A room in LEONTES' palace.

Sir, you have done enough, and have perform'd

A saint-like sorrow: no fault could you make,

Which you have not redeem'd; indeed, paid down

More penitence than done trespass: at the last,

Do as the heavens have done, forget your evil;

With them forgive yourself.

Whilst I remember

Her and her virtues, I cannot forget

My blemishes in them, and so still think of

The wrong I did myself; which was so much,

That heirless it hath made my kingdom and

Destroy'd the sweet'st companion that e'er man

Bred his hopes out of.

True, too true, my lord:

If, one by one, you wedded all the world,

Or from the all that are took something good,

To make a perfect woman, she you kill'd

Would be unparallel'd.

I think so. Kill'd!

She I kill'd! I did so: but thou strikest me

Sorely, to say I did; it is as bitter

Upon thy tongue as in my thought: now, good now,

Say so but seldom. (20)

Not at all, good lady:

You might have spoken a thousand things that would

Have done the time more benefit and graced

Your kindness better.

You are one of those

Would have him wed again.

If you would not so,

You pity not the state, nor the remembrance

Of his most sovereign name; consider little

What dangers, by his highness' fail of issue,

May drop upon his kingdom and devour

Incertain lookers on. What were more holy (30)

Than to rejoice the former queen is well?

What holier than, for royalty's repair,

For present comfort and for future good,

To bless the bed of majesty again

With a sweet fellow to't?

There is none worthy,

Respecting her that's gone. Besides, the gods

Will have fulfill'd their secret purposes;

For has not the divine Apollo said,

Is't not the tenor of his oracle,

That King Leontes shall not have an heir

Till his lost child be found? which that it shall, (41)

Is all as monstrous to our human reason

As my Antigonus to break his grave

And come again to me; who, on my life,

Did perish with the infant. 'Tis your counsel

My lord should to the heavens be contrary,

Oppose against their wills. [To Leontes.]
Care not for issue;

The crown will find an heir: great Alexander

Left his to the worthiest; so his successor

Was like to be the best.

Good Paulina, (50)

Who hast the memory of Hermione,

I know, in honor, O, that ever I

Had squared me to thy counsel then, even now,

I might have look'd upon my queen's full eyes,

Have taken treasure from her lips--

And left them

More rich for what they yielded.

Thou speak'st truth.

No more such wives; therefore, no wife: one worse,

And better used, would make her sainted spirit

Again possess her corpse, and on this stage,

Where we're offenders now, appear soul-vex'd,

And begin, 'Why to me?' (60)

Had she such power,

She had just cause.

She had; and would incense me

To murder her I married.

I should so.

Were I the ghost that walk'd, I'ld bid you mark

Her eye, and tell me for what dull part in't

You chose her; then I'ld shriek, that even your ears

Should rift to hear me; and the words that follow'd

Should be 'Remember mine.'

Stars, stars,

And all eyes else dead coals! Fear thou no wife;

I'll have no wife, Paulina.

Will you swear (70)

Never to marry but by my free leave?

Never, Paulina; so be blest my spirit!

Then, good my lords, bear witness to his oath.

You tempt him over-much.

Unless another,

As like Hermione as is her picture,

Affronts his eye.

Good madam,--

I have done.

Yet, if my lord will marry,--if you will, sir,

No remedy, but you will,--give me the office

To choose you a queen: she shall not be so young

As was your former; but she shall be such (80)

As, walk'd your first queen's ghost, it should take joy

To see her in your arms.

My true Paulina,

We shall not marry till thou bid'st us.


Shall be when your first queen's again in breath;

Never till then. Enter a Gentleman.

One that gives out himself Prince Florizel,

Son of Polixenes, with his princess, she

The fairest I have yet beheld, desires access

To your high presence.

What with him? he comes not

Like to his father's greatness: his approach, (90)

So out of circumstance and sudden, tells us

'Tis not a visitation framed, but forced

By need and accident. What train?

But few,

And those but mean.

His princess, say you, with him?

Ay, the most peerless piece of earth, I think,

That e'er the sun shone bright on.

O Hermione,

As every present time doth boast itself

Above a better gone, so must thy grave

Give way to what's seen now! Sir, you yourself

Have said and writ so, but your writing now

Is colder than that theme, 'She had not been,

Nor was not to be equall'd;'--thus your verse

Flow'd with her beauty once: 'tis shrewdly ebb'd,

To say you have seen a better.

Pardon, madam:

The one I have almost forgot,--your pardon,--

The other, when she has obtain'd your eye,

Will have your tongue too. This is a creature,

Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal

Of all professors else, make proselytes

Of who she but bid follow.

How! not women? (110)

Women will love her, that she is a woman

More worth than any man; men, that she is

The rarest of all women.

