The Winter's Tale

Act 5

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



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

A saint-like sorrow: no fault could you make

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

More penitence than done trespass: at the last,

Do as the heavens have done, forget your evil;

With them, forgive yourself.


Whilst I remember

Her and her virtues, I cannot forget

My blemishes in them; and so still think of

The wrong I did myself: which was so much

That heirless it hath made my kingdom, and

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

Bred his hopes out of.


True, too true, my lord;

If, one by one, you wedded all the world,

Or from the all that are took something good,

To make a perfect woman, she you kill'd

Would be unparallel'd.


I think so. - Kill'd!

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

Sorely, to say I did: it is as bitter

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

Say so but seldom.


Not at all, good lady;

You might have spoken a thousand things that would

Have done the time more benefit, and grac'd

Your kindness better.


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 fulfill'd their secret purposes;

For has not the divine Apollo said,

Is't not the tenour of his oracle,

That king Leontes shall not have an heir

Till his lost child be found? which that it shall,

Is all as monstrous to our human reason

As my Antigonus to break his grave

And come again to me; who, on my life,

Did perish with the infant. 'Tis your counsel

My lord should to the heavens be contrary,

Oppose against their wills. - [To LEONTES.] Care not for issue;

The crown will find an heir: great Alexander

Left his to the worthiest; so his successor

Was like to be the best.


Good Paulina, -

Who hast the memory of Hermione,

I know, in honour, - O that ever I

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

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

Have taken treasure from her lips, -


And left them

More rich for what they yielded.


Thou speak'st truth.

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

And better us'd, would make her sainted spirit

Again possess her corpse; and on this stage, -

Where we offend her now, - appear soul-vexed,

And begin 'Why to me?'


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 walk'd, I'd bid you mark

Her eye, and tell me for what dull part in't

You chose her: then I'd shriek, that even your ears

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

Should be 'Remember mine!'


Stars, stars,

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 bless'd my spirit!


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


You tempt him over-much.


Unless another,

As like Hermione as is her picture,

Affront his eye.


Good madam, -


I have done.

Yet, if my lord will marry, - if you will, sir,

No remedy but you will, - give me the office

To choose you a queen: she shall not be so young

As was your former; but she shall be such

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

To see her in your arms.


My true Paulina,

We shall not marry till thou bidd'st us.



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

Never till then.

[Enter a GENTLEMAN.]


One that gives out himself Prince Florizel,

Son of Polixenes, with his princess, - she

The fairest I have yet beheld, - desires access

To your high presence.


What with him? he comes not

Like to his father's greatness: his approach,

So out of circumstance and sudden, tells us

'Tis not a visitation fram'd, but forc'd

By need and accident. What train?


But few,

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.


O Hermione,

As every present time doth boast itself

Above a better gone, so must thy grave

Give way to what's seen now! Sir, you yourself

Have said and writ so, - but your writing now

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

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

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

To say you have seen a better.


Pardon, madam:

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

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

Will have your tongue too. This is a creature,

Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal

Of all professors else; make proselytes

Of who she but bid follow.


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.


Go, Cleomenes;

Yourself, assisted with your honour'd friends,

Bring them to our embracement. -

[Exeunt CLEOMENES, Lords, and Gent.]

Still, 'tis strange

He thus should steal upon us.


Had our prince, -

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

Well with this lord: there was not full a month

Between their births.


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

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

When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches

Will bring me to consider that which may

Unfurnish me of reason. - They are come. -

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

Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince;

For she did print your royal father off,

Conceiving you: were I but twenty-one,

Your father's image is so hit in you,

His very air, that I should call you brother,

As I did him, and speak of something wildly

By us perform'd before. Most dearly welcome!

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

I lost a couple that 'twixt heaven and earth

Might thus have stood, begetting wonder, as

You, gracious couple, do! And then I lost, -

All mine own folly, - the society,

Amity too, of your brave father, whom,

Though bearing misery, I desire my life

Once more to look on him.


By his command

Have I here touch'd Sicilia, and from him

Give you all greetings that a king, at friend,

Can send his brother: and, but infirmity, -

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

His wish'd ability, he had himself

The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his

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

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

And those that bear them, living.


O my brother, -

Good gentleman! - the wrongs I have done thee stir

Afresh within me; and these thy offices,

So rarely kind, are as interpreters

Of my behind-hand slackness! - Welcome hither,

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

Expos'd this paragon to the fearful usage, -

At least ungentle, - of the dreadful Neptune,

To greet a man not worth her pains, much less

The adventure of her person?


Good, my lord,

She came from Libya.


