Scene 2

Sicilia. Before the palace of LEONTES


Beseech you, sir, were you present at this relation?

I was by at the opening of the fardel, heard the
old shepherd deliver the manner how he found it; whereupon, after
a little amazedness, we were all commanded out of the chamber;
only this, methought I heard the shepherd say he found the child.

I would most gladly know the issue of it.

I make a broken delivery of the business; but the
changes I perceived in the King and Camillo were very notes of
admiration. They seem'd almost, with staring on one another, to
tear the cases of their eyes; there was speech in their dumbness,
language in their very gesture; they look'd as they had heard of
a world ransom'd, or one destroyed. A notable passion of wonder
appeared in them; but the wisest beholder that knew no more but
seeing could not say if th' importance were joy or sorrow- but in
the extremity of the one it must needs be.

Enter another GENTLEMAN

Here comes a gentleman that happily knows more. The news, Rogero?

Nothing but bonfires. The oracle is fulfill'd:
the King's daughter is found. Such a deal of wonder is broken out
within this hour that ballad-makers cannot be able to express it.

Enter another GENTLEMAN

Here comes the Lady Paulina's steward; he can deliver you more.
How goes it now, sir? This news, which is call'd true, is so like
an old tale that the verity of it is in strong suspicion. Has the
King found his heir?

Most true, if ever truth were pregnant by
circumstance. That which you hear you'll swear you see, there is
such unity in the proofs. The mantle of Queen Hermione's; her
jewel about the neck of it; the letters of Antigonus found with
it, which they know to be his character; the majesty of the
creature in resemblance of the mother; the affection of nobleness
which nature shows above her breeding; and many other evidences-
proclaim her with all certainty to be the King's daughter. Did
you see the meeting of the two kings?


Then you have lost a sight which was to be seen,
cannot be spoken of. There might you have beheld one joy crown
another, so and in such manner that it seem'd sorrow wept to take
leave of them; for their joy waded in tears. There was casting up
of eyes, holding up of hands, with countenance of such
distraction that they were to be known by garment, not by favour.
Our king, being ready to leap out of himself for joy of his found
daughter, as if that joy were now become a loss, cries 'O, thy
mother, thy mother!' then asks Bohemia forgiveness; then embraces
his son-in-law; then again worries he his daughter with clipping
her. Now he thanks the old shepherd, which stands by like a
weather-bitten conduit of many kings' reigns. I never heard of
such another encounter, which lames report to follow it and
undoes description to do it.

What, pray you, became of Antigonus, that carried
hence the child?

Like an old tale still, which will have matter to
rehearse, though credit be asleep and not an ear open: he was
torn to pieces with a bear. This avouches the shepherd's son, who
has not only his innocence, which seems much, to justify him, but
a handkerchief and rings of his that Paulina knows.

What became of his bark and his followers?

Wreck'd the same instant of their master's death,
and in the view of the shepherd; so that all the instruments
which aided to expose the child were even then lost when it was
found. But, O, the noble combat that 'twixt joy and sorrow was
fought in Paulina! She had one eye declin'd for the loss of her
husband, another elevated that the oracle was fulfill'd. She
lifted the Princess from the earth, and so locks her in embracing
as if she would pin her to her heart, that she might no more be
in danger of losing.

The dignity of this act was worth the audience of
kings and princes; for by such was it acted.

One of the prettiest touches of all, and that
which angl'd for mine eyes- caught the water, though not the
fish- was, when at the relation of the Queen's death, with the
manner how she came to't bravely confess'd and lamented by the
King, how attentivenes wounded his daughter; till, from one sign
of dolour to another, she did with an 'Alas!'- I would fain say-
bleed tears; for I am sure my heart wept blood. Who was most
marble there changed colour; some swooned, all sorrowed. If all
the world could have seen't, the woe had been universal.

Are they returned to the court?

No. The Princess hearing of her mother's statue,
which is in the keeping of Paulina- a piece many years in doing
and now newly perform'd by that rare Italian master, Julio
Romano, who, had he himself eternity and could put breath into
his work, would beguile nature of her custom, so perfectly he is
her ape. He so near to Hermione hath done Hermione that they say
one would speak to her and stand in hope of answer- thither with
all greediness of affection are they gone, and there they intend
to sup.

I thought she had some great matter there in
hand; for she hath privately twice or thrice a day, ever since
the death of Hermione, visited that removed house. Shall we
thither, and with our company piece the rejoicing?

Who would be thence that has the benefit of
access? Every wink of an eye some new grace will be born. Our
absence makes us unthrifty to our knowledge. Let's along.


Now, had I not the dash of my former life in me, would
preferment drop on my head. I brought the old man and his son
aboard the Prince; told him I heard them talk of a fardel and I
know not what; but he at that time over-fond of the shepherd's
daughter- so he then took her to be- who began to be much
sea-sick, and himself little better, extremity of weather
continuing, this mystery remained undiscover'd. But 'tis all one
to me; for had I been the finder-out of this secret, it would not
have relish'd among my other discredits.


Here come those I have done good to against my will, and already
appearing in the blossoms of their fortune.

Come, boy; I am past moe children, but thy sons and
daughters will be all gentlemen born.

You are well met, sir. You denied to fight with me this
other day, because I was no gentleman born. See you these
clothes? Say you see them not and think me still no gentleman
born. You were best say these robes are not gentlemen born. Give
me the lie, do; and try whether I am not now a gentleman born.

I know you are now, sir, a gentleman born.

Ay, and have been so any time these four hours.

And so have I, boy.

So you have; but I was a gentleman born before my father;
for the King's son took me by the hand and call'd me brother; and
then the two kings call'd my father brother; and then the Prince,
my brother, and the Princess, my sister, call'd my father father.
And so we wept; and there was the first gentleman-like tears that
ever we shed.

We may live, son, to shed many more.

Ay; or else 'twere hard luck, being in so preposterous
estate as we are.

I humbly beseech you, sir, to pardon me all the faults I
have committed to your worship, and to give me your good report
to the Prince my master.

Prithee, son, do; for we must be gentle, now we are

Thou wilt amend thy life?

Ay, an it like your good worship.

Give me thy hand. I will swear to the Prince thou art as
honest a true fellow as any is in Bohemia.

You may say it, but not swear it.

Not swear it, now I am a gentleman? Let boors and franklins
say it: I'll swear it.

How if it be false, son?

If it be ne'er so false, a true gentleman may swear it in
the behalf of his friend. And I'll swear to the Prince thou art a
tall fellow of thy hands and that thou wilt not be drunk; but I
know thou art no tall fellow of thy hands and that thou wilt be
drunk. But I'll swear it; and I would thou wouldst be a tall
fellow of thy hands.

I will prove so, sir, to my power.

Ay, by any means, prove a tall fellow. If I do not wonder
how thou dar'st venture to be drunk not being a tall fellow,
trust me not. Hark! the kings and the princes, our kindred, are
going to see the Queen's picture. Come, follow us; we'll be thy
good masters.