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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-damm 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 coheirs,
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 nose; I fee't and feel's,
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.
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 blam'd for't, how you might.
Leo. Why, what need we
Commune with you of this? but rather follow
Our forceful instigation? 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 your selves,
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 silent 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 gross as ever touch'd conjecture,
That lack'd fight only ; nought for approbation,
But only seeing; all other circumstances
Made up to th' deed) doth push on this proceeding;
Yet for a greater confirmation,
(For, in an act of this importance, 'twere
Most piteous to be wild) I have dispatch'd in post,
To sacred Delphos, to Apollo's temple,
Cleomines and Dion, whom you 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 confin'd;
Left that the treachery of the two, Aled 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,
If the good truth were known.
Changes to a Prison.
Enter Paulina, and a Gentleman. Paul. THE keeper of the prison, call to him:
Let him have knowledge who I am.
No court in Europe is too good for thee;
What dost thoụ then in prison? now, good Sir,
You know me, do you not?
Re-enter Gentleman, with the Goaler.
Goa. For a worthy lady,
And one whom much I honour.
Paul. Pray you then,
Conduct me to the Queen.
Goa. I may not, Madam ; To the contrary I have express commandment. Paul. Here's ado to lock up honesty and honour
from Th’access of gentle visitors! Is't lawful, pray you, To see her women ? any of them ? Emilia?
Goa. So please you, Madam,
To put a-part these your attendants, I
Shall bring Emilia forth,
Paul. I pray you now, call her :
[Exeunt Gent. &c.
Goa. And, Madam,
I must be present at your conference.
Paul. Well; be it so, proythee.
Here's such ado to make no stain a stain,
As passes colouring. Dear gentlewoman,
How fares our gracious lady?
Emil. As well, as one so great and so forlorn 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,
Lufty, and like to live: the Queen receives
Much comfort in't: says, My poor prisoner,
I'm innocent as you.
Paul. I dare be sworn :
These dangerous, unsafe lunes i'th'King! beshrew 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, let my tongue blister;
And never to my red-look'd anger be
The trumpet any more! Pray you, Emilia,
beft obedience to the Queen,
If she dares trust me with her little babe,
I'll shew't the King, and undertake to be
Her advocate to th' loud'ft. We do not know,
How he may foften at the sight o'ch' child :
The filence 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 ladyship
To visit the next room, I'll presently
Acquaint the Queen of your most noble offer,
Who but to day hammer'd of this design;
But durft not tempt a minister of honour,
Left she thould be deny’d.
Paul. Tell her, Emilia,
l'll use that congue I have; if wit flow from't,
As boldness from my bosom, let's not be doubted
I shall do good.
Emil. Now be you blest for it! I'll to the Queen: please you, come something nearer.
Goa. 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;
The child was prisoner to the womb, and is
By law and process of great nature thence
Free'd and enfranchis'd; not a party to
The anger of the King, nor guilty of,
If any be, the trespass of the Queen.
Goa. I do believe it.
Paul. Do not you fear ; upon mine honour, I Will stand 'twixt you and danger.
Enter Leontes, Antigonus, Lords and other Attendants. OR night, nor day, no rest ;--
- it is but weakness To bear the matter thus; meer weakness, if The cause were not in being; part o’th' cause, She, the adultress; 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?
Enter an Altendant.
Atten. My Lord.
Leo. How do's the boy?
Atten. He took good rest to night; 'tis hop'd, His sickness is discharg'd.