If you shall chance, Camillo, to visit Bohemia
on the like occasion whereon my services
are now on foot, you shall see, as I have said, great
difference betwixt our Bohemia and your Sicilia.
I think this coming summer the King of
Sicilia means to pay Bohemia the visitation which
he justly owes him.
Wherein our entertainment shall shame
us; we will be justified in our loves. For indeed—
Verily, I speak it in the freedom of my
knowledge. We cannot with such magnificence—in
so rare—I know not what to say. We will give you
sleepy drinks, that your senses, unintelligent of our
insufficience, may, though they cannot praise us, as
little accuse us.
You pay a great deal too dear for what’s given
Believe me, I speak as my understanding
instructs me and as mine honesty puts it to
Sicilia cannot show himself over-kind to Bohemia.
They were trained together in their childhoods,
and there rooted betwixt them then such an
affection which cannot choose but branch now.
Since their more mature dignities and royal necessities
made separation of their society, their encounters,
though not personal, hath been royally
attorneyed with interchange of gifts, letters, loving
embassies, that they have seemed to be together
though absent, shook hands as over a vast, and
embraced as it were from the ends of opposed
winds. The heavens continue their loves.
I think there is not in the world either
malice or matter to alter it. You have an unspeakable
comfort of your young Prince Mamillius. It is a
gentleman of the greatest promise that ever came
into my note.
I very well agree with you in the hopes of
him. It is a gallant child—one that indeed physics
the subject, makes old hearts fresh. They that went
on crutches ere he was born desire yet their life to
see him a man.
Would they else be content to die?
Yes, if there were no other excuse why they
should desire to live.
If the King had no son, they would desire
to live on crutches till he had one.
Nine changes of the wat’ry star hath been
The shepherd’s note since we have left our throne
Without a burden. Time as long again
Would be filled up, my brother, with our thanks,
And yet we should for perpetuity
Go hence in debt. And therefore, like a cipher,
Yet standing in rich place, I multiply
With one We thank you many thousands more
That go before it.
Stay your thanks awhile,
And pay them when you part.
Sir, that’s tomorrow.
I am questioned by my fears of what may chance
Or breed upon our absence, that may blow
No sneaping winds at home to make us say
This is put forth too truly. Besides, I have stayed
To tire your Royalty.
We are tougher, brother,
Than you can put us to ’t.
No longer stay.
One sev’nnight longer.
Very sooth, tomorrow.
We’ll part the time between ’s, then, and in that
I’ll no gainsaying.
Press me not, beseech you, so.
There is no tongue that moves, none, none i’ th’
So soon as yours could win me. So it should now,
Were there necessity in your request, although
’Twere needful I denied it. My affairs
Do even drag me homeward, which to hinder
Were in your love a whip to me, my stay
To you a charge and trouble. To save both,
Farewell, our brother.
Tongue-tied, our queen?
I had thought, sir, to have held my peace until
You had drawn oaths from him not to stay. You, sir,
Charge him too coldly. Tell him you are sure
All in Bohemia’s well. This satisfaction
The bygone day proclaimed. Say this to him,
He’s beat from his best ward.
Well said, Hermione.
To tell he longs to see his son were strong.
But let him say so then, and let him go.
But let him swear so and he shall not stay;
We’ll thwack him hence with distaffs.
Yet of your royal presence I’ll
The borrow of a week. When at Bohemia
You take my lord, I’ll give him my commission
To let him there a month behind the gest
Prefixed for ’s parting.—Yet, good deed, Leontes,
I love thee not a jar o’ th’ clock behind
What lady she her lord.—You’ll stay?
Nay, but you will?
I may not, verily.
You put me off with limber vows. But I,
Though you would seek t’ unsphere the stars with
Should yet say Sir, no going. Verily,
You shall not go. A lady’s verily is
As potent as a lord’s. Will you go yet?
Force me to keep you as a prisoner,
Not like a guest, so you shall pay your fees
When you depart and save your thanks. How say you?
My prisoner or my guest? By your dread verily,
One of them you shall be.
Your guest, then, madam.
To be your prisoner should import offending,
Which is for me less easy to commit
Than you to punish.
Not your jailer, then,
But your kind hostess. Come, I’ll question you
Of my lord’s tricks and yours when you were boys.
You were pretty lordings then?
We were, fair queen,
Two lads that thought there was no more behind
But such a day tomorrow as today,
And to be boy eternal.
Was not my lord
The verier wag o’ th’ two?
We were as twinned lambs that did frisk i’ th’ sun
And bleat the one at th’ other. What we changed
Was innocence for innocence. We knew not
The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dreamed
That any did. Had we pursued that life,
And our weak spirits ne’er been higher reared
With stronger blood, we should have answered
Boldly Not guilty, the imposition cleared
By this we gather
You have tripped since.
O my most sacred lady,
Temptations have since then been born to ’s, for
In those unfledged days was my wife a girl;
Your precious self had then not crossed the eyes
Of my young playfellow.
Grace to boot!
Of this make no conclusion, lest you say
Your queen and I are devils. Yet go on.
Th’ offenses we have made you do we’ll answer,
If you first sinned with us, and that with us
You did continue fault, and that you slipped not
With any but with us.
Is he won yet?
He’ll stay, my lord.
At my request he would not.
Hermione, my dearest, thou never spok’st
To better purpose.
Never but once.
What, have I twice said well? When was ’t before?
I prithee tell me. Cram ’s with praise, and make ’s
As fat as tame things. One good deed dying
Slaughters a thousand waiting upon that.
Our praises are our wages. You may ride ’s
With one soft kiss a thousand furlongs ere
With spur we heat an acre. But to th’ goal:
My last good deed was to entreat his stay.
What was my first? It has an elder sister,
Or I mistake you. O, would her name were Grace!
But once before I spoke to th’ purpose? When?
Nay, let me have ’t; I long.
Why, that was when
Three crabbèd months had soured themselves to
Ere I could make thee open thy white hand
And clap thyself my love; then didst thou utter
I am yours forever.
’Tis grace indeed.
Why, lo you now, I have spoke to th’ purpose twice.
The one forever earned a royal husband,
Th’ other for some while a friend.
Too hot, too hot!
To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods.
I have tremor cordis on me. My heart dances,
But not for joy, not joy. This entertainment
May a free face put on, derive a liberty
From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom,
And well become the agent. ’T may, I grant.
But to be paddling palms and pinching fingers,
As now they are, and making practiced smiles
As in a looking glass, and then to sigh, as ’twere
The mort o’ th’ deer—O, that is entertainment
My bosom likes not, nor my brows.—Mamillius,
Art thou my boy?
Ay, my good lord.
Why, that’s my bawcock. What, hast smutched thy
They say it is a copy out of mine. Come, captain,
We must be neat—not neat, but cleanly, captain.
And yet the steer, the heifer, and the calf
Are all called neat.—Still virginalling
Upon his palm?—How now, you wanton calf?
Art thou my calf?
Yes, if you will, my lord.
Thou want’st a rough pash and the shoots that I
To be full like me; yet they say we are
Almost as like as eggs. Women say so,
That will say anything. But were they false
As o’erdyed blacks, as wind, as waters, false
As dice are to be wished by one that fixes
No bourn ’twixt his and mine, yet were it true
To say this boy were like me. Come, sir page,
Look on me with your welkin eye. Sweet villain,
Most dear’st, my collop! Can thy dam?—may ’t
Affection, thy intention stabs the center.
Thou dost make possible things not so held,
Communicat’st with dreams—how can this be?
With what’s unreal thou coactive art,
And fellow’st nothing. Then ’tis very credent
Thou may’st co-join with something; and thou dost,
And that beyond commission, and I find it,
And that to the infection of my brains
And hard’ning of my brows.
What means Sicilia?
He something seems unsettled.
How, my lord?
What cheer? How is ’t with you, best brother?
As if you held a brow of much distraction.
Are you moved, my lord?
No, in good earnest.
How sometimes nature will betray its folly,
Its tenderness, and make itself a pastime
To harder bosoms! Looking on the lines
Of my boy’s face, methoughts I did recoil
Twenty-three years, and saw myself unbreeched,
In my green velvet coat, my dagger muzzled
Lest it should bite its master and so prove,
As ornaments oft do, too dangerous.
How like, methought, I then was to this kernel,
This squash, this gentleman.—Mine honest friend,
Will you take eggs for money?
No, my lord, I’ll fight.
You will? Why, happy man be ’s dole!—My brother,
Are you so fond of your young prince as we
Do seem to be of ours?
If at home, sir,
He’s all my exercise, my mirth, my matter,
Now my sworn friend and then mine enemy,
My parasite, my soldier, statesman, all.
He makes a July’s day short as December,
And with his varying childness cures in me
Thoughts that would thick my blood.
So stands this
Officed with me. We two will walk, my lord,
And leave you to your graver steps.—Hermione,
How thou lov’st us show in our brother’s welcome.
Let what is dear in Sicily be cheap.
Next to thyself and my young rover, he’s
Apparent to my heart.
If you would seek us,
We are yours i’ th’ garden. Shall ’s attend you there?
To your own bents dispose you. You’ll be found,
Be you beneath the sky. I am angling now,
Though you perceive me not how I give line.
Go to, go to!
How she holds up the neb, the bill to him,
And arms her with the boldness of a wife
To her allowing husband!
Inch thick, knee-deep, o’er head and ears a forked
Go play, boy, play. Thy mother plays, and I
Play too, but so disgraced a part, whose issue
Will hiss me to my grave. Contempt and clamor
Will be my knell. Go play, boy, play.—There have
Or I am much deceived, cuckolds ere now;
And many a man there is, even at this present,
Now while I speak this, holds his wife by th’ arm,
That little thinks she has been sluiced in ’s absence,
And his pond fished by his next neighbor, by
Sir Smile, his neighbor. Nay, there’s comfort in ’t
Whiles other men have gates and those gates
As mine, against their will. Should all despair
That have revolted wives, the tenth of mankind
Would hang themselves. Physic for ’t there’s none.
It is a bawdy planet, that will strike
Where ’tis predominant; and ’tis powerful, think it,
From east, west, north, and south. Be it concluded,
No barricado for a belly. Know ’t,
It will let in and out the enemy
With bag and baggage. Many thousand on ’s
Have the disease and feel ’t not.—How now, boy?
I am like you, they say.
Why, that’s some comfort.—
What, Camillo there?
Ay, my good lord.
Go play, Mamillius. Thou ’rt an honest man.
Camillo, this great sir will yet stay longer.
You had much ado to make his anchor hold.
When you cast out, it still came home.
Didst note it?
He would not stay at your petitions, made
His business more material.
Didst perceive it?
They’re here with me already, whisp’ring,
Sicilia is a so-forth. ’Tis far gone
When I shall gust it last.—How came ’t, Camillo,
That he did stay?
At the good queen’s entreaty.
At the queen’s be ’t. Good should be pertinent,
But so it is, it is not. Was this taken
By any understanding pate but thine?
For thy conceit is soaking, will draw in
More than the common blocks. Not noted, is ’t,
But of the finer natures, by some severals
Of headpiece extraordinary? Lower messes
Perchance are to this business purblind? Say.
Business, my lord? I think most understand
Bohemia stays here longer.
Stays here longer.
Ay, but why?
To satisfy your Highness and the entreaties
Of our most gracious mistress.
Th’ entreaties of your mistress? Satisfy?
Let that suffice. I have trusted thee, Camillo,
With all the nearest things to my heart, as well
My chamber-counsels, wherein, priestlike, thou
Hast cleansed my bosom; I from thee departed
Thy penitent reformed. But we have been
Deceived in thy integrity, deceived
In that which seems so.
Be it forbid, my lord!
To bide upon ’t: thou art not honest; or,
If thou inclin’st that way, thou art a coward,
Which hoxes honesty behind, restraining
From course required; or else thou must be
A servant grafted in my serious trust
And therein negligent; or else a fool
That seest a game played home, the rich stake
And tak’st it all for jest.
My gracious lord,
I may be negligent, foolish, and fearful.
In every one of these no man is free,
But that his negligence, his folly, fear,
Among the infinite doings of the world,
Sometime puts forth. In your affairs, my lord,
If ever I were willful-negligent,
It was my folly; if industriously
I played the fool, it was my negligence,
Not weighing well the end; if ever fearful
To do a thing where I the issue doubted,
Whereof the execution did cry out
Against the non-performance, ’twas a fear
Which oft infects the wisest. These, my lord,
Are such allowed infirmities that honesty
Is never free of. But, beseech your Grace,
Be plainer with me; let me know my trespass
By its own visage. If I then deny it,
’Tis none of mine.
Ha’ not you seen, Camillo—
But that’s past doubt; you have, or your eyeglass
Is thicker than a cuckold’s horn—or heard—
For to a vision so apparent, rumor
Cannot be mute—or thought—for cogitation
Resides not in that man that does not think—
My wife is slippery? If thou wilt confess—
Or else be impudently negative
To have nor eyes nor ears nor thought—then say
My wife’s a hobby-horse, deserves a name
As rank as any flax-wench that puts to
Before her troth-plight. Say ’t, and justify ’t.
I would not be a stander-by to hear
My sovereign mistress clouded so without
My present vengeance taken. ’Shrew my heart,
You never spoke what did become you less
Than this, which to reiterate were sin
As deep as that, though true.
