The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 4

page Act 4 Scene 4 Page 17

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POLIXENES

What follows this?
395How prettily the young swain seems to wash
The hand was fair before! I have put you out:
But to your protestation; let me hear
What you profess.

POLIXENES

What does this mean? How delicately the young man seems to wash the hand that was already beautiful. I’ve interrupted. But back to your declaration. Let me hear more about your love.

FLORIZEL

Do, and be witness to ’t.

FLORIZEL

Do, and witness how I feel.

POLIXENES

400And this my neighbour too?

POLIXENES

And my companion, too?

FLORIZEL

And he, and more
Than he, and men, the earth, the heavens, and all:
That, were I crown’d the most imperial monarch,
Thereof most worthy, were I the fairest youth
405That ever made eye swerve, had force and knowledge
More than was ever man’s, I would not prize them
Without her love; for her employ them all;
Commend them and condemn them to her service
Or to their own perdition.

FLORIZEL

Him, and others, and all men, the earth, the heavens and everything. If I were the most powerful and worthy king, or the most handsome youth to ever draw people’s eyes, or if I had greater strength and knowledge than any other man, they would mean nothing to me without her love. I would dedicate them to her service or sentence them to damnation.

POLIXENES

410Fairly offer’d.

POLIXENES

Well said.

CAMILLO

This shows a sound affection.

CAMILLO

This shows his strong affection for her.

SHEPHERD

But, my daughter,
Say you the like to him?

SHEPHERD

But, my daughter, would you say the same to him?

PERDITA

I cannot speak
415So well, nothing so well; no, nor mean better:
By the pattern of mine own thoughts I cut out
The purity of his.

PERDITA

I can’t speak as well, not nearly as well. But I couldn’t say anything more. My own thoughts are echoed in his pure words.