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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
Merry or sad shall 't be ?
Which often hath no less prevail'd than so
I know 't too well.
What is this? Sport?
come about her.
But I'd say he had not,
You, my lords,
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,
You have mistook, my lady,
No, by my life,
No; if I mistake
Of sprites and goblins.
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
How blest am I
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:
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
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
If it be so,
What! lack I credit ?
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
I shall stop
you not ?
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,
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
Gaol. So please you, madam,
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
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!
You need not fear it, sir.
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
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,
- once remove
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.
I told her so, my lord,
What, canst not rule her?
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
A nest of traitors!
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 —
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
A gross hag!
Hang all the husbands That cannot do that feat, you 'll leave yourself Hardly one subject. Leon.
Once more, take her hence.
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
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.