The Winter’s Tale
Act V, Scene 2
Sicilia. Before Leontes’ palace.
- Enter Autolycus and a Gentleman.
- Beseech you, sir, were you present at this relation?
First Gentleman2 - 6
- I was by at the opening of the fardel, heard the old
- shepherd deliver the manner how he found it; whereupon,
- after a little amazedness, we were all commanded out of the
- chamber; only this, methought, I heard the shepherd say, he
- found the child.
- I would most gladly know the issue of it.
First Gentleman8 - 19
- I make a broken delivery of the business; but the changes I
- perceiv’d in the King and Camillo were very notes of
- admiration. They seem’d almost, with staring on one another,
- to tear the cases of their eyes. There was speech in their
- dumbness, language in their very gesture; they look’d as
- they had heard of a world ransom’d, or one destroy’d. A
- notable passion of wonder appear’d in them; but the wisest
- beholder, that knew no more but seeing, could not say if th’
- importance were joy or sorrow; but in the extremity of the
- one, it must needs be.
- Enter another Gentleman.
- Here comes a gentleman that haply knows more. The news,
Second Gentleman20 - 27
- Nothing but bonfires. The oracle is fulfill’d; the King’s
- daughter is found. Such a deal of wonder is broken out
- within this hour that ballad-makers cannot be able to
- express it.
- Enter another Gentleman.
- Here comes the Lady Paulina’s steward, he can deliver you
- more. How goes it now, sir? This news, which is call’d true,
- is so like an old tale, that the verity of it is in strong
- suspicion. Has the King found his heir?
Third Gentleman28 - 36
- Most true, if ever truth were pregnant by circumstance. That
- which you hear you’ll swear you see, there is such unity in
- the proofs. The mantle of Queen Hermione’s; her jewel about
- the neck of it; the letters of Antigonus found with it,
- which they know to be his character; the majesty of the
- creature in resemblance of the mother; the affection of
- nobleness which nature shows above her breeding; and many
- other evidences proclaim her, with all certainty, to be the
- King’s daughter. Did you see the meeting of the two kings?
Third Gentleman38 - 52
- Then have you lost a sight which was to be seen, cannot be
- spoken of. There might you have beheld one joy crown
- another, so and in such manner that it seem’d sorrow wept to
- take leave of them, for their joy waded in tears. There was
- casting up of eyes, holding up of hands, with countenance of
- such distraction that they were to be known by garment, not
- by favor. Our king, being ready to leap out of himself for
- joy of his found daughter, as if that joy were now become a
- loss, cries, “O, thy mother, thy mother!”; then asks Bohemia
- forgiveness; then embraces his son-in-law; then again
- worries he his daughter with clipping her. Now he thanks the
- old shepherd, which stands by like a weather-bitten conduit
- of many kings’ reigns. I never heard of such another
- encounter, which lames report to follow it, and undoes
- description to do it.
Second Gentleman53 - 54
- What, pray you, became of Antigonus, that carried hence the
Third Gentleman55 - 59
- Like an old tale still, which will have matter to rehearse,
- though credit be asleep and not an ear open: he was torn to
- pieces with a bear. This avouches the shepherd’s son, who
- has not only his innocence (which seems much) to justify
- him, but a handkerchief and rings of his that Paulina knows.
- What became of his bark and his followers?
Third Gentleman61 - 69
- Wrack’d the same instant of their master’s death, and in the
- view of the shepherd; so that all the instruments which
- aided to expose the child were even then lost when it was
- found. But O, the noble combat that ’twixt joy and sorrow
- was fought in Paulina! She had one eye declin’d for the loss
- of her husband, another elevated that the oracle was
- fulfill’d. She lifted the Princess from the earth, and so
- locks her in embracing, as if she would pin her to her
- heart, that she might no more be in danger of losing.
First Gentleman70 - 71
- The dignity of this act was worth the audience of kings and
- princes, for by such was it acted.
Third Gentleman72 - 81
- One of the prettiest touches of all, and that which angled
- for mine eyes (caught the water though not the fish), was
- when, at the relation of the Queen’s death (with the manner
- how she came to’t bravely confess’d and lamented by the
- King), how attentiveness wounded his daughter, till (from
- one sign of dolor to another) she did (with an “Alas!”), I
- would fain say, bleed tears; for I am sure my heart wept
- blood. Who was most marble there chang’d color; some
- swounded, all sorrow’d. If all the world could have seen’t,
- the woe had been universal.
- Are they return’d to the court?
Third Gentleman83 - 91
- No. The Princess hearing of her mother’s statue, which is in
- the keeping of Paulina—a piece many years in doing and now
- newly perform’d by that rare Italian master, Julio Romano,
- who, had he himself eternity and could put breath into his
- work, would beguile Nature of her custom, so perfectly he is
- her ape. He so near to Hermione hath done Hermione that they
- say one would speak to her and stand in hope of answer.
- Thither with all greediness of affection are they gone, and
- there they intend to sup.
Second Gentleman92 - 95
- I thought she had some great matter there in hand, for she
- hath privately twice or thrice a day, ever since the death
- of Hermione, visited that remov’d house. Shall we thither,
- and with our company piece the rejoicing?
First Gentleman96 - 98
- Who would be thence that has the benefit of access? Every
- wink of an eye some new grace will be born. Our absence
- makes us unthrifty to our knowledge. Let’s along.
- Exeunt Gentlemen.
Autolycus99 - 110
- Now, had I not the dash of my former life in me, would
- preferment drop on my head. I brought the old man and his
- son aboard the Prince; told him I heard them talk of a
- fardel, and I know not what; but he at that time, overfond
- of the shepherd’s daughter (so he then took her to be), who
- began to be much sea-sick, and himself little better,
- extremity of weather continuing, this mystery remain’d
- undiscover’d. But ’tis all one to me; for had I been the
- finder-out of this secret, it would not have relish’d among
- my other discredits.
- Enter Shepherd and Clown.
- Here come those I have done good to against my will, and
- already appearing in the blossoms of their fortune.
Old Shepherd111 - 112
- Come, boy, I am past more children, but thy sons and
- daughters will be all gentlemen born.
Clown113 - 118
- You are well met, sir. You denied to fight with me this
- other day, because I was no gentleman born. See you these
- clothes? Say you see them not and think me still no
- gentleman born. You were best say these robes are not
- gentlemen born. Give me the lie, do; and try whether I am
- not now a gentleman born.
- I know you are now, sir, a gentleman born.
- Ay, and have been so any time these four hours.
- And so have I, boy.
Clown122 - 127
- So you have. But I was a gentleman born before my father;
- for the King’s son took me by the hand, and call’d me
- brother; and then the two kings call’d my father brother;
- and then the Prince, my brother, and the Princess, my
- sister, call’d my father father; and so we wept; and there
- was the first gentleman-like tears that ever we shed.
- We may live, son, to shed many more.
Clown129 - 130
- Ay; or else ’twere hard luck, being in so preposterous
- estate as we are.
Autolycus131 - 133
- I humbly beseech you, sir, to pardon me all the faults I
- have committed to your worship, and to give me your good
- report to the Prince my master.
Old Shepherd134 - 135
- Prithee, son, do; for we must be gentle, now we are
- Thou wilt amend thy life?
- Ay, and it like your good worship.
Clown138 - 139
- Give me thy hand: I will swear to the Prince thou art as
- honest a true fellow as any is in Bohemia.
- You may say it, but not swear it.
Clown141 - 142
- Not swear it, now I am a gentleman? Let boors and franklins
- say it, I’ll swear it.
- How if it be false, son?
Clown144 - 149
- If it be ne’er so false, a true gentleman may swear it in
- the behalf of his friend; and I’ll swear to the Prince thou
- art a tall fellow of thy hands, and that thou wilt not be
- drunk; but I know thou art no tall fellow of thy hands, and
- that thou wilt be drunk; but I’ll swear it, and I would thou
- wouldst be a tall fellow of thy hands.
- I will prove so, sir, to my power.
Clown151 - 155
- Ay, by any means prove a tall fellow. If I do not wonder how
- thou dar’st venture to be drunk, not being a tall fellow,
- trust me not. Hark, the kings and the princes, our kindred,
- are going to see the Queen’s picture. Come, follow us; we’ll
- be thy good masters.