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Home > Winter's Tale > ACT V - SCENE II. Before LEONTES' palace.

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ACT V - SCENE II. Before LEONTES' palace.
Enter AUTOLYCUS and a Gentleman

1    Beseech you, sir, were you present at this relation?
First Gentleman
2    I was by at the opening of the fardel, heard the old
3    shepherd deliver the manner how he found it:
4    whereupon, after a little amazedness, we were all
5    commanded out of the chamber; only this methought I
6    heard the shepherd say, he found the child.
7    I would most gladly know the issue of it.
First Gentleman
8    I make a broken delivery of the business; but the
9    changes I perceived in the king and Camillo were
10   very notes of admiration: they seemed almost, with
11   staring on one another, to tear the cases of their
12   eyes; there was speech in their dumbness, language
13   in their very gesture; they looked as they had heard
14   of a world ransomed, or one destroyed: a notable
15   passion of wonder appeared in them; but the wisest
16   beholder, that knew no more but seeing, could not
17   say if the importance were joy or sorrow; but in the
18   extremity of the one, it must needs be.
Enter another Gentleman
19   Here comes a gentleman that haply knows more.
20   The news, Rogero?
Second Gentleman
21   Nothing but bonfires: the oracle is fulfilled; the
22   king's daughter is found: such a deal of wonder is
23   broken out within this hour that ballad-makers
24   cannot be able to express it.
Enter a third Gentleman
25   Here comes the Lady Paulina's steward: he can
26   deliver you more. How goes it now, sir? this news
27   which is called true is so like an old tale, that
28   the verity of it is in strong suspicion: has the king
29   found his heir?
Third Gentleman
30   Most true, if ever truth were pregnant by
31   circumstance: that which you hear you'll swear you
32   see, there is such unity in the proofs. The mantle
33   of Queen Hermione's, her jewel about the neck of it,
34   the letters of Antigonus found with it which they
35   know to be his character, the majesty of the
36   creature in resemblance of the mother, the affection
37   of nobleness which nature shows above her breeding,
38   and many other evidences proclaim her with all
39   certainty to be the king's daughter. Did you see
40   the meeting of the two kings?
Second Gentleman
41   No.
Third Gentleman
42   Then have you lost a sight, which was to be seen,
43   cannot be spoken of. There might you have beheld one
44   joy crown another, so and in such manner that it
45   seemed sorrow wept to take leave of them, for their
46   joy waded in tears. There was casting up of eyes,
47   holding up of hands, with countenances of such
48   distraction that they were to be known by garment,
49   not by favour. Our king, being ready to leap out of
50   himself for joy of his found daughter, as if that
51   joy were now become a loss, cries 'O, thy mother,
52   thy mother!' then asks Bohemia forgiveness; then
53   embraces his son-in-law; then again worries he his
54   daughter with clipping her; now he thanks the old
55   shepherd, which stands by like a weather-bitten
56   conduit of many kings' reigns. I never heard of such
57   another encounter, which lames report to follow it
58   and undoes description to do it.
Second Gentleman
59   What, pray you, became of Antigonus, that carried
60   hence the child?
Third Gentleman
61   Like an old tale still, which will have matter to
62   rehearse, though credit be asleep and not an ear
63   open. He was torn to pieces with a bear: this
64   avouches the shepherd's son; who has not only his
65   innocence, which seems much, to justify him, but a
66   handkerchief and rings of his that Paulina knows.
First Gentleman
67   What became of his bark and his followers?
Third Gentleman
68   Wrecked the same instant of their master's death and
69   in the view of the shepherd: so that all the
70   instruments which aided to expose the child were
71   even then lost when it was found. But O, the noble
72   combat that 'twixt joy and sorrow was fought in
73   Paulina! She had one eye declined for the loss of
74   her husband, another elevated that the oracle was
75   fulfilled: she lifted the princess from the earth,
76   and so locks her in embracing, as if she would pin
77   her to her heart that she might no more be in danger
78   of losing.
First Gentleman
79   The dignity of this act was worth the audience of
80   kings and princes; for by such was it acted.
Third Gentleman
81   One of the prettiest touches of all and that which
82   angled for mine eyes, caught the water though not
83   the fish, was when, at the relation of the queen's
84   death, with the manner how she came to't bravely
85   confessed and lamented by the king, how
86   attentiveness wounded his daughter; till, from one
87   sign of dolour to another, she did, with an 'Alas,'
88   I would fain say, bleed tears, for I am sure my
89   heart wept blood. Who was most marble there changed
90   colour; some swooned, all sorrowed: if all the world
91   could have seen 't, the woe had been universal.
First Gentleman
92   Are they returned to the court?
Third Gentleman
93   No: the princess hearing of her mother's statue,
94   which is in the keeping of Paulina,--a piece many
95   years in doing and now newly performed by that rare
96   Italian master, Julio Romano, who, had he himself
97   eternity and could put breath into his work, would
98   beguile Nature of her custom, so perfectly he is her
99   ape: he so near to Hermione hath done Hermione that
100  they say one would speak to her and stand in hope of
101  answer: thither with all greediness of affection
102  are they gone, and there they intend to sup.
Second Gentleman
103  I thought she had some great matter there in hand;
104  for she hath privately twice or thrice a day, ever
105  since the death of Hermione, visited that removed
106  house. Shall we thither and with our company piece
107  the rejoicing?
First Gentleman
108  Who would be thence that has the benefit of access?
109  every wink of an eye some new grace will be born:
110  our absence makes us unthrifty to our knowledge.
111  Let's along.
Exeunt Gentlemen

