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The Winter’s Tale: Act II, Scene 1

The Winter’s Tale
Act II, Scene 1

Scene 1

Sicilia. A room in Leontes’ palace.

  1. Enter Hermione, Mamillius, Ladies.

Hermione

1 - 2
  1. Take the boy to you; he so troubles me,
  2. ’Tis past enduring.

First Lady

3 - 4
  1.                     Come, my gracious lord,
  2. Shall I be your playfellow?

Mamillius

5
  1.                             No, I’ll none of you.

First Lady

6
  1. Why, my sweet lord?

Mamillius

7 - 8
  1. You’ll kiss me hard and speak to me as if
  2. I were a baby still.—I love you better.

Second Lady

9
  1. And why so, my lord?

Mamillius

10 - 14
  1.                      Not for because
  2. Your brows are blacker, yet black brows they say
  3. Become some women best, so that there be not
  4. Too much hair there, but in a semicircle,
  5. Or a half-moon made with a pen.

Second Lady

15
  1.                                 Who taught’ this?

Mamillius

16 - 17
  1. I learn’d it out of women’s faces. Pray now
  2. What color are your eyebrows?

First Lady

18
  1.                               Blue, my lord.

Mamillius

19 - 20
  1. Nay, that’s a mock. I have seen a lady’s nose
  2. That has been blue, but not her eyebrows.

First Lady

21 - 25
  1.                                           Hark ye,
  2. The Queen your mother rounds apace: we shall
  3. Present our services to a fine new prince
  4. One of these days, and then you’ld wanton with us,
  5. If we would have you.

Second Lady

26 - 27
  1.                       She is spread of late
  2. Into a goodly bulk. Good time encounter her!

Hermione

28 - 30
  1. What wisdom stirs amongst you? Come, sir, now
  2. I am for you again. Pray you sit by us,
  3. And tell ’s a tale.

Mamillius

31
  1.                     Merry, or sad, shall’t be?

Hermione

32
  1. As merry as you will.

Mamillius

33 - 34
  1. A sad tale’s best for winter. I have one
  2. Of sprites and goblins.

Hermione

35 - 37
  1.                         Let’s have that, good sir.
  2. Come on, sit down, come on, and do your best
  3. To fright me with your sprites; you’re pow’rful at it.

Mamillius

38
  1. There was a man

Hermione

39
  1.                  Nay, come sit down; then on.

Mamillius

40 - 41
  1. Dwelt by a churchyard. I will tell it softly,
  2. Yond crickets shall not hear it.

Hermione

42 - 43
  1.                                  Come on then,
  2. And give’t me in mine ear.
  1. Enter Leontes, Antigonus, Lords, and others.

Leontes

44
  1. Was he met there? His train? Camillo with him?

First Lord

45 - 47
  1. Behind the tuft of pines I met them; never
  2. Saw I men scour so on their way. I ey’d them
  3. Even to their ships.

Leontes

48 - 65
  1.                      How blest am I
  2. In my just censure! In my true opinion!
  3. Alack, for lesser knowledge! How accurs’d
  4. In being so blest! There may be in the cup
  5. A spider steep’d, and one may drink; depart,
  6. And yet partake no venom (for his knowledge
  7. Is not infected), but if one present
  8. Th’ abhorr’d ingredient to his eye, make known
  9. How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides,
  10. With violent hefts. I have drunk, and seen the spider.
  11. Camillo was his help in this, his pandar.
  12. There is a plot against my life, my crown;
  13. All’s true that is mistrusted. That false villain
  14. Whom I employ’d was pre-employ’d by him:
  15. He has discover’d my design, and I
  16. Remain a pinch’d thing; yea, a very trick
  17. For them to play at will. How came the posterns
  18. So easily open?

First Lord

66 - 68
  1.                 By his great authority,
  2. Which often hath no less prevail’d than so
  3. On your command.

Leontes

69 - 72
  1.                  I know’t too well.
  2. Give me the boy. I am glad you did not nurse him.
  3. Though he does bear some signs of me, yet you
  4. Have too much blood in him.

Hermione

73
  1.                             What is this? Sport?

Leontes

74 - 77
  1. Bear the boy hence, he shall not come about her.
  2. Away with him! And let her sport herself
  3. With that she’s big with, for ’tis Polixenes
  4. Has made thee swell thus.

Hermione

78 - 80
  1.                           But I’d say he had not;
  2. And I’ll be sworn you would believe my saying,
  3. Howe’er you lean to th’ nayward.

Leontes

81 - 95
  1.                                  You, my lords,
  2. Look on her, mark her well; be but about
  3. To say she is a goodly lady, and
  4. The justice of your hearts will thereto add
  5. ’Tis pity she’s not honesthonorable.
  6. Praise her but for this her without-door form
  7. (Which on my faith deserves high speech) and straight
  8. The shrug, the hum or ha (these petty brands
  9. That calumny doth useO, I am out
  10. That mercy does, for calumny will sear
  11. Virtue itself), these shrugs, these hums and ha’s,
  12. When you have said she’s goodly, come between
  13. Ere you can say she’s honest: but be’t known
  14. (From him that has most cause to grieve it should be)
  15. She’s an adult’ress.

Hermione

96 - 99
  1.                      Should a villain say so,
  2. The most replenish’d villain in the world,
  3. He were as much more villain: you, my lord,
  4. Do but mistake.

Leontes

100 - 114
  1.                 You have mistook, my lady,
  2. Polixenes for Leontes. O thou thing!
  3. Which I’ll not call a creature of thy place,
  4. Lest barbarism (making me the precedent)
  5. Should a like language use to all degrees,
  6. And mannerly distinguishment leave out
  7. Betwixt the prince and beggar. I have said
  8. She’s an adult’ress, I have said with whom:
  9. Moreshe’s a traitor, and Camillo is
  10. A federary with her, and one that knows
  11. What she should shame to know herself,
  12. But with her most vild principalthat she’s
  13. A bed-swerver, even as bad as those
  14. That vulgars give bold’st titles; ay, and privy
  15. To this their late escape.

Hermione

115 - 120
  1.                            No, by my life,
  2. Privy to none of this. How will this grieve you,
  3. When you shall come to clearer knowledge, that
  4. You thus have publish’d me! Gentle my lord,
  5. You scarce can right me throughly, then, to say
  6. You did mistake.

Leontes

121 - 126
  1.                  No; if I mistake
  2. In those foundations which I build upon,
  3. The center is not big enough to bear
  4. A schoolboy’s top. Away with her, to prison!
  5. He who shall speak for her is afar off guilty
  6. But that he speaks.

Hermione

127 - 137
  1.                     There’s some ill planet reigns;
  2. I must be patient, till the heavens look
  3. With an aspect more favorable. Good my lords,
  4. I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
  5. Commonly are, the want of which vain dew
  6. Perchance shall dry your pities; but I have
  7. That honorable grief lodg’d here which burns
  8. Worse than tears drown. Beseech you all, my lords,
  9. With thoughts so qualified as your charities
  10. Shall best instruct you, measure me; and so
  11. The King’s will be perform’d!

Leontes

138
  1.                               Shall I be heard?

Hermione

139 - 147
  1. Who is’t that goes with me? Beseech your Highness
  2. My women may be with me, for you see
  3. My plight requires it. Do not weep, good fools,
  4. There is no cause. When you shall know your mistress
  5. Has deserv’d prison, then abound in tears
  6. As I come out; this action I now go on
  7. Is for my better grace. Adieu, my lord,
  8. I never wish’d to see you sorry, now
  9. I trust I shall. My women, come, you have leave.

Leontes

148
  1. Go, do our bidding; hence!
  1. Exit Queen guarded, with Ladies.

First Lord

149
  1. Beseech your Highness call the Queen again.

Antigonus

150 - 152
  1. Be certain what you do, sir, lest your justice
  2. Prove violence, in the which three great ones suffer,
  3. Yourself, your queen, your son.

