The Winter’s Tale - Act 3, scene 3
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Act 3, scene 3
Antigonus leaves the baby in Bohemia, where Polixenes is king. In a sudden storm, the ship sinks and Antigonus is chased by a bear, who then eats him. The baby, along with the gold left with her, is found by a shepherd and his son.Enter Antigonus ⌜carrying the⌝ babe, ⌜and⌝ a Mariner.
1471 Thou art perfect, then, our ship hath touched upon
1472 The deserts of Bohemia?
1474 We have landed in ill time. The skies look grimly
1475 5 And threaten present blusters. In my conscience,
1476 The heavens with that we have in hand are angry
1477 And frown upon ’s.
1478 Their sacred wills be done. Go, get aboard.
1479 Look to thy bark. I’ll not be long before
1480 10 I call upon thee.
MARINER 1481 Make your best haste, and go not
1482 Too far i’ th’ land. ’Tis like to be loud weather.
1483 Besides, this place is famous for the creatures
1484 Of prey that keep upon ’t.
ANTIGONUS 1485 15 Go thou away.
1486 I’ll follow instantly.
MARINER 1487 I am glad at heart
1488 To be so rid o’ th’ business.He exits.
ANTIGONUS 1489 Come, poor babe.
1490 20 I have heard, but not believed, the spirits o’ th’ dead
1491 May walk again. If such thing be, thy mother
1492 Appeared to me last night, for ne’er was dream
1493 So like a waking. To me comes a creature,
1494 Sometimes her head on one side, some another.
1495 25 I never saw a vessel of like sorrow,
1496 So filled and so becoming. In pure white robes,
1497 Like very sanctity, she did approach
1498 My cabin where I lay, thrice bowed before me,
1499 And, gasping to begin some speech, her eyes
1500 30 Became two spouts. The fury spent, anon
1501 Did this break from her: “Good Antigonus,
1502 Since fate, against thy better disposition,
1503 Hath made thy person for the thrower-out
1504 Of my poor babe, according to thine oath,
1505 35 Places remote enough are in Bohemia.
1506 There weep, and leave it crying. And, for the babe
1507 Is counted lost forever, Perdita
1509 Put on thee by my lord, thou ne’er shalt see
1510 40 Thy wife Paulina more.” And so, with shrieks,
1511 She melted into air. Affrighted much,
1512 I did in time collect myself and thought
1513 This was so and no slumber. Dreams are toys,
1514 Yet for this once, yea, superstitiously,
1515 45 I will be squared by this. I do believe
1516 Hermione hath suffered death, and that
1517 Apollo would, this being indeed the issue
1518 Of King Polixenes, it should here be laid,
1519 Either for life or death, upon the earth
1520 50 Of its right father.—Blossom, speed thee well.
1521 There lie, and there thy character; there these,
⌜He lays down the baby, a bundle, and a box.⌝
1522 Which may, if fortune please, both breed thee, pretty,
1523 And still rest thine. ⌜Thunder.⌝ The storm begins.
1524 Poor wretch,
1525 55 That for thy mother’s fault art thus exposed
1526 To loss and what may follow. Weep I cannot,
1527 But my heart bleeds, and most accurst am I
1528 To be by oath enjoined to this. Farewell.
1529 The day frowns more and more. Thou ’rt like to have
1530 60 A lullaby too rough. I never saw
1531 The heavens so dim by day.
⌜Thunder, and sounds of hunting.⌝
1532 A savage clamor!
1533 Well may I get aboard! This is the chase.
1534 I am gone forever!He exits, pursued by a bear.
SHEPHERD 1535 65I would there were no age between ten and
1536 three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the
1537 rest, for there is nothing in the between but getting
1538 wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing,
1540 70 boiled brains of nineteen and two-and-twenty hunt
1541 this weather? They have scared away two of my best
1542 sheep, which I fear the wolf will sooner find than
1543 the master. If anywhere I have them, ’tis by the
1544 seaside, browsing of ivy. Good luck, an ’t be thy will,
1545 75 what have we here? Mercy on ’s, a bairn! A very
1546 pretty bairn. A boy or a child, I wonder? A pretty
1547 one, a very pretty one. Sure some scape. Though I
1548 am not bookish, yet I can read waiting-gentlewoman
1549 in the scape. This has been some stair-work,
1550 80 some trunk-work, some behind-door work. They
1551 were warmer that got this than the poor thing is
1552 here. I’ll take it up for pity. Yet I’ll tarry till my son
1553 come. He halloed but even now.—Whoa-ho-ho!
Enter ⌜Shepherd’s Son.⌝
SHEPHERD’S SON 1554 Hilloa, loa!
SHEPHERD 1555 85What, art so near? If thou ’lt see a thing to
1556 talk on when thou art dead and rotten, come hither.
1557 What ail’st thou, man?
SHEPHERD’S SON 1558 I have seen two such sights, by sea
1559 and by land—but I am not to say it is a sea, for it is
1560 90 now the sky; betwixt the firmament and it, you
1561 cannot thrust a bodkin’s point.
SHEPHERD 1562 Why, boy, how is it?
SHEPHERD’S SON 1563 I would you did but see how it chafes,
1564 how it rages, how it takes up the shore. But that’s
1565 95 not to the point. O, the most piteous cry of the poor
1566 souls! Sometimes to see ’em, and not to see ’em.
1567 Now the ship boring the moon with her mainmast,
1568 and anon swallowed with yeast and froth, as you’d
1569 thrust a cork into a hogshead. And then for the land
1570 100 service, to see how the bear tore out his shoulder-bone,
1571 how he cried to me for help, and said his
1573 end of the ship: to see how the sea flap-dragoned it.
1574 But, first, how the poor souls roared and the sea
1575 105 mocked them, and how the poor gentleman roared
1576 and the bear mocked him, both roaring louder than
1577 the sea or weather.
SHEPHERD 1578 Name of mercy, when was this, boy?
SHEPHERD’S SON 1579 Now, now. I have not winked since I
1580 110 saw these sights. The men are not yet cold under
1581 water, nor the bear half dined on the gentleman.
1582 He’s at it now.
SHEPHERD 1583 Would I had been by to have helped the old
SHEPHERD’S SON 1585 115I would you had been by the ship side,
1586 to have helped her. There your charity would have
1587 lacked footing.
SHEPHERD 1588 Heavy matters, heavy matters. But look
1589 thee here, boy. Now bless thyself. Thou met’st with
1590 120 things dying, I with things newborn. Here’s a sight
1591 for thee. Look thee, a bearing cloth for a squire’s
1592 child. Look thee here. Take up, take up, boy. Open
1593 ’t. So, let’s see. It was told me I should be rich by
1594 the fairies. This is some changeling. Open ’t. What’s
1595 125 within, boy?
SHEPHERD’S SON, ⌜opening the box⌝ 1596 You’re a made old
1597 man. If the sins of your youth are forgiven you,
1598 you’re well to live. Gold, all gold.
SHEPHERD 1599 This is fairy gold, boy, and ’twill prove so.
1600 130 Up with ’t, keep it close. Home, home, the next way.
1601 We are lucky, boy, and to be so still requires
1602 nothing but secrecy. Let my sheep go. Come, good
1603 boy, the next way home.
SHEPHERD’S SON 1604 Go you the next way with your
1605 135 findings. I’ll go see if the bear be gone from the
1606 gentleman and how much he hath eaten. They are
1608 any of him left, I’ll bury it.
SHEPHERD 1609 That’s a good deed. If thou mayest discern
1610 140 by that which is left of him what he is, fetch me to
1611 th’ sight of him.
SHEPHERD’S SON 1612 Marry, will I, and you shall help to
1613 put him i’ th’ ground.
SHEPHERD 1614 ’Tis a lucky day, boy, and we’ll do good
1615 145 deeds on ’t.