Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > The Winter’s Tale
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
The Winter’s Tale
 
Act IV. Chorus.
 
Enter Time, the Chorus.
  Time.  I, that please some, try all, both joy and terror
Of good and bad, that make and unfold error,
Now take upon me, in the name of Time,
To use my wings. Impute it not a crime        5
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        10
The same I am, ere ancient’st order was
Or what is now receiv’d: 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        15
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,        20
Gentle spectators, that I now may be
In fair Bohemia; and remember well,
I mention’d 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        25
Equal with wondering: what of her ensues
I list not prophesy; but let Time’s news
Be 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,        30
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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