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with us,

Mam. Nay, that's a mock. I bave seen a

lady's nose That has been blue, but not her eyebrows.

(1.) Lady. The Queen your mother rounds apace. We

shall Present our services to a fine new prince One of these days; and then you'd wanton If we would have you. 2. Lady.

She is spread of late Into a goodly bulk. Good time encounter

her! Her. What wisdom stirs amongst you ?

Come, sir, now
I am for you again. Pray you, sit by us,
And tell 's a tale.
Mam.

Merry or sad shall 't be ?
Her. As merry as you will.
Mam. A sad tale's best for winter. I have

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Which often hath no less prevail'd than so
On your command.
Leon.

I know 't too well.
Give me the boy. I am glad you did not nurse

him.
Though he does bear some signs of me, yet you
Have too much blood in him.
Her.

What is this? Sport?
Leon. Bear the boy hence; he shall not

come about her.
Away with him! and let her sport herself
With that she's big with ; for 't is Polixenes
Has made thee swell thus.
Her.

But I'd say he had not,
And I'll be sworn you would believe my saying,
Howe'er you lean to the nayward.
Leon.

You, my lords,
Look on her, mark her well; be but about 6
To say she is a goodly lady, and
The justice of your hearts will thereto add
'Tis pity she's not honest, honourable.
Praise her but for this her without-door form,
Which on my faith deserves high speech, and

straight
The shrug, the hum or ha, these petty brands
That calumny doth use - 0, I am out-
That mercy does, for calumny will sear
Virtue itself ; these shrugs, these hums and

has,
When you have said she's goodly, come be-

tween Ere you can say she's honest: but be 't known, From him that has most cause to grieve it

should be, She's an adulteress. Her.

Should a villain say so,
The most replenish'd villain in the world,
He were as much more villain : you, my lord, s.
Do but mistake.
Leon,

You have mistook, my lady,
Polixenes for Leontes. O thou thing!
Which I 'll not call a creature of thy place,
Lest barbarism, making me the precedent,
Should a like language use to all degrees,
And mannerly distinguishment leave out
Betwixt the prince and beggar. I have said
She's an adulteress; I have said with whom ;
More, she's a traitor, and Camillo is
A fedary with her, and one that knows
What she should shame to know herself
But with her most vile principal, that she's
A bed-swerver, even as bad as those
That vulgars give bold'st 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; if I mistake
In those foundations which I build upon,
The centre 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.

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Of sprites and goblins.
Her.

Let's have that, good sir. Come on, sit down ; come on, and do your

best To fright me with your sprites ; you ’re power

ful at it. Mam. There was a manHer.

Nay, come, sit down; then on. Mam. Dwelt by a churchyard. I will tell it

softly; Yond crickets shall not hear it. Her.

Come on, then, And give't me in mine ear. (Enter LEONTES, with ANTIGONUS, LORDS, and

others.) Leon. Was he met there ? his train ? Camillo

with him ? (1.] Lord. Behind the tuft of pines I met

them ; never
Saw I men scour so on their way. I eyed
Them even to their ships.
Leon.

How blest am I
In my just censure, in my true opinion !
Alack, for lesser knowledge! How accurs'd
In being so blest! There may be in the cup
A spider steep'd, and one may drink, depart, 40
And yet partake no venom, for his knowledge
Is not infected; but if one present
The abhorr'd ingredient to his eye, make

known How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his

sides, With violent hefts. I have drunk, and seen

the spider. Camillo was his help in this, his pander. There is a plot against my life, my crown. All 's true that is mistrusted. That false

villain Whom I employ'd was pre-employd by him. He has discover'd my design, and I Remain a pinch'd thing; yea, a very trick For them to play at will. How came the

posterns So easily open ?

[1.] Lord. By his great authority:

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Her. There 's some ill planet reigns ; I must be patient till the heavens look With an aspect 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 110 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 The King's will be perform'd ! Leon.

Shall I be heard ? 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

mistress Has desery'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

leave. Leon. Go, do our bidding; hence !

(Exit Queen guarded, with Ladies.) (1.] Lord. “Beseech your Highness, call the

Queen again. Ant. Be certain what you do, sir, lest your

justice I'rove 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 spot

less l' 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 where I lodge my wife : I'll go in couples with her; 185 Than when I feel and see her no farther trust For every inch of woman in the world, Ay, every dram of woman's flesh is false, If she be.