Is whispering nothing?
Is leaning cheek to cheek? Is meeting noses?
Kissing with inside lip? Stopping the career
Of laughter with a sigh?—a note infallible
Of breaking honesty. Horsing foot on foot?
Skulking in corners? Wishing clocks more swift?
Hours minutes? Noon midnight? And all eyes
Blind with the pin and web but theirs, theirs only,
That would unseen be wicked? Is this nothing?
Why, then the world and all that’s in ’t is nothing,
The covering sky is nothing, Bohemia nothing,
My wife is nothing, nor nothing have these nothings,
If this be nothing.
Good my lord, be cured
Of this diseased opinion, and betimes,
For ’tis most dangerous.
Say it be, ’tis true.
No, no, my lord.
It is. You lie, you lie.
I say thou liest, Camillo, and I hate thee,
Pronounce thee a gross lout, a mindless slave,
Or else a hovering temporizer that
Canst with thine eyes at once see good and evil,
Inclining to them both. Were my wife’s liver
Infected as her life, she would not live
The running of one glass.
Who does infect her?
Why, he that wears her like her medal, hanging
About his neck—Bohemia, who, if I
Had servants true about me, that bare eyes
To see alike mine honor as their profits,
Their own particular thrifts, they would do that
Which should undo more doing. Ay, and thou,
His cupbearer—whom I from meaner form
Have benched and reared to worship, who mayst see
Plainly as heaven sees Earth and Earth sees heaven
How I am galled—mightst bespice a cup
To give mine enemy a lasting wink,
Which draft to me were cordial.
Sir, my lord,
I could do this, and that with no rash potion,
But with a ling’ring dram that should not work
Maliciously like poison. But I cannot
Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress,
So sovereignly being honorable. I have loved thee—
Make that thy question, and go rot!
Dost think I am so muddy, so unsettled,
To appoint myself in this vexation, sully
The purity and whiteness of my sheets—
Which to preserve is sleep, which being spotted
Is goads, thorns, nettles, tails of wasps—
Give scandal to the blood o’ th’ Prince, my son,
Who I do think is mine and love as mine,
Without ripe moving to ’t? Would I do this?
Could man so blench?
I must believe you, sir.
I do, and will fetch off Bohemia for ’t—
Provided that, when he’s removed, your Highness
Will take again your queen as yours at first,
Even for your son’s sake, and thereby for sealing
The injury of tongues in courts and kingdoms
Known and allied to yours.
Thou dost advise me
Even so as I mine own course have set down.
I’ll give no blemish to her honor, none.
Go then, and with a countenance as clear
As friendship wears at feasts, keep with Bohemia
And with your queen. I am his cupbearer.
If from me he have wholesome beverage,
Account me not your servant.
This is all.
Do ’t and thou hast the one half of my heart;
Do ’t not, thou splitt’st thine own.
I’ll do ’t, my lord.
I will seem friendly, as thou hast advised me.
O miserable lady! But, for me,
What case stand I in? I must be the poisoner
Of good Polixenes, and my ground to do ’t
Is the obedience to a master, one
Who in rebellion with himself will have
All that are his so too. To do this deed,
Promotion follows. If I could find example
Of thousands that had struck anointed kings
And flourished after, I’d not do ’t. But since
Nor brass, nor stone, nor parchment bears not one,
Let villainy itself forswear ’t. I must
Forsake the court. To do ’t or no is certain
To me a breakneck. Happy star reign now!
Here comes Bohemia.
This is strange. Methinks
My favor here begins to warp. Not speak?—
Good day, Camillo.
Hail, most royal sir.
What is the news i’ th’ court?
None rare, my lord.
The King hath on him such a countenance
As he had lost some province and a region
Loved as he loves himself. Even now I met him
With customary compliment, when he,
Wafting his eyes to th’ contrary and falling
A lip of much contempt, speeds from me, and
So leaves me to consider what is breeding
That changes thus his manners.
I dare not know, my
How, dare not? Do not? Do you know and dare not?
Be intelligent to me—’tis thereabouts;
For to yourself what you do know, you must,
And cannot say you dare not. Good Camillo,
Your changed complexions are to me a mirror
Which shows me mine changed too, for I must be
A party in this alteration, finding
Myself thus altered with ’t.
There is a sickness
Which puts some of us in distemper, but
I cannot name the disease, and it is caught
Of you that yet are well.
How caught of me?
Make me not sighted like the basilisk.
I have looked on thousands who have sped the
By my regard, but killed none so. Camillo,
As you are certainly a gentleman, thereto
Clerklike experienced, which no less adorns
Our gentry than our parents’ noble names,
In whose success we are gentle, I beseech you,
If you know aught which does behoove my
Thereof to be informed, imprison ’t not
In ignorant concealment.
I may not answer.
A sickness caught of me, and yet I well?
I must be answered. Dost thou hear, Camillo?
I conjure thee by all the parts of man
Which honor does acknowledge, whereof the least
Is not this suit of mine, that thou declare
What incidency thou dost guess of harm
Is creeping toward me; how far off, how near;
Which way to be prevented, if to be;
If not, how best to bear it.
Sir, I will tell you,
Since I am charged in honor and by him
That I think honorable. Therefore mark my counsel,
Which must be e’en as swiftly followed as
I mean to utter it, or both yourself and me
Cry lost, and so goodnight.
On, good Camillo.
I am appointed him to murder you.
By whom, Camillo?
By the King.
He thinks, nay with all confidence he swears,
As he had seen ’t or been an instrument
To vice you to ’t, that you have touched his queen
O, then my best blood turn
To an infected jelly, and my name
Be yoked with his that did betray the Best!
Turn then my freshest reputation to
A savor that may strike the dullest nostril
Where I arrive, and my approach be shunned,
Nay, hated too, worse than the great’st infection
That e’er was heard or read.
Swear his thought over
By each particular star in heaven and
By all their influences, you may as well
Forbid the sea for to obey the moon
As or by oath remove or counsel shake
The fabric of his folly, whose foundation
Is piled upon his faith and will continue
The standing of his body.
How should this grow?
I know not. But I am sure ’tis safer to
Avoid what’s grown than question how ’tis born.
If therefore you dare trust my honesty,
That lies enclosèd in this trunk which you
Shall bear along impawned, away tonight!
Your followers I will whisper to the business,
And will by twos and threes at several posterns
Clear them o’ th’ city. For myself, I’ll put
My fortunes to your service, which are here
By this discovery lost. Be not uncertain,
For, by the honor of my parents, I
Have uttered truth—which if you seek to prove,
I dare not stand by; nor shall you be safer
Than one condemned by the King’s own mouth,
His execution sworn.
I do believe thee.
I saw his heart in ’s face. Give me thy hand.
Be pilot to me and thy places shall
Still neighbor mine. My ships are ready and
My people did expect my hence departure
Two days ago. This jealousy
Is for a precious creature. As she’s rare,
Must it be great; and as his person’s mighty,
Must it be violent; and as he does conceive
He is dishonored by a man which ever
Professed to him, why, his revenges must
In that be made more bitter. Fear o’ershades me.
Good expedition be my friend, and comfort
The gracious queen, part of his theme, but nothing
Of his ill-ta’en suspicion. Come, Camillo,
I will respect thee as a father if
Thou bear’st my life off hence. Let us avoid.
It is in mine authority to command
The keys of all the posterns. Please your Highness
To take the urgent hour. Come, sir, away.
Take the boy to you. He so troubles me
’Tis past enduring.
Come, my gracious lord,
Shall I be your playfellow?
No, I’ll none of you.
Why, my sweet lord?
You’ll kiss me hard and speak to me as if
I were a baby still.—I love you better.
And why so, my lord?
Not for because
Your brows are blacker—yet black brows, they say,
Become some women best, so that there be not
Too much hair there, but in a semicircle,
Or a half-moon made with a pen.
Who taught this?
I learned it out of women’s faces.—Pray now,
What color are your eyebrows?
Blue, my lord.
Nay, that’s a mock. I have seen a lady’s nose
That has been blue, but not her eyebrows.
The Queen your mother rounds apace. We shall
Present our services to a fine new prince
One of these days, and then you’d wanton with us
If we would have you.
She is spread of late
Into a goodly bulk. Good time encounter her!
What wisdom stirs amongst you?—Come, sir, now
I am for you again. Pray you sit by us,
And tell ’s a tale.
Merry or sad shall ’t be?
As merry as you will.
A sad tale’s best for winter. I have one
Of sprites and goblins.
Let’s have that, good sir.
Come on, sit down. Come on, and do your best
To fright me with your sprites. You’re powerful at it.
There was a man—
Nay, come sit down, then on.
Dwelt by a churchyard. I will tell it softly,
Yond crickets shall not hear it.
Come on then, and give ’t me in mine ear.
Was he met there? His train? Camillo with him?
Behind the tuft of pines I met them. Never
Saw I men scour so on their way. I eyed them
Even to their ships.
How blest am I
In my just censure, in my true opinion!
Alack, for lesser knowledge! How accursed
In being so blest! There may be in the cup
A spider steeped, and one may drink, depart,
And yet partake no venom, for his knowledge
Is not infected; but if one present
Th’ abhorred ingredient to his eye, make known
How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides,
With violent hefts. I have drunk, and seen the spider.
Camillo was his help in this, his pander.
There is a plot against my life, my crown.
All’s true that is mistrusted. That false villain
Whom I employed was pre-employed by him.
He has discovered my design, and I
Remain a pinched thing, yea, a very trick
For them to play at will. How came the posterns
So easily open?
By his great authority,
Which often hath no less prevailed than so
On your command.
I know ’t too well.
Give me the boy. I am glad you did
not nurse him.
Though he does bear some signs of me, yet you
Have too much blood in him.
What is this? Sport?
Bear the boy hence. He shall not come about her.
Away with him, and let her sport herself
With that she’s big with, for ’tis
Has made thee swell thus.
But I’d say he had not,
And I’ll be sworn you would believe my saying,
Howe’er you lean to th’ nayward.
You, my lords,
Look on her, mark her well. Be but about
To say She is a goodly lady, and
The justice of your hearts will thereto add
’Tis pity she’s not honest, honorable.
Praise her but for this her without-door form,
Which on my faith deserves high speech, and
The shrug, the hum, or ha, these petty brands
That calumny doth use—O, I am out,
That mercy does, for calumny will sear
Virtue itself—these shrugs, these hums and has,
When you have said she’s goodly, come between
Ere you can say she’s honest. But be ’t known,
From him that has most cause to grieve it should be,
She’s an adult’ress.
Should a villain say so,
The most replenished villain in the world,
He were as much more villain. You, my lord,
Do but mistake.
You have mistook, my lady,
Polixenes for Leontes. O thou thing,
Which I’ll not call a creature of thy place
Lest barbarism, making me the precedent,
Should a like language use to all degrees,
And mannerly distinguishment leave out
Betwixt the prince and beggar.—I have said
She’s an adult’ress; I have said with whom.
More, she’s a traitor, and Camillo is
A federary with her, and one that knows
What she should shame to know herself
But with her most vile principal: that she’s
A bed-swerver, even as bad as those
That vulgars give bold’st titles; ay, and privy
To this their late escape.
No, by my life,
Privy to none of this. How will this grieve you,
When you shall come to clearer knowledge, that
You thus have published me! Gentle my lord,
You scarce can right me throughly then to say
You did mistake.
No. If I mistake
In those foundations which I build upon,
The center is not big enough to bear
A schoolboy’s top.—Away with her to prison.
He who shall speak for her is afar off guilty
But that he speaks.
There’s some ill planet reigns.
I must be patient till the heavens look
With an aspect more favorable. Good my lords,
I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
Commonly are, the want of which vain dew
Perchance shall dry your pities. But I have
That honorable grief lodged here which burns
Worse than tears drown. Beseech you all, my lords,
With thoughts so qualified as your charities
Shall best instruct you, measure me; and so
The King’s will be performed.
Shall I be heard?
Who is ’t that goes with me? Beseech your Highness
My women may be with me, for you see
My plight requires it.—Do not weep, good fools;
There is no cause. When you shall know your
Has deserved prison, then abound in tears
As I come out. This action I now go on
Is for my better grace.—Adieu, my lord.
I never wished to see you sorry; now
I trust I shall.—My women, come; you have leave.
Go, do our bidding. Hence!
Beseech your Highness, call the Queen again.
Be certain what you do, sir, lest your justice
Prove violence, in the which three great ones suffer:
Yourself, your queen, your son.
For her, my lord,
I dare my life lay down—and will do ’t, sir,
Please you t’ accept it—that the Queen is spotless
I’ th’ eyes of heaven, and to you—I mean
In this which you accuse her.
If it prove
She’s otherwise, I’ll keep my stables where
I lodge my wife. I’ll go in couples with her;
Than when I feel and see her, no farther trust her.
For every inch of woman in the world,
Ay, every dram of woman’s flesh, is false,
If she be.
Hold your peaces.
Good my lord—
It is for you we speak, not for ourselves.
