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The Winter’s Tale - Act 2, scene 2
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Navigate this workThe Winter’s Tale - Act 2, scene 2
Act 2, scene 2
Paulina attempts to visit Hermione in prison. Learning that the queen has given birth to a baby girl, Paulina decides to take the baby to Leontes in the hope that the sight of his infant daughter will alter his state of mind.Enter Paulina, a Gentleman, ⌜and Paulina’s Attendants.⌝
PAULINA, ⌜to Gentleman⌝
0843 The keeper of the prison, call to him.
0844 Let him have knowledge who I am.
0845 Good lady,
p. 630846 No court in Europe is too good for thee.
0847 5 What dost thou then in prison?
⌜Enter⌝ Jailer, ⌜with the Gentleman.⌝
0848 Now, good sir,
0849 You know me, do you not?
JAILER 0850 For a worthy lady
0851 And one who much I honor.
PAULINA 0852 10 Pray you then,
0853 Conduct me to the Queen.
JAILER 0854 I may not, madam.
0855 To the contrary I have express commandment.
0856 Here’s ado, to lock up honesty and honor from
0857 15 Th’ access of gentle visitors. Is ’t lawful, pray you,
0858 To see her women? Any of them? Emilia?
JAILER 0859 So please you, madam,
0860 To put apart these your attendants, I
0861 Shall bring Emilia forth.
PAULINA 0862 20 I pray now, call her.—
0863 Withdraw yourselves.
⌜Attendants and Gentleman exit.⌝
0864 And, madam, I must be present at your conference.
PAULINA 0865 Well, be ’t so, prithee.⌜Jailer exits.⌝
0866 Here’s such ado to make no stain a stain
0867 25 As passes coloring.
⌜Enter⌝ Emilia ⌜with Jailer.⌝
0868 Dear gentlewoman,
0869 How fares our gracious lady?
0870 As well as one so great and so forlorn
0871 May hold together. On her frights and griefs,
0872 30 Which never tender lady hath borne greater,
0873 She is something before her time delivered.
0874 A boy?
EMILIA 0875 A daughter, and a goodly babe,
0876 Lusty and like to live. The Queen receives
0877 35 Much comfort in ’t, says “My poor prisoner,
0878 I am innocent as you.”
PAULINA 0879 I dare be sworn.
0880 These dangerous unsafe lunes i’ th’ King, beshrew
0882 40 He must be told on ’t, and he shall. The office
0883 Becomes a woman best. I’ll take ’t upon me.
0884 If I prove honey-mouthed, let my tongue blister
0885 And never to my red-looked anger be
0886 The trumpet anymore. Pray you, Emilia,
0887 45 Commend my best obedience to the Queen.
0888 If she dares trust me with her little babe,
0889 I’ll show ’t the King and undertake to be
0890 Her advocate to th’ loud’st We do not know
0891 How he may soften at the sight o’ th’ child.
0892 50 The silence often of pure innocence
0893 Persuades when speaking fails.
EMILIA 0894 Most worthy madam,
0895 Your honor and your goodness is so evident
0896 That your free undertaking cannot miss
0897 55 A thriving issue. There is no lady living
0898 So meet for this great errand. Please your Ladyship
0899 To visit the next room, I’ll presently
0900 Acquaint the Queen of your most noble offer,
0901 Who but today hammered of this design,
0902 60 But durst not tempt a minister of honor
0903 Lest she should be denied.
PAULINA 0904 Tell her, Emilia,
0905 I’ll use that tongue I have. If wit flow from ’t
0906 As boldness from my bosom, let ’t not be doubted
0907 65 I shall do good.
p. 67EMILIA 0908 Now be you blest for it!
0909 I’ll to the Queen. Please you come something
JAILER, ⌜to Paulina⌝
0911 Madam, if ’t please the Queen to send the babe,
0912 70 I know not what I shall incur to pass it,
0913 Having no warrant.
PAULINA 0914 You need not fear it, sir.
0915 This child was prisoner to the womb, and is
0916 By law and process of great nature thence
0917 75 Freed and enfranchised, not a party to
0918 The anger of the King, nor guilty of,
0919 If any be, the trespass of the Queen.
JAILER 0920 I do believe it.
0921 Do not you fear. Upon mine honor, I
0922 80 Will stand betwixt you and danger.