Scanner’s Notes: What this is and isn’t. This was taken from a copy of Shakespeare’s first folio and it is as close as I can come in ASCII to the printed text.
The elongated S’s have been changed to small s’s and the conjoined ae have been changed to ae. I have left the spelling, punctuation, capitalization as close as possible to the printed text. I have corrected some spelling mistakes (I have put together a spelling dictionary devised from the spellings of the Geneva Bible and Shakespeare’s First Folio and have unified spellings according to this template), typo’s and expanded abbreviations as I have come across them. Everything within brackets  is what I have added. So if you don’t like that you can delete everything within the brackets if you want a purer Shakespeare.
Another thing that you should be aware of is that there are textual differences between various copies of the first folio. So there may be differences (other than what I have mentioned above) between this and other first folio editions. This is due to the printer’s habit of setting the type and running off a number of copies and then proofing the printed copy and correcting the type and then continuing the printing run. The proof run wasn’t thrown away but incorporated into the printed copies. This is just the way it is. The text I have used was a composite of more than 30 different First Folio editions’ best pages.
If you find any scanning errors, out and out typos, punctuation errors, or if you disagree with my spelling choices please feel free to email me those errors. I wish to make this the best etext possible. My email address for right now are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. I hope that you enjoy this.
The Winters Tale
Actus Primus. Scoena Prima.
Enter Camillo and Archidamus.
Arch. If you shall chance (Camillo) to visit Bohemia, on the like occasion whereon my seruices are now on-foot, you shall see (as I haue said) great difference betwixt our Bohemia, and your Sicilia
Cam. I thinke, this comming Summer, the King of Sicilia meanes to pay Bohemia the Visitation, which hee iustly owes him
Arch. Wherein our Entertainment shall shame vs: we will be iustified in our Loues: for indeed- Cam. ‘Beseech you-
Arch. Verely I speake it in the freedome of my knowledge: we cannot with such magnificence- in so rare- I know not what to say- Wee will giue you sleepie Drinkes, that your Sences (vn-intelligent of our insufficience) may, though they cannot prayse vs, as little accuse vs
Cam. You pay a great deale to deare, for what’s giuen freely
Arch. ‘Beleeue me, I speake as my vnderstanding instructs me, and as mine honestie puts it to vtterance
Cam. Sicilia cannot shew himselfe ouer-kind to Bohemia: They were trayn’d together in their Childhoods; and there rooted betwixt them then such an affection, which cannot chuse but braunch now. Since their more mature Dignities, and Royall Necessities, made seperation of their Societie, their Encounters (though not Personall) hath been Royally attornyed with enter-change of Gifts, Letters, louing Embassies, that they haue seem’d to be together, though absent: shooke hands, as ouer a Vast; and embrac’d as it were from the ends of opposed Winds. The Heauens continue their Loues
Arch. I thinke there is not in the World, either Malice or Matter, to alter it. You haue an vnspeakable comfort of your young Prince Mamillius: it is a Gentleman of the greatest Promise, that euer came into my Note
Cam. I very well agree with you, in the hopes of him: it is a gallant Child; one, that (indeed) Physicks the Subiect, makes old hearts fresh: they that went on Crutches ere he was borne, desire yet their life, to see him a Man
Arch. Would they else be content to die? Cam. Yes; if there were no other excuse, why they should desire to liue
Arch. If the King had no Sonne, they would desire to liue on Crutches till he had one.
Enter Leontes, Hermione, Mamillius, Polixenes, Camillo.
Pol. Nine Changes of the Watry-Starre hath been The Shepheards Note, since we haue left our Throne Without a Burthen: Time as long againe
Would be fill’d vp (my Brother) with our Thanks, And yet we should, for perpetuitie,
Goe hence in debt: And therefore, like a Cypher (Yet standing in rich place) I multiply
With one we thanke you, many thousands moe, That goe before it
Leo. Stay your Thanks a while,
And pay them when you part
Pol. Sir, that’s to morrow:
I am question’d by my feares, of what may chance, Or breed vpon our absence, that may blow No sneaping Winds at home, to make vs say, This is put forth too truly: besides, I haue stay’d To tyre your Royaltie
Leo. We are tougher (Brother)
Then you can put vs to’t
Pol. No longer stay
Leo. One Seue’ night longer
Pol. Very sooth, to morrow
Leo. Wee’le part the time betweene’s then: and in that Ile no gaine-saying
Pol. Presse me not (‘beseech you) so: There is no Tongue that moues; none, none i’th’ World So soone as yours, could win me: so it should now, Were there necessitie in your request, although ‘Twere needfull I deny’d it. My Affaires Doe euen drag me home-ward: which to hinder, Were (in your Loue) a Whip to me; my stay, To you a Charge, and Trouble: to saue both, Farewell (our Brother.)
Leo. Tongue-ty’d our Queene? speake you
Her. I had thought (Sir) to haue held my peace, vntill You had drawne Oathes 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 proclaym’d, say this to him, He’s beat from his best ward
Leo. Well said, Hermione
Her. To tell, he longs to see his Sonne, were strong: But let him say so then, and let him goe; But let him sweare so, and he shall not stay, Wee’l thwack him hence with Distaffes.
Yet of your Royall presence, Ile aduenture The borrow of a Weeke. When at Bohemia
You take my Lord, Ile giue him my Commission, To let him there a Moneth, behind the Gest Prefix’d for’s parting: yet (good-deed) Leontes, I loue thee not a Iarre o’th’ Clock, behind What Lady she her Lord. You’le stay?
Pol. No, Madame
Her. Nay, but you will?
Pol. I may not verely
You put me off with limber Vowes: but I, Though you would seek t’ vnsphere the Stars with Oaths, Should yet say, Sir, no going: Verely
You shall not goe; a Ladyes Verely ‘is As potent as a Lords. Will you goe yet?
Force me to keepe you as a Prisoner, Not like a Guest: so you shall pay your Fees When you depart, and saue your Thanks. How say you? My Prisoner? or my Guest? by your dread Verely, One of them you shall be
Pol. Your Guest then, Madame:
To be your Prisoner, should import offending; Which is for me, lesse easie to commit,
Then you to punish
Her. Not your Gaoler then,
But your kind Hostesse. Come, Ile question you Of my Lords Tricks, and yours, when you were Boyes: You were pretty Lordings then?
Pol. We were (faire Queene)
Two Lads, that thought there was no more behind, But such a day to morrow, as to day,
And to be Boy eternall
Her. Was not my Lord
The veryer Wag o’th’ two?
Pol. We were as twyn’d Lambs, that did frisk i’th’ 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 weake Spirits ne’re been higher rear’d With stronger blood, we should haue answer’d Heauen Boldly, not guilty; the Imposition clear’d, Hereditarie ours
Her. By this we gather
You haue tript since
Pol. O my most sacred Lady,
Temptations haue since then been borne to’s: for In those vnfledg’d dayes, was my Wife a Girle; Your precious selfe had then not cross’d the eyes Of my young Play-fellow
Her. Grace to boot:
Of this make no conclusion, least you say Your Queene and I are Deuils: yet goe on, Th’ offences we haue made you doe, wee’le answere, If you first sinn’d with vs: and that with vs You did continue fault; and that you slipt not With any, but with vs
Leo. Is he woon yet?
Her. Hee’le stay (my Lord.)
Leo. At my request, he would not:
Hermione (my dearest) thou neuer spoak’st To better purpose
Leo. Neuer, but once
Her. What? haue I twice said well? when was’t before? I prethee tell me: cram’s with prayse, and make’s As fat as tame things: One good deed, dying tonguelesse, Slaughters a thousand, wayting vpon that. Our prayses are our Wages. You may ride’s With one soft Kisse a thousand Furlongs, ere With Spur we heat an Acre. But to th’ Goale: My last good deed, was to entreat his stay. What was my first? it ha’s an elder Sister, Or I mistake you: O, would her Name were Grace. But once before I spoke to th’ purpose? when? Nay, let me haue’t: I long
Leo. Why, that was when
Three crabbed Moneths had sowr’d themselues to death, Ere I could make thee open thy white Hand: A clap thy selfe, my Loue; then didst thou vtter, I am yours for euer
Her. ‘Tis Grace indeed.