You are abused, and by some putter-on
That will be damned for ’t. Would I knew the
I would land-damn him. Be she honor-flawed,
I have three daughters—the eldest is eleven;
The second and the third, nine and some five;
If this prove true, they’ll pay for ’t. By mine honor,
I’ll geld ’em all; fourteen they shall not see
To bring false generations. They are co-heirs,
And I had rather glib myself than they
Should not produce fair issue.
Cease. No more.
You smell this business with a sense as cold
As is a dead man’s nose. But I do see ’t and feel ’t,
As you feel doing thus, and see withal
The instruments that feel.
If it be so,
We need no grave to bury honesty.
There’s not a grain of it the face to sweeten
Of the whole dungy Earth.
What? Lack I credit?
I had rather you did lack than I, my lord,
Upon this ground. And more it would content me
To have her honor true than your suspicion,
Be blamed for ’t how you might.
Why, what need we
Commune with you of this, but rather follow
Our forceful instigation? Our prerogative
Calls not your counsels, but our natural goodness
Imparts this, which if you—or stupefied
Or seeming so in skill—cannot or will not
Relish a truth like us, inform yourselves
We need no more of your advice. The matter,
The loss, the gain, the ord’ring on ’t is all
And I wish, my liege,
You had only in your silent judgment tried it,
Without more overture.
How could that be?
Either thou art most ignorant by age,
Or thou wert born a fool. Camillo’s flight,
Added to their familiarity—
Which was as gross as ever touched conjecture,
That lacked sight only, naught for approbation
But only seeing, all other circumstances
Made up to th’ deed—doth push on this
Yet, for a greater confirmation—
For in an act of this importance ’twere
Most piteous to be wild—I have dispatched in post
To sacred Delphos, to Apollo’s temple,
Cleomenes and Dion, whom you know
Of stuffed sufficiency. Now from the oracle
They will bring all, whose spiritual counsel had
Shall stop or spur me. Have I done well?
Though I am satisfied and need no more
Than what I know, yet shall the oracle
Give rest to th’ minds of others, such as he
Whose ignorant credulity will not
Come up to th’ truth. So have we thought it good
From our free person she should be confined,
Lest that the treachery of the two fled hence
Be left her to perform. Come, follow us.
We are to speak in public, for this business
Will raise us all.
To laughter, as I take it,
If the good truth were known.
The keeper of the prison, call to him.
Let him have knowledge who I am.
No court in Europe is too good for thee.
What dost thou then in prison?
Now, good sir,
You know me, do you not?
For a worthy lady
And one who much I honor.
Pray you then,
Conduct me to the Queen.
I may not, madam.
To the contrary I have express commandment.
Here’s ado, to lock up honesty and honor from
Th’ access of gentle visitors. Is ’t lawful, pray you,
To see her women? Any of them? Emilia?
So please you, madam,
To put apart these your attendants, I
Shall bring Emilia forth.
I pray now, call her.—
And, madam, I must be present at your conference.
Well, be ’t so, prithee.
Here’s such ado to make no stain a stain
As passes coloring.
How fares our gracious lady?
As well as one so great and so forlorn
May hold together. On her frights and griefs,
Which never tender lady hath borne greater,
She is something before her time delivered.
A daughter, and a goodly babe,
Lusty and like to live. The Queen receives
Much comfort in ’t, says My poor prisoner,
I am innocent as you.
I dare be sworn.
These dangerous unsafe lunes i’ th’ King, beshrew
He must be told on ’t, and he shall. The office
Becomes a woman best. I’ll take ’t upon me.
If I prove honey-mouthed, let my tongue blister
And never to my red-looked anger be
The trumpet anymore. Pray you, Emilia,
Commend my best obedience to the Queen.
If she dares trust me with her little babe,
I’ll show ’t the King and undertake to be
Her advocate to th’ loud’st We do not know
How he may soften at the sight o’ th’ child.
The silence often of pure innocence
Persuades when speaking fails.
Most worthy madam,
Your honor and your goodness is so evident
That your free undertaking cannot miss
A thriving issue. There is no lady living
So meet for this great errand. Please your Ladyship
To visit the next room, I’ll presently
Acquaint the Queen of your most noble offer,
Who but today hammered of this design,
But durst not tempt a minister of honor
Lest she should be denied.
Tell her, Emilia,
I’ll use that tongue I have. If wit flow from ’t
As boldness from my bosom, let ’t not be doubted
I shall do good.
Now be you blest for it!
I’ll to the Queen. Please you come something
Madam, if ’t please the Queen to send the babe,
I know not what I shall incur to pass it,
Having no warrant.
You need not fear it, sir.
This child was prisoner to the womb, and is
By law and process of great nature thence
Freed and enfranchised, not a party to
The anger of the King, nor guilty of,
If any be, the trespass of the Queen.
I do believe it.
Do not you fear. Upon mine honor, I
Will stand betwixt you and danger.
Nor night nor day no rest. It is but weakness
To bear the matter thus, mere weakness. If
The cause were not in being—part o’ th’ cause,
She th’ adult’ress, for the harlot king
Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
And level of my brain, plot-proof. But she
I can hook to me. Say that she were gone,
Given to the fire, a moiety of my rest
Might come to me again.—Who’s there?
How does the boy?
He took good rest tonight. ’Tis hoped
His sickness is discharged.
To see his nobleness,
Conceiving the dishonor of his mother.
He straight declined, drooped, took it deeply,
Fastened and fixed the shame on ’t in himself,
Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep,
And downright languished. Leave me solely. Go,
See how he fares.
Fie, fie, no thought of him.
The very thought of my revenges that way
Recoil upon me—in himself too mighty,
And in his parties, his alliance. Let him be
Until a time may serve. For present vengeance,
Take it on her. Camillo and Polixenes
Laugh at me, make their pastime at my sorrow.
They should not laugh if I could reach them, nor
Shall she within my power.
You must not enter.
Nay, rather, good my lords, be second to me.
Fear you his tyrannous passion more, alas,
Than the Queen’s life? A gracious innocent soul,
More free than he is jealous.
Madam, he hath not slept tonight, commanded
None should come at him.
Not so hot, good sir.
I come to bring him sleep. ’Tis such as you
That creep like shadows by him and do sigh
At each his needless heavings, such as you
Nourish the cause of his awaking. I
Do come with words as medicinal as true,
Honest as either, to purge him of that humor
That presses him from sleep.
What noise there, ho?
No noise, my lord, but needful conference
About some gossips for your Highness.
Away with that audacious lady. Antigonus,
I charged thee that she should not come about me.
I knew she would.
I told her so, my lord,
On your displeasure’s peril and on mine,
She should not visit you.
What, canst not rule her?
From all dishonesty he can. In this,
Unless he take the course that you have done—
Commit me for committing honor—trust it,
He shall not rule me.
La you now, you hear.
When she will take the rein I let her run,
But she’ll not stumble.
Good my liege, I come—
And I beseech you hear me, who professes
Myself your loyal servant, your physician,
Your most obedient counselor, yet that dares
Less appear so in comforting your evils
Than such as most seem yours—I say I come
From your good queen.
Good queen, my lord, good queen, I say good
And would by combat make her good, so were I
A man, the worst about you.
Force her hence.
Let him that makes but trifles of his eyes
First hand me. On mine own accord I’ll off,
But first I’ll do my errand.—The good queen,
For she is good, hath brought you forth a
Here ’tis—commends it to your blessing.
A mankind witch! Hence with her, out o’ door.
A most intelligencing bawd.
I am as ignorant in that as you
In so entitling me, and no less honest
Than you are mad—which is enough, I’ll warrant,
As this world goes, to pass for honest.
Will you not push her out? Give her
Thou dotard; thou art woman-tired, unroosted
By thy Dame Partlet here. Take up the bastard,
Take ’t up, I say. Give ’t to thy crone.
Unvenerable be thy hands if thou
Tak’st up the Princess by that forced baseness
Which he has put upon ’t.
He dreads his wife.
So I would you did. Then ’twere past all doubt
You’d call your children yours.
A nest of traitors!
I am none, by this good light.
Nor I, nor any
But one that’s here, and that’s himself. For he
The sacred honor of himself, his queen’s,
His hopeful son’s, his babe’s, betrays to slander,
Whose sting is sharper than the sword’s; and will
For, as the case now stands, it is a curse
He cannot be compelled to ’t—once remove
The root of his opinion, which is rotten
As ever oak or stone was sound.
Of boundless tongue, who late hath beat her
And now baits me! This brat is none of mine.
It is the issue of Polixenes.
Hence with it, and together with the dam
Commit them to the fire.
It is yours,
And, might we lay th’ old proverb to your charge,
So like you ’tis the worse.—Behold, my lords,
Although the print be little, the whole matter
And copy of the father—eye, nose, lip,
The trick of ’s frown, his forehead, nay, the valley,
The pretty dimples of his chin and cheek, his
The very mold and frame of hand, nail, finger.
And thou, good goddess Nature, which hast made it
So like to him that got it, if thou hast
The ordering of the mind too, ’mongst all colors
No yellow in ’t, lest she suspect, as he does,
Her children not her husband’s.
A gross hag!—
And, losel, thou art worthy to be hanged
That wilt not stay her tongue.
Hang all the husbands
That cannot do that feat, you’ll leave yourself
Hardly one subject.
Once more, take her hence.
A most unworthy and unnatural lord
Can do no more.
I’ll ha’ thee burnt.
I care not.
It is an heretic that makes the fire,
Not she which burns in ’t. I’ll not call you tyrant;
But this most cruel usage of your queen,
Not able to produce more accusation
Than your own weak-hinged fancy, something
Of tyranny, and will ignoble make you,
Yea, scandalous to the world.
On your allegiance,
Out of the chamber with her! Were I a tyrant,
Where were her life? She durst not call me so
If she did know me one. Away with her!
I pray you do not push me; I’ll be gone.—
Look to your babe, my lord; ’tis yours. Jove send her
A better guiding spirit.—What needs these hands?
You that are thus so tender o’er his follies
Will never do him good, not one of you.
So, so. Farewell, we are gone.
Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to this.
My child? Away with ’t! Even thou, that hast
A heart so tender o’er it, take it hence,
And see it instantly consumed with fire.
Even thou, and none but thou. Take it up straight.
Within this hour bring me word ’tis done,
And by good testimony, or I’ll seize thy life,
With what thou else call’st thine. If thou refuse
And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so.
The bastard brains with these my proper hands
Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire,
For thou sett’st on thy wife.
I did not, sir.
These lords, my noble fellows, if they please,
Can clear me in ’t.
We can, my royal liege.
He is not guilty of her coming hither.
You’re liars all.
Beseech your Highness, give us better credit.
We have always truly served you, and beseech
So to esteem of us. And on our knees we beg,
As recompense of our dear services
Past and to come, that you do change this purpose,
Which being so horrible, so bloody, must
Lead on to some foul issue. We all kneel.
I am a feather for each wind that blows.
Shall I live on to see this bastard kneel
And call me father? Better burn it now
Than curse it then. But be it; let it live.
It shall not neither. You, sir, come
You that have been so tenderly officious
With Lady Margery, your midwife there,
To save this bastard’s life—for ’tis a bastard,
So sure as this beard’s gray. What will you
To save this brat’s life?
Anything, my lord,
That my ability may undergo
And nobleness impose. At least thus much:
I’ll pawn the little blood which I have left
To save the innocent. Anything possible.
It shall be possible. Swear by this sword
Thou wilt perform my bidding.
I will, my lord.
Mark, and perform it, seest thou; for the fail
Of any point in ’t shall not only be
Death to thyself but to thy lewd-tongued wife,
Whom for this time we pardon. We enjoin thee,
As thou art liegeman to us, that thou carry
This female bastard hence, and that thou bear it
To some remote and desert place quite out
Of our dominions, and that there thou leave it,
Without more mercy, to it own protection
And favor of the climate. As by strange fortune
It came to us, I do in justice charge thee,
On thy soul’s peril and thy body’s torture,
That thou commend it strangely to some place
Where chance may nurse or end it. Take it up.
I swear to do this, though a present death
Had been more merciful.—Come on, poor babe.
Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens
To be thy nurses! Wolves and bears, they say,
Casting their savageness aside, have done
Like offices of pity. Sir, be prosperous
In more than this deed does require.—And blessing
Against this cruelty fight on thy side,
Poor thing, condemned to loss.
No, I’ll not rear
Please your Highness, posts
From those you sent to th’ oracle are come
An hour since. Cleomenes and Dion,
Being well arrived from Delphos, are both landed,
Hasting to th’ court.
So please you, sir, their speed
Hath been beyond account.
They have been absent. ’Tis good speed, foretells
The great Apollo suddenly will have
The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords.
Summon a session, that we may arraign
Our most disloyal lady; for, as she hath
Been publicly accused, so shall she have
A just and open trial. While she lives,
My heart will be a burden to me. Leave me,
And think upon my bidding.
The climate’s delicate, the air most sweet,
Fertile the isle, the temple much surpassing
The common praise it bears.
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!
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.
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.
Turn all to th’ best! These proclamations,
So forcing faults upon Hermione,
I little like.
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.
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.
It is his Highness’ pleasure that the Queen
Appear in person here in court.
Read the indictment.
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 pretense 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
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,
Whom 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 honor fore
Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it
As I weigh grief, which I would spare. For honor,
’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 honor, 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.
I ne’er heard yet
That any of these bolder vices wanted
Less impudence to gainsay what they did
Than to perform it first.
