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Will have fulfilled their secret purposes;
For has not the divine Apollo said,
Is't not the tenor 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 lord should to the Heavens be contrary,
Oppose against their wills.-Care not for issue;

[To LEONTES. The crown will find an heir. Great Alexander Left his to the worthiest; so his successor Was like to be the best.


Good Paulina,

Who hast the memory of Hermione,

I know, in honor,—Ỏ, that ever I

Had squared me to thy counsel !-Then, even now, I might have looked upon my queen's full eyes;

Have taken treasure from her lips,


More rich for what they yielded.


And left them

Thou speak'st truth.

One worse,

No more such wives; therefore no wife.
And better used, would make her sainted spirit
Again possess her corpse; and on this stage,
(Where we offenders now appear,) soul-vexed,
Begin, And why to me?1


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Had she such power,

She had; and would incense me

To murder her I married.


I should so.

Were I the ghost that walked, I'd bid

you mark

Her eye; and tell me, for what dull part in't

1 The old copy reads, " And begin, Why to me?" The transposition of and was made by Steevens.

2 Incense, to instigate or stimulate, was the ancient sense of this word: it is rendered in the Latin dictionaries by dare stimulo.

You chose her: then I'd shriek, that even your ears Should rift1 to hear me; and the words that followed Should be, Remember mine.


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


Stars, stars,

Will you swear

Never to marry but by my free leave?

Leon. Never, Paulina; so be blessed my spirit! Paul. Then, good my lords, bear witness to his

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Yet, if my lord will marry,-if you will, sir,
No remedy, but you will,-give me the office
To choose you a queen. She shall not be so young
As was your former; but she shall be such,

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


My true Paulina,

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



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

Enter a Gentleman.

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.


1 i. e. split.

What with him? He comes not

2 i. e. meet his eye, or encounter it—affrontare (Ital.). Shakspeare uses this word with the same meaning again in Hamlet, Act iii. Sc. 1:

"That he, as 'twere by accident, may here

Affront Ophelia."

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?

And those but mean.


But few,

His princess, say you, with him?

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


O Hermione,
As every present time doth boast itself

Above a better, gone; so must thy grave1
Give way to what's seen now. Sir, you yourself
Have said, and writ so,2 (but your writing now
Is colder than that theme, 3) She had not been
Nor was not to be equalled;-thus your verse
Flowed with her beauty once; 'tis shrewdly ebbed,
To say, you have seen a better.

Pardon, madam.
The one I have almost forgot, (your pardon ;)
The other, when she has obtained your eye,
Will have your tongue too. This is a creature,
Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal
Of all professors else; make proselytes

Of who she but bid follow.


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.


Go, Cleomenes;

Yourself, assisted with your honored friends,

Bring them to our embracement.-Still 'tis strange [Exeunt CLEOMENES, Lords, and Gentlemen.

He thus should steal upon us.


Had our prince

(Jewel of children) seen this hour, he had paired

1 i. e. thy beauties which are buried in the grave.

2 So relates not to what precedes, but to what follows; that she had

not been equalled.

3 i. e. than the corse of Hermione, the subject of your writing.

Well with this lord; there was not full a month
Between their births.

Pr'ythee, no more; thou know'st1
He dies to me again, when talked 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 performed before. Most dearly welcome!
And your 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 on him.2


By his command

Have I here touched Sicilia; and from him


you all greetings, that a king, at friend,3 Can send his brother: and, but infirmity


(Which waits upon worn times) hath something seized His wished ability, he had himself

The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his
Measured, to look upon you; whom he loves

1 The old copy reads, "Pr'ythee, no more: cease; thou know'st," &c. Steevens made the omission of the redundant word, which he considers a mere marginal gloss or explanation of no more.

2 Steevens altered this to look upon, but there are many instances of similar construction, in Shakspeare, incorrect as they may now appear. 3 i. e. at amity, as we now say.

(He bade me say so) more than all the sceptres, And those that bear them, living.


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,
And hath he too

As is the spring to the earth.

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?


She came from Libya.


Good my lord,

Where the warlike Smalus,

That noble, honored lord, is feared and loved?

Flo. Most royal sir, from thence; from him, whose daughter

His tears proclaimed his, parting with her; thence
(A prosperous south wind friendly) we have crossed,
To execute the charge my father gave me,
For visiting your highness. My best train
I have from your Sicilian shores dismissed;
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.

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 blessed
(As he from Heaven merits it) with you,
Worthy his goodness. What might I have been,
Might I a son and daughter now have looked on,
Such goodly things as you?

1 i. e. full of grace and virtue.

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