Document:  All > Shakespeare > Comedies > The Winter's Tale > Act V, scene I


CLEOMENES: Sir, you have done enough, and have perform'd
	A saint-like sorrow: no fault could you make,
	Which you have not redeem'd; indeed, paid down
	More penitence than done trespass: at the last,
	Do as the heavens have done, forget your evil;
	With them forgive yourself.

LEONTES: Whilst I remember
	Her and her virtues, I cannot forget
	My blemishes in them, and so still think of
	The wrong I did myself; which was so much,
	That heirless it hath made my kingdom and
	Destroy'd the sweet'st companion that e'er man
	Bred his hopes out of.

PAULINA: True, too true, my lord:
	If, one by one, you wedded all the world,
	Or from the all that are took something good,
	To make a perfect woman, she you kill'd
	Would be unparallel'd.

LEONTES: I think so. Kill'd!
	She I kill'd! I did so: but thou strikest me
	Sorely, to say I did; it is as bitter
	Upon thy tongue as in my thought: now, good now,
	Say so but seldom.

CLEOMENES:                   Not at all, good lady:
	You might have spoken a thousand things that would
	Have done the time more benefit and graced
	Your kindness better.

PAULINA: You are one of those
	Would have him wed again.

DION: If you would not so,
	You pity not the state, nor the remembrance
	Of his most sovereign name; consider little
	What dangers, by his highness' fail of issue,
	May drop upon his kingdom and devour
	Incertain lookers on. What were more holy
	Than to rejoice the former queen is well?
	What holier than, for royalty's repair,
	For present comfort and for future good,
	To bless the bed of majesty again
	With a sweet fellow to't?

PAULINA: There is none worthy,
	Respecting her that's gone. Besides, the gods
	Will have fulfill'd their secret purposes;
	For has not the divine Apollo said,
	Is't not the 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 the worthiest; so his successor
	Was like to be the best.

LEONTES: Good Paulina,
	Who hast the memory of Hermione,
	I know, in honour, O, that ever I
	Had squared me to thy counsel! then, even now,
	I might have look'd upon my queen's full eyes,
	Have taken treasure from her lips--

PAULINA: And left them
	More rich for what they yielded.

LEONTES: Thou speak'st truth.
	No more such wives; therefore, no wife: one worse,
	And better used, would make her sainted spirit
	Again possess her corpse, and on this stage,
	Where we're offenders now, appear soul-vex'd,
	And begin, 'Why to me?'

PAULINA: Had she such power,
	She had just cause.

LEONTES: She had; and would incense me
	To murder her I married.

PAULINA: I should so.
	Were I the ghost that walk'd, I'ld bid you mark
	Her eye, and tell me for what dull part in't
	You chose her; then I'ld shriek, that even your ears
	Should rift to hear me; and the words that follow'd
	Should be 'Remember mine.'

LEONTES: Stars, stars,
	And all eyes else dead coals! Fear thou no wife;
	I'll have no wife, Paulina.

PAULINA: Will you swear
	Never to marry but by my free leave?

LEONTES: Never, Paulina; so be blest my spirit!

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

CLEOMENES: You tempt him over-much.

PAULINA: Unless another,
	As like Hermione as is her picture,
	Affront his eye.

CLEOMENES:                   Good madam,--

PAULINA: I have done.
	Yet, if my lord will marry,--if you will, sir,
	No remedy, but you will,--give me the office
	To choose you a queen: she shall not be so young
	As was your former; but she shall be such
	As, walk'd your first queen's ghost,
	it should take joy
	To see her in your arms.

LEONTES: My true Paulina,
	We shall not marry till thou bid'st us.

	Shall be when your first queen's again in breath;
	Never till then.

	[Enter a Gentleman]

Gentleman: One that gives out himself Prince Florizel,
	Son of Polixenes, with his princess, she
	The fairest I have yet beheld, desires access
	To your high presence.

LEONTES: What with him? he comes not
	Like to his father's greatness: his approach,
	So out of circumstance and sudden, tells us
	'Tis not a visitation framed, but forced
	By need and accident. What train?

Gentleman: But few,
	And those but mean.

LEONTES: His princess, say you, with him?

Gentleman: Ay, the most peerless piece of earth, I think,
	That e'er the sun shone bright on.

PAULINA: O Hermione,
	As every present time doth boast itself
	Above a better gone, so must thy grave
	Give way to what's seen now! Sir, you yourself
	Have said and writ so, but your writing now
	Is colder than that theme, 'She had not been,
	Nor was not to be equall'd;'--thus your verse
	Flow'd with her beauty once: 'tis shrewdly ebb'd,
	To say you have seen a better.

Gentleman: Pardon, madam:
	The one I have almost forgot,--your pardon,--
	The other, when she has obtain'd your eye,
	Will have your tongue too. This is a creature,
	Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal
	Of all professors else, make proselytes
	Of who she but bid follow.

