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THE WINTER'S TALE

 

by

William Shakespeare

 

 


 

 

Contents

ACT I
Scene  I.   Sicilia.  An Antechamber in LEONTES' Palace.
Scene  II.   The same.  A Room of State in the Palace.
ACT II
Scene  I.   Sicilia.  A Room in the Palace.
Scene  II.   The same.  The outer Room of a Prison.
Scene  III.  The same.  A Room in the Palace.
ACT III
Scene  I.   Sicilia.  A Street in some Town.
Scene  II.   The same.  A Court of Justice.
Scene  III.  Bohemia.  A desert Country near the Sea.
ACT IV
Scene  I.   
Scene  II.   Bohemia.  A Room in the palace of POLIXENES.
Scene  III.  The same.  A Road near the Shepherd's cottage.
Scene  IV.   The same.  A Shepherd's Cottage.
ACT V
Scene  I.   Sicilia.  A Room in the palace of LEONTES.
Scene  II.   The same.  Before the Palace.
Scene  III.   The same.  A Room in PAULINA's house.

 

 

 


 

 

Dramatis Personae

 

LEONTES, King of Sicilia

MAMILLIUS, his son

CAMILLO, Sicilian Lord

ANTIGONUS, Sicilian Lord

CLEOMENES, Sicilian Lord

DION, Sicilian Lord

POLIXENES, King of Bohemia

FLORIZEL, his son

ARCHIDAMUS, a Bohemian Lord

An Old Shepherd, reputed father of Perdita

CLOWN, his son

AUTOLYCUS, a rogue

A Mariner

Gaoler

Servant to the Old Shepherd

Other Sicilian Lords

Sicilian Gentlemen

Officers of a Court of Judicature

 

HERMIONE, Queen to Leontes

PERDITA, daughter to Leontes and Hermione

PAULINA, wife to Antigonus

EMILIA, a lady attending on the Queen

MOPSA, shepherdess

DORCAS, shepherdess

Other Ladies, attending on the Queen

 

Lords, Ladies, and Attendants; Satyrs

         for a Dance; Shepherds,

Shepherdesses, Guards, &c.

 

TIME, as Chorus

 

 

 

 

Scene:

 

Sometimes in Sicilia; sometimes in Bohemia.

 

 

 


 

 

 

ACT I.

 

SCENE I.  Sicilia.  An 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 overkind 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.  The same.  A Room of State in the Palace.

 

[Enter LEONTES, POLIXENES, HERMIONE, MAMILLIUS, CAMILLO, and Attendants.]

POLIXENES

Nine changes of the watery star hath been

The shepherd's note since we have left our throne

Without a burden: time as long again

Would be fill'd 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 more

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 had 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 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:

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

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 of 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 is

As potent as a lord's. Will 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 th' other. What we chang'd

Was innocence for innocence; we knew not

The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dream'd

That any did. Had we pursu'd 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 unfledg'd 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 spok'st

To better purpose.

 

HERMIONE

                             Never?

 

LEONTES

                                           Never but once.

 

HERMIONE

What! have I twice said well? when was't before?

I pr'ythee 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 heat 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 crabbèd 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

                                  It is Grace indeed.

Why, lo you now, I have spoke to the purpose twice;

The one for ever earn'd a royal husband;

Th' other for some while a friend.

[Giving her hand to POLIXENES.]

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 practis'd 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.—

[Observing POLIXENES and HERMIONE]

                                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-dy'd 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,

Communicat'st with dreams;—how can this be?—

With what's unreal thou co-active 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 mov'd, 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

Offic'd 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:

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!

[Observing POLIXENES and HERMIONE]

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 disgrac'd 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 deceiv'd, 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 sluic'd in his 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 hath revolted wives, the tenth of mankind

Would hang themselves. Physic for't there's 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 of us

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

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-councils, wherein, priest-like, thou

Hast cleans'd my bosom; I from thee departed

Thy penitent reform'd: but we have been

Deceiv'd in thy integrity, deceiv'd

In that which seems so.

 

CAMILLO

                                      Be it forbid, my lord!

 

LEONTES

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 requir'd; 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 tak'st 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,

Whereof the execution did cry out

Against the non-performance, 'twas a fear

Which oft affects 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

                              Have 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 it,—

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 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,

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 is nothing; nor nothing have these nothings,

If this be nothing.

 

CAMILLO

                             Good my lord, be cur'd

Of this diseas'd 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 her 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 bench'd and rear'd 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 ling'ring 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 lov'd 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 remov'd, 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 splitt'st thine own.

 

CAMILLO

                                                     I'll do't, my lord.

 

LEONTES

I will seem friendly, as thou hast advis'd 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'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

To me a break-neck. Happy star reign now!

Here comes Bohemia.

[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

Lov'd 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;

So leaves me to consider what is breeding

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;

For, to yourself, what you do know, you must,

And cannot say, you dare not. Good Camillo,

Your chang'd complexions are to me a mirror

Which shows me mine chang'd 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, experienc'd, 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 charg'd in honour, and by him

That I think honourable: therefore mark my counsel,

Which must be ev'n as swiftly follow'd as

I mean to utter it, or both yourself and me

Cry lost, and so goodnight!

 

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 yok'd 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 pil'd 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 enclosèd 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 his 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 this 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.  Sicilia.  A Room in the 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.—[To Second Lady.] 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 learn'd 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'd 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, ANTIGONUS, Lords, and Guards.]

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 ey'd them

Even to their ships.

 

LEONTES

                               How bles'd am I

In my just censure, in my true opinion!—

Alack, for lesser knowledge!—How accurs'd

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.

[Exit MAMILLIUS, with some of the Guards.]

HERMIONE

                                          But I'd say he had not,

And I'll be sworn you would believe my saying,

Howe'er you learn 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 hearts 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 hum's, and ha's,

When you have said 'she's goodly,' come between,

Ere you can say 'she's honest': but be it known,

From him that has most cause to grieve it should be,

She's an adultress!

 

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 adultress; 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 boldest 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 aspéct 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 lodg'd 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

[To the GUARD.]                   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 deserv'd 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!

[Exeunt QUEEN and Ladies, with Guards.]

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 further 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 abus'd, 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 blam'd 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 stupified

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

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 th' 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 despatch'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 th' truth: so have we thought it good

From our free person she should be confin'd;

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.  The same.  The outer Room of a Prison.

 

[Enter PAULINA and Attendants.]

PAULINA

The keeper of the prison,—call to him;

Let him have knowledge who I am.

