Pol. Me-thinkes a Father, Is at the Nuptiall of his sonne, a guest That best becomes the Table: Pray you once more Is not your Father growne incapeable Of reasonable affayres? Is he not stupid With Age, and altring Rheumes? Can he speake? heare? Know man, from man? Dispute his owne estate? Lies he not bed-rid? And againe, do's nothing But what he did, being childish? Flo. No good Sir: He has his health, and ampler strength indeede Then most haue of his age

Pol. By my white beard, You offer him (if this be so) a wrong Something vnfilliall: Reason my sonne Should choose himselfe a wife, but as good reason The Father (all whose ioy is nothing else But faire posterity) should hold some counsaile In such a businesse

Flo. I yeeld all this; But for some other reasons (my graue Sir) Which 'tis not fit you know, I not acquaint My Father of this businesse

Pol. Let him know't

Flo. He shall not

Pol. Prethee let him

Flo. No, he must not

Shep. Let him (my sonne) he shall not need to greeue At knowing of thy choice

Flo. Come, come, he must not: Marke our Contract

Pol. Marke your diuorce (yong sir) Whom sonne I dare not call: Thou art too base To be acknowledge. Thou a Scepters heire, That thus affects a sheepe-hooke? Thou, old Traitor, I am sorry, that by hanging thee, I can But shorten thy life one weeke. And thou, fresh peece Of excellent Witchcraft, whom of force must know The royall Foole thou coap'st with

Shep. Oh my heart

Pol. Ile haue thy beauty scratcht with briers & made More homely then thy state. For thee (fond boy) If I may euer know thou dost but sigh, That thou no more shalt neuer see this knacke (as neuer I meane thou shalt) wee'l barre thee from succession, Not hold thee of our blood, no not our Kin, Farre then Deucalion off: (marke thou my words) Follow vs to the Court. Thou Churle, for this time (Though full of our displeasure) yet we free thee From the dead blow of it. And you Enchantment, Worthy enough a Heardsman: yea him too, That makes himselfe (but for our Honor therein) Vnworthy thee. If euer henceforth, thou These rurall Latches, to his entrance open, Or hope his body more, with thy embraces, I will deuise a death, as cruell for thee As thou art tender to't. Enter.

Perd. Euen heere vndone: I was not much a-fear'd: for once, or twice I was about to speake, and tell him plainely, The selfe-same Sun, that shines vpon his Court, Hides not his visage from our Cottage, but Lookes on alike. Wilt please you (Sir) be gone? I told you what would come of this: Beseech you Of your owne state take care: This dreame of mine Being now awake, Ile Queene it no inch farther, But milke my Ewes, and weepe

Cam. Why how now Father, Speake ere thou dyest

Shep. I cannot speake, nor thinke, Nor dare to know, that which I know: O Sir, You haue vndone a man of fourescore three, That thought to fill his graue in quiet: yea, To dye vpon the bed my father dy'de, To lye close by his honest bones; but now Some Hangman must put on my shrowd, and lay me Where no Priest shouels-in dust. Oh cursed wretch, That knew'st this was the Prince, and wouldst aduenture To mingle faith with him. Vndone, vndone: If I might dye within this houre, I haue liu'd To die when I desire. Enter.

Flo. Why looke you so vpon me? I am but sorry, not affear'd: delaid, But nothing altred: What I was, I am: More straining on, for plucking backe; not following My leash vnwillingly

The Winters Tale Page 28

William Shakespeare Plays

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