PAULINA: How! not women?

Gentleman: Women will love her, that she is a woman
	More worth than any man; men, that she is
	The rarest of all women.

LEONTES: Go, Cleomenes;
	Yourself, assisted with your honour'd friends,
	Bring them to our embracement. Still, 'tis strange

	[Exeunt CLEOMENES and others]

	He thus should steal upon us.

PAULINA: Had our prince,
	Jewel of children, seen this hour, he had pair'd
	Well with this lord: there was not full a month
	Between their births.

LEONTES: Prithee, 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 and others, with FLORIZEL and PERDITA]

	Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince;
	For she did print your royal father off,
	Conceiving you: were I but twenty-one,
	Your father's image is so hit in you,
	His very air, that I should call you brother,
	As I did him, and speak of something wildly
	By us perform'd before. Most dearly welcome!
	And your fair princess,--goddess!--O, alas!
	I lost a couple, that 'twixt heaven and earth
	Might thus have stood begetting wonder as
	You, gracious couple, do: and then I lost--
	All mine own folly--the society,
	Amity too, of your brave father, whom,
	Though bearing misery, I desire my life
	Once more to look on him.

FLORIZEL: By his command
	Have I here touch'd Sicilia and from him
	Give you all greetings that a king, at friend,
	Can send his brother: and, but infirmity
	Which waits upon worn times hath something seized
	His wish'd 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 sceptres
	And those that bear them living.

LEONTES: O my brother,
	Good gentleman! the wrongs I have done thee stir
	Afresh within me, and these thy offices,
	So rarely kind, are as interpreters
	Of my behind-hand slackness. Welcome hither,
	As is the spring to the earth. And hath he too
	Exposed this paragon to the fearful usage,
	At least ungentle, of the dreadful Neptune,
	To greet a man not worth her pains, much less
	The adventure of her person?

FLORIZEL: Good my lord,
	She came from Libya.

LEONTES: Where the warlike Smalus,
	That noble honour'd lord, is fear'd and loved?

FLORIZEL: Most royal sir, from thence; from him, whose daughter
	His tears proclaim'd his, parting with her: thence,
	A prosperous south-wind friendly, we have cross'd,
	To execute the charge my father gave me
	For visiting your highness: my best train
	I have from your Sicilian shores dismiss'd;
	Who for Bohemia bend, to signify
	Not only my success in Libya, sir,
	But my arrival and my wife's in safety
	Here where we are.

LEONTES:                   The 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 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 look'd on,
	Such goodly things as you!

	[Enter a Lord]

Lord: Most noble sir,
	That which I shall report will bear no credit,
	Were not the proof so nigh. Please you, great sir,
	Bohemia greets you from himself by me;
	Desires you to attach his son, who has--
	His dignity and duty both cast off--
	Fled from his father, from his hopes, and with
	A shepherd's daughter.

LEONTES: Where's Bohemia? speak.

Lord: Here in your city; I now came from him:
	I speak amazedly; and it becomes
	My marvel and my message. To your court
	Whiles he was hastening, in the chase, it seems,
	Of this fair couple, meets he on the way
	The father of this seeming lady and
	Her brother, having both their country quitted
	With this young prince.

FLORIZEL: Camillo has betray'd me;
	Whose honour and whose honesty till now
	Endured all weathers.

Lord: Lay't so to his charge:
	He's with the king your father.

LEONTES: Who? Camillo?

Lord: Camillo, sir; I spake with him; who now
	Has these poor men in question. Never saw I
	Wretches so quake: they kneel, they kiss the earth;
	Forswear themselves as often as they speak:
	Bohemia stops his ears, and threatens them
	With divers deaths in death.

PERDITA: O my poor father!
	The heaven sets spies upon us, will not have
	Our contract celebrated.

LEONTES: You are married?

FLORIZEL: We are not, sir, nor are we like to be;
	The stars, I see, will kiss the valleys first:
	The odds for high and low's alike.

LEONTES: My lord,
	Is this the daughter of a king?

	When once she is my wife.

LEONTES: That 'once' I see by your good father's speed
	Will come on very slowly. I am sorry,
	Most sorry, you have broken from his liking
	Where you were tied in duty, and as sorry
	Your choice is not so rich in worth as beauty,
	That you might well enjoy her.

FLORIZEL: Dear, look up:
	Though Fortune, visible an enemy,
	Should chase us with my father, power no jot
	Hath she to change our loves. Beseech you, sir,
	Remember since you 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.

LEONTES: Would he do so, I'ld beg your precious mistress,
	Which he counts but a trifle.

PAULINA: Sir, my liege,
	Your eye hath too much youth in't: not a month
	'Fore your queen died, she was more worth such gazes
	Than what you look on now.

LEONTES: I thought of her,
	Even in these looks I made.


		       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.



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