112  Now, had I not the dash of my former life in me,
113  would preferment drop on my head. I brought the old
114  man and his son aboard the prince: told him I heard
115  them talk of a fardel and I know not what: but he
116  at that time, overfond of the shepherd's daughter,
117  so he then took her to be, who began to be much
118  sea-sick, and himself little better, extremity of
119  weather continuing, this mystery remained
120  undiscovered. But 'tis all one to me; for had I
121  been the finder out of this secret, it would not
122  have relished among my other discredits.
Enter Shepherd and Clown
123  Here come those I have done good to against my will,
124  and already appearing in the blossoms of their fortune.
125  Come, boy; I am past moe children, but thy sons and
126  daughters will be all gentlemen born.
127  You are well met, sir. You denied to fight with me
128  this other day, because I was no gentleman born.
129  See you these clothes? say you see them not and
130  think me still no gentleman born: you were best say
131  these robes are not gentlemen born: give me the
132  lie, do, and try whether I am not now a gentleman born.
133  I know you are now, sir, a gentleman born.
134  Ay, and have been so any time these four hours.
135  And so have I, boy.
136  So you have: but I was a gentleman born before my
137  father; for the king's son took me by the hand, and
138  called me brother; and then the two kings called my
139  father brother; and then the prince my brother and
140  the princess my sister called my father father; and
141  so we wept, and there was the first gentleman-like
142  tears that ever we shed.
143  We may live, son, to shed many more.
144  Ay; or else 'twere hard luck, being in so
145  preposterous estate as we are.
146  I humbly beseech you, sir, to pardon me all the
147  faults I have committed to your worship and to give
148  me your good report to the prince my master.
149  Prithee, son, do; for we must be gentle, now we are
150  gentlemen.
151  Thou wilt amend thy life?
152  Ay, an it like your good worship.
153  Give me thy hand: I will swear to the prince thou
154  art as honest a true fellow as any is in Bohemia.
155  You may say it, but not swear it.
156  Not swear it, now I am a gentleman? Let boors and
157  franklins say it, I'll swear it.
158  How if it be false, son?
159  If it be ne'er so false, a true gentleman may swear
160  it in the behalf of his friend: and I'll swear to
161  the prince thou art a tall fellow of thy hands and
162  that thou wilt not be drunk; but I know thou art no
163  tall fellow of thy hands and that thou wilt be
164  drunk: but I'll swear it, and I would thou wouldst
165  be a tall fellow of thy hands.
166  I will prove so, sir, to my power.
167  Ay, by any means prove a tall fellow: if I do not
168  wonder how thou darest venture to be drunk, not
169  being a tall fellow, trust me not. Hark! the kings
170  and the princes, our kindred, are going to see the
171  queen's picture. Come, follow us: we'll be thy
172  good masters.

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  • ACT V

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