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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,
The shrug, the hum, or ha; these petty brands,
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.
With thoughts so qualified as your charities
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
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
Hold your peaces.
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?
(Which was as gross as ever touch'd conjecture,
Most piteous to be wild,) I have dispatch'd in post,
Leon. Though I am satisfied, and need no more
Re-enter Keeper, with EMILIA.
Dear gentlewoman, how fares our gracious lady?
Paul. A boy?
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
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
Paul. You need not fear it, sir:
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
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.
Conceiving the dishonour of his mother,
The very thought of my revenges that way
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.
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 :-
The ordering of the mind too, 'mongst all colours
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.
I'll have thee burn'd.
It is an heretic that makes the fire,
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.
A better guiding spirit!-What need these hands?-
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;
Ant. I did not, sir: These lords, my noble fellows, if they please, Can clear me in't.
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,
Any thing, my lord,
I will, my lord.
Ant. I swear to do this, though a present death
[Exit, with the Child.
Being well arriv'd from Delphos, are both landed,
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,
Offi. It is his highness' pleasure, that the queen
HERMIONE is brought in, guarded; PAULINA and
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
But what comes from myself; it shall scarce boot me
A moiety of the throne, a great king's daughter,
To your own conscience, sir, before Polixenes
Have strain'd, to appear thus: if one jot beyond
Though 'tis a saying, sir, not due to me.
That's true enough;
More than mistress af,
Which comes to me in name of fault, I must not
I know not how it tastes; though it be dish'd
Is, that Camillo was an honest man;
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:
Thy brat hath been cast out, like to itself,
But know not how it went: My second joy,
Apollo be my judge.
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!
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?
As it is here set down.
Serv. My lord the king, the king!
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;
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