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

One of the prettiest touches of all, and that which angled for
mine eyes, — caught the water, though not the fish, — was, when
at the relation of the queen's death, with the manner how she
came to it, — bravely confessed and lamented by the king, — how
attentivenes wounded his daughter; till, from one sign of dolour
to another, she did with an 'Alas!' — I would fain say, bleed
tears; for I am sure my heart wept blood. Who was most marble
there changed colour; some swooned, all sorrowed: if all the
world could have seen it, the woe had been universal.

Are they returned to the court?

No: the princess hearing of her mother's statue, which is in the
keeping of Paulina, — a piece many years in doing and now newly
performed by that rare Italian master, Julio Romano, who, had
he himself eternity, and could put breath into his work, would
beguile nature of her custom, so perfectly he is her ape: he so
near to Hermione hath done Hermione that they say one would speak
to her and stand in hope of answer: — thither with all greediness
of affection are they gone; and there they intend to sup.

I thought she had some great matter there in hand; for she
hath privately twice or thrice a day, ever since the death of
Hermione, visited that removed house. Shall we thither, and with
our company piece the rejoicing?

Who would be thence that has the benefit of access? every wink
of an eye some new grace will be born: our absence makes us
unthrifty to our knowledge. Let's along.


Now, had I not the dash of my former life in me, would preferment
drop on my head. I brought the old man and his son aboard the
prince; told him I heard them talk of a fardel and I know not
what; but he at that time over-fond of the shepherd's daughter, —
so he then took her to be, — who began to be much sea-sick, and
himself little better, extremity of weather continuing, this
mystery remained undiscover'd. But 'tis all one to me; for had I
been the finder-out of this secret, it would not have relish'd
among my other discredits. Here come those I have done good to
against my will, and already appearing in the blossoms of their

[Enter Shepherd and Clown.]

Come, boy; I am past more children, but thy sons and daughters
will be all gentlemen born.

You are well met, sir: you denied to fight with me this other
day, because I was no gentleman born. See you these clothes? say
you see them not and think me still no gentleman born: you were
best say these robes are not gentlemen born. Give me the lie, do;
and try whether I am not now a gentleman born.

I know you are now, sir, a gentleman born.

Ay, and have been so any time these four hours.

And so have I, boy!

So you have: — but I was a gentleman born before my father; for
the king's son took me by the hand and called me brother; and
then the two kings called my father brother; and then the prince,
my brother, and the princess, my sister, called my father father;
and so we wept; and there was the first gentleman-like tears that
ever we shed.

We may live, son, to shed many more.

Ay; or else 'twere hard luck, being in so preposterous estate as
we are.

I humbly beseech you, sir, to pardon me all the faults I have
committed to your worship, and to give me your good report to the
prince my master.

Pr'ythee, son, do; for we must be gentle, now we are gentlemen.

Thou wilt amend thy life?

Ay, an it like your good worship.

Give me thy hand: I will swear to the prince thou art as honest
a true fellow as any is in Bohemia.

You may say it, but not swear it.

Not swear it, now I am a gentleman? Let boors and franklins say
it, I'll swear it.

How if it be false, son?

If it be ne'er so false, a true gentleman may swear it in the
behalf of his friend. — And I'll swear to the prince thou art a
tall fellow of thy hands and that thou wilt not be drunk; but I
know thou art no tall fellow of thy hands and that thou wilt be
drunk: but I'll swear it; and I would thou wouldst be a tall
fellow of thy hands.

I will prove so, sir, to my power.

Ay, by any means, prove a tall fellow: if I do not wonder how
thou darest venture to be drunk, not being a tall fellow, trust
me not. — Hark! the kings and the princes, our kindred, are going
to see the queen's picture. Come, follow us: we'll be thy good


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