[Exit an Attendant.]

                                                Good lady!

No court in Europe is too good for thee;

What dost thou then in prison?

[Re-enter Attendant, with the Keeper.]

                                                  Now, good sir,

You know me, do you not?

 

KEEPER

                                            For a worthy lady,

And one who much I honour.

 

PAULINA

                                                Pray you, then,

Conduct me to the queen.

 

KEEPER

                                          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?

 

KEEPER

              So please you, madam, to put

Apart these your attendants, I

Shall bring Emilia forth.

 

PAULINA

                                        I pray now, call her.

Withdraw yourselves.

[Exeunt ATTENDANTS.]

KEEPER

                                    And, madam,

I must be present at your conference.

 

PAULINA

Well, be't so, pr'ythee.

[Exit KEEPER.]

Here's such ado to make no stain a stain

As passes colouring.

[Re-enter KEEPER, 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 borne 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 as 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 th' 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 it

As boldness from my bosom, let't not be doubted

I shall do good.

 

EMILIA

                         Now be you bless'd for it!

I'll to the queen: please you come something nearer.

 

KEEPER

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 enfranchis'd: not a party to

The anger of the king, nor guilty of,

If any be, the trespass of the queen.

 

KEEPER

I do believe it.

 

PAULINA

Do not you fear: upon mine honour, I

Will stand betwixt you and danger.

[Exeunt.]

 

 

 

 

 

SCENE III.  The same.  A Room in the Palace.

 

[Enter LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, Lords, and other Attendants.]

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 adultress; 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 ATTENDANT

                                                               My lord?

 

LEONTES

How does the boy?

 

FIRST ATTENDANT

                               He took good rest to-night;

'Tis hop'd his sickness is discharg'd.

 

LEONTES

To see his nobleness!

Conceiving the dishonour of his mother,

He straight declin'd, 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 FIRST ATTENDANT.]

                                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,

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 ATTENDANT

Madam, he hath not slept to-night; 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 med'cinal 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 charg'd 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 professes

Myself your loyal servant, your physician,

Your most obedient counsellor: yet that dares

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! [To ANTIGONUS] Thou art woman-tir'd, 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

Tak'st 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'd 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 his 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, losel, 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 have thee burn'd.

 

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-hing'd 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 consum'd 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 that 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 serv'd 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

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.—[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,

So sure as this beard's grey,—what will you adventure

To save this brat's life?

 

ANTIGONUS

                                     Anything, 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:—anything 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,—seest thou? for the fail

Of any point in't shall not only be

Death to thyself, but to thy lewd-tongu'd wife,

Whom for this time we pardon. We enjoin thee,

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

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.

 

SECOND ATTENDANT

                          Please your highness, posts

From those you sent to the oracle are come

An hour since: Cleomenes and Dion,

Being well arriv'd 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 accus'd, so shall she have

A just and open trial. While she lives,

My heart will be a burden to me. Leave me;

And think upon my bidding.

[Exeunt.]

 

 


 

 

 

ACT III.

 

SCENE I.  Sicilia.  A Street in some Town.

 

[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-deaf'ning 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 th' 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.  The same.  A Court of Justice.

 

[Enter LEONTES, Lords, and Officers appear, properly seated.]

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 belov'd. 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.—

 

CRIER.

                                                      Silence!

[HERMIONE, is brought in 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 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 receiv'd. 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 devis'd

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 t' 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;

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

At all acknowledge. For Polixenes,—

With whom I am accus'd,—I do confess

I lov'd him, as in honour he requir'd;

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,

Ever 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,—

Hal'd out to murder: myself on every post

Proclaim'd 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 rigour, 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 Apollo's 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

This seal'd-up oracle, by the hand deliver'd

Of great Apollo's priest; and that since then,

You have not dar'd 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 a Servant hastily.]

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 faints.]

                                         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'ercharg'd; she will recover.—

I have too much believ'd 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 it and being done: he, most humane,

And fill'd with honour, to my kingly guest

Unclasp'd my practice; quit his fortunes here,

Which you knew great; and to the certain hazard

Of all incertainties himself commended,

No richer than his honour:—how he glisters

Thorough my rust! And how his piety

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 done'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 sweetest, dearest 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 deserv'd

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 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

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. Pr'ythee, 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

To these sorrows.

[Exeunt.]

 

 

 

 

 

SCENE III.  Bohemia.  A desert Country near the Sea.

 

[Enter ANTIGONUS with the 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' th' business.

[Exit.]

ANTIGONUS

                                            Come, poor babe:—

I have heard (but not believ'd) the spirits of 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 pr'ythee call't. For this ungentle business,

Put on thee by my lord, thou ne'er shalt see

Thy wife Paulina more': 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 squar'd 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!

[Laying down the child.]

There lie; and there thy character: there these;

[Laying down a bundle.]

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 expos'd

To loss and what may follow!—Weep I cannot,

But my heart bleeds: and most accurs'd 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 an old SHEPHERD.]

SHEPHERD

I 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, 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 anywhere I have them, 'tis by the sea-side, browsing of ivy.—Good luck, an't be thy will! what have we here?

[Taking up the child.]

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, 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 comes; he hallaed but even now.—Whoa, ho hoa!

 

CLOWN

[Within.] Hilloa, loa!

 

SHEPHERD

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

[Enter CLOWN.]

What ail'st 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 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 yest and froth, as you'd 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-dragon'd 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

[Aside.] Heavy matters, heavy matters! But look thee here, boy. Now bless thyself: thou mettest with things dying, I with things new-born. 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 it, 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, as Chorus.]

TIME

I,—that please some, try all; both joy and terror

Of good and bad; that make and unfold 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 mention'd 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 prophesy; 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.  A Room in the palace of POLIXENES.

 

[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; 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, pr'ythee, 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 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. Pr'ythee, 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.  The same.  A Road near the Shepherd's cottage.

 

[Enter AUTOLYCUS, singing.]

AUTOLYCUS

When daffodils begin to peer,—

    With, hey! 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, hey! 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-lirra chants,—

    With, hey! with, hey! the thrush and the jay,—

Are summer songs for me and my aunts,

    While we lie tumbling in the hay.

 

I have serv'd 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, I as 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 nosegays 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 hornpipes. 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

[Grovelling on the ground.] O that ever I was born!

 

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 offend 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 robb'd, 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.

[Helping him up.]

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

Softly, dear sir! [Picks his pocket.] 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 anything 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'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 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 footpath way,

                 And merrily hent the stile-a:

             A merry heart goes all the day,

                 Your sad tires in a mile-a.

[Exit.]

 

 

 

 

 

SCENE IV.  The same.  A Shepherd's Cottage.

 

[Enter FLORIZEL and PERDITA.]

FLORIZEL

These your unusual weeds to each part of you

Do give a life,—no shepherdess, but Flora

Peering in April's front. This your sheep-shearing

Is as a meeting of the petty gods,

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' the land, you have obscur'd

With a swain's wearing; and me, poor lowly maid,

Most goddess-like prank'd 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 attir'd; swoon, I think,

To show myself a glass.

 

FLORIZEL

                                       I bless the time

When my good falcon made her flight across

Thy father's ground.

 

PERDITA

                                 Now Jove afford you cause!

To me the difference forges dread: your greatness

Hath not been us'd 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,

Vilely bound up? What would he say? Or how

Should I, in these my borrow'd flaunts, behold

The sternness of his presence?

 

FLORIZEL

                                                 Apprehend

Nothing but jollity. The gods themselves,

Humbling their deities to love, have taken

The shapes of beasts upon them: Jupiter

Became a bull and bellow'd; the green Neptune

A ram and bleated; and the fire-rob'd god,

Golden Apollo, a poor humble swain,

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 honour, nor my lusts

Burn hotter than my faith.

 

PERDITA

                                           O, but, sir,

Your resolution cannot hold when 'tis

Oppos'd, as it must be, by the power of the king:

One of these two must be necessities,

Which then will speak, that you must change this purpose,

Or I my life.

 

FLORIZEL

                    Thou dearest Perdita,

With these forc'd thoughts, I pr'ythee, darken not

The mirth o' the feast: or I'll be thine, my fair,

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 any thing

That you behold the while. Your guests are coming:

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,

Stand you auspicious!

 

FLORIZEL

                                    See, your guests approach:

Address yourself to entertain them sprightly,

And let's be red with mirth.

[Enter Shepherd, with POLIXENES and CAMILLO, disguised; CLOWN, MOPSA, DORCAS, with others.]

SHEPHERD

Fie, daughter! When my old wife liv'd, upon

This day she was both pantler, butler, cook;

Both dame and servant; welcom'd all; serv'd all;

Would sing her song and dance her turn; now here

At upper end o' the table, now i' the middle;

On his shoulder, and his; her face o' fire

With labour, and the thing she took to quench it

She would to each one sip. You are retir'd,

As if you were a feasted one, and not

The hostess of the meeting: pray you, bid

These unknown friends to us welcome, for it is

A way to make us better friends, more known.

Come, quench your blushes, and present yourself

That which you are, mistress o' the feast: come on,

And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing,

As your good flock shall prosper.

 

PERDITA

[To POLIXENES.]                      Sir, welcome!

It is my father's will I should take on me

The hostess-ship o' the day:—

[To CAMILLO.]                      You're welcome, sir!

Give me those flowers there, Dorcas.—Reverend sirs,

For you there's rosemary and rue; these keep

Seeming and savour all the winter long:

Grace and remembrance be to you both!

And welcome to our shearing!

 

POLIXENES

                                                 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

Of trembling winter,—the fairest flowers o' the season

Are our carnations and streak'd 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

                                  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

                                        Say there be;

Yet nature is made better by no mean

But nature makes that mean; so, o'er that art

Which you say adds to nature, is an art

That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry

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

                                     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;

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;

The marigold, that goes to bed with the 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,

And only live by gazing.

 

PERDITA

                                        Out, alas!

You'd be so lean that blasts of January

Would blow you through and through.—Now, my fairest friend,

I would I had some flowers o' the spring that might

Become your time of day;—and yours, and yours,

That wear upon your virgin branches yet

Your maidenheads growing.—O Proserpina,

From the flowers now, that, frighted, thou lett'st fall

From Dis's waggon!—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

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,

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!

 

FLORIZEL

                                            What, like a corse?

 

PERDITA

No; like a bank for love to lie and play on;

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

Does change my disposition.

 

FLORIZEL

                                              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;

Pray so; and, for the ordering your affairs,

To sing them too: when you do dance, I wish you

A wave o' the sea, that you might ever do

Nothing but that; move still, still so, and own

No other function: each your doing,

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,

And the true blood which peeps fairly through it,

Do plainly give you out an unstained shepherd,

With wisdom I might fear, my Doricles,

You woo'd me the false way.

 

FLORIZEL

                                                I think you have

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

This is the prettiest low-born lass that ever

Ran on the green-sward: nothing she does or seems

But smacks of something greater than herself,

Too noble for this place.

 

CAMILLO

                                        He tells her something

That makes her blood look out: good sooth, she is

The queen of curds and cream.

 

CLOWN

                                                  Come on, strike up.

 

DORCAS

Mopsa must be your mistress; marry, garlic,

To mend her kissing with!

 

MOPSA

                                           Now, in good time!

 

CLOWN

Not a word, a word; we stand upon our manners.—

Come, strike up.

[Music. Here a dance Of Shepherds and Shepherdesses.]

POLIXENES

Pray, good shepherd, what fair swain is this

Which dances with your daughter?

 

SHEPHERD

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 gaz'd the moon

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

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 pedlar at the door, you would never dance again after a tabor and pipe; no, the bagpipe could not move you: he 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.

 

CLOWN

He 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; 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-mouth'd rascal 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

This is a brave fellow.

 

CLOWN

Believe me, thou talkest of an admirable conceited fellow. Has he any unbraided wares?

 

SERVANT

He hath ribbons of all the colours i' the rainbow; points, more than all the lawyers in Bohemia can learnedly handle, though they come to him by the gross; inkles, caddisses, cambrics, lawns; why he sings 'em over as they were gods or goddesses; you would think a smock were a she-angel, he so chants to the sleeve-hand and the work about the square on't.

 

CLOWN

Pr'ythee bring him in; and let him approach singing.

 

PERDITA

Forewarn him that he use no scurrilous words in his tunes.

[Exit SERVANT.]

CLOWN

You have of these pedlars that have more in them than you'd think, sister.

 

PERDITA

Ay, good brother, or go about to think.

[Enter AUTOLYCUS, singing.]

AUTOLYCUS

             Lawn as white as driven snow;

             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;

             Golden quoifs 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;

             Buy, lads, or else your lasses cry:

             Come, buy.

 

CLOWN

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 ribbons and gloves.

 

MOPSA

I was promis'd them against the feast; but they come not too late now.

 

DORCAS

He hath promised you more than that, or there be liars.

