Imatges de pÓgina
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gonus, a courtier, consents to carry it to a desert place, remote from the Sicilian dominions, and there leave it,

“ Without more mercy to its own protection,

And favour of the climate." In the novel, the king exposes the child in an open boat to the mercy of the winds and waves.

Another variation from the original story occurs in the conduct pursued towards the queen. Greene's tyrant resolves to burn both the mother and the child; but the queen's demand for an open trial is warmly seconded by the nobility, and the king prudently consents to send six of the nobility to the Isle of Delphos, to question the oracle of Apollo, respecting the queen’s innocence or guilt. In the Winter's Tale, the embassy originates with Leontes himself:

“ I have despatch'd in post, To sacred Delphos, to Apollo's temple, Cleomenes 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." Leontes summons a session of his nobility for the reception of the ambassadors on their return,

« for, as she hath Been publicly accus'd, so shall she have A just and open trial."

The ensuing scene abounds with instances of the dramatist's close adherence to the sentiments and language of the novel, from which the following reply of the queen to the accusations against her is quoted : - “ If the divine powers be privie to human actions, as no doubt they are, I hope my patience shall make fortune blush, and my unspotted life shall stayne spiteful discredit

How I have lead my life before Egisthus' coming, I appeal, Pandosto, to the gods, and to thy conscience.” Thus improved by Shakspeare:

“ 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.

I appeal
To your own conscience, sir, before Polixenes
Came to your court, how I was in your grace,
How merited to be so."

To which in Dorastus and Fawnia it is replied :

“ It is her part to deny such a monstrous crime, and to be impudent in foreswearing the fact, since she had passed all shame in committing the fault.”

Shakspeare generalises this observation into a maxim :

Leontes.

« I ne'er heard yet,
That
any

of these bolder vices wanted
Less impudence to gainsay what they did,
Than to perform it first."

The queen proceeds, in the novel, to a more particular denial of her crime:

“What hath passed between him and me the gods only know, and I hope will presently reveale. That I loved Egisthus, I cannot denie; that I honoured him, I shame not to confess. But as touching lascivious lust, I say Egisthus is honest, and hope myself to be found without spot. For Franion, I can neither accuse him nor excuse him. I was not privie to his departure. And that this is truth which I have here rehearsed, I refer myself to the divine oracle.”

Shakespeare a little dilates on these ideas :

« For Polixenes, With whom I am accus'd, I do confess, I lov'd him, as in honour he requir'd ; With such a kind of love, as might become A lady like me; with a love, even such, So, and no other, as yourself commanded: Which not to have done, I think, had been in me Both disobedience and ingratitude, To you, and toward your friend; whose love had spoke, Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy, I know not how it tastes ; though it be dish'd For me to try how: all I know of it,

Is, that Camillo was an honest man ;
And why he left your court, the gods themselves,
Wotting no more than I, are ignorant.

#

Your honours all, I do refer me to the oracle ; Apollo be my judge."

The commissioners appear; the sacred scroll which they had borne from Delphos is produced and read aloud :

Suspicion is no proofe ; jealousie is an unequal judge; Bellaria is chaste; Egisthus blameless; Franion a true subject; Pandosto treacherous : his babe innocent; and the king shall dye without an heire, if that which is lost be not found.” - Dorastus and Fawnia.

“ Hermione is chaste, Polixenes blameless, Camillo a true subject, Leontes a jealous tyrant, his innocent babe truly begotten; and the king shall live without an heir, if that which is lost be not found.”. SHAKSPEARE.

When the judgment of the oracle is declared in the play, a servant hastily enters, and proclaims the death of the king's son.

The transition from joy at her acquittal, to grief for the sudden loss of her child, is too violent for the enfeebled queen to bear: she sinks in a swoon upon the earth, and is carried lifeless from the judgment-hall. The novel adds, that the dreadful

spectacle deprived the king of reason: at the end of three days he recovered ; but was with difficulty prevented from putting a period to his life. Shakspeare omits these paroxysms of grief, and simply prescribes to Leontes the customary decent forms of lamentation and atonement. Both the widowers resort daily to the cemetery

of the queen:

“Once in every day he went to Bellaria's tomb, and with tears of penitence, and sorrow, lamented her unhappy fate and his own misfortunes.” — Dorastus and Fawnia.

“ Once a day I'll visit
The chapel were they lie; and tears, shed there,
Shall be my recreation." SHAKSPEARE.

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At this period of the story both the play and the novel turn aside to pursue the infant princess in her adventures. The boat in which the novel placed her was fortunately driven on the coast of Sicily, the dominions of Egisthus, and it as fortunately happened that a shepherd who had missed one of his sheep, just at the same time came to “the sea-cliffes, to see if perchance the sheepe was browzing on the seaivy.” Shakspeare sends Antigonus, under the impression of a vision, to a “ desert country, near the sea," in Bohemia, the dominions of

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