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Leon. 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, That will be damn’d for't; 'would, I knew the villain, I would land-damn 13 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 honour, I'll geld them all; fourteen they shall not see, To bring false generations; they are coheirs; And I had rather glib 14 myself, than they Should not produce fair issue. Leon.
Cease; no more.
If it be so,
What! lack I credit?
Why, what need we Commune with you of this ? but rather follow Our forceful instigation ? Our prerogative
13 'I would land-damn him.' Johnson interprets this : [ will damn or condemn him to quit the land. It may have mcant to encompass him by land, ensnare him: and then it should be printed land-damm: we have words of the same formation, as landlockt, &c. Hanmer's interpretation from lant or land urine wants support. Mr. Nares thinks that it suits best with the gross complexion of the whole speech.
14 Glib or lib, i. e. castrate.
15 I see and feel my disgrace, as you, Antigonus, now feel my doing this to you, and as you now see the instruments that feel, i. e. my fingers.' Leontes must here be supposed to touch or lay hold of Antigonus.
Calls not your counsels; but our natural goodness
And I wish, my liege,
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 17, 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 despatch'd in post, To sacred Delphos, to Apollo's temple, Cleomenes and Dion, whom you know Of stuff'd sufficiency18: Now, from the oracle They will bring all; whose spiritual counsel had Shall stop, or spur me. Have I done well?
1 Lord. Well 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;
16 The old copy reads a truth. Rowe made the correction 17 j. e. proof. 18 i. e. of abilities more than sufficient. Vol. IV,
We are to speak in public: for this business
Ant. [Aside.] To laughter, as I take it,
Enter PAULINA and Attendants. . Paul. The keeper of the prison,-call to him;
[Exit an Attendant. Let him have knowledge who I am.—Good lady! No court in Europe is too good for thee, What dost thou then in prison ?-Now, good sir,
Re-enter Attendant, with the Keeper.
For a worthy lady,
Pray you, then, Conduct me to the queen.
Keep. I may not, madam; to the contrary
Keep. So please you, madam, to put
Paul. I pray now, call her. Withdraw yourselves.
[Exeunt Attend. Keep.
Paul. Well, be it so, pr’ythee. [Exit Keeper.
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?
Emil. 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 lunesl o'the king! beshrew
them! 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 best 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. 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;
I Lunes. This word has not been fonnd in any other English writer; but it is used in old French for frenzy, lunaig, folly. A similar expression occurs in The Revenger's Tragedy, 1608: 'I know it was but some peevish moon in him.' In As You Like It, we have the expression, a moonish youth.
bosom if wit
But durst not tempt a minister of honour,
Tell her, Emilia,
Now be you blest for it!
You need not fear it, sir :
Do not you fear: upon Mine honour, I will stand 'twixt you and danger.
[Exeunt. SCENE III. The same. A Room in the Palace. Enter LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, Lords, and other At
tendants. 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 levell of my brain, plot-proof: but she I can hook to me: Say, that she were gone,
1 Blank and level mean mark and aim, or direction. They are terms of gunuery. See note 8, p. 48, of this play. Thus also in Hamlet, Act iv. Sc. 4:
"As level as the cannon to his blank.'