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The Winter's Tale

The Winter's Tale Translation Act 5, Scene 2

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Enter AUTOLYCUS and a Gentleman

AUTOLYCUS

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

AUTOLYCUS

And, sir, were you there when all this was said?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

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

FIRST GENTLEMAN

I was there when they opened the bag, heard the old shepherd explain how he found it, and that's when, after a moment of shock, we were all told to leave. But I thought I heard the shepherd say that he found the child.

AUTOLYCUS

I would most gladly know the issue of it.

AUTOLYCUS

I'd love to know what happened next.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

I make a broken delivery of the business; but the changes I perceived in the king and Camillo were very notes of admiration: they seemed 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 looked as they had heard of a world ransomed, 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 the importance were joy or sorrow; but in the extremity of the one, it must needs be. [Enter another Gentleman] Here comes a gentleman that haply knows more. The news, Rogero?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

I'm not telling the story very well, but the king and Camillo seemed happy to see each other. They stared at each other so intensely it seemed like their eyes would pop out of their heads. They could hardly speak, but they said it all in their hugs and gestures. They looked like they'd seen the world rebuilt—or destroyed. They were filled with wonder. But no one who was watching could tell if they were joyful, or sad. It was the extreme version of one of those two.

[SECOND GENTLEMAN comes in]
Here comes another gentleman who probably knows more. What's the news, Rogero?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Nothing but bonfires: the oracle is fulfilled; theking's daughter is found: such a deal of wonder isbroken out within this hour that ballad-makerscannot be able to express it. [Enter a third gentleman] Here comes the Lady Paulina's steward: he candeliver you more. How goes it now, sir? this newswhich is called true is so like an old tale, thatthe verity of it is in strong suspicion: has the kingfound his heir?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Nothing but sensations! The oracle is fulfilled, the king's daughter is found. So many wonderful things have happened in the last hour that even ballad-writers won't be able to express it.

[THIRD GENTLEMAN comes in]

Here comes Lady Paulina's servant; he can tell you more. 

[To the THIRD GENTLEMAN] How are you, sir? This news sounds so much like a fairytale that it can hardly be true. Has the king found his heir?

THIRD GENTLEMAN

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?

THIRD GENTLEMAN

It's really true, if we can believe the circumstances. You might have to see the evidence to believe it: Hermione's scarf, her necklace, letters in Antigonus's handwriting, the girl's resemblance to her mother, her obvious nobility which proves she's not a shepherdess . . . all this and more proves that she's the king's daughter. Did you see the meeting of the two kings?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

No.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

No.

THIRD GENTLEMAN

Then have you 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 seemed sorrow wept to take leave of them, for their joy waded in tears. There was casting up of eyes, holding up of hands, with countenances 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.

THIRD GENTLEMAN

You missed a sight to be seen; I can't really explain it in words. They were so overjoyed that both of them were moved to tears. They looked up to heaven and held each other's hands. They looked so much alike that we could only tell them apart by their clothes! Leontes—who was about to leap out of his skin, he was so happy he found his daughter—cries out, "Oh, your mother, your mother!" as if the joy made his grief new, too. He asked Polixenes for forgiveness, then hugged his new son-in-law, then hugged his daughter again, then thanked the old shepherd who stood by like an old watchman. I have never heard of anything like it. No report can fully sum it up. Description doesn't do it justice.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

What, pray you, became of Antigonus, that carriedhence the child?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

What happened to Antigonus, who carried the baby to Bohemia?

THIRD GENTLEMAN

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.

THIRD GENTLEMAN

That's like something out of a fairytale, too, which you won't believe no matter how many times I tell it. He was torn to pieces by a bear, according to the shepherd's son. We should believe him because he's fairly stupid, but also because he had some handkerchiefs and rings of Antigonus' that Paulina recognized.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

What became of his bark and his followers?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

What happened to his ship and his servants?

THIRD GENTLEMAN

Wrecked 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 declined for the loss of her husband, another elevated that the oracle was fulfilled: 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.

THIRD GENTLEMAN

The shepherd saw them wreck at the same instant that Antigonus died, so everything that brought the child to them disappeared at the moment she was found. But poor Paulina—she was torn between joy and grief! She was crying for her husband, but rejoicing that the oracle was fulfilled. She kept hugging the princess, as if she would hold her to her heart forever so that she'd never be lost again.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

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

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Kings and princes could have watched a play like that, considering kings and princes were the actors.

THIRD GENTLEMAN

One of the prettiest touches of all and that which angled 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 confessed and lamented by the king, how attentiveness 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.

THIRD GENTLEMAN

One of the most beautiful parts of it (it brought tears to my eyes) was when the king explained how the queen died, and the poor princess listened to the whole thing, crying, saying "Oh, no!" and practically bleeding tears. I think my heart wept blood. Even the most unemotional people there nearly fainted, and everyone cried. If the whole world had seen it, the sadness would have been universal.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Are they returned to the court?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Did they go back to the court?

THIRD GENTLEMAN

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 performed 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.

