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The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 1

page Act 5 Scene 1 Page 6

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GENTLEMAN

130Pardon, madam:
The one I have almost forgot,—your pardon,—
The other, when she has obtain’d your eye,
Will have your tongue too. This is a creature,
Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal
135Of all professors else, make proselytes
Of who she but bid follow.

GENTLEMAN

Pardon, madam. I’m sorry to say I’ve almost forgotten Hermione. When you see this other woman, you’ll be speechless, too. If she started her own religion, it would put an end to the zeal of any other and make followers of anyone she called.

PAULINA

How! not women?

PAULINA

What? Not women, though?

GENTLEMAN

Women will love her, that she is a woman
More worth than any man; men, that she is
140The rarest of all women.

GENTLEMAN

Women will love her because she is a woman more worthy than any man. Men will love her because she is the most exceptional of women.

LEONTES

Go, Cleomenes;
Yourself, assisted with your honour’d friends,
Bring them to our embracement.

LEONTES

Go, Cleomenes. With the help of your friends, bring them back here for my welcome.
Exeunt CLEOMENES and others
CLEOMENES and others exit.
Still, ’tis strange
145 He thus should steal upon us.
Still, it is strange that he comes to us so suddenly.

PAULINA

Had our prince,
Jewel of children, seen this hour, he had pair’d
Well with this lord: there was not full a month
Between their births.

PAULINA

If your prince, the most prized of children, were alive to see this, he would have gotten along well with this lord. They were born less than a month apart.

LEONTES

150Prithee, no more; cease; thou know’st
He dies to me again when talk’d of: sure,
When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches
Will bring me to consider that which may
Unfurnish me of reason. They are come.

LEONTES

Please, no more. Stop. You know it’s like he dies again for me when you talk about him. When I see this gentleman, your words will make me think of that which makes me go mad. They are here.