The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 3 Scene 3
No Fear Act 3 Scene 3 Page 2

Original Text

Modern Text

Exit, pursued by a bear
He exits, chased by a bear.
Enter a Shepherd
A SHEPHERD enters.


I would there were no age between sixteen and
65three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the
rest; for there is nothing in the between but
getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry,
stealing, fighting—Hark you now! Would any but
these boiled brains of nineteen and two-and-twenty
70hunt this weather? They have scared away two of my
best sheep, which I fear the wolf will sooner find
than the master: if any where I have them, ’tis by
the seaside, browsing of ivy. Good luck, an’t be thy
will what have we here! Mercy on ’s, a barne a very
75pretty barne! A boy or a child, I wonder? A
pretty one; a very pretty one: sure, some ’scape:
though I am not bookish, yet I can read
waiting-gentlewoman in the ’scape. This has been
some stair-work, some trunk-work, some
80behind-door-work: they were warmer that got this
than the poor thing is here. I’ll take it up for
pity: yet I’ll tarry till my son come; he hallooed
but even now. Whoa, ho, hoa!


I wish that the ages between sixteen and twenty-three didn’t exist, or that young men would spend them asleep. Otherwise there is nothing between those ages but getting girls pregnant, acting dishonestly toward their elders, stealing, fighting—look at this! Would anyone but an addlebrained nineteen or twenty-two-year-old hunt in this weather? They’ve scared away two of my best sheep, which I’m afraid the wolf will find before I do. If I find them anywhere it’ll be by the shore, eating ivy. What is this here? Mercy, it’s a baby, a pretty baby! A boy or a girl, I wonder? A pretty one, a very pretty one. Here is the product of some forbidden affair. I’m not a scholar, but I can read the signs of a lady-in-waiting behind this. It must have been some secret sexual relationship carried out in back stairs, in large chests, or behind closed doors. The man and woman who conceived this child were more hot-blooded than the poor baby is. Out of pity I’ll take it, but I’ll wait here until my son comes. I heard him shout just a moment ago. Hallo!
Enter Clown