Your honours all,
I do refer me to the oracle:
Apollo be my judge!

FIRST LORD:
This your request
Is altogether just: therefore bring forth,
And in Apollos name, his oracle.


Exeunt certain Officers


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
The flatness of my misery, yet with eyes
Of pity, not revenge!


Re-enter OFFICERS, with CLEOMENES and DION


OFFICER:
You here shall swear upon this sword of justice,
That you, Cleomenes and Dion, have
Been both at Delphos, and from thence have brought
The seal'd-up oracle, by the hand deliver'd
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:
All 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 live without an heir, if that
which is lost be not found.

LORDS:
Now blessed be the great Apollo!

HERMIONE:
Praised!

LEONTES:
Hast thou read truth?

OFFICER:
Ay, my lord; even so
As it is here set down.

LEONTES:
There is no truth at all i' the oracle:
The sessions shall proceed: this is mere falsehood.


Enter Servant


SERVANT:
My lord the king, the king!

LEONTES:
What is the business?

SERVANT:
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:
Apollo's angry; and the heavens themselves
Do strike at my injustice.

Hermione swoons

How now there!

PAULINA:
This news is mortal to the queen: look down
And see what death is doing.

LEONTES:
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.

Exeunt PAULINA and Ladies, with HERMIONE

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;
For, being transported by my jealousies
To bloody thoughts and to revenge, I chose
Camillo for the minister to poison
My friend Polixenes which had been done,
But that the good mind of CAMILLO tardied
My swift command, though I with death and with
Reward did threaten and encourage him,
Not doing 't and being done: he, most humane
And fill'd with honour, to my kingly guest
Unclasp'd my practise, quit his fortunes here,
Which you knew great, and to the hazard
Of all encertainties himself commended,
No richer than his honour: how he glisters
Thorough my rust! and how his pity
Does my deeds make the blacker!


Re-enter PAULINA


PAULINA:
Woe the while!
O, cut my lace, lest my heart, cracking it,
Break too.

FIRST LORD:
What fit is this, good lady?

PAULINA:
What studied torments, tyrant, hast for me?
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,
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 by-gone fooleries were but spices of it.
That thou betray'dst Polixenes, 'twas nothing;
That did but show thee, of a fool, inconstant
And damnable ingrateful: nor was't much,
Thou wouldst have poison'd good Camillo's honour,
To have him kill a king: poor trespasses,
More monstrous standing by: whereof I reckon
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 don't
Nor is't directly laid to thee, the death
Of the young prince, whose honourable thoughts,
Thoughts high for one so tender, cleft the heart
That could conceive a gross and foolish sire
Blemish'd 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,
The sweet'st, dear'st creature's dead,
and vengeance for't
Not dropp'd down yet.

FIRST LORD:
The higher powers forbid!

PAULINA:
I say she's dead; I'll swear't. If word nor oath
Prevail not, go and see: if you can bring
Tincture or lustre 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
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
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 bitterest.

FIRST LORD:
Say no more:
Howe'er the business goes, you have made fault
I' the boldness of your speech.

PAULINA:
I am sorry for't:
All faults I make, when I shall come to know them,
I do repent. Alas! I have show'd too much
The rashness of a woman: he is touch'd
To the 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
Let me be punish'd, 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;
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
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
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
Unto these sorrows.

Exeunt


SCENE III. Bohemia. A desert country near the sea


Enter ANTIGONUS with a Child, and a Mariner


ANTIGONUS:
Thou art perfect then, our ship hath touch'd upon
The deserts of Bohemia?

MARINER:
Ay, my lord: and fear
We have landed in ill time: the skies look grimly
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
I call upon thee.

MARINER:
Make your best haste, and go not
Too far i' the land: 'tis like to be loud weather;
Besides, this place is famous for the creatures
Of prey that keep upon't.

ANTIGONUS:
Go thou away:
I'll follow instantly.

MARINER:
I am glad at heart
To be so rid o' the business.