 

MOPSA

He hath paid you all he promised you: may be he has paid you more,—which will shame you to give him again.

 

CLOWN

Is there no manners left among maids? will they wear their plackets where they should bear their faces? Is there not milking-time, when you are going to bed, or kiln-hole, to whistle off these secrets, but you must be tittle-tattling before all our guests? 'tis well they are whispering. Clamour your tongues, and not a word more.

 

MOPSA

I have done. Come, you promised me a tawdry lace, and a pair of sweet gloves.

 

CLOWN

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; therefore it behoves men to be wary.

 

CLOWN

Fear not thou, man; thou shalt lose nothing here.

 

AUTOLYCUS

I hope so, sir; for I have about me many parcels of charge.

 

CLOWN

What hast here? ballads?

 

MOPSA

Pray now, buy some: I love a ballad in print a-life; 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 money-bags at a burden, and how she long'd 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

Here'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

Pray you now, buy it.

 

CLOWN

Come on, lay it by; and 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 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

Is it true too, think you?

 

AUTOLYCUS

Five justices' hands at it; and witnesses more than my pack will hold.

 

CLOWN

Lay it by too: another.

 

AUTOLYCUS

This is a merry ballad; but a very pretty 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 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 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

            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 the grange or mill:

 

DORCAS

            If to either, thou dost ill.

 

AUTOLYCUS

            Neither.

 

DORCAS

            What, neither?

 

AUTOLYCUS

            Neither.

 

DORCAS

            Thou hast sworn my love to be;

 

MOPSA

            Thou hast sworn it more to me;

            Then whither goest?—say, whither?

 

 

CLOWN

We'll have this song out anon by ourselves; my father and the gentlemen are in sad talk, and we'll not trouble them.—Come, bring away thy pack after me.—Wenches, I'll buy for you both:—Pedlar, let's have the first choice.—Follow me, girls.

[Exit with DORCAS and MOPSA.]

AUTOLYCUS.

[Aside.] And you shall pay well for 'em.

 

Will you buy any tape,

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?

Come to the pedlar;

Money's a meddler

That doth utter all men's ware-a.

[Exit.]

[Re-enter Servant.]

SERVANT

Master, there is three carters, three shepherds, three neat-herds, three swine-herds, that have made themselves all men of hair; they call themselves saltiers: and they have dance which the wenches say is a gallimaufry of gambols, because they are not in't; but they themselves are o' the mind (if it be not too rough for 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

You weary those that refresh us: pray, let's see these four threes of herdsmen.

 

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 the squire.

 

SHEPHERD

Leave your prating: since these good men are pleased, let them come in; but quickly now.

 

SERVANT

Why, they stay at door, sir.

[Exit.]

[Enter Twelve Rustics, habited like Satyrs. They dance, and then exeunt.]

POLIXENES

O, father, you'll know more of that hereafter.—

[To CAMILLO.] Is it not too far gone?—'Tis time to part them.—

He's simple and tells much. [To FLORIZEL.] How now, fair shepherd!

Your heart is full of something that does take

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 ransack'd

The pedlar's silken treasury and have pour'd it

To her acceptance; you have let him go,

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.

 

FLORIZEL

                                    Old sir, I know

She prizes not such trifles as these are:

The gifts she looks from me are pack'd and lock'd

Up in my heart; which I have given already,

But not deliver'd.—O, hear me breathe my life

Before this ancient sir, who, it should seem,

Hath sometime lov'd,—I take thy hand! this hand,

As soft as dove's down, and as white as it,

Or Ethiopian's tooth, or the fann'd snow that's bolted

By the northern blasts twice o'er.

 

POLIXENES

                                                     What follows this?—

How prettily the young swain seems to wash

The hand was fair before!—I have put you out:

But to your protestation; let me hear

What you profess.

 

FLORIZEL

                              Do, and be witness to't.

 

POLIXENES

And this my neighbour, too?

 

FLORIZEL

                                                And he, and more

Than he, and men,—the earth, the heavens, and all:—

That,—were I crown'd the most imperial monarch,

Thereof most worthy; were I the fairest youth

That ever made eye swerve; had force and knowledge

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 offer'd.

 

CAMILLO

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:

By the 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

Her portion equal his.

 

FLORIZEL

                                    O, that must be

I' the 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,

Contract us 'fore these witnesses.

 

SHEPHERD

                                                      Come, your hand;—

And, daughter, yours.

 

POLIXENES

                                   Soft, swain, awhile, beseech you;

Have you a father?

 

FLORIZEL

                               I have; but what of him?

 

POLIXENES

Knows he of this?

 

FLORIZEL

                              He neither does nor shall.

 

POLIXENES

Methinks a father

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 altering rheums? can he speak? hear?

Know man from man? dispute his own estate?

Lies he not bed-rid? and again does nothing

But what he did being childish?

 

FLORIZEL

                                                    No, good sir;

He has his health, and ampler strength indeed

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

The father,—all whose joy is nothing else

But fair posterity,—should hold some counsel

In such a business.

 

FLORIZEL

                               I yield all this;

But, for some other reasons, my grave sir,

Which 'tis not fit you know, I not acquaint

My father of this business.

 

POLIXENES

                                            Let him know't.

 

FLORIZEL

He shall not.

 

POLIXENES

                     Pr'ythee let him.

 

FLORIZEL

                                                No, he must not.

 

SHEPHERD

Let him, my son: he shall not need to grieve

At knowing of thy choice.

 

FLORIZEL

                                          Come, come, he must not.—

Mark our contract.

 

POLIXENES

[Discovering himself.] Mark your divorce, young sir,

Whom son I dare not call; thou art too base

To be acknowledged: thou a sceptre's heir,

That thus affects a sheep-hook!—Thou, old traitor,

I am sorry that, by hanging thee, I can but

Shorten thy life one week.—And thou, fresh piece

Of excellent witchcraft, who of force must know

The royal fool thou cop'st with,—

 

SHEPHERD

                                                      O, my heart!

 

POLIXENES

I'll have thy beauty scratch'd 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

I mean thou shalt,—we'll bar thee from succession;

Not hold thee of our blood, no, not our kin,

Far than Deucalion off:—mark thou my words:

Follow us to the court.—Thou churl, for this time,

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

That makes himself, but for our honour therein,

Unworthy thee,—if ever henceforth thou

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.

[Exit.]

PERDITA

                                    Even here undone!