Leon, Hold your peaces. (1.) Lord.

Good my lord, Ant. It is for you we speak, not for our

selves, Yon are abus'd, and by some putter-on That will be dann'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 'em 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 sense as cold 181
As is a dead man's nose ; but I do 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 ?
[1.] Lord. I had rather you did lack than I,
Upon this ground ; and more it would content
To have her honour true than your suspicion, 160
Be blam'd for 't how you might.
Leon.

Why, what need we Commune with you of this, but rather follow Our forceful instigation ? Our prerogative Calls not your counsels, but our natural goodImparts this ; which if you, or stupefied Or seeming so in skill, cannot or will not Relish a truth like us, inform yourselves We need no more of your advice. The matter, The loss, the gain, the ord'ring on't, is all Properly ours.

Ant. And I wish, my liege, You had only in your silent judgement 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 conjecThat lack'd sight only, nought for approba

tion But only seeing, all other circumstances Made up to the deed, doth push on this pro

ceeding. Yet, for a greater confirmation, For in an act of this importance 't were Most piteous to be wild, I have dispatch'd in

post To sacred Delphos, to Apollo's temple, Cleomenes and Dion, whom you know Of stuff'd sufficiency. Now from the oracle 185 They will bring all; whose spiritual counsel had,

spur me. Have I done well ? (1.) Lord. Well done, my lord.

Leon. Though I am satisfi'd and need no Than what I know, yet shall the oracle 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 105 Be left her to perform. Come, follow us; We are to speak in public, for this business Will raise us all.

Ant. (Aside.) To laughter, as I take it, If the good truth were known. (Ereunt. 200

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SCENE II. (Outer ward of a prison.) Enter Paulina, a Gentleman, and Attendants.

Paul. The keeper of the prison, call to him; Let him have knowledge who I am,

[Exit Gent.)

Good lady, No court in Europe is too good for thee; What dost thou then in prison ? (Re-enter Gentleman, with the GAOLER.]

Now, good sir, You know me, Gaol.

For a worthy lady, And one who much I honour. Paul.

Pray you then, Conduct me to the Queen. Gaol.

I may not, madam. To the contrary I have express commandment.

Paul. Here's ado, To lock up honesty and honour from The access of gentle visitors! Is 't lawful, pray

you,
To see her women ? Any of them ? Emilia ?

Gaol. So please you, madam,
To put apart these your attendants, I
Shall bring Emilia forth.
Paul.

I pray now, call her. Withdraw yourselves.

(Exeunt Gentleman and attendants.] Gaol.

And, madam, I must be present at your conference.

Paul. Well, be 't so, prithee. (Exit Gaoler.] Here's such ado to make no stain a stain As passes colouring. (Re-enter GAOLER, with Emilia.]

Dear gentlewoman, How fares our gracious lady? Emil. As well as one so great and so for

lorn May hold together. On her frights and griefs, Which never tender lady hath borne greater, She is something before her time deliver'd.

Paul. A boy ?

Emil. A daughter, and a goodly babe, Lusty and like to live. The Queen receives Much comfort in 't; says, “My poor prisoner, I am innocent as you." Paul.

I dare be sworn. These dangerous unsafe lunes i' the King, be

shrew them! He must be told on 't, and he shall. The office Becomes a woman best; I'll take 't upon me. If I prove honey-mouth'd, let my tongue blister And never to my red-look'd anger be The trumpet any more. Pray you, Emilia, Commend my best obedience to the Queen. If she dares trust me with her little babe, I'll show 't the King and undertake to be Her advocate to the loud'st. We do not know How he may soften at the sight o' the child. 40 The silence often of pure innocence Persuades when speaking fails. Emil.

Most worthy madam, Your honour and your goodness is so evident That your free undertaking cannot miss

A thriving issue. There is no lady living
So meet for this great errand. Please your lady-

ship
To visit the next room, I 'll presently
Acquaint the Queen of your most noble offer ;
Who but to-day hammerd of this design,
But durst not tempt a minister of honour,
Lest she should be deni'd.
Paul.

Tell her, Emilia, I'll use that tongue I have. If wit flow from 't As boldness from my bosom, let 't not be

doubted I shall do good. Emil.

