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Leadel, being come, that's dear gur kne
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
credit: We hare always truly serv'd you; and beseech So to esteem of us; And on our knees we beg (As recompense of our dear services, Past, and to come) that you do change this purpose; Which, 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 gray14,—what will you ad
Any thing, my lord,
Leon. It shall be possible: Swear by this sword 15,
I will, my lord. Leon. Mark, and perform it; (seest thou?) for
the fail Of any point in't shall not only be
hi lady, is bastardi's grayl*
14 Leontes must mean the beard of Antigonus, which he may be supposed to touch. He himself tells us that twenty-threc years ago he was unbreech'd, of course his age must be under thirty, and his own beard would hardly be gray.
15 It was anciently a practice to swear by the cross at the bilt of a sword.
Death to thyself, but to thy lew’d-tongu'd wife;
Ant. I swear to do this, though a present death
[Erit, with the Child. Leon.
No, I'll not rear Another's issue.
1 Attend. 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. Leon.
Twenty-three days They have been absent: 'Tis good speed; foretells, The great Apollo suddenly will have The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords; Summon a session, that we may arraign
16 i. e, commit it to some place as a stranger. To commend is to commit, according to the old dictionaries.
17 i. e. the favour of heaven.
Our most disloyal lady: for, as she hath
SCENE I. The same. A Street in some Town.
Enter CLEOMENES and Dion. Cleo. The climate's delicate; the air most sweet; Fertile the isle!; the temple much surpassing The common praise it bears. Dion.
I shall report,
But, of all, the burst
If the event o' the journey
Great Apollo, Turn all to the best! These proclamations,
1 Warburton has remarked that the temple of Apollo was at Delphi, which was not an island. But Shakspeare little regarded geographical accuracy. He followed Green's Dorastus and Fawnia, in which it is called the isle of Delphos. There was a temple of Apollo in the islc of Delos.
* 2 "The time is worth the use on't ;' that is, the event of our journey will rec impense us for the time we spent in it. Thus in Florio's Translation of Montaigne, 1603 : The common saying is, the time we live is worth the money we pay for it.'
So forcing faults upon Hermione,
Dion. The violent carriage of it
horses; And gracious be the issue!
SCENE II. The same. A Court of Justice. LEONTES, Lords, and Officers, appear properly
seated. Leon. This sessions (to our great grief, we pro
nounce) 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. Offi. 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 pretencel 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.
1 i. e the design. Shakspeare often uses the word for design or intention. So in The Two Gentlemen of Verona: “publisher of thie pretence.' And in Macbeth:
Against the undivulg'd pretence I fight
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; which3 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 owet 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 spares: 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
2 i. e. my virtue being accounted wickedness, my assertion of it will pass but for a lie. Falsehood means both treachery and lie.
8 Which, that is, which unhappiness. 4 Own, possess.
I prize my life no more than I value grief, which I would willingly spare. This sentiment, which is probably derived from Ecclesiasticus, iii. 11, cannot be too often impressed on the female mind: "The glory of a man is from the honour of his father; and a mother in dishonour is a reproach to her children.'