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But I'd say, he had not, And, I'll be sworn, you would believe my saying, Howe'er you lean to the nayward.

Leon. You, my lords, Look on her, mark her well; be but about To say, she is a goodly lady, and

The justice of your hearts will thereto add, 'Tis pity she's not honest, honourable:

Praise her but for this her without-door form,
(Which, on my faith, deserves high speech,) and

The shrug, the hum, or ha; these petty brands,
That calumny doth use:-O, I am out,
That mercy does; for calumny will sear
Virtue itself:-these shrugs, these hums, and ha's,
When you have said, she's goodly, come between,
Ere you can say, she's honest: But be it known
From him, that has most cause to grieve it should be,
She's an adultress.


Should a villain say so, The most replenish'd villain in the world, He were as much more villain: you, my lord, Do but mistake.

Leon. You have mistook, my lady, Polixenes for Leontes: O thou thing, Which I'll not call a creature of thy place, Lest barbarism, making me the precedent, Should a like language use to all degrees, And mannerly distinguishment leave out Betwixt the prince and beggar!-I have said, She's an adultress; I have said with whom : More, she's a traitor; and Camillo is A federary with her; and one that knows What she should shame to know herself, But with her most vile principal, that she's A bed-swerver, even as bad as those That vulgars give bold titles; ay, and privy To this their late escape.


No, by my life, Privy to none of this: How will this grieve you, When you shall come to clearer knowledge, that You thus have publish'd me? Gentle my lord, You scarce can right me throughly then, to say You did mistake.


No, no; if I mistake In those foundations which I build upon, The center is not big enough to bear

A school-boy's top.-Away with her to prison: He, who shall speak for her, is afar off guilty, But that he speaks.

There's some ill planet reigns:
I must be patient, till the heavens look
With an aspect more favourable. Good my lords,
I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
Commonly are; the want of which vain dew,
Perchance, shall dry your pities: but I have
That honourable grief lodg'd here, which burns
Worse than tears drown: 'Beseech you all, my

With thoughts so qualified as your charities
Shall best instruct you, measure me ;—and so
The king's will be perform'd!

Shall I be heard? (To the Guards.)

My plight requires it. Do not weep, good fools; There is no cause; when you shall know, your


Her. Who is't, that goes with me?-'Beseech

your highness,

My women may be with me; for, you see,

Has deserv'd a prison: then abound in tears, As I come out; this action I now go on, Is for my better grace.-Adieu, my lord: I never wish'd to see you sorry; now, I trust, I shall.- -My women, come; you have Leon. Go, do your bidding; hence. [leave. [Exeunt Queen and Ladies. 1 Lord. 'Beseech your highness, call the queen again. [justice Ant. Be certain what you do, sir; lest your Prove violence; in the which three great ones suffer, Yourself, your queen, your son.

1 Lord. For her, my lord,I dare my life lay down, and will do't, sir, Please you to accept it, that the queen is spotless I' the eyes of heaven, and to you; I mean, In this which you accuse her. If it prove


She's otherwise, I'll keep my stables where
I lodge my wife: I'll go in couples with her;
Than when I feel, and see her, no further trust her;
For every inch of woman in the world,
Ay, every dram of woman's flesh, is false,
If she be.

Hold your peaces.

1 Lord.

Good my lord,— Ant. It is for you we speak, not for ourselves: You are abus'd, and by some putter-on, [lain, That will be damn'd for't; 'would I knew the vilI would land-damn him: Be she honour-flaw'd,I have three daughters; the eldest is eleven; The second, and the third, nine, and some five; If this prove true, they'll pay for't: by mine ho


I'll geld them all; fourteen they shall not see, To bring faise generations: they are co-heirs; And I had rather glib myself, than they Should not produce fair issue.


Cease; no more. You smell this business with a sense as cold As is a dead man's nose: I see't, and feel't, As you feel doing thus ; and see withal The instruments that feel.


If it be so, We need no grave to bury honesty; There's not a grain of it, the face to sweeten Of the whole dungy earth.


What! lack I credit? 1 Lord. I had rather you did lack, than I, my lord, Upon this ground: and more it would content me To have her honour true, than your suspicion; Be blam'd for't how you might.

Leon. Why, what need we Commune with you of this? but rather follow Our forceful instigation? Our prerogative Calls not your counsels; but our natural goodness Imparts this which,-if you, (or stupified, Or seeming so in skill,) cannot, or will not, Relish as truth, like us; inform yourselves, We need no more of your advice: the matter, The loss, the gain, the ordering on't, is all Properly ours.


And I wish, my liege, You had only in your silent judgment tried it, Without more overture.


How could that be?
Either thou art most ignorant by age,
Or thou wert born a fool. Camillo's flight,
Added to their familiarity,

(Which was as gross as ever touch'd conjecture,
That lack'd sight only, nought for approbation,
But only seeing, all other circumstances
Made up to the deed,) doth push on this proceeding
Yet, for a greater confirmation,
(For, in an act of this importance, 'twere

Most piteous to be wild,) I have dispatch'd in post,
To sacred Delphos, to Apollo's temple,
Cleomenes and Dion, whom you know
Of stuff'd sufficiency: Now, from the oracle
They will bring all; whose spiritual counsel had,
Shall stop, or
Have I done well?
1 Lord. Wer me.
done, my lord.

Leon. Though I am satisfied, and need no more
Than what I know, yet shall the oracle
Give rest to the minds of others; such as he,
Whose ignorant credulity will not
Come up to the truth: So have we thought it good,
From our free person she should be confin'd;
Lest that the treachery of the two, fled hence,
Be left her to perform. Come, follow us;
We are to speak in public: for this business
Will raise us all.

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Re-enter Keeper, with EMILIA.

Dear gentlewoman, how fares our gracious lady?
Emil. As well as one so great, and so forlorn,
May hold together: on her frights, and griefs,
(Which never tender lady hath borne greater,)
She is, something before her time, deliver❜d.

Paul. A boy?
A daughter; and a goodly babe,
Lusty, and like to live: the queen receives
Much comfort in't: says, My poor prisoner,
I am innocent as you.

Paul. I dare be sworn :These dangerous unsafe lunes o'the king! beshrew them!

Emil. Most worthy madam, Your honour, and your goodness, is so evident, That your free undertaking cannot miss A thriving issue; there is no lady living, So meet for this great errand: Please your ladyship To visit the next room, I'll presently Acquaint the queen of your most noble offer; Who, but to-day, hammer'd of this design; But durst not tempt a minister of honour, Lest she should be denied.

He must be told on't, and he shall: the office
Becomes a woman best; I'll take't upon me:
If I prove honey-mouth'd, let my tongue blister;
And never to my red-look'd anger be
The trumpet any more:-Pray you, Emilia,
Commend my be obedience to the queen;
If she dares trust me with her little babe,
I'll show't the king, and undertake to be
Her advocate to th' loudest: We do not know
How he may soften at the sight o'the child;
The silence often of pure innocence
Persuades, when speaking fails.


Tell her, Emilia, I'll use that tongue I have: if wit flow from it, As boldness from my bosom, let it not be doubted I shall do good.


Now be you blest for it! I'll to the queen: Please you, come something [babe,


Keep. Madam, if't please the queen to send the
I know not what I shall incur, to pass it,
Having no warrant.

Paul. You need not fear it, sir:
The child was prisoner to the womb; and is,
By law and process of great nature, thence
Free'd and enfranchis'd: not a party to
The anger of the king; nor guilty of,
If any be, the trespass of the queen.
Keep. I do believe it.
Mine honour, I will stand

Do not you fear: upon 'twixt you and danger. [Exeunt.

SCENE III.-The same. A Room in the Palace. Enter LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, Lords, and other Attendants.

Leon. Nor night nor day, no rest: It is but weakness

To bear the matter thus; mere weakness, if
The cause were not in being;-part o'the cause,
She, the adultress ;-for the harlot king
Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
And level of my brain, plot-proof: but she
I can hook to me: Say, that she were gone,
Given to the fire, a moiety of my rest
Might come to me again.- -Who's there?
1 Atten.

My lord? (Advancing.)

Leon. How does the boy? 1 Atten.

He took good rest to-night; 'Tis hop'd, his sickness is discharg'd. Leon.

To see

His nobleness!

Conceiving the dishonour of his mother,
He straight declin'd, droop'd, took it deeply;
Fasten'd and fix'd the shame on't in himself;
Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep,
And downright languish'd.-Leave me solely :-go,
See how he fares. [Exit Attend.]-Fy, fy! no
thought of him ;-

The very thought of my revenges that way
Recoil upon me: in himself too mighty;
And in his parties, his alliance,-Let him be,
Until a time may serve for present vengeance,
Take it on her. Camillo and Polixenes
Laugh at me; make their pastime at my sorrow:
They should not laugh, if I could reach them; nor
Shall she, within my power.

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Leon. He dreads his wife. Paul. So, I would, you did; then 'twere past all You'd call your children yours.

[doubt, A nest of traitors!


Ant. I am none, by this good light. Paul. Nor I; nor any, But one, that's here; and that's himself: for he The sacred honour of himself, his queen's, His hopeful son's, his babe's, betrays to slander, Whose sting is sharper than the sword's; and will (For, as the case now stands, it is a curse He cannot be compell'd to't,) once remove The root of his opinion, which is rotten, As ever oak, or stone, was sound.



A callat,

Of boundless tongue; who late hath beat her husband,

And now baits me!-This brat is none of mine;

It is the issue of Polixenes:

Hence with it; and, together with the dam, Commit them to the fire.

It is yours;

Paul. And, might we lay the old proverb to your charge, So like you, 'tis the worse.-Behold, my lords, Although the print be little, the whole matter And copy of the father; eye, nose, lip, The trick of his frown, his forehead; nay, the valley, The pretty dimples of his chin, and cheek; his smiles;

The very mould and frame of hand, nail, finger :-
And thou, good goddess nature, which hast made it
So like to him that got it, if thou hast

The ordering of the mind too, 'mongst all colours
No yellow in't; lest she suspect, as he does,
Her children not her husband's!

Leon. A gross hag!-And, lozel, thou art worthy to be hang'd, That wilt not stay her tongue.


Hang all the husbands, That cannot do that feat, you'll leave yourself Hardly one subject.


Once more, take her hence.
Paul. A most unworthy and unnatural lord
Can do no more.

I'll have thee burn'd.
I care not:

It is an heretic that makes the fire,
Not she, which burns in't. I'll not call thee tyrant;
But this most cruel usage of your queen
(Not able to produce more accusation
Than your own weak-hing'd fancy,) something


Of tyranny, and will ignoble make you,

Yea, scandalous to the world.



Leon. On your allegiance, Out of the chamber with her. Were I a tyrant, Where were her life? she durst not call me so, If she did know me one. Away with her. Look to your babe, my lord; 'tis yours : Jove send do not push me; I'll be gone.

Paul. I


A better guiding spirit!-What need these hands?-
You, that are thus so tender o'er his follies,
Will never do him good, not one of you.
So, so:-Farewell; we are gone.


Leon. Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to this.My child? away with't!-even thou, that hast A heart so tender o'er it, take it hence,

And see it instantly consum'd with fire;
Even thou, and none but thou. Take it up straight:
Within this hour bring me word 'tis done,
(And by good testimony,) or I'll seize thy life,
With what thou else call'st thine: If thou refuse,
And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so;
The bastard brains with these my proper hands
Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire;
For thou sett'st on thy wife.

Ant. I did not, sir: These lords, my noble fellows, if they please, Can clear me in't.

1 Lord.

We can; my royal liege, He is not guilty of her coming hither. Leon. You are liars all.


1 Lord. 'Beseech your highness, give us better We have always truly serv'd you; and beseech So to esteem of us: And on our knees we beg, (As recompense of our dear services, [pose; Past, and to come,) that you do change this purWhich, being so horrible, so bloody, must Lead on to some foul issue: We all kneel.

Leon. I am a feather for each wind that blows:Shall I live on, to see this bastard kneel And call me father? Better burn it now, Than curse it then. But, be it ; let it live:

It shall not neither.-You, sir, come you hither; (To Antigonus.)

You, that have been so tenderly officious

With lady Margery, your midwife, there,
To save this bastard's life: for 'tis a bastard,
So sure as this beard's grey,-what will you ad-
To save this brat's life?



Any thing, my lord,
That my ability may undergo,
And nobleness impose: at least, thus much;
I'll pawn the little blood which I have left,
To save the innocent: any thing possible.
Leon. It shall be possible: Swear by this sword,
Thou wilt perform my bidding.


I will, my lord.
Leon. Mark, and perform it; (see'st thou?) for
Of any point in't shall not only be
[the fail
Death to thyself, but to thy lewd-tongu'd wife;
Whom, for this time, we pardon. We enjoin thee,
As thou art liegeman to us, that thou carry
This female bastard hence; and that thou bear it
To some remote and desert place, quite out
Of our dominions; and that there thou leave it,
Without more mercy, to its own protection,
And favour of the climate. As by strange fortune
It came to us, I do in justice charge thee,-
On thy soul's peril, and thy body's torture,-
That thou commend it strangely to some place,
Where chance may nurse, or end it: Take it up.

Ant. I swear to do this, though a present death
Had been more merciful.-Come on, poor babe:
Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens,
To be thy nurses! Wolves, and bears, they say,
Casting their savageness aside, have done
Like offices of pity.-Sir, be prosperous
In more than this deed doth require!-and blessing,
Against this cruelty, fight on thy side,
Poor thing, condemn'd to loss!

[Exit, with the Child.
No, I'll not rear


Another's issue.
1 Atten. Please your highness, posts,
From those you sent to the oracle, are come
An hour since: Cleomenes and Dion

Being well arriv'd from Delphos, are both landed,
Hasting to the court.

1 Lord.
So please you, sir, their speed
Hath been beyond account.

Twenty-three days
They have been absent: "Tis good speed; foretels,
The great Apollo suddenly will have
The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords;
Summon a session, that we may arraign
Our most disloyal lady: for, as she hath
Been publicly accus'd, so shall she have
A just and open trial. While she lives,
My heart will be a burden to me. Leave me ;
And think upon my bidding.

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SCENE II.-The same. A Court of Justice.

LEONTES, Lords, and Officers, appear properly seated. Leon. This sessions (to our great grief, we pronounce,)

Even pushes 'gainst our heart: The party tried,
The daughter of a king; our wife; and one
Of us too much belov'd.-Let us be clear'd
Of being tyrannous, since we so openly
Proceed in justice; which shall have due course,
Even to the guilt, or the purgation.——
Produce the prisoner.

Offi. It is his highness' pleasure, that the queen
Appear in person here in court.-Silence!

HERMIONE is brought in, guarded; PAULINA and
Ladies, attending.
Leon. Read the indictment.

Off. Hermione, queen to the worthy Leontes, king of Sicilia, thou art here accused and arraigned of high treason, in committing adultery with Polixenes, king of Bohemia; and conspiring with Camillo to take away the life of our sovereign lord the king, thy royal husband: the pretence whereof being by circumstances partly laid open, thou, Hermione, contrary to the faith and allegiance of a true subject, didst counsel and aid them, for their better safety, to fly away by night.

Her. Since what I am to say, must be but that
Which contradicts my accusation; and
The testimony on my part, no other

But what comes from myself; it shall scarce boot me
To say, Not guilty; mine integrity
Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it,
Be so receiv'd. But thus,-If powers divine
Behold our human actions, (as they do,)
I doubt not then, but innocence shall make
False accusation blush, and tyranny
Tremble at patience.-You, my lord, best know,
(Who least will seem to do so,) my past life
Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true,
As I am now unhappy; which is more
Than history can pattern, though devis'd,
And play'd, to take spectators: For behold me,-
A fellow of the royal bed, which owe

A moiety of the throne, a great king's daughter,
The mother to a hopeful prince,-here standing,
To prate and talk for life, and honour, 'fore
Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it
As I weigh grief, which I would spare: for honour,
'Tis a derivative from me to mine,
And only that I stand for. I appeal

To your own conscience, sir, before Polixenes
Came to your court, how I was in your grace,
How merited to be so; since he came,
With what encounter so uncurrent I

Have strain'd, to appear thus: if one jot beyond
The bound of honour; or, in act, or will,
That way inclining; harden'd be the hearts
Of all that hear me, and my near'st of kin
Cry, Fy upon my grave!

I ne'er heard yet,
That any of these bolder vices wanted
Less impudence to gainsay what they did,
Than to perform it first.


Though 'tis a saying, sir, not due to me.
Leon. You will not own it.


That's true enough;

More than mistress af,

Which comes to me in name of fault, I must not
At all acknowledge. For Polixenes,
(With whom I am accus'd,) I do confess,
I lov'd him, as in honour he requir'd;
With such a kind of love, as might become
A lady like me; with a love, even such,
So, and no other, as yourself commanded:
Which not to have done, I think, had been in me
Both disobedience and ingratitude [spoke,
To you, and toward your friend; whose love had
Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely,
That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy,

I know not how it tastes; though it be dish'd
For me to try how: all I know of it

Is, that Camillo was an honest man;
And, why he left your court, the gods themselves,
Wotting no more than I, are ignorant.

Leon. You knew of his departure, as you know What you have underta'en to do in's absence. Her. Sir,

You speak a language, that I understand not:
My life stands in the level of your dreams,
Which I'll lay down.