Why lo-you now; I haue spoke to th’ purpose twice: The one, for euer earn’d a Royall Husband; Th’ other, for some while a Friend
Leo. Too hot, too hot:
To mingle friendship farre, is mingling bloods. I haue Tremor Cordis on me: my heart daunces, But not for ioy; not ioy. This Entertainment May a free face put on: deriue a Libertie From Heartinesse, from Bountie, fertile Bosome, And well become the Agent: ‘t may; I graunt: But to be padling Palmes, and pinching Fingers, As now they are, and making practis’d Smiles As in a Looking-Glasse; and then to sigh, as ’twere The Mort o’th’ Deere: oh, that is entertainment My Bosome likes not, nor my Browes. Mamillius, Art thou my Boy?
Mam. I, my good Lord
Why that’s my Bawcock: what? has’t smutch’d thy Nose? They say it is a Coppy out of mine. Come Captaine, We must be neat; not neat, but cleanly, Captaine: And yet the Steere, the Heycfer, and the Calfe, Are all call’d Neat. Still Virginalling
Vpon his Palme? How now (you wanton Calfe) Art thou my Calfe?
Mam. Yes, if you will (my Lord.)
Leo. Thou want’st a rough pash, & the shoots that I haue To be full, like me: yet they say we are Almost as like as Egges; Women say so,
(That will say any thing.) But were they false As o’re-dy’d Blacks, as Wind, as Waters; false As Dice are to be wish’d, by one that fixes No borne ‘twixt his and mine; yet were it true, To say this Boy were like me. Come (Sir Page) Looke on me with your Welkin eye: sweet Villaine, Most dear’st, my Collop: Can thy Dam, may’t be Affection? thy Intention stabs the Center. Thou do’st make possible things not so held, Communicat’st with Dreames (how can this be?) With what’s vnreall: thou coactiue art,
And fellow’st nothing. Then ’tis very credent, Thou may’st co-ioyne with something, and thou do’st, (And that beyond Commission) and I find it, (And that to the infection of my Braines, And hardning of my Browes.)
Pol. What meanes Sicilia?
Her. He something seemes vnsetled
Pol. How? my Lord?
Leo. What cheere? how is’t with you, best Brother? Her. You look as if you held a Brow of much distraction: Are you mou’d (my Lord?)
Leo. No, in good earnest.
How sometimes Nature will betray it’s folly? It’s tendernesse? and make it selfe a Pastime To harder bosomes? Looking on the Lynes
Of my Boyes face, me thoughts I did requoyle Twentie three yeeres, and saw my selfe vn-breech’d, In my greene Veluet Coat; my Dagger muzzel’d, Least it should bite it’s Master, and so proue (As Ornaments oft do’s) too dangerous:
How like (me thought) I then was to this Kernell, This Squash, this Gentleman. Mine honest Friend, Will you take Egges for Money?
Mam. No (my Lord) Ile fight
Leo. You will: why happy man be’s dole. My Brother Are you so fond of your young Prince, as we Doe seeme to be of ours?
Pol. If at home (Sir)
He’s all my Exercise, my Mirth, my Matter; Now my sworne Friend, and then mine Enemy; My Parasite, my Souldier: States-man; all: He makes a Iulyes day, short as December, And with his varying childnesse, cures in me Thoughts, that would thick my blood
Leo. So stands this Squire
Offic’d with me: We two will walke (my Lord) And leaue you to your grauer steps. Hermione, How thou lou’st vs, shew in our Brothers welcome; Let what is deare in Sicily, be cheape:
Next to thy selfe, and my young Rouer, he’s Apparant to my heart
Her. If you would seeke vs,
We are yours i’th’ Garden: shall’s attend you there? Leo. To your owne bents dispose you: you’le be found, Be you beneath the Sky: I am angling now, (Though you perceiue me not how I giue Lyne) Goe too, goe too.
How she holds vp the Neb? the Byll to him? And armes her with the boldnesse of a Wife To her allowing Husband. Gone already,
Ynch-thick, knee-deepe; ore head and eares a fork’d one. Goe play (Boy) play: thy Mother playes, and I Play too; but so disgrac’d a part, whose issue Will hisse me to my Graue: Contempt and Clamor Will be my Knell. Goe play (Boy) play, there haue been (Or I am much deceiu’d) Cuckolds ere now, And many a man there is (euen at this present, Now, while I speake this) holds his Wife by th’ Arme, That little thinkes she ha’s been sluyc’d in’s absence, And his Pond fish’d by his next Neighbor (by Sir Smile, his Neighbor:) nay, there’s comfort in’t, Whiles other men haue Gates, and those Gates open’d (As mine) against their will. Should all despaire That haue reuolted Wiues, the tenth of Mankind Would hang themselues. Physick for’t, there’s none: It is a bawdy Planet, that will strike
Where ’tis predominant; and ’tis powrefull: thinke it: From East, West, North, and South, be it concluded, No Barricado for a Belly. Know’t,
It will let in and out the Enemy,
With bag and baggage: many thousand on’s Haue the Disease, and feele’t not. How now Boy? Mam. I am like you say
Leo. Why, that’s some comfort.
What? Camillo there?
Cam. I, my good Lord
Leo. Goe play (Mamillius) thou’rt an honest man: Camillo, this great Sir will yet stay longer
Cam. You had much adoe to make his Anchor hold, When you cast out, it still came home
Leo. Didst note it?
Cam. He would not stay at your Petitions, made His Businesse more materiall
Leo. Didst perceiue it?
They’re here with me already; whisp’ring, rounding: Sicilia is a so-forth: ’tis farre gone,
When I shall gust it last. How cam’t (Camillo) That he did stay?
Cam. At the good Queenes entreatie
Leo. At the Queenes be’t: Good should be pertinent, But so it is, it is not. Was this taken
By any vnderstanding Pate but thine? For thy Conceit is soaking, will draw in More then the common Blocks. Not noted, is’t, But of the finer Natures? by some Seueralls Of Head-peece extraordinarie? Lower Messes Perchance are to this Businesse purblind? say
Cam. Businesse, my Lord? I thinke most vnderstand Bohemia stayes here longer
Cam. Stayes here longer
Leo. I, but why?
Cam. To satisfie your Highnesse, and the Entreaties Of our most gracious Mistresse
Th’ entreaties of your Mistresse? Satisfie? Let that suffice. I haue trusted thee (Camillo) With all the neerest things to my heart, as well My Chamber-Councels, wherein (Priest-like) thou Hast cleans’d my Bosome: I, from thee departed Thy Penitent reform’d: but we haue been
Deceiu’d in thy Integritie, deceiu’d In that which seemes so
Cam. Be it forbid (my Lord.)
Leo. To bide vpon’t: thou art not honest: or If thou inclin’st that way, thou art a Coward, Which hoxes honestie behind, restrayning From Course requir’d: or else thou must be counted A Seruant, grafted in my serious Trust,
And therein negligent: or else a Foole, That seest a Game play’d home, the rich Stake drawne, And tak’st it all for ieast
Cam. My gracious Lord,
I may be negligent, foolish, and fearefull, In euery one of these, no man is free,
But that his negligence, his folly, feare, Among the infinite doings of the World,
Sometime puts forth in your affaires (my Lord.) If euer I were wilfull-negligent,
It was my folly: if industriously
I play’d the Foole, it was my negligence, Not weighing well the end: if euer fearefull To doe a thing, where I the issue doubted, Whereof the execution did cry out
Against the non-performance, ’twas a feare Which oft infects the wisest: these (my Lord) Are such allow’d Infirmities, that honestie Is neuer free of. But beseech your Grace Be plainer with me, let me know my Trespas By it’s owne visage; if I then deny it,
‘Tis none of mine
Leo. Ha’ not you seene Camillo?
(But that’s past doubt: you haue, or your eye-glasse Is thicker then a Cuckolds Horne) or heard? (For to a Vision so apparant, Rumor
Cannot be mute) or thought? (for Cogitation Resides not in that man, that do’s not thinke) My Wife is slipperie? If thou wilt confesse, Or else be impudently negatiue,
To haue nor Eyes, nor Eares, nor Thought, then say My Wife’s a Holy-Horse, deserues a Name
As ranke as any Flax-Wench, that puts to Before her troth-plight: say’t, and iustify’t
Cam. I would not be a stander-by, to heare My Soueraigne Mistresse clouded so, without My present vengeance taken: ‘shrew my heart, You neuer spoke what did become you lesse Then this; which to reiterate, were sin
As deepe as that, though true
Leo. Is whispering nothing?
Is leaning Cheeke to Cheeke? is meating Noses? Kissing with in-side Lip? stopping the Cariere Of Laughter, with a sigh? (a Note infallible Of breaking Honestie) horsing foot on foot? Skulking in corners? wishing Clocks more swift? Houres, Minutes? Noone, Mid-night? and all Eyes Blind with the Pin and Web, but theirs; theirs onely, That would vnseene be wicked? Is this nothing? Why then the World, and all that’s in’t, is nothing, The couering Skie is nothing, Bohemia nothing, My Wife is nothing, nor Nothing haue these Nothings, If this be nothing
Cam. Good my Lord, be cur’d
Of this diseas’d Opinion, and betimes, For ’tis most dangerous
Leo. Say it be, ’tis true
Cam. No, no, my Lord
Leo. It is: you lye, you lye:
I say thou lyest Camillo, and I hate thee, Pronounce thee a grosse Lowt, a mindlesse Slaue, Or else a houering Temporizer, that
Canst with thine eyes at once see good and euill, Inclining to them both: were my Wiues Liuer Infected (as her life) she would not liue The running of one Glasse
Cam. Who do’s infect her?
Leo. Why he that weares her like her Medull, hanging About his neck (Bohemia) who, if I
Had Seruants true about me, that bare eyes To see alike mine Honor, as their Profits, (Their owne particular Thrifts) they would doe that Which should vndoe more doing: I, and thou His Cup-bearer, whom I from meaner forme Haue Bench’d, and rear’d to Worship, who may’st see Plainely, as Heauen sees Earth, and Earth sees Heauen, How I am gall’d, might’st be-spice a Cup, To giue mine Enemy a lasting Winke:
Which Draught to me, were cordiall
Cam. Sir (my Lord)
I could doe this, and that with no rash Potion, But with a lingring Dram, that should not worke Maliciously, like Poyson: But I cannot
Beleeue this Crack to be in my dread Mistresse (So soueraignely being Honorable.)
I haue lou’d thee,
Leo. Make that thy question, and goe rot: Do’st thinke I am so muddy, so vnsetled, To appoint my selfe in this vexation?
Sully the puritie and whitenesse of my Sheetes (Which to preserue, is Sleepe; which being spotted, Is Goades, Thornes, Nettles, Tayles of Waspes) Giue scandall to the blood o’th’ Prince, my Sonne, (Who I doe thinke is mine, and loue as mine) Without ripe mouing to’t? Would I doe this? Could man so blench?
Cam. I must beleeue you (Sir)
I doe, and will fetch off Bohemia for’t: Prouided, that when hee’s remou’d, your Highnesse Will take againe your Queene, as yours at first, Euen for your Sonnes sake, and thereby for sealing The Iniurie of Tongues, in Courts and Kingdomes Knowne, and ally’d to yours
Leo. Thou do’st aduise me,
Euen so as I mine owne course haue set downe: Ile giue no blemish to her Honor, none
Cam. My Lord,
Goe then; and with a countenance as cleare As Friendship weares at Feasts, keepe with Bohemia, And with your Queene: I am his Cup-bearer, If from me he haue wholesome Beueridge,
Account me not your Seruant
Leo. This is all:
Do’t, and thou hast the one halfe of my heart; Do’t not, thou splitt’st thine owne
Cam. Ile do’t, my Lord
Leo. I wil seeme friendly, as thou hast aduis’d me.
Cam. O miserable Lady. But for me,
What case stand I in? I must be the poysoner Of good Polixenes, and my ground to do’t, Is the obedience to a Master; one,
Who in Rebellion with himselfe, will haue All that are his, so too. To doe this deed, Promotion followes: If I could find example Of thousand’s that had struck anoynted Kings, And flourish’d after, Il’d not do’t: But since Nor Brasse, nor Stone, nor Parchment beares not one, Let Villanie it selfe forswear’t. I must Forsake the Court: to do’t, or no, is certaine To me a breake-neck. Happy Starre raigne now, Here comes Bohemia.
Pol. This is strange: Me thinkes
My fauor here begins to warpe. Not speake? Good day Camillo
Cam. Hayle most Royall Sir
Pol. What is the Newes i’th’ Court? Cam. None rare (my Lord.)
Pol. The King hath on him such a countenance, As he had lost some Prouince, and a Region Lou’d, as he loues himselfe: euen now I met him With customarie complement, when hee
Wafting his eyes to th’ contrary, and falling A Lippe of much contempt, speedes from me, and So leaues me, to consider what is breeding, That changes thus his Manners
Cam. I dare not know (my Lord.)
Pol. How, dare not? doe not? doe you know, and dare not? Be intelligent to me, ’tis thereabouts:
For to your selfe, what you doe know, you must, And cannot say, you dare not. Good Camillo, Your chang’d complexions are to me a Mirror, Which shewes me mine chang’d too: for I must be A partie in this alteration, finding
My selfe thus alter’d with’t
Cam. There is a sicknesse
Which puts some of vs in distemper, but I cannot name the Disease, and it is caught Of you, that yet are well
Pol. How caught of me?
Make me not sighted like the Basilisque. I haue look’d on thousands, who haue sped the better By my regard, but kill’d none so: Camillo, As you are certainely a Gentleman, thereto Clerke-like experienc’d, which no lesse adornes Our Gentry, then our Parents Noble Names, In whose successe we are gentle: I beseech you, If you know ought which do’s behoue my knowledge, Thereof to be inform’d, imprison’t not
In ignorant concealement
Cam. I may not answere
Pol. A Sicknesse caught of me, and yet I well? I must be answer’d. Do’st thou heare Camillo, I coniure thee, by all the parts of man, Which Honor do’s acknowledge, whereof the least Is not this Suit of mine, that thou declare What incidencie thou do’st ghesse of harme Is creeping toward me; how farre off, how neere, Which way to be preuented, if to be:
If not, how best to beare it
Cam. Sir, I will tell you,
Since I am charg’d in Honor, and by him That I thinke Honorable: therefore marke my counsaile, Which must be eu’n as swiftly followed, as I meane to vtter it; or both your selfe, and me, Cry lost, and so good night
Pol. On, good Camillo
Cam. I am appointed him to murther you
Pol. By whom, Camillo?
Cam. By the King
Pol. For what?
Cam. He thinkes, nay with all confidence he sweares, As he had seen’t, or beene an Instrument To vice you to’t, that you haue toucht his Queene Forbiddenly
Pol. Oh then, my best blood turne
To an infected Gelly, and my Name
Be yoak’d with his, that did betray the Best: Turne then my freshest Reputation to
A sauour, that may strike the dullest Nosthrill Where I arriue, and my approch be shun’d, Nay hated too, worse then the great’st Infection That ere was heard, or read
Cam. Sweare his thought ouer
By each particular Starre in Heauen, and By all their Influences; you may as well Forbid the Sea for to obey the Moone,
As (or by Oath) remoue, or (Counsaile) shake The Fabrick of his Folly, whose foundation Is pyl’d vpon his Faith, and will continue The standing of his Body
Pol. How should this grow?
Cam. I know not: but I am sure ’tis safer to Auoid what’s growne, then question how ’tis borne. If therefore you dare trust my honestie, That lyes enclosed in this Trunke, which you Shall beare along impawnd, away to Night, Your Followers I will whisper to the Businesse, And will by twoes, and threes, at seuerall Posternes, Cleare them o’th’ Citie: For my selfe, Ile put My fortunes to your seruice (which are here By this discouerie lost.) Be not vncertaine, For by the honor of my Parents, I
Haue vttred Truth: which if you seeke to proue, I dare not stand by; nor shall you be safer, Then one condemnd by the Kings owne mouth: Thereon his Execution sworne
Pol. I doe beleeue thee:
I saw his heart in’s face. Giue 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 dayes agoe. This Iealousie
Is for a precious Creature: as shee’s rare, Must it be great; and, as his Person’s mightie, Must it be violent: and, as he do’s conceiue, He is dishonor’d by a man, which euer
Profess’d to him: why his Reuenges must In that be made more bitter. Feare ore-shades me: Good Expedition be my friend, and comfort The gracious Queene, part of his Theame; but nothing Of his ill-ta’ne suspition. Come Camillo, I will respect thee as a Father, if
Thou bear’st my life off, hence: Let vs auoid
Cam. It is in mine authoritie to command The Keyes of all the Posternes: Please your Highnesse To take the vrgent houre. Come Sir, away.
Actus Secundus. Scena Prima.
Enter Hermione, Mamillius, Ladies: Leontes, Antigonus, Lords.
