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The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 1

page Act 5 Scene 1 Page 2

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CLEOMENES

Not at all, good lady:
25You might have spoken a thousand things that would
Have done the time more benefit and graced
Your kindness better.

CLEOMENES

Never say that, good lady. There are a thousand other things you could have said that would have been of greater benefit and would have made you seem kinder.

PAULINA

You are one of those
Would have him wed again.

PAULINA

You are one of the people who want him to marry again.

DION

30If you would not so,
You pity not the state, nor the remembrance
Of his most sovereign name; consider little
What dangers, by his highness’ fail of issue,
May drop upon his kingdom and devour
35Incertain lookers on. What were more holy
Than to rejoice the former queen is well?
What holier than, for royalty’s repair,
For present comfort and for future good,
To bless the bed of majesty again
40With a sweet fellow to’t?

DION

If you wouldn’t have him marry again, you don’t care anything for the state, or for the continuance of his royal name. Think about what dangers might befall his kingdom, and how anxious citizens might suffer, if he doesn’t have a son. What is more virtuous than to rejoice that the former queen is in heaven? What would be holier than the king producing a child to restore the royal family and to make the realm safe and happy for the present and the future?

PAULINA

There is none worthy,
Respecting her that’s gone. Besides, the gods
Will have fulfill’d their secret purposes;
For has not the divine Apollo said,
45Is’t not the tenor of his oracle,
That King Leontes shall not have an heir
Till his lost child be found? which that it shall,
Is all as monstrous to our human reason
As my Antigonus to break his grave
50And come again to me; who, on my life,
Did perish with the infant. ’Tis your counsel
My lord should to the heavens be contrary,
Oppose against their wills.

PAULINA

There is no one worthy to take the place of the queen who is gone. Besides, the gods are fulfilling their intentions. Didn’t divine Apollo say, through the words of his oracle, that King Leontes should not have an heir until his lost child is found? And that seems as unlikely as the notion that my Antigonus, whom I am sure died along with my infant, will rise from his grave and return to me. Your advice is that my lord should go against the heavens and oppose their wills.