The Winter’s Tale
Act III, Scene 3
Bohemia. A desert country near the sea.
- Enter Antigonus and a Mariner with the babe.
Antigonus1 - 2
- Thou art perfect then, our ship hath touch’d upon
- The deserts of Bohemia?
Mariner3 - 7
- Ay, my lord, and fear
- We have landed in ill time: the skies look grimly,
- And threaten present blusters. In my conscience,
- The heavens with that we have in hand are angry,
- And frown upon ’s.
Antigonus8 - 10
- Their sacred wills be done! Go get aboard;
- Look to thy bark, I’ll not be long before
- I call upon thee.
Mariner11 - 14
- Make your best haste, and go not
- Too far i’ th’ land; ’tis like to be loud weather.
- Besides, this place is famous for the creatures
- Of prey that keep upon’t.
Antigonus15 - 16
- Go thou away,
- I’ll follow instantly.
Mariner17 - 18
- I am glad at heart
- To be so rid o’ th’ business.
Antigonus19 - 63
- Come, poor babe.
- I have heard (but not believ’d) the spirits o’ th’ dead
- May walk again. If such thing be, thy mother
- Appear’d to me last night; for ne’er was dream
- So like a waking. To me comes a creature,
- Sometimes her head on one side, some another—
- I never saw a vessel of like sorrow,
- So fill’d, and so becoming; in pure white robes,
- Like very sanctity, she did approach
- My cabin where I lay; thrice bow’d before me,
- And (gasping to begin some speech) her eyes
- Became two spouts; the fury spent, anon
- Did this break from her: “Good Antigonus,
- Since fate (against thy better disposition)
- Hath made thy person for the thrower-out
- Of my poor babe, according to thine oath,
- Places remote enough are in Bohemia,
- There weep and leave it crying; and for the babe
- Is counted lost forever, Perdita
- I prithee call’t. For this ungentle business,
- Put on thee by my lord, thou ne’er shalt see
- Thy wife Paulina more.” And so, with shrieks,
- She melted into air. Affrighted much,
- I did in time collect myself and thought
- This was so, and no slumber. Dreams are toys,
- Yet for this once, yea, superstitiously,
- I will be squar’d by this. I do believe
- Hermione hath suffer’d death, and that
- Apollo would (this being indeed the issue
- Of King Polixenes) it should here be laid,
- Either for life or death, upon the earth
- Of its right father. Blossom, speed thee well!
- Laying down the child, with a scroll.
- There lie, and there thy character; there these,
- Placing a bundle beside it.
- Which may, if Fortune please, both breed thee, pretty,
- And still rest thine.
- The storm begins. Poor wretch,
- That for thy mother’s fault art thus expos’d
- To loss, and what may follow! Weep I cannot,
- But my heart bleeds; and most accurs’d am I
- To be by oath enjoin’d to this. Farewell!
- The day frowns more and more; thou’rt like to have
- A lullaby too rough. I never saw
- The heavens so dim by day. A savage clamor!
- Well may I get aboard! This is the chase;
- I am gone forever.
- Exit pursued by a bear.
- Enter Shepherd.
Old Shepherd64 - 80
- I would there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty,
- or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing
- in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the
- ancientry, stealing, fighting—
- Hark you now! Would any but these boil’d-brains of nineteen
- and two-and-twenty hunt this weather? They have scar’d away
- two of my best sheep, which I fear the wolf will sooner find
- than the master. If any where I have them, ’tis by the
- sea-side, browsing of ivy. Good luck, and’t be thy will!
- What have we here? Mercy on ’s, a barne? A very pretty
- barne! A boy, or a child, I wonder? A pretty one, a very
- pretty one: sure some scape. Though I am not bookish, yet I
- can read waiting-gentlewoman in the scape. This has been
- some stair-work, some trunk-work, some behind-door-work.
- They were warmer that got this than the poor thing is here.
- I’ll take it up for pity, yet I’ll tarry till my son come;
- he hallow’d but even now. Whoa-ho-hoa!
- Enter Clown.
- Hilloa, loa!
Old Shepherd82 - 84
- What? Art so near? If thou’lt see a thing to talk on when
- thou art dead and rotten, come hither. What ail’st thou,
Clown85 - 87
- I have seen two such sights, by sea and by land! But I am
- not to say it is a sea, for it is now the sky, betwixt the
- firmament and it you cannot thrust a bodkin’s point.
- Why, boy, how is it?
Clown89 - 100
- I would you did but see how it chafes, how it rages, how it
- takes up the shore! But that’s not to the point. O, the most
- piteous cry of the poor souls! Sometimes to see ’em, and not
- to see ’em; now the ship boring the moon with her mainmast,
- and anon swallow’d with yeast and froth, as you’ld thrust a
- cork into a hogshead. And then for the land-service, to see
- how the bear tore out his shoulder-bone, how he cried to me
- for help, and said his name was Antigonus, a nobleman. But
- to make an end of the ship, to see how the sea flap-dragon’d
- it; but, first, how the poor souls roar’d, and the sea
- mock’d them; and how the poor gentleman roar’d, and the bear
- mock’d him, both roaring louder than the sea or weather.
- Name of mercy, when was this, boy?
Clown102 - 104
- Now, now; I have not wink’d since I saw these sights. The
- men are not yet cold under water, nor the bear half din’d on
- the gentleman. He’s at it now.
- Would I had been by, to have help’d the old man!
Clown106 - 107
- I would you had been by the ship side, to have help’d her;
- there your charity would have lack’d footing.
Old Shepherd108 - 114
- Heavy matters, heavy matters! But look thee here, boy. Now
- bless thyself: thou met’st with things dying, I with things
- new-born. Here’s a sight for thee; look thee, a
- bearing-cloth for a squire’s child! Look thee here, take up,
- take up, boy; open’t. So, let’s see—it was told me I should
- be rich by the fairies. This is some changeling; open’t;
- what’s within, boy?
Clown115 - 116
- You’re a made old man; if the sins of your youth are
- forgiven you, you’re well to live. Gold, all gold!
Old Shepherd117 - 120
- This is fairy gold, boy, and ’twill prove so. Up with’t,
- keep it close. Home, home, the next way. We are lucky, boy,
- and to be so still requires nothing but secrecy. Let my
- sheep go. Come, good boy, the next way home.
Clown121 - 124
- Go you the next way with your findings; I’ll go see if the
- bear be gone from the gentleman and how much he hath eaten.
- They are never curst but when they are hungry. If there be
- any of him left, I’ll bury it.
Old Shepherd125 - 126
- That’s a good deed. If thou mayest discern by that which is
- left of him what he is, fetch me to th’ sight of him.
- Marry, will I; and you shall help to put him i’ th’ ground.
- ’Tis a lucky day, boy, and we’ll do good deeds on’t.