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But this most cruel usage of your Queen
(Not able to produce more accusation
Than your own weak-hing'd fancy) fomething favours
Of tyranny; and will ignoble make you,
Yea, scandalous to the world.
Leo. On your allegiance,
Out of the chamber with her. Were I a tyrant,
Where were her life? the durf not call me fo,
If she did know me one. Away with her.
Paul. I pray you, do not puth me, I'll be gone.
Look to your babe, my lord, 'tis yours; Jove send her
A better guiding spirit! What need these hands?
You, that are thus fo tender o'er his follies,
Will never do him good, not one of you.
So, fo: farewel, we are gone.
Leo. Thou, traitor, haft set on thy wife to this
My child ? away with’t. Even thou, thou that haft
A heart so tender o'er it, take it hence,
And see it instantly consum'd with fire;
Even thou, and none but thou. Take it up ftraight:
Within this hour bring me word it is done,
And by good teftimony, or I'll seize thy life,
With what thou else call'st thine: if thou refuse,
And wilt encounter with my wrath, fay fo:
The baftard brains with these my proper hands
Shall I dash out: go take it to the fire,
For thou sett'st on thy wife.
Ant. I did not, Sir :
These lords, my noble fellows, if they pleafe,
Can clear me in't.
Lord. We can ; my royal Liege,
He is not guilty of her coming hither :
Leo. You're liars all.
Lords. 'Beseech your Highness, give us better credit. We've always truly ferv'd you, and befeech you So to esteem of us : and on our knees we beg, (As recompence of our dear fervices Paft, and to come) that you do change this purpose, Which being so horrible, fo bloody, muft Lead on to fome foul issue. We all kneel.
Leo. 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.-You, Sir, come you hither ;
You, that have been so tenderly officious
With lady Margery, your midwife there,
To save this baltard's life; (for 'tis a bastard,
So sure as this beard's grey) what will you adventure
To save this brat's life?
Ant. . Any thing, my Lord,
That my ability may undergo,
And nobleness. impose : at least, thus much ;
the little blood which I have left, To fave the innocent; any thing possible.
Leo. It shall be possible ; swear by this sword, Thou wilt perform my bidding.
Ant. I will, my Lord.
Leo. Mark and perform it ; feest thou? 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 enjoyn thee,
As thou art liege-man to us, that thou carry
This female baftard hence, and that thou bear it
To some remote and desart place, quite out
Of our dominions ; and that there thou leave it,
(Without more mercy,) to its 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.
Ant. I swear to do this : tho' a present death
Had been more merciful. Come on, poor babe ;
Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens
To be thy nurses! Wolves and bears, they fay,
(Casting their favageness aside) have done
Like offices of pity. Sir, be prosperous
In more than this deed does require ; and blefling,
Against this cruelty, fight on thy fide!
Poor thing, condemn'd to loss.- [Exit, with the Child.
Leo. No; I'll not rear
Enter a Messenger.
Mes. Please your Highness, posts,
From those you sent to th' oracle, are come
An hour since. Cleomines and Dion,
Being well arriv'd from Delphos, are both landed,
Hasting to th' court.
Lord. So please you, Sir, their speed
Hath been beyond account.
Leo. Twenty-three days They have been absent this good speed foretels, 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 publickly accus'd, so shall she have A juft and open tryal. While she lives, My heart will be a burthen to me. And think upon my bidding. [Exeunt federally.
A c T III. SCENE, A Part of Sicily, near the
Enter Cleomines and Dion.
CLEO MIN E S.
HE climate's delicate, the air most sweet,
Fertile the isle, the temple much surpaffing
The common praise it bears. Dion. I shall
report, For most it caught me, the celestial habits,
(Methinks, I fo fhould term them,) and the reverence
Of the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice
How ceremonious, folemn, and unearthly
It was i'th' offering !
Cleo. But of all, the burt
And the ear-deafning voice o’th' oracle,
Kin to Jove's thunder, fo furpriz'd my sense,
That I was nothing.
Dim. If th' event o'th' journey
Prove as successful to the Queen, (O be't fo!
As it hath been to us, rare, pleasant, speedy,
The time is worth the use on't.
Clio. Great Apollo,
Turn all to th' best! these proclamations,
So forcing faults upon Hermione,
I little like.
Dion. The violent carriage of it
Will clear, or end the business ; when the oracle,
(Thus by Apollo's great divine feald up,)
Shall the contents discover : fomething rare
Even then will rush to knowledge. Go; fresh horfes :
And gracious be the issue !
[Exeunt. SCEN E represents a Court of Justice. Leontes, Lords and Oficers, appear properly feated. Leo.THIS feffion, (to our great grief, we pro
Ev'n puthes 'gainst our heart. The party try'd,
'The daughter of a King, our wife, and one
Of us too much belov'd ; let us be clear'd
Of being tyrannous, fince we fo openly
Proceed in justice, which shall have due course,
Even to the guilt, or the purgation.
Produce the prisoner.---
Offi. It is his Highness pleasure, that the Queen
Appear in person here in court. Silence !
Hermione is brought in, guarded ; Paulina, and Ledies,
attending Leo. Read the indictment.
Offi. Hermione, Queen to the worthy Leontes, King of Sicilia, thou art bere accused and arraigned of high treafon, in committing adultery avith Polixenes, King of Bohemia, and confpiring with Camillo to take the life of our favereign bord the King, thy royal husband; the pretence whereof being by circumstances partly laid apen, thou, Hermione, contrary to the faith and allegiance of a true subject, did counsel and aid them, for their better Jafety, to Ay away by night.
Her. Since what I am to say, must be but That
Which contradicts my accusation ; and
The testimony on my part, no other
But what comes from myself; it shall scarce boot me
To fay, Not guilty : mine integrity,
Being counted falfhood, shall, as I express it,
Be so receiv'd. But thus, if powers divine
Behold our human actions, as they do,
I doubt not then, but innocence shall make
False accusation blush, and tyranny
Tremble at patience. - You, my Lord, best know,
Who least will seem to do so, my past life
Hath been as continent, as chafte, as true,
As I am now unhappy ; which is more
Than history can pattern, tho' devis'u,
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 fo; fince he came,