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[Enter HERMIONE (as to her trial); PAULINA and LADIES attending.]

Leon. Read the indictment.

Off. [Reads.] "Hermione, Queen to the worthy Leontes, King of Sicilia, thou art here accused and arraigned of high treason, in committing adultery with Polixenes, King of Bohemia, and conspiring with Camillo to take [15 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 counsel and aid them, for their better safety, to fly away by night."


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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 be


The bound of honour, or in act or will That way inclining, hard'ned be the hearts Of all that hear me, and my near'st of kin Cry fie 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. Though 't is a saying, sir, not due to me. Leon. You will not own it.



That's true enough;

More than mistress of

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Starr'd most unluckily, is from my breast,
The innocent milk in it most innocent mouth,
Hal'd out to murder; myself on every post
Proclaim'd a strumpet; with immodest hatred
The child-bed privilege deni'd, which longs
To women of all fashion; lastly, hurried
Here to this place, i' the open air, before
I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege,
Tell me what blessings I have here alive,
That I should fear to die? Therefore proceed.
But yet hear this: mistake me not; no life, 110
I prize it not a straw, but for mine honour,
Which I would free, if I shall be condemn'd
Upon surmises, all proofs sleeping_else
But what your jealousies awake, I tell you
'T is rigour and not law. Your honours all, 115
I do refer me to the oracle:
Apollo be my judge!
11.] Lord.

This your request

Is altogether just; therefore bring forth, And in Apollo's name, his oracle.

[Exeunt certain Officers.]


Her. The Emperor of Russia was my father: O that he were alive, and here beholding His daughter's trial! that he did but see The flatness of my misery, yet with eyes Of pity, not revenge!

[Re-enter OFFICERS, with CLEOMENES and


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And fill'd with honour, to my kingly guest
Unclasp'd my practice, quit his fortunes here,
Which you knew great, and to the hazard
Of all incertainties himself commended,
No richer than his honour. How he glisters
Through my [dark] rust! And how his piety
Does my deeds make the blacker!


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Prevail not, go and see. If you can bring
Tincture or lustre in her lip, her eye,
Heat outwardly or breath within, I'll serve you
As I would do the gods. But, O thou tyrant!
Do not repent these things, for they are heavier
Than all thy woes can stir; therefore betake

To nothing but despair. A thousand knees
Ten thousand years together, naked, fasting,
Upon a barren mountain, and still winter
In storm perpetual, could not move the gods
To look that way thou wert.
Thou canst not speak too


I do repent. Alas! I have show'd too much
The rashness of a woman; he is touch'd
To the noble heart. What's gone and what's
past help


Should be past grief. Do not receive affliction
At my petition; I beseech you, rather
Let me be punish'd, that have minded you
Of what you should forget. Now, good my

Sir, royal sir, forgive a foolish woman.
The love I bore your queen-lo, fool again!
I'll speak of her no more, nor of your chil-

I'll not remember you of my own lord,
Who is lost too. Take your patience to you,
And I'll say nothing.


Thou didst speak but well When most the truth; which I receive much better

Than to be pitied of thee. Prithee, bring

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Go on, go on; 215

much. I have de

I'll follow instantly. Mar.

All tongues to talk their bitt'rest. [1.] Lord.

Say no more. Howe'er the business goes, you have made fault

I' the boldness of your speech.
I am sorry for 't.
All faults I make, when I shall come to know


Go thou away;

I am glad at heart To be so rid o' the business.


[Exit. Come, poor babe. I have heard, but not believ'd, the spirits o'

the dead


May walk again. If such thing be, thy mother Appear'd to me last night, for ne'er was dream So like a waking. To me comes a creature,


Sometimes her head on one side, some another;
I never saw a vessel of like sorrow,
So fill'd and so becoming; in pure white robes,
Like very sanctity, she did approach
My cabin where I lay; thrice bow'd before me,
And, gasping to begin some speech, her eyes 25
Became two spouts; the fury spent, anon
. Did this break from her: Good Antigonus,
Since fate, against thy better disposition,
Hath made thy person for the thrower-out
Of my poor babe, according to thine oath,
Places remote enough are in Bohemia,
There weep and leave it crying; and, for the


Is counted lost for ever, Perdita,

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I prithee, call 't. For this ungentle business,
Put on thee by my lord, thou ne'er shalt see
Thy wife Paulina more.
And so,
with shrieks,
She melted into air. Affrighted much,
I did in time collect myself and thought
This was so, and no slumber. Dreams are toys;
Yet for this once, yea, superstitiously,
I will be squar'd by this. I do believe
Hermione hath suffer'd death, and that
Apollo would, this being indeed the issue
Of King Polixenes, it should here be laid,
Either for life or death, upon the earth
Of its right father. Blossom, speed thee well!
There lie, and there thy character; there


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A lullaby too rough. I never saw
The heavens so dim by day. A savage clamour!
Well may I get aboard! This is the chase;
I am gone for ever. [Exit, pursued by a bear.
[Enter a SHEPHERD.]

Shep. I would there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty, or that youth would [60 sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting [Horns.] Hark you now! Would any but these boil'd brains of nineteen and two-and-twenty hunt this weather? They have scar'd away two of [65 my best sheep, which I fear the wolf will sooner find than the master. If anywhere I have them, 't is by the seaside, browsing of ivy. Good luck, an 't be thy will! what have we here? Mercy on 's, a barne; a very pretty barne! A boy [70 or a child, I wonder? A pretty one; a very pretty one: sure, some scape. Though I am not bookish, yet I can read waiting-gentlewoman in the scape. This has been some stairwork, some trunk-work, some behind-door- [75 work; they were warmer that got this than the

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Clo. I have seen two such sights, by sea and by land! But I am not to say it is a sea, for it is now the sky; betwixt the firmament and it you cannot thrust a bodkin's point.

Shep. Why, boy, how is it?

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Clo. I would you did but see how it chafes, how it rages, how it takes up the shore! But that 's not to the point. O, the most piteous cry of the poor souls! Sometimes to see 'em, and not to see 'em; now the ship boring the moon with her mainmast, and anon swallowed with yeast and froth, as you'd thrust a cork into a hogshead. And then for the land-ser- [s vice, to see how the bear tore out his shoulderbone; how he cried to me for help and said his name was Antigonus, a nobleman. But to make an end of the ship, to see how the sea flapdragon'd it; but, first, how the poor souls [100 roared, and the sea mock'd them; and how the poor gentleman roared and the bear mock'd him, both roaring louder than the sea or weather.


Shep. Name of mercy, when was this, boy? Clo. Now, now; I have not wink'd since I saw these sights. The men are not yet cold under water, nor the bear half din'd on the gentleman. He 's at it now.


Shep. Would I had been by, to have help'd the old man!

Clo. I would you had been by the ship side, to have help'd her; there your charity would have lack'd footing.


Shep. Heavy matters! heavy matters! But look thee here, boy. Now bless thyself; thou met'st with things dying, I with things newborn. Here's a sight for thee; look thee, a bearing-cloth for a squire's child! Look thee here; take up, take up, boy; open 't. So, let's see. It was told me I'should be rich by the fairies. This is some changeling; open 't. What's within, boy?


Clo. You're a made old man; if the sins of your youth are forgiven you, you're well to live. Gold! all gold!


Shep. This is fairy gold, boy, and 't will prove so. Up with 't, keep it close. Home, home, the next way. We are lucky, boy; and to be so still requires nothing but secrecy. Let my sheep go. Come, good boy, the next way home.


Clo. Go you the next way with your findings. I'll go see if the bear be gone from the gentleman and how much he hath eaten. They are never curst but when they are hungry. If there be any of him left, I'll bury it.


Shep. That's a good deed. If thou mayest discern by that which is left of him what he is, fetch me to the sight of him.

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Of good and bad, that makes and unfolds error,
Now take upon me, in the name of Time,
To use my wings. Impute it not a crime
To me or my swift passage, that I slide
O'er sixteen years and leave the growth untri'd
Of that wide gap, since it is in my power
To o'erthrow law and in one self-born hour
To plant and o'erwhelm custom. Let me pass
The same I am, ere ancient'st order was
Or what is now receiv'd. I witness to
The times that brought them in; so shall I do
To the freshest things now reigning, and make


The glistering of this present, as my tale
Now seems to it. Your patience this allowing, 15
I turn my glass and give my scene such grow-


As you had slept between. Leontes leaving,
The effects of his fond jealousies so grieving
That he shuts up himself, imagine me,
Gentle spectators, that I now may be
In fair Bohemia; and remember well,
I mentioned a son o' the King's, which Florizel
I now name to you; and with speed so pace
To speak of Perdita, now grown in grace
Equal with wond'ring. What of her ensues
I list not prophesy; but let Time's news
Be known when 't is brought forth. A shep-
herd's daughter,



And what to her adheres, which follows after,
Is the argument of Time. Of this allow,
If ever you have spent time worse ere now;
If never, yet that Time himself doth say
He wishes earnestly you never may.


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them thyself or take away with thee the very services thou hast done; which if I have not enough considered, (as too much I cannot,) to be more thankful to thee shall be my study, [20 and my profit therein the heaping friendships. Of that fatal country, Sicilia, prithee speak no more; whose very naming punishes me with the remembrance of that penitent, as thou call'st him, and reconciled king, my brother; [26 whose loss of his most precious queen and children are even now to be afresh lamented. Say to me, when saw'st thou the Prince Florizel, my son? Kings are no less unhappy, their issue not being gracious, than they are in losing them when they have approved their virtues.


Cam. Sir, it is three days since I saw the Prince. What his happier affairs may be, are to me unknown: but I have missingly noted, he is of late much retired from court and is less frequent to his princely exercises than formerly he hath appeared.


Pol. I have considered so much, Camillo, and with some care; so far that I have eyes under my service which look upon his removedness; from whom I have this intelligence, that he is seldom from the house of a most homely shepherd, a man, they say, that from very nothing, and beyond the imagination of his neighbours, is grown into an unspeakable

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Cam. I willingly obey your command. Pol. My best Camillo! We must disguise ourselves. [Exeunt.

SCENE III. [A road near the Shepherd's cottage.]

Enter AUTOLYCUS [very ragged], singing. "When daffodils begin to peer,

With heigh! the doxy over the dale, Why, then comes in the sweet o' the year; For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale.

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"The white sheet bleaching on the hedge, With heigh! the sweet birds, O, how they sing!

Doth set my pugging tooth on edge;
For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.

"The lark, that tirra-lyra chants,

With heigh! [with heigh!] the thrush and
the jay,

Are summer songs for me and my aunts,
While we lie tumbling in the hay."


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