The Winter's Tale

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Original text
Act III, Scene I
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.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act III, Scene II
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 theFaith 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.

Her.
Sir,
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.

Her.
Praysed.

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.
Exeunt
Original text
Act III, Scene III
Enter Antigonus, a Marriner, Babe, Sheepe-heard, 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.
Exit

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 boylde-
braines 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.
Enter Clowne.

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 hogs-head.
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 flap-dragon'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.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act III, Scene I
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'th' off'ring!

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

DION
If th' event o'th' journey
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 sealed up,
Shall the contents discover, something rare
Even then will rush to knowledge. Go: fresh horses!
And gracious be the issue.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act III, Scene II
Enter Leontes, Lords, and Officers

LEONTES
This sessions, to our great grief we pronounce,
Even pushes 'gainst our heart: the party tried
The daughter of a king, our wife, and one
Of us too much beloved. Let us be cleared
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.
Enter Hermione, guarded, Paulina, and Ladies
attending
Silence!

LEONTES
Read the indictment.

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

HERMIONE
Since what I am to say must be but that
Which contradicts my accusation, and
The testimony on my part no other
But what comes from myself, it shall scarce boot me
To say ‘ Not guilty:’ mine integrity
Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it,
Be so received. But thus: if powers divine
Behold our human actions – as they do –
I doubt not then but innocence shall make
False accusation blush, and tyranny
Tremble at patience. You, my lord, best know –
Who least will seem to do so – my past life
Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true,
As I am now unhappy; which is more
Than history can pattern, though devised
And played 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 strained t' appear thus: if one jot beyond
The bound of honour, or in act or will
That way inclining, hardened be the hearts
Of all that hear me, and my near'st of kin
Cry fie upon my grave!

LEONTES
I ne'er heard yet
That any of these bolder vices wanted
Less impudence to gainsay what they did
Than to perform it first.

HERMIONE
That's true enough,
Through 'tis a saying, sir, not due to me.

LEONTES
You will not own it.

HERMIONE
More than mistress of
Which comes to me in name of fault I must not
At all acknowledge. For Polixenes,
With whom I am accused, I do confess
I loved him as in honour he required:
With such a kind of love as might become
A lady like me; with a love even such,
So and no other, as yourself commanded;
Which not to have done I think had been in me
Both disobedience and ingratitude
To you and toward your friend, whose love had spoke
Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely
That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy,
I know not how it tastes, though it be dished
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 dreamed it. As you were past all shame –
Those of your fact are so – so past all truth;
Which to deny concerns more than avails; for as
Thy brat hath been cast out, like to itself,
No father owning it – which is indeed
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 barred, like one infectious. My third comfort,
Starred most unluckily, is from my breast –
The innocent milk in its most innocent mouth –
Haled out to murder. Myself on every post
Proclaimed a strumpet; with immodest hatred
The childbed privilege denied, which 'longs
To women of all fashion; lastly, hurried
Here to this place, i'th' open air, before
I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege,
Tell me what blessings I have here alive
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 condemned
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!

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!
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 sealed-up oracle, by the hand delivered
Of great Apollo's priest; and that since then
You have not dared to break the holy seal,
Nor read the secrets in't.

CLEOMENES and 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'th' oracle!
The sessions shall proceed: this is mere falsehood.
Enter Servant

SERVANT
My lord the King, the King!

LEONTES
What is the business?

SERVANT
O sir, I shall be hated to report it:
The Prince your son, with mere conceit and fear
Of the Queen's speed, is gone.

LEONTES
How! Gone?

SERVANT
Is dead.

LEONTES
Apollo's angry, and the heavens themselves
Do strike at my injustice.
Hermione 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'ercharged; she will recover.
I have too much believed mine own suspicion.
Beseech you, tenderly apply to her
Some remedies for life.
Exeunt Paulina and Ladies, bearing 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 filled with honour, to my kingly guest
Unclasped my practice, quit his fortunes here –
Which you knew great – and to the hazard
Of all incertainties himself commended,
No richer than his honour. How he glisters
Through my rust! And how his piety
Does my deeds make the blacker!
Enter Paulina

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

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 bygone fooleries were but spices of it.
That thou betrayedst Polixenes 'twas nothing:
That did but show thee of a fool inconstant,
And damnable ingrateful. Nor was't much
Thou wouldst have poisoned 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
Blemished his gracious dam. This is not, no,
Laid to thy answer. But the last – O lords,
When I have said, cry woe! The Queen, the Queen,
The sweet'st, dear'st creature's dead! And vengeance for't
Not dropped down yet.

LORD
The higher powers forbid!

PAULINA
I say she's dead; I'll swear't. If word nor oath
Prevail not, go and see. If you can bring
Tincture or lustre in her lip, her eye,
Heat outwardly or breath within, I'll serve you
As I would do the gods. But, O thou tyrant,
Do not repent these things, for they are heavier
Than all thy woes can stir. Therefore betake thee
To nothing but despair. A thousand knees,
Ten thousand years together, naked, fasting,
Upon a barren mountain, and still winter
In storm perpetual, could not move the gods
To look that way thou wert.

