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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 adultress; I have said with whom :
More ; she's a traitor, and Camillo is
A federary 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'it 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 thoroughly then, to say
You did mifake.
Leo. No, if I mistake
In these foundations which I build upon,
The center is nat big enough to bear,
A school-boy's top. Away with her to prison:
He, who shall speak for her, is far off guilty,
But that he speaks.
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
the want of which vain dew, Perchance, shall dry your pilies; but I have
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 !
Leo. 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,
(To her ladies. There is no cause; when you shall know, your
Has deserv'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've leave.
Leo. Go, do our bidding ; hence.
[Exit Queen, guarded; and ladies. Lord.'Beseech your highness call the queen again.
Ant. Be certain what you do, sir, lest your justice
Prove violence ; in the which three great ones suffer,
Yourself, your queen, your son.
Lord. For her, my lord,
I dare my life lay down, and will do't, fir,
you t'accept it, that the queen is spotless
l'th'eyes of heaven, and to you, I mean,
In this which
ANT. If it prove
She's otherwise, I'll keep my stable where
I lodge my wife, I'll go in couples with her ; '
Than when I feel, and see, no further trust her :
For every inch of woman in the world,
Ay every dram of woman's flesh is false,
If she be.
Leo. Hold your peaces.
Lord. Good my lord,
Ant. It is for you we speak, not for ourselves :
You are abus'd, and by some putter on,
That will be damn'd for't; 'would I knew the villain,!
I would land-dam him : be the honour-flaw'd,
I have three daughters ; the eldest is eleven;
The second, and the third, nine, and forme 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.
Leo. Cease; no more:
You smell this business with a sense as cold
As is a dead man's nofe ; I fee't, and feel't,
As you feel doing thus; and fee withal
The instruments that feel.
(striking his brow.
Ant. If it be fo,
We need no grave to bury honesty ;
There's not a grain of it, the face to sweeten
Of the whole dungy earth.
Leo. What ? lack I credit ?
Lord. I had rather you did lack than I, my lord,
Upon this ground; and more it would content me
To have her honour true, than your suspicion`
Be blarn’d for’t, how you might.
Leo. Why, what need we
Commune with you of this ? but rather follow
Our forceful inftigaciou ? our prerogative
Calls not your counsels, but our natural goodness
Imparts this; which, if you, or stupified,
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
Ant. And I wish, my liege,
You had only in your filent judgment try'd it,
Without more overture.
Leo. 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 grofs as ever touch'd conjecture,
That lack'd fight only ; nought for approbation,
But only seeing; all other circumstances
Made up to th’deed) do push on this proceeding;
Yet for a greater confirmation,
For, in an act of this importance, 'twere
Moft piteous to be wild, I have dispatch'd in post,
To sacred Delphos, to Apollo's temple,
Cleomenes and Dion, whom
know Of stuff’d sufficiency: now, from the oracle They will bring all : whose spiritual counsel had, Shall stop, or spur me. Have I done well?.
LORD. Well done, my lord.
Leo. Tho' I am satisfy'd, and need no more Than what I know, yet shall the oracle Give rest to th’minds of others: such as he, Whose ignorant credulity will not Come up to th' truth, So have we thought it good
From our free person, she should be confind:
Left that the treachery of the two, filed hence,
Be left her to perform. Come, follow us,
We are to speak in publick ; for this business
Will raise us all
Ant. To laughter, as I take it,
(Aside. If the good truth were known.
[Exeunt. SCENE III. Changes to a prison.
Enter Paulina, and gentlemen.
Paul. The keeper of the prison, call to him :
[Exit gentleman. Let him have knowledge who I am.
No court in Europe is too good for thee;
What doft thou then in prison
Re-enter Gentleman, with the Goaler.
Now, good sir,
You know me, do you not ?
Goal. For a worthy lady,
And one whom much I honour.
Paul. Pray you then,
Conduct me to the queen.
Goal. 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 visitots !
Is it lawful, pray you, to see her woman?
Any of them? Emilia?
Goal. So please you, madam,
To put apart these your attendants, I
Shall bring Emilia forth.
Paul, I pray you now, call her: