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The Winter’s Tale: Act 2, Scene 3

The Winter’s Tale
Act 2, Scene 3

Sicilia. A room in Leontes’ palace.

  1. Enter Leontes; Servants keeping the door.

Leontes

2 - 10
  1. Nor night, nor day, no rest. It is but weakness
  2. To bear the matter thusmere weakness. If
  3. The cause were not in beingpart o’ th’ cause,
  4. She th’ adult’ress; for the harlot king
  5. Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
  6. And level of my brain, plot-proof; but she
  7. I can hook to mesay that she were gone,
  8. Given to the fire, a moi’ty of my rest
  9. Might come to me again. Who’s there?

First Servant

11 - 12
  1. Advancing.
  2.                                      My lord?

Leontes

13
  1. How does the boy?

First Servant

14 - 15
  1.                   He took good rest tonight;
  2. ’Tis hop’d his sickness is discharg’d.

Leontes

16 - 32
  1. To see his nobleness,
  2. Conceiving the dishonor of his mother!
  3. He straight declin’d, droop’d, took it deeply,
  4. Fasten’d and fix’d the shame on’t in himself,
  5. Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep,
  6. And downright languish’d. Leave me solely; go,
  7. See how he fares.
  8. Exit First Servant.
  9.                   Fie, fie, no thought of him;
  10. The very thought of my revenges that way
  11. Recoil upon me: in himself too mighty,
  12. And in his parties, his alliance. Let him be,
  13. Until a time may serve. For present vengeance,
  14. Take it on her. Camillo and Polixenes
  15. Laugh at me; make their pastime at my sorrow:
  16. They should not laugh if I could reach them, nor
  17. Shall she, within my pow’r.
  1. Enter Paulina with a child; Antigonus and Lords endeavoring
  2. to hold her back.

First Lord

35
  1.                             You must not enter.

Paulina

36 - 39
  1. Nay, rather, good my lords, be second to me.
  2. Fear you his tyrannous passion more, alas,
  3. Than the Queen’s life? A gracious innocent soul,
  4. More free than he is jealous.

Antigonus

40
  1.                               That’s enough.

Second Servant

41 - 42
  1. Madamhe hath not slept tonight, commanded
  2. None should come at him.

Paulina

43 - 50
  1.                          Not so hot, good sir,
  2. I come to bring him sleep. ’Tis such as you,
  3. That creep like shadows by him, and do sigh
  4. At each his needless heavings, such as you
  5. Nourish the cause of his awaking. I
  6. Do come with words as medicinal as true,
  7. Honest as either, to purge him of that humor
  8. That presses him from sleep.

Leontes

51
  1.                              What noise there, ho?

Paulina

52 - 53
  1. No noise, my lord, but needful conference
  2. About some gossips for your Highness.

Leontes

54 - 57
  1.                                       How?
  2. Away with that audacious lady! Antigonus,
  3. I charg’d thee that she should not come about me:
  4. I knew she would.

Antigonus

58 - 60
  1.                   I told her so, my lord,
  2. On your displeasure’s peril and on mine,
  3. She should not visit you.

Leontes

61
  1.                           What? Canst not rule her?

Paulina

62 - 65
  1. From all dishonesty he can. In this,
  2. Unless he take the course that you have done
  3. Commit me for committing honortrust it,
  4. He shall not rule me.

Antigonus

66 - 69
  1.                       La you now, you hear!
  2. When she will take the rein I let her run,
  3. Aside.
  4. But she’ll not stumble.

Paulina

70 - 76
  1.                         Good my liege, I come
  2. And I beseech you hear me, who professes
  3. Myself your loyal servant, your physician,
  4. Your most obedient counsellor; yet that dares
  5. Less appear so, in comforting your evils,
  6. Than such as most seem yoursI say, I come
  7. From your good queen.

Leontes

77
  1. Good queen?

Paulina

78 - 80
  1. Good queen, my lord, good queen, I say good queen,
  2. And would by combat make her good, so were I
  3. A man, the worst about you.

Leontes

81
  1.                             Force her hence.

Paulina

82 - 86
  1. Let him that makes but trifles of his eyes
  2. First hand me. On mine own accord I’ll off,
  3. But first I’ll do my errand. The good queen
  4. (For she is good) hath brought you forth a daughter
  5. Here ’tiscommends it to your blessing.
  1. Laying down the child.