Where the warlike Smalus,

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


Most royal sir, from thence; from him whose daughter

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

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

To execute the charge my father gave me,

For visiting your highness: my best train

I have from your Sicilian shores dismiss'd;

Who for Bohemia bend, to signify

Not only my success in Libya, sir,

But my arrival, and my wife's, in safety

Here, where we are.


The blessed gods

Purge all infection from our air whilst you

Do climate here! You have a holy father,

A graceful gentleman; against whose person,

So sacred as it is, I have done sin:

For which the heavens, taking angry note,

Have left me issueless; and your father's bless'd, -

As he from heaven merits it, - with you

Worthy his goodness. What might I have been,

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

Such goodly things as you!

[Enter a Lord.]


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 betray'd me;

Whose honour and whose honesty, till now,

Endur'd all weathers.


Lay't so to his charge;

He's with the king your father.


Who? Camillo?


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.


My lord,

Is this the daughter of a king?


She is,

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 ow'd no more to time

Than I do now: with thought of such affections,

Step forth mine advocate; at your request

My father will grant precious things as trifles.


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 gazes

Than what you look on now.


I thought of her

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

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

Your honour not o'erthrown by your desires,

I am friend to them and you: upon which errand

I now go toward him; therefore, follow me,

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


SCENE II. The same. Before the Palace.

[Enter AUTOLYCUS and a Gentleman.]


Beseech you, sir, were you present at this relation?


I was by at the opening of the fardel, heard the old shepherd

deliver the manner how he found it: whereupon, after a little

amazedness, we were all commanded out of the chamber; only this,

methought I heard the shepherd say he found the child.


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 seem'd almost, with staring on one another, to tear the

cases of their eyes; there was speech in their dumbness, language

in their very gesture; they looked as they had heard of a world

ransomed, or one destroyed: a notable passion of wonder appeared

in them; but the wisest beholder, that knew no more but seeing

could not say if the importance were joy or sorrow; - but in the

extremity of the one, it must needs be. Here comes a gentleman

that happily knows more.

[Enter a Gentleman.]

The news, Rogero?


Nothing but bonfires: the oracle is fulfilled: the king's

daughter is found: such a deal of wonder is broken out within

this hour that ballad-makers cannot be able to express it.

Here comes the Lady Paulina's steward: he can deliver you more.

[Enter a third Gentleman.]

How goes it now, sir? This news, which is called true, is so like

an old tale that the verity of it is in strong suspicion. Has the

king found his heir?


Most true, if ever truth were pregnant by circumstance. That

which you hear you'll swear you see, there is such unity in the

proofs. The mantle of Queen Hermione; her jewel about the neck of

it; the letters of Antigonus, found with it, which they know to

be his character; the majesty of the creature in resemblance of

the mother; the affection of nobleness, which nature shows above

her breeding; and many other evidences, - proclaim her with all

certainty to be the king's daughter. Did you see the meeting of

the two kings?




Then you have lost a sight which was to be seen, cannot be spoken

of. There might you have beheld one joy crown another, so and in

such manner that it seemed sorrow wept to take leave of them; for

their joy waded in tears. There was casting up of eyes, holding

up of hands, with countenance of such distraction that they were

to be known by garment, not by favour. Our king, being ready to

leap out of himself for joy of his found daughter, as if that joy

were now become a loss, cries 'O, thy mother, thy mother!' then

asks Bohemia forgiveness; then embraces his son-in-law; then

again worries he his daughter with clipping her; now he thanks

the old shepherd, which stands by like a weather-bitten conduit

of many kings' reigns. I never heard of such another encounter,

which lames report to follow it, and undoes description to do it.


What, pray you, became of Antigonus, that carried hence the



Like an old tale still, which will have matter to rehearse,

though credit be asleep and not an ear open. He was torn to

pieces with a bear: this avouches the shepherd's son, who has

not only his innocence, - which seems much, - to justify him,

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


What became of his bark and his followers?


Wrecked the same instant of their master's death, and in the

view of the shepherd: so that all the instruments which aided

to expose the child were even then lost when it was found. But,

O, the noble combat that 'twixt joy and sorrow was fought in

Paulina! She had one eye declined for the loss of her husband,

another elevated that the oracle was fulfilled: she lifted the

princess from the earth, and so locks her in embracing, as if she

would pin her to her heart, that she might no more be in danger

of losing.


The dignity of this act was worth the audience of kings and

princes; for by such was it acted.


One of the prettiest touches of all, and that which angled for

mine eyes, - caught the water, though not the fish, - was, when

at the relation of the queen's death, with the manner how she

came to it, - bravely confessed and lamented by the king, - how

attentivenes wounded his daughter; till, from one sign of dolour

to another, she did with an 'Alas!' - I would fain say, bleed

tears; for I am sure my heart wept blood. Who was most marble

there changed colour; some swooned, all sorrowed: if all the

world could have seen it, the woe had been universal.


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 over-fond of the shepherd's daughter, -

so he then took her to be, - who began to be much sea-sick, and

himself little better, extremity of weather continuing, this

mystery remained undiscover'd. But 'tis all one to me; for had I

been the finder-out of this secret, it would not have relish'd

among my other discredits. Here come those I have done good to

against my will, and already appearing in the blossoms of their


[Enter Shepherd and Clown.]


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 four hours.


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 gentleman-like 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.


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


Thou wilt amend thy life?


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 Bohemia.


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 darest venture to be drunk, not being a tall fellow, trust

me not. - Hark! the kings and the princes, our kindred, are going

to see the queen's picture. Come, follow us: we'll be thy good



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


Lords and Attendants.]


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 vouchsaf'd,

With your crown'd brother and these your contracted

Heirs of your kingdoms, my poor house to visit,

It is a surplus of your grace which never

My life may last to answer.


O Paulina,

We honour you with trouble: - but we came

To see the statue of our queen: your gallery

Have we pass'd through, not without much content

In many singularities; but we saw not

That which my daughter came to look upon,

The statue of her mother.


As she liv'd peerless,

So her dead likeness, I do well believe,

Excels whatever yet you look'd upon

Or hand of man hath done; therefore I keep it

Lonely, apart. But here it is: prepare

To see the life as lively mock'd as ever

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

[PAULINA undraws a curtain, and discovers HERMIONE, standing as a


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 aged, 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 liv'd 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 woo'd her!

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

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

There's magic in thy majesty; which has

My evils conjur'd to remembrance; and

From thy admiring daughter took the spirits,

Standing like stone with thee!


And give me leave;

And do not say 'tis superstition, that

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

Dear queen, that ended when I but began,

Give me that hand of yours to kiss.


O, patience!

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

Not dry.


My lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on,

Which sixteen winters cannot blow away,

So many summers dry; scarce any joy

Did ever so long live; no sorrow

But kill'd itself much sooner.


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 mine, -

I'd not have show'd 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 breath'd, and that those veins

Did verily bear blood?


Masterly done:

The very life seems warm upon her lip.


The fixture of her eye has motion in't,

As we are mock'd 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 stirr'd you: but

I could afflict you further.


Do, Paulina;

For this affliction has a taste as sweet

As any cordial comfort. - Still, methinks,

There is an air comes from her: what fine chisel

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

For I will kiss her!


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.


Either forbear,

Quit presently the chapel, or resolve you

For more amazement. If you can behold it,

I'll make the statue move indeed, descend,

And take you by the hand, but then you'll think, -

Which I protest against, - I am assisted

By wicked powers.


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 requir'd

You do awake your faith. Then all stand still;

Or those that think it is unlawful business

I am about, let them depart.



No foot shall stir.


Music, awake her: strike. - [Music.]

'Tis time; descend; be stone no more; approach;

Strike all that look upon with marvel. Come;

I'll fill your grave up: stir; nay, come away;

Bequeath to death your numbness, for from him

Dear life redeems you. - You perceive she stirs.

[HERMIONE comes down from the pedestal.]

Start not; her actions shall be holy as

You hear my spell is lawful: do not shun her

Until you see her die again; for then

You kill her double. Nay, present your hand:

When she was young you woo'd her; now in age

Is she become the suitor?


[Embracing her.] 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 liv'd,

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: kneel,

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

Our Perdita is found.

[Presenting PERDITA, who kneels to HERMIONE.]


You gods, look down,

And from your sacred vials pour your graces

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

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

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

Knowing by Paulina that the oracle

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

Myself to see the issue.


There's time enough for that;

Lest they desire upon this push to trouble

Your joys with like relation. - Go together,

You precious winners all; your exultation

Partake to every one. I, an old turtle,

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

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

Lament till I am lost.


O peace, Paulina!

Thou shouldst a husband take by my consent,

As I by thine a wife: this is a match,

And made between's by vows. Thou hast found mine;

But how, is to be question'd: for I saw her,

As I thought, dead; and have, in vain, said many

A prayer upon her grave. I'll not seek far, -

For him, I partly know his mind, - to find thee

An honourable husband. - Come, Camillo,

And take her by the hand, whose worth and honesty

Is richly noted, and here justified

By us, a pair of kings. - Let's from this place. -

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

That e'er I put between your holy looks

My ill suspicion. - This your son-in-law,

And son unto the king, whom heavens directing,

Is troth-plight to your daughter. - Good Paulina,

Lead us from hence; where we may leisurely

Each one demand, and answer to his part

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

We were dissever'd: hastily lead away!