That’s true enough,
Though ’tis a saying, sir, not due to me.
You will not own it.
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 honor 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
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.
You knew of his departure, as you know
What you have underta’en to do in ’s absence.
You speak a language that I understand not.
My life stands in the level of your dreams,
Which I’ll lay down.
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.
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 favor,
I do give lost, for I do feel it gone,
But know not how it went. My second joy
And first fruits of my body, from his presence
I am barred like one infectious. My third comfort,
Starred most unluckily, is from my breast,
The innocent milk in it most innocent mouth,
Haled out to murder; myself on every post
Proclaimed a strumpet; with immodest hatred
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 honor,
Which I would free), if I shall be condemned
Upon surmises, all proofs sleeping else
But what your jealousies awake, I tell you
’Tis rigor, and not law. Your Honors all,
I do refer me to the oracle.
Apollo be my judge.
This your request
Is altogether just. Therefore bring forth,
And in Apollo’s name, his oracle.
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.
You here shall swear upon this sword of justice
That you, Cleomenes and Dion, have
Been both at Delphos, and from thence have
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.
All this we swear.
Break up the seals and read.
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
Now blessèd be the great Apollo!
Hast thou read truth?
Ay, my lord, even so as it is here set down.
There is no truth at all i’ th’ oracle.
The sessions shall proceed. This is mere falsehood.
My lord the King, the King!
What is the business?
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.
Apollo’s angry, and the heavens themselves
Do strike at my injustice.
How now there?
This news is mortal to the Queen. Look down
And see what death is doing.
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.
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 honor, 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 honor. How he glisters
Through my rust, and how his piety
Does my deeds make the blacker!
Woe the while!
O, cut my lace, lest my heart, cracking it,
What fit is this, good lady?
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 honor,
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 honorable 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
Not dropped down yet.
The higher powers forbid!
I say she’s dead. I’ll swear ’t. If word nor oath
Prevail not, go and see. If you can bring
Tincture or luster in her lip, her eye,
Heat outwardly or breath within, I’ll serve you
As I would do the gods.—But, O thou tyrant,
Do not repent these things, for they are heavier
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.
Go on, go on.
Thou canst not speak too much. I have deserved
All tongues to talk their bitt’rest.
Say no more.
Howe’er the business goes, you have made fault
I’ th’ boldness of your speech.
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
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.
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.
Thou art perfect, then, our ship hath touched upon
The deserts of Bohemia?
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.
Their sacred wills be done. Go, get aboard.
Look to thy bark. I’ll not be long before
I call upon thee.
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.
Go thou away.
I’ll follow instantly.
I am glad at heart
To be so rid o’ th’ business.
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 thine oath,
Places remote enough are in Bohemia.
There weep, and leave it crying. And, for the babe
Is counted lost forever, 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.
There lie, and there thy character; there these,
Which may, if fortune please, both breed thee, pretty,
And still rest thine. The storm begins.
That for thy mother’s fault art thus exposed
To loss and what may follow. Weep I cannot,
But my heart bleeds, and most accurst am I
To be by oath enjoined to this. Farewell.
The day frowns more and more. Thou ’rt like to have
A lullaby too rough. I never saw
The heavens so dim by day.
A savage clamor!
Well may I get aboard! This is the chase.
I am gone forever!
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,
what have we here? Mercy on ’s, a bairn! A very
pretty bairn. A boy or a child, I wonder? A pretty
one, a very pretty one. Sure some scape. Though I
am not bookish, yet I can read waiting-gentlewoman
in the scape. This has been some stair-work,
some trunk-work, some behind-door work. They
were warmer that got this than the poor thing is
here. I’ll take it up for pity. Yet I’ll tarry till my son
come. He halloed but even now.—Whoa-ho-ho!
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?
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.
Why, boy, how is it?
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.
Name of mercy, when was this, boy?
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.
Would I had been by to have helped the old
I would you had been by the ship side,
to have helped her. There your charity would have
Heavy matters, heavy matters. But look
thee here, boy. Now bless thyself. Thou met’st with
things dying, I with things newborn. Here’s a sight
for thee. Look thee, a bearing cloth for a squire’s
child. Look thee here. Take up, take up, boy. Open
’t. So, let’s see. It was told me I should be rich by
the fairies. This is some changeling. Open ’t. What’s
You’re a made old
man. If the sins of your youth are forgiven you,
you’re well to live. Gold, all gold.
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.
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.
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.
Marry, will I, and you shall help to
put him i’ th’ ground.
’Tis a lucky day, boy, and we’ll do good
deeds on ’t.
I, that please some, try all—both joy and terror
Of good and bad, that makes and unfolds error—
Now take upon me, in the name of Time,
To use my wings. Impute it not a crime
To me or my swift passage that I slide
O’er sixteen years, and leave the growth untried
Of that wide gap, since it is in my power
To o’erthrow law and in one self-born hour
To plant and o’erwhelm custom. Let me pass
The same I am ere ancient’st order was
Or what is now received. I witness to
The times that brought them in. So shall I do
To th’ freshest things now reigning, and make stale
The glistering of this present, as my tale
Now seems to it. Your patience this allowing,
I turn my glass and give my scene such growing
As you had slept between. Leontes leaving,
Th’ effects of his fond jealousies so grieving
That he shuts up himself, imagine me,
Gentle spectators, that I now may be
In fair Bohemia. And remember well
I mentioned a son o’ th’ King’s, which Florizell
I now name to you, and with speed so pace
To speak of Perdita, now grown in grace
Equal with wond’ring. What of her ensues
I list not prophesy; but let Time’s news
Be known when ’tis brought forth. A shepherd’s
And what to her adheres, which follows after,
Is th’ argument of Time. Of this allow,
If ever you have spent time worse ere now.
If never, yet that Time himself doth say
He wishes earnestly you never may.
I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more
importunate. ’Tis a sickness denying thee anything,
a death to grant this.
It is fifteen years since I saw my country.
Though I have for the most part been aired abroad,
I desire to lay my bones there. Besides, the penitent
king, my master, hath sent for me, to whose feeling
sorrows I might be some allay—or I o’erween to
think so—which is another spur to my departure.
As thou lov’st me, Camillo, wipe not out the
rest of thy services by leaving me now. The need I
have of thee thine own goodness hath made. Better
not to have had thee than thus to want thee. Thou,
having made me businesses which none without
thee can sufficiently manage, must either stay to
execute them thyself or take away with thee the very
services thou hast done, which if I have not enough
considered, as too much I cannot, to be more
thankful to thee shall be my study, and my profit
therein the heaping friendships. Of that fatal country
Sicilia, prithee speak no more, whose very
naming punishes me with the remembrance of that
penitent, as thou call’st him, and reconciled king
my brother, whose loss of his most precious queen
and children are even now to be afresh lamented.
Say to me, when sawst thou the Prince Florizell, my
son? Kings are no less unhappy, their issue not
being gracious, than they are in losing them when
they have approved their virtues.
Sir, it is three days since I saw the Prince.
What his happier affairs may be are to me unknown,
but I have missingly noted he is of late
much retired from court and is less frequent to his
princely exercises than formerly he hath appeared.
I have considered so much, Camillo, and
with some care, so far that I have eyes under my
service which look upon his removedness, from
whom I have this intelligence: that he is seldom
from the house of a most homely shepherd, a man,
they say, that from very nothing, and beyond the
imagination of his neighbors, is grown into an
I have heard, sir, of such a man, who hath a
daughter of most rare note. The report of her is
extended more than can be thought to begin from
such a cottage.
That’s likewise part of my intelligence, but,
I fear, the angle that plucks our son thither. Thou
shalt accompany us to the place, where we will, not
appearing what we are, have some question with
the shepherd, from whose simplicity I think it not
uneasy to get the cause of my son’s resort thither.
Prithee be my present partner in this business, and
lay aside the thoughts of Sicilia.
I willingly obey your command.
My best Camillo. We must disguise
When daffodils begin to peer,
With heigh, the doxy over the dale,
Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year,
For the red blood reigns in the winter’s pale.
The white sheet bleaching on the hedge,
With heigh, the sweet birds, O how they sing!
Doth set my pugging tooth an edge,
For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.
The lark, that tirralirra chants,
With heigh, with heigh, the thrush and the jay,
Are summer songs for me and my aunts,
While we lie tumbling in the hay.
I have served Prince Florizell and in my time wore
three-pile, but now I am out of service.
But shall I go mourn for that, my dear?
The pale moon shines by night,
And when I wander here and there,
I then do most go right.
If tinkers may have leave to live,
And bear the sow-skin budget,
Then my account I well may give,
And in the stocks avouch it.
My traffic is sheets. When the kite builds, look to
lesser linen. My father named me Autolycus, who,
being, as I am, littered under Mercury, was likewise
a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. With die and
drab I purchased this caparison, and my revenue is
the silly cheat. Gallows and knock are too powerful
on the highway. Beating and hanging are terrors to
me. For the life to come, I sleep out the thought of
it. A prize, a prize!
Let me see, every ’leven wether tods,
every tod yields pound and odd shilling; fifteen
hundred shorn, what comes the wool to?
If the springe hold, the cock’s
I cannot do ’t without counters. Let
me see, what am I to buy for our sheep-shearing
feast? Three pound of sugar,
five pound of currants, rice—what will this sister of
mine do with rice? But my father hath made her
mistress of the feast, and she lays it on. She hath
made me four-and-twenty nosegays for the shearers,
three-man song men all, and very good ones;
but they are most of them means and basses, but
one Puritan amongst them, and he sings psalms to
hornpipes. I must have saffron to color the warden
pies; mace; dates, none, that’s out of my note;
nutmegs, seven; a race or two of ginger, but that I
may beg; four pound of prunes, and as many of
raisins o’ th’ sun.
O, that ever I was
I’ th’ name of me!
O, help me, help me! Pluck but off these
rags, and then death, death.
Alack, poor soul, thou hast need of
more rags to lay on thee rather than have these off.
O sir, the loathsomeness of them offends
me more than the stripes I have received, which are
mighty ones and millions.
Alas, poor man, a million of beating
may come to a great matter.
I am robbed, sir, and beaten, my money
and apparel ta’en from me, and these detestable
things put upon me.
What, by a horseman, or a footman?
A footman, sweet sir, a footman.
Indeed, he should be a footman by
the garments he has left with thee. If this be a
horseman’s coat, it hath seen very hot service. Lend
me thy hand; I’ll help thee. Come, lend me thy
O, good sir, tenderly, O!
Alas, poor soul.
O, good sir, softly, good sir. I fear, sir, my
shoulder blade is out.
How now? Canst stand?
dear sir, good sir, softly. You ha’ done me a charitable
Dost lack any money? I have a little
money for thee.
No, good sweet sir, no, I beseech you, sir. I
have a kinsman not past three-quarters of a mile
hence, unto whom I was going. I shall there have
money or anything I want. Offer me no money, I
pray you; that kills my heart.
What manner of fellow was he that
A fellow, sir, that I have known to go about
with troll-my-dames. I knew him once a servant of
the Prince. I cannot tell, good sir, for which of his
virtues it was, but he was certainly whipped out of
His vices, you would say. There’s no
virtue whipped out of the court. They cherish it to
make it stay there, and yet it will no more but abide.
Vices, I would say, sir. I know this man
well. He hath been since an ape-bearer, then a
process-server, a bailiff. Then he compassed a motion
of the Prodigal Son, and married a tinker’s wife
within a mile where my land and living lies, and,
having flown over many knavish professions, he
settled only in rogue. Some call him Autolycus.
Out upon him! Prig, for my life, prig!
He haunts wakes, fairs, and bearbaitings.
Very true, sir: he, sir, he. That’s the rogue
that put me into this apparel.
Not a more cowardly rogue in all
Bohemia. If you had but looked big and spit at him,
he’d have run.
I must confess to you, sir, I am no fighter. I
am false of heart that way, and that he knew, I
How do you now?
Sweet sir, much better than I was. I can
stand and walk. I will even take my leave of you and
pace softly towards my kinsman’s.
Shall I bring thee on the way?
No, good-faced sir, no, sweet sir.
Then fare thee well. I must go buy
spices for our sheep-shearing.
Prosper you, sweet sir.
Your purse is not hot enough to purchase your
spice. I’ll be with you at your sheep-shearing too. If
I make not this cheat bring out another, and the
shearers prove sheep, let me be unrolled and my
name put in the book of virtue.
Jog on, jog on, the footpath way,
And merrily hent the stile-a.
A merry heart goes all the day,
Your sad tires in a mile-a.
These your unusual weeds to each part of you
Does give a life—no shepherdess, but Flora
Peering in April’s front. This your sheep-shearing
Is as a meeting of the petty gods,
And you the queen on ’t.
Sir, my gracious lord,
To chide at your extremes it not becomes me;
O, pardon that I name them! Your high self,
The gracious mark o’ th’ land, you have obscured
With a swain’s wearing, and me, poor lowly maid,
Most goddesslike pranked up. But that our feasts
In every mess have folly, and the feeders
Digest it with a custom, I should blush
To see you so attired, swoon, I think,
To show myself a glass.
I bless the time
When my good falcon made her flight across
Thy father’s ground.
Now Jove afford you cause.
