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  • The Winter's Tale
  • Online publication date: August 2019
  • pp 240-250

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Act 5, Scene 3*

Enter Leontes, Polixenes, Florizel, Perdita, Camillo, Paulina, Lords, etc.*

Leontes

O grave and good Paulina, the great comfort
That I have had of thee!*

Paulina What, sovereign sir,

I did not well, I meant well; all my services
You have paid home. But that you have vouchsafed,
5With your crowned 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.

Leontes O Paulina,

We honour you with trouble. But we came
10To see the statue of our Queen. Your gallery
Have we passed 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.

Paulina As she lived peerless,

15So her dead likeness I do well believe
Excels whatever yet you looked upon,
Or hand of man hath done; therefore I keep it
Lonely*, apart. But here it is: prepare
To see the life as lively mocked as ever
20Still sleep mocked death. Behold, and say ’tis well.

[Paulina draws a curtain and reveals*] Hermione like a statue*

I like your silence; it the more shows off
Your wonder. But yet speak:* first you, my liege.
Comes it not something near?

Leontes Her natural posture!*

Chide me, dear stone, that I may say indeed
25Thou 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.

Polixenes O, not by much.

30Paulina

So much the more our carver’s excellence,
Which lets go by some sixteen years and makes her
As she lived now.

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,
35Even with such life of majesty – warm life
As now it coldly stands – when first I wooed 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
40My evils conjured to remembrance, and
From thy admiring daughter took the spirits,
Standing like stone with thee.

Perdita And give me leave,

And do not say ’tis superstition, that
I kneel and then implore her blessing. *[She kneels] Lady,
45Dear queen, that ended when I but began,
Give me that hand of yours to kiss.

Paulina O, patience!*

The statue is but newly fixed; the colour’s
Not dry. *[Perdita rises]

Camillo

My lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on,
50Which sixteen winters cannot blow away,
So many summers dry. Scarce any joy
Did ever so long live; no sorrow
But killed itself much sooner.

Polixenes Dear my brother,

Let him that was the cause of this have power
55To take off so much grief from you as he
Will piece up in himself.

Paulina Indeed, my lord,

If I had thought the sight of my poor image
Would thus have wrought you – for the stone is mine
I’d not have showed it.

Leontes Do not draw the curtain.

60Paulina

No longer shall you gaze on’t, lest your fancy
May think anon it moves.

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 veins
65Did verily bear blood?

Polixenes Masterly* done:

The very life seems warm upon her lip.

Leontes

The fixure* of her eye has motion in’t,
As we are mocked with art.

Paulina I’ll draw the curtain.

My lord’s almost so far transported that
70He’ll think anon it lives.

Leontes O sweet Paulina,

Make me to think so twenty years together!*
No settled senses of the world can match
The pleasure of that madness. Let’t alone.

Paulina

I am sorry, sir, I have thus far stirred you; but
75I could afflict you farther.

Leontes Do, Paulina,

For this affliction has a taste as sweet
As any cordial comfort. Still methinks
There is an air comes from her. What fine chisel
Could ever yet cut breath? Let no man mock me,
80For I will kiss her.

Paulina Good my lord, forbear.

The ruddiness upon her lip is wet;
You’ll mar it if you kiss it, stain your own
With oily painting. Shall I draw the curtain?

Leontes

No, not these twenty years.

Perdita So long could I

85Stand by, a looker-on.

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,
90Which I protest against, I am assisted
By wicked powers.

Leontes What you can make her do

I am content to look on; what to speak
I am content to hear; for ’tis as easy
To make her speak as move.

Paulina It is required

95You do awake your faith. Then all stand still.
On!* Those that think it is unlawful business
I am about, let them depart.

Leontes Proceed.

No foot shall stir.

Paulina Music, awake her, strike!*

[Music*]

’Tis time: descend; be stone no more; approach;
100Strike 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 descends]

Start not. Her actions shall be holy as
105You hear my spell is lawful. *[To Leontes] 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 wooed her; now in age
Is she become the suitor?

Leontes O, she’s warm!*

110If this be magic, let it be an art
Lawful as eating.

*[Hermione and Leontes embrace]

Polixenes She embraces him.

Camillo

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

Polixenes

Ay, and make it manifest where she has lived,
115Or how stol’n 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.
*[To Perdita] Please you to interpose, fair madam; kneel
120And pray your mother’s blessing [Perdita kneels]*.
[To Hermione*] Turn, good lady;
Our Perdita is found.

Hermione You gods look down,

And from your sacred vials* pour your graces
Upon my daughter’s head!* *[Raising Perdita] Tell me, mine own
Where hast thou been preserved? where lived? how found
125Thy 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.

Paulina There’s time* enough for that,

Lest* they desire upon this push to trouble
130Your joys with like relation. Go together
You precious winners all; your exultation
Partake to everyone. I, an old turtle,
Will wing me to some withered bough and there
My mate, that’s never to be found again,
135Lament till I am lost.

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 questioned, for I saw her
140(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
145Is richly noted, and here justified
By us, a pair of kings. Let’s from this place.
*[To Hermione] What!* Look upon my brother. Both your pardons
That e’er I put between your holy looks
My ill suspicion. This your son-in-law,
150And son unto the king, whom heavens directing,
Is troth-plight to your daughter. Good Paulina,
Lead us from hence, where we may leisurely
Each one demand and answer to his part
Performed in this wide gap of time since first
155We were dissevered. Hastily lead away. Exeunt

Textual variants

98 Music, awake her, strike!] This edn; Music; awake her: Strike: F

Explanatory notes

The scene takes place in the ‘removed house’ mentioned at 5.2.91, where Paulina keeps both an art gallery (5.3.10) and a chapel (5.3.86). Although Paulina refers to ‘my poor house’ (5.3.6), the site is not her domicile, since she ‘privately’ visits it only ‘twice or thrice a day’ (5.2.90–1). Some productions favour a gallery setting (Syer), while others a chapel (Howell). Kean (1856) chose a sculpture gallery in the peristyle of Paulina’s house. Wherever located, the space, in belonging to Paulina and housing the statue of Hermione, is a female domain, the first such space since 2.1; the difference now is that the male presence is invited rather than intrusive.

0 SD.2 etc. Editors frequently expand to ‘and Attendants’, though some prefer ‘and Others’. Proudfoot (in Hunt, 297 n.8) proposes extending ‘etc.’ to include the six characters in 5.2, all of whom exit with the clearly stated intention of seeing the unveiling of Hermione’s statue (5.2.91, 149–51). Among recent productions showing Shepherd, Clown, and Autolycus are Syer, Freeman, Kulick, Lewis, and Cohen; in Howell, only the three gentlemen are brought back. See Supplementary note, p. 254.

1 grave esteemed. The combination of primary stresses and alliteration (‘grave’, ‘good’, and ‘great’) gives aural emphasis to Paulina’s worth.

4 paid home fully repaid. ‘To pay home’ was proverbial (Dent h535.1); see 5.1.3 for a related commercial expression.

5 your contracted Kermode (after Staunton) suggests that ‘your’ was a compositorial interpolation, caught either from the preceding ‘your crowned’ or from the following ‘your kingdoms’ (6).

7 It … grace Your visit is an extra manifestation of your kindness.

7–8 which … answer which I may never live long enough to reciprocate (‘answer’). See 1.2.3–9 for a similar fear.

9 with trouble with imposition on your hospitality by causing you extra work. Compare Duncan’s use of ‘trouble’ as he addresses his hostess, Lady Macbeth, ‘The love that follows us sometime is our trouble … Herein I teach you / How you shall … thank us for your trouble’ (Mac. 1.6.11–14).

12 singularities notable objects, rarities.

18 Lonely, apart i.e. not in the gallery that displays Paulina’s other works of art, but in the chapel (86), by itself. Hanmer’s emendation is now the editorial norm, but F’s ‘Louely’ for ‘Lonely’ (in Secretary hand u and n could be easily confused) is possible, either in the modern adjectival sense of ‘lovely’ referring to the statue’s beauty or, as Warburton suggests, adverbially to mean ‘with more than ordinary regard and tenderness’ (though the parallel meaning of ‘lovingly, affectionately’ recorded in OED [lovely adv 1] was perhaps obsolete by the early seventeenth century).

19 lively mocked vividly (OED lively adv 4) counterfeited (OED mock v 4, where this line is cited).

20 well well done, i.e. satisfactory in appearance.

20 SD draws … curtain On the early seventeenth-century stage, the statue would probably have been revealed in ‘the discovery space … generally an open tiring-house doorway within which curtains …, or in front of which hangings … had been fitted up’ (Richard Hosley, ‘The Playhouses and the Stage’, in Muir and Schoenbaum, 32). Rowe was the first to stipulate the curtain mentioned in 68. For other examples in Shakespeare of a curtained discovery space ‘becom[ing] a place of anagnorisis’ (Bevington, Action, 116–7), see Per. 5.1.36 (Riverside), Temp. 5.1.171, and H8 2.2.62 (Riverside) and 5.2.35 (Riverside). The atmosphere surrounding the unveiling of Hermione’s ‘statue’ may be related to similar veneration in remembered scenes of the old religion (as in Roger Martyn’s nostalgic recollection of the ceremonial uncovering of sculpture at Long Melford church, quoted in David Cressy and Lori Anne Ferrell, eds., Religion and Society in Early Modern England: A Sourcebook, 1996, 11).

21 shows off displays (OED show v 12b).

23 something near somewhat close to her likeness.

26–7 tender … grace Leontes may be treating the softness of a baby and the comfort of grace as two distinct comparisons, or he may mean ‘tender as a graceful (i.e. innocent, pleasing) baby’ (an example of hendiadys). Either way, the image recalls Paulina’s strategy in 2.2.39–41.

28 nothing not at all. While much has been made of the artist’s talent for rendering life-like depictions in 5.2 and here (19 and 23), ‘wrinkled’ is the first graphic clue that a surprise might be in the making.

29 O … much Brent Harris (Polixenes in Kahn) had trouble with this line, ultimately abandoning an ironic reading for a simple validation of Leontes’ blunt observation. In Howell, Robert Stephenson delivered the line as a gentle rebuke to Leontes’ lack of tact.

31 lets … by indicates the passage of.

32 As As if.

33 it (1) the life-like statue or (2) Hermione’s actual death.

36 when … her For a contrasting memory of Leontes’ courtship, see 1.2.100–4.

38 more stone more unfeeling. See Dent h310.1 and h311 for the proverbial ‘heart of stone’. The repetition of ‘stone’ after a few intervening words is an example of ploce, used in 37–8 to express intense emotion (Joseph, 85).

38 piece work of art, masterpiece.

39–44 Of two dangerous tendencies skirted in this scene, the first is defused here, i.e. idolatry associated with Roman Catholicism, specifically the ‘superstition’ of venerating images of Christ, Mary, and the saints before whom the faithful would kneel in prayer. See Alençon’s promise to Joan of Arc, 1H6 3.3.14–16, ‘We’ll set thy statue in some holy place, / And have thee reverenc’d like a blessed saint. / Employ thee then, sweet virgin, for our good’. A photograph of Edith Wynne Matthison’s Hermione from Ames’ New York revival in 1910 suggests the iconic Virgin Mary (see Bartholomeusz, 138); Armstrong, viewing the ‘statue’ in Syer, immediately thought of ‘the Madonna without the infant’ (32). The second tendency, forbidden magic used to raise the dead (hinted at in ‘magic’ and ‘conjured’), is dealt with below (see 90–1, 96–7, and 110–11).

40 conjured … remembrance summoned up to my memory.

41 admiring awestruck.

41 spirits i.e. substances or fluids thought to permeate the blood and chief organs of the body (OED spirit n 16). There were three types: animal, natural, and vital. Bevington and Riverside gloss as ‘vital (i.e. animating) forces’, but the description of Perdita ‘standing like stone’ in the following line supports Folger’s ‘animal spirits’, the principle of sensation and voluntary motion that mediated between mind and body (see OED animal spirits 1).

44 If Perdita kneels during this line, as seems likely, when does she rise? Folger has her do so at 5.3.84–5, but that requires a long period of kneeling. In Howell, Perdita begins to rise after Paulina stays her attempt to touch the statue’s hand (46). A practicable choice may be after 48 (as in this edn).

46 patience (have) patience, i.e. not so fast. In Paulina’s admonition to Perdita to refrain from touching the statue, repeated to Leontes at 5.3.80, Cynthia Lewis (‘Soft Touch: On the Renaissance Staging and Meaning of the “Noli me tangere” Icon’, CompD 36 [2002–3]: 5373, esp. 67–70) detects a biblical allusion to the moment when the risen Christ says to Mary Magdalene, ‘Touch me not: for I am not yet ascended to my Father’ (John 20.17). For another example of this biblical icon, see Viola’s ‘Do not embrace me’ (TN 5.1.251 (Riverside)).

47 fixed Generally read as ‘painted’, but Folger’s ‘put (set) in place’ may be preferable since the meaning of ‘colour being made permanent’ is not recorded in OED until 1665 (fix v 5a).

47 colour’s paint is. On painted statues in Shakespeare’s time, see 5.2.82 n.

49 sore … on rigorously imposed or inflicted (‘laid on’, see OED lay v1 55a, c). The immediately surrounding words ‘colour’, ‘dry’ [twice], and ‘blow away’ lead some editors to detect a metaphor drawn from painting that permits a double reading of ‘sore’ = ‘heavily’, ‘thickly’ (Schanzer), and ‘laid on’ = ‘applied as a coat of paint’ (Folger).

51 So … dry Nor sixteen summers dry up.

51–3 Scarce … sooner i.e. just as scarcely any joy can live so long, no sorrow can last sixteen years.

54 Let … this By accepting responsibility for Leontes’ suffering, Polixenes demonstrates the magnanimity mandated by ideal friendship in Shakespeare’s time. Pafford compares Valentine’s forgiveness of Proteus at the end of TGV, JC 4.3.86, ‘A friend should bear his friend’s infirmities’, and Son. 88, ‘Such is my love, to thee I so belong, / That for thy right myself will bear all wrong’.

56 piece … himself incorporate into himself (thereby adding to his own grief).

57 image i.e. the statue.

58 wrought stirred, overwhelmed.

58 for … mine Thirlby (in Theobald) queried the need of this parenthetical statement. Perhaps Paulina feels compelled to exert control; such was the reading of the subtext by Eileen Atkins (in Hall): ‘Hermione will remain stone, under my control, until such time as you’re ready to accept her’ (Warren, Staging, 148). Or the parenthesis may have been intended simply to clarify ‘my poor image’ as the statue rather than Paulina herself (Turner).

62 May I die, if I do not think it moves already (Staunton). Remembering Macready’s performance, Faucit writes (388): ‘Has he seen something that makes him think the statue lives? Mr. Macready indicated this, and hurriedly went on [with “What was he …”]. His eyes have been so riveted upon the figure, that he sees what the others have not seen, that there is something about it beyond the reach of art’.

67 fixure an early form of ‘fixture’ = ‘fixedness’. OED, which records the first usage in 1603, cites this line. Shakespeare uses the word once elsewhere, Tro. 1.3.101.

69 transported carried away.

71 twenty … together (for) twenty uninterrupted years (i.e. forever).

75 afflict Perhaps ‘affect’ (Warburton) but more likely ‘torment’ or ‘distress’, the sense Leontes understands in 75–7 where he presumably plays on the same stock phrase about affliction’s sour cup that Costard mangles in LLL 1.1.313–15 (Riverside).

77 cordial restorative.

78 an air a breath.

79 cut breath carve stone so as to imitate breath. Felperin (‘Tongue-tied’, 175) praises the onomatopoeia of ‘What … breath’, finding in the ‘succession of monosyllabic words composed of short vowels chopped off by dental stops … [the imitation of] the sharp clicks of a chisel tapping through its medium’.

80 For … her Neely (206) contends that Leontes’ ‘determination to kiss the statue signals Paulina that he is ready for reunion with the woman Hermione’.

83 painting paint.

84 not … years not for at least twenty years (see 5.3.71).

85 forbear withdraw. ‘Forbear’ = ‘refrain’ (see 80) is possible if Paulina is not using the word in apposition with the following command to leave the chapel but rather as a separate order to stop from touching the statue (Turner).

86 presently immediately.

86 chapel As Orgel emphasizes, the statue is kept not only apart but in a religious, though not necessarily Christian (OED 6), setting.

86 resolve you prepare yourselves.

87 behold it stand it.

91 wicked powers i.e. black magic. See 5.3.96, 105, and 110–11.

94–5 It … faith In Kretzu, Paulina addressed the line to Leontes alone, ‘stressing that it is his faith that is crucial to this scene’; in productions where she turns directly to the audience at large (as in Syer and Whitney), the spectators’ ‘collective faith in theatre’s miraculous powers to create life [becomes] the issue’ (Shurgot, Kretzu review, 27).

96 On Let us go on (Knight). Most editors follow Hanmer’s emendation, ‘Or’, presumably because (like Pafford) they sense a required alternative to Paulina’s command that ‘all stand still’. But as Snyder perceived, Knight’s reading fits the assertive voice of a character who controls the choreography of the spectacle.

96 unlawful business i.e. occult activities, sorcery. ‘Parliament made conjuring evil spirits a secular crime punishable by death in 1563 and added necromancy to the roll of capital offenses in the second witchcraft statute of 1604’ (Michael MacDonald, ‘Science, Magic, and Folklore’, in John Andrews, ed. William Shakespeare: His World, His Work, His Influence, I, 1985, 185). Citing Martin Ingram (Church Courts, Sex and Marriage in England, 1570–1640 [1987], 97), Orgel remarks that despite the illegality of occult practices, prosecutions declined significantly after about 1585, and few cases are recorded in the early seventeenth century. Paulina’s disclaimer here and in 90–1 and 105 recalls Leontes’ charge of ‘mankind witch’ (2.3.67). In Cohen, Paulina pointedly delivered 96–7 to the audience, and in Kulick, Leontes looked out at the spectators as he responded ‘No foot shall stir’ (98).

98 strike Paulina calls for musicians to ‘strike’ up, i.e. to begin playing their instruments.

99–103 Paulina’s eight separate commands, whether punctuated with colons as in F or with semicolons and periods as here, yield a slow delivery, marked with strong pauses, thereby concluding the theme of waiting (see Introduction, p. 23). While Anna Calder Marshall (in Howell) moves only when the text stipulates (the second half of 103), Pernilla August (in Bergman) moved her fingers at ‘be stone no more’ and then sat up from her recumbent position (see illustration 27, p. 51); Lise Bruneau (in Kahn) found ‘redeems’ the pivot for what appeared as a sudden shaking off of a spell. See Supplementary note, p. 254.

