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Leon. Why, he that wears her like her medal, Your changed complexions are to me a mirror,
About his neck, Bohemia: Who-if I
Had servants true about me, that bare eyes
To see alike mine honor as their profits,
Their own particular thrifts,-they would do that
Which should undo more doing: Ay, and thou,
His cupbearer,-whom I from meaner form
Have bench'd, and rear'd to worship; who may'st
Plainly, as heaven sees earth, and earth sees heaven,
How I am galled, -thou mightst bespice a cup,
To give mine enemy a lasting wink;
Which draught to me were cordial.
Sir, my lord,
I could do this: and that with no rash polion,
But with a ling'ring dram, that should not work
Maliciously like poison: But I cannot
Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress,
So sovereignly being honorable.
Make't thy question, and go rot!
Dost think, I am so muddy, so unsettled,
To appoint myself in this vexation? sully
The purity and whiteness of my sheets,
Which to preserve, is sleep; which being spotted,
Is goads, thorns, nettles, tails of wasps!
Give scandal to the blood o' the prince my son
Who, I do think, is mine, and love as mine;
Without ripe moving to't? Would I do this?
Could man so blench?1
I must believe you, sir I do: and will fetch off Bohemia for't: Provided, that when he's remov'd, your highness Will take again your queen, as yours at first; Even for your son's sake: and, thereby, for sealing The injury of tongues, in courts and kingdoms Known and allied to yours.
Thou dost advise me, Even so as I mine own course have set down: I'll give no blemish to her honor, none.
Go then; and with a countenance as clear
As friendship wears at feasts, keep with Bohemia,
And with your queen: I am his cupbearer;
If from me he have wholesome beverage,
Account me not your servant.
Leon. Do't, and thou hast the one half of my heart; Do't not, thou split'st thine own. Cam. I'll do't, my lord. Lean. I will seem friendly, as thou hast advis'd [Exit.
Cam. O miserable lady!-But, for me, What case stand I in? I must be the poisoner Of good Polixenes: and my ground to do't Is the obedience to a master; one, Who, in rebellion with himself, will have All that are his, so too.-To do this deed, Promotion follows: If I could find example Of thousands, that had struck annointed kings, And flourish'd after, I'd not do't: but since Nor brass, nor stone, nor parchment, bears not one, Let villany itself forswear't. I must Forsake the court: to do't, or no, is certain To me a break-neck. Happy star, reign now! Here comes Bohemia.
None rare, my lord. Pol. The king hath on him such a countenance, As he had lost some province, and a region, Lov'd as he loves himself: even now I met him With customary compliment; when he Wafting his eyes to the contrary, and falling A lip of much contempt, speeds from me: and So leaves me, to consider what is breeding, That changes thus his manners.
Cam. I dare not know, my lord.
I have look'd on thousands, who have sped the better
Make me not sighted like the basilisk!
By my regard, but kill'd none so. Cainillo,
As you are certainly a gentleman; thereto
Clerk-like, experienced, which no less adorns
Our gentry, than our parents' noble names,
In whose success we are gentle, 3-I beseech you,
If you know aught which does behove my knowl-
Thereof to be infor n'd, imprison it not
In ignorant concealment.
I may not answer.
Pol. A sickness caught of me, and yet I well!
I must be answered.-Dost thou hear, Camillo,
I conjure thee, by all the parts of man,
Which honor does acknowledge,-whereof the least
Is not this suit of mine,-that thou declare
What incidency thou dost guess of harm
Is creeping toward me; how far off, how near;
Which way to be prevented, if to be;
If not, how best to bear it.
Sir, I'll tell you;
Since I am charged in honor, and by him
That I think honorable: Therefore, mark my coun-
I mean to utter it; or both yourself and me
Which must be even as swiftly follow'd, as
Cry, lost, and so good night.
On, good Camillo.
Cam. I am appointed him to murder you.
Pol. By whom, Camillo?
O, then my best blood turn To an infected jelly; and my name Be yok'd with his, that did betray the best! A savor that may strike the dullest nostril Turn then my freshest reputation to Where I arrive; and my approach be shunn'd, Nay, hated too, worse than the great'st infection That e'er was heard, or read!
Cam. Swear his thought over By each particular star in heaven, and By all their influences, you may as well Forbid the sea for to obey the moon, As or by oath, remove, or counsel, shake The fabric of his folly; whose foundation The standing of his body. Is piled upon his faith, and will continue
Pol. How should this grow! Cam. I know not: but, I am sure, 'tis safer to Avoid what's grown, than question how 'tis bori If therefore you dare trust my honesty,That lies enclosed in this trunk, which you Shall bear along impawn'd,-away to-night. Your followers I will whisper to the business; And will, by twos, and threes, at several posterns, Clear them o' the city: For myself, I'll put My fortunes to your service, which are here By this discovery lost. Be not uncertain; For, by the honor of my parents, I Have utter'd truth: which if you seek to prove, I dare not stand by; nor shall you be safer Than one condemn'd by the king's own mouth, thereon
Pol. How! dare not? do not. Do you know, and My people did expect my hence departure
Shall I be your play-fellow!
No, I'll none of you. 1 Lady. Why, my sweet lord? Mam. You'll kiss me hard; and speak to me as if I were a baby still.-I love you better. 2 Lady. And why so, my good lord? Mum.
He has discover'd my design, and I
Remain a pinch'd thing; yea, a very trick
For them to play at will:-How came the posterns
So easily open?
By his great authority;
Which often hath no less prevailed than so,
Give me the boy; I am glad, you did not nurse him:
Though he does bear some signs of me, yet you
Have too much blood in him."
What is this? sport?
Leon. Bear the boy hence, he shall not come
Your brows are blacker; yet black brows, they Away with him: and let her sport herself
In my just censure? in my true opinion?-
Alack, for lesser knowledge! How accurs'd,
In being so blest!-There may be in the cup
A spider steep'd, and one may drink, depart.
And yet partake no venom; for his knowledge
Is not