To me the difference forges dread. Your greatness
Hath not been used to fear. Even now I tremble
To think your father by some accident
Should pass this way as you did. O the Fates,
How would he look to see his work, so noble,
Vilely bound up? What would he say? Or how
Should I, in these my borrowed flaunts, behold
The sternness of his presence?
Nothing but jollity. The gods themselves,
Humbling their deities to love, have taken
The shapes of beasts upon them. Jupiter
Became a bull, and bellowed; the green Neptune
A ram, and bleated; and the fire-robed god,
Golden Apollo, a poor humble swain,
As I seem now. Their transformations
Were never for a piece of beauty rarer,
Nor in a way so chaste, since my desires
Run not before mine honor, nor my lusts
Burn hotter than my faith.
O, but sir,
Your resolution cannot hold when ’tis
Opposed, as it must be, by th’ power of the King.
One of these two must be necessities,
Which then will speak: that you must change this
Or I my life.
Thou dear’st Perdita,
With these forced thoughts I prithee darken not
The mirth o’ th’ feast. Or I’ll be thine, my fair,
Or not my father’s. For I cannot be
Mine own, nor anything to any, if
I be not thine. To this I am most constant,
Though destiny say no. Be merry, gentle.
Strangle such thoughts as these with anything
That you behold the while. Your guests are coming.
Lift up your countenance as it were the day
Of celebration of that nuptial which
We two have sworn shall come.
O Lady Fortune,
Stand you auspicious!
See, your guests approach.
Address yourself to entertain them sprightly,
And let’s be red with mirth.
Fie, daughter, when my old wife lived, upon
This day she was both pantler, butler, cook,
Both dame and servant; welcomed all; served all;
Would sing her song and dance her turn, now here
At upper end o’ th’ table, now i’ th’ middle;
On his shoulder, and his; her face afire
With labor, and the thing she took to quench it
She would to each one sip. You are retired
As if you were a feasted one and not
The hostess of the meeting. Pray you bid
These unknown friends to ’s welcome, for it is
A way to make us better friends, more known.
Come, quench your blushes and present yourself
That which you are, mistress o’ th’ feast. Come on,
And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing,
As your good flock shall prosper.
It is my father’s will I should take on me
The hostess-ship o’ th’ day. You’re
Give me those flowers there, Dorcas.—Reverend
For you there’s rosemary and rue. These keep
Seeming and savor all the winter long.
Grace and remembrance be to you both,
And welcome to our shearing.
A fair one are you—well you fit our ages
With flowers of winter.
Sir, the year growing ancient,
Not yet on summer’s death nor on the birth
Of trembling winter, the fairest flowers o’ th’ season
Are our carnations and streaked gillyvors,
Which some call nature’s bastards. Of that kind
Our rustic garden’s barren, and I care not
To get slips of them.
Wherefore, gentle maiden,
Do you neglect them?
For I have heard it said
There is an art which in their piedness shares
With great creating nature.
Say there be;
Yet nature is made better by no mean
But nature makes that mean. So, over that art
Which you say adds to nature is an art
That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry
A gentler scion to the wildest stock,
And make conceive a bark of baser kind
By bud of nobler race. This is an art
Which does mend nature, change it rather, but
The art itself is nature.
So it is.
Then make your garden rich in gillyvors,
And do not call them bastards.
I’ll not put
The dibble in earth to set one slip of them,
No more than, were I painted, I would wish
This youth should say ’twere well, and only
Desire to breed by me. Here’s flowers for you:
Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram,
The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ th’ sun
And with him rises weeping. These are flowers
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age. You’re very welcome.
I should leave grazing, were I of your flock,
And only live by gazing.
You’d be so lean that blasts of January
Would blow you through and through.
Now, my fair’st friend,
I would I had some flowers o’ th’ spring, that might
Become your time of day,
and yours, and yours,
That wear upon your virgin branches yet
Your maidenheads growing. O Proserpina,
For the flowers now that, frighted, thou let’st fall
From Dis’s wagon! Daffodils,
That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty; violets dim,
But sweeter than the lids of Juno’s eyes
Or Cytherea’s breath; pale primroses,
That die unmarried ere they can behold
Bright Phoebus in his strength—a malady
Most incident to maids; bold oxlips and
The crown imperial; lilies of all kinds,
The flower-de-luce being one—O, these I lack
To make you garlands of, and my sweet friend,
To strew him o’er and o’er.
What, like a corse?
No, like a bank for love to lie and play on,
Not like a corse; or if, not to be buried,
But quick and in mine arms. Come, take your
Methinks I play as I have seen them do
In Whitsun pastorals. Sure this robe of mine
Does change my disposition.
What you do
Still betters what is done. When you speak, sweet,
I’d have you do it ever. When you sing,
I’d have you buy and sell so, so give alms,
Pray so; and for the ord’ring your affairs,
To sing them too. When you do dance, I wish you
A wave o’ th’ sea, that you might ever do
Nothing but that, move still, still so,
And own no other function. Each your doing,
So singular in each particular,
Crowns what you are doing in the present deeds,
That all your acts are queens.
Your praises are too large. But that your youth
And the true blood which peeps fairly through ’t
Do plainly give you out an unstained shepherd,
With wisdom I might fear, my Doricles,
You wooed me the false way.
I think you have
As little skill to fear as I have purpose
To put you to ’t. But come, our dance, I pray.
Your hand, my Perdita. So turtles pair
That never mean to part.
I’ll swear for ’em.
This is the prettiest lowborn lass that ever
Ran on the greensward. Nothing she does or seems
But smacks of something greater than herself,
Too noble for this place.
He tells her something
That makes her blood look out. Good sooth, she is
The queen of curds and cream.
Come on, strike up.
Mopsa must be your mistress? Marry, garlic
To mend her kissing with.
Now, in good time!
Not a word, a word. We stand upon our manners.—
Come, strike up.
Pray, good shepherd, what fair swain is this
Which dances with your daughter?
They call him Doricles, and boasts himself
To have a worthy feeding. But I have it
Upon his own report, and I believe it.
He looks like sooth. He says he loves my daughter.
I think so too, for never gazed the moon
Upon the water as he’ll stand and read,
As ’twere, my daughter’s eyes. And, to be plain,
I think there is not half a kiss to choose
Who loves another best.
She dances featly.
So she does anything, though I report it
That should be silent. If young Doricles
Do light upon her, she shall bring him that
Which he not dreams of.
O, master, if you did but hear the peddler at
the door, you would never dance again after a tabor
and pipe; no, the bagpipe could not move you. He
sings several tunes faster than you’ll tell money. He
utters them as he had eaten ballads and all men’s
ears grew to his tunes.
He could never come better. He shall
come in. I love a ballad but even too well if it be
doleful matter merrily set down, or a very pleasant
thing indeed and sung lamentably.
He hath songs for man or woman, of all sizes.
No milliner can so fit his customers with gloves. He
has the prettiest love songs for maids, so without
bawdry, which is strange, with such delicate burdens
of dildos and fadings, Jump her and thump
her. And where some stretch-mouthed rascal
would, as it were, mean mischief and break a foul
gap into the matter, he makes the maid to answer
Whoop, do me no harm, good man; puts him off,
slights him, with Whoop, do me no harm, good
This is a brave fellow.
Believe me, thou talkest of an admirable
conceited fellow. Has he any unbraided
He hath ribbons of all the colors i’ th’ rainbow;
points more than all the lawyers in Bohemia
can learnedly handle, though they come to him by
th’ gross; inkles, caddises, cambrics, lawns—why,
he sings ’em over as they were gods or goddesses.
You would think a smock were a she-angel, he so
chants to the sleeve-hand and the work about the
square on ’t.
Prithee bring him in, and let him
Forewarn him that he use no scurrilous words
in ’s tunes.
You have of these peddlers that have
more in them than you’d think, sister.
Ay, good brother, or go about to think.
Lawn as white as driven snow,
Cypress black as e’er was crow,
Gloves as sweet as damask roses,
Masks for faces and for noses,
Bugle bracelet, necklace amber,
Perfume for a lady’s chamber,
Golden coifs and stomachers
For my lads to give their dears,
Pins and poking-sticks of steel,
What maids lack from head to heel,
Come buy of me, come. Come buy, come buy.
Buy, lads, or else your lasses cry.
If I were not in love with Mopsa, thou
shouldst take no money of me; but being enthralled
as I am, it will also be the bondage of certain
ribbons and gloves.
I was promised them against the feast, but they
come not too late now.
He hath promised you more than that, or there
He hath paid you all he promised you. Maybe
he has paid you more, which will shame you to give
Is there no manners left among
maids? Will they wear their plackets where they
should bear their faces? Is there not milking time,
when you are going to bed, or kiln-hole, to whistle
of these secrets, but you must be tittle-tattling
before all our guests? ’Tis well they are whisp’ring.
Clamor your tongues, and not a word more.
I have done. Come, you promised me a tawdry
lace and a pair of sweet gloves.
Have I not told thee how I was cozened
by the way and lost all my money?
And indeed, sir, there are cozeners abroad;
therefore it behooves men to be wary.
Fear not thou, man. Thou shalt lose
I hope so, sir, for I have about me many
parcels of charge.
What hast here? Ballads?
Pray now, buy some. I love a ballad in print
alife, for then we are sure they are true.
Here’s one to a very doleful tune, how a
usurer’s wife was brought to bed of twenty moneybags
at a burden, and how she longed to eat adders’
heads and toads carbonadoed.
Is it true, think you?
Very true, and but a month old.
Bless me from marrying a usurer!
Here’s the midwife’s name to ’t, one Mistress
Taleporter, and five or six honest wives that
were present. Why should I carry lies abroad?
Pray you now, buy it.
Come on, lay it by, and
let’s first see more ballads. We’ll buy the other
Here’s another ballad, of a fish that appeared
upon the coast on Wednesday the fourscore
of April, forty thousand fathom above water, and
sung this ballad against the hard hearts of maids. It
was thought she was a woman, and was turned into
a cold fish for she would not exchange flesh with
one that loved her. The ballad is very pitiful, and as
Is it true too, think you?
Five justices’ hands at it, and witnesses
more than my pack will hold.
Lay it by too. Another.
This is a merry ballad, but a very pretty
Let’s have some merry ones.
Why, this is a passing merry one and goes
to the tune of Two Maids Wooing a Man. There’s
scarce a maid westward but she sings it. ’Tis in
request, I can tell you.
We can both sing it. If thou ’lt bear a part, thou
shalt hear; ’tis in three parts.
We had the tune on ’t a month ago.
I can bear my part. You must know ’tis my
occupation. Have at it with you.
Get you hence, for I must go
Where it fits not you to know.
It becomes thy oath full well
Thou to me thy secrets tell.
Me too. Let me go thither.
Or thou goest to th’ grange or mill.
If to either, thou dost ill.
Thou hast sworn my love to be.
Thou hast sworn it more to me.
Then whither goest? Say whither.
We’ll have this song out anon by
ourselves. My father and the gentlemen are in sad
talk, and we’ll not trouble them. Come, bring away
thy pack after me.—Wenches, I’ll buy for you
both.—Peddler, let’s have the first choice.—Follow
And you shall pay well for ’em.
Will you buy any tape,
Or lace for your cape,
My dainty duck, my dear-a?
Any silk, any thread,
Any toys for your head,
Of the new’st and fin’st, fin’st wear-a?
Come to the peddler.
Money’s a meddler
That doth utter all men’s ware-a.
Master, there is three carters,
three shepherds, three neatherds, three swineherds,
that have made themselves all men of hair.
They call themselves saultiers, and they have a
dance which the wenches say is a gallimaufry of
gambols, because they are not in ’t, but they themselves
are o’ th’ mind, if it be not too rough for
some that know little but bowling, it will please
Away! We’ll none on ’t. Here has been too
much homely foolery already.—I know, sir, we
You weary those that refresh us. Pray, let’s
see these four threes of herdsmen.
One three of them, by their own report, sir,
hath danced before the King, and not the worst of
the three but jumps twelve foot and a half by th’
Leave your prating. Since these good men
are pleased, let them come in—but quickly now.
Why, they stay at door, sir.
O father, you’ll know more of that hereafter.
Is it not too far gone? ’Tis time to
He’s simple, and tells much. How now,
Your heart is full of something that does take
Your mind from feasting. Sooth, when I was young
And handed love, as you do, I was wont
To load my she with knacks. I would have ransacked
The peddler’s silken treasury and have poured it
To her acceptance. You have let him go
And nothing marted with him. If your lass
Interpretation should abuse and call this
Your lack of love or bounty, you were straited
For a reply, at least if you make a care
Of happy holding her.
Old sir, I know
She prizes not such trifles as these are.
The gifts she looks from me are packed and locked
Up in my heart, which I have given already,
But not delivered. O, hear me breathe
Before this ancient sir, who, it should seem,
Hath sometime loved. I take thy hand, this hand
As soft as dove’s down and as white as it,
Or Ethiopian’s tooth, or the fanned snow that’s
By th’ northern blasts twice o’er.
What follows this?—
How prettily th’ young swain seems to wash
The hand was fair before.—I have put you out.
But to your protestation. Let me hear
What you profess.
Do, and be witness to ’t.
And this my neighbor too?
And he, and more
Than he, and men—the Earth, the heavens, and
That were I crowned the most imperial monarch,
Thereof most worthy, were I the fairest youth
That ever made eye swerve, had force and knowledge
More than was ever man’s, I would not prize them
Without her love; for her employ them all,
Commend them and condemn them to her service
Or to their own perdition.
This shows a sound affection.
But my daughter,
Say you the like to him?
I cannot speak
So well, nothing so well, no, nor mean better.
By th’ pattern of mine own thoughts I cut out
The purity of his.
Take hands, a bargain.—
And, friends unknown, you shall bear witness to ’t:
I give my daughter to him and will make
Her portion equal his.
O, that must be
I’ th’ virtue of your daughter. One being dead,
I shall have more than you can dream of yet,
Enough then for your wonder. But come on,
Contract us fore these witnesses.
Come, your hand—
And daughter, yours.
Soft, swain, awhile, beseech
Have you a father?
I have, but what of him?
Knows he of this?
He neither does nor shall.
Methinks a father
Is at the nuptial of his son a guest
That best becomes the table. Pray you once more,
Is not your father grown incapable
Of reasonable affairs? Is he not stupid
With age and alt’ring rheums? Can he speak? Hear?
Know man from man? Dispute his own estate?
Lies he not bedrid, and again does nothing
But what he did being childish?
No, good sir.
He has his health and ampler strength indeed
Than most have of his age.
By my white beard,
You offer him, if this be so, a wrong
Something unfilial. Reason my son
Should choose himself a wife, but as good reason
The father, all whose joy is nothing else
But fair posterity, should hold some counsel
In such a business.
I yield all this;
But for some other reasons, my grave sir,
Which ’tis not fit you know, I not acquaint
My father of this business.
Let him know ’t.
He shall not.
Prithee let him.
No, he must not.
Let him, my son. He shall not need to grieve
At knowing of thy choice.
Come, come, he must not.
Mark our contract.
Mark your divorce,
Whom son I dare not call. Thou art too base
To be acknowledged. Thou a scepter’s heir
That thus affects a sheep-hook!—Thou, old traitor,
I am sorry that by hanging thee I can
But shorten thy life one week.—And thou, fresh
Of excellent witchcraft, whom of force must know
The royal fool thou cop’st with—
O, my heart!
I’ll have thy beauty scratched with briers and made
More homely than thy state.—For thee, fond boy,
If I may ever know thou dost but sigh
That thou no more shalt see this knack—as never
I mean thou shalt—we’ll bar thee from succession,
Not hold thee of our blood, no, not our kin,
Far’r than Deucalion off. Mark thou my words.
Follow us to the court. Thou, churl,
for this time,
Though full of our displeasure, yet we free thee
From the dead blow of it.—And you, enchantment,
Worthy enough a herdsman—yea, him too,
That makes himself, but for our honor therein,
Unworthy thee—if ever henceforth thou
These rural latches to his entrance open,
Or hoop his body more with thy embraces,
I will devise a death as cruel for thee
As thou art tender to ’t.
Even here undone.
I was not much afeard, for once or twice
I was about to speak and tell him plainly
The selfsame sun that shines upon his court
Hides not his visage from our cottage but
Looks on alike. Will ’t please you, sir,
I told you what would come of this. Beseech you,
Of your own state take care. This dream of mine—
Being now awake, I’ll queen it no inch farther,
But milk my ewes and weep.
Why, how now, father?
Speak ere thou diest.
I cannot speak, nor think,
Nor dare to know that which I know.
You have undone a man of fourscore three,
That thought to fill his grave in quiet, yea,
To die upon the bed my father died,
To lie close by his honest bones; but now
Some hangman must put on my shroud and lay me
Where no priest shovels in dust. O
That knew’st this was the Prince, and wouldst
To mingle faith with him!—Undone, undone!
If I might die within this hour, I have lived
To die when I desire.
Why look you so upon me?
I am but sorry, not afeard; delayed,
But nothing altered. What I was, I am,
More straining on for plucking back, not following
My leash unwillingly.
Gracious my lord,
You know your father’s temper. At this time
He will allow no speech, which I do guess
You do not purpose to him; and as hardly
Will he endure your sight as yet, I fear.
Then, till the fury of his Highness settle,
Come not before him.
I not purpose it.
I think Camillo?
Even he, my lord.
How often have I told you ’twould be thus?
How often said my dignity would last
But till ’twere known?
It cannot fail but by
The violation of my faith; and then
Let nature crush the sides o’ th’ Earth together
And mar the seeds within. Lift up thy looks.
From my succession wipe me, father. I
Am heir to my affection.
I am, and by my fancy. If my reason
Will thereto be obedient, I have reason.
If not, my senses, better pleased with madness,
Do bid it welcome.
This is desperate, sir.
So call it; but it does fulfill my vow.
I needs must think it honesty. Camillo,
Not for Bohemia nor the pomp that may
Be thereat gleaned, for all the sun sees or
The close earth wombs or the profound seas hides
In unknown fathoms, will I break my oath
To this my fair beloved. Therefore, I pray you,
As you have ever been my father’s honored friend,
When he shall miss me, as in faith I mean not
To see him anymore, cast your good counsels
Upon his passion. Let myself and fortune
Tug for the time to come. This you may know
And so deliver: I am put to sea
With her who here I cannot hold on shore.
And most opportune to our need I have
A vessel rides fast by, but not prepared
For this design. What course I mean to hold
Shall nothing benefit your knowledge, nor
Concern me the reporting.
O my lord,
I would your spirit were easier for advice
Or stronger for your need.
I’ll hear you by and by.
Resolved for flight. Now were I happy if
His going I could frame to serve my turn,
Save him from danger, do him love and honor,
Purchase the sight again of dear Sicilia
And that unhappy king, my master, whom
I so much thirst to see.
Now, good Camillo,
I am so fraught with curious business that
I leave out ceremony.
Sir, I think
You have heard of my poor services i’ th’ love
That I have borne your father?
Have you deserved. It is my father’s music
To speak your deeds, not little of his care
To have them recompensed as thought on.
If you may please to think I love the King
And, through him, what’s nearest to him, which is
Your gracious self, embrace but my direction,
If your more ponderous and settled project
May suffer alteration. On mine honor,
I’ll point you where you shall have such receiving
As shall become your Highness, where you may
Enjoy your mistress—from the whom I see
There’s no disjunction to be made but by,
As heavens forfend, your ruin—marry her,
And with my best endeavors in your absence,
Your discontenting father strive to qualify
And bring him up to liking.
May this, almost a miracle, be done,
That I may call thee something more than man,
And after that trust to thee?
Have you thought on
A place whereto you’ll go?
Not any yet.
But as th’ unthought-on accident is guilty
To what we wildly do, so we profess
Ourselves to be the slaves of chance, and flies
Of every wind that blows.
Then list to me.
This follows: if you will not change your purpose
But undergo this flight, make for Sicilia,
And there present yourself and your fair princess,
For so I see she must be, ’fore Leontes.
She shall be habited as it becomes
The partner of your bed. Methinks I see
Leontes opening his free arms and weeping
His welcomes forth, asks thee, the son, forgiveness,
As ’twere i’ th’ father’s person; kisses the hands
Of your fresh princess; o’er and o’er divides him
’Twixt his unkindness and his kindness. Th’ one
He chides to hell and bids the other grow
Faster than thought or time.
What color for my visitation shall I
Hold up before him?
Sent by the King your father
To greet him and to give him comforts. Sir,
The manner of your bearing towards him, with
What you, as from your father, shall deliver,
Things known betwixt us three, I’ll write you down,
The which shall point you forth at every sitting
What you must say, that he shall not perceive
But that you have your father’s bosom there
And speak his very heart.
I am bound to you.
There is some sap in this.
A course more promising
Than a wild dedication of yourselves
To unpathed waters, undreamed shores, most
To miseries enough; no hope to help you,
But as you shake off one to take another;
Nothing so certain as your anchors, who
Do their best office if they can but stay you
Where you’ll be loath to be. Besides, you know
Prosperity’s the very bond of love,
Whose fresh complexion and whose heart together
One of these is true.
I think affliction may subdue the cheek
But not take in the mind.
Yea, say you so?
There shall not at your father’s house these seven
Be born another such.
My good Camillo,
She’s as forward of her breeding as she is
I’ th’ rear our birth.
I cannot say ’tis pity
She lacks instructions, for she seems a mistress
To most that teach.
Your pardon, sir. For this
I’ll blush you thanks.
My prettiest Perdita.
But O, the thorns we stand upon!—Camillo,
Preserver of my father, now of me,
The medicine of our house, how shall we do?
We are not furnished like Bohemia’s son,
Nor shall appear in Sicilia.
Fear none of this. I think you know my fortunes
Do all lie there. It shall be so my care
To have you royally appointed as if
The scene you play were mine. For instance, sir,
That you may know you shall not want, one word.
Ha, ha, what a fool Honesty is! And Trust,
his sworn brother, a very simple gentleman! I have
sold all my trumpery. Not a counterfeit stone, not a
ribbon, glass, pomander, brooch, table book, ballad,
knife, tape, glove, shoe tie, bracelet, horn ring,
to keep my pack from fasting. They throng who
should buy first, as if my trinkets had been hallowed
and brought a benediction to the buyer; by which
means I saw whose purse was best in picture, and
what I saw, to my good use I remembered. My
clown, who wants but something to be a reasonable
man, grew so in love with the wenches’ song that he
would not stir his pettitoes till he had both tune and
words, which so drew the rest of the herd to me that
all their other senses stuck in ears. You might have
pinched a placket, it was senseless; ’twas nothing to
geld a codpiece of a purse. I could have filed
keys off that hung in chains. No hearing, no feeling,
but my sir’s song and admiring the nothing of it. So
that in this time of lethargy I picked and cut most of
their festival purses. And had not the old man come
in with a hubbub against his daughter and the
King’s son, and scared my choughs from the chaff, I
had not left a purse alive in the whole army.
Nay, but my letters, by this means being there
So soon as you arrive, shall clear that doubt.
And those that you’ll procure from King Leontes—
Shall satisfy your father.
Happy be you!
All that you speak shows fair.
Who have we here?
We’ll make an instrument of this, omit
Nothing may give us aid.
If they have overheard me now, why, hanging.
How now, good fellow? Why shak’st thou so?
Fear not, man. Here’s no harm intended to thee.
I am a poor fellow, sir.
Why, be so still. Here’s nobody will steal that
from thee. Yet for the outside of thy poverty we
must make an exchange. Therefore discase thee
instantly—thou must think there’s a necessity in
’t—and change garments with this gentleman.
Though the pennyworth on his side be the worst,
yet hold thee, there’s some boot.
I am a poor fellow, sir. I know you
Nay, prithee, dispatch. The gentleman is half
Are you in earnest, sir? I smell the
trick on ’t.
Dispatch, I prithee.
Indeed, I have had earnest, but I cannot
with conscience take it.
Fortunate mistress—let my prophecy
Come home to you!—you must retire yourself
Into some covert. Take your sweetheart’s hat
And pluck it o’er your brows, muffle your face,
Dismantle you, and, as you can, disliken
The truth of your own seeming, that you may—
For I do fear eyes over—to shipboard
I see the play so lies
That I must bear a part.
Have you done there?
Should I now meet my father,
He would not call me son.
Nay, you shall have no hat.
Come, lady, come.—Farewell, my friend.
O Perdita, what have we twain forgot?
Pray you, a word.
What I do next shall be to tell the King
Of this escape, and whither they are bound;
Wherein my hope is I shall so prevail
To force him after, in whose company
I shall re-view Sicilia, for whose sight
I have a woman’s longing.
Fortune speed us!—
Thus we set on, Camillo, to th’ seaside.
The swifter speed the better.
I understand the business; I hear it. To have
an open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand is
necessary for a cutpurse; a good nose is requisite
also, to smell out work for th’ other senses. I see this
is the time that the unjust man doth thrive. What an
exchange had this been without boot! What a boot
is here with this exchange! Sure the gods do this
year connive at us, and we may do anything extempore.
The Prince himself is about a piece of iniquity,
stealing away from his father with his clog at his
heels. If I thought it were a piece of honesty to
acquaint the King withal, I would not do ’t. I hold it
the more knavery to conceal it, and therein am I
constant to my profession.
Aside, aside! Here is more matter for a hot brain.
Every lane’s end, every shop, church, session, hanging,
yields a careful man work.
See, see, what a man
you are now! There is no other way but to tell the
King she’s a changeling and none of your flesh and
Nay, but hear me.
Nay, but hear me!
Go to, then.
She being none of your flesh and
blood, your flesh and blood has not offended the
King, and so your flesh and blood is not to be
punished by him. Show those things you found
about her, those secret things, all but what she has
with her. This being done, let the law go whistle, I
I will tell the King all, every word, yea, and
his son’s pranks too; who, I may say, is no honest
man, neither to his father nor to me, to go about to
make me the King’s brother-in-law.
Indeed, brother-in-law was the farthest
off you could have been to him, and then your
blood had been the dearer by I know how much an
Very wisely, puppies.
Well, let us to the King. There is that in this
fardel will make him scratch his beard.
I know not what impediment this
complaint may be to the flight of my master.
Pray heartily he be at’ palace.