Her. Take the Boy to you: he so troubles me, ‘Tis past enduring
Lady. Come (my gracious Lord)
Shall I be your play-fellow?
Mam. No, Ile none of you
Lady. Why (my sweet Lord?)
Mam. You’le kisse me hard, and speake to me, as if I were a Baby still. I loue you better
2.Lady. And why so (my Lord?)
Mam. Not for because
Your Browes are blacker (yet black-browes they say Become some Women best, so that there be not Too much haire there, but in a Cemicircle, Or a halfe-Moone, made with a Pen.)
2.Lady. Who taught ‘this?
Mam. I learn’d it out of Womens faces: pray now, What colour are your eye-browes?
Lady. Blew (my Lord.)
Mam. Nay, that’s a mock: I haue seene a Ladies Nose That ha’s beene blew, but not her eye-browes
Lady. Harke ye,
The Queene (your Mother) rounds apace: we shall Present our seruices to a fine new Prince One of these dayes, and then youl’d wanton with vs, If we would haue you
2.Lady. She is spread of late
Into a goodly Bulke (good time encounter her.) Her. What wisdome stirs amongst you? Come Sir, now I am for you againe: ‘Pray you sit by vs, And tell’s a Tale
Mam. Merry, or sad, shal’t be?
Her. As merry as you will
Mam. A sad Tale’s best for Winter:
I haue one of Sprights, and Goblins
Her. Let’s haue that (good Sir.)
Come-on, sit downe, come-on, and doe your best, To fright me with your Sprights: you’re powrefull at it
Mam. There was a man
Her. Nay, come sit downe: then on
Mam. Dwelt by a Church-yard: I will tell it softly, Yond Crickets shall not heare it
Her. Come on then, and giu’t me in mine eare
Leon. Was hee met there? his Traine? Camillo with him?
Lord. Behind the tuft of Pines I met them, neuer Saw I men scowre so on their way: I eyed them Euen to their Ships
Leo. How blest am I
In my iust 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 drinke; depart, And yet partake no venome: (for his knowledge Is not infected) but if one present
Th’ abhor’d Ingredient to his eye, make knowne How he hath drunke, he cracks his gorge, his sides With violent Hefts: I haue drunke, and seene the Spider. Camillo was his helpe in this, his Pandar: There is a Plot against my Life, my Crowne; All’s true that is mistrusted: that false Villaine, Whom I employ’d, was pre-employ’d by him: He ha’s discouer’d my Designe, and I
Remaine a pinch’d Thing; yea, a very Trick For them to play at will: how came the Posternes So easily open?
Lord. By his great authority,
Which often hath no lesse preuail’d, then so, On your command
Leo. I know’t too well.
Giue me the Boy, I am glad you did not nurse him: Though he do’s beare some signes of me, yet you Haue too much blood in him
Her. What is this? Sport?
Leo. Beare the Boy hence, he shall not come about her, Away with him, and let her sport her selfe With that shee’s big-with, for ’tis Polixenes Ha’s made thee swell thus
Her. But Il’d say he had not;
And Ile be sworne you would beleeue my saying, How e’re you leane to th’ Nay-ward
Leo. You (my Lords)
Looke on her, marke her well: be but about To say she is a goodly Lady, and
The iustice of your hearts will thereto adde ‘Tis pitty shee’s not honest: Honorable; Prayse her but for this her without-dore-Forme, (Which on my faith deserues high speech) and straight The Shrug, the Hum, or Ha, (these Petty-brands That Calumnie doth vse; Oh, I am out,
That Mercy do’s, for Calumnie will seare Vertue it selfe) these Shrugs, these Hum’s, and Ha’s, When you haue said shee’s goodly, come betweene, Ere you can say shee’s honest: But be’t knowne (From him that ha’s most cause to grieue it should be) Shee’s an Adultresse
Her. Should a Villaine say so,
(The most replenish’d Villaine in the World) He were as much more Villaine: you (my Lord) Doe but mistake
Leo. You haue mistooke (my Lady)
Polixenes for Leontes: O thou Thing, (Which Ile not call a Creature of thy place, Least Barbarisme (making me the precedent) Should a like Language vse to all degrees, And mannerly distinguishment leaue out,
Betwixt the Prince and Begger:) I haue said Shee’s an Adultresse, I haue said with whom: More; shee’s a Traytor, and Camillo is
A Federarie with her, and one that knowes What she should shame to know her selfe, But with her most vild Principall: that shee’s A Bed-swaruer, euen as bad as those
That Vulgars giue bold’st Titles; I, and priuy To this their late escape
Her. No (by my life)
Priuy to none of this: how will this grieue you, When you shall come to clearer knowledge, that You thus haue publish’d me? Gentle my Lord, You scarce can right me throughly, then, to say You did mistake
Leo. No: if I mistake
In those Foundations which I build vpon, The Centre is not bigge enough to beare
A Schoole-Boyes Top. Away with her, to Prison: He who shall speake for her, is a farre-off guiltie, But that he speakes
Her. There’s some ill Planet raignes: I must be patient, till the Heauens looke With an aspect more fauorable. Good my Lords, I am not prone to weeping (as our Sex
Commonly are) the want of which vaine dew Perchance shall dry your pitties: but I haue That honorable Griefe lodg’d here, which burnes Worse then Teares drowne: ‘beseech you all (my Lords) With thoughts so qualified, as your Charities Shall best instruct you, measure me; and so The Kings will be perform’d
Leo. Shall I be heard?
Her. Who is’t that goes with me? ‘beseech your Highnes My Women may be with me, for you see
My plight requires it. Doe not weepe (good Fooles) There is no cause: When you shall know your Mistris Ha’s deseru’d Prison, then abound in Teares, As I come out; this Action I now goe on, Is for my better grace. Adieu (my Lord)
I neuer wish’d to see you sorry, now I trust I shall: my Women come, you haue leaue
Leo. Goe, doe our bidding: hence
Lord. Beseech your Highnesse call the Queene againe
Antig. Be certaine what you do (Sir) least your Iustice Proue violence, in the which three great ones suffer, Your Selfe, your Queene, your Sonne
Lord. For her (my Lord)
I dare my life lay downe, and will do’t (Sir) Please you t’ accept it, that the Queene is spotlesse I’th’ eyes of Heauen, and to you (I meane In this, which you accuse her.)
Antig. If it proue
Shee’s otherwise, Ile keepe my Stables where I lodge my Wife, Ile goe in couples with her: Then when I feele, and see her, no farther trust her: For euery ynch of Woman in the World,
I, euery dram of Womans flesh is false, If she be
Leo. Hold your peaces
Lord. Good my Lord
Antig. It is for you we speake, not for our selues: You are abus’d, and by some putter on,
That will be damn’d for’t: would I knew the Villaine, I would Land-damne him: be she honor-flaw’d, I haue three daughters: the eldest is eleuen; The second, and the third, nine: and some fiue: If this proue true, they’l pay for’t. By mine Honor Ile gell’d em all: fourteene they shall not see To bring false generations: they are co-heyres, And I had rather glib my selfe, then they Should not produce faire issue
Leo. Cease, no more:
You smell this businesse with a sence as cold As is a dead-mans nose: but I do see’t, and feel’t, As you feele doing thus: and see withall The Instruments that feele
Antig. If it be so,
We neede no graue to burie honesty, There’s not a graine of it, the face to sweeten Of the whole dungy-earth
Leo. What? lacke I credit?
Lord. I had rather you did lacke then I (my Lord) Vpon this ground: and more it would content me To haue her Honor true, then your suspition Be blam’d for’t how you might
Leo. Why what neede we
Commune with you of this? but rather follow Our forcefull instigation? Our prerogatiue Cals not your Counsailes, but our naturall goodnesse Imparts this: which, if you, or stupified, Or seeming so, in skill, cannot, or will not Rellish a truth, like vs: informe your selues, We neede no more of your aduice: the matter, The losse, the gaine, the ord’ring on’t, Is all properly ours
Antig. And I wish (my Liege)
You had onely in your silent iudgement tride it, Without more ouerture
Leo. How could that be?
Either thou art most ignorant by age, Or thou wer’t borne a foole: Camillo’s flight Added to their Familiarity
(Which was as grosse, as euer touch’d coniecture, That lack’d sight onely, nought for approbation But onely seeing, all other circumstances Made vp to’th deed) doth push-on this proceeding. Yet, for a greater confirmation
(For in an Acte of this importance, ’twere Most pitteous to be wilde) I haue dispatch’d in post, To sacred Delphos, to Appollo’s Temple,
Cleomines and Dion, whom you know
Of stuff’d-sufficiency: Now, from the Oracle They will bring all, whose spirituall counsaile had Shall stop, or spurre me. Haue I done well? Lord. Well done (my Lord.)