Go, Cleomenes;

Yourself, assisted with your honor'd friends,

Bring them to our embracement. Still, 'tis strange [Exeunt Cleomenes and others.

He thus should steal upon us.

Had our prince,

Jewel of children, seen this hour, he had pair'd

Well with this lord: there was not full a month

Between their births.

Prithee, no more; cease; thou know'st (120)

He dies to me again when talk'd of: sure,

When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches

Will bring me to consider that which may

Unfurnish me of reason. They are come. Re-enter CLEOMENES and others, with FLORIZEL and PERDITA.

Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince;

For she did print your royal father off,

Conceiving you: were I but twenty one,

Your father's image is so hit in you,

His very air, that I should call you brother,

As I did him, and speak of something wildly

By us perform'd before. Most dearly welcome!

And your fair princess,--goddess!--O, alas!

I lost a couple, that 'twixt heaven and earth

Might thus have stood begetting wonder as

You, gracious couple, do: and then I lost--

All mine own folly--the society,

Amity too, of your brave father, whom,

Though bearing misery, I desire my life

Once more to look on him.

By his command

Have I here touch'd Sicilia and from him

Give you all greetings that a king, at friend, (141)

Can send his brother: and, but infirmity

Which waits upon worn times hath something seized

His wish'd ability, he had himself

The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his

Measured to look upon you; whom he loves--

He bade me say so--more than all the sceptres

And those that bear them living.

O my brother,

Good gentleman! the wrongs I have done thee stir

Afresh within me, and these thy offices, (150)

So rarely kind, are as interpreters

Of my behind-hand slackness. Welcome hither,

As is the spring to the earth. And hath he too

Exposed this paragon to the fearful usage,

At least ungentle, of the dreadful Neptune,

To greet a man not worth her pains, much less

The adventure of her person?

Good my lord,

She came from Libya.

Where the warlike Smalus,

That noble honor'd lord, is fear'd and loved?

Most royal sir, from thence; from him, whose daughter (160)

His tears proclaim'd his, parting with her: thence,

A prosperous south-wind friendly, we have cross'd,

To execute the charge my father gave me

For visiting your highness: my best train

I have from your Sicilian shores dismiss'd;

Who for Bohemia bend, to signify

Not only my success in Libya, sir,

But my arrival and my wife's in safety

Here where we are.

The blessed gods

Purge all infection from our air whilst you

Do climate here! You have a holy father,

A graceful gentleman; against whose person,

So sacred as it is, I have done sin:

For which the heavens, taking angry note,

Have left me issueless; and your father's blest,

As he from heaven merits it, with you

Worthy his goodness. What might I have been,

Might I a son and daughter now have look'd on,

Such goodly things as you! Enter a Lord.

Most noble sir,

That which I shall report will bear no credit, (180)

Were not the proof so nigh. Please you, great sir,

Bohemia greets you from himself by me;

Desires you to attach his son, who has--

His dignity and duty both cast off--

Fled from his father, from his hopes, and with

A shepherd's daughter.

Where's Bohemia? speak.

Here in your city; I now came from him:

I speak amazedly; and it becomes

My marvel and my message. To your court

Whiles he was hastening, in the chase, it seems, (190)

Of this fair couple, meets he on the way

The father of this seeming lady and

Her brother, having both their country quitted

With this young prince.

Camillo has betray'd me;

Whose honor and whose honesty till now

Endured all weathers.

Lay't so to his charge:

He's with the king your father.

Who? Camillo?

Camillo, sir; I spake with him; who now

Has these poor men in question. Never saw I

Wretches so quake: they kneel, they kiss the earth:

Forswear themselves as often as they speak:

Bohemia stops his ears, and threatens them

With divers deaths in death.

O my poor father!

The heaven spies upon us, will not have

Our contract celebrated.

You are married?

We are not, sir, nor are we like to be;

The stars, I see, will kiss the valleys first:

The odds for high and low's alike.

My lord,

Is this the daughter of a king?

She is,

When once she is my wife. (210)

That 'once,' I see by your good father's speed,

Will come on very slowly. I am sorry,

Most sorry, you have broken from his liking

Where you were tied in duty, and as sorry

Your choice is not so rich in worth as beauty,

That you might well enjoy her.

Dear, look up:

Though Fortune, visible an enemy,

Should chase us with my father, power no jot

Hath she to change our loves. Beseech you, sir,

Remember since you owed no more to time

Than I do now: with thought of such affections,

Step forth mine advocate; at your request

My father will grant precious things as trifles.

Would he do so, I'ld beg your precious mistress,

Which he counts but a trifle.

Sir, my liege,

Your eye hath too much youth in't; not a month

'Fore your queen died, she was more worth such gazes

Than what you look on now.