THIRD GENTLEMAN

No, because the princess just heard about the statue of her mother, which Paulina has. It's been in the works for years and was just finished by Julio Romano, the Italian master, whose sculptures are incredibly lifelike. His "Hermione" statue looks so much like her that you'd be tempted to speak to it and wait for an answer. They've all hurried to see the statue, and they're planning to have dinner there.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

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

SECOND GENTLEMAN

I thought she must have some important business in that isolated house, since she's visited it alone two or three times a day every day since Hermione's death. Should we head that way and join the celebration?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

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.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Would anyone say "no" to that? Something incredible happens every time you blink! The longer we stay here, the less we'll see. Let's go.

Exeunt Gentlemen

AUTOLYCUS

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, overfond 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 undiscovered. But 'tis all one to me; for had I been the finder out of this secret, it would not have relished among my other discredits. [Enter Shepherd and Clown] Here come those I have done good to against my will, and already appearing in the blossoms of their fortune.

AUTOLYCUS

If I weren't a thief, I'd be getting a promotion right about now. I brought the old man and his son onboard the prince's ship. I told him what I'd heard about the bag and whatnot, but he was too busy worrying about the shepherd's daughter (as he thought she was then), who was sea-sick, and then he got sea-sick, too because of the storm. So the mystery remained unsolved. But it's all the same to me; if I'd figured out this secret, it wouldn't have matched up very well with my other crimes. 

[The SHEPEHERD and the SHEPHERD'S SON come in] Here come the guys I helped against my will, already decked out in their new, fancy clothes.

SHEPHERD

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

SHEPHERD

My son, I won't be having any more children, but your sons and daughters will all be born gentlemen and women.

CLOWN

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.

CLOWN (shepherd's son)

[To AUTOLYCUS] Good to see you, sir. You chose not to fight with me the other day because I wasn't a gentleman. See these clothes? Can you look at these and still think I wasn't born a gentleman? You might as well say these clothes weren't born gentlemen! Call me a liar. Tell me I wasn't born a gentleman.

AUTOLYCUS

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

AUTOLYCUS

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

CLOWN

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

CLOWN (shepherd's son)

Yep, I was born a gentleman about four hours ago!

SHEPHERD

And so have I, boy.

SHEPHERD

Me, too, son.

CLOWN

So you have: but I was a gentleman born before my father; for the king's son took me by the hand, and called me brother; and then the two kings called my father brother; and then the prince my brother and the princess my sister called my father father; and so we wept, and there was the first gentleman-like tears that ever we shed.

CLOWN (shepherd's son)

That's true, but I was born a gentleman before my father. You see, the king's son took me by the hand, called me "Brother," and then the two kings called my father "Brother." And then the prince my brother and the princess my sister called my father "Father," and we all cried. Those were the first gentlemanly tears that we ever cried.

SHEPHERD

We may live, son, to shed many more.

SHEPHERD

We may live, son, to cry many more.

CLOWN

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

CLOWN (shepherd's son)

If we don't live to cry again, that'll be bad luck, considering how good we have it now.

AUTOLYCUS

I humbly beseech you, sir, to pardon me all thefaults I have committed to your worship and to giveme your good report to the prince my master.

AUTOLYCUS

I am very sorry, sir, for all the wrong I've done you, sir. Please report good things about me to the prince my master.

SHEPHERD

Prithee, son, do; for we must be gentle, now we aregentlemen.

SHEPHERD

[To the SHEPHERD'S SON] You should do it, son. We should be "gentle" now that we're gentlemen.

CLOWN

Thou wilt amend thy life?

CLOWN (shepherd's son)

You'll change your ways?

AUTOLYCUS

Ay, an it like your good worship.

AUTOLYCUS

Of course, sir, if you like.

CLOWN

Give me thy hand: I will swear to the prince thouart as honest a true fellow as any is in Bohemia.

CLOWN (shepherd's son)

Let's shake hands. [They shake hands] I'll swear to the prince that you're as honest and loyal as any man in Bohemia.

SHEPHERD

You may say it, but not swear it.

SHEPHERD

You can say it, but don't swear it.

CLOWN

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

CLOWN (shepherd's son)

I can't swear it, now that I'm a gentleman? If the peasants and the middle class can swear, I can swear, too.

SHEPHERD

How if it be false, son?

SHEPHERD

But what if it's not true, son?

CLOWN

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.

CLOWN (shepherd's son)

If you believe it should be true, a true gentleman can swear it on behalf of his friend. I'lI swear to the prince that you're hardworking and not likely to get drunk, but I know you're not hardworking and very likely to get drunk. So I hope that, when I do swear it, you'll make a better effort to be hardworking and not a drunk.

AUTOLYCUS

I will prove so, sir, to my power.

AUTOLYCUS

I'll try to live up to that, sir, to the best of my ability.

CLOWN

Ay, by any means prove a tall fellow: if I do not wonder how thou darest 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.

CLOWN (Shepherd's son)

Yes, and please try to work hard (although it's fine by me if you get a little drunk once in a while). But wait! The kings and the prince (our new family) are going to see the queen's statue. Come on and follow us. We'll take care of you.

Exeunt

The winters tale
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Bailey sincox
About the Translator: Bailey Sincox

Bailey Sincox is a PhD student in English at Harvard University, where she researches the theatre of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Her teaching experience includes accessible online courses with edX on Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice. She holds a Master's from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor's from Duke University.