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The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 1

page Act 5 Scene 1 Page 7

Original Text

Modern Text

Re-enter CLEOMENES and others, with FLORIZEL and PERDITA
CLEOMENES and others enter, accompanied by FLORIZEL and PERDITA.
155Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince;
For she did print your royal father off,
Conceiving you: were I but twenty-one,
Your father’s image is so hit in you,
His very air, that I should call you brother,
160As I did him, and speak of something wildly
By us perform’d before. Most dearly welcome!
And your fair princess,—goddess!—O, alas!
I lost a couple, that ’twixt heaven and earth
Might thus have stood begetting wonder as
165You, gracious couple, do: and then I lost—
All mine own folly—the society,
Amity too, of your brave father, whom,
Though bearing misery, I desire my life
Once more to look on him.
Your mother was a faithful wife, prince, because in bearing you she has produced a copy of your royal father. You look and act so much like your father that if I were twenty-one, I’d call you brother just like I called him, and speak of some wild escapade we’d gotten into. You are very welcome here, and your fair princess, like a goddess! Oh, alas, I’ve lost two who might have stood there, too, in wonderment, as you do. And then through my own folly I lost the company and friendship of your brave father, whom I wish I could see once more in this lifetime, even if it caused me sadness.


170By his command
Have I here touch’d Sicilia and from him
Give you all greetings that a king, at friend,
Can send his brother: and, but infirmity
Which waits upon worn times hath something seized
175His wish’d ability, he had himself
The lands and waters ’twixt your throne and his
Measured to look upon you; whom he loves—
He bade me say so—more than all the sceptres
And those that bear them living.


I’ve come to Sicilia at his command, and I bring from him all the greetings that a king and a friend can send to his brother. If it weren’t for the infirmity of age that somewhat hinders him, he would travel here himself to greet you. He told me to tell you that he loves you, more than all the other kings alive.