Now be you blest for it!
I'll to the Queen. Please you, come something
Gaol. Madam, if 't please the Queen to send

the babe,
I know not what I shall incur to pass it,
Having no warrant.
Paul.

You need not fear it, sir.
This child was prisoner to the womb and is
By law and process of great Nature thence
Freed and enfranchis'd, not a party to
The anger of the King nor guilty of,
If any be, the trespass of the Queen.

Gaol. I do believe it. Paul. Do not you fear. Upon mine honour, I Will stand betwixt you and danger. (Ereunt,

SCENE III. (A room in Leontes' palace.] Enter LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, LORDS, and SER

VANTS. Leon. Nor night nor day no rest. It is but

weakness To bear the matter thus; mere weakness. If The cause were not in being, - part of the

cause,
She the adulteress; for the harlot king,
Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
And level of my brain, plot-proof; but she
I can hook to me: say that she were gone,
Given to the fire, a moiety of my rest
Might come to me again. 'Who's there?
1.) Serv.

My lord ? Leon. How does the boy? (1.) Serv. He took good rest to-night: 'Tis hop'd his sickness is discharg'd.

Leon. To see his nobleness ! Conceiving the dishonour of his mother, He straight declin'd, droop'd, took it deeply, Fasten'd and fix'd the shame on 't in himself, Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep, And downright languish'd. Leave me solely ;

go, See how he fares. (Exit Serv.) Fie, fie ! no

thought of him ; The very thought of my revenges that way Recoil upon me: in himself too mighty, And in his parties, his alliance. Let him be Until a time may serve; for present vengeance, Take it on her. Camillo and Polixenes Laugh at me, make their pastime at my sorrow. They should not laugh if I could reach theni,

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Enter PAULINA (with a babe). (1.) Lord.

You must not enter. Paul. Nay, rather, good my lords, be second

to me. Fear you his tyrannous passion more, alas, Than the Queen's life? A gracious innocent

soul, More free than he is jealous. Ant.

That's enough. (2.) Serv. Madam, he hath not slept to-night;

commanded None should come at him. Paul.

Not so hot, good sir; I come to bring him sleep. 'Tis such as you, That creep like shadows by him and do sigh At each his needless heavings, such as you Nourish the cause of his awaking. I Do come with words as medicinal as true, Honest as either, to purge him of that humour That presses him from sleep. Leon.

What noise there, ho ? Paul. No noise, my lord ; but needful con

ference About some gossips for your Highness. Leon.

How !
Away with that audacious lady! Antigonus,
I charg'd thee that she should not come about
I knew she would.
Ant.

I told her so, my lord,
On your displeasure's peril and on mine,
She should not visit you.
Leon.

What, canst not rule her?
Paul. From all dishonesty he can. In this,
Unless he take the course that you have done,
Commit me for committing honour, trust it,
He shall not rule me.
Ant.

La you now, you hear. When she will take the rein I let her run; But she 'll not stumble. Paul.

Good my liege, I come ; And, I beseech you, hear me, who professes Myself your loyal servant, your physician, Your most obedient counsellor, yet that dares 55 Less appear so in comforting your evils, Than such as most seem yours. I say, I come From your good queen. Leon.

Good queen! Paul.

Good queen, my lord, Good queen; I say good queen; And would by combat make her good, so

were I A man, the worst about you. Leon.

Force her hence. Paul. Let him that makes but trifles of his

eyes First hand me. On mine own accord I 'll off, But first I 'll do my errand. The good queen, For she is good, hath brought you forth a

daughter ; Here 't is ; commends it to your blessing.

(Laying down the child.] Leon.

Out A mankind witch! Hence with her, out o'

door! A most intelligencing bawd !

Paul. I am as ignorant in that as you In so entitling me, and no less honest Than you are mad; which is enough, I 'll war

rant, As this world goes, to pass for honest. Leon.

Traitors! Will you not push her out ? Give her the bas

tard. Thou dotard ! thou art woman-tir'd, unroosted By thy dame Partlet here. Take up the basTake 't up, I say; give 't to thy crone.

Paul. Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou Tak'st up the Princess by that forced baseness Which he has put upon 't! Leon.

He dreads his wife. Paul. So I would you did ; then 't were past

all doubt
You'd call your children yours.
Leon.