I was not much afeard: for once or twice

I was about to speak, and tell him plainly

The self-same sun that shines upon his court

Hides not his visage from our cottage, but

Looks on alike.—[To FLORIZEL.] Will't please you, sir, 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 further,

But milk my ewes, and weep.

 

CAMILLO

                                                Why, how now, father!

Speak ere thou diest.

 

SHEPHERD

                                  I cannot speak, nor think,

Nor dare to know that which I know.—[To FLORIZEL.] O, sir,

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

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!

If I might die within this hour, I have liv'd

To die when I desire.

[Exit.]

FLORIZEL

                                   Why look you so upon me?

I am but sorry, not afeard; delay'd,

But nothing alt'red: what I was, I am:

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

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.

 

FLORIZEL

                                    I not purpose it.

I think Camillo?

 

CAMILLO

                          Even he, my lord.

 

PERDITA

How often have I told you 'twould be thus!

How often said my dignity would last

But till 'twere known!

 

FLORIZEL

                                    It cannot fail but by

The violation of my faith; and then

Let nature crush the sides o' the earth together

And mar the seeds within!—Lift up thy looks.—

From my succession wipe me, father; I

Am heir to my affection.

 

CAMILLO

                                        Be advis'd.

 

FLORIZEL

I am,—and by my fancy; if my reason

Will thereto be obedient, I have reason;

If not, my senses, better pleas'd with madness,

Do bid it welcome.

 

CAMILLO

                               This is desperate, sir.

 

FLORIZEL

So call it: but it does fulfil my vow:

I needs must think it honesty. Camillo,

Not for Bohemia, nor the pomp that may

Be thereat glean'd; for all the sun sees or

The close earth wombs, or the profound seas hide

In unknown fathoms, will I break my oath

To this my fair belov'd: therefore, I pray you,

As you have ever been my father's honour'd friend

When he shall miss me,—as, in faith, I mean not

To see him any more,—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

With her, whom here I cannot hold on shore;

And, most oppórtune to her need, I have

A vessel rides fast by, but not prepar'd

For this design. What course I mean to hold

Shall nothing benefit your knowledge, nor

Concern me the reporting.

 

CAMILLO

                                          O, my lord,

I would your spirit were easier for advice,

Or stronger for your need.

 

FLORIZEL

                                          Hark, Perdita.—[Takes her aside.]

[To CAMILLO.] I'll hear you by and by.

 

CAMILLO

                                                               He's irremovable,

Resolv'd for flight. Now were I happy if

His going I could frame to serve my turn;

Save him from danger, do him love and honour;

Purchase the sight again of dear Sicilia

And that unhappy king, my master, whom

I so much thirst to see.

 

FLORIZEL

                                    Now, good Camillo,

I am so fraught with curious business that

I leave out ceremony.

 

CAMILLO

                                    Sir, I think

You have heard of my poor services, i' the love

That I have borne your father?

 

FLORIZEL

                                                 Very nobly

Have you deserv'd: it is my father's music

To speak your deeds; not little of his care

To have them recompens'd as thought on.

 

CAMILLO

                                            Well, my lord,

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 honour,

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;

And,—with my best endeavours in your absence—

Your discontenting father strive to qualify,

And bring him up to liking.

 

FLORIZEL

                                            How, Camillo,

May this, almost a miracle, be done?

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?

 

FLORIZEL

                                            Not any yet;

But as the 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:

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

The partner of your bed. Methinks I see

Leontes opening his free arms, and weeping

His welcomes forth; asks thee, the son, forgiveness,

As 'twere i' the father's person; kisses the hands

Of your fresh princess; o'er and o'er divides him

'Twixt his unkindness and his kindness,—the one

He chides to hell, and bids the other grow

Faster than thought or time.

 

FLORIZEL

                                             Worthy Camillo,

What colour for my visitation shall I

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,

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.

 

FLORIZEL

                                         I am bound to you:

There is some sap in this.

 

CAMILLO

                                         A course more promising

Than a wild dedication of yourselves

To unpath'd waters, undream'd shores, most 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

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:

I think affliction may subdue the cheek,

But not take in the mind.

 

CAMILLO

                                         Yea, say you so?

There shall not at your father's house, these seven years

Be born another such.

 

FLORIZEL

                                    My good Camillo,

She is as forward of her breeding as

She is i' the rear our birth.

 

CAMILLO

                                          I cannot say 'tis pity

She lacks instruction; for she seems a mistress

To most that teach.

 

PERDITA

                               Your pardon, sir; for this:

I'll blush you thanks.

 

FLORIZEL

                                  My prettiest Perdita!—

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 furnish'd like Bohemia's son;

Nor shall appear in Sicilia.

 

CAMILLO

                                           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,

That you may know you shall not want,—one word.

[They talk aside.]

[Re-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 riband, glass, pomander, brooch, table-book, ballad, 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 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 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 would have filed keys off that hung in chains: no hearing, no feeling, but my sir's song, and admiring the nothing of it. So that, in this time of lethargy, I picked and cut most of their festival purses; and had not the old man come in with whoobub 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, FLORIZEL, and PERDITA come forward.]

CAMILLO

Nay, but my letters, by this means being there

So soon as you arrive, shall clear that doubt.

 

FLORIZEL

And those that you'll procure from king Leontes,—

 

CAMILLO

Shall satisfy your father.

 

PERDITA

                                       Happy be you!

All that you speak shows fair.

 

CAMILLO

[Seeing 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

How now, good fellow! why shakest 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 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. [Giving money.]

 

AUTOLYCUS

I am a poor fellow, sir:—[Aside.] I know ye well enough.

 

CAMILLO

Nay, pr'ythee dispatch: the gentleman is half flay'd already.

 

AUTOLYCUS

Are you in earnest, sir?—[Aside.] I smell the trick on't.

 

FLORIZEL

Dispatch, I pr'ythee.

 

AUTOLYCUS

Indeed, I have had earnest; but I cannot with conscience take it.

 

CAMILLO

Unbuckle, unbuckle.

[FLORIZEL and AUTOLYCUS exchange garments.]

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

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

                                      No remedy.—

Have you done there?

 

FLORIZEL

                                   Should I now meet my father,

He would not call me son.

 

CAMILLO

Nay, you shall have no hat.—[Giving it to PERDITA.]

Come, lady, come.—Farewell, my friend.

 

AUTOLYCUS

                                                                 Adieu, sir.

 

FLORIZEL

O Perdita, what have we twain forgot!

Pray you a word.

[They converse apart.]

CAMILLO

[Aside.] What I do next, shall be to tell the king

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.

