The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 4

page Act 4 Scene 4 Page 7

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FLORIZEL

What, like a corse?

FLORIZEL

What, like a corpse?

PERDITA

No, like a bank for love to lie and play on;
Not like a corse; or if, not to be buried,
But quick and in mine arms. Come, take your flowers:
155Methinks I play as I have seen them do
In Whitsun pastorals: sure this robe of mine
Does change my disposition.

PERDITA

No, like a riverbank for love to lie and play on. Not like a corpse—or, if so, not one to be buried, but one alive and in my arms. Come, take your flowers. I think I am playing as I’ve seen them do during

Whitsun

A religious feast celebrated seven Sundays after Easter.

Whitsun
festivities. This outfit I’m wearing certainly changes my attitude.

FLORIZEL

What you do
Still betters what is done. When you speak, sweet.
160I’ld have you do it ever: when you sing,
I’ld have you buy and sell so, so give alms,
Pray so; and, for the ordering your affairs,
To sing them too: when you do dance, I wish you
A wave o’ the sea, that you might ever do
165Nothing but that; move still, still so,
And own no other function: each your doing,
So singular in each particular,
Crowns what you are doing in the present deed,
That all your acts are queens.

FLORIZEL

What you do is always better than what is normally done. When you speak, sweet, I’d have you do it forever. When you sing, I’d have you buy and sell with songs, and give alms, pray, and arrange your affairs with singing. When you dance, I wish you were a wave in the sea, so that you would only ever do that and have no other purpose in life. Everything you do is so perfect that whatever you do is the best.

PERDITA

170O Doricles,
Your praises are too large: but that your youth,
And the true blood which peepeth fairly through’t,
Do plainly give you out an unstain’d shepherd,
With wisdom I might fear, my Doricles,
175You woo’d me the false way.

PERDITA

Oh,

Doricles

The fake name Florizel is using.

Doricles
, you praise me too much. If your youth and your noble character didn’t shine through your disguise and reveal your purity, I might worry that you were trying to lead me astray.