Exit


ANTIGONUS:
Come, poor babe:
I have heard, but not believed,
the spirits o' the dead
May walk again: if such thing be, thy mother
Appear'd 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;
I never saw a vessel of like sorrow,
So fill'd and so becoming: in pure white robes,
Like very sanctity, she did approach
My cabin where I lay; thrice bow'd before me,
And gasping to begin some speech, her eyes
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,
Places remote enough are in Bohemia,
There weep and leave it crying; and, for the babe
Is counted lost for ever, Perdita,
I prithee, call't. For this ungentle business
Put on thee by my lord, thou ne'er shalt see
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,
I will be squared by this. I do believe
Hermione hath suffer'd 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
Of its right father. Blossom, speed thee well!
There lie, and there thy character: there these;
Which may, if fortune please, both breed thee, pretty,
And still rest thine. The storm begins; poor wretch,
That for thy mother's fault art thus exposed
To loss and what may follow! Weep I cannot,
But my heart bleeds; and most accursed am I
To be by oath enjoin'd to this. Farewell!
The day frowns more and more: thou'rt like to have
A lullaby too rough: I never saw
The heavens so dim by day. A savage clamour!
Well may I get aboard! This is the chase:
I am gone for ever.


Exit, pursued by a bear

Enter a SHEPHERD



SHEPHERD:
I would there were no age between sixteen 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, fighting Hark you now! Would any but
these 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 any where I have them, 'tis by
the seaside, browsing of ivy. Good luck, an't be thy
will what have we here! Mercy on 's, a barne a very
pretty barne! 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, 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 hallooed
but even now. Whoa, ho, hoa!


Enter CLOWN

CLOWN:
Hilloa, loa!

SHEPHERD:
What, art so near? If thou'lt see a thing to talk
on when thou art dead and rotten, come hither. What
ailest thou, man?

CLOWN:
I have seen two such sights, by sea and by land!
but I am not to say it is a sea, for it is now the
sky: betwixt the firmament and it you cannot thrust
a bodkin's point.

SHEPHERD:
Why, boy, how is it?

CLOWN:
I would you did but see how it chafes, how it rages,
how it takes up the shore! but that's not 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 main-mast, and anon
swallowed with yest and froth, as you'ld thrust a
cork into a hogshead. And then for the
land-service, to see how the bear tore out his
shoulder-bone; how he cried to me for help and said
his 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 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?

CLOWN:
Now, now: I have not winked since I 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!

CLOWN:
I 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 mettest with 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 within, boy?

CLOWN:
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: 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.

CLOWN:
Go you the next way with your findings. I'll go see
if the bear be gone from the gentleman and how much
he hath eaten: they are 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 by that
which is left of him what he is, fetch me to the
sight of him.

CLOWN:
Marry, will I; and you shall help to put him i' the ground.

SHEPHERD:
'Tis a lucky day, boy, and we'll do good deeds on't.


Exeunt


ACT IV

SCENE I



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
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
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 the freshest things now reigning and make stale
The glistering of this present, as my tale
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,
The effects of his fond jealousies so grieving
That he shuts up himself, imagine me,
Gentle spectators, that I now may be
In fair Bohemia, and remember well,
I mentioned a son o' the king's, which Florizel
I now name to you; and with speed so pace
To speak of Perdita, now grown in grace
Equal with wondering: what of her ensues
I list not prophecy; but let Time's news
Be known when 'tis brought forth.
A SHEPHERD: 's daughter,
And what to her adheres, which follows after,
Is the 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.


Exit


SCENE II. Bohemia. The palace of POLIXENES.


Enter POLIXENES and CAMILLO


POLIXENES:
I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more importunate:
'tis a sickness denying thee any thing; a death to
grant this.

CAMILLO:
It is fifteen years since I saw my country: 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:
As thou lovest 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 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
therein the heaping friendships. Of that fatal
country, Sicilia, prithee speak no more; whose very
naming punishes me with the remembrance of that
penitent, as thou callest him, and reconciled king,
my brother; whose loss of his most precious queen
and children are even now to be afresh lamented.
Say to me, when sawest thou the Prince Florizel, 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:
Sir, 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:
I 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, they say, that from
very nothing, and beyond the imagination of his
neighbours, 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
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
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:
I willingly obey your command.

