The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

HERMIONE
130’Tis grace indeed.
Why, lo you now, I have spoke to the purpose twice:
The one for ever earn’d a royal husband;
The other for some while a friend.
HERMIONE
It is grace, indeed. According to you, I have spoken well twice: once to earn a royal husband and again to keep a

friend

The word “friend” could also mean lover, a meaning Leontes refers to in the speech that follows.

friend
a while longer.
LEONTES
[Aside] Too hot, too hot!
135To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods.
I have tremor cordis on me: my heart dances;
But not for joy; not joy. This entertainment
May a free face put on, derive a liberty
From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom,
140And well become the agent; ’t may, I grant;
But to be paddling palms and pinching fingers,
As now they are, and making practised smiles,
As in a looking-glass, and then to sigh, as ’twere
The mort o’ the deer; O, that is entertainment
145My bosom likes not, nor my brows! Mamillius,
Art thou my boy?
LEONTES
(aside) That is too much! To take friendship too far is to make it a love affair. My heart is trembling and dancing, but not for joy. This hospitality may have an innocent face, and my wife’s generosity may in fact come from warmth, affection, and the fact that it makes her more attractive. Maybe. But to hold hands, as they are doing right now, and flirtatiously smile at each other as though into a mirror, all the while sighing as loud as a

horn blast

Shakespeare’s original language referred to the horn sounded in hunting to signal the death of a hunted deer.

horn blast
, that is not entertainment that pleases my heart, or my head. Mamillius, are you my son?
MAMILLIUS
Ay, my good lord.
MAMILLIUS
Yes, my good lord.
LEONTES
I’ fecks!
Why, that’s my bawcock. What, hast
150smutch’d thy nose?
They say it is a copy out of mine. Come, captain,
We must be neat; not neat, but cleanly, captain:
And yet the steer, the heifer and the calf
Are all call’d neat.—Still virginalling
155Upon his palm!—How now, you wanton calf!
Art thou my calf?
LEONTES
In faith! That’s my fine fellow. What, have you smudged your nose? They say it looks just like mine. Come on, captain, you must be

neat

The term refers to cattle with horns, leading to Leontes’s comment in the next sentence.

neat
, that is, clean. Yet the steer, the heifer, and the calf are all called neat. Still playing her fingers up and down his palm! What are you up to, you silly calf? Are you my calf?

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