The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 4

page Act 4 Scene 4 Page 18

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SHEPHERD

Take hands, a bargain!
And, friends unknown, you shall bear witness to ’t:
420I give my daughter to him, and will make
Her portion equal his.

SHEPHERD

Shake hands. It’s a deal! And, friendly strangers, you’ll be a witness to this. I give my daughter to him in marriage and will make her dowry equal to his fortune.

FLORIZEL

O, that must be
I’ the virtue of your daughter: one being dead,
I shall have more than you can dream of yet;
425Enough then for your wonder. But, come on,
Contract us ’fore these witnesses.

FLORIZEL

Then her dowry must be her virtue, since once my father is dead I will inherit more than you can dream of. It will be enough for you to wonder at it. But, come, bind us together before these witnesses.

SHEPHERD

Come, your hand;
And, daughter, yours.

SHEPHERD

Give me your hand, and daughter, give me yours.

POLIXENES

Soft, swain, awhile, beseech you;
430Have you a father?

POLIXENES

Gentle young shepherd, wait, please. Do you have a father?

FLORIZEL

I have: but what of him?

FLORIZEL

I do, but what about him?

POLIXENES

Knows he of this?

POLIXENES

Does he know about this?

FLORIZEL

He neither does nor shall.

FLORIZEL

He doesn’t, and he won’t.

POLIXENES

Methinks a father
435Is at the nuptial of his son a guest
That best becomes the table. Pray you once more,
Is not your father grown incapable
Of reasonable affairs? is he not stupid
With age and altering rheums? can he speak? hear?
440Know man from man? dispute his own estate?
Lies he not bed-rid? and again does nothing
But what he did being childish?

POLIXENES

I think a father is the best guest at his son’s wedding. Please, once more, has your father become incapable of doing normal tasks? Is he senile from age and illness? Can he speak and hear? Does he know one man from another? Can he handle his own estate? Is he confined to his bed and unable to do the things he did when he was younger?