Leontes

88 - 90
  1.                                         Out!
  2. A mankind witch! Hence with her, out o’ door!
  3. A most intelligencing bawd!

Paulina

91 - 95
  1.                             Not so.
  2. I am as ignorant in that, as you
  3. In so entit’ling me; and no less honest
  4. Than you are mad; which is enough, I’ll warrant
  5. (As this world goes), to pass for honest.

Leontes

96 - 102
  1.                                           Traitors!
  2. Will you not push her out?
  3. To Antigonus.
  4.                            Give her the bastard,
  5. Thou dotard, thou art woman-tir’d; unroosted
  6. By thy Dame Partlet here. Take up the bastard,
  7. Take’t up, I say; give’t to thy crone.

Paulina

103 - 106
  1.                                        For ever
  2. Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou
  3. Tak’st up the Princess by that forced baseness
  4. Which he has put upon’t!

Leontes

107
  1.                          He dreads his wife.

Paulina

108 - 109
  1. So I would you did; then ’twere past all doubt
  2. You’ld call your children yours.

Leontes

110
  1.                                  A nest of traitors!

Antigonus

111
  1. I am none, by this good light.

Paulina

112 - 120
  1.                                Nor I, nor any
  2. But one that’s hereand that’s himself; for he
  3. The sacred honor of himself, his queen’s,
  4. His hopeful son’s, his babe’s, betrays to slander,
  5. Whose sting is sharper than the sword’s, and will not
  6. (For as the case now stands, it is a curse
  7. He cannot be compell’d to’t) once remove
  8. The root of his opinion, which is rotten
  9. As ever oak or stone was sound.

Leontes

121 - 126
  1.                                 A callat
  2. Of boundless tongue, who late hath beat her husband,
  3. And now baits me! This brat is none of mine,
  4. It is the issue of Polixenes.
  5. Hence with it, and together with the dam
  6. Commit them to the fire!

Paulina

127 - 139
  1.                          It is yours:
  2. And might we lay th’ old proverb to your charge,
  3. So like you, ’tis the worse. Behold, my lords,
  4. Although the print be little, the whole matter
  5. And copy of the fathereye, nose, lip,
  6. The trick of ’s frown, his forehead, nay, the valley,
  7. The pretty dimples of his chin and cheek, his smiles,
  8. The very mould and frame of hand, nail, finger.
  9. And thou, good goddess Nature, which hast made it
  10. So like to him that got it, if thou hast
  11. The ordering of the mind too, ’mongst all colors
  12. No yellow in’t, lest she suspect, as he does,
  13. Her children not her husband’s!

Leontes

140 - 142
  1.                                 A gross hag!
  2. And, lozel, thou art worthy to be hang’d,
  3. That wilt not stay her tongue.

Antigonus

143 - 145
  1.                                Hang all the husbands
  2. That cannot do that feat, you’ll leave yourself
  3. Hardly one subject.

Leontes

146
  1.                     Once more, take her hence.

Paulina

147 - 148
  1. A most unworthy and unnatural lord
  2. Can do no more.

Leontes

149
  1.                 I’ll ha’ thee burnt.

Paulina

150 - 157
  1.                      I care not:
  2. It is an heretic that makes the fire,
  3. Not she which burns in’t. I’ll not call you tyrant;
  4. But this most cruel usage of your queen
  5. (Not able to produce more accusation
  6. Than your own weak-hing’d fancy) something savors
  7. Of tyranny, and will ignoble make you,
  8. Yea, scandalous to the world.

Leontes

158 - 161
  1.                               On your allegiance,
  2. Out of the chamber with her! Were I a tyrant,
  3. Where were her life? She durst not call me so,
  4. If she did know me one. Away with her!

Paulina

162 - 167
  1. I pray you do not push me, I’ll be gone.
  2. Look to your babe, my lord, ’tis yours. Jove send her
  3. A better guiding spirit! What needs these hands?
  4. You, that are thus so tender o’er his follies,
  5. Will never do him good, not one of you.
  6. So, so. Farewell, we are gone.
  1. Exit.

