The Winter’s Tale
Act II, Scene 2
Sicilia. The outer room of a prison.
- Enter Paulina, a Gentleman, and Attendants.
Paulina1 - 7
- The keeper of the prison, call to him;
- Let him have knowledge who I am.
- Exit Gentleman.
- Good lady,
- No court in Europe is too good for thee,
- What dost thou then in prison?
- Enter Gentleman with the Jailer.
- Now, good sir,
- You know me, do you not?
Jailer8 - 9
- For a worthy lady,
- And one who much I honor.
Paulina10 - 11
- Pray you then,
- Conduct me to the Queen.
Jailer12 - 13
- I may not, madam:
- To the contrary I have express commandment.
Paulina14 - 17
- 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?
Jailer18 - 20
- So please you, madam,
- To put apart these your attendants, I
- Shall bring Emilia forth.
Paulina21 - 22
- I pray now call her.—
- Withdraw yourselves.
- Exeunt Gentleman and Attendants.
Jailer23 - 24
- And, madam, I must
- Be present at your conference.
Paulina25 - 29
- Well; be’t so; prithee.
- Exit Jailer.
- Here’s such ado to make no stain a stain
- As passes coloring.
- Enter Jailer with Emilia.
- Dear gentlewoman,
- How fares our gracious lady?
Emilia30 - 33
- 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, deliver’d.
- A boy?
Emilia35 - 38
- 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.”
Paulina39 - 52
- I dare be sworn.
- These dangerous, unsafe lunes i’ th’ King, beshrew them!
- 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-mouth’d, let my tongue blister;
- And never to my red-look’d anger be
- The trumpet any more. 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.
Emilia53 - 62
- 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.
Paulina63 - 66
- 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.
Emilia67 - 68
- Now be you blest for it!
- I’ll to the Queen.—Please you, come something nearer.
Jailer69 - 71
- Madam, if’t please the Queen to send the babe,
- I know not what I shall incur to pass it,
- Having no warrant.
Paulina72 - 77
- 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 enfranchis’d, not a party to
- The anger of the King, nor guilty of
- (If any be) the trespass of the Queen.
- I do believe it.
Paulina79 - 80
- Do not you fear. Upon mine honor, I
- Will stand betwixt you and danger.