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The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

LEONTES
55I ne’er heard yet
That any of these bolder vices wanted
Less impudence to gainsay what they did
Than to perform it first.
LEONTES
The same audacity that allows someone to perform a terrible deed also lets her deny it.
HERMIONE
That’s true enough;
60Through ’tis a saying, sir, not due to me.
HERMIONE
That’s true enough, but that has nothing to do with me.
LEONTES
You will not own it.
LEONTES
You won’t admit it.
HERMIONE
More than mistress of
Which comes to me in name of fault, I must not
At all acknowledge. For Polixenes,
65With whom I am accused, I do confess
I loved him as in honour he required,
With such a kind of love as might become
A lady like me, with a love even such,
So and no other, as yourself commanded:
70Which not to have done I think had been in me
Both disobedience and ingratitude
To you and toward your friend, whose love had spoke,
Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely
That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy,
75I know not how it tastes; though it be dish’d
For me to try how: all I know of it
Is that Camillo was an honest man;
And why he left your court, the gods themselves,
Wotting no more than I, are ignorant.
HERMIONE
I take full ownership of my faults, but I won’t acknowledge any faults that aren’t mine. I confess that I loved Polixenes in the manner his honor required, and with a love that was befitting a lady like me—with such a love, even, as you yourself commanded. If I hadn’t love him in this way, I would have been disobeying you and showing ingratitude to both you and your friend, who has loved you since childhood. Now, as for conspiracy, I don’t even know what it is like, even if it is being aimed at me. All I know is that Camillo was an honest man, and the gods know as little as I do about why he left your court.

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