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The Winter's Tale

The Winter's Tale Translation Act 5, Scene 3

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Enter LEONTES, POLIXENES, FLORIZEL, PERDITA, CAMILLO, PAULINA, Lords, and Attendants

LEONTES

O grave and good Paulina, the great comfortThat I have had of thee!

LEONTES

Paulina, you've comforted me so much.

PAULINA

What, sovereign sir, I did not well I meant well. All my services You have paid home: but that you have vouchsafed, With your crown'd brother and these your contracted Heirs of your kingdoms, my poor house to visit, It is a surplus of your grace, which never My life may last to answer.

PAULINA

If there's anything I didn't do correctly, know that I meant to do it better. You've repaid me for everything, and now you, Polixenes, Perdita, and Florizel have come to visit my little house. It's extremely gracious for you to be here, and I can never thank you enough.

LEONTES

O Paulina, We honour you with trouble: but we came To see the statue of our queen: your gallery Have we pass'd through, not without much content In many singularities; but we saw not That which my daughter came to look upon, The statue of her mother.

LEONTES

Oh, Paulina, you know I'd do anything for you. But I came to see the statue of my queen. But I've passed through your entire gallery—which was great, and all—without my daughter seeing the statue of her mother that she came to see.

PAULINA

As she lived peerless, So her dead likeness, I do well believe, Excels whatever yet you look'd upon Or hand of man hath done; therefore I keep it Lonely, apart. But here it is: prepare To see the life as lively mock'd as ever Still sleep mock'd death: behold, and say 'tis well. [PAULINA draws a curtain, and discovers HERMIONE standing like a statue] I like your silence, it the more shows offYour wonder: but yet speak; first, you, my liege,Comes it not something near?

PAULINA

When Hermione was alive, no one was as beautiful as she was. It's the same with her statue; I'm sure you've never seen another man-made thing that's as perfect. That's why I keep it hidden here. Here it is; get ready to see that which is to life as sleep is to death—the closest you can come without being the actual thing. Take a look, and tell me what you think.

[PAULINA pulls back a curtain, revealing HERMIONE standing like a statue]


I like your silence; it shows how in awe you are. But say something! 

[To LEONTES] You first, sir. Does it look anything like her?

LEONTES

Her natural posture! Chide me, dear stone, that I may say indeed Thou art Hermione; or rather, thou art she In thy not chiding, for she was as tender As infancy and grace. But yet, Paulina, Hermione was not so much wrinkled, nothing So aged as this seems.

LEONTES

Exactly the way she used to stand!

[To HERMIONE] Statue, if you would reprimand me, I'd say you were the real Hermione. Actually, you're more like her because you're not reprimanding me, considering she was as sweet as a baby and as gentle as grace itself. 

[To PAULINA] But, Paulina, Hermione didn't have that many wrinkles. She wasn't as old as this statue seems.

POLIXENES

O, not by much.

POLIXENES

Not nearly as old.

PAULINA

So much the more our carver's excellence;Which lets go by some sixteen years and makes herAs she lived now.

PAULINA

That's the sculptor's skill: he made her look like she would if she lived now, sixteen years later.

LEONTES

As now she might have done, So much to my good comfort, as it is Now piercing to my soul. O, thus she stood, Even with such life of majesty, warm life, As now it coldly stands, when first I woo'd her! I am ashamed: does not the stone rebuke me For being more stone than it? O royal piece, There's magic in thy majesty, which has My evils conjured to remembrance and From thy admiring daughter took the spirits, Standing like stone with thee.

LEONTES

And she might have done so; seeing it makes me happy but fills me with guilt, too. She looked just like this when I first fell in love with her, though she was warm and living, not cold and made of stone. I'm ashamed. Is the statue reprimanding me for being more stony and cold-hearted than it?

[To HERMIONE] My queen, your magic has conjured up all the crimes I committed against you and your daughter, making me think neither of you could ever forgive me.

PERDITA

And give me leave,And do not say 'tis superstition, thatI kneel and then implore her blessing. Lady,Dear queen, that ended when I but began,Give me that hand of yours to kiss.

PERDITA

Call me superstitious, but I'm going to kneel and ask for her blessing. [PERDITA kneels in front of HERMIONE]

Ma'am, you died just when I was born. Let me kiss your hand. [PERDITA moves to kiss HERMIONE's hand]

PAULINA

O, patience!The statue is but newly fix'd, the colour's Not dry.

PAULINA

Oh, wait! The statue was just painted and it's not dry yet. [LEONTES begins to cry]

CAMILLO

My lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on, Which sixteen winters cannot blow away, So many summers dry; scarce any joy Did ever so long live; no sorrow But kill'd itself much sooner.

