« PreviousContinue »
Given to the fire, a moiety of my rest Might come to me again. Who's there? 1 Attend.
[Advancing Leon. How does the boy? 1 Attend.
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 solely2:-go, See how he fares. [Exit Attend.)–Fye, fye! 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.
Enter PAULINA, with a Child. 1 Lord.
You must not enter. Paul. Nay, rather, good my lords, be second to me: Fear you his tyrannous passion more, alas,
Than the queen's life ? à gracious innocent soul; More free, than he is jealous. Ant.
That's enough. 1 Attend. Madam, he hath not slept to-night;
commanded None should come at him. Paul.
Not so hot, good sir; I come to bring him sleep. "Tis such as you,
That creep like shadows by him, and do sigh
What noise there, ho?
I told her so, my lord,
What, can’st not rule her?
Lo you now, you hear!
Good my liege, I come,
Good queen! Paul. Good queen, my lord, good queen: I say,
good queen ; And would by combat make her good, so were I A man, the worsts about you.
3 The old copy has professes.
4 'In comforting your evils.' To comfort, in old langnage, is to aid, to encourage. Evils here mean wicked courses.
5 i. e. the weakest, or least warlike.
Force her hence. · Paul. Let him, that makes but trifles of his eyes, First hand me: on my own accord, I'll off; But, first, I'll do my errand.—The good queen, For she is good, hath brought you forth a daughter; Here 'tis; commends it to your blessing.
[Laying down the Child. Leon.
Out! A mankind6 witch ? Hence with her, out o’ door: A most intelligencing bawd! Paul.
Not so: I am as ignorant in that, as you In so entitling me: and no less honest Than you are mad; which is enough, I'll warrant, As this world goes, to pass for honest. Leon.
Traitors! Will you not push her out? Give her the bastard :Thou dotard [TO ANTIGONUS), thou art woman-tir'd?,
unroosted By thy dame Partlet here:-take up the bastard; Take't up, I say; give't to thy crone8. Paul.
For ever Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou Takest up the princess, by that forced9 baseness Which he has put upon't! Leon.
He dreads his wife. Paul. So, I would, you did; then, 'twere past
all doubt, You'd call your children yours. Leon.
A nest of traitors! Ant. I am none, by this good light.
6 A mankind witch.' In Junius's Nomenclator, by Abraham Fleming, 1585, Virago is interpreted “A nanly woman, or a mankind woman.' Johuson asserts that the phrase is still used in the midland counties for a woman violent, ferocious, and mischievous.
7 i. e. hen-pecked. To tire in Falconry is to tear with the beak. Partlet is the name of the hen in the old story of Reynard the Fox.
8 A crone was originally a toothlese old ewe; and thence became a terın of contempt for an old woman.
9 Forced is false ; uttered with violence to truth. Baseness for bastardy; we still say base born.
Nor l; 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’s10; and will
not (For, as the case now stands, it is a curse He cannot be compellid to't), once remove The root of his opinion, which is rotten, As ever oak, or stone, was sound. Leon.
A callatii, 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. Paul.
It is yours;
A gross hag!
10 «Whose sting is sharper than the sword's.' So in Cymbeline:
Outvenoms all the worms of Nile.'
13 Lozel, a worthless fellow; one lost to all goodness. From the Saxon Losian, to perish, to be lost. Lorel, losel, losliche, are all of the same family.
Hang all the husbands That cannot do that feat, you'll leave yourself Hardly one subject. Leon.
Once more, take her hence. Paul. A most unworthy and unnatural lord Can do no more. Leon.
I'll have thee burn'd. Paul.
I care not: It is a heretic that makes the fire, Not she which burns in't. I'll not call you tyrant; But this most cruel usage of your queen (Not able to produce more accusation Than your own weak-hing'd fancy) something savours 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.
Paul. I pray you, do not push me; I'll be gone. Look to your babe, my lord; 'tis yours: Jove send her 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.
[Exit. 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.