The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 2

page Act 3 Scene 2 Page 7

Original Text

Modern Text

Exeunt PAULINA and Ladies, with HERMIONE
PAULA and the ladies exit with HERMIONE.
Apollo, pardon
My great profaneness ’gainst thine oracle!
170I’ll reconcile me to Polixenes,
New woo my queen, recall the good Camillo,
Whom I proclaim a man of truth, of mercy;
For, being transported by my jealousies
To bloody thoughts and to revenge, I chose
175Camillo for the minister to poison
My friend Polixenes: which had been done,
But that the good mind of Camillo tardied
My swift command, though I with death and with
Reward did threaten and encourage him,
180Not doing ’t and being done: he, most humane
And fill’d with honour, to my kingly guest
Unclasp’d my practise, quit his fortunes here,
Which you knew great, and to the hazard
Of all encertainties himself commended,
185No richer than his honour: how he glisters
Thorough my rust! and how his pity
Does my deeds make the blacker!
Apollo, forgive how I have insulted your oracle! I’ll make it up to Polixenes, court my queen again, and call back good Camillo, whom I declare an honest and merciful man. When I was made mad by my jealousies and plotted bloody revenge, I asked Camillo to poison my friend Polixenes. It would have been done if Camillo hadn’t delayed doing it, even though I threatened to kill him if he didn’t and to reward him if he did. Even so, he was so humane and honorable that he revealed my plot, left his great fortunes here, and giving himself over to uncertainty, departed with only his honor. How much finer he appears next to me! And how his good deeds make my actions seem even worse!
Re-enter PAULINA
PAULINA re-enters.
They exit.

PAULINA

Woe the while!
O, cut my lace, lest my heart, cracking it,
190Break too.

PAULINA

Alas! Cut my corset, so that my heart, in cracking through it, won’t break as well.