The Winter's Tale By William Shakespeare Act I: Scene 2

Grace to boot!
Of this make no conclusion, lest you say
Your queen and I are devils: yet, go on;
The offences we have made you do we'll answer;
If you first sinn'd with us, and that with us
You did continue fault, and that you slipp'd not
With any but with us.

Is he won yet?

He'll stay, my lord.

At my request he would not.
Hermione, my dearest, thou never spok'st
To better purpose.


Never but once.

What! have I twice said well? when was't before?
I pr'ythee tell me; cram 's with praise, and make 's
As fat as tame things: one good deed dying tongueless
Slaughters a thousand waiting upon that.
Our praises are our wages; you may ride 's
With one soft kiss a thousand furlongs ere
With spur we heat an acre. But to the goal: —
My last good deed was to entreat his stay;
What was my first? it has an elder sister,
Or I mistake you: O, would her name were Grace!
But once before I spoke to the purpose — when?
Nay, let me have't; I long.

Why, that was when
Three crabbed months had sour'd themselves to death,
Ere I could make thee open thy white hand
And clap thyself my love; then didst thou utter
'I am yours for ever.'

It is Grace indeed.
Why, lo you now, I have spoke to the purpose twice;
The one for ever earn'd a royal husband;
Th' other for some while a friend.

[Giving her hand to POLIXENES.]

Too hot, too hot!
To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods.
I have _tremor cordis_ on me; — my heart dances;
But not for joy, — not joy. — This entertainment
May a free face put on; derive a liberty
From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom,
And well become the agent:'t may, I grant:
But to be paddling palms and pinching fingers,
As now they are; and making practis'd smiles
As in a looking-glass; and then to sigh, as 'twere
The mort o' the deer: O, that is entertainment
My bosom likes not, nor my brows, — Mamillius,
Art thou my boy?

Ay, my good lord.

I' fecks!
Why, that's my bawcock. What! hast smutch'd thy nose? —
They say it is a copy out of mine. Come, captain,
We must be neat; — not neat, but cleanly, captain:
And yet the steer, the heifer, and the calf,
Are all call'd neat. —


Still virginalling
Upon his palm? — How now, you wanton calf!
Art thou my calf?

Yes, if you will, my lord.

Thou want'st a rough pash, and the shoots that I have,
To be full like me: — yet they say we are
Almost as like as eggs; women say so,
That will say anything: but were they false
As o'er-dy'd blacks, as wind, as waters, — false
As dice are to be wish'd by one that fixes
No bourn 'twixt his and mine; yet were it true
To say this boy were like me. — Come, sir page,
Look on me with your welkin eye: sweet villain!
Most dear'st! my collop! — Can thy dam? — may't be?
Affection! thy intention stabs the centre:
Thou dost make possible things not so held,
Communicat'st with dreams; — how can this be? —
With what's unreal thou co-active art,
And fellow'st nothing: then 'tis very credent
Thou mayst co-join with something; and thou dost, —
And that beyond commission; and I find it, —
And that to the infection of my brains
And hardening of my brows.

What means Sicilia?

He something seems unsettled.

How! my lord!
What cheer? How is't with you, best brother?

You look
As if you held a brow of much distraction:
Are you mov'd, my lord?

No, in good earnest. —
How sometimes nature will betray its folly,
Its tenderness, and make itself a pastime
To harder bosoms! Looking on the lines
Of my boy's face, methoughts I did recoil
Twenty-three years; and saw myself unbreech'd,
In my green velvet coat; my dagger muzzled,
Lest it should bite its master, and so prove,
As ornaments oft do, too dangerous.
How like, methought, I then was to this kernel,
This squash, this gentleman. — Mine honest friend,
Will you take eggs for money?

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

After Camillo reveals Leontes' plan to kill Polixenes, Camillo is sentenced to die for treason.