First Lord

153 - 157
  1.                                 For her, my lord,
  2. I dare my life lay downand will do’t, sir,
  3. Please you t’ accept itthat the Queen is spotless
  4. I’ th’eyes of heaven and to youI mean,
  5. In this which you accuse her.

Antigonus

158 - 164
  1.                               If it prove
  2. She’s otherwise, I’ll keep my stables where
  3. I lodge my wife; I’ll go in couples with her;
  4. Than when I feel and see her no farther trust her;
  5. For every inch of woman in the world,
  6. Ay, every dram of woman’s flesh is false,
  7. If she be.

Leontes

165
  1.            Hold your peaces.

First Lord

166
  1.                   Good my lord

Antigonus

167 - 177
  1. It is for you we speak, not for ourselves.
  2. You are abus’d, and by some putter-on
  3. That will be damn’d for’t. Would I knew the villain,
  4. I would land-damn him. Be she honor-flaw’d,
  5. I have three daughters: the eldest is eleven;
  6. The second and the third, nine, and some five;
  7. If this prove true, they’ll pay for’t. By mine honor,
  8. I’ll geld ’em all; fourteen they shall not see
  9. To bring false generations. They are co-heirs,
  10. And I had rather glib myself than they
  11. Should not produce fair issue.

Leontes

178 - 183
  1.                                Cease, no more.
  2. You smell this business with a sense as cold
  3. As is a dead man’s nose; but I do see’t, and feel’t,
  4. As you feel doing thus
  5. Grasps his arm.
  6.                        and see withal
  7. The instruments that feel.

Antigonus

184 - 187
  1.                            If it be so,
  2. We need no grave to bury honesty,
  3. There’s not a grain of it the face to sweeten
  4. Of the whole dungy earth.

Leontes

188
  1.                           What? Lack I credit?

First Lord

189 - 192
  1. I had rather you did lack than I, my lord,
  2. Upon this ground; and more it would content me
  3. To have her honor true than your suspicion,
  4. Be blam’d for’t how you might.

Leontes

193 - 202
  1.                                Why, what need we
  2. Commune with you of this, but rather follow
  3. Our forceful instigation? Our prerogative
  4. Calls not your counsels, but our natural goodness
  5. Imparts this; which if youor stupefied
  6. Or seeming so in skillcannot, or will not,
  7. Relish a truth like us, inform yourselves
  8. We need no more of your advice. The matter,
  9. The loss, the gain, the ord’ring on’t, is all
  10. Properly ours.

Antigonus

203 - 205
  1.                And I wish, my liege,
  2. You had only in your silent judgment tried it,
  3. Without more overture.

Leontes

206 - 221
  1.                        How could that be?
  2. Either thou art most ignorant by age,
  3. Or thou wert born a fool. Camillo’s flight,
  4. Added to their familiarity
  5. (Which was as gross as ever touch’d conjecture,
  6. That lack’d sight only, nought for approbation
  7. But only seeing, all other circumstances
  8. Made up to th’ deed), doth push on this proceeding.
  9. Yet, for a greater confirmation
  10. (For in an act of this importance ’twere
  11. Most piteous to be wild), I have dispatch’d in post
  12. To sacred Delphos, to Apollo’s temple,
  13. Cleomines and Dion, whom you know
  14. Of stuff’d sufficiency. Now, from the oracle
  15. They will bring all, whose spiritual counsel had,
  16. Shall stop or spur me. Have I done well?

First Lord

222
  1. Well done, my lord.

Leontes

223 - 232
  1. Though I am satisfied, and need no more
  2. Than what I know, yet shall the oracle
  3. Give rest to th’ minds of otherssuch as he,
  4. Points at Antigonus.
  5. Whose ignorant credulity will not
  6. Come up to th’ truth. So have we thought it good
  7. From our free person she should be confin’d,
  8. Lest that the treachery of the two fled hence
  9. Be left her to perform. Come follow us,
  10. We are to speak in public; for this business
  11. Will raise us all.

Antigonus

233 - 234
  1. Aside.
  2.                    To laughter, as I take it,
  3. If the good truth were known.
  1. Exeunt.
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