Leo. Though I am satisfide, and neede no more Then what I know, yet shall the Oracle
Giue rest to th’ mindes of others; such as he Whose ignorant credulitie, will not
Come vp to th’ truth. So haue we thought it good From our free person, she should be confinde, Least that the treachery of the two, fled hence, Be left her to performe. Come follow vs, We are to speake in publique: for this businesse Will raise vs all
Antig. To laughter, as I take it,
If the good truth, were knowne.
Enter Paulina, a Gentleman, Gaoler, Emilia.
Paul. The Keeper of the prison, call to him: Let him haue knowledge who I am. Good Lady, No Court in Europe is too good for thee, What dost thou then in prison? Now good Sir, You know me, do you not?
Gao. For a worthy Lady,
And one, who much I honour
Pau. Pray you then,
Conduct me to the Queene
Gao. I may not (Madam)
To the contrary I haue expresse commandment
Pau. Here’s ado, to locke vp honesty & honour from Th’ accesse of gentle visitors. Is’t lawfull pray you To see her Women? Any of them? Emilia?
Gao. So please you (Madam)
To put a-part these your attendants, I Shall bring Emilia forth
Pau. I pray now call her:
With-draw your selues
Gao. And Madam,
I must be present at your Conference
Pau. Well: be’t so: prethee.
Heere’s such adoe, to make no staine, a staine, As passes colouring. Deare Gentlewoman,
How fares our gracious Lady?
Emil. As well as one so great, and so forlorne May hold together: On her frights, and greefes (Which neuer tender Lady hath borne greater) She is, something before her time, deliuer’d
Pau. A boy?
Emil. A daughter, and a goodly babe, Lusty, and like to liue: the Queene receiues Much comfort in’t: Sayes, my poore prisoner, I am innocent as you,
Pau. I dare be sworne:
These dangerous, vnsafe Lunes i’th’ King, beshrew them: He must be told on’t, and he shall: the office Becomes a woman best. Ile take’t vpon me, If I proue hony-mouth’d, let my tongue blister. And neuer to my red-look’d Anger bee
The Trumpet any more: pray you (Emilia) Commend my best obedience to the Queene, If she dares trust me with her little babe, I’le shew’t the King, and vndertake to bee Her Aduocate to th’ lowd’st. We do not know How he may soften at the sight o’th’ Childe: The silence often of pure innocence
Perswades, when speaking failes
Emil. Most worthy Madam,
Your honor, and your goodnesse is so euident, That your free vndertaking cannot misse
A thriuing yssue: there is no Lady liuing So meete for this great errand; please your Ladiship To visit the next roome, Ile presently
Acquaint the Queene of your most noble offer, Who, but to day hammered of this designe, But durst not tempt a minister of honour Least she should be deny’d
Paul. Tell her (Emilia)
Ile vse that tongue I haue: If wit flow from’t As boldnesse from my bosome, le’t not be doubted I shall do good,
Emil. Now be you blest for it.
Ile to the Queene: please you come something neerer
Gao. Madam, if’t please the Queene to send the babe, I know not what I shall incurre, to passe it, Hauing no warrant
Pau. You neede not feare it (sir)
This Childe was prisoner to the wombe, and is By Law and processe of great Nature, thence Free’d, and enfranchis’d, not a partie to The anger of the King, nor guilty of
(If any be) the trespasse of the Queene
Gao. I do beleeue it
Paul. Do not you feare: vpon mine honor, I Will stand betwixt you, and danger.
Enter Leontes, Seruants, Paulina, Antigonus, and Lords.
Leo. Nor night, nor day, no rest: It is but weaknesse To beare the matter thus: meere weaknesse, if The cause were not in being: part o’th cause, She, th’ Adultresse: for the harlot-King Is quite beyond mine Arme, out of the blanke And leuell of my braine: plot-proofe: but shee, I can hooke to me: say that she were gone, Giuen to the fire, a moity of my rest
Might come to me againe. Whose there? Ser. My Lord
Leo. How do’s the boy?
Ser. He tooke good rest to night: ’tis hop’d His sicknesse is discharg’d
Leo. To see his Noblenesse,
Conceyuing the dishonour of his Mother. He straight declin’d, droop’d, tooke it deeply, Fasten’d, and fix’d the shame on’t in himselfe: Threw-off his Spirit, his Appetite, his Sleepe, And down-right languish’d. Leaue me solely: goe, See how he fares: Fie, fie, no thought of him, The very thought of my Reuenges that way Recoyle vpon me: in himselfe too mightie, And in his parties, his Alliance; Let him be, Vntill a time may serue. 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 powre.
Lord. You must not enter
Paul. Nay rather (good my Lords) be second to me: Feare you his tyrannous passion more (alas) Then the Queenes life? A gracious innocent soule, More free, then he is iealous
Antig. That’s enough
Ser. Madam; he hath not slept to night, commanded None should come at him
Pau. Not so hot (good Sir)
I come to bring him sleepe. ‘Tis such as you That creepe like shadowes by him, and do sighe At each his needlesse heauings: such as you Nourish the cause of his awaking. I
Do come with words, as medicinall, as true; (Honest, as either;) to purge him of that humor, That presses him from sleepe
Leo. Who noyse there, hoe?
Pau. No noyse (my Lord) but needfull conference, About some Gossips for your Highnesse
Away with that audacious Lady. Antigonus, I charg’d thee that she should not come about me, I knew she would
Ant. I told her so (my Lord)
On your displeasures perill, and on mine, She should not visit you
Leo. What? canst not rule her?
Paul. From all dishonestie he can: in this (Vnlesse he take the course that you haue done) Commit me, for committing honor, trust it, He shall not rule me:
Ant. La-you now, you heare,
When she will take the raine, I let her run, But shee’l not stumble
Paul. Good my Liege, I come:
And I beseech you heare me, who professes My selfe your loyall Seruant, your Physitian, Your most obedient Counsailor: yet that dares Lesse appeare so, in comforting your Euilles, Then such as most seeme yours. I say, I come From your good Queene
Leo. Good Queene?
Paul. Good Queene (my Lord) good Queene, I say good Queene,
And would by combate, make her good so, were I A man, the worst about you
Leo. Force her hence
Pau. Let him that makes but trifles of his eyes First hand me: on mine owne accord, Ile off, But first, Ile do my errand. The good Queene (For she is good) hath brought you forth a daughter, Heere ’tis. Commends it to your blessing
A mankinde Witch? Hence with her, out o’ dore: A most intelligencing bawd
Paul. Not so:
I am as ignorant in that, as you,
In so entit’ling me: and no lesse honest Then you are mad: which is enough, Ile warrant (As this world goes) to passe for honest: Leo. Traitors;
Will you not push her out? Giue her the Bastard, Thou dotard, thou art woman-tyr’d: vnroosted By thy dame Partlet heere. Take vp the Bastard, Take’t vp, I say: giue’t to thy Croane
Paul. For euer
Vnvenerable be thy hands, if thou
Tak’st vp the Princesse, by that forced basenesse Which he ha’s put vpon’t
Leo. He dreads his Wife
Paul. So I would you did: then ’twere past all doubt Youl’d call your children, yours
Leo. A nest of Traitors
Ant. I am none, by this good light
Pau. Nor I: nor any
But one that’s heere: and that’s himselfe: for he, The sacred Honor of himselfe, his Queenes, His hopefull Sonnes, his Babes, betrayes to Slander, Whose sting is sharper then the Swords; and will not (For as the case now stands, it is a Curse He cannot be compell’d too’t) once remoue The Root of his Opinion, which is rotten, As euer Oake, or Stone was sound
Leo. A Callat
Of boundlesse tongue, who late hath beat her Husband, And now bayts 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
Paul. It is yours:
And might we lay th’ old Prouerb to your charge, So like you, ’tis the worse. Behold (my Lords) Although the Print be little, the whole Matter And Coppy of the Father: (Eye, Nose, Lippe, The trick of’s Frowne, his Fore-head, nay, the Valley, The pretty dimples of his Chin, and Cheeke; his Smiles: The very Mold, and frame of Hand, Nayle, Finger.) And thou good Goddesse 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, least she suspect, as he do’s, Her Children, not her Husbands
Leo. A grosse Hagge:
And Lozell, thou art worthy to be hang’d, That wilt not stay her Tongue
Antig. Hang all the Husbands
That cannot doe that Feat, you’le leaue your selfe Hardly one Subiect
Leo. Once more take her hence
Paul. A most vnworthy, and vnnaturall Lord Can doe no more
Leo. Ile ha’ thee burnt
Paul. I care not:
It is an Heretique that makes the fire, Not she which burnes in’t. Ile not call you Tyrant: But this most cruell vsage of your Queene (Not able to produce more accusation
Then your owne weake-hindg’d Fancy) something sauors Of Tyrannie, and will ignoble make you,
Yea, scandalous to the World
Leo. On your Allegeance,
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
Paul. I pray you doe not push me, Ile be gone. Looke to your Babe (my Lord) ’tis yours: Ioue send her A better guiding Spirit. What needs these hands? You that are thus so tender o’re his Follyes, Will neuer doe him good, not one of you. So, so: Farewell, we are gone.