 

FLORIZEL

                                          Fortune speed us!—

Thus we set on, Camillo, to the sea-side.

 

CAMILLO

The swifter speed the better.

[Exeunt FLORIZEL, PERDITA, and CAMILLO.]

AUTOLYCUS

I understand the business, I hear it:—to have an open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand, is necessary for a cut-purse; a good nose is requisite also, to smell out work for the 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 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 the more knavery to conceal it; and therein am I constant to my profession.

[Re-enter CLOWN and SHEPHERD.]

Aside, aside;—here is more matter for a hot brain: every lane's end, every shop, church, session, hanging, yields a careful man work.

 

CLOWN

See, 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.

 

CLOWN

Nay, but hear me.

 

SHEPHERD

Go to, then.

 

CLOWN

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 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 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.

 

CLOWN

Indeed, brother-in-law was the farthest off you could have been to him; and then your 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.] I know not what impediment this complaint may be to the flight of my master.

 

CLOWN

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 pedlar's excrement. [Takes off his false beard.]—How now, rustics! whither are you bound?

 

SHEPHERD

To the palace, an it like your worship.

 

AUTOLYCUS

Your affairs there, what, with whom, the condition of that fardel, the place of your dwelling, your names, your ages, of what having, breeding, and anything that is fitting to be known? discover.

 

CLOWN

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 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.

 

CLOWN

Your worship had like to have given us one, if you had not taken yourself with the 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 court? receives not thy nose court-odour from me? reflect I not on thy baseness court-contempt? Think'st thou, for that I insinuate, or toaze from thee thy business, I am therefore no courtier? I am courtier cap-à-pie, and one that will either push on 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.

 

CLOWN

Advocate's the court-word for a pheasant; say you have none.

 

SHEPHERD

None, sir; I have no pheasant, cock nor hen.

 

AUTOLYCUS

How bless'd are we that are not simple men!

Yet nature might have made me as these are,

Therefore I will not disdain.

 

CLOWN

This cannot be but a great courtier.

 

SHEPHERD

His garments are rich, but he wears them not handsomely.

 

CLOWN

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' the fardel? 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 the speech of him.

 

AUTOLYCUS

Age, thou hast lost thy labour.

 

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, 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 hand-fast, let him fly: the curses he shall have, the tortures he shall feel, will break the back of man, the heart of monster.

 

CLOWN

Think you so, sir?

 

AUTOLYCUS

Not he alone shall suffer what wit can make heavy and vengeance bitter; but those that are 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 that death is too soft for him, say I. Draw our throne into a sheep-cote!—all deaths are too few, the sharpest too easy.

 

CLOWN

Has the old man e'er a son, sir, do you hear, an't like you, sir?

 

AUTOLYCUS

He has a son,—who shall be flayed alive; then 'nointed over with honey, set on the head of a wasp's nest; then stand till he be three quarters and a dram dead; then recovered again with aqua-vitæ or some other hot infusion; then, raw as he is, and 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, their offences 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 in man besides the king to effect your suits, here is man shall do it.

 

CLOWN

He seems to be of great authority: close with him, give him gold; and though authority be a stubborn bear, yet he is oft led by the nose with gold: show the inside of your purse to the outside of his hand, and no more ado. Remember,—ston'd and flayed alive.

 

SHEPHERD

An't please you, sir, to undertake the business for us, here is that gold I 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. Are you a party in this business?

 

CLOWN

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.

 

CLOWN

Comfort, good comfort! 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 performed; and remain, as he says, your pawn till it be brought you.

 

AUTOLYCUS

I will trust you. Walk before toward the sea-side; go on the right-hand; I will but look upon the hedge, and follow you.

 

CLOWN

We 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.

[Exeunt Shepherd and Clown.]

AUTOLYCUS

If I had a mind to be honest, I see Fortune 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 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 present them: there may be matter in it.

[Exit.]

 

 


 

 

 

ACT V.

 

SCENE I.  Sicilia.  A Room in the palace of LEONTES.

 

[Enter LEONTES, CLEOMENES, DION, PAULINA, and others.]

CLEOMENES

Sir, you have done enough, and have perform'd

A saint-like sorrow: no fault could you make

Which you have not redeem'd; indeed, paid down

More penitence than done trespass: at the last,

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

The wrong I did myself: which was so much

That heirless it hath made my kingdom, and

Destroy'd the sweet'st companion that e'er man

Bred his hopes out of.

 

PAULINA

                                    True, too true, my lord;

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 kill'd

Would be unparallel'd.

 

LEONTES

                                     I think so.—Kill'd!

She I kill'd! I did so: but thou strik'st me

Sorely, to say I did: it is as bitter

Upon thy tongue as in my thought: now, good now,

Say so but seldom.

 

CLEOMENES

                              Not at all, good lady;

You might have spoken a thousand things that would

Have done the time more benefit, and grac'd

Your kindness better.

 

PAULINA

                                  You are one of those

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,

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,—

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 fulfill'd their secret purposes;

For has not the divine Apollo said,

Is't not the tenour 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

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.—[To LEONTES.] Care not for issue;

The crown will find an heir: great Alexander

Left his to the worthiest; so his successor

Was like to be the best.

 

LEONTES

                                      Good Paulina,—

Who hast the memory of Hermione,

I know, in honour,—O that ever I

Had squar'd me to thy counsel!—then, even now,

I might have look'd upon my queen's full eyes,

Have taken treasure from her lips,—

 

PAULINA

                                                         And left them

More rich for what they yielded.

 

LEONTES

                                                    Thou speak'st truth.

No more such wives; therefore, no wife: one worse,

And better us'd, would make her sainted spirit

Again possess her corpse; and on this stage,—

Where we offend her 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

To murder her I married.

 

PAULINA

                                        I should so.

Were I the ghost that walk'd, 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

Should rift to hear me; and the words that follow'd

Should be 'Remember mine!'

 

LEONTES

                                                Stars, stars,

And all eyes else dead coals!—fear thou no wife;

I'll have no wife, Paulina.

 

PAULINA

                                         Will you swear

Never to marry but by my free leave?

 

LEONTES

Never, Paulina; so be bless'd my spirit!

 

PAULINA

Then, good my lords, bear witness to his oath.

 

CLEOMENES

You tempt him over-much.

 

PAULINA

                                            Unless another,

As like Hermione as is her picture,

Affront his eye.

 

CLEOMENES

                          Good madam,—

 

PAULINA

                                                    I have done.

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, walk'd your first queen's ghost, it should take joy

To see her in your arms.

