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The Winter's Tale

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Act V, Scene 3

A chapel in PAULINA’S house.



  • Leontes. O grave and good Paulina, the great comfort
    That I have had of thee!
  • Paulina. What, sovereign sir,
    I did not well I meant well. All my services 3290
    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. 3295
  • Leontes. O Paulina,
    We honour 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 3300
    That which my daughter came to look upon,
    The statue of her mother.
  • Paulina. As she lived peerless,
    So her dead likeness, I do well believe,
    Excels whatever yet you look'd upon 3305
    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
    Still sleep mock'd death: behold, and say 'tis well.
    [PAULINA draws a curtain, and discovers HERMIONE] 3310
    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?
  • Leontes. Her natural posture! 3315
    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 3320
    So aged as this seems.
  • Paulina. So much the more our carver's excellence;
    Which lets go by some sixteen years and makes her
    As she lived now. 3325
  • Leontes. 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! 3330
    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
    My evils conjured to remembrance and
    From thy admiring daughter took the spirits, 3335
    Standing like stone with thee.
  • Perdita. 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, 3340
    Give me that hand of yours to kiss.
  • Paulina. O, patience!
    The statue is but newly fix'd, the colour's Not dry.
  • Camillo. My lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on,
    Which sixteen winters cannot blow away, 3345
    So many summers dry; scarce any joy
    Did ever so long live; no sorrow
    But kill'd itself much sooner.
  • Polixenes. Dear my brother,
    Let him that was the cause of this have power 3350
    To take off so much grief from you as he
    Will piece up in himself.
  • Paulina. Indeed, my lord,
    If I had thought the sight of my poor image
    Would thus have wrought you,—for the stone is mine— 3355
    I'ld not have show'd it.
  • Paulina. No longer shall you gaze on't, lest your fancy
    May think anon it moves.
  • Leontes. Let be, let be. 3360
    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?
  • Polixenes. Masterly done: 3365
    The very life seems warm upon her lip.
  • Leontes. The fixture of her eye has motion in't,
    As we are mock'd with art.
  • Paulina. I'll draw the curtain:
    My lord's almost so far transported that 3370
    He'll think anon it lives.
  • Leontes. 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. 3375
  • Paulina. I am sorry, sir, I have thus far stirr'd you: but
    I could afflict you farther.
  • Leontes. Do, Paulina;
    For this affliction has a taste as sweet
    As any cordial comfort. Still, methinks, 3380
    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.
  • Paulina. Good my lord, forbear:
    The ruddiness upon her lip is wet; 3385
    You'll mar it if you kiss it, stain your own
    With oily painting. Shall I draw the curtain?
  • Leontes. No, not these twenty years.
  • Perdita. So long could I
    Stand by, a looker on. 3390
  • Paulina. 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— 3395
    Which I protest against—I am assisted
    By wicked powers.
  • Leontes. What you can make her do,
    I am content to look on: what to speak,
    I am content to hear; for 'tis as easy 3400
    To make her speak as move.
  • Paulina. It is required
    You do awake your faith. Then all stand still;
    On: those that think it is unlawful business
    I am about, let them depart. 3405
  • Leontes. Proceed:
    No foot shall stir.
  • Paulina. Music, awake her; strike!
    'Tis time; descend; be stone no more; approach; 3410
    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] 3415
    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 3420
    Is she become the suitor?
  • Leontes. O, she's warm!
    If this be magic, let it be an art
    Lawful as eating.
  • Camillo. She hangs about his neck:
    If she pertain to life let her speak too.
  • Polixenes. Ay, and make't manifest where she has lived,
    Or how stolen from the dead.
  • Paulina. That she is living, 3430
    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
    And pray your mother's blessing. Turn, good lady; 3435
    Our Perdita is found.
  • Hermione. 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 3440
    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.
  • Paulina. There's time enough for that; 3445
    Lest they desire upon this push to trouble
    Your joys with like relation. Go together,
    You precious winners all; your exultation
    Partake to every one. I, an old turtle,
    Will wing me to some wither'd bough and there 3450
    My mate, that's never to be found again,
    Lament till I am lost.
  • Leontes. O, peace, Paulina!
    Thou shouldst a husband take by my consent,
    As I by thine a wife: this is a match, 3455
    And made between's by vows. Thou hast found mine;
    But how, is to be question'd; for I saw her,
    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 3460
    An honourable 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, 3465
    That e'er I put between your holy looks
    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 3470
    Each one demand an answer to his part
    Perform'd in this wide gap of time since first
    We were dissever'd: hastily lead away.