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Home > Winter's Tale > ACT III - SCENE III. Bohemia. A desert country near the sea.

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

1    Thou art perfect then, our ship hath touch'd upon
2    The deserts of Bohemia?
3    Ay, my lord: and fear
4    We have landed in ill time: the skies look grimly
5    And threaten present blusters. In my conscience,
6    The heavens with that we have in hand are angry
7    And frown upon 's.
8    Their sacred wills be done! Go, get aboard;
9    Look to thy bark: I'll not be long before
10   I call upon thee.
11   Make your best haste, and go not
12   Too far i' the land: 'tis like to be loud weather;
13   Besides, this place is famous for the creatures
14   Of prey that keep upon't.
15   Go thou away:
16   I'll follow instantly.
17   I am glad at heart
18   To be so rid o' the business.

19   Come, poor babe:
20   I have heard, but not believed,
21   the spirits o' the dead
22   May walk again: if such thing be, thy mother
23   Appear'd to me last night, for ne'er was dream
24   So like a waking. To me comes a creature,
25   Sometimes her head on one side, some another;
26   I never saw a vessel of like sorrow,
27   So fill'd and so becoming: in pure white robes,
28   Like very sanctity, she did approach
29   My cabin where I lay; thrice bow'd before me,
30   And gasping to begin some speech, her eyes
31   Became two spouts: the fury spent, anon
32   Did this break-from her: 'Good Antigonus,
33   Since fate, against thy better disposition,
34   Hath made thy person for the thrower-out
35   Of my poor babe, according to thine oath,
36   Places remote enough are in Bohemia,
37   There weep and leave it crying; and, for the babe
38   Is counted lost for ever, Perdita,
39   I prithee, call't. For this ungentle business
40   Put on thee by my lord, thou ne'er shalt see
41   Thy wife Paulina more.' And so, with shrieks
42   She melted into air. Affrighted much,
43   I did in time collect myself and thought
44   This was so and no slumber. Dreams are toys:
45   Yet for this once, yea, superstitiously,
46   I will be squared by this. I do believe
47   Hermione hath suffer'd death, and that
48   Apollo would, this being indeed the issue
49   Of King Polixenes, it should here be laid,
50   Either for life or death, upon the earth
51   Of its right father. Blossom, speed thee well!
52   There lie, and there thy character: there these;
53   Which may, if fortune please, both breed thee, pretty,
54   And still rest thine. The storm begins; poor wretch,
55   That for thy mother's fault art thus exposed
56   To loss and what may follow! Weep I cannot,
57   But my heart bleeds; and most accursed am I
58   To be by oath enjoin'd to this. Farewell!
59   The day frowns more and more: thou'rt like to have
60   A lullaby too rough: I never saw
61   The heavens so dim by day. A savage clamour!
62   Well may I get aboard! This is the chase:
63   I am gone for ever.
Exit, pursued by a bear

Enter a Shepherd

64   I would there were no age between sixteen and
65   three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the
66   rest; for there is nothing in the between but
67   getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry,
68   stealing, fighting--Hark you now! Would any but
69   these boiled brains of nineteen and two-and-twenty
70   hunt this weather? They have scared away two of my
71   best sheep, which I fear the wolf will sooner find
72   than the master: if any where I have them, 'tis by
73   the seaside, browsing of ivy. Good luck, an't be thy
74   will what have we here! Mercy on 's, a barne a very
75   pretty barne! A boy or a child, I wonder? A
76   pretty one; a very pretty one: sure, some 'scape:
77   though I am not bookish, yet I can read
78   waiting-gentlewoman in the 'scape. This has been
79   some stair-work, some trunk-work, some
80   behind-door-work: they were warmer that got this
81   than the poor thing is here. I'll take it up for
82   pity: yet I'll tarry till my son come; he hallooed
83   but even now. Whoa, ho, hoa!
Enter Clown

84   Hilloa, loa!
85   What, art so near? If thou'lt see a thing to talk
86   on when thou art dead and rotten, come hither. What
87   ailest thou, man?
88   I have seen two such sights, by sea and by land!
89   but I am not to say it is a sea, for it is now the
90   sky: betwixt the firmament and it you cannot thrust
91   a bodkin's point.
92   Why, boy, how is it?
93   I would you did but see how it chafes, how it rages,
94   how it takes up the shore! but that's not the
95   point. O, the most piteous cry of the poor souls!
96   sometimes to see 'em, and not to see 'em; now the
97   ship boring the moon with her main-mast, and anon
98   swallowed with yest and froth, as you'ld thrust a
99   cork into a hogshead. And then for the
100  land-service, to see how the bear tore out his
101  shoulder-bone; how he cried to me for help and said
102  his name was Antigonus, a nobleman. But to make an
103  end of the ship, to see how the sea flap-dragoned
104  it: but, first, how the poor souls roared, and the
105  sea mocked them; and how the poor gentleman roared
106  and the bear mocked him, both roaring louder than
107  the sea or weather.
108  Name of mercy, when was this, boy?
109  Now, now: I have not winked since I saw these
110  sights: the men are not yet cold under water, nor
111  the bear half dined on the gentleman: he's at it
112  now.
113  Would I had been by, to have helped the old man!
114  I would you had been by the ship side, to have
115  helped her: there your charity would have lacked footing.
116  Heavy matters! heavy matters! but look thee here,
117  boy. Now bless thyself: thou mettest with things
118  dying, I with things newborn. Here's a sight for
119  thee; look thee, a bearing-cloth for a squire's
120  child! look thee here; take up, take up, boy;
121  open't. So, let's see: it was told me I should be
122  rich by the fairies. This is some changeling:
123  open't. What's within, boy?
124  You're a made old man: if the sins of your youth
125  are forgiven you, you're well to live. Gold! all gold!
126  This is fairy gold, boy, and 'twill prove so: up
127  with't, keep it close: home, home, the next way.
128  We are lucky, boy; and to be so still requires
129  nothing but secrecy. Let my sheep go: come, good
130  boy, the next way home.
131  Go you the next way with your findings. I'll go see
132  if the bear be gone from the gentleman and how much
133  he hath eaten: they are never curst but when they
134  are hungry: if there be any of him left, I'll bury
135  it.
136  That's a good deed. If thou mayest discern by that
137  which is left of him what he is, fetch me to the
138  sight of him.
139  Marry, will I; and you shall help to put him i' the ground.
140  'Tis a lucky day, boy, and we'll do good deeds on't.

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