101 I’ll … up The primary meaning refers to the immediate occasion that no longer requires Hermione to be dead, but there may be a secondary application to Paulina herself, who in 132–5 looks forward to her own death, as a substitute for Hermione: the Queen, who regains a husband and a daughter, is replaced in the grave by Paulina, whose loss of her husband has recently been confirmed and whose sustaining mission is now completed.

102 him i.e. death.

104 Start not Do not be startled.

106–7 Until … double i.e. do not shun Hermione until her (future) death, for if you do you kill her twice. Even now Paulina reminds Leontes of his grievous offense, and with the root word that pained him earlier (5.1.15–20). In Paulina’s caution against a double killing, Shakespeare may be remembering Eurydice’s ‘double dying’ in Ovid (Metamorphoses, 10. 64–69).

107–9 Nay … suitor These lines suggest potential stage business for Hermione (see Introduction, pp. 52–3).

110–11 If … eating See ‘unlawful business’ (96 n.).

111–12 She embraces … neck Having heightened Hermione’s return by an aura of sanctity, the use of music, talk of magic, and Paulina’s formal incantation, Shakespeare turns to the amazement of on-lookers who (having not said anything for some time) now speak, while the focus of their attention – Leontes and Hermione coming together – is silent, beyond words.

113 pertain … life belong among the living. Orgel notes the legal overtone ‘be entitled’ (OED pertain v 1b).

113 let … speak Compare Prince Hal’s similar desire for oral/aural verification of a living Falstaff, ‘I prithee speak, we will not trust our eyes / Without our ears’ (1H4 5.4.136–7 (Riverside)).

114–15 make … dead Speaking for the audience, not to mention the critics who have written extensively on whether Hermione really died in Act 3 (see Introduction, pp. 47–9), Polixenes poses two alternatives, one connecting Hermione to the ordinary (albeit puzzling) human realm – where and how has she been living all this time – and the other to the heightened world of classical myth, specifically the tales of Alcestis and Eurydice, wives who were ‘stol’n from the dead’ (115).

118 Mark Pay attention.

119 interpose i.e. position yourself between Leontes and Hermione (an embedded blocking cue).

121 Our … found ‘This succinct line, with the contrast in meaning between Perdita (she who was lost) and found marks the fulfillment of the Oracle’ (Happé).

121–8 You … issue Hermione speaks only once in this scene and to Perdita alone, leading some critics and directors to question the fullness of spousal reconciliation (see Introduction, p. 55).

121–2 You … graces A frequently cited parallel is the invocation of divine blessings (‘graces’) in Temp. 5.1.202–1 (Riverside), ‘Look down, you gods, / And on this couple drop a blessed crown’; see also Cym. 5.5.350–1, ‘The benediction of these covering heavens / Fall on their heads like dew’.

125–28 For … issue ‘This is the only explanation of Hermione’s sixteen-year-long sequestration that Shakespeare provides, and not a few readers have felt that he ought to have thought up a better one’ (Schanzer). But as Turner argues, ‘Raising her own questions … Hermione here anticipates Perdita’s and ours. She remained silent so that which was lost could be found, not only Perdita but Leontes as well, whose regeneration is a major part of the triumph of time’. See Introduction, pp. 41–7.

126 Knowing … Paulina Hermione in fact heard the oracle herself. If this scene was added some time after the original composition, what appears to be a misrecollection becomes more understandable. See Introduction, pp. 63–6.

127 in being alive.

128 issue (1) the prophecy’s fulfillment, and (2) Perdita herself (‘issue’ = ‘offspring’).

128 There’s … that Paulina acts as a surrogate dramatist, recognizing that too many logical questions and the exposition they prompt, particularly as regarding Hermione’s narrative, would shatter the wonder of the moment.

129 upon … push ‘at this critical juncture’ (OED push n1 6). But a reading of ‘push’ as ‘provocation’ (Folger) or ‘prompting’ (Andrews) is attractive in establishing Hermione’s questions to Perdita as the impetus for ‘like relation’ (see 130 n.).