 

LEONTES

                                        My true Paulina,

We shall not marry till thou bidd'st us.

 

PAULINA

                                                             That

Shall be when your first queen's again in breath;

Never till then.

[Enter a GENTLEMAN.]

GENTLEMAN

One that gives out himself Prince Florizel,

Son of Polixenes, with his princess,—she

The fairest I have yet beheld,—desires access

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 fram'd, but forc'd

By need and accident. What train?

 

GENTLEMAN

                                                        But few,

And those but mean.

 

LEONTES

                                 His princess, say you, with him?

 

GENTLEMAN

Ay; the most peerless piece of earth, I think,

That e'er the sun shone bright on.

 

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! Sir, you yourself

Have said and writ so,—but your writing now

Is colder than that theme,—'She had not been,

Nor was not to be equall'd'; thus your verse

Flow'd with her beauty once; 'tis shrewdly ebb'd,

To say you have seen a better.

 

GENTLEMAN

                                                 Pardon, madam:

The one I have almost forgot,—your pardon;—

The other, when she has obtain'd your eye,

Will have your tongue too. This is a creature,

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?

 

GENTLEMAN

Women will love her that she is a woman

More worth than any man; men, that she is

The rarest of all women.

 

LEONTES

                                        Go, Cleomenes;

Yourself, assisted with your honour'd friends,

Bring them to our embracement.—

[Exeunt CLEOMENES, Lords, and Gent.]

                                                       Still, 'tis strange

He thus should steal upon us.

 

PAULINA

                                                Had our prince,—

Jewel of children,—seen this hour, he had pair'd

Well with this lord: there was not full a month

Between their births.

 

LEONTES

Pr'ythee no more; cease; Thou know'st

He dies to me again when talk'd of: sure,

When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches

Will bring me to consider that which may

Unfurnish me of reason.—They are come.—

[Re-enter CLEOMENES, with FLORIZEL, PERDITA, and Attendants.]

Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince;

For she did print your royal father off,

Conceiving you: were I but twenty-one,

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 perform'd before. Most dearly welcome!

And your fair princess,—goddess! O, alas!

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,

Though bearing misery, I desire my life

Once more to look on him.

 

FLORIZEL

                                            By his command

Have I here touch'd Sicilia, and from him

Give you all greetings that a king, at friend,

Can send his brother: and, but infirmity,—

Which waits upon worn times,—hath something seiz'd

His wish'd ability, he had himself

The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his

Measur'd, to look upon you; whom he loves,

He bade me say so,—more than all the sceptres

And those that bear them, living.

 

LEONTES

                                                     O my brother,—

Good gentleman!—the wrongs I have done thee stir

Afresh within me; and these thy offices,

So rarely kind, are as interpreters

Of my behind-hand slackness!—Welcome hither,

As is the spring to the earth. And hath he too

Expos'd this paragon to the fearful usage,—

At least ungentle,—of the dreadful Neptune,

To greet a man not worth her pains, much less

The adventure of her person?

 

FLORIZEL

                                                Good, my lord,

She came from Libya.

 

LEONTES

                                    Where the warlike Smalus,

That noble honour'd lord, is fear'd and lov'd?

 

FLORIZEL

Most royal sir, from thence; from him whose daughter

His tears proclaim'd his, parting with her: thence,—

A prosperous south-wind friendly, we have cross'd,

To execute the charge my father gave me,

For visiting your highness: my best train

I have from your Sicilian shores dismiss'd;

Who for Bohemia bend, to signify

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

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 bless'd,—

As he from heaven merits it,—with you

Worthy his goodness. What might I have been,

Might I a son and daughter now have look'd on,

Such goodly things as you!

[Enter a Lord.]

LORD

                                            Most noble sir,

That which I shall report will bear no credit,

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,—

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

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

With this young prince.

 

FLORIZEL

                                      Camillo has betray'd me;

Whose honour and whose honesty, till now,

Endur'd all weathers.

 

LORD

                                  Lay't so to his charge;

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;

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

Our contract celebrated.

 

LEONTES

                                       You are married?

 

FLORIZEL

We are not, sir, nor are we like to be;

The stars, I see, will kiss the valleys first:—

The odds for high and low's alike.

 

LEONTES

                                                       My lord,

Is this the daughter of a king?

 

FLORIZEL

                                                She is,

When once she is my wife.

 

LEONTES

That once, I see by your good father's speed,

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.

 

FLORIZEL

                                                  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 ow'd no more to time

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

                                              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

                                               I thought of her

Even in these looks I made.—[To FLORIZEL.] But your petition

Is yet unanswer'd. I will to your father.

Your honour not o'erthrown by your desires,

I am friend to them and you: upon which errand

I now go toward him; therefore, follow me,

And mark what way I make. Come, good my lord.

[Exeunt.]

 

 

 

 

 

SCENE II.  The same.  Before the Palace.

 

[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 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

I make a broken delivery of the business; but the changes I perceived in the king and Camillo were very notes of admiration. They seem'd almost, with staring on one another, to tear the cases of their eyes; there was speech in their 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 the importance were joy or sorrow;—but in the extremity of the one, it must needs be. Here comes a gentleman that happily knows more.

[Enter a Gentleman.]

The news, Rogero?

 

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Nothing but bonfires: the oracle is fulfilled: the king's daughter is found: such a deal of wonder is broken out within this hour that ballad-makers cannot be able to express it. Here comes the Lady Paulina's steward: he can deliver you more.

[Enter a third Gentleman.]

How goes it now, sir? This news, 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 swear you see, there is such unity in the proofs. The mantle of Queen Hermione; 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 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

Then you have 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 was casting up of eyes, holding up of hands, with countenance of such distraction that they were to be known by garment, not by favour. Our king, being ready to leap out of himself for joy of his found daughter, as if that joy were now become a loss, 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 like a weather-bitten conduit of many kings' reigns. 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

Like 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, but a handkerchief and rings of his, that Paulina knows.

 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

What became of his bark and his followers?

 

THIRD GENTLEMAN

Wrecked the same instant of their 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 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

The 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 water, though not the fish,—was, when at the relation of the queen's death, with the manner how she came to it,—bravely confessed and lamented by the king,—how attentivenes wounded his daughter; till, from one sign of dolour to another, she did with an 'Alas!'—I would fain say, bleed tears; for I am sure my heart wept blood. Who was most marble there changed colour; some swooned, all sorrowed: if all the world could have seen it, the woe had been universal.

 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Are 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 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:—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, 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 to our knowledge. Let's along.

