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Shall I dalh out: go take it to the fire,
For thou feteft 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 serv'd you, and beseech you
So to esteem of us: and on our knees we beg,
(As recompence of our dear services
Paft, and to come) that you do change this purpose,
Which being so horrible, so bloody, must
Lead on to some foul iffue. 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 ;

(To Antigonus.
You, that have been so tenderly officious
With lady Margery, your midwife there,
To save this baftard's life ; (for 'tis a bastard,
So fure 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 ;
I'll pawn the little blood which I have left,
To save 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; seest thou? for the fail Of any point in't shall not only be Death to thyself, but to thy lewd-tongu'd wife,

Whom

.

Whom for this time we pardon. We enjoyn thee,
As thou art liege-man to us, that thou carry
This female bastard 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 ftrange 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 ftrangely to some place,
Where chance may nurse, or end it. Take it up.

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 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.

[Exit, with the child. Leo. No; I'll not rear Another's issue.

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 feflion, that we may arraign

Our

Our moft disloyal Lady ; for as she hath
Been publickly accus'd, so shall she have
A juft and open tryal. While the lives,
My heart will be a burthen to me. Leave me,
And think upon my bidding. [Exeunt severally.

ACT III.

SCENE I.

A Part of Sicily, near the Sea-fide.
Enter Cleomines and Dion.

CLEOMINES.
T.

HE climate's delicate, the air moft sweet,

· Fertile the ifle, the temple much surpafling The common praise it bears.

Dion. ? It shames report. Foremost it caught me, the celestial habits, (Methinks, I so should term them,) and the reverence

Fertile the ifle, -] But the temple of Apollo at Delpbi was not in an island, but in Phocis, on the continent. Either Shake spear, or his Editors, had their heads running on Delos, an island of the Czelades. If it was the Editor's blunder, then Shakespear wrote,

Fertile the soil, which is more elegant too, than the present reading. 2 I SHALL report,

FOR MOST it caught me, &c.] What will he report? And what means this reason of his report, chat the celestial habits mott Aruck his observation? We should read,

IT SHAMES report.

Foremost it caught me, Cleomines had just before faid, that the Temple much furpassed the common praise it bore. The other, very naturally, replies —- it fhames report, as far surpassing what report said of it. He then goes on to particularize the wonders of the place : Foremost, or firit of all, the priests garments, then their behaviour, their act of facrifice, &c. in realonable good order.

Of

Of the grave wearers. O, the facrifice
How ceremonious, solemn, and unearthly
It was i'th' offering!

Cleo. But of all, the burst
And the ear-deafning voice o'th' oracle,
Kin to Jove's thunder, so surpriz'd my sense,
That I was nothing.

Dion. 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,
3 The use is worth the time on't.

Cleo. 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 seal'd up,)
Shall the contents discover : fomething rare
Even then will rush to knowledge. Go; fresh horses :
And gracious be the issue!

[Exeunt.

[blocks in formation]

Represents a Court of Justice.
Leontes, Lords and Officers, appear properly seated.
Leo.
TH
HIS session, (to our great grief, we pro-

nounce)
Ev’n pushes 'gainft 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, since we so openly

3 The time is worth the use on’t.] It should be just the reverse,

The use is worth the time on't. and this alteration the Oxford Editor approves.

Pro

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 Ladies

attending Leo. Read the indictment.

Of. Hermione, Queen to the worthy Leontes, King of Sicilia, thou art bere accused and arraigned of bigb treason, in committing adultery with Polixenes, King of Bohemia, and conspiring with Camillo to take away ibe life of our sovereign lord the King, thy royal busband ; the pretence whereof being by circumstances partly laid open, thou, Hermione, contrary to the faith and allegiance of a true fubjei, didf counsel and aid them, for their better safety, to fly 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 say, Not guilty : mine integrity, Being counted fallhood, 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 lo, my past life Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true, As I am now unhappy ; which is more Than history can pattern, tho' 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

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