PaulinaWhat, sovereign sir,
PaulinaAs she lived peerless,
LeontesHer natural posture!*
PolixenesO, not by much†.
LeontesAs now she might have done,
PerditaAnd give me leave,
PolixenesDear my brother,
PaulinaIndeed, my lord,
LeontesDo not draw the curtain.
LeontesLet be, let be.
PaulinaI’ll draw the curtain.
LeontesO sweet Paulina,
PaulinaGood my lord, forbear.
LeontesWhat you can make her do
PaulinaIt is required
LeontesO, she’s warm!*
*[Hermione and Leontes embrace]
PolixenesShe embraces him.
PaulinaThat she is living,
HermioneYou gods look down,
LeontesO peace, Paulina!*
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 (), while others a chapel ( Syer). Howell (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 Kean2.1; the difference now is that the male presence is invited rather than intrusive.
0 .2 SD Editors frequently expand to ‘and Attendants’, though some prefer ‘and Others’. (in Proudfoot, 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 ( Hunt5.2.91, 149–51). Among recent productions showing Shepherd, Clown, and Autolycus are , Syer, Freeman, Kulick, and Lewis; in Cohen, only the three gentlemen are brought back. See HowellSupplementary note, p. 254.
1 esteemed. The combination of primary stresses and alliteration (‘grave’, ‘good’, and ‘great’) gives aural emphasis to Paulina’s worth.
4 fully repaid. ‘To pay home’ was proverbial ( Denth535.1); see 5.1.3 for a related commercial expression.
5 (after Kermode) suggests that ‘your’ was a compositorial interpolation, caught either from the preceding ‘your crowned’ or from the following ‘your kingdoms’ ( Staunton6).
7 Your visit is an extra manifestation of your kindness.
7–8 which I may never live long enough to reciprocate (‘answer’). See 1.2.3–9 for a similar fear.
9 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 notable objects, rarities.
18 i.e. not in the gallery that displays Paulina’s other works of art, but in the chapel (86), by itself. ’s emendation is now the editorial norm, but Hanmer’s ‘Louely’ for ‘Lonely’ (in Secretary hand u and F could be easily confused) is possible, either in the modern adjectival sense of ‘lovely’ referring to the statue’s beauty or, as n suggests, adverbially to mean ‘with more than ordinary regard and tenderness’ (though the parallel meaning of ‘lovingly, affectionately’ recorded in Warburton [lovely OED 1] was perhaps obsolete by the early seventeenth century). adv
20 well done, i.e. satisfactory in appearance.
20 SD 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 , 32). Muir and Schoenbaum was the first to stipulate the curtain mentioned in Rowe68. For other examples in Shakespeare of a curtained discovery space ‘becom[ing] a place of anagnorisis’ (, 116–7), see Bevington, Action Per.5.1.36 (Riverside), Temp.5.1.171, and H82.2.62 (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).
20 SD The play’s performance history reveals a preference for a standing Hermione (as indicated by ‘posture’ and ‘stood’ ), but a number of recent productions have her sitting (e.g. , Donnellan, and Kretzu). Cohen (1958) appears to have been the first to show Hermione recumbent on a tomb ( Campbell, 188). See BartholomeuszSupplementary note, p. 254.
23 somewhat close to her likeness.
26–7 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 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 Brent Harris (Polixenes in Kahn) had trouble with this line, ultimately abandoning an ironic reading for a simple validation of Leontes’ blunt observation. In , Robert Stephenson delivered the line as a gentle rebuke to Leontes’ lack of tact. Howell
31 indicates the passage of.
32 As if.
33 (1) the life-like statue or (2) Hermione’s actual death.
36 For a contrasting memory of Leontes’ courtship, see 1.2.100–4.
38 more unfeeling. See Denth310.1 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 (, 85). Joseph
38 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, 1H63.3.14–16, ‘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 ’ New York revival in 1910 suggests the iconic Virgin Mary (see Ames, 138); Bartholomeusz, viewing the ‘statue’ in Armstrong, 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 Syer90–1, 96–7, and 110–11).
40 summoned up to my memory.
41 i.e. substances or fluids thought to permeate the blood and chief organs of the body ( spirit OED 16). There were three types: animal, natural, and vital. n and Bevington gloss as ‘vital (i.e. animating) forces’, but the description of Perdita ‘standing like stone’ in the following line supports Riverside’s ‘animal spirits’, the principle of sensation and voluntary motion that mediated between mind and body (see Folger animal spirits 1). OED
44 If Perdita kneels during this line, as seems likely, when does she rise? has her do so at Folger5.3.84–5, but that requires a long period of kneeling. In , Perdita begins to rise after Paulina stays her attempt to touch the statue’s hand ( Howell46). A practicable choice may be after 48 (as in this edn).
46 (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]: 53–73, 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’ ( TN5.1.251 (Riverside)).
47 paint is. On painted statues in Shakespeare’s time, see 5.2.82 n.
49 rigorously imposed or inflicted (‘laid on’, see lay OED1 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’ ( v), and ‘laid on’ = ‘applied as a coat of paint’ ( Schanzer). Folger
51 Nor sixteen summers dry up.
51–3 i.e. just as scarcely any joy can live so long, no sorrow can last sixteen years.
54 By accepting responsibility for Leontes’ suffering, Polixenes demonstrates the magnanimity mandated by ideal friendship in Shakespeare’s time. compares Valentine’s forgiveness of Proteus at the end of Pafford, TGV JC4.3.86, ‘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 incorporate into himself (thereby adding to his own grief).
57 i.e. the statue.
58 stirred, overwhelmed.
58 (in Thirlby) 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 Theobald): ‘Hermione will remain stone, under my control, until such time as you’re ready to accept her’ ( Hall, Staging, 148). Or the parenthesis may have been intended simply to clarify ‘my poor image’ as the statue rather than Paulina herself ( Warren). Turner
62 May I die, if I do not think it moves already (). Remembering Macready’s performance, Staunton writes (388): ‘Has he seen something that makes him think the statue lives? Mr. Faucit 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’. Macready
67 an early form of ‘fixture’ = ‘fixedness’. , which records the first usage in 1603, cites this line. Shakespeare uses the word once elsewhere, OED Tro.1.3.101.
68 So that we are fooled by artistic illusion (, Bevington). For the demonstrative meaning of ‘as’, see subst. 110. In Abbott, Leontes atypically snarled the line as a ‘furious denouncement of fraud’ rather than as the usual ‘exclamation of enrapture’ ( Donnellan, 105). P. Smith
69 carried away.
71 (for) twenty uninterrupted years (i.e. forever).
72 untroubled mental faculties. and Orgel follow Folger in reading the line as ‘No calm mind in the world’. Schanzer, citing Harold Brooks, notes a parallel with Florizel in Pafford4.4.462–5.
75 Perhaps ‘affect’ () 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 Warburton LLL1.1.313–15 (Riverside).
78 a breath.
79 carve stone so as to imitate breath. (‘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’. Felperin
84 not for at least twenty years (see 5.3.71).
85 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 prepare yourselves.
87 stand it.
94–5 In , 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 Kretzu and Syer), the spectators’ ‘collective faith in theatre’s miraculous powers to create life [becomes] the issue’ ( Whitney review, 27). Shurgot, Kretzu
96 Let us go on (). Most editors follow Knight’s emendation, ‘Or’, presumably because (like Hanmer) they sense a required alternative to Paulina’s command that ‘all stand still’. But as Snyder perceived, Pafford’s reading fits the assertive voice of a character who controls the choreography of the spectacle. Knight
96 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 , 97), 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 Orgel90–1 and 105 recalls Leontes’ charge of ‘mankind witch’ (2.3.67). In , Paulina pointedly delivered 96–7 to the audience, and in Cohen, Leontes looked out at the spectators as he responded ‘No foot shall stir’ ( Kulick98).
98 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 or with semicolons and periods as here, yield a slow delivery, marked with strong pauses, thereby concluding the theme of waiting (see Introduction, p. F23). While Anna Calder Marshall (in ) moves only when the text stipulates (the second half of 103), Pernilla August (in Howell) moved her fingers at ‘be stone no more’ and then sat up from her recumbent position (see illustration Bergman27, 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 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 i.e. death.
104 Do not be startled.
106–7 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 (Metamorphoses, 10. 64–69). Ovid
107–9 These lines suggest potential stage business for Hermione (see Introduction, pp. 52–3).
110–11 See ‘unlawful business’ (96 n.).
111–12 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 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’ ( 1H45.4.136–7 (Riverside)).
114–15 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 Pay attention.
119 i.e. position yourself between Leontes and Hermione (an embedded blocking cue).
121–8 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 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 ‘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’ (). But as Schanzer 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. Turner41–7.
126 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.
128 (1) the prophecy’s fulfillment, and (2) Perdita herself (‘issue’ = ‘offspring’).
128 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 ‘at this critical juncture’ ( push OED1 6). But a reading of ‘push’ as ‘provocation’ ( n) or ‘prompting’ ( Folger) is attractive in establishing Hermione’s questions to Perdita as the impetus for ‘like relation’ (see Andrews130 n.).
130 with similar stories and inquiries of their own. , however, proposes ‘by asking you similarly to tell your story’. Retaining Schanzer’s ‘Least’ (129), F (1974, 1997) reads as ‘The last thing they want, at this critical moment, is to trouble your happiness with such an account’. Riverside, 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 ( Bevington, in Proudfoot, 297 n.8). Hunt
132 Make known to, share with.
132 turtledove (traditionally regarded as a symbol of fidelity). See 4.4.154–5. Few things moved more than the lines about the lone turtledove, to which he responded, ‘Plucky Paulina, such a good fellow’ (‘Preface’, in Granville-Barker, 79). Hunt (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 Bartholomeusz5.3.132–5, see 135 n.
135 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’ (). 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.’ Johnson
136–8 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, and Bergman – the last abruptly ending the play after Hermione blesses her newly restored daughter ( Donnellan5.3.123). See Introduction, pp. 58–9 and Appendix B, p. 266.
138 between us.
142 As for
144 i.e. Camillo’s (’s reading , followed by Mason, Wilson, and Schanzer, but disputed by Kermode and Pafford). 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’ ( Orgel143–6) may be read as Leontes’ making good on his promise to find Paulina ‘an honourable husband’ (143).
145 abundantly celebrated.
145 vouched for.
146 i.e. go from.
147 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 (), either not wishing to remember what started her travail or fearing to restart it should Leontes misinterpret her look. Kermode
149 The insertion in 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’. Dyce2
153–4 i.e. ask questions and provide answers about the parts we have performed (). Leontes’ proposal – a tactic Shakespeare frequently uses – deftly spares the audience needless exposition; for its opposite, see the Folgerconclusion to Err.
154 An echo of 4.1.7.