[Exeunt GENTLEMEN.]

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 not what; but he at that time over-fond of the shepherd's daughter,—so he then took her to be,—who began to be much sea-sick, and himself little better, extremity of weather continuing, this mystery remained undiscover'd. But 'tis all one to me; for had I been the finder-out of this secret, it would not have relish'd among my other discredits. Here come those I have done good to against my will, and already appearing in the blossoms of their fortune.

[Enter Shepherd and Clown.]

SHEPHERD

Come, boy; I am past more children, but thy sons and daughters will be all gentlemen born.

 

CLOWN

You are well met, sir: you denied to fight with me this other day, because I 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

I know you are now, sir, a gentleman born.

 

CLOWN

Ay, and have been so any time these four hours.

 

SHEPHERD

And so have I, boy!

 

CLOWN

So you have:—but I was a gentleman 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 first gentleman-like tears that ever we shed.

 

SHEPHERD

We may live, son, to shed many more.

 

CLOWN

Ay; or else 'twere hard luck, being in so preposterous estate as we are.

 

AUTOLYCUS

I humbly beseech you, sir, to pardon me all the faults I have committed to your worship, and to give me your good report to the prince my master.

 

SHEPHERD

Pr'ythee, son, do; for we must be gentle, now we are gentlemen.

 

CLOWN

Thou wilt amend thy life?

 

AUTOLYCUS

Ay, an it like your good worship.

 

CLOWN

Give me thy hand: I will swear to the prince thou art as honest a true fellow as any is in Bohemia.

 

SHEPHERD

You may say it, but not swear it.

 

CLOWN

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?

 

CLOWN

If it be ne'er so false, a true gentleman 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 wouldst be a tall fellow of thy hands.

 

AUTOLYCUS

I will prove so, sir, to my power.

 

CLOWN

Ay, by any means, prove a tall fellow: if I do not wonder how thou darest venture to be drunk, not being a tall fellow, trust me not.—Hark! the kings and the princes, our kindred, are going to see the queen's picture. Come, follow us: we'll be thy good masters.

[Exeunt.]

 

 

 

 

 

SCENE III.  The same.  A Room in PAULINA's house.

 

[Enter LEONTES, POLIXENES, FLORIZEL, PERDITA, CAMILLO, PAULINA, Lords and Attendants.]

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

You have paid home: but that you have vouchsaf'd,

With your crown'd 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

                                            O Paulina,

We honour you with trouble:—but we came

To see the statue of our queen: your gallery

Have we pass'd through, not without much content

In many singularities; but we saw not

That which my daughter came to look upon,

The statue of her mother.

 

PAULINA

                                         As she liv'd peerless,

So her dead likeness, I do well believe,

Excels whatever yet you look'd upon

Or hand of man hath done; therefore I keep it

Lonely, apart. But here it is: prepare

To see the life as lively mock'd as ever

Still sleep mock'd death: behold; and say 'tis well.

[PAULINA undraws a curtain, and discovers HERMIONE, standing as a statue.]

I like your silence,—it the more shows off

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

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

So much the more our carver's excellence;

Which lets go by some sixteen years, and makes her

As she liv'd now.

 

LEONTES

                            As now she might have done,

So much to my good comfort, as it is

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 woo'd her!

I am asham'd: does not the stone rebuke me

For being more stone than it?—O royal piece,

There's magic in thy majesty; which has

My evils conjur'd to remembrance; and

From thy admiring daughter took the spirits,

Standing like stone with thee!

 

PERDITA

                                                 And give me leave;

And do not say 'tis superstition, that

I kneel, and then implore her blessing.—Lady,

Dear queen, that ended when I but began,

Give me that hand of yours to kiss.

 

PAULINA

                                                        O, patience!

The statue is but newly fix'd, the colour's

Not dry.

 

CAMILLO

My lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on,

Which sixteen winters cannot blow away,

So many summers dry; scarce any joy

Did ever so long live; no sorrow

But kill'd itself much sooner.

 

POLIXENES

                                               Dear my brother,

Let him that was the cause of this have power

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 mine,—

I'd not have show'd it.

 

LEONTES

                                    Do not draw the curtain.

 

PAULINA

No longer shall you gaze on't; lest your fancy

May think anon it moves.

 

LEONTES

                                          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 breath'd, and that those veins

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 mock'd with art.

 

PAULINA

                                            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!

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 stirr'd you: but

I could afflict you further.

 

LEONTES

                                          Do, Paulina;

For this affliction has a taste as sweet

As any cordial comfort.—Still, methinks,

There is an air comes from her: what fine chisel

Could ever yet cut breath? Let no man mock me,

For I will kiss her!

 

PAULINA

                              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

                                            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,

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

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 requir'd

You do awake your faith. Then all stand still;

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.]

'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.

[HERMIONE comes down from the pedestal.]

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 woo'd her; now in age

Is she become the suitor?

 

LEONTES

[Embracing her.]              O, she's warm!

If this be magic, let it be an art

Lawful as eating.

 

POLIXENES

                            She embraces him.

 

CAMILLO

She hangs about his neck:

If she pertain to life, let her speak too.

 

POLIXENES

Ay, and make it manifest where she has liv'd,

Or how stol'n from the dead.

 

PAULINA

                                               That she is living,

Were it but told you, should be hooted at

Like an old tale; but it appears she lives,

Though yet she speak not. Mark a little while.—

Please you to interpose, fair madam: kneel,

And pray your mother's blessing.—Turn, good lady;

Our Perdita is found.

[Presenting PERDITA, who kneels to HERMIONE.]

HERMIONE

                                   You gods, look down,

And from your sacred vials pour your graces

Upon my daughter's head!—Tell me, mine own,

Where hast thou been preserv'd? where liv'd? how found

Thy father's court? for thou shalt hear that I,—

Knowing by Paulina that the oracle

Gave hope thou wast in being,—have preserv'd

Myself to see the issue.

 

PAULINA

                                      There's time enough for that;

Lest they desire upon this push to trouble

Your joys with like relation.—Go together,

You precious winners all; your exultation

Partake to every one. I, an old turtle,

Will wing me to some wither'd bough, and there

My mate, that's never to be found again,

Lament till I am lost.

 

LEONTES

                                   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;

But how, is to be question'd: 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 honourable husband.—Come, Camillo,

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.—

What! look upon my brother:—both your pardons,

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

Each one demand, and answer to his part

Perform'd in this wide gap of time, since first

We were dissever'd: hastily lead away!

[Exeunt.]