I thought of her,

Even in these looks I made. [To Florizel.]
But your petition

Is yet unanswer'd. I will to your father:

Your honor not o'erthrown by your desires, (231)

I am friend to them and you: upon which errand

I now go toward him; therefore follow me

And mark what way I make: come, good my lord. [Exeunt.


Before LEONTES' palace.
Enter AUTOLYCUS and a Gentleman.

Beseech you, sir, were you present at
this relation?

First Gent.
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 (10)
of it.

First Gent.
I make a broken delivery of
the business; but the changes I perceived in
the king and Camillo were very notes of admiration:
they seemed 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 looked as they had
heard of a world ransomed, or one destroyed:
a notable passion of wonder appeared in them;
but the wisest beholder, that knew no more but
seeing, could not say if the 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, Rogero?

Sec. Gent.
Nothing but bonfires: the oracle
is fulfilled; 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 a third Gentleman.

Here comes the Lady Paulina's steward: he
can deliver you more. How goes it now, sir?
this news which is called true is so like an old
tale, that the verity of it is in strong suspicion:
has the king found his heir?

Third Gent.
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 matter 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?

Sec. Gent.

Third Gent.
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 seemed
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.

Sec. Gent.
What, pray you, became of Antigonus,
that carried hence the child?

Third Gent.
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.

First Gent.
What became of his bark and
his followers?

Third Gent.
Wrecked 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 declined for the loss of
her husband, another elevated that the oracle
was fulfilled: 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 Gent.
The dignity of this act was
worth the audience of kings and princes; for
by such was it acted.

Third Gent.
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 confessed

and lamented by the king, how attentiveness

wounded his daughter; till, from one sign of
dolour 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
changed color; some swooned, all sorrowed:
if all the world could have seen 't, the woe
had been universal.

First Gent.
Are they returned to the court?

Third Gent.
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 performed 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.

Sec. Gent.
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 removed house. Shall
we thither and with our company piece the rejoicing?

First Gent.
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.

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 remained
undiscovered. But 'tis all one to me;
for had I been the finder out of this secret, it
would not have relished 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.

Come, boy; I am past moe children,
but thy sons and daughters will be all gentlemen

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

Ay, and have been so any time these
four hours. (149)

And so have I, boy.

So you have: but I was a gentleman
born before my father; for the king's son
took me by the hand, and called me brother;
and then the two kings called my father
brother; and then the prince my brother and
the princess my sister called 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.

Ay; or else 'twere hard luck, being in
so preposterous estate as we are.

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.

Prithee, son, do; for we must be gentle,
now we are gentlemen.

Thou wilt amend thy life?

Ay, an it like your good worship.

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.

Not swear it, now I am a gentleman?
Let boors and franklins say it, I'll swear it.

How if it be false, son?

If it 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.

Ay, by any means prove a tall fellow:
if I do not wonder how thou darest 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. [Exeunt.


A chapel in PAULINA's house.

O grave and good Paulina, the great comfort

That I have had of thee!

What, sovereign, sir,

I did not well I meant well. All my services

You have paid home: but that you have vouchsafed,

With your crown'd brother and these your contracted

Heirs of your kingdoms, my poor house to visit,

It is a surplus of your grace, which never

My life may last to answer.

O Paulina,

We honor you with trouble: but we came

To see the statue of our queen: your gallery

Have we pass'd through, not without much content

In many singularities; but we saw not

That which my daughter came to look upon,

The statue of her mother.

As she lived peerless,

So her dead likeness, I do well believe,

Excels whatever yet you look'd upon

Or hand of man hath done; therefore I keep it

Lonely, apart. But here it is: prepare

To see the life as lively mock'd as ever (20)

Still sleep mock'd death: behold, and say 'tis well. [Paulina draws a curtain, and discovers Hermione standing like a statue.

I like your silence, it the more shows off

Your wonder: but yet speak; first, you, my liege.

Comes it not something near?

Her natural posture!

Chide me, dear stone, that I may say indeed

Thou art Hermione; or rather, thou art she

In thy not chiding, for she was as tender

As infancy and grace. But yet, Paulina,

Hermione was not so much wrinkled, nothing

So aged as this seems.

O, not by much. (30)

So much the more our carver's excellence;

Which lets go by some sixteen years and makes her

As she lived now.

As now she might have done,

So much to my good comfort, as it is

Now piercing to my soul. O, thus she stood,

Even with such life of majesty, warm life,

As now it coldly stands, when first I woo'd her!

I am ashamed: does not the stone rebuke me

For being more stone than it? O royal piece,

There's magic in thy majesty, which has (40)

My evils conjured to remembrance and

From thy admiring daughter took the spirits,

Standing like stone with thee.

