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The Shakespeare Sisterhood: Perdita

Though the character of Perdita is quite subordinate to that of Hermione, the heroine proper of "The Winter's Tale," it is, nevertheless, a carefully finished picture in every detail. Its delicate coloring is suggestive rather than simply descriptive, its subtle poetry conveyed to the beholder by master touches; beside the glowing, life-size portraits of Juliet, Portia, and Lady Macbeth, this unique miniature gem sparkles half concealed, yet full of exquisite beauties. Perdita, perhaps, of all Shakspeare's heroines, is the completest exemplification of the intuitive lady, whose inbred daintiness no accident of life can affect.

Frequent mention is made of her rare personal beauty, and not by her lover only. Florizel says to her, touching her holiday attire at the sheep-shearing:
These, your unusual weeds, to each part of you
Do give a life -- no shepherdess, but Flora
Peering in April's front; this, your sheep-shearing,
Is as a meeting of the petty gods,
And you the queen on't.
....The simple dignity and exquisite tenderness of Perdita are beautifully portrayed in one or two addresses to Florizel after his royal father has commanded them to part forever:
Even here undone!
I was not much afeard; for once or twice
I was about to speak, and tell him plainly,
The self-same sun that shines upon his court
Hides not his visage from our cottage, but
Looks on alike. Wilt please you, sir, begone?
I told you what would come of this. 'Beseech you,
Of your own state take care: this dream of mine --
Being now awake, I'll queen it no inch further,
But milk my ewes, and weep.

How to cite this article:
Palmer, Henrietta L. The Stratford gallery, or, The Shakespeare sisterhood. New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1859. Shakespeare Online. 20 Oct. 2009. (date when you accessed the information) < >.

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Perdita. From A Stratford Gallery.