The Winter's Tale

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Leontes, Cleomenes, Dion, Paulina, and others


Sir, you have done enough, and have performed

A saint-like sorrow. No fault could you make
sorrow (n.) mourning, lamentation

Which you have not redeemed; indeed, paid down

More penitence than done trespass. At the last,

Do as the heavens have done, forget your evil;

With them forgive yourself.


                         Whilst I remember

Her and her virtues, I cannot forget

My blemishes in them, and so still think of
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

The wrong I did myself; which was so much

That heirless it hath made my kingdom and

Destroyed the sweet'st companion that e'er man

Bred his hopes out of.


                         True, too true, my lord.

If one by one you wedded all the world,

Or from the all that are took something good

To make a perfect woman, she you killed

Would be unparalleled.


                         I think so. Killed!

She I killed! I did so; but thou strik'st me

Sorely to say I did. It is as bitter
sorely (adv.) 1 severely, intensely, very greatly

Upon thy tongue as in my thought. Now, good now,

Say so but seldom.


                         Not at all, good lady.

You might have spoken a thousand things that would

Have done the time more benefit and graced

Your kindness better.


                         You are one of those

Would have him wed again.


                         If you would not so,

You pity not the state, nor the remembrance
remembrance (n.) 1 memory, bringing to mind, recollection See Topics: Frequency count

Of his most sovereign name; consider little

What dangers by his highness' fail of issue
fail (n.) 1 failure [to comply with], lack
issue (n.) 1 child(ren), offspring, family, descendant See Topics: Frequency count

May drop upon his kingdom and devour

Incertain lookers-on. What were more holy
incertain (adj.) 2 uncertain, needing guidance, in a doubtful state

Than to rejoice the former queen is well?
well (adv.) 3 in a state of happiness, in bliss

What holier than, for royalty's repair,
repair (n.) 1 restoration, renewal, recovery

For present comfort and for future good,

To bless the bed of majesty again

With a sweet fellow to't?


                         There is none worthy,

Respecting her that's gone. Besides the gods
respecting (prep.) 1 in comparison with

Will have fulfilled their secret purposes:
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

For has not the divine Apollo said,

Is't not the tenor of his oracle,

That King Leontes shall not have an heir

Till his lost child be found? Which that it shall

Is all as monstrous to our human reason

As my Antigonus to break his grave

And come again to me; who, on my life,

Did perish with the infant. 'Tis your counsel

My lord should to the heavens be contrary,
contrary (adj.) 1 opposite, opposing, rival

Oppose against their wills. (To Leontes) Care not for issue.

The crown will find an heir. Great Alexander

Left his to th' worthiest; so his successor

Was like to be the best.
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count


                         Good Paulina,

Who hast the memory of Hermione,

I know, in honour, O that ever I

Had squared me to thy counsel! Then even now
square (v.) 5 rule, direct, influence

I might have looked upon my queen's full eyes,

Have taken treasure from her lips –


                         And left them

More rich for what they yielded.


                         Thou speak'st truth.

No more such wives, therefore no wife: one worse,

And better used, would make her sainted spirit
sainted (adj.) 2 made a saint, from heaven

Again possess her corpse, and on this stage,

Where we offenders move, appear soul-vexed,

And begin, ‘ Why to me?’


                         Had she such power,

She had just cause.
incense (v.) incite, urge, set on


                         She had, and would incense me

To murder her I married.


                         I should so.

Were I the ghost that walked, I'd bid you mark

Her eye, and tell me for what dull part in't
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count
part (n.) 1 quality, attribute, gift, accomplishment [of mind or body]

You chose her; then I'd shriek, that even your ears

Should rift to hear me; and the words that followed
rift (v.) split, cleave, rend apart

Should be ‘ Remember mine.’


                         Stars, stars,

And all eyes else dead coals! Fear thou no wife;
coal (n.) 2 cinder, piece of charcoal

I'll have no wife, Paulina.


                         Will you swear

Never to marry but by my free leave?


Never, Paulina, so be blest my spirit!


Then, good my lords, bear witness to his oath.


You tempt him over-much.
tempt (v.) 1 try, test, make trial of


                         Unless another,

As like Hermione as is her picture,

Affront his eye.
affront (v.) 1 come face to face with, meet, confront


                         Good madam –


                                                         I have done.