Your actions are my dreams;
You had a bastard by Polixenes,
And I but dream'd it:-As you were past all
(Those of your fact are so,) so past all truth:
Which to deny, concerns more than avails:
For as

Thy brat hath been cast out, like to itself,
No father owning it, (which is, indeed,
More criminal in thee than it,) so thou
Shalt feel our justice; in whose easiest passage,
Look for no less than death.
Sir, spare your threats;
The bug, which you would fright me with, I seek.
To me can life be no commodity:
The crown and comfort of my life, your favour,
I do give lost; for I do feel it gone,


But know not how it went: My second joy,
And first-fruits of my body, from his presence
I am barr'd, like one infectious: My third comfort,
Starr'd most unluckily, is from my breast,
The innocent milk in its most innocent mouth,
Haled out to murder: Myself on every post
Proclaim'd a strumpet: with immodest hatred,
The child-bed privilege denied, which 'longs
To women of all fashion :-Lastly, hurried
Here to this place, i' the open air, before
I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege,
Tell me what blessings I have here alive,
That I should fear to die? Therefore, proceed.
But yet hear this; mistake me not:- No! life,
I prize it not a straw :-but for mine honour,
(Which I would free,) if I shall be condemn'd
Upon surmises; all proofs sleeping else,
But what your jealousies awake; I tell you,
Tis rigour, and not law.--Your honours all,
I do refer me to the oracle;

Apollo be my judge.

1 Lord.

This your request Is altogether just therefore, bring forth, And in Apollo's name, his oracle. [Exeunt certain Officers. Her. The emperor of Russia was my father: O, that he were alive, and here beholding His daughter's trial! that he did but see The flatness of my misery; yet with eyes Of pity, not revenge!

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Cleo. Dion.
All this we swear.
Leon. Break up the seals and read.

Offi. (Reads. Hermione is chaste, Polixenes blameless, Camillo a true subject, Leontes a jealous tyrant, his innocent babe truly begotten; and the king shall live without an heir, if that, which is lost, be not found.

Lords. Now blessed be the great Apollo!


Leon. Hast thou read truth?
Ay, my lord; even so

As it is here set down.
Leon. There is no truth at all i' the oracle:
The sessions shall proceed; this is mere falsehood.
Enter a Servant, hastily.

Serv. My lord the king, the king!
What is the business?
Serv. O sir, I shall be hated to report it:
The prince your son, with mere conceit and fear
Of the queen's speed, is gone.
How! gone?


Is dead.

Leon. Apollo's angry; and the heavens themselves [now there? Do strike at my injustice. (Hermione faints.) How Paul. This news is mortal to the queen :-Look down,

And see what death is doing.

Leon. Take her hence; Her heart is but o'ercharg'd; she will recover,I have too much believ'd mine own suspicion:'Beseech you, tenderly apply to her Some remedies for life.-Apollo, pardon

[Exeunt Paulina and Ladies, with Herm. My great profaneness 'gainst thine oracle!I'll reconcile me to Polixenes;

New woo my queen; recal the good Camillo;
Whom I proclaim a man of truth, of mercy :
For, being transported by my jealousies
To bloody thoughts and to revenge, I chose
Camillo for the minister, to poison
My friend Polixenes: which had been done,
But that the good mind of Camillo tardied
My swift command, though I with death, and with
Reward, did threaten and encourage him,
Not doing it, and being done: he, most humane,
And fill'd with honour, to my kingly guest
Unclasp'd my practice; quit his fortunes here,
Which you knew great; and to the certain hazard
Of all uncertainties himself commended,
No richer than his honour :-How he glisters
Thorough my rust! and how his piety
Does my deeds make the blacker!

Re-enter PAULINA.

Paul. Woe the while! O, cut my lace; lest my heart, cracking it, Break too!

1 Lord. What fit is this, good lady?

Paul. What studied torments, tyrant, hast for me? What wheels? racks? fires? What flaying? boiling, In leads, or oils? what old, or newer torture Must I receive; whose every word deserves To taste of thy most worst? Thy tyranny Together working with thy jealousies, Fancies too weak for boys, too green and idle For girls of nine !-O, think, what they have done, And then run mad, indeed; stark mad! for all Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it. That thou betray'dst Polixenes, 'twas nothing; That did but show thee, of a fool, inconstant, And damnable ungrateful: nor was't much, Thou would'st have poison'd good Camillo's honour, To have him kill a king; poor trespasses, More monstrous standing by: whereof I reckon The casting forth to crows thy baby daughter, To be or none, or little; though a devil Would have shed water out of fire, ere don't

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