The Winter's Tale

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Paulina, a Gentleman, and Attendants


The keeper of the prison, call to him.

Let him have knowledge who I am.

Exit Gentleman

                         Good lady,

No court in Europe is too good for thee:

What dost thou then in prison?

Enter Gentleman with the Gaoler

                         Now, good sir,

You know me, do you not?


                         For a worthy lady,

And one who much I honour.


                         Pray you, then,

Conduct me to the Queen.


                         I may not, madam:

To the contrary I have express commandment.


Here's ado

To lock up honesty and honour from

Th' access of gentle visitors! Is't lawful, pray you,
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind

To see her women? Any of them? Emilia?


So please you, madam,

To put apart these your attendants, I
put apart (v.) dismiss, send away

Shall bring Emilia forth.


                         I pray now, call her.

Withdraw yourselves.

Exeunt Gentleman and Attendants


                         And, madam,

I must be present at your conference.


Well, be't so, prithee.

Exit Gaoler

Here's such ado to make no stain a stain

As passes colouring.

Enter Gaoler with Emilia
colour (v.) 3 dye, stain a new colour

                         Dear gentlewoman,

How fares our gracious lady?
fare (v.) 1 get on, manage, do, cope See Topics: Frequency count


As well as one so great and so forlorn

May hold together. On her frights and griefs –

Which never tender lady hath borne greater –

She is something before her time delivered.
something (adv.) 2 a little, to some extent


A boy?
goodly (adj.) 2 good-looking, handsome, attractive, comely


                         A daughter, and a goodly babe,

Lusty, and like to live. The Queen receives
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count
lusty (adj.) 1 vigorous, strong, robust, eager

Much comfort in't; says, ‘ My poor prisoner,

I am innocent as you.’


                         I dare be sworn.

These dangerous, unsafe lunes i'th' King, beshrew them!
beshrew, 'shrew (v.) 1 curse, devil take, evil befall See Topics: Frequency count
lune (n.) frenzied fit, tantrum, mad outburst

He must be told on't, and he shall. The office
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count

Becomes a woman best. I'll take't upon me.
become (v.) 1 be fitting, befit, be appropriate to See Topics: Frequency count

If I prove honey-mouthed, let my tongue blister,

And never to my red-looked anger be

The trumpet any more. Pray you, Emilia,

Commend my best obedience to the Queen.
commend (v.) 6 declare, offer, direct

If she dares trust me with her little babe,

I'll show't the King, and undertake to be

Her advocate to th' loud'st. We do not know

How he may soften at the sight o'th' child:

The silence often of pure innocence

Persuades when speaking fails.


                         Most worthy madam,

Your honour and your goodness is so evident

That your free undertaking cannot miss
free (adj.) 2 generous, magnanimous

A thriving issue. There is no lady living
issue (n.) 2 outcome, result, consequence(s) See Topics: Frequency count
thriving (adj.) successful, satisfactory, auspicious

So meet for this great errand. Please your ladyship
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count

To visit the next room, I'll presently

Acquaint the Queen of your most noble offer,
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Who but today hammered of this design,
hammer of (v.) think hard about, ponder on

But durst not tempt a minister of honour
honour (n.) 3 noble rank, position of dignity, title of renown
tempt (v.) 1 try, test, make trial of

Lest she should be denied.


                         Tell her, Emilia,

I'll use that tongue I have. If wit flow from't
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

As boldness from my bosom, let't not be doubted

I shall do good.


                         Now be you blest for it!

I'll to the Queen. Please you come something nearer.
something (adv.) 1 somewhat, rather See Topics: Frequency count


Madam, if't please the Queen to send the babe,

I know not what I shall incur to pass it,

Having no warrant.


                         You need not fear it, sir.

This child was prisoner to the womb, and is

By law and process of great Nature thence

Freed and enfranchised; not a party to
enfranchise (v.) set free, liberate

The anger of the King, nor guilty of,

If any be, the trespass of the Queen.


I do believe it.


Do not you fear. Upon mine honour, I

Will stand betwixt you and danger.


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