William Shakespeare: Winter's Tale, Act IV

Act IV

Scene I

Enter Time, the Chorus

Time

I, that please some, try all, both joy and terror Of 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 crime To me or my swift passage, that I slide O'er sixteen years and leave the growth untried Of that wide gap, since it is in my power To o'erthrow law and in one self-born hour To plant and o'erwhelm custom. Let me pass The same I am, ere ancient'st order was Or what is now received: I witness to The times that brought them in; so shall I do To the freshest things now reigning and make stale The glistering of this present, as my tale Now seems to it. Your patience this allowing, I turn my glass and give my scene such growing As you had slept between: Leontes leaving, The effects of his fond jealousies so grieving That he shuts up himself, imagine me, Gentle spectators, that I now may be In fair Bohemia, and remember well, I mentioned a son o' the king's, which Florizel I now name to you; and with speed so pace To speak of Perdita, now grown in grace Equal with wondering: what of her ensues I list not prophecy; but let Time's news Be known when 'tis brought forth. A shepherd's daughter, And what to her adheres, which follows after, Is the 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