CAMILLO

[To LEONTES] Sir, you had a lot to grieve for, but sixteen years should have helped ease that pain. Few joys last that long, and any other sorrow would have fizzled out long before now. 

POLIXENES

Dear my brother,Let him that was the cause of this have powerTo take off so much grief from you as heWill piece up in himself.

POLIXENES

My brother, I wish I could bear some of that grief for you.

PAULINA

Indeed, my lord,If I had thought the sight of my poor imageWould thus have wrought you,—for the stone is mine—I'ld not have show'd it.

PAULINA

Sir, if I knew my statue would make you so upset—since it belongs to me—I wouldn't have showed it to you.

LEONTES

Do not draw the curtain.

LEONTES

[Still crying] Don't close the curtain.

PAULINA

No longer shall you gaze on't, lest your fancyMay think anon it moves.

PAULINA

You shouldn't look at it anymore, or you'll start to hallucinate that it's moving.

LEONTES

Let be, let be.Would I were dead, but that, methinks, already—What was he that did make it? See, my lord,Would you not deem it breathed? and that those veinsDid verily bear blood?

LEONTES

Let it be, let it be. I wish I were dead. Except . . . I think . . . already . . . who made this? 

[To POLIXENES] Look, doesn't it look like it's breathing? Doesn't it look like those veins have blood running through them?

POLIXENES

Masterly done:The very life seems warm upon her lip.

POLIXENES

It's very well done. She looks almost alive.

LEONTES

The fixture of her eye has motion in't,As we are mock'd with art.

LEONTES

Her eyes almost look like they're moving; this art is too realistic.

PAULINA

I'll draw the curtain:My lord's almost so far transported thatHe'll think anon it lives.

PAULINA

I'll close the curtain. The king is so carried away, next he'll think that it lives.

LEONTES

O sweet Paulina,Make me to think so twenty years together!No settled senses of the world can matchThe pleasure of that madness. Let't alone.

LEONTES

Oh, Paulina, I want to believe that she lives. No perception of reality could be as blissful as that kind of insanity. Leave it alone.

PAULINA

I am sorry, sir, I have thus far stirr'd you: butI could afflict you farther.

PAULINA

Sir, I'm sorry I've gotten you so worked up. But I could go one step further. 

LEONTES

Do, Paulina;For this affliction has a taste as sweetAs any cordial comfort. Still, methinks,There is an air comes from her: what fine chiselCould ever yet cut breath? Let no man mock me,For I will kiss her.

LEONTES

Do it, Paulina. This suffering is sweet to me.

[Moving closer to HERMIONE]
It looks like she's breathing. What artist could sculpt breath? No one make fun of me; I'm going to kiss her.

PAULINA

Good my lord, forbear:The ruddiness upon her lip is wet;You'll mar it if you kiss it, stain your ownWith oily painting. Shall I draw the curtain?

PAULINA

Sir, restrain yourself. The red paint on her lips is wet. You'll smudge it if you kiss it, and you'll get oil paint on your own face. Should I close the curtain?

LEONTES

No, not these twenty years.

LEONTES

No, never.

PERDITA

So long could IStand by, a looker on.

PERDITA

I could stand here forever, too, just looking.

PAULINA

Either forbear, Quit presently the chapel, or resolve you For more amazement. If you can behold it, I'll make the statue move indeed, descend And take you by the hand; but then you'll think— Which I protest against— I am assisted By wicked powers.

PAULINA

Either restrain yourself, leave the chapel, or get ready for more amazement. If you can handle it, I'll make the statue move, walk down, and take you by the hand. But I'm afraid you'll think I'm a witch using black magic.

LEONTES

What you can make her do,I am content to look on: what to speak,I am content to hear; for 'tis as easyTo make her speak as move.

LEONTES

I'll watch anything you can make her do. I'll listen to anything you can make her say. Surely it's as easy to make her speak as it is to make her move?

PAULINA

It is requiredYou do awake your faith. Then all stand still;On: those that think it is unlawful businessI am about, let them depart.

PAULINA

You need to have faith. Everyone stand still. And anyone who thinks I'm doing something I shouldn't can leave.

LEONTES

Proceed:No foot shall stir.

LEONTES

Proceed. No one will leave.

PAULINA

Music, awake her; strike! [Music] 'Tis time; descend; be stone no more; approach; Strike all that look upon with marvel. Come, I'll fill your grave up: stir, nay, come away, Bequeath to death your numbness, for from him Dear life redeems you. You perceive she stirs: [HERMIONE comes down] Start not; her actions shall be holy as You hear my spell is lawful: do not shun her Until you see her die again; for then You kill her double. Nay, present your hand: When she was young you woo'd her; now in age Is she become the suitor?