POLIXENES:
My best Camillo! We must disguise ourselves.


Exeunt


SCENE III. A road near the Shepherd's cottage.


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.
The white sheet bleaching on the hedge,
With heigh! the sweet birds, O, how they sing!
Doth set my pugging tooth on edge;
For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.
The lark, that tirra-lyra chants,
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 Florizel and in my time
wore three-pile; but now I am out of service:
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,
And bear the sow-skin budget,
Then my account I well may, give,
And in the stocks avouch it.
My traffic is sheets; when the kite builds, look to
lesser linen. My father named me Autolycus; who
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
me: for the life to come, I sleep out the thought
of it. A prize! a prize!


Enter CLOWN


CLOWN:
Let me see every 'leven wether tods; every tod
yields pound and odd shilling; fifteen hundred
shorn. what comes the wool to?

AUTOLYCUS:
[Aside]
If the springe hold, the cock's mine.

CLOWN:
I cannot do't without counters. Let me see; what am
I to buy for our sheep-shearing feast? Three pound
of sugar, 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 nose-gays for
the shearers, three-man-song-men all, and very good
ones; but they are most of them means and bases; but
one puritan amongst them, and he sings psalms to
horn-pipes. I must have saffron to colour the warden
pies; mace; dates? none, that's out of my note;
nutmegs, seven; a race or two of ginger, but that I
may beg; four pound of prunes, and as many of
raisins o' the sun.

AUTOLYCUS:
O that ever I was born!


Grovelling on the ground


CLOWN:
I' the name of me

AUTOLYCUS:
O, help me, help me! pluck but off these rags; and
then, death, death!

CLOWN:
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 me more
than the stripes I have received, which are mighty
ones and millions.

CLOWN:
Alas, poor man! a million of beating may come to a
great matter.

AUTOLYCUS:
I am robbed, sir, and beaten; my money and apparel
ta'en from me, and these detestable things put upon
me.

CLOWN:
What, by a horseman, or a footman?

AUTOLYCUS:
A footman, sweet sir, a footman.

CLOWN:
Indeed, he should be a footman by 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!

CLOWN:
Alas, poor soul!

AUTOLYCUS:
O, good sir, softly, good sir! I fear, sir, my
shoulder-blade is out.

CLOWN:
How now! canst stand?

AUTOLYCUS:
[Picking his pocket]
Softly, dear sir; good sir, softly. You ha' done me
a charitable office.

CLOWN:
Dost lack any money? I have a little money for thee.

AUTOLYCUS:
No, good sweet sir; no, I beseech you, sir: I have
a kinsman not past three quarters of a mile hence,
unto whom I was going; I shall there have money, or
any thing I want: offer me no money, I pray you;
that kills my heart.

CLOWN:
What manner of fellow was he that robbed you?

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 the court.

CLOWN:
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 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
settled only in rogue: some call him Autolycus.

CLOWN:
Out upon him! prig, for my life, prig: he haunts
wakes, fairs and bear-baitings.

AUTOLYCUS:
Very true, sir; he, sir, he; that's the rogue that
put me into this apparel.

CLOWN:
Not a more cowardly rogue in all Bohemia: if you had
but looked big and spit at him, he'ld 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 warrant
him.

CLOWN:
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.

CLOWN:
Shall I bring thee on the way?

AUTOLYCUS:
No, good-faced sir; no, sweet sir.

CLOWN:
Then fare thee well: I must go buy spices for our
sheep-shearing.

AUTOLYCUS:
Prosper you, sweet sir!

Exit CLOWN

Your purse is not hot enough to purchase your 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

Jog on, jog on, the foot-path way,
And merrily hent the stile-a:
A merry heart goes all the day,
Your sad tires in a mile-a.


Exit

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