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Have done the time more benefit, and graced
Your kindness better.

Paul. You are one of those, Would have him wed again.

Dion. If you would not so,

You pity not the state, nor the remembrance
Of his most sovereign dame; consider little,
What dangers, by his Highness' fail of issue,
May drop upon his kingdom, and devour
Incertain lookers-on. What were more holy,
Than to rejoice, the former queen is well?
What holier, than,-for royalty's repair,
For present comfort, and for future good,-
To bless the bed of majesty again
With a sweet fellow to't?

Paul. There is none worthy,
Respecting her that's gone. Besides, the gods
Will have fulfill'd their secret purposes:
For has not the divine Apollo said,

Is't not the tenour of his oracle,
That king Leontes shall not have an heir,
Till his lost child be found? which, that it shall,
Is all as monstrous to our human reason,
As my Antigonus to break his grave,
And come again to me; who, on my life,
Did perish with the infant. "Tis your counsel,
My ford should to the heavens be contrary,
Oppose against their wills.-Care not for issue;
The crown will find an heir:-Great Alexander
Left his to the worthiest; so his successor
Was like to be the best.

Leon. Good Paulina,

Who hast the memory of Hermione,

I know, in honour,—Ŏ, that ever I

Had squared me to thy counsel !-then, even now,
I might have look'd upon my queen's full eyes:
Have taken pleasure from her lips,-

Paul. And left them,


More rich, for what they yielded.

Leon. Thou speak'st truth.

No more such wives; therefore no wife: one worse,
And better used, would make her sainted spirit
Again possess her corps; and, on this stage,
(Where we offenders now appear,) soul-vex'd,
Begin, And why to me?

Paul. Had she such power,

She had just cause.

Leon. She had; and would incense* me

To murder her I married.

Paul. I should so:

Were I the ghost that walk'd, I'd bid you mark

* Instigate,


Her eye; and tell me, for what dull part in't
You chose her: then I'd shriek, that even your ears
Should rift* to hear me; and the words that followed
Should be, Remember mine.

Leon. Stars, very stars,

And all eyes else dead coals!-fear thou no wife,
I'll have no wife, Paulina.

Paul. Will you swear

Never to marry, but by my free leave?

Leon. Never, Paulina; so be bless'd my spirit!
aul. Then, good my lords, bear witness to his oath.
Cleo. You tempt him over-much.

Paul. Unless another,

As like Hermione as is her picture,

Affront† his eye.

Cleo. Good madam,

Paul. I have done.

Yet, if my lord will marry,-if you will, Sir,
No remedy, but you will; give me the office

To choose you a queen: but she shall not be so young
As was your former; but she shall be such,

As, walk'd your first queen's ghost, it should take joy
To see her in your arms.

Leon. My true Paulina,

We shall not marry, till thou bidd'st us.

Paul. That

Shall be, when your first queen 's again in breath;
Never till then.


Gent. One that gives out himself prince Florizel,
Son of Polixenes, with his princess (she
The fairest I have yet beheld), desires access
To your high presence.

Leon. What with him? he comes not
Like to his father's greatness: his approach,
So out of circumstance, and sudden, tells us,
"Tis not a visitation framed, but forced
By need, and accident. What train?
Gent. But few,

And those but mean.

Leon. His princess, say you, with him?

Gent. Ay; the most peerless piece of earth, I think, That e'er the sun shone bright on.

Paul. O Hermione,

As every present time doth boast itself
Above a better, gone; so must thy grave
Give way to what's seen now. Sir, you yourself
Have said, and writ so (but your writing now
Is colder than that themet), She had not been,
Nor was not to be equall'd ;-thus your verse


+ Meet.

I. e. the body of Hermione.

Flow'd with her beauty once; 'tis shrewdly ebb'd,
To say, you have seen a better.

Gent. Pardon, Madam:

The one I have almost forgot (your pardon);
The other, when she has obtain❜d your eye,
Will have your tongue too. This is such a creature,
Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal
Of all professors else: make proselytes
Of who she but bid follow.

Paul. How? not women?

Gent. Women will love her, that she is a woman
More worth than any man; men, that she is
The rarest of all women.

Leon. Go, Cleomenes;

Yourself, assisted with your honour'd friends,
Bring them to our embracement. Still, 'tis strange,
He thus should steal upon us.
Paul. Had our prince

(Jewel of children) seen this hour, he had pair'd
Well with this lord; there was not full a month
Between their births.

