The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

A room in LEONTES’ palace.
A room in LEONTES’S palace.
Enter LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, Lords, and Servants
LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, a Lord, and Servants enter.
LEONTES
Nor night nor day no rest: it is but weakness
To bear the matter thus; mere weakness. If
The cause were not in being,—part o’ the cause,
She the adulteress; for the harlot king
5Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
And level of my brain, plot-proof; but she
I can hook to me: say that she were gone,
Given to the fire, a moiety of my rest
Might come to me again. Who’s there?
LEONTES
I can’t rest night or day. It is a kind of weakness to be so affected by this issue. If only the cause of it were no longer alive—part of the cause, at least, the adulteress. The lecherous king is away from here, which puts him beyond my aim and anything I could do to him. But she, the adulteress, I can keep close. If she were

burned at the stake

A punishment for treason against the king.

burned at the stake
, perhaps I would have some small bit of rest. Who’s there?
FIRST SERVANT
10My lord?
FIRST SERVANT
My lord?
LEONTES
How does the boy?
LEONTES
How is the boy doing?
FIRST SERVANT
He took good rest to-night;
’Tis hoped his sickness is discharged.
FIRST SERVANT
He slept well tonight, and we hope that he’s gotten over his illness.
LEONTES
To see his nobleness!
15Conceiving the dishonour of his mother,
He straight declined, droop’d, took it deeply,
Fasten’d and fix’d the shame on’t in himself,
Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep,
And downright languish’d. Leave me solely: go,
20See how he fares.
LEONTES
I’m amazed at his nobility! Recognizing the dishonorable behavior of his mother, he immediately began to decline, to feel the shame himself. He became sad, stopped eating, stopped sleeping, and grew weak. Leave me alone, and go see how he’s doing.
Exit Servant
The Servant exits.

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