Though I am not naturally honest,
I am so sometimes by chance. Let me pocket up my
How now, rustics, whither are you bound?
To th’ palace, an it like your Worship.
Your affairs there? What, with whom, the
condition of that fardel, the place of your dwelling,
your names, your ages, of what having, breeding,
and anything that is fitting to be known, discover!
We are but plain fellows, sir.
A lie; you are rough and hairy. Let me have
no lying. It becomes none but tradesmen, and they
often give us soldiers the lie, but we pay them for it
with stamped coin, not stabbing steel; therefore
they do not give us the lie.
Your Worship had like to have given
us one, if you had not taken yourself with the
Are you a courtier, an ’t like you, sir?
Whether it like me or no, I am a courtier.
Seest thou not the air of the court in these enfoldings?
Hath not my gait in it the measure of the
court? Receives not thy nose court odor from me?
Reflect I not on thy baseness court contempt?
Think’st thou, for that I insinuate and toze from
thee thy business, I am therefore no courtier? I am
courtier cap-a-pie; and one that will either push on
or pluck back thy business there. Whereupon I
command thee to open thy affair.
My business, sir, is to the King.
What advocate hast thou to him?
I know not, an ’t like you.
court word for a pheasant. Say you have none.
None, sir. I have no pheasant,
cock nor hen.
How blest are we that are not simple men!
Yet Nature might have made me as these are.
Therefore I will not disdain.
This cannot be but a
His garments are rich, but he wears them
He seems to be the more noble in
being fantastical. A great man, I’ll warrant. I know
by the picking on ’s teeth.
The fardel there. What’s i’ th’ fardel?
Wherefore that box?
Sir, there lies such secrets in this fardel and
box which none must know but the King, and
which he shall know within this hour if I may come
to th’ speech of him.
Age, thou hast lost thy labor.
The King is not at the palace. He is gone
aboard a new ship to purge melancholy and air
himself, for, if thou beest capable of things serious,
thou must know the King is full of grief.
So ’tis said, sir—about his son, that should
have married a shepherd’s daughter.
If that shepherd be not in handfast, let him
fly. The curses he shall have, the tortures he shall
feel, will break the back of man, the heart of
Think you so, sir?
Not he alone shall suffer what wit can
make heavy and vengeance bitter; but those that are
germane to him, though removed fifty times, shall
all come under the hangman—which, though it be
great pity, yet it is necessary. An old sheep-whistling
rogue, a ram tender, to offer to have his daughter
come into grace! Some say he shall be stoned, but
that death is too soft for him, say I. Draw our throne
into a sheepcote? All deaths are too few, the sharpest
Has the old man e’er a son, sir, do you
hear, an ’t like you, sir?
He has a son, who shall be flayed alive; then
’nointed over with honey, set on the head of a
wasps’-nest; then stand till he be three-quarters and
a dram dead, then recovered again with aqua vitae
or some other hot infusion; then, raw as he is, and
in the hottest day prognostication proclaims, shall
he be set against a brick wall, the sun looking with a
southward eye upon him, where he is to behold him
with flies blown to death. But what talk we of these
traitorly rascals, whose miseries are to be smiled at,
their offenses being so capital? Tell me—for you
seem to be honest plain men—what you have to the
King. Being something gently considered, I’ll bring
you where he is aboard, tender your persons to his
presence, whisper him in your behalfs; and if it be
in man besides the King to effect your suits, here is
man shall do it.
He seems to be of
great authority. Close with him, give him gold; and
though authority be a stubborn bear, yet he is oft
led by the nose with gold. Show the inside of your
purse to the outside of his hand, and no more ado.
Remember: stoned, and flayed alive.
An ’t please you, sir, to
undertake the business for us, here is that gold I
have. I’ll make it as much more, and leave this
young man in pawn till I bring it you.
After I have done what I promised?
Well, give me the moiety.
Are you a party in this business?
In some sort, sir; but though my case
be a pitiful one, I hope I shall not be flayed out of it.
O, that’s the case of the shepherd’s son!
Hang him, he’ll be made an example.
Comfort, good comfort.
We must to the King, and show our strange
sights. He must know ’tis none of your daughter nor
my sister. We are gone else.—Sir, I will give you as
much as this old man does when the business is
performed, and remain, as he says, your pawn till it
be brought you.
I will trust you. Walk before toward the
seaside. Go on the right hand. I will but look upon
the hedge, and follow you.
We are blessed in this
man, as I may say, even blessed.
Let’s before, as he bids us. He was provided
to do us good.
If I had a mind to be honest, I see Fortune
would not suffer me. She drops booties in my
mouth. I am courted now with a double occasion:
gold, and a means to do the Prince my master good;
which who knows how that may turn back to my
advancement? I will bring these two moles, these
blind ones, aboard him. If he think it fit to shore
them again and that the complaint they have to the
King concerns him nothing, let him call me rogue
for being so far officious, for I am proof against that
title and what shame else belongs to ’t. To him will I
present them. There may be matter in it.
Sir, you have done enough, and have performed
A saintlike sorrow. No fault could you make
Which you have not redeemed—indeed, paid down
More penitence than done trespass. At the last,
Do as the heavens have done: forget your evil;
With them forgive yourself.
Whilst I remember
Her and her virtues, I cannot forget
My blemishes in them, and so still think of
The wrong I did myself, which was so much
That heirless it hath made my kingdom and
Destroyed the sweet’st companion that e’er man
Bred his hopes out of.
True, too true, my lord.
If one by one you wedded all the world,
Or from the all that are took something good
To make a perfect woman, she you killed
Would be unparalleled.
I think so. Killed?
She I killed? I did so, but thou strik’st me
Sorely to say I did. It is as bitter
Upon thy tongue as in my thought. Now, good now,
Say so but seldom.
Not at all, good lady.
You might have spoken a thousand things that
Have done the time more benefit and graced
Your kindness better.
You are one of those
Would have him wed again.
If you would not so,
You pity not the state nor the remembrance
Of his most sovereign name, consider little
What dangers by his Highness’ fail of issue
May drop upon his kingdom and devour
Incertain lookers-on. What were more holy
Than to rejoice the former queen is well?
What holier than, for royalty’s repair,
For present comfort, and for future good,
To bless the bed of majesty again
With a sweet fellow to ’t?
There is none worthy,
Respecting her that’s gone. Besides, the gods
Will have fulfilled their secret purposes.
For has not the divine Apollo said,
Is ’t not the tenor of his oracle,
That King Leontes shall not have an heir
Till his lost child be found? Which that it shall
Is all as monstrous to our human reason
As my Antigonus to break his grave
And come again to me—who, on my life,
Did perish with the infant. ’Tis your counsel
My lord should to the heavens be contrary,
Oppose against their wills. Care not for issue.
The crown will find an heir. Great Alexander
Left his to th’ worthiest; so his successor
Was like to be the best.
Who hast the memory of Hermione,
I know, in honor, O, that ever I
Had squared me to thy counsel! Then even now
I might have looked upon my queen’s full eyes,
Have taken treasure from her lips—
And left them
More rich for what they yielded.
Thou speak’st truth.
No more such wives, therefore no wife. One worse,
And better used, would make her sainted spirit
Again possess her corpse, and on this stage,
Where we offenders now appear, soul-vexed,
And begin Why to me?
Had she such power,
She had just cause.
She had, and would incense me
To murder her I married.
I should so.
Were I the ghost that walked, I’d bid you mark
Her eye, and tell me for what dull part in ’t
You chose her. Then I’d shriek, that even your ears
Should rift to hear me, and the words that followed
Should be Remember mine.
And all eyes else dead coals! Fear thou no wife;
I’ll have no wife, Paulina.
Will you swear
Never to marry but by my free leave?
Never, Paulina, so be blest my spirit.
Then, good my lords, bear witness to his oath.
You tempt him over-much.
As like Hermione as is her picture
Affront his eye.
I have done.
Yet if my lord will marry—if you will, sir,
No remedy but you will—give me the office
To choose you a queen. She shall not be so young
As was your former, but she shall be such
As, walked your first queen’s ghost, it should take
To see her in your arms.
My true Paulina,
We shall not marry till thou bid’st us.
Shall be when your first queen’s again in breath,
Never till then.
One that gives out himself Prince Florizell,
Son of Polixenes, with his princess—she
The fairest I have yet beheld—desires access
To your high presence.
What with him? He comes not
Like to his father’s greatness. His approach,
So out of circumstance and sudden, tells us
’Tis not a visitation framed, but forced
By need and accident. What train?
And those but mean.
His princess, say you, with him?
Ay, the most peerless piece of earth, I think,
That e’er the sun shone bright on.
As every present time doth boast itself
Above a better gone, so must thy grave
Give way to what’s seen now. Sir, you
Have said and writ so—but your writing now
Is colder than that theme—she had not been
Nor was not to be equalled. Thus your verse
Flowed with her beauty once. ’Tis shrewdly ebbed
To say you have seen a better.
The one I have almost forgot—your pardon;
The other, when she has obtained your eye,
Will have your tongue too. This is a creature,
Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal
Of all professors else, make proselytes
Of who she but bid follow.
How, not women?
Women will love her that she is a woman
More worth than any man; men, that she is
The rarest of all women.
Yourself, assisted with your honored friends,
Bring them to our embracement.
Still, ’tis strange
He thus should steal upon us.
Had our prince,
Jewel of children, seen this hour, he had paired
Well with this lord. There was not full a month
Between their births.
Prithee, no more; cease. Thou
He dies to me again when talked of. Sure,
When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches
Will bring me to consider that which may
Unfurnish me of reason. They are come.
Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince,
For she did print your royal father off,
Conceiving you. Were I but twenty-one,
Your father’s image is so hit in you,
His very air, that I should call you brother,
As I did him, and speak of something wildly
By us performed before. Most dearly welcome,
And your fair princess—goddess! O, alas,
I lost a couple that ’twixt heaven and Earth
Might thus have stood, begetting wonder, as
You, gracious couple, do. And then I lost—
All mine own folly—the society,
Amity too, of your brave father, whom,
Though bearing misery, I desire my life
Once more to look on him.
By his command
Have I here touched Sicilia, and from him
Give you all greetings that a king, at friend,
Can send his brother. And but infirmity,
Which waits upon worn times, hath something
His wished ability, he had himself
The lands and waters ’twixt your throne and his
Measured to look upon you, whom he loves—
He bade me say so—more than all the scepters
And those that bear them living.
O my brother,
Good gentleman, the wrongs I have done thee stir
Afresh within me, and these thy offices,
So rarely kind, are as interpreters
Of my behindhand slackness. Welcome hither,
As is the spring to th’ earth. And hath he too
Exposed this paragon to th’ fearful usage,
At least ungentle, of the dreadful Neptune,
To greet a man not worth her pains, much less
Th’ adventure of her person?
Good my lord,
She came from Libya.
Where the warlike Smalus,
That noble honored lord, is feared and loved?
Most royal sir, from thence, from him, whose
His tears proclaimed his, parting with her. Thence,
A prosperous south wind friendly, we have crossed
To execute the charge my father gave me
For visiting your Highness. My best train
I have from your Sicilian shores dismissed,
Who for Bohemia bend, to signify
Not only my success in Libya, sir,
But my arrival and my wife’s in safety
Here where we are.
The blessèd gods
Purge all infection from our air whilst you
Do climate here! You have a holy father,
A graceful gentleman, against whose person,
So sacred as it is, I have done sin,
For which the heavens, taking angry note,
Have left me issueless. And your father’s blest,
As he from heaven merits it, with you,
Worthy his goodness. What might I have been
Might I a son and daughter now have looked on,
Such goodly things as you?
Most noble sir,
That which I shall report will bear no credit,
Were not the proof so nigh. Please you, great sir,
Bohemia greets you from himself by me,
Desires you to attach his son, who has—
His dignity and duty both cast off—
Fled from his father, from his hopes, and with
A shepherd’s daughter.
Where’s Bohemia? Speak.
Here in your city. I now came from him.
I speak amazedly, and it becomes
My marvel and my message. To your court
Whiles he was hast’ning—in the chase, it seems,
Of this fair couple—meets he on the way
The father of this seeming lady and
Her brother, having both their country quitted
With this young prince.
Camillo has betrayed me,
Whose honor and whose honesty till now
Endured all weathers.
Lay ’t so to his charge.
He’s with the King your father.
Camillo, sir. I spake with him, who now
Has these poor men in question. Never saw I
Wretches so quake. They kneel, they kiss the earth,
Forswear themselves as often as they speak.
Bohemia stops his ears and threatens them
With divers deaths in death.
O my poor father!
The heaven sets spies upon us, will not have
Our contract celebrated.
You are married?
We are not, sir, nor are we like to be.
The stars, I see, will kiss the valleys first.
The odds for high and low’s alike.
Is this the daughter of a king?
When once she is my wife.
That once, I see, by your good father’s speed
Will come on very slowly. I am sorry,
Most sorry, you have broken from his liking,
Where you were tied in duty, and as sorry
Your choice is not so rich in worth as beauty,
That you might well enjoy her.
Dear, look up.
Though Fortune, visible an enemy,
Should chase us with my father, power no jot
Hath she to change our loves.—Beseech you, sir,
Remember since you owed no more to time
Than I do now. With thought of such affections,
Step forth mine advocate. At your request,
My father will grant precious things as trifles.
