The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 4

page Act 4 Scene 4 Page 23

Original Text

Modern Text

CAMILLO

540Be advised.

CAMILLO

Be careful.

FLORIZEL

I am, and by my fancy: if my reason
Will thereto be obedient, I have reason;
If not, my senses, better pleased with madness,
Do bid it welcome.

FLORIZEL

I am, by my heart. If my reason will obey love, I’ll welcome reason. If not, I will be happier with madness and will welcome it gladly.

CAMILLO

545This is desperate, sir.

CAMILLO

This is a desperate act, sir.

FLORIZEL

So call it: but it does fulfil my vow;
I needs must think it honesty. Camillo,
Not for Bohemia, nor the pomp that may
Be thereat glean’d, for all the sun sees or
550The close earth wombs or the profound sea hides
In unknown fathoms, will I break my oath
To this my fair beloved: therefore, I pray you,
As you have ever been my father’s honour’d friend,
When he shall miss me,—as, in faith, I mean not
555To see him any more,—cast your good counsels
Upon his passion; let myself and fortune
Tug for the time to come. This you may know
And so deliver, I am put to sea
With her whom here I cannot hold on shore;
560And most opportune to our need I have
A vessel rides fast by, but not prepared
For this design. What course I mean to hold
Shall nothing benefit your knowledge, nor
Concern me the reporting.

FLORIZEL

You may call it that, but it does make good on what I just said, so I think it is an honest act. Camillo, I won’t break my promise to Perdita for Bohemia, or all the glamour of being its king, or even for all the world the sun shines on, or the caves under the earth, or the depths hidden by the sea. I don’t mean to see my father again. So, please, as you have been his closest friend, speak wise words to him and soothe his anger when he realizes I’m gone. Let me wrestle with fortune for some time. You can tell my father that I’ve gone to sea with the woman I’m not allowed to hold on shore. Luckily for us, a vessel is close by, though it was not there for this purpose. It won’t help either of us for me to tell you where we’re going.