Leon. Pr'ythee, no more; thou know'st
He dies to me again when talk'd of: sure,
When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches
Will bring me to consider that which may
Unfurnish me of reason.-They are come.-


Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince⚫
For she did print your royal father off,
Conceiving you: Were I but twenty-one,
Your father's image is so hit in you,
His very air, that I should call you brother,
As I did him; and speak of something, wildly
By us perform'd before. Most dearly welcome!
And you fair princess, goddess!-O, alas!
I lost a couple, that 'twixt heaven and earth
Might thus have stood, begetting wonder, as
You, gracious couple, do! and then I lost
(All mine own folly) the society,
Amity too, of your brave father; whom,
Though bearing misery, I desire my life
Once more to look upon.

Flo. By his command

Have I here touch'd Sicilia; and from him
Give you all greetings that a king, a friend,
Can send his brother; and, but infirmity

(Which waits upon worn times) hath something seized!
His wish'd ability, he had himself

The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his



Measured, to look upon you, whom he loves
(He bade me say so) more than all the sceptres,
And those that bear them, living.

Leon. O, my brother,

(Good gentleman!) the wrongs I have done thee, stir
Afresh within me; and these thy offices,
So rarely kind, are as interpreters

Of my behind-hand slackness !-Welcome hither,
As is the spring to the earth. And hath he too
Exposed this paragon to the fearful usage
(At least, ungentle) of the dreadful Neptune,
To greet a man, not worth her pains; much less
The adventure of her person?

Flo. Good my lord,

She came from Libya.

Leon. Where the warlike Smalus,

That noble honour'd lord, is fear'd, and loved?

Flo. Most royal Sir, from thence; from him, whose daughter His tears proclaim'd his, parting with her: thence (A prosperous south wind friendly) we have cross'd To execute the charge my father gave me, For visiting your highness: My best train I have from your Sicilian shores dismiss'd; Who for Bohemia bend, to signify Not only my success in Libya, Sir, But my arrival, and my wife's, in safety Here, where we are.

Leon. The blessed gods

Purge all infection from our air, whilst you
Do climate here! You have a holy father,
A graceful* gentleman; against whose person,
So sacred as it is, I have done sin:

For which the heavens, taking angry note,
Have left me issueless; and your father's bless'd
(As he from heaven merits it) with you,
Worthy his goodness. What might I have been,
Might I a son and daughter now have look'd on,
Such goodly things as you?

Enter a LORD.

Lord. Most noble Sir,

That, which I shall report, will bear no credit,
Were not the proof so nigh. Please you, great Sir,
Bohemia greets you from himself, by me;

Desires you to attacht his son: who has
(His dignity and duty both cast off)

Fled from his father, from his hopes, and with
A shepherd's daughter.

Leon. Where's Bohemia? speak.

* Full of grace and virtue.

+ Seize, arrest.

Lord. Here in the city: I now came from him. I speak amazedly; and it becomes

My marvel, and my message. To your court,
Whiles he was hastening (in the chase, it seems,
Of this fair couple), meets he on the way
The father of this seeming lady, and

Her brother, having both their country quitted
With this young prince.

Flo. Camillo has betray'd me;

'Whose honour, and whose honesty, till now, Endured all weathers.

Lord. Lay't so, to his charge;

He's with the king your father.

Leon. Who? Camillo ?

Lord. Camillo, Sir; I spake with him, who now
Has these poor men in question.* Never saw I
Wretches so quake: they kneel, they kiss the earth;
Forswear themselves as often as they speak:
Bohemia stops his ears, and threatens them
With divers deaths in death.

Per. Oh, my poor father!—

The heaven sets spies upon us, will not have
Our contract celebrated.

Leon. You are married?

Flo. We are not, Sir; nor are we like to be; The stars, I see, will kiss the valleys first :The odds for high and low's alike.t

Leon. My lord,

Is this the daughter of a king?

my wife.

Flo. She is,
When once she is
Leon. That once,
see, by your good father's speed,
Will come on very slowly. I am sorry,
Most sorry, you have broken from his liking,
Where you were tied in duty: and as sorry,
Your choice is not so rich in worth as beauty,
That you might well enjoy her.

Flo. Dear, look up:

Though fortune, visible an enemy,

Should chase us, with my father; power no jot
Hath she, to change our loves.-'Beseech you, Sir,
Remember since you owed no more to time
Than I do now: with thought of such affections,
Step forth mine advocate; at your request,
My father will grant precious things as trifles.

Leon. Would he do so, I'd beg your precious mistress,
Which he counts but a trifle.

Paul. Sir, my liege,

Your eye hath too much youth in't: not a month

* Conversation.

† A quibble on the false dice so called. + Descent, or wealth.

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