William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale in the complete original text.
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The Winter's Tale

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Act III. Scene III.


Scene III.—Bohemia. A desert Country near
the Sea.

Enter ANTIGONUS, with the Child; and a
Mariner.

Ant. Thou art perfect, then, our ship hath
touch'd upon
The desarts of Bohemia?
Mar. Ay, my lord; and fear
We have landed in ill time: the skies look
grimly
And threaten present blusters. In my con-
science,
The heavens with that we have in hand are
angry.
And frown upon's.
Ant. Their sacred wills be done! Go, get
aboard;
Look to thy bark: I'll not be long before
I call upon thee.
Mar, 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.
Ant. Go thou away:
I'll follow instantly.
Mar. I am glad at heart
To be so rid of the business. [Exit.
Ant. Come, poor babe:
I have heard, but not believ'd, 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;
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
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;
Yet for this once, yea, superstitiously,
I will be squar'd 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!
[Laying down Child.
There lie; and there thy character: there these;
[Laying down a bundle.
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 expos'd
To loss and what may follow. Weep I cannot,
But my heart bleeds, and most accurs'd am I
To be by oath enjoin'd to this. Farewell!
The day frowns more and more: thou art like
to have
A lullaby too rough. I never saw
The heavens so dim by day. A savage clamour!
Well may I get aboard! This is the chase:
I am gone for ever. [Exit, pursued by a bear.
Enter a Shepherd.
Shop. 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 wea-
ther? They have scared away two of my best
sheep; which I fear the wolf will sooner find
than the master: if anywhere I have them, 'tis
by the sea-side, browsing of ivy. Good luck,
an't be thy will! what have we here? [Taking
up the Child.] 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 hollaed but even
now. Whoa, ho, hoa!

Enter Clown.
Clo. Hilloa, loa!
Shep. 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?
Clo. 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.
Shep. Why, boy, how is it?
Clo. 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 mainmast, and anon swallowed
with yest and froth, as you'd thrust a cork into
a hogshead. And then for the land-service: to
see how the bear tore out his shoulderbone;
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.
Shep. Name of mercy! when was this, boy?
Clo. Now, now; I have not winded 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.
Shep. Would I had been by, to have helped
the old man!
Clo. I would you had been by the ship's side,
to have helped her: there your charity would
have lacked footing.
Shep. 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?
Clo. You're a made old man: if the sins of
your youth are forgiven you, you're well to live.
Gold! all gold!
Shep. 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.
Clo. Go you the next way with your findings.
I'll go see if the bear be gone from the gentle-
man, 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.
Shep. That's a good deed. If thou mayst
discern by that which is left of him what he is,
fetch me to the sight of him.
Clo. Marry, will I; and you shall help to put
him i' the ground.
Shep. 'Tis a lucky day, boy, and we'll do good
deeds on't. [Exeunt.
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