The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 1

page Act 2 Scene 1 Page 2

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SECOND LADY

She is spread of late
Into a goodly bulk: good time encounter her!

SECOND LADY

She has become quite big lately. May it come quickly for her!

HERMIONE

What wisdom stirs amongst you? Come, sir, now
I am for you again: pray you, sit by us,
30And tell ’s a tale.

HERMIONE

What are you talking about now? Come, sir, now I’m ready for you again. Sit next to me, and tell me a story.

MAMILLIUS

Merry or sad shall’t be?

MAMILLIUS

Should it be happy or serious?

HERMIONE

As merry as you will.

HERMIONE

As happy as you’d like.

MAMILLIUS

A sad tale’s best for winter: I have one
Of sprites and goblins.

MAMILLIUS

A sad story is best for the winter. I have one about fairies and goblins.

HERMIONE

35Let’s have that, good sir.
Come on, sit down: come on, and do your best
To fright me with your sprites; you’re powerful at it.

HERMIONE

Let’s hear it, good sir. Come on, sit down, and try to frighten me with your fairies. You’re good at it.

MAMILLIUS

There was a man—

MAMILLIUS

There was a man—

HERMIONE

Nay, come, sit down; then on.

HERMIONE

No, sit down, and then tell me.

MAMILLIUS

40Dwelt by a churchyard: I will tell it softly;
Yond crickets shall not hear it.

MAMILLIUS

—who lived by a churchyard. I’ll tell it quietly, so those other ladies won’t hear it.

HERMIONE

Come on, then,
And give’t me in mine ear.

HERMIONE

Come on then, and tell me in my ear.
Enter LEONTES, with ANTIGONUS, Lords and others
LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, Lords, and others enter.
HERMIONE and her Ladies exit, surrounded by guards.

LEONTES

Was he met there? his train? Camillo with him?

LEONTES

Did his men meet him there? Camillo was with him?

FIRST LORD

45Behind the tuft of pines I met them; never
Saw I men scour so on their way: I eyed them
Even to their ships.

FIRST LORD

I ran across them behind the pine grove. I’ve never seen men move so quickly along. I saw them go all the way to their ships.