The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 4

page Act 4 Scene 4 Page 21

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Exit
He exits.

PERDITA

Even here undone!
I was not much afeard; for once or twice
I was about to speak and tell him plainly,
The selfsame sun that shines upon his court
495Hides not his visage from our cottage but
Looks on alike. Will’t please you, sir, be gone?
I told you what would come of this: beseech you,
Of your own state take care: this dream of mine,—
Being now awake, I’ll queen it no inch farther,
500But milk my ewes and weep.

PERDITA

We’re ruined even here! I was not very afraid. Once or twice I was about to speak and tell him bluntly that the same sun that illuminates his court doesn’t hide its face from our cottage but looks down here all the same. Will you please leave, sir? I told you what would come of this. Please, take care of yourself. Now that I’m awake, I won’t act the queen anymore but will milk my ewes and weep.

CAMILLO

Why, how now, father!
Speak ere thou diest.
Why, what about you, father? Speak before you die.

SHEPHERD

I cannot speak, nor think
Nor dare to know that which I know. O sir!
505You have undone a man of fourscore three,
That thought to fill his grave in quiet, yea,
To die upon the bed my father died,
To lie close by his honest bones: but now
Some hangman must put on my shroud and lay me
510Where no priest shovels in dust. O cursed wretch,
That knew’st this was the prince,
and wouldst adventure
To mingle faith with him! Undone! undone!
If I might die within this hour, I have lived
515To die when I desire.

SHEPHERD

I can’t speak, or think, or dare to know what I know. Oh. sir! You have ruined a man of sixty-three. I thought I would go to my grave in peace, to die in the bed my father died in, and be buried close to his honest bones. But now a hangman will put a burial shroud on me and put me in an unconsecrated grave. (to Perdita) Oh, cursed girl, you knew this was the prince and dared to exchange vows with him! Undone! If I can die within the hour, I will have died when I wish.