Leontes

169 - 180
  1. Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to this.
  2. My child? Away with’t! Even thou, that hast
  3. A heart so tender o’er it, take it hence,
  4. And see it instantly consum’d with fire.
  5. Even thou, and none but thou. Take it up straight.
  6. Within this hour bring me word ’tis done
  7. (And by good testimony), or I’ll seize thy life,
  8. With what thou else call’st thine. If thou refuse
  9. And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so;
  10. The bastard brains with these my proper hands
  11. Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire,
  12. For thou set’st on thy wife.

Antigonus

181 - 183
  1.                              I did not, sir.
  2. These lords, my noble fellows, if they please,
  3. Can clear me in’t.

All Lords

184 - 185
  1.                    We can. My royal liege,
  2. He is not guilty of her coming hither.

Leontes

186
  1. You’re liars all.

First Lord

187 - 193
  1. Beseech your Highness, give us better credit.
  2. We have always truly serv’d you, and beseech’
  3. So to esteem of us; and on our knees we beg
  4. (As recompense of our dear services
  5. Past and to come) that you do change this purpose,
  6. Which being so horrible, so bloody, must
  7. Lead on to some foul issue. We all kneel.

Leontes

194 - 205
  1. I am a feather for each wind that blows.
  2. Shall I live on to see this bastard kneel
  3. And call me father? Better burn it now
  4. Than curse it then. But be it; let it live.
  5. It shall not neither.
  6. To Antigonus.
  7.                       You, sir, come you hither:
  8. You that have been so tenderly officious
  9. With Lady Margery, your midwife there,
  10. To save this bastard’s lifefor ’tis a bastard,
  11. So sure as this beard’s greywhat will you adventure
  12. To save this brat’s life?

Antigonus

206 - 210
  1.                           Any thing, my lord,
  2. That my ability may undergo
  3. And nobleness impose; at least thus much:
  4. I’ll pawn the little blood which I have left
  5. To save the innocentany thing possible.

Leontes

211 - 212
  1. It shall be possible. Swear by this sword
  2. Thou wilt perform my bidding.

Antigonus

213
  1.                               I will, my lord.

Leontes

214 - 227
  1. Mark and perform itseest thou? For the fail
  2. Of any point in’t shall not only be
  3. Death to thyself but to thy lewd-tongu’d wife,
  4. Whom for this time we pardon. We enjoin thee,
  5. As thou art liegeman to us, that thou carry
  6. This female bastard hence, and that thou bear it
  7. To some remote and desert place quite out
  8. Of our dominions, and that there thou leave it
  9. (Without more mercy) to it own protection,
  10. And favor of the climate. As by strange fortune
  11. It came to us, I do in justice charge thee,
  12. On thy soul’s peril, and thy body’s torture,
  13. That thou commend it strangely to some place
  14. Where chance may nurse or end it. Take it up.

Antigonus

228 - 236
  1. I swear to do thisthough a present death
  2. Had been more merciful. Come on, poor babe.
  3. Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens
  4. To be thy nurses! Wolves and bears, they say,
  5. Casting their savageness aside, have done
  6. Like offices of pity. Sir, be prosperous
  7. In more than this deed does require! And blessing
  8. Against this cruelty fight on thy side,
  9. Poor thing, condemn’d to loss!
  1. Exit with the child.

Leontes

238 - 239
  1.                                No! I’ll not rear
  2. Another’s issue.
  1. Enter Third Servant.

Third Servant

241 - 245
  1.                  Please’ your Highness, posts
  2. From those you sent to th’ oracle are come
  3. An hour since. Cleomines and Dion,
  4. Being well arriv’d from Delphos, are both landed,
  5. Hasting to th’ court.

First Lord

246 - 247
  1.                       So please you, sir, their speed
  2. Hath been beyond accompt.

Leontes

248 - 257
  1.                           Twenty-three days
  2. They have been absent. ’Tis good speed; foretells
  3. The great Apollo suddenly will have
  4. The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords,
  5. Summon a session, that we may arraign
  6. Our most disloyal lady; for as she hath
  7. Been publicly accus’d, so shall she have
  8. A just and open trial. While she lives
  9. My heart will be a burden to me. Leave me,
  10. And think upon my bidding.
  1. Exeunt.
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