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Act 3, Scene 3

Enter ANTIGONUS [and] a MARINER [with the] babe.

ANTIGONUS: Thou art perfect then, our ship hath touched upon
The deserts of Bohemia?

MARINER:                Ay, my lord, and fear
We have landed in ill time: the skies look grimly,
And threaten present blusters. In my conscience,
The heavens with that we have in hand are angry,     [5]
And frown upon's.

ANTIGONUS:      Their sacred wills be done! Go get aboard;
Look to thy bark, I'll not be long before
I call upon thee.

MARINER:      Make your best haste, and go not
Too far i' th' land; 'tis like to be loud weather.
Besides, this place is famous for the creatures     [10]
Of prey that keep upon't.

ANTIGONUS:           Go thou away,
I'll follow instantly.

MARINER:           I am glad at heart
To be so rid o' th' business.


ANTIGONUS:                Come, poor babe.
I have heard, but not believed, the spirits o' th' dead
May walk again. If such thing be, thy mother     [15]
Appeared to me last night; for ne'er was dream
So like awaking. To me comes a creature,
Sometimes her head on one side, some another --
I never saw a vessel of like sorrow,
So filled, and so becoming; in pure white robes,     [20]
Like very sanctity, she did approach
My cabin where I lay; thrice bowed before me,
And, gasping to begin some speech, her eyes
Became two spouts; the fury spent, anon
Did this break from her: ³Good Antigonus,     [25]
Since fate against thy better disposition
Hath made thy person for the thrower-out
Of my poor babe, according to thine oath,
Places remote enough are in Bohemia,
There weep and leave it crying; and for the babe     [30]
Is counted lost for ever, Perdita
I prithee call't. For this ungentle business,
Put on thee by my lord, thou ne'er shalt see
Thy wife Paulina more.² And so, with shrieks,
She melted into air. Affrighted much,     [35]
I did in time collect myself and thought
This was so, and no slumber. Dreams are toys,
Yet for this once, yea, superstitiously,
I will be squared by this. I do believe
Hermione hath suffered death, and that     [40]
Apollo would, this being indeed the issue
Of King Polixenes, it should here be laid,
Either for life or death, upon the earth
Of its right father. Blossom, speed thee well!

[He lays down the child.]

There lie, and there thy character; there these,     [45]

[Placing a bundle beside it.]

Which may, if Fortune please, both breed thee, pretty,
And still rest thine. [Thunder.] The storm begins. Poor wretch,
That for thy mother's fault art thus exposed
To loss, and what may follow! Weep I cannot,
But my heart bleeds; and most accursed am I     [50]
To be by oath enjoined to this. Farewell!
The day frowns more and more; thou'rt like to have
A lullaby too rough. I never saw
The heavens so dim by day. A savage clamour!
Well may I get aboard! This is the chase;     [55]
I am gone for ever.

Exit pursued by a bear.

SHEPHERD: I would there were no age between ten and
three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest;
for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches
with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting --      [60]
[Horns.] Hark you now! Would any but these boil'd-brains
of nineteen and two-and-twenty hunt this weather? They
have scared away two of my best sheep, which I fear the
wolf will sooner find than the master. If any where I have
them, 'tis by the sea-side, browsing of ivy. Good luck,
and't be thy will! What have we here? Mercy on's, a     [65]
barne? A very pretty barne! A boy, or a child, I wonder?
A pretty one, a very pretty one: sure some scape. Though
I am not bookish waiting-gentlewoman in the scape.
This has been some stair-work, some trunk-work, some
behind-door-work. They were warmer that got this than     [70]
the poor thing is here. I'll take it up for pity, yet I'll tarry
till my son come; he hallowed but even now. Whoa-ho-hoa!

Enter CLOWN.

CLOWN: Hilloa, loa!

SHEPHERD: What? art so near? If thou'lt see a thing to
talk on when thou art dead and rotten, come hither.     [75]
What ail'st thou, man?

CLOWN: I have seen two such sights, by sea and by land!
But I am not to say it is a sea, for it is now the sky, betwixt
the firmament and it you cannot thrust a bodkin's point.

SHEPHERD: Why, boy, how is it?     [80]

CLOWN: I would you did but see how it chafes, how it
rages, how it takes up the shore! But that's not to the point.
O, the most piteous cry of the poor souls! Sometimes to
see 'em, and not to see 'em; now the ship boring the
moon with her mainmast, and anon swallowed with yest     [85]
and froth, as you'ld thrust a cork into a hogshead. And
then for the land-service, to see how the bear tore out his
shoulder-bone, how he cried to me for help, and said his
name was Antigonus, a nobleman. But to make an end
of the ship, to see how the sea flap-dragoned it; but, first,     [90]
how the poor souls roared, and the sea mocked them; and
how the poor gentleman roared, and the bear mocked
him, both roaring louder than the sea or weather.

SHEPHERD: Name of mercy, when was this, boy?

CLOWN: Now, now; I have not winked since I saw     [95]
these sights. The men are not yet cold under water, nor
the bear half dined on the gentleman. He's at it now.

SHEPHERD: Would I had been by, to have helped the old

CLOWN: I would you had been by the ship side, to have     [100]
helped her; there your charity would have lacked footing.

SHEPHERD: Heavy matters, heavy matters! But look thee
here, boy. Now bless thyself: thou met'st with things dying,
I with things new-born. Here's a sight for thee; look thee, a
bearing-cloth for a squire's child! Look thee here, take up,     [105]
take up, boy; open't. So, let's see -- it was told me I should
be rich by the fairies. This is some changeling; open't; what's
within, boy?

CLOWN: You're a made old man; if the sins of your youth
are forgiven you, you're well to live. Gold, all gold!     [110]

SHEPHERD: This is fairy gold, boy, and 'twill prove so. Up
with't, keep it close. Home, home, the next way. We are
lucky, boy, and to be so still requires nothing but secrecy.
Let my sheep go. Come, good boy, the next way home.

CLOWN: Go you the next way with your findings; I'll go see     [115]
if the bear be gone from the gentleman and how much he
hath eaten. They are never curst but when they are hungry.
If there be any of him left, I'll bury it.

SHEPHERD: That's a good deed. If thou mayest discern by
that which is left of him what he is, fetch me to th' sight of him.     [120]

CLOWN: Marry, will I; and you shall help to put him i'
th' ground.

SHEPHERD: 'Tis a lucky day, boy, and we'll do good deeds on't.


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