Leo. Thou (Traytor) hast set on thy Wife to this. My Child? away with’t? euen thou, that hast A heart so tender o’re it, take it hence, And see it instantly consum’d with fire. Euen thou, and none but thou. Take it vp straight: Within this houre bring me word ’tis done, (And by good testimonie) or Ile seize thy life, With what thou else call’st thine: if thou refuse, And wilt encounter with my Wrath, say so; The Bastard-braynes with these my proper hands Shall I dash out. Goe, take it to the fire, For thou sett’st on thy Wife
Antig. I did not, Sir:
These Lords, my Noble Fellowes, if they please, Can cleare me in’t
Lords. We can: my Royall Liege,
He is not guiltie of her comming hither
Leo. You’re lyers all
Lord. Beseech your Highnesse, giue vs better credit: We haue alwayes truly seru’d you, and beseech’ So to esteeme of vs: and on our knees we begge, (As recompence of our deare seruices
Past, and to come) that you doe change this purpose, Which being so horrible, so bloody, must Lead on to some foule Issue. We all kneele
Leo. I am a Feather for each Wind that blows: Shall I liue on, to see this Bastard kneele, And call me Father? better burne it now, Then curse it then. But be it: let it liue. It shall not neyther. You Sir, come you hither: You that haue beene so tenderly officious With Lady Margerie, your Mid-wife there, To saue this Bastards life; for ’tis a Bastard, So sure as this Beard’s gray. What will you aduenture, To saue this Brats life?
Antig. Any thing (my Lord)
That my abilitie may vndergoe,
And Noblenesse impose: at least thus much; Ile pawne the little blood which I haue left, To saue the Innocent: any thing possible
Leo. It shall be possible: Sweare by this Sword Thou wilt performe my bidding
Antig. I will (my Lord.)
Leo. Marke, and performe it: seest thou? for the faile Of any point in’t, shall not onely be
Death to thy selfe, but to thy lewd-tongu’d Wife, (Whom for this time we pardon) We enioyne thee, As thou art Liege-man to vs, that thou carry This female Bastard hence, and that thou beare it To some remote and desart place, quite out Of our Dominions; and that there thou leaue it (Without more mercy) to it owne protection, And fauour of the Climate: as by strange fortune It came to vs, I doe in Iustice charge thee, On thy Soules perill, and thy Bodyes torture, That thou commend it strangely to some place, Where Chance may nurse, or end it: take it vp
Antig. I sweare to doe this: though a present death Had beene more mercifull. Come on (poore Babe) Some powerfull Spirit instruct the Kytes and Rauens To be thy Nurses. Wolues and Beares, they say, (Casting their sauagenesse aside) haue done Like offices of Pitty. Sir, be prosperous In more then this deed do’s require; and Blessing Against this Crueltie, fight on thy side (Poore Thing, condemn’d to losse.)
Leo. No: Ile not reare
Enter a Seruant.
Seru. Please’ your Highnesse, Posts
From those you sent to th’ Oracle, are come An houre since: Cleomines and Dion,
Being well arriu’d from Delphos, are both landed, Hasting to th’ Court
Lord. So please you (Sir) their speed Hath beene beyond accompt
Leo. Twentie three dayes
They haue beene absent: ’tis good speed: fore-tells The great Apollo suddenly will haue
The truth of this appeare: Prepare you Lords, Summon a Session, that we may arraigne
Our most disloyall Lady: for as she hath Been publikely accus’d, so shall she haue A iust and open Triall. While she liues, My heart will be a burthen to me. Leaue me, And thinke vpon my bidding.
Actus Tertius. Scena Prima.
Enter Cleomines and Dion.
Cleo. The Clymat’s delicate, the Ayre most sweet, Fertile the Isle, the Temple much surpassing The common prayse it beares
Dion. I shall report,
For most it caught me, the Celestiall Habits, (Me thinkes I so should terme them) and the reuerence Of the graue Wearers. O, the Sacrifice,
How ceremonious, solemne, and vn-earthly It was i’th’ Offring?
Cleo. But of all, the burst
And the eare-deaff’ning Voyce o’th’ Oracle, Kin to Ioues Thunder, so surpriz’d my Sence, That I was nothing
Dio. If th’ euent o’th’ Iourney
Proue as successefull to the Queene (O be’t so) As it hath beene to vs, rare, pleasant, speedie, The time is worth the vse on’t
Cleo. Great Apollo
Turne all to th’ best: these Proclamations, So forcing faults vpon Hermione,
I little like
Dio. The violent carriage of it
Will cleare, or end the Businesse, when the Oracle (Thus by Apollo’s great Diuine seal’d vp) Shall the Contents discouer: something rare Euen then will rush to knowledge. Goe: fresh Horses, And gracious be the issue.
Enter Leontes, Lords, Officers: Hermione (as to her Triall) Ladies: Cleomines, Dion.
Leo. This Sessions (to our great griefe we pronounce) Euen pushes ‘gainst our heart. The partie try’d, The Daughter of a King, our Wife, and one Of vs too much belou’d. Let vs be clear’d Of being tyrannous, since we so openly
Proceed in Iustice, which shall haue due course, Euen to the Guilt, or the Purgation:
Produce the Prisoner
Officer. It is his Highnesse pleasure, that the Queene Appeare in person, here in Court. Silence
Leo. Reade the Indictment
Officer. Hermione, Queene 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 Soueraigne
Lord the King, thy Royall Husband: the pretence whereof being by circumstances partly layd open, thou (Hermione) contrary to the Faith and Allegeance of a true Subiect, didst counsaile and ayde them, for their better safetie, to flye away by Night
Her. Since what I am to say, must be but that Which contradicts my Accusation, and
The testimonie on my part, no other But what comes from my selfe, it shall scarce boot me To say, Not guiltie: mine Integritie
Being counted Falsehood, shall (as I expresse it) Be so receiu’d. But thus, if Powres Diuine Behold our humane Actions (as they doe)
I doubt not then, but Innocence shall make False Accusation blush, and Tyrannie
Tremble at Patience. You (my Lord) best know (Whom least will seeme to doe so) my past life Hath beene as continent, as chaste, as true, As I am now vnhappy; which is more
Then Historie can patterne, though deuis’d, And play’d, to take Spectators. For behold me, A Fellow of the Royall Bed, which owe
A Moitie of the Throne: a great Kings Daughter, The Mother to a hopefull Prince, here standing To prate and talke for Life, and Honor, fore Who please to come, and heare. For Life, I prize it As I weigh Griefe (which I would spare:) For Honor, ‘Tis a deriuatiue from me to mine,
And onely that I stand for. I appeale To your owne 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 vncurrant, I Haue strayn’d t’ appeare thus; if one iot beyond The bound of Honor, or in act, or will
That way enclining, hardned be the hearts Of all that heare me, and my neer’st of Kin Cry fie vpon my Graue
Leo. I ne’re heard yet,
That any of these bolder Vices wanted Lesse Impudence to gaine-say what they did, Then to performe it first
Her. That’s true enough,
Though ’tis a saying (Sir) not due to me
Leo. You will not owne it
Her. More then Mistresse of,
Which comes to me in name of Fault, I must not At all acknowledge. For Polixenes
(With whom I am accus’d) I doe confesse I lou’d him, as in Honor he requir’d:
With such a kind of Loue, as might become A Lady like me; with a Loue, euen such,
So, and no other, as your selfe commanded: Which, not to haue done, I thinke had been in me Both Disobedience, and Ingratitude
To you, and toward your Friend, whose Loue had spoke, Euen since it could speake, from an Infant, freely, That it was yours. Now for Conspiracie,
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 themselues (Wotting no more then I) are ignorant
Leo. You knew of his departure, as you know What you haue vnderta’ne to doe in’s absence
You speake a Language that I vnderstand not: My Life stands in the leuell of your Dreames, Which Ile lay downe
Leo. Your Actions are my Dreames.
