The Winter's Tale By William Shakespeare Act V: Scene 3

ACT V. SCENE 3. The same. A Room in PAULINA's house.

Lords and Attendants.]

O grave and good Paulina, the great comfort
That I have had of thee!

What, sovereign sir,
I did not well, I meant well. All my services
You have paid home: but that you have vouchsaf'd,
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.

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
That which my daughter came to look upon,
The statue of her mother.

As she liv'd peerless,
So her dead likeness, I do well believe,
Excels whatever yet you look'd upon
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 undraws a curtain, and discovers HERMIONE, standing as a

I like your silence, — it the more shows off
Your wonder: but yet speak; — first, you, my liege.
Comes it not something near?

Her natural posture! —
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
So aged, as this seems.

O, not by much!

So much the more our carver's excellence;
Which lets go by some sixteen years, and makes her
As she liv'd now.

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!
I am asham'd: 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 conjur'd to remembrance; and
From thy admiring daughter took the spirits,
Standing like stone with thee!

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,
Give me that hand of yours to kiss.

O, patience!
The statue is but newly fix'd, the colour's
Not dry.

My lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on,
Which sixteen winters cannot blow away,
So many summers dry; scarce any joy
Did ever so long live; no sorrow
But kill'd itself much sooner.

Dear my brother,
Let him that was the cause of this have power
To take off so much grief from you as he
Will piece up in himself.

Indeed, my lord,
If I had thought the sight of my poor image
Would thus have wrought you, — for the stone is mine, —
I'd not have show'd it.

Do not draw the curtain.

No longer shall you gaze on't; lest your fancy
May think anon it moves.

Let be, let be. —
Would I were dead, but that, methinks, already —
What was he that did make it? See, my lord,
Would you not deem it breath'd, and that those veins
Did verily bear blood?

Masterly done:
The very life seems warm upon her lip.

The fixture of her eye has motion in't,
As we are mock'd with art.

I'll draw the curtain:
My lord's almost so far transported that
He'll think anon it lives.

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.

I am sorry, sir, I have thus far stirr'd you: but
I could afflict you further.

Do, Paulina;
For this affliction has a taste as sweet
As any cordial comfort. — Still, methinks,
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!

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