Imatges de pÓgina

A thriving issue.

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 durst not tempt a minister of honour,
Lest she should be denied.

Kee. Madam, if't please the queen to send the babe, I know not what I shall incur, to pass it,

Having no warrant.

Pau. 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 :-
Do not you fear, upon mine honour, I
Will stand 'twixt you and danger.

[Exeunt, L.

SCENE III.-A Square before the Palace.

Enter CLEOMENES and DION, bearing the oracle.-Guards stand across the back ground.

Dio. (L. C.) The climate's delicate; the air most sweet; Fertile the soil; the temple much surpassing

The common praise it bears.

Cle. (R. c.) I shall report,

For most it caught me, the celestial habits,

(Methinks I so should term them,) and the reverence Of the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice!

How ceremonious, solemn, and unearthly

It was i'the offering!

Dion. But, of all, the burst

And the ear-deafening voice o'the oracle,

Kin to Jove's thunder, so surprised my sense,

That I was nothing.

Cle. If the event o'the journey

Prove as successful to the queen, O, be't so!

As it hath been to us rare, pleasant, speedy,
The time is worth the use on't.

Dio. Great Apollo,

Turn all to the best! These proclamations,
So forcing faults upon Hermione,

I little like.

Cle. 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, something rare,
Even then will rush to knowledge-

And gracious be the issue.

SCENE IV.-The King's Closet.

[Exeunt, R.

LEONTES alone, discovered reclining on a couch.

Leo. Nor night, nor day, no rest:-It is but weakness To bear the matter thus, mere weakness.-If

The cause were not in being;--part o'the cause,
She, the adulteress-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 death, a moiety of my rest
Might come to me again.--Who's there?

Ant. My lord?

Leo. [Rising.] How does the boy?
Ant. He took good rest to-night;
'Tis hop'd, his sickness is discharged
Leo. 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.-


Polixenes-thou-Fie! no more of him ;-
The very thought of my revenges that way
Recoils upon me; in himself too mighty,
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; nor
Shall she, within my power.

[Retires to the couch.


Tha. You must not enter.

Pau. Nay, rather, good my lords, be second to me; Fear you his tyrannous passion more, alas!

Than the queen's life? a gracious innocent soul;
More free than he is jealous.

Ant. That's enough.

Enter PHOCION, THASIUS, and PAULINA, with the child, L. wrapped in white satin.

Pho. Madam, he hath not slept to-night; commanded None should come at him.

Pau. (L.) Not so hot, good sir;

I come to bring him sleep. 'Tis such as you,
That creep like shadows by him, and do sigh
At each his needless heavings-such as you
Nourish the cause of his awaking: I

Do come, with words as med'cinal as true,
To purge him of that humour,

That presses him from sleep.
Leo. What noise there, ho?

Pau. No noise, my lord; but needful conference,
About some gossips for your highness.

Leo. How?

Away with that audacious lady.-Antigonus,
I charg'd thee that she should not come about me.
Ant. I told her so, my lord,

On your displeasure's peril, and on mine,
She should not visit you.

Pau. Good my liege, I come,

And I beseech you, hear me, who profess
Myself your loyal servant, your physician,
Your most obedient counsellor: yet that dare
Less appear so, in comforting your evils,
Than such as may seem yours: I say, I come
From your good queen.

Leo. Good queen!

Pau. Good queen, my lord-good queen: I say, good


And would by combat make her good, so were I

A man, the worst about you.

Leo. Force her hence.

Pau. Let him, that makes but trifles of his eyes,
First hand me: on mine accord I'll off;

But, first, I'll do my errand.-The good queen,
For she is good, hath brought you forth a daughter:
Here 'tis; commends it to your blessing.

[Kneels, and lays the Child at his feet.

Leo. [Rising and coming forward.] Out!

A mankind witch! Hence with her, out o'door:

A most intelligencing bawd!

Pau. [Near the Child.] Not so:

I am as ignorant in that, as you

In so entitling me: and no less honest

Than you are mad: which is enough, I'll warrant,
As this world goes, to pass for honest.

Leo. (c.) Traitors!

Will you not push her out?-Give her the bastard : Thou dotard, [To Antigonus.] thou art woman-tir'd, unroosted

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Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou

Tak'st up the princess, by that forced baseness

Which he has put upon't!

Leo. He dreads his wife!

Pau. So I would, you did; then, 'twere past all doubt, You'd call your children yours.

Leo. A nest of traitors!

Ant. I am none, by this good light.

Pau. Nor I; nor any

But one, that's here; and that's himself: for he

The sacred honour of himself, his queen's,

His hopeful son's, his babe's, betrays to slander,

Whose sting is sharper than the sword's: and will not

Once remove

The root of his opinion, which is rotten,

As ever oak or stone was sound.

Leo. (R. C.) This brat is none of mine.

Pau. [Comes a little forward.] 'Tis yours;

And, might we lay the old proverb to your charge. So like you, 'tis the worse. [Goes back to the Child, and takes it up.] Behold, my lords,

Although the print be little, the whole matter

And copy of the father: eye, nose, lip,

The trick of his frown, his forehead; nay, the valley,

The pretty dimples of his chin, and cheek,

[Brings it forward. And thou, good goddess Nature, which has made it

So like to him that got it, if thou hast

The ordering of the mind too, 'mongst all colours
No yellow in't; lest she suspect, as he does,

Her children not her husband's!

Leo. A gross hag!—

And, lozel, thou art worthy to be hang'd,

That wilt not stay her tongue.

Ant. (R. C.) Hang all the husbands

That cannot do that feat, you'll leave yourself
Hardly one subject.

Leo. Once more, take her hence.

Pau. A most unworthy and unnatural lord Can do no more.

I will not call you tyrants:

But this most cruel usage of your queen

Savours of tyranny, and will ignoble make you,
Yea, scandalous to the world.

Leo. On your allegiance,

Out of the chamber with her.
Where were her life?

Away with her.

Were I a tyrant,

[Returning to his seat.

Pau. I pray you, do not push me; I'll be gone.
Look to your babe, my lord; 'tis yours; Jove send her
A better guiding spirit! [Lays the Child at his Feet.]
What need these hands?

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

[Exit Paulina, L.

Leo. 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 straight;
Within this hour bring me word 'tis done,

And by good testimony, or I'll seize thy life,
With what thou else call'st thine.

For thou sett'st on thy wife.

Ant. (R.) I did not, sir;

Go-do it-hence

These lords, my noble fellows, if they please,

Can clear me in't.

Pho. We can: My royal liege,

He is not guilty of her coming hither.

Leo. You are traitors, all.

Ant. 'Beseech your highness give us better credit :
We have always truly serv'd you; and beseech
So to esteem of us and on my knees I beg,

(As recompense of my dear services,

Past, and to come,) that you do change this purpose;
Which, being so horrible, so bloody, must

Lead on to some foul issue; We beseech

Leo. [Rises.] Shall I live on to see this creature kneel And call me father? Better end it now,

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