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, concernes more then auailes: for as Thy Brat hath been cast out, like to it selfe, No Father owning it (which is indeed
More criminall in thee, then it) so thou Shalt feele our Iustice; in whose easiest passage, Looke for no lesse then death
Her. Sir, spare your Threats:
The Bugge which you would fright me with, I seeke: To me can Life be no commoditie;
The crowne and comfort of my Life (your Fauor) I doe giue lost, for I doe feele it gone, But know not how it went. My second Ioy, And first Fruits of my body, from his presence I am bar’d, like one infectious. My third comfort (Star’d most vnluckily) is from my breast (The innocent milke in it most innocent mouth) Hal’d out to murther. My selfe on euery Post Proclaym’d a Strumpet: With immodest hatred The Child-bed priuiledge deny’d, which longs To Women of all fashion. Lastly, hurried Here, to this place, i’th’ open ayre, before I haue got strength of limit. Now (my Liege) Tell me what blessings I haue here aliue, That I should feare to die? Therefore proceed: But yet heare this: mistake me not: no Life, (I prize it not a straw) but for mine Honor, Which I would free: if I shall be condemn’d Vpon surmizes (all proofes sleeping else, But what your Iealousies awake) I tell you ‘Tis Rigor, and not Law. Your Honors all, I doe referre me to the Oracle:
Apollo be my Iudge
Lord. This your request
Is altogether iust: therefore bring forth (And in Apollo’s Name) his Oracle
Her. The Emperor of Russia was my Father. Oh that he were aliue, and here beholding His Daughters Tryall: that he did but see The flatnesse of my miserie; yet with eyes Of Pitty, not Reuenge
Officer. You here shal sweare vpon this Sword of Iustice, That you (Cleomines and Dion) haue
Been both at Delphos, and from thence haue brought This seal’d-vp Oracle, by the Hand deliuer’d Of great Apollo’s Priest; and that since then, You haue not dar’d to breake the holy Seale, Nor read the Secrets in’t
Cleo. Dio. All this we sweare
Leo. Breake vp the Seales, and read
Officer. Hermione is chast, Polixenes blamelesse, Camillo a true Subiect, Leontes a iealous Tyrant, his innocent Babe truly begotten, and the King shall liue without an Heire, if that which is lost, be not found
Lords. Now blessed be the great Apollo
Leo. Hast thou read truth?
Offic. I (my Lord) euen so as it is here set downe
Leo. There is no truth at all i’th’ Oracle: The Sessions shall proceed: this is meere falsehood
Ser. My Lord the King: the King?
Leo. What is the businesse?
Ser. O Sir, I shall be hated to report it. The Prince your Sonne, with meere conceit, and feare Of the Queenes speed, is gone
Leo. How? gone?
Ser. Is dead
Leo. Apollo’s angry, and the Heauens themselues Doe strike at my Iniustice. How now there? Paul. This newes is mortall to the Queene: Look downe And see what Death is doing
Leo. Take her hence:
Her heart is but o’re-charg’d: she will recouer. I haue too much beleeu’d mine owne suspition: ‘Beseech you tenderly apply to her
Some remedies for life. Apollo pardon My great prophanenesse ‘gainst thine Oracle. Ile reconcile me to Polixenes,
New woe my Queene, recall the good Camillo (Whom I proclaime a man of Truth, of Mercy:) For being transported by my Iealousies
To bloody thoughts, and to reuenge, I chose Camillo for the minister, to poyson
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 Honor) to my Kingly Guest Vnclasp’d my practise, quit his fortunes here (Which you knew great) and to the hazard Of all Incertainties, himselfe commended, No richer then his Honor: How he glisters Through my Rust? and how his Pietie
Do’s my deeds make the blacker?
Paul. Woe the while:
O cut my Lace, least my heart (cracking it) Breake too
Lord. What fit is this? good Lady?
Paul. What studied torments (Tyrant) hast for me? What Wheeles? Racks? Fires? What flaying? boyling? In Leads, or Oyles? What old, or newer Torture Must I receiue? whose euery word deserues To taste of thy most worst. Thy Tyranny
(Together working with thy Iealousies, Fancies too weake for Boyes, too greene and idle For Girles of Nine) O thinke what they haue done, And then run mad indeed: starke-mad: for all Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it. That thou betrayed’st Polixenes, ’twas nothing, (That did but shew thee, of a Foole, inconstant, And damnable ingratefull:) Nor was’t much. Thou would’st haue poyson’d good Camillo’s Honor, To haue him kill a King: poore Trespasses, More monstrous standing by: whereof I reckon The casting forth to Crowes, thy Baby-daughter, To be or none, or little; though a Deuill Would haue shed water out of fire, ere don’t; Nor is’t directly layd to thee, the death Of the young Prince, whose honorable thoughts (Thoughts high for one so tender) cleft the heart That could conceiue a grosse and foolish Sire Blemish’d his gracious Dam: this is not, no, Layd to thy answere: but the last: O Lords, When I haue said, cry woe: the Queene, the Queene, The sweet’st, deer’st creature’s dead: & vengeance for’t Not drop’d downe yet
Lord. The higher powres forbid
Pau. I say she’s dead: Ile swear’t. If word, nor oath Preuaile not, go and see: if you can bring Tincture, or lustre in her lip, her eye
Heate outwardly, or breath within, Ile serue you As I would do the Gods. But, O thou Tyrant, Do not repent these things, for they are heauier Then all thy woes can stirre: therefore betake thee To nothing but dispaire. A thousand knees, Ten thousand yeares together, naked, fasting, Vpon a barren Mountaine, and still Winter In storme perpetuall, could not moue the Gods To looke that way thou wer’t
Leo. Go on, go on:
Thou canst not speake too much, I haue deseru’d All tongues to talke their bittrest
Lord. Say no more;
How ere the businesse goes, you haue made fault I’th boldnesse of your speech
Pau. I am sorry for’t;
All faults I make, when I shall come to know them, I do repent: Alas, I haue shew’d too much The rashnesse of a woman: he is toucht
To th’ Noble heart. What’s gone, and what’s past helpe Should be past greefe: Do not receiue affliction At my petition; I beseech you, rather
Let me be punish’d, that haue minded you Of what you should forget. Now (good my Liege) Sir, Royall Sir, forgiue a foolish woman: The loue I bore your Queene (Lo, foole againe) Ile speake of her no more, nor of your Children: Ile not remember you of my owne Lord,
(Who is lost too:) take your patience to you, And Ile say nothing
Leo. Thou didst speake but well,
When most the truth: which I receyue much better, Then to be pittied of thee. Prethee bring me To the dead bodies of my Queene, and Sonne, One graue shall be for both: Vpon them shall The causes of their death appeare (vnto
Our shame perpetuall) once a day, Ile visit The Chappell where they lye, and teares shed there Shall be my recreation. So long as Nature Will beare vp with this exercise, so long I dayly vow to vse it. Come, and leade me To these sorrowes.
Enter Antigonus, a Marriner, Babe, Sheepeheard, and Clowne.
Ant. Thou art perfect then, our ship hath toucht vpon The Desarts of Bohemia
Mar. I (my Lord) and feare
We haue Landed in ill time: the skies looke grimly, And threaten present blusters. In my conscience The heauens with that we haue in hand, are angry, And frowne vpon’s
Ant. Their sacred wil’s be done: go get a-boord, Looke to thy barke, Ile not be long before I call vpon thee
Mar. Make your best haste, and go not Too-farre i’th Land: ’tis like to be lowd weather, Besides this place is famous for the Creatures Of prey, that keepe vpon’t
Antig. Go thou away,
Ile follow instantly
Mar. I am glad at heart
To be so ridde o’th businesse.
