Artboard Created with Sketch. Close Search Dialog
! Error Created with Sketch.

The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare

  Act 5 Scene 1

page Act 5 Scene 1 Page 9

Original Text

Modern Text

LEONTES

The blessed gods
205Purge all infection from our air whilst you
Do climate here! You have a holy father,
A graceful gentleman; against whose person,
So sacred as it is, I have done sin:
For which the heavens, taking angry note,
210Have left me issueless; and your father’s blest,
As he from heaven merits it, with you
Worthy his goodness. What might I have been,
Might I a son and daughter now have look’d on,
Such goodly things as you!

LEONTES

May the gods keep the air fresh and healthy while you are here! You have a great and graceful father, against whom I have committed a sin. In return, the angry heavens have left me childless, while your father is blessed by heaven with you, as he deserves. What might my life have been like if I had a son and daughter as lovely as you two to look at!
Enter a Lord
A Lord enters.

LORD

215Most noble sir,
That which I shall report will bear no credit,
Were not the proof so nigh. Please you, great sir,
Bohemia greets you from himself by me;
Desires you to attach his son, who has—
220His dignity and duty both cast off—
Fled from his father, from his hopes, and with
A shepherd’s daughter.

LORD

Most noble sir, if I didn’t have such firm proof you wouldn’t believe what I’m about to tell you. Sir, Polixenes himself greets you through me. He asks you to hold his son, who has abandoned his royal status and responsibilities, and who has fled from his father and his hope of the throne with a shepherd’s daughter.

LEONTES

Where’s Bohemia? speak.

LEONTES

Where is Polixenes? Tell me.

LORD

Here in your city; I now came from him:
225I speak amazedly; and it becomes
My marvel and my message. To your court
Whiles he was hastening, in the chase, it seems,
Of this fair couple, meets he on the way
The father of this seeming lady and
230Her brother, having both their country quitted
With this young prince.

LORD

Here in your city. I just came from him. I’m astonished, as suits my message. It seems that while he was hurrying here to your court in pursuit of this fair couple, he met the father and brother of the lady, who had both left their country with the prince.