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Where chance may nurse, or end it: Take it up.
Ant. I swear to do this, though a present death
Had been more merciful—Come on, poor babe:
Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens,
To be thy nurses! Wolves, and bears, they say,
Casting their savageness aside, have done
Like offices of pity.—Sir, be prosperous
In more than this deed doth require! and blessing,
Against this cruelty, fight on thy side,
Poor thing, condemn'd to loss |
[Erit, with the Child.
Leon. No, I'll not rear Another's issue. 1 Atten. 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; foretels,
The great Apollo suddenly will have
The truth of this appear. Prepare you lords;
Summon a session, that we may arraign
Our most disloyal lady: for, as she hath
Been publickly accus'd, so shall she have
A just and open trial. While she lives,
My heart will be a burden to me. Leave me;
And think upon my bidding. [Exeunt.
SCENE I. The same. A Street in some Town.
Enter CleoMENEs and D10N.
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,
For most it caught me, the celestial habits,
(Methinks, I so should term them,) and the re-
Of the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice
How ceremonious, solemn, and unearthly
It was i'the offering ! -
Cleo. But, of all, the burst -
And the ear-deafening voice o'the oracle,
Kin to Jove's thunder, so surpriz'd my sense,
That I was nothing.
Dion. If the event o'the journey Prove as successful to the queen, O, be’t sol— As it hath been to us, rare, pleasant, speedy, The time is worth the use on't.” o
Cleo. Great Apollo,
Turn all to the best! These proclamations,
So forcing faults upon Hermione,
I little like. |
Dion. The violent carriage of it
Will clear, or end, the business: When the oracle,
* i. e. Our journey has recompensed us the time we spent in it.
Thus (by Apollo's great divine seal’d up,)
Shall the contents discover, something rare,
Even” then will rush to knowledge. Go, fresh
And gracious be the issue ! [Ereunt.
The same. A Court of Justice.
Leontes, Lords, and Officers, appear properly
Leon. This sessions (to our great grief, we pronounce,)
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!
Hrawios e is brought in, guarded; PAULINA and Ladies, attending.
. Leon. Read the indictment. Off. Hermione, queen to the worthy Leontes, king of Sicilia, thou art here accused and arraigned of *gh 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 council and
aid them, for their better safety, to fly away by night.
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; which 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 owe"
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 spare: 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
Have strain'd, to appear thus: if one jot beyond
The bound of honour; or, in act, or will,
That way inclining; harden'd be the hearts
Of all that hear me, and my near'st of kin
Cry, Fye upon my grave!
Leon. I ne'er heard yet,
That any of these bolder vices wanted
Less impudence to gainsay what they did,
Than to perform it first.
Her. That's true enough;
Though 'tis a saying, sir, not due to me.
Leon. You will not own it.
Her. More than mistress of, Which comes to me in name of fault, I must not At all acknowledge. For Polixenes, (With whom I am accus'd,) I do confess, I lov'd him, as in honour he requir’d; With such a kind of love, as might become A lady like me; with a love, even such, So, and no other, as yourself commanded: Which not to have done, I think, had been in me Both disobedience and ingratitude, To you, and toward your friend; whose love had
Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely,
That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy,
I know not how it tastes; though it be dish'd
For me to try how : all I know of it,
Is, that Camillo was an honest man;
And, why he left your court, the gods themselves,