Ant. Come, poore babe;
I haue heard (but not beleeu’d) the Spirits o’th’ dead May walke againe: if such thing be, thy Mother Appear’d to me last night: for ne’re was dreame So like a waking. To me comes a creature, Sometimes her head on one side, some another, I neuer saw a vessell of like sorrow
So fill’d, and so becomming: in pure white Robes Like very sanctity she did approach
My Cabine where I lay: thrice bow’d before me, And (gasping to begin some speech) her eyes Became two spouts; the furie spent, anon Did this breake from her. Good Antigonus, Since Fate (against thy better disposition) Hath made thy person for the Thrower-out Of my poore babe, according to thine oath, Places remote enough are in Bohemia,
There weepe, and leaue it crying: and for the babe Is counted lost for euer, Perdita
I prethee call’t: For this vngentle businesse Put on thee, by my Lord, thou ne’re shalt see Thy Wife Paulina more: and so, with shriekes She melted into Ayre. Affrighted much,
I did in time collect my selfe, and thought This was so, and no slumber: Dreames, are toyes, Yet for this once, yea superstitiously,
I will be squar’d by this. I do beleeue Hermione hath suffer’d death, and that
Apollo would (this being indeede the issue Of King Polixenes) it should heere be laide (Either for life, or death) vpon the earth Of it’s right Father. Blossome, speed thee well, There lye, and there thy charracter: there these, Which may if Fortune please, both breed thee (pretty) And still rest thine. The storme beginnes, poore wretch, That for thy mothers fault, art thus expos’d To losse, and what may follow. Weepe I cannot, But my heart bleedes: and most accurst am I To be by oath enioyn’d to this. Farewell, The day frownes more and more: thou’rt like to haue A lullabie too rough: I neuer saw
The heauens so dim, by day. A sauage clamor? Well may I get a-boord: This is the Chace, I am gone for euer.
Exit pursued by a Beare.
Shep. I would there were no age betweene ten and three and twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest: for there is nothing (in the betweene) but getting wenches with childe, wronging the Auncientry, stealing, fighting, hearke you now: would any but these boyldebraines of nineteene, and two and twenty hunt this weather? They haue scarr’d away two of my best Sheepe, which I feare the Wolfe will sooner finde then the Maister; if any where I haue them, ’tis by the sea-side, brouzing of Iuy. Good-lucke (and’t be thy will) what haue we heere? Mercy on’s, a Barne? A very pretty barne; A boy, or a Childe I wonder? (A pretty one, a verie prettie one) sure some Scape; Though I am not bookish, yet I can reade Waiting-Gentlewoman in the scape: this has beene some staire-worke, some Trunke-worke, some behinde-doore
worke: they were warmer that got this, then the poore Thing is heere. Ile take it vp for pity, yet Ile tarry till my sonne come: he hallow’d but euen now. Whoa-ho-hoa.
Clo. Hilloa, loa
Shep. What? art so neere? If thou’lt see a thing to talke on, when thou art dead and rotten, come hither: what ayl’st thou, man?
Clo. I haue seene two such sights, by Sea & by Land: but I am not to say it is a Sea, for it is now the skie, betwixt the Firmament and it, you cannot thrust a bodkins point
Shep. Why boy, how is it?
Clo. I would you did but see how it chafes, how it rages, how it takes vp the shore, but that’s not to the point: Oh, the most pitteous cry of the poore soules, sometimes to see ’em, and not to see ’em: Now the Shippe boaring the Moone with her maine Mast, and anon swallowed with yest and froth, as you’ld thrust a Corke into a hogshead. And then for the Land-seruice, to see how the Beare tore out his shoulder-bone, how he cride to mee for helpe, and said his name was Antigonus, a Nobleman: But to make an end of the Ship, to see how the Sea flapdragon’d it: but first, how the poore soules roared, and the sea mock’d them: and how the poore Gentleman roared, and the Beare mock’d him, both roaring lowder then the sea, or weather
Shep. Name of mercy, when was this boy? Clo. Now, now: I haue not wink’d since I saw these sights: the men are not yet cold vnder water, nor the Beare halfe din’d on the Gentleman: he’s at it now
Shep. Would I had bin by, to haue help’d the olde man
Clo. I would you had beene by the ship side, to haue help’d her; there your charity would haue lack’d footing
Shep. Heauy matters, heauy matters: but looke thee heere boy. Now blesse thy selfe: thou met’st with things dying, I with things new borne. Here’s a sight for thee: Looke thee, a bearing-cloath for a Squires childe: looke thee heere, take vp, take vp (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?
Clo. You’re a mad olde man: If the sinnes of your youth are forgiuen you, you’re well to liue. Golde, all Gold
Shep. This is Faiery Gold boy, and ’twill proue so: vp with’t, keepe it close: home, home, the next way. We are luckie (boy) and to bee so still requires nothing but secrecie. Let my sheepe go: Come (good boy) the next way home
Clo. Go you the next way with your Findings, Ile go see if the Beare bee gone from the Gentleman, and how much he hath eaten: they are neuer curst but when they are hungry: if there be any of him left, Ile bury it
Shep. That’s a good deed: if thou mayest discerne by that which is left of him, what he is, fetch me to th’ sight of him
Clowne. ‘Marry will I: and you shall helpe to put him i’th’ ground
Shep. ‘Tis a lucky day, boy, and wee’l do good deeds on’t.
Actus Quartus. Scena Prima.
Enter Time, the Chorus.
Time. I that please some, try all: both ioy and terror Of good, and bad: that makes, and vnfolds error, Now take vpon me (in the name of Time)
To vse my wings: Impute it not a crime To me, or my swift passage, that I slide Ore sixteene yeeres, and leaue the growth vntride Of that wide gap, since it is in my powre To orethrow Law, and in one selfe-borne howre To plant, and orewhelme Custome. Let me passe The same I am, ere ancient’st Order was, Or what is now receiu’d. I witnesse to
The times that brought them in, so shall I do To th’ freshest things now reigning, and make stale The glistering of this present, as my Tale Now seemes to it: your patience this allowing, I turne my glasse, and giue my Scene such growing As you had slept betweene: Leontes leauing Th’ effects of his fond iealousies, so greeuing That he shuts vp himselfe. Imagine me
(Gentle Spectators) that I now may be In faire Bohemia, and remember well,
I mentioned a sonne o’th’ Kings, which Florizell I now name to you: and with speed so pace To speake of Perdita, now growne in grace Equall with wond’ring. What of her insues I list not prophesie: but let Times newes Be knowne when ’tis brought forth. A shepherds daughter And what to her adheres, which followes after, Is th’ argument of Time: of this allow,
If euer you haue spent time worse, ere now: If neuer, yet that Time himselfe doth say, He wishes earnestly, you neuer may.
Enter Polixenes, and Camillo.
Pol. I pray thee (good Camillo) be no more importunate: ’tis a sicknesse denying thee any thing: a death to grant this
Cam. It is fifteene yeeres since I saw my Countrey: though I haue (for the most part) bin ayred abroad, I desire to lay my bones there. Besides, the penitent King (my Master) hath sent for me, to whose feeling sorrowes I might be some allay, or I oreweene to thinke so) which is another spurre to my departure
Pol. As thou lou’st me (Camillo) wipe not out the rest of thy seruices, by leauing me now: the neede I haue of thee, thine owne goodnesse hath made: better not to haue had thee, then thus to want thee, thou hauing made me Businesses, (which none (without thee) can sufficiently manage) must either stay to execute them thy selfe, or take away with thee the very seruices thou hast done: which if I haue not enough considered (as too much I cannot) to bee more thankefull to thee, shall bee my studie, and my profite therein, the heaping friendshippes. Of that fatall Countrey Sicillia, prethee speake no more, whose very naming, punnishes me with the remembrance of that penitent (as thou calst him) and reconciled King my brother, whose losse of his most precious Queene & Children, are euen now to be a-fresh lamented. Say to me, when saw’st thou the Prince Florizell my son? Kings are no lesse vnhappy, their issue, not being gracious, then they are in loosing them, when they haue approued their Vertues
Cam. Sir, it is three dayes since I saw the Prince: what his happier affayres may be, are to me vnknowne: but I haue (missingly) noted, he is of late much retyred from Court, and is lesse frequent to his Princely exercises then formerly he hath appeared
Pol. I haue considered so much (Camillo) and with some care, so farre, that I haue eyes vnder my seruice, which looke vpon his remouednesse: from whom I haue this Intelligence, that he is seldome from the house of a most homely shepheard: a man (they say) that from very nothing, and beyond the imagination of his neighbors, is growne into an vnspeakable estate
Cam. I haue heard (sir) of such a man, who hath a daughter of most rare note: the report of her is extended more, then can be thought to begin from such a cottage Pol. That’s likewise part of my Intelligence: but (I