The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

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HERMIONE

Should a villain say so,
The most replenish’d villain in the world,
He were as much more villain: you, my lord,
100Do but mistake.

HERMIONE

If a villain said so, the worst in the world, saying so would make him even more of a villain. My lord, you are mistaken.

LEONTES

You have mistook, my lady,
Polixenes for Leontes: O thou thing!
Which I’ll not call a creature of thy place,
Lest barbarism, making me the precedent,
105Should a like language use to all degrees
And mannerly distinguishment leave out
Betwixt the prince and beggar: I have said
She’s an adulteress; I have said with whom:
More, she’s a traitor and Camillo is
110A federary with her, and one that knows
What she should shame to know herself
But with her most vile principal, that she’s
A bed-swerver, even as bad as those
That vulgars give bold’st titles, ay, and privy
115To this their late escape.

LEONTES

My lady, you have mistaken Polixenes for me. Oh, you creature! I won’t give you the title that goes with your high social status, or I’ll set a precedent allowing rudeness to use the same names for everyone and not distinguish between a prince and a beggar. I have said she is an adulteress, and I have said with whom. Even more than that, she is a traitor, and she is in league with Camillo, who knows what she should be ashamed of: that she’s an adulteress. She’s as bad as the women that common people give the coarsest name to, and she knew that they were escaping.

HERMIONE

No, by my life.
Privy to none of this. How will this grieve you,
When you shall come to clearer knowledge, that
You thus have publish’d me! Gentle my lord,
120You scarce can right me throughly then to say
You did mistake.

HERMIONE

No, I swear on my life I knew none of this. You’ll regret publicly shaming me like this when you realize you are wrong! My gentle lord, you can make it all right again by saying you made a mistake.