Would he do so, I’d beg your precious mistress,
Which he counts but a trifle.
Sir, my liege,
Your eye hath too much youth in ’t. Not a month
’Fore your queen died, she was more worth such
Than what you look on now.
I thought of her
Even in these looks I made. But your
Is yet unanswered. I will to your father.
Your honor not o’erthrown by your desires,
I am friend to them and you. Upon which errand
I now go toward him. Therefore follow me,
And mark what way I make. Come, good my lord.
Beseech you, sir, were you present at this
I was by at the opening of the fardel,
heard the old shepherd deliver the manner how he
found it, whereupon, after a little amazedness, we
were all commanded out of the chamber. Only this,
methought, I heard the shepherd say: he found the
I would most gladly know the issue of it.
I make a broken delivery of the
business, but the changes I perceived in the King
and Camillo were very notes of admiration. They
seemed almost, with staring on one another, to tear
the cases of their eyes. There was speech in their
dumbness, language in their very gesture. They
looked as they had heard of a world ransomed, or
one destroyed. A notable passion of wonder appeared
in them, but the wisest beholder that knew
no more but seeing could not say if th’ importance
were joy or sorrow; but in the extremity of the one it
must needs be.
Here comes a gentleman that happily knows more.—
The news, Rogero?
Nothing but bonfires. The oracle
is fulfilled: the King’s daughter is found! Such a
deal of wonder is broken out within this hour that
ballad makers cannot be able to express it.
Here comes the Lady Paulina’s steward. He can
deliver you more.—How goes it now, sir? This news
which is called true is so like an old tale that the
verity of it is in strong suspicion. Has the King
found his heir?
Most true, if ever truth were pregnant
by circumstance. That which you hear you’ll
swear you see, there is such unity in the proofs. The
mantle of Queen Hermione’s, her jewel about the
neck of it, the letters of Antigonus found with it,
which they know to be his character, the majesty of
the creature in resemblance of the mother, the
affection of nobleness which nature shows above
her breeding, and many other evidences proclaim
her with all certainty to be the King’s daughter. Did
you see the meeting of the two kings?
Then have you lost a sight which
was to be seen, cannot be spoken of. There might
you have beheld one joy crown another, so and in
such manner that it seemed sorrow wept to take
leave of them, for their joy waded in tears. There
was casting up of eyes, holding up of hands, with
countenance of such distraction that they were to
be known by garment, not by favor. Our king, being
ready to leap out of himself for joy of his found
daughter, as if that joy were now become a loss,
cries O, thy mother, thy mother! then asks Bohemia
forgiveness, then embraces his son-in-law, then
again worries he his daughter with clipping her.
Now he thanks the old shepherd, which stands by
like a weather-bitten conduit of many kings’ reigns.
I never heard of such another encounter, which
lames report to follow it and undoes description to
What, pray you, became of Antigonus,
that carried hence the child?
Like an old tale still, which will
have matter to rehearse though credit be asleep and
not an ear open: he was torn to pieces with a bear.
This avouches the shepherd’s son, who has not only
his innocence, which seems much, to justify him,
but a handkerchief and rings of his that Paulina
What became of his bark and his
Wracked the same instant of their
master’s death and in the view of the shepherd, so
that all the instruments which aided to expose the
child were even then lost when it was found. But O,
the noble combat that ’twixt joy and sorrow was
fought in Paulina. She had one eye declined for the
loss of her husband, another elevated that the
oracle was fulfilled. She lifted the Princess from the
earth, and so locks her in embracing as if she would
pin her to her heart that she might no more be in
danger of losing.
The dignity of this act was worth the
audience of kings and princes, for by such was it
One of the prettiest touches of all,
and that which angled for mine eyes—caught the
water, though not the fish—was when at the relation
of the Queen’s death—with the manner how
she came to ’t bravely confessed and lamented by
the King—how attentiveness wounded his daughter,
till, from one sign of dolor to another, she did,
with an Alas, I would fain say bleed tears, for I am
sure my heart wept blood. Who was most marble
there changed color; some swooned, all sorrowed.
If all the world could have seen ’t, the woe had been
Are they returned to the court?
No. The Princess hearing of her
mother’s statue, which is in the keeping of
Paulina—a piece many years in doing and now
newly performed by that rare Italian master, Julio
Romano, who, had he himself eternity and could
put breath into his work, would beguile Nature of
her custom, so perfectly he is her ape; he so near to
Hermione hath done Hermione that they say one
would speak to her and stand in hope of answer.
Thither with all greediness of affection are they
gone, and there they intend to sup.
I thought she had some great
matter there in hand, for she hath privately twice or
thrice a day, ever since the death of Hermione,
visited that removed house. Shall we thither and
with our company piece the rejoicing?
Who would be thence that has the
benefit of access? Every wink of an eye some new
grace will be born. Our absence makes us unthrifty
to our knowledge. Let’s along.
Now, had I not the dash of my former life
in me, would preferment drop on my head. I
brought the old man and his son aboard the Prince,
told him I heard them talk of a fardel and I know
not what. But he at that time, overfond of the
shepherd’s daughter—so he then took her to be—
who began to be much seasick, and himself little
better, extremity of weather continuing, this mystery
remained undiscovered. But ’tis all one to
me, for had I been the finder-out of this secret, it
would not have relished among my other
Here come those I have done good to against my
will, and already appearing in the blossoms of their
Come, boy, I am past more children, but thy
sons and daughters will be all gentlemen born.
You are well met, sir.
You denied to fight with me this other day because I
was no gentleman born. See you these clothes? Say
you see them not and think me still no gentleman
born. You were best say these robes are not gentlemen
born. Give me the lie, do, and try whether I am
not now a gentleman born.
I know you are now, sir, a gentleman born.
Ay, and have been so any time these
And so have I, boy.
So you have—but I was a gentleman
born before my father. For the King’s son took me
by the hand and called me brother, and then the
two kings called my father brother, and then the
Prince my brother and the Princess my sister called
my father father; and so we wept, and there was the
first gentlemanlike tears that ever we shed.
We may live, son, to shed many more.
Ay, or else ’twere hard luck, being in
so preposterous estate as we are.
I humbly beseech you, sir, to pardon me all
the faults I have committed to your Worship and to
give me your good report to the Prince my master.
Prithee, son, do, for we must be gentle now
we are gentlemen.
Thou wilt amend thy
Ay, an it like your good Worship.
Give me thy hand. I will swear to the
Prince thou art as honest a true fellow as any is in
You may say it, but not swear it.
Not swear it, now I am a gentleman?
Let boors and franklins say it; I’ll swear it.
How if it be false, son?
If it be ne’er so false, a true gentleman
may swear it in the behalf of his friend.—And
I’ll swear to the Prince thou art a tall fellow of thy
hands and that thou wilt not be drunk; but I know
thou art no tall fellow of thy hands and that thou
wilt be drunk. But I’ll swear it, and I would thou
wouldst be a tall fellow of thy hands.
I will prove so, sir, to my power.
Ay, by any means prove a tall fellow. If
I do not wonder how thou dar’st venture to be
drunk, not being a tall fellow, trust me not. Hark,
the Kings and Princes, our kindred, are going to see
the Queen’s picture. Come, follow us. We’ll be thy
O grave and good Paulina, the great comfort
That I have had of thee!
What, sovereign sir,
I did not well, I meant well. All my services
You have paid home. But that you have vouchsafed,
With your crowned brother and these your contracted
Heirs of your kingdoms, my poor house to visit,
It is a surplus of your grace which never
My life may last to answer.
We honor you with trouble. But we came
To see the statue of our queen. Your gallery
Have we passed through, not without much content
In many singularities; but we saw not
That which my daughter came to look upon,
The statue of her mother.
As she lived peerless,
So her dead likeness, I do well believe,
Excels whatever yet you looked upon
Or hand of man hath done. Therefore I keep it
Lonely, apart. But here it is. Prepare
To see the life as lively mocked as ever
Still sleep mocked death. Behold, and say ’tis well.
I like your silence. It the more shows off
Your wonder. But yet speak. First you, my liege.
Comes it not something near?
Her natural posture!—
Chide me, dear stone, that I may say indeed
Thou art Hermione; or rather, thou art she
In thy not chiding, for she was as tender
As infancy and grace.—But yet, Paulina,
Hermione was not so much wrinkled, nothing
So agèd as this seems.
O, not by much!
So much the more our carver’s excellence,
Which lets go by some sixteen years and makes her
As she lived now.
As now she might have done,
So much to my good comfort as it is
Now piercing to my soul. O, thus she stood,
Even with such life of majesty—warm life,
As now it coldly stands—when first I wooed her.
I am ashamed. Does not the stone rebuke me
For being more stone than it?—O royal piece,
There’s magic in thy majesty, which has
My evils conjured to remembrance and
From thy admiring daughter took the spirits,
Standing like stone with thee.
And give me leave,
And do not say ’tis superstition, that
I kneel, and then implore her blessing.
Dear queen, that ended when I but began,
Give me that hand of yours to kiss.
The statue is but newly fixed; the color’s
My lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on,
Which sixteen winters cannot blow away,
So many summers dry. Scarce any joy
Did ever so long live; no sorrow
But killed itself much sooner.
Dear my brother,
Let him that was the cause of this have power
To take off so much grief from you as he
Will piece up in himself.
Indeed, my lord,
If I had thought the sight of my poor image
Would thus have wrought you—for the stone is
I’d not have showed it.
Do not draw the curtain.
No longer shall you gaze on ’t, lest your fancy
May think anon it moves.
Let be, let be.
Would I were dead but that methinks already—
What was he that did make it?—See, my lord,
Would you not deem it breathed? And that those
Did verily bear blood?
The very life seems warm upon her lip.
The fixture of her eye has motion in ’t,
As we are mocked with art.
I’ll draw the curtain.
My lord’s almost so far transported that
He’ll think anon it lives.
O sweet Paulina,
Make me to think so twenty years together!
No settled senses of the world can match
The pleasure of that madness. Let ’t alone.
I am sorry, sir, I have thus far stirred you, but
I could afflict you farther.
For this affliction has a taste as sweet
As any cordial comfort. Still methinks
There is an air comes from her. What fine chisel
Could ever yet cut breath? Let no man mock me,
For I will kiss her.
Good my lord, forbear.
The ruddiness upon her lip is wet.
You’ll mar it if you kiss it, stain your own
With oily painting. Shall I draw the curtain?
No, not these twenty years.
So long could I
Stand by, a looker-on.
Quit presently the chapel, or resolve you
For more amazement. If you can behold it,
I’ll make the statue move indeed, descend
And take you by the hand. But then you’ll think—
Which I protest against—I am assisted
By wicked powers.
What you can make her do
I am content to look on; what to speak,
I am content to hear, for ’tis as easy
To make her speak as move.
It is required
You do awake your faith. Then all stand still—
Or those that think it is unlawful business
I am about, let them depart.
No foot shall stir.
Music, awake her! Strike!
’Tis time. Descend. Be stone no more. Approach.
Strike all that look upon with marvel. Come,
I’ll fill your grave up. Stir, nay, come away.
Bequeath to death your numbness, for from him
Dear life redeems you.—You perceive she stirs.
Start not. Her actions shall be holy as
You hear my spell is lawful. Do not shun her
Until you see her die again, for then
You kill her double. Nay, present your hand.
When she was young, you wooed her; now in age
Is she become the suitor?
O, she’s warm!
If this be magic, let it be an art
Lawful as eating.
She embraces him.
She hangs about his neck.
If she pertain to life, let her speak too.
Ay, and make it manifest where she has lived,
Or how stol’n from the dead.
That she is living,
Were it but told you, should be hooted at
Like an old tale, but it appears she lives,
Though yet she speak not. Mark a little while.
Please you to interpose, fair madam.
And pray your mother’s blessing.
Turn, good lady.
Our Perdita is found.
You gods, look down,
And from your sacred vials pour your graces
Upon my daughter’s head! Tell me, mine own,
Where hast thou been preserved? Where lived? How
Thy father’s court? For thou shalt hear that I,
Knowing by Paulina that the oracle
Gave hope thou wast in being, have preserved
Myself to see the issue.
There’s time enough for that,
Lest they desire upon this push to trouble
Your joys with like relation. Go together,
You precious winners all. Your exultation
Partake to everyone. I, an old turtle,
Will wing me to some withered bough and there
My mate, that’s never to be found again,
Lament till I am lost.
O peace, Paulina.
Thou shouldst a husband take by my consent,
As I by thine a wife. This is a match,
And made between ’s by vows. Thou hast found
But how is to be questioned, for I saw her,
As I thought, dead, and have in vain said many
A prayer upon her grave. I’ll not seek far—
For him, I partly know his mind—to find thee
An honorable husband.—Come, Camillo,
And take her by the hand, whose worth and honesty
Is richly noted and here justified
By us, a pair of kings. Let’s from this place.
What, look upon my brother! Both
That e’er I put between your holy looks
My ill suspicion. This your son-in-law
And son unto the King, whom heavens directing,
Is troth-plight to your daughter.—Good Paulina,
Lead us from hence, where we may leisurely
Each one demand and answer to his part
Performed in this wide gap of time since first
We were dissevered. Hastily lead away.