A nest of traitors!
Ant. I am none, by this good light.
Paul.

Nor I, nor any But one that's here, and that's himself; for

he The sacred honour of himself, his queen's, His hopeful son's, his babe's, betrays to

slander, Whose sting is sharper than the sword's, and

will not —
For, as the case now stands, it is a curse
He cannot be compellid to 't
The root of his opinion, which is rotten
As ever oak or stone was sound.
Leon.

A callat
Of boundless tongue, who late hath beat her

husband And now baits me! This brat is none of mine; It is the issue of Polixenes. Hence with it, and together with the dam Commit them to the fire ! Paul.

It is yours; And, might we lay the old proverb to your

charge, So like you, 't is the worse. Behold, my lords, Although the print be little, the whole matter And copy of the father, eye, nose, lip, The trick of 's frown, his forehead, nay, the

valley, The pretty dimples of his chin and cheek, His smiles, The very mould and frame of hand, nail, finger; And thou, good goddess Nature, which hast

made it So like to him that got it, if thou hast The ordering of the mind too, 'mongst all

. colours
No yellow in 't, lest she suspect, as he does,
Her children not her husband's !
Leon.

A gross hag!
And, lozel, thou art worthy to be hang’d,
That wilt not stay her tongue.
Ant.

Hang all the husbands That cannot do that feat, you 'll leave yourself Hardly one subject. Leon.

Once more, take her hence.

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Paul. A most unworthy and unnatural lord Can do no more. Leon.

I'll ha' thee burnt. Paul.

I care not ; It is an heretic that makes the fire, Not she which burns in 't. I'll not call you

tyrant;
But this most cruel usage of your queen,
Not able to produce more accusation
Than your own weak-hing'd fancy, something

savours
Of tyranny and will ignoble make you,
Yea, scandalous to the world.
Leon.

On your allegiance, Out of the chamber with her! Were I a tyrant, Where were her life? She durst not call me

SO, If she did know me one. Away with her! Paul. I pray you, do not push me; I 'll be

gone. Look to your babe, my lord ; 't is yours. Jove

send her A better guiding spirit! What needs these

hands? You, that are thus so tender o'er his follies, Will never do him good, not one of you. So, so; farewell; we are gone. [Exit. 130 Leon. Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to

this. My child ? Away with 't! Even thou, that

hast A heart so tender o'er it, take it hence And see it instantly consum'd with fire; Even thou and none but thou. Také it up

straight. Within this hour bring me word 't is done, And by good testimony, or I 'll seize thy life, With what thou else call'st thine. If thou

refuse And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so; The bastard brains with these my proper hands Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire; For thou set'st on thy wife. Ant.

I did not, sir. These lords, my noble fellows, if they please, Can clear me in 't. Lords.

We can. My royal liege, He is not guilty of her coming hither.

Leon. You 're liars all. 1. Lord. Beseech your Highness, give us

better credit. We have 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 pur

pose, 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. Yon, sir, come you hither; You that have been so tenderly officious With Lady Margery, your midwife there, To save this bastard's life, - for 't is a bastard,

So sure as this beard's gray, — what will you

adventure To save this brat's life? Ant.

Anything, my lord, That my ability may undergo And nobleness impose ; at least thus much: 14 I'll pawn the little blood which I have left To save the innocent. Anything possible. Leon. It shall be possible. Swear by this

sword Thou wilt perform my bidding. Ant.

I will, my lord. Leon. Mark and perform it; see'st thon?

for the fail Of any point in 't shall not only be Death to thyself but to thy lewd-tongu'd wife, Whom for this time we pardon. We enjoin

thee, As thou art liege-man to us, that thou carry This female bastard hence, and that thou bear

it To some remote and desert place quite out Of our dominions, and that there thou leave it, Without more mercy, to it own protection And favour of the climate. As by strange

fortune It came to us, I do in justice charge thee, On thy soul's peril and thy body's torture, That thou commend it strangely to some place 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 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 does require! And

blessing Against this cruelty fight on thy side, Poor thing, condemn'd to loss !

(Erit (with the babe). Leon.

No, I'll not rear Another's issue.

Enter a SERVANT. Serv.

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 yon, sir, their speed Hath been beyond accompt. Leon.

Twenty-three days They have been absent; 't is good speed ; fore

tells 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 publicly 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. (Ereunt.

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