The Winter's Tale :: Scenes :: The Winter's Tale: Act IV, Scene 1
Scene 1TimeThe Chorus, Time itself, tells us of the passing of sixteen years, how Leontes has shut himself up in his palace while Perdita grew up in the shepherd’s care, and how the girl has fallen in love with Florizel, Polixenes’s son, who loves her in return.Enter Time, the Chorus.TIME.I, that please some, try all, both joy and terrorOf good and bad, that makes and unfolds error,Now take upon me, in the name of Time,To use my wings. Impute it not a crimeTo me, or my swift passage, that I slideO’er sixteen years and leave the growth untriedOf that wide gap, since it is in my pow’rTo o’erthrow law, and in one self-born hourTo plant and o’erwhelm custom. Let me passThe same I am, ere ancient’st order was,Or what is now receiv’d. I witness toThe times that brought them in; so shall I doTo th’ freshest things now reigning, and make staleThe glistering of this present, as my taleNow seems to it. Your patience this allowing,I turn my glass, and give my scene such growingAs you had slept between. Leontes leaving—Th’ effects of his fond jealousies so grievingThat he shuts up himself—imagine me,Gentle spectators, that I now may beIn fair Bohemia, and remember well,I mentioned a son o’ th’ King’s, which FlorizelI now name to you; and with speed so paceTo speak of Perdita, now grown in graceEqual with wond’ring. What of her ensuesI list not prophesy; but let Time’s newsBe known when ’tis brought forth. A shepherd’s daughter,And what to her adheres, which follows after,Is th’ argument of Time. Of this allow,If ever you have spent time worse ere now;If never, yet that Time himself doth say,He wishes earnestly you never may.Exit.


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