The Winter’s Tale
Act II, Scene 3
Sicilia. A room in Leontes’ palace.
- Enter Leontes; Servants keeping the door.
Leontes1 - 9
- Nor night, nor day, no rest. It is but weakness
- To bear the matter thus—mere weakness. If
- The cause were not in being—part o’ th’ cause,
- She th’ adult’ress; for the harlot king
- Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
- And level of my brain, plot-proof; but she
- I can hook to me—say that she were gone,
- Given to the fire, a moi’ty of my rest
- Might come to me again. Who’s there?
- My lord?
- How does the boy?
First Servant12 - 13
- He took good rest tonight;
- ’Tis hop’d his sickness is discharg’d.
Leontes14 - 29
- To see his nobleness,
- Conceiving the dishonor of his mother!
- He straight declin’d, droop’d, took it deeply,
- Fasten’d and fix’d the shame on’t in himself,
- Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep,
- And downright languish’d. Leave me solely; go,
- See how he fares.
- Exit First Servant.
- Fie, fie, no thought of him;
- The very thought of my revenges that way
- Recoil upon me: in himself too mighty,
- And in his parties, his alliance. Let him be,
- Until a time may serve. For present vengeance,
- Take it on her. Camillo and Polixenes
- Laugh at me; make their pastime at my sorrow:
- They should not laugh if I could reach them, nor
- Shall she, within my pow’r.
- Enter Paulina with a child; Antigonus and Lords endeavoring
- to hold her back.
- You must not enter.
Paulina31 - 34
- Nay, rather, good my lords, be second to me.
- Fear you his tyrannous passion more, alas,
- Than the Queen’s life? A gracious innocent soul,
- More free than he is jealous.
- That’s enough.
Second Servant36 - 37
- Madam—he hath not slept tonight, commanded
- None should come at him.
Paulina38 - 45
- Not so hot, good sir,
- I come to bring him sleep. ’Tis such as you,
- That creep like shadows by him, and do sigh
- At each his needless heavings, such as you
- Nourish the cause of his awaking. I
- Do come with words as medicinal as true,
- Honest as either, to purge him of that humor
- That presses him from sleep.
- What noise there, ho?
Paulina47 - 48
- No noise, my lord, but needful conference
- About some gossips for your Highness.
Leontes49 - 52
- Away with that audacious lady! Antigonus,
- I charg’d thee that she should not come about me:
- I knew she would.
Antigonus53 - 55
- I told her so, my lord,
- On your displeasure’s peril and on mine,
- She should not visit you.
- What? Canst not rule her?
Paulina57 - 60
- From all dishonesty he can. In this,
- Unless he take the course that you have done—
- Commit me for committing honor—trust it,
- He shall not rule me.
Antigonus61 - 63
- La you now, you hear!
- When she will take the rein I let her run,
- But she’ll not stumble.
Paulina64 - 70
- Good my liege, I come—
- And I beseech you hear me, who professes
- Myself your loyal servant, your physician,
- Your most obedient counsellor; yet that dares
- Less appear so, in comforting your evils,
- Than such as most seem yours—I say, I come
- From your good queen.
- Good queen?
Paulina72 - 74
- Good queen, my lord, good queen, I say good queen,
- And would by combat make her good, so were I
- A man, the worst about you.
- Force her hence.
Paulina76 - 80
- Let him that makes but trifles of his eyes
- First hand me. On mine own accord I’ll off,
- But first I’ll do my errand. The good queen
- (For she is good) hath brought you forth a daughter—
- Here ’tis—commends it to your blessing.
- Laying down the child.
Leontes81 - 83
- A mankind witch! Hence with her, out o’ door!
- A most intelligencing bawd!
Paulina84 - 88
- Not so.
- I am as ignorant in that, as you
- In so entit’ling me; and no less honest
- Than you are mad; which is enough, I’ll warrant
- (As this world goes), to pass for honest.
Leontes89 - 94
- Will you not push her out?
- To Antigonus.
- Give her the bastard,
- Thou dotard, thou art woman-tir’d; unroosted
By thy Dame Partlet here. Take up the bastard,
Mar 15, 2019 Mikoa traditional name for a hen
- Take’t up, I say; give’t to thy crone.
Paulina95 - 98
- For ever
- Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou
- Tak’st up the Princess by that forced baseness
- Which he has put upon’t!
- He dreads his wife.
Paulina100 - 101
- So I would you did; then ’twere past all doubt
- You’ld call your children yours.
- A nest of traitors!
- I am none, by this good light.
Paulina104 - 112
- Nor I, nor any
- But one that’s here—and that’s himself; for he
- The sacred honor of himself, his queen’s,
- His hopeful son’s, his babe’s, betrays to slander,
- Whose sting is sharper than the sword’s, and will not
- (For as the case now stands, it is a curse
- He cannot be compell’d to’t) once remove
- The root of his opinion, which is rotten
- As ever oak or stone was sound.
Leontes113 - 118
- A callat
- Of boundless tongue, who late hath beat her husband,
- And now baits me! This brat is none of mine,
- It is the issue of Polixenes.
- Hence with it, and together with the dam
- Commit them to the fire!
Paulina119 - 131
- It is yours:
- And might we lay th’ old proverb to your charge,
- So like you, ’tis the worse. Behold, my lords,
- Although the print be little, the whole matter
- And copy of the father—eye, nose, lip,
- The trick of ’s frown, his forehead, nay, the valley,
- The pretty dimples of his chin and cheek, his smiles,
- The very mould and frame of hand, nail, finger.
- And thou, good goddess Nature, which hast made it
- So like to him that got it, if thou hast
- The ordering of the mind too, ’mongst all colors
- No yellow in’t, lest she suspect, as he does,
- Her children not her husband’s!
Leontes132 - 134
- A gross hag!
- And, lozel, thou art worthy to be hang’d,
- That wilt not stay her tongue.
Antigonus135 - 137
- Hang all the husbands
- That cannot do that feat, you’ll leave yourself
- Hardly one subject.
- Once more, take her hence.
Paulina139 - 140
- A most unworthy and unnatural lord
- Can do no more.
- I’ll ha’ thee burnt.
Paulina142 - 149
- I care not:
- It is an heretic that makes the fire,
- Not she which burns in’t. I’ll not call you tyrant;
- But this most cruel usage of your queen
- (Not able to produce more accusation
- Than your own weak-hing’d fancy) something savors
- Of tyranny, and will ignoble make you,
- Yea, scandalous to the world.
Leontes150 - 153
- On your allegiance,
- Out of the chamber with her! Were I a tyrant,
- Where were her life? She durst not call me so,
- If she did know me one. Away with her!
Paulina154 - 159
- I pray you do not push me, I’ll be gone.
- Look to your babe, my lord, ’tis yours. Jove send her
- A better guiding spirit! What needs these hands?
- You, that are thus so tender o’er his follies,
- Will never do him good, not one of you.
- So, so. Farewell, we are gone.
Leontes160 - 171
- Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to this.
- My child? Away with’t! Even thou, that hast
- A heart so tender o’er it, take it hence,
- And see it instantly consum’d with fire.
- Even thou, and none but thou. Take it up straight.
- Within this hour bring me word ’tis done
- (And by good testimony), or I’ll seize thy life,
- With what thou else call’st thine. If thou refuse
- And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so;
- The bastard brains with these my proper hands
- Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire,
- For thou set’st on thy wife.
Antigonus172 - 174
- I did not, sir.
- These lords, my noble fellows, if they please,
- Can clear me in’t.
All Lords175 - 176
- We can. My royal liege,
- He is not guilty of her coming hither.
- You’re liars all.
First Lord178 - 184
- Beseech your Highness, give us better credit.
- We have always truly serv’d you, and beseech’
- So to esteem of us; and on our knees we beg
- (As recompense of our dear services
- Past and to come) that you do change this purpose,
- Which being so horrible, so bloody, must
- Lead on to some foul issue. We all kneel.
Leontes185 - 195
- I am a feather for each wind that blows.
- Shall I live on to see this bastard kneel
- And call me father? Better burn it now
- Than curse it then. But be it; let it live.
- It shall not neither.
- To Antigonus.
- You, sir, come you hither:
- You that have been so tenderly officious
- With Lady Margery, your midwife there,
- To save this bastard’s life—for ’tis a bastard,
- So sure as this beard’s grey—what will you adventure
- To save this brat’s life?
Antigonus196 - 200
- Any thing, my lord,
- That my ability may undergo
- And nobleness impose; at least thus much:
- I’ll pawn the little blood which I have left
- To save the innocent—any thing possible.
Leontes201 - 202
- It shall be possible. Swear by this sword
- Thou wilt perform my bidding.
- I will, my lord.
Leontes204 - 217
- Mark and perform it—seest thou? For the fail
- Of any point in’t shall not only be
- Death to thyself but to thy lewd-tongu’d wife,
- Whom for this time we pardon. We enjoin thee,
- As thou art liegeman to us, that thou carry
- This female bastard hence, and that thou bear it
- To some remote and desert place quite out
- Of our dominions, and that there thou leave it
- (Without more mercy) to it own protection,
- And favor of the climate. As by strange fortune
- It came to us, I do in justice charge thee,
- On thy soul’s peril, and thy body’s torture,
- That thou commend it strangely to some place
- Where chance may nurse or end it. Take it up.
Antigonus218 - 226
- I swear to do this—though a present death
- Had been more merciful. Come on, poor babe.
- Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens
- To be thy nurses! Wolves and bears, they say,
- Casting their savageness aside, have done
- Like offices of pity. Sir, be prosperous
- In more than this deed does require! And blessing
- Against this cruelty fight on thy side,
- Poor thing, condemn’d to loss!
- Exit with the child.
Leontes227 - 228
- No! I’ll not rear
- Another’s issue.
- Enter Third Servant.
Third Servant229 - 233
- Please’ your Highness, posts
- From those you sent to th’ oracle are come
- An hour since. Cleomines and Dion,
- Being well arriv’d from Delphos, are both landed,
- Hasting to th’ court.
First Lord234 - 235
- So please you, sir, their speed
- Hath been beyond accompt.
Leontes236 - 245
- Twenty-three days
- They have been absent. ’Tis good speed; foretells
- The great Apollo suddenly will have
- The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords,
- Summon a session, that we may arraign
- Our most disloyal lady; for as she hath
- Been publicly accus’d, so shall she have
- A just and open trial. While she lives
- My heart will be a burden to me. Leave me,
- And think upon my bidding.