And give me leave,

And do not say 'tis superstition, that

I kneel and then implore her blessing. Lady,

Dear queen, that ended when I but began,

Give me that hand of yours to kiss.

O, patience!

The statue is but newly fix'd, the color's

Not dry.

My lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on, (50)

Which sixteen winters cannot blow away,

So many summers dry: scarce any joy

Did ever so long live; no sorrow

But kill'd itself much sooner.

Dear my brother,

Let him that was the cause of this have power

To take off so much grief from you as he

Will piece up in himself.

Indeed, my lord,

If I had thought the sight of my poor image

Would thus have wrought you,--for the stone is mine--

I'ld not have show'd it.

Do not draw the curtain. (60)

No longer shall you gaze on't, lest your fancy

May think anon it moves.

Let be, let be.

Would I were dead, but that, methinks, already--

What was he that did make it? See, my lord,

Would you not deem it breathed? and that those veins

Did verily bear blood?

Masterly done.

The very life seems warm upon her lip.

The fixture of her eye has motion in't,

As we are mock'd with art.

I'll draw the curtain:

My lord's almost so far transported that

He'll think anon it lives. (70)

O sweet Paulina,

Make me to think so twenty years together!

No settled senses of the world can match

The pleasure of that madness. Let 't alone.

I am sorry, sir, I have thus far stirr'd you: but

I could afflict you farther.

Do, Paulina;

For this affliction has a taste as sweet

As any cordial comfort. Still, methinks,

There is an air comes from her: what fine chisel

Could ever yet cut breath? Let no man mock me,

For I will kiss her. (80)

Good my lord, forbear:

The ruddiness upon her lip is wet;

You'll mar it if you kiss it, stain your own

With oily painting. Shall I draw the curtain?

No, not these twenty years.

So long could I

Stand by a looker on.

Either forbear,

Quit presently the chapel, or resolve you

For more amazement. If you can behold it,

I'll make the statue move indeed, descend

And take you by the hand: but then you'll think-- (90)

Which I protest against--I am assisted

By wicked powers.

What can you make her do,

I am content to look on: what to speak,

I am content to hear; for 'tis as easy

To make her speak as move.

It is required

You do awake your faith. Then all stand still;

On: those that think it unlawful business

I am about, let them depart.


No foot shall stir.

Music, awake her; strike! [Music.

'Tis time; descend; be stone no more; approach;

Strike all that look upon with marvel. Come,

I'll fill your grave up: stir, nay, come away,

Bequeath to death your numbness, for from him

Dear life redeems you. You perceive she stirs:
[Hermione comes down.

Start not; her actions shall be holy as

You hear my spell is lawful: do not shun her

Until you see her die again; for then

You kill her double. Nay, present your hand:

When she was young you woo'd her; now in age

Is she become the suitor?

O, she's warm!

If this be magic, let it be an art

Lawful as eating.

She embraces him.

She hangs about his neck:

If she pertain to life let her speak too.

Ay, and make't manifest where she has lived,

Or how stolen from the dead.

That she is living,

Were it but told you, should be hooted at

Like an old tale: but it appears she lives,

Though yet she speak not. Mark a little while.

Please you to interpose, fair madam: kneel (120)

And pray your mother's blessing. Turn, good lady;

Our Perdita is found.

You gods, look down

And from your sacred vials pour your graces

Upon my daughter's head! Tell me, mine own,

Where hast thou been preserved? where lived? how found

Thy father's court? for thou shalt hear that I,

Knowing by Paulina that the oracle

Gave hope thou wast in being, have preserved

Myself to see the issue.

There's time enough for that;

Lest they desire upon this push to trouble (130)

Your joys with like relation. Go together,

You precious winners all; your exultation

Partake to every one. I, an old turtle,

Will wing me some wither'd bough and there

My mate, that's never to be found again,

Lament till I am lost.

O, peace, Paulina!

Thou shouldst a husband take by my consent,

As I by thine a wife: this is a match,

And made between's by vows. Thou hast found mine;

But how, is to be question'd; for I saw her, (140)

As I thought, dead, and have in vain said many

A prayer upon her grave. I'll not seek far--

For him, I partly know his mind to find thee

An honorable husband. Come, Camillo,

And take her by the hand, whose worth and honesty

Is richly noted and here justified

By us a pair of kings. Let's from this place.

What! look upon my brother: both your pardons

That e'er I put between your holy looks (149)

My ill suspicion. This is your son-in-law,

And son unto the king, who, heavens directing,

Is troth-plight to your daughter. Good Paulina,

Lead us from hence, where we may leisurely

Each one demand and answer to his part

Perform'd in this wide gap of time since first

We were dissever'd: hastily lead away. [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: