The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 4

page Act 4 Scene 4 Page 6

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CAMILLO

I should leave grazing, were I of your flock,
And only live by gazing.

CAMILLO

If I were part of your flock, I would stop grazing and instead gaze on you as my only nourishment.

PERDITA

130Out, alas!
You’d be so lean, that blasts of January
Would blow you through and through.
Now, my fair’st friend,
I would I had some flowers o’ the spring that might
135Become your time of day; and yours, and yours,
That wear upon your virgin branches yet
Your maidenheads growing: O Proserpina,
For the flowers now, that frighted thou let’st fall
From Dis’s waggon! daffodils,
140That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty; violets dim,
But sweeter than the lids of Juno’s eyes
Or Cytherea’s breath; pale primroses
That die unmarried, ere they can behold
145Bight Phoebus in his strength—a malady
Most incident to maids; bold oxlips and
The crown imperial; lilies of all kinds,
The flower-de-luce being one! O, these I lack,
To make you garlands of, and my sweet friend,
150To strew him o’er and o’er!

PERDITA

Oh, not at all! You’d be so skinny that the icy winds of January would blow right through you. (to Florizel) Now, my fairest friend, I wish I had flowers of the spring that would match your age, (to Mopsa and Dorcas) and yours, and yours, who are still in your adolescence. Oh,

Proserpina, if only we had the flowers that you, frightened, let fall from Dis’s chariot

In Greek myth, Proserpina was abducted by Dis, also known as Pluto, while she was collecting flowers.

Proserpina, if only we had the flowers that you, frightened, let fall from Dis’s chariot
! Daffodils that bloom before the swallows dare return from the south, and that charm the winds of March with their beauty. Modest violets that are sweeter than

Juno’s eyes

Juno was the Roman name for Hera, Zeus’s wife and queen of the gods.

Juno’s eyes
or

Cytherea’s breath

Roman name for Venus, goddess of love.

Cytherea’s breath
. Pale primroses that die unmarried, before they can see the bright sun at full strength—a sickness that often affects young women. Bold oxlips and the crown imperial lily, lilies of all kinds, the

flower-de-luce

Or fleur-de-lis.

flower-de-luce
being one! Oh, if only I had these flowers to make garlands and to throw over my sweet friend!