130 with … relation with similar stories and inquiries of their own. Schanzer, however, proposes ‘by asking you similarly to tell your story’. Retaining F’s ‘Least’ (129), Riverside (1974, 1997) reads as ‘The last thing they want, at this critical moment, is to trouble your happiness with such an account’. Bevington, who earlier (1980) offered a similar interpretation, emends to the usual ‘Lest’ in his 4th edn (1997) and suggests both narrative possibilities: ‘Lest they insist, at this critical juncture, on interrupting this moment of joy with your relating of your story or with their telling of what has happened to them.’ If Shepherd and Clown are present, Paulina’s admonition might take on added force (Proudfoot, in Hunt, 297 n.8).

132 Partake to Make known to, share with.

132 turtle turtledove (traditionally regarded as a symbol of fidelity). See 4.4.154–5. Few things moved Granville-Barker more than the lines about the lone turtledove, to which he responded, ‘Plucky Paulina, such a good fellow’ (‘Preface’, in Hunt, 79). Bartholomeusz (156) detects the ‘ironic, haunting echo’ of the ‘Song of Solomon’ (2.11–12): ‘The winter is past and gone … the time of singing has come … the voice of the turtle is heard in our land’. For a different response to 5.3.132–5, see 135 n.

133 wing me fly.

135 lost dead. Having spoken of the others as ‘precious winners’ (131), Paulina may also be thinking of ‘lost’ in reference to herself as one who has ‘lost what can never be recovered’ (Johnson). During rehearsals Kahn interpreted Paulina’s lamentation as one of the scene’s ‘embedded jokes’: ‘It’s like here she goes again. We’ve been through this for sixteen years.’

136–8 Thou … vows That Paulina has agreed to marry a suitor chosen by Leontes as part of a mutual agreement with the king is new information (see 5.1.69–71, 81–4). The Paulina-Camillo coda (5.3.136–46) strikes many critics as being problematic and several directors omit the business: e.g. Brook, Bergman, and Donnellan – the last abruptly ending the play after Hermione blesses her newly restored daughter (5.3.123). See Introduction, pp. 58–9 and Appendix B, p. 266.

138 between’s between us.

142 For As for

144 whose … honesty i.e. Camillo’s (Mason’s reading [139], followed by Wilson, Schanzer, and Kermode, but disputed by Pafford and Orgel). That the praise logically – if not grammatically, given the pronominal antecedent – refers to Camillo rather than Paulina is borne out by the next two lines: Polixenes and Leontes are both able to validate Camillo’s probity through his long service to each, but only Leontes can similarly attest to Paulina’s worth. ‘Come … kings’ (143–6) may be read as Leontes’ making good on his promise to find Paulina ‘an honourable husband’ (143).

145 richly noted abundantly celebrated.

145 justified vouched for.

146 from i.e. go from.

147 Look … brother With this command, the action comes full circle – especially if Hermione and Polixenes take hands – since looks and the touching of hands fuelled Leontes’ initial jealous rage. Hermione has perhaps shown some natural embarrassment about greeting Polixenes (Kermode), either not wishing to remember what started her travail or fearing to restart it should Leontes misinterpret her look.

148 holy chaste.

149 ill evil.

149 This The insertion in Dyce2 of an apostrophe to mark the omission of ‘is’, a popular emendation, is unnecessary since the syntax makes it clear that ‘This your son-in-law’ is the subject of ‘Is troth-plight to your daughter’.

150 whom … directing with the heavens guiding him (Orgel).

151 troth-plight betrothed. See 1.2.275 and 4.4.370, 397.

153–4 demand … Performed i.e. ask questions and provide answers about the parts we have performed (Folger). Leontes’ proposal – a tactic Shakespeare frequently uses – deftly spares the audience needless exposition; for its opposite, see the conclusion to Err.

154 wide … time An echo of 4.1.7.

155 dissevered separated.