PAULINA

Music, awake her now! [Music begins to play]

[To HERMIONE] It's time, come down. Don't be a statue anymore. Come to us and you'll amaze all of us who are watching. Come, I'll close your grave. Move! Come on, now, forget death and come back to life.

[To LEONTES and the others] Look, she's moving.

[HERMIONE steps down from the pedestal and moves toward LEONTES]


[To LEONTES] Don't be afraid! Everything she does is as safe as my spell, like I told you. Don't reject her until you see her die again, or you'll be killing her a second time. [HERMIONE reaches out her hand, but LEONTES steps back] No, give her your hand. You won her over when she was young. Now that you're old, is she the one who has to win you?

LEONTES

O, she's warm! If this be magic, let it be an artLawful as eating.

LEONTES

Wow, she's warm! If this is from your magic spell, your magic should be considered an art as natural as eating.

POLIXENES

She embraces him.

POLIXENES

She's hugging him.

CAMILLO

She hangs about his neck:If she pertain to life let her speak too.

CAMILLO

She's hanging on his neck. If she's so lifelike, she should speak, too.

POLIXENES

Ay, and make't manifest where she has lived,Or how stolen from the dead.

POLIXENES

Yes, and tell us where she's been living, or how she's come back from the dead.

PAULINA

That she is living, Were it but told you, should be hooted at Like an old tale: but it appears she lives, Though yet she speak not. Mark a little while. Please you to interpose, fair madam: kneel And pray your mother's blessing. Turn, good lady; Our Perdita is found.

PAULINA

If I just told you she was alive, you would write it off as an old fairytale. But even though she hasn't spoken, it certainly looks like she's living. Wait a minute. 

[To PERDITA] Speak to her, ma'am. Kneel and ask for your mother's blessing.

[PERDITA kneels behind HERMIONE]

[To HERMIONE]
Turn around, my lady. Our Perdita is found.

HERMIONE

You gods, look down And from your sacred vials pour your graces Upon my daughter's head! Tell me, mine own. Where hast thou been preserved? where lived? how found Thy father's court? for thou shalt hear that I, Knowing by Paulina that the oracle Gave hope thou wast in being, have preserved Myself to see the issue.

HERMIONE

[Looking up to heaven] God bless you, daughter. Tell me, sweetheart: how did you escape? Where did you live? How did you get back to your father's court? You should know: Paulina told me that the oracle gave us hope that you were still alive. I kept myself going just to see you.

PAULINA

There's time enough for that; Lest they desire upon this push to trouble Your joys with like relation. Go together, You precious winners all; your exultation Partake to every one. I, an old turtle, Will wing me to some wither'd bough and there My mate, that's never to be found again, Lament till I am lost.

PAULINA

There's plenty of time for that and to tell all our stories. Go on, all of you lucky people! Go to the feast. Meanwhile, I'll find some lonely place to mourn my husband until I die.

LEONTES

O, peace, Paulina! Thou shouldst a husband take by my consent, As I by thine a wife: this is a match, And made between's by vows. Thou hast found mine; But how, is to be question'd; for I saw her, As I thought, dead, and have in vain said many A prayer upon her grave. I'll not seek far— For him, I partly know his mind— to find thee An honourable husband. Come, Camillo, And take her by the hand, whose worth and honesty Is richly noted and here justified By us, a pair of kings. Let's from this place. What! look upon my brother: both your pardons, That e'er I put between your holy looks My ill suspicion. This is your son-in-law, And son unto the king, who, heavens directing, Is troth-plight to your daughter. Good Paulina, Lead us from hence, where we may leisurely Each one demand an answer to his part Perform'd in this wide gap of time since first We were dissever'd: hastily lead away.

LEONTES

Oh hush, Paulina. I'll give you a husband, since you gave me a wife. She and I have just been married again by exchanging our promises. You found her, and I have no idea how, since I was sure I saw her die and I prayed at her grave for years. I won't have to look far to find a husband for you.

[He leads CAMILLO over to PAULINA] Come on, Camillo, and take her by the hand. Polixenes and I can vouch for him as a valuable, trustworthy man. 

[To HERMIONE]
 Let's leave this place. But first, take a look at my brother, Polixenes. Both of you, please forgive me for ever being suspicious of your friendship. [Motioning to FLORIZEL] This is your son-in-law, Polixenes's son, who's engaged to your daughter.

[To PAULINA]
 Paulina, lead us out of here. We'll take all the time in the world asking each other what we've been up to in the many years since we were all separated. Quickly, lead the way!

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.