LEONTES
Go on, go on:
Thou canst not speak too much; I have deserved
All tongues to talk their bitt'rest.

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

PAULINA
I am sorry for't.
All faults I make, when I shall come to know them,
I do repent. Alas, I have showed too much
The rashness of a woman! He is touched
To th' noble heart. What's gone and what's past help
Should be past grief. Do not receive affliction
At my petition, I beseech you; rather
Let me be punished, that have minded you
Of what you should forget. Now, good my liege,
Sir, royal sir, forgive a foolish woman.
The love I bore your queen – lo, fool again!
I'll speak of her no more, nor of your children;
I'll not remember you of my own lord,
Who is lost too. Take your patience to you,
And I'll say nothing.

LEONTES
Thou didst speak but well
When most the truth; which I receive much better
Than to be pitied of thee. Prithee, bring me
To the dead bodies of my queen and son.
One grave shall be for both: upon them shall
The causes of their death appear, unto
Our shame perpetual. Once a day I'll visit
The chapel where they lie, and tears shed there
Shall be my recreation. So long as nature
Will bear up with this exercise, so long
I daily vow to use it. Come,
And lead me to these sorrows.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act III, Scene III
Enter Antigonus with the child, and a Mariner

ANTIGONUS
Thou art perfect, then, our ship hath touched 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'th' 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 believed, the spirits o'th' dead
May walk again: if such thing be, thy mother
Appeared to me last night; for ne'er was dream
So like a waking. To me comes a creature,
Sometimes her head on one side, some another:
I never saw a vessel of like sorrow,
So filled and so becoming. In pure white robes,
Like very sanctity, she did approach
My cabin where I lay; thrice bowed before me,
And, gasping to begin some speech, her eyes
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 thy oath,
Places remote enough are in Bohemia:
There weep, and leave it crying; and for the babe
Is counted lost for ever, Perdita
I prithee call't. For this ungentle business,
Put on thee by my lord, thou ne'er shalt see
Thy wife Paulina more.’ And so, with shrieks,
She melted into air. Affrighted much,
I did in time collect myself, and thought
This was so, and no slumber. Dreams are toys:
Yet for this once, yea superstitiously,
I will be squared by this. I do believe
Hermione hath suffered death, and that
Apollo would, this being indeed the issue
Of King Polixenes, it should here be laid,
Either for life or death, upon the earth
Of its right father. Blossom, speed thee well!
He lays down the child, and a scroll
There lie, and there thy character;
(he lays down a box)
there these;
Which may, if fortune please, both breed thee, pretty,
And still rest thine. The storm begins. Poor wretch,
That for thy mother's fault art thus exposed
To loss and what may follow! Weep I cannot,
But my heart bleeds; and most accursed am I
To be by oath enjoined 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 seaside, browsing of
ivy. Good luck, an't be thy will!
He sees the child
What have we here? Mercy on's, a barne! A very pretty
barne! A boy or a child, I wonder? A pretty one, a very
pretty one. Sure, some scape. Though I am not bookish,
yet I can read waiting gentlewoman in the scape: this
has been some stair-work, some trunk-work, some
behind-door-work. They were warmer that got this than
the poor thing is here. I'll take it up for pity – yet I'll
tarry till my son come: he hallowed but even now.
Whoa-ho-hoa!
Enter Clown

CLOWN
Hilloa, loa!

SHEPHERD
What! Art so near? If thou'lt see a thing to
talk on when thou art dead and rotten, come hither.
What 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
yeast 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-dragoned it;
but first, how the poor souls roared, and the sea mocked
them; and how the poor gentleman roared, and the bear
mocked him, both roaring louder than the sea or weather.

SHEPHERD
Name of mercy, when was this, boy?

CLOWN
Now, now! I have not winked since I saw these
sights. The men are not yet cold under water, nor the
bear half dined on the gentleman; he's at it now.

SHEPHERD
Would I had been by, to have helped the old
man!

CLOWN
I would you had been by the ship side, to have
helped her: there your charity would have lacked
footing.

SHEPHERD
Heavy matters, heavy matters! But look thee
here, boy. Now bless thyself: thou met'st 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!
He points to the box
Take up, take up, boy; open it. 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
(opening the box)
You're a made old man. If the
sins of your youth are forgiven you, you're well to live.
Gold! All gold!

SHEPHERD
This is fairy gold, boy, and 'twill prove so. Up
with't, keep it close. Home, home, the next way! We are
lucky, boy, and to be so still requires nothing but
secrecy. Let my sheep go! Come, good boy, the next
way home.

CLOWN
Go you the next way with your findings. I'll go
see if the bear be gone from the gentleman, and how
much he hath eaten. They are never curst but when
they are hungry. If there be any of him left, I'll bury it.

SHEPHERD
That's a good deed. If thou mayest discern by
that which is left of him what he is, fetch me to th' sight
of him.

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

SHEPHERD
'Tis a lucky day, boy, and we'll do good deeds
on't.
Exeunt
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2020 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL