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Away with him! and let her sport herself
With that she's big with; for't is Polixenes
Has made thee swell thus.

But I'd say he had not, And I'll be sworn you would believe my saying, Howe'er you lean to the nayward.

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Leon. You, my lords, Look on her, mark her well; be but about To say she is a goodly lady, and

The justice of your hearts will thereto add
'Tis pity she's not honest, honourable.
Praise her but for this her without-door form,
Which on my faith deserves high speech, and

The shrug, the hum or ha, these petty brands
That calumny doth use-O, I am out-
That mercy does, for calumny will sear
Virtue itself; these shrugs, these hums and

When you have said she's goodly, come between

Ere you can say she 's honest: but be 't known, From him that has most cause to grieve it should be,

She's an adulteress.

Her. Should a villain say so, The most replenish'd villain in the world, He were as much more villain: you, my lord, sa Do but mistake.


Leon. You have mistook, my lady, 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 adulteress; I have said with whom ; More, she's a traitor, and Camillo is A fedary 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'st 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 throughly then to say You did mistake.


No; if I mistake

In those foundations which I build upon, The centre is not big enough to bear


A school-boy's top. Away with her, to prison! He who shall speak for her is afar off guilty But that he speaks.

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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'd, let my tongue blister
And never to my red-look'd anger be
The trumpet any more. Pray you, Emilia,
Commend my best obedience to the Queen.
If she dares trust me with her little babe,
I'll show 't the King and undertake to be
Her advocate to the loud'st. We do not know
How he may soften at the sight o' the child. 40
The silence often of pure innocence
Persuades when speaking fails.

Most worthy madam,
Your honour and your goodness is so evident
That your free undertaking cannot miss

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Gaol. Madam, if 't please the Queen to send the babe,

I know not what I shall incur to pass it,
Having no warrant.


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You need not fear it, sir. This child was prisoner to the womb and is By law and process of great Nature thence Freed and enfranchis'd, not a party to The anger of the King nor guilty of, If any be, the trespass of the Queen. Gaol. I do believe it.

Paul. Do not you fear. Upon mine honour, I Will stand betwixt you and danger. [Exeunt, «

SCENE III. [A room in Leontes' palace.] Enter LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, LORDS, and SER

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He took good rest to-night: 'Tis hop'd his sickness is discharg'd. Leon. To see his nobleness ! Conceiving the dishonour of his mother, He straight declin'd, droop'd, took it deeply, Fasten'd and fix'd the shame on 't in himself, Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep, And downright languish'd. Leave me solely;



See how he fares. [Exit Serv.] Fie, fie! no thought of him;

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The very thought of my revenges that way
Recoil upon me: in himself too mighty,
And in his parties, his alliance. Let him be
Until a time may serve; for present vengeance,
Take it on her. Camillo and Polixenes
Laugh at me, make their pastime at my sorrow.
They should not laugh if I could reach them,

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Look to your babe, my lord; 't is yours. Jove send her

A better guiding spirit! What needs these hands?

You, that are thus so tender o'er his follies,
Will never do him good, not one of you.
So, so; farewell; we are gone.

[Exit. 130 Leon. Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to this.

My child? Away with 't! Even thou, that hast

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


Within this hour bring me word 't is done,
And by good testimony, or I'll seize thy life,
With what thou else call'st thine. If thou

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So sure as this beard's gray, what will you adventure

To save this brat's life?

Anything, my lord,

That my ability may undergo
And nobleness impose; at least thus much: 168
I'll pawn the little blood which I have left
To save the innocent. Anything possible.
Leon. It shall be possible. Swear by this

Thou wilt perform my bidding.


I will, my lord. Leon. Mark and perform it; see'st 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 enjoin


As thou art liege-man to us, that thou carry This female bastard hence, and that thou bear

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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

Against this cruelty fight on thy side,
Poor thing, condemn'd to loss!


[Exit [with the babe).

Leon. Another's issue.

No, I'll not rear

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From those you sent to the oracle are come An hour since. Cleomenes and Dion, Being well arriv'd from Delphos, are both landed, Hasting to the court. [1] Lord.

So please you, sir, their speed Hath been beyond accompt. Leon.

Twenty-three days

They have been absent; 't is good speed; foretells

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