Yet if my lord will marry – if you will, sir,

No remedy, but you will – give me the office
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count

To choose you a queen: she shall not be so young

As was your former, but she shall be such

As, walked your first queen's ghost, it should take joy

To see her in your arms.


                         My true Paulina,

We shall not marry till thou bid'st us.



Shall be when your first queen's again in breath;
breath (n.) 4 life, spirit, living and breathing existence

Never till then.

Enter a Gentleman
give out (v.) 2 proclaim, announce, herald


One that gives out himself Prince Florizel,

Son of Polixenes, with his princess – she

The fairest I have yet beheld – desires access

To your high presence.


                         What with him? He comes not

Like to his father's greatness. His approach

So out of circumstance and sudden tells us
circumstance (n.) 5 pageantry, ceremony, spectacle

'Tis not a visitation framed, but forced
framed (adj.) designed, properly planned, well-prepared

By need and accident. What train?


                         But few,

And those but mean.
mean (adj.) 1 of low rank, inferior in position, less important


                         His princess, say you, with him?


Ay, the most peerless piece of earth, I think,

That e'er the sun shone bright on.


                         O Hermione,

As every present time doth boast itself

Above a better gone, so must thy grave

Give way to what's seen now. (To the Gentleman) Sir, you yourself

Have said and writ so – but your writing now

Is colder than that theme – she had not been,

Nor was not to be, equalled; thus your verse

Flowed with her beauty once. 'Tis shrewdly ebbed
shrewdly (adv.) 1 seriously, mightily, very much

To say you have seen a better.


                         Pardon, madam.

The one I have almost forgot – your pardon;

The other, when she has obtained your eye

Will have your tongue too. This is a creature,

Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal

Of all professors else, make proselytes
professor (n.) adherent, devotee, professing Christian

Of who she but bid follow.


                         How? Not women!


Women will love her that she is a woman

More worth than any man; men that she is

The rarest of all women.
rare (adj.) 1 marvellous, splendid, excellent


                         Go, Cleomenes:

Yourself, assisted with your honoured friends,
assist (v.) accompany, attend, escort

Bring them to our embracement.

Exeunt Cleomenes and others
embracement (n.) embrace, clasping, hug

                         Still, 'tis strange

He thus should steal upon us.


                         Had our prince,

Jewel of children, seen this hour, he had paired

Well with this lord: there was not full a month

Between their births.


                         Prithee, no more! Cease! Thou know'st

He dies to me again when talked of. Sure,

When I shall see this gentleman thy speeches

Will bring me to consider that which may

Unfurnish me of reason. They are come.
unfurnish (v.) deprive, divest, take away

Enter Florizel, Perdita, Cleomenes, and others

Your mother was most true to wedlock, Prince:

For she did print your royal father off,

Conceiving you. Were I but twenty-one,

Your father's image is so hit in you,

His very air, that I should call you brother,
air (n.) 3 likeness, bearing, demeanour

As I did him, and speak of something wildly

By us performed before. Most dearly welcome,

And your fair princess – goddess! O! Alas,

I lost a couple that 'twixt heaven and earth

Might thus have stood, begetting wonder, as
beget (v.), past form begot 2 produce, engender, give rise to

You, gracious couple, do. And then I lost –

All mine own folly – the society,

Amity too, of your brave father, whom,
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent

Though bearing misery, I desire my life

Once more to look on him.


                         By his command

Have I here touched Sicilia, and from him
touch (v.) 13 land at, arrive at, visit

Give you all greetings that a king, at friend,
friend, at as a friend, in friendship

Can send his brother; and but infirmity,

Which waits upon worn times, hath something seized
something (adv.) 1 somewhat, rather See Topics: Frequency count
time (n.) 4 age, years
worn (adj.) worn out, exhausted, spent

His wished ability, he had himself

The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his

Measured to look upon you, whom he loves –

He bade me say so – more than all the sceptres

And those that bear them living.


                         O my brother –

Good gentleman – the wrongs I have done thee stir

Afresh within me; and these thy offices,
office (n.) 5 service, sympathy, kindness

So rarely kind, are as interpreters
rarely (adv.) 2 exceptionally, outstandingly, unbelievably

Of my behindhand slackness! – Welcome hither
behindhand (adj.) backward, tardy, sluggish

As is the spring to th' earth! And hath he too

Exposed this paragon to th' fearful usage,

At least ungentle, of the dreadful Neptune
ungentle (adj.) 3 harsh, violent, cruel

To greet a man not worth her pains, much less

Th' adventure of her person?
adventure (v.) venture, dare, chance, risk


                         Good my lord,

She came from Libya.


