Page images

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 9 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.
Her. 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.
Leon. 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.”
Her. There's some ill planet reigns:
I must be patient, till the heavens look -
With an aspéct 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 lords,
With thoughts so qualified as your charities
shall best instruct you, measure me;—and so

8 Confederate. 9 only. * Remotely guilty. * In merely speaking.

The king's will be perform'd 1
Leon. Shall I be heard?
[To the Guards.
Her. Who is't, that goes with me?—'Beseech
your highness,
My women may be with me; for, you see,
My plight requires it. Do not weep, good fools;
There is no cause: when you shall know, your
Has deserv'd 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 our bidding; hence.
[Ereunt Queen and Ladies.
1 Lord. 'Beseech your highness, call the queen
Ant. Be certain what you do, sir; lest your justice
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.
Ant. If it prove
She's otherwise, I'll keep my stables 3 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.

* Take my station.

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 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 co-heirs; . .
And I had rather glib myself, than they
Should not produce fair issue.

Leon. Cease; no more.
You smell this business with a serise 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.

Ant. 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.

Leon. What! lack I credit 2

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

4 Instigator.

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. .

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

Leon. 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 despatch'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 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

5 Proof. * Of abilities more than sufficient.

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 publick: for this business
Will raise us all.
Ant. [Aside.] To laughter, as I take it,
If the good truth were known. - [Ereunt.

The same. The outer Room of a Prison.

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.

You know me, do you not? -
Keep. For a worthy lady,

And one whom much I honour.
Paul. Pray you, then,

Conduct me to the queen.
Keep. I may not, madam; to the contrary
I have express commandment.
Paul. Here's ado,

To lock up honesty and honour from

« PreviousContinue »