Archives For William Shakespeare

Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Winter’s Tale


ACT V. SCENE II—The same. Before the Palace.

Aut. 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 ben,—who began to be much sea-sick

and himself little better, extremity of weather

continuing, this mystery remained undiscov-

ered. But ’tis all one to me; for had I been the

finder-out of this secret, it would not have

relished among my other discredits. Here come

those I have done good to against my will, and

already appearing in the blossoms of their for-


Enter Shepherd and Clown.

Shep. Come boy; I am past more children,

but thy sons and daughters will be all gentle-

men born.

Clo. 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.

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


Clo. Ay, and have been so any time these

four hours.

Shep. And so have I boy!

Clo. 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.

Shep. We may live, son, to shed many more.

Clo. Ay; or else ’twere hard luck, being in so

preposterous estate as we are.

Aut. 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.

Shep. Pr’ythee, son, do; for we must be

gentle, now we are gentlemen.

Clo. Thou wilt amend thy life?

Aut. Ay, an it like your good worship.

Clo. Give me thy hand: I will swear to the

prince thou art as honest a true fellow as any is

in Bohemia.

Shep. You may say it, but not swear it.

Clo. Not swear it, now I am a gentle-

man? Let boors and franklins say it, I’ll swear


Shep. How if it be false son?

Clo. 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 tho 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


Aut. I will prove so, sir, to my power.

Clo. 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 princess, our kindred,

are going to see the queen’s picture. Come, fol-

low us: we’ll be thy good masters.        [Exeunt.

(On 10/30/14 – Join me for the continuation of “The Winter’s Tale”,

ACT V. SCENE III—The same. A Room in PAULINA’s 


Dancing-Rapier (n.)

Dancing-rapier is an ornament sword worn in dancing. It was sited in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus (Tit II.i.39 [Demetrius says to Chiron] Our mother gave you a dancing-rapier by your side.

Illustration of the death of Chiron and Demetrius from Act 5, Scene 2;

from The Works of Mr. William Shakespeare, edited by Nicholas Rowe (1709)

Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Winter’s Tale


ACT V. SCENE II—The same. Before the Palace.

Enter AUTOLYCUS and a Gentleman.

Gent. What, pray you, became of Anti-

gonus, that carried hence the child?

Gent. Like an old tale still, which will have

matter to rehearse, though credit be asleep, and

not an ear open. He was torn to pieces with a

bear: this avouches the shepherd’s son; who has

not only his innocence,—which seems much,—

to justify him, but a handkerchief and rings of

his, that Paulina knows.

Gent. What became of his bark and his


Gent. Wrecked the same instant of their

master’s death, and in the view of the shep-

herd: so that all the instruments which aided to

expose the child were even then lost when it

was found. But, O, the noble combat that,

‘twixt joy and sorrow, was fought in Paulina!

She had one eye declined for the loss of her

husband, another elevated that the oracle was

fulfilled: she lifted the princess from the earth,

and so locks her in embracing, as if she would

pin her to her heart, that she might no more be

in danger of losing.

Gent. The dignity of this act was worth the

audience of kings and princes; for by such was

it acted.

Gent. 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

relation of the queen’s death, with the man-

ner how she came to it,—bravely confessed and

lamented by the king,—how attentiveness

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.

Gent. Are they returned to the court?

3 Gent.  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 perfect-

ly 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.

Gent. 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?

Gent. Who would be thence that has the

benefit of access? every wink of an eye some

new grace will be born: our absence makes s

unthrifty to our knowledge. et’s along.

[Exeunt Gentlemen.

(On 10/29/14 – Join me for the continuation of “The Winter’s Tale”,

ACT V. SCENE II—The same. Before the Palace.

Earth-vexing (adj.)

Earth-vexing means that something is tormenting earthly life, its life-afflicting. It was sited in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline (Cym V.iv.42 [Sicilius says to music, as if to love] Thou shouldst have shielded him from this earth-vexing smart.

An unconscious Posthumus (Richard Johnson) lying before Sicilius Leonatus (Toby Robertson), and his wife (Molly Taper) – Act V scene 5 Cymbeline

Yoke-Devil (n.)

York-Devil is a companion-devil, associate in evil. It was sited in Shakespeare’s Henry V (H5 II.ii.106 [King Henry says to everyone] Treason and murder ever kept together. As two yoke-devils sworn to either;s purpose.)

King Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt, 1415, by Sir John Gilbert.

Taken from the Complete Works of William Shakespeare

The Winter’s Tale


ACT V. SCENE II—The same. Before the Palace.

Enter AUTOLYCUS and a Gentleman.

Aut.   Beseech you, sir, were you present at

this relation?

Gent. I was by at the opening of the fardel,

heard the old shepherd deliver the manner how

he found it: whereupon, after a little amazed-

ness, we were all commanded out of the cham-

ber, only this, methought I heard the shepherd

say he found the child.                             [it.

Aut. I would most gladly know the issue of

1 Gent. I make a broken delivery of the busi

ness; but the changes I perceived in the king

and Camillo were very notes of admiration:

they seemed almost, with staring on one an-

other, to tear the cases of their eyes’ there was

speech in their dubness, language in their

very gesture; they looked as they had heard of

a world ransomed, or one destroyed: a notable

passion of wonder appeared in them; but the

wisest beholder, that knew no more but seeing,

could not say if the importance were joy or

sorrow;—but in the extremity of the one, it

must needs be. Here comes a gentleman that

happily knows more.

Enter a Gentleman.

The news, Rogero?

Gent. Nothing but bonfires: the oracle is

fulfilled; the king’s daughter is found: such a

deal of wonder is broken out within this hour

that ballad-makers cannot be able to express it.

Here comes the Lady Paulina’s steward: he

can deliver you more.

Enter a third Gentleman.

How goes it now, sir? this news, which is called

true, is so like an old tale that the variety of it is

in strong suspicion. Has the king found his


Gent. Most true, if ever truth were preg-

nant by circumstance: that which you hear

you’ll swear you see, there is such unity in the

proofs. The mantle of Queen Hermione; her

jewel about the nex of it; the letters of Anti-

gonus, found with it, which they know to be

his character; the majesty of the creature in

resemblance of the mother; the affection of

nobleness, which nature shows above her breed-

with all certainty to be the king’s daughter.

Did you see the meeting of the two kings?

Gent. No.

3 Gent. Then have you lost a sight which was

to be seen, cannot be spoken of. There might

you have beheld one oy crown another, so and

in such manner that it seemed sorrow wept to

take leave of them; for their joy waded in tears.

There was casting up of eyes, holding up of

hands with countenance of such distraction

that they were to be known by garment, not by

favour. Our king, being ready to leap out of

himself for joy of his found daughter, as if that

joy were now become a loss cries, O, thy mother,

thy mother! then asks Bohemia forgiveness;

then embraces his son0in-law; then again wor-

ries he his daughter with clipping her; now he

thanks the old shepherd, which stands by like a

weather-bitten conduit of many kings’ reigns. I

never heard of such another encounter, which

lames report to follow it, and undoes descrip-

tion to do it.

(On 10/28/14 – Join me for the continuation of “The Winter’s Tale”,

ACT V. SCENE II—The same. Before the Palace.

Wagtail (n.)

Wagtail is a contemptuous form of address, a tail-wagger, or a bower and scraper. It was sited in Shakespeare’s King Lear (KL II.ii.65 [Kent is wearing a disguise, he turns and says to Oswald] you wagtail!)