                         Where the warlike Smalus,

That noble, honoured lord, is feared and loved?


Most royal sir, from thence; from him whose daughter

His tears proclaimed his, parting with her; thence,

A prosperous south wind friendly, we have crossed,

To execute the charge my father gave me
charge (n.) 4 commission, responsibility, official duty

For visiting your highness. My best train

I have from your Sicilian shores dismissed;

Who for Bohemia bend, to signify
bend (v.) 2 turn, direct one's steps, proceed

Not only my success in Libya, sir,

But my arrival, and my wife's, in safety

Here where we are.


                         The blessed gods

Purge all infection from our air whilst you
purge (v.) 2 expel, get rid of, flush out

Do climate here! You have a holy father,
climate (v.) stay, sojourn, dwell

A graceful gentleman, against whose person,
graceful (adj.) 1 full of grace, virtuous, upright

So sacred as it is, I have done sin:

For which the heavens, taking angry note,

Have left me issueless; and your father's blessed,
issueless (adj.) childless, without an heir

As he from heaven merits it, with you,

Worthy his goodness. What might I have been,

Might I a son and daughter now have looked on,

Such goodly things as you!

Enter a Lord


                         Most noble sir,

That which I shall report will bear no credit,

Were not the proof so nigh. Please you, great sir,

Bohemia greets you from himself by me;

Desires you to attach his son, who has –
attach (v.) 1 arrest, seize, apprehend

His dignity and duty both cast off –

Fled from his father, from his hopes, and with

A shepherd's daughter.


                         Where's Bohemia? Speak.


Here in your city: I now came from him.

I speak amazedly, and it becomes

My marvel and my message. To your court
become (v.) 1 be fitting, befit, be appropriate to See Topics: Frequency count
marvel (n.) astonishment, amazement, surprise

Whiles he was hast'ning – in the chase, it seems,

Of this fair couple – meets he on the way

The father of this seeming lady, and
seeming (adj.) apparent, convincing in appearance

Her brother, having both their country quitted

With this young prince.


                         Camillo has betrayed me;

Whose honour and whose honesty till now

Endured all weathers.
charge (n.) 6 accusation, censure, blame


                         Lay't so to his charge.

He's with the King your father.


                         Who? Camillo?


Camillo, sir; I spake with him; who now

Has these poor men in question. Never saw I
question (n.) 5 questioning, interrogation, examination

Wretches so quake: they kneel, they kiss the earth;

Forswear themselves as often as they speak;
forswear (v), past forms forsworn, forswore 1 swear falsely, perjure [oneself], break one's word See Topics: Frequency count

Bohemia stops his ears, and threatens them

With divers deaths in death.
divers (adj.) different, various, several


                         O my poor father!

The heaven sets spies upon us, will not have

Our contract celebrated.


                         You are married?


We are not, sir, nor are we like to be.
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count

The stars, I see, will kiss the valleys first:

The odds for high and low's alike.


                         My lord,

Is this the daughter of a king?


                         She is,

When once she is my wife.


That ‘ once,’ I see by your good father's speed,

Will come on very slowly. I am sorry,

Most sorry, you have broken from his liking,

Where you were tied in duty; and as sorry

Your choice is not so rich in worth as beauty,
worth (n.) 3 rank, standing, dignity

That you might well enjoy her.
look up (v.) be cheerful, take courage


                         Dear, look up.

Though Fortune, visible an enemy,

Should chase us, with my father, power no jot
chase (v.) harry, harass, persecute

Hath she to change our loves. Beseech you, sir,

Remember since you owed no more to Time

Than I do now. With thought of such affections
affection (n.) 2 emotion, feeling

Step forth mine advocate: at your request

My father will grant precious things as trifles.


Would he do so, I'd beg your precious mistress,

Which he counts but a trifle.


                         Sir, my liege,

Your eye hath too much youth in't. Not a month

'Fore your queen died she was more worth such gazes

Than what you look on now.


                         I thought of her

Even in these looks I made. But your petition

Is yet unanswered. I will to your father.

Your honour not o'erthrown by your desires,

I am friend to them and you; upon which errand

I now go toward him. Therefore follow me,

And mark what way I make. Come, good my lord.
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count


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