A Winter’s Tale, famous for having the only stage direction in the whole of Shakespeare, and for not being terribly good.
Done by the company at the Globe in original treatment and sumptuous costumes it was very good entertainment.. if not reaying the lyrical heights of the so-called ‘good plays’
ACT IV SCENE IV
How now, fair shepherd!
Your heart is full of something that does take
Your mind from feasting. Sooth, when I was young
And handed love as you do, I was wont
To load my she with knacks: I would have ransack’d
The pedlar’s silken treasury and have pour’d it
To her acceptance; you have let him go
And nothing marted with him. If your lass
Interpretation should abuse and call this
Your lack of love or bounty, you were straited
For a reply, at least if you make a care
Of happy holding her.
FLORIZEL Old sir, I know
She prizes not such trifles as these are:
The gifts she looks from me are pack’d and lock’d
Up in my heart; which I have given already,
But not deliver’d. O, hear me breathe my life
Before this ancient sir, who, it should seem,
Hath sometime loved! I take thy hand, this hand,
As soft as dove’s down and as white as it,
Or Ethiopian’s tooth, or the fann’d
snow that’s bolted
By the northern blasts twice o’er.
POLIXENES What follows this?
How prettily the young swain seems to wash
The hand was fair before! I have put you out:
But to your protestation; let me hear
What you profess.
FLORIZEL Do, and be witness to ‘t.
POLIXENES And this my neighbour too?
FLORIZEL And he, and more
Than he, and men, the earth, the heavens, and all:
That, were I crown’d the most imperial monarch,
Thereof most worthy, were I the fairest youth
That ever made eye swerve, had force and knowledge
More than was ever man’s, I would not prize them
Without her love; for her employ them all;
Commend them and condemn them to her service
Or to their own perdition.
POLIXENES Fairly offer’d.
CAMILLO This shows a sound affection.
Shepherd But, my daughter,
Say you the like to him?
PERDITA I cannot speak
So well, nothing so well; no, nor mean better:
By the pattern of mine own thoughts I cut out
The purity of his.
the Tempest tomorrow!