previous next


Bohemia. A desert country near the sea.
Enter ANTIGONUS with a Child, and a Mariner.

Thou art perfect then, our ship hath touch'd upon

The deserts of Bohemia?

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.

Their sacred wills be done! Go, get aboard;

Look to thy bark: I'll not be long before

I call upon thee. (10)

Make your best haste, and go not

Too far i' the land: 'tis like to be loud weather;

Besides, this place is famous for the creatures

Of prey that keep upon't.

Go thou away:

I'll follow instantly.

I am glad at heart

To be so rid o' the business. [Exit.

Come, poor babe:

I have heard, but not believed, the spirits o' the 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; (21)

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 (30)

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 for ever, 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: (40)

Yet for this once, yea, superstitiously,

I will be squared 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!

There lie, and there thy character: there these;

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 exposed

To loss and what may follow! Weep I cannot,

But my heart bleeds; and most accursed 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 for ever. [Exit, pursued by a bear.
Enter a Shepherd.

I would there were no age between
sixteen 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 boiled

brains of nineteen and two-and-twenty hunt
this weather? They have scared 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 seaside, browsing of ivy.
Good luck, an'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 hallooed but even now. Whoa, ho, hoa! Enter Clown. (80)

Hilloa, loa!

What, art so near? If thou'lt see a
thing to talk on when thou art dead and rotten,
come hither. What ailest thou, man?

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?

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 main-mast, and anon swallowed with
yest 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-dragoned

it; but, first, how the poor souls
roared, and the sea mocked them; and how
the poor gentleman roared and the bear
mocked him, both roaring louder than the sea
or weather.

Name of mercy, when was this, boy?

Now, now: I have not winked since I
saw these sights: the men are not yet cold
under water, nor the bear half dined on the
gentleman: he's at it now. (110)

Would I had been by, to have helped
the old man!

I would you had been by the ship
side, to have helped her: there your charity
would have lacked footing.

Heavy matters! heavy matters! but
look thee here, boy. Now bless thyself: thou
mettest 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?

You're a made old man: if the sins
of your youth are forgiven you, you're well to
live. Gold! all gold!

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.

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.

That's a good deed. If thou mayest
discern by that which is left of him what he
is, fetch me to the sight of him. (140)

Marry, will I; and you shall help to
put him i' the ground.

'Tis a lucky day, boy, and we'll do
good deeds on 't. [Exeunt.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: