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Home -> William Shakespeare -> The Winter's Tale -> Act V. Scene 2.

The Winter's Tale - Act V. Scene 2.

1. Persons Represented

2. Act I. Scene 1.

3. Act I. Scene 2.

4. Act II. Scene 1.

5. Act II. Scene 2.

6. Act II. Scene 3.

7. Act III. Scene 1.

8. Act III. Scene 2.

9. Act III. Scene 3.

10. Act IV. Scene 1.

11. Act IV. Scene 2.

12. Act IV. Scene 3.

13. Act IV. Scene 4.

14. Act V. Scene 1.

15. Act V. Scene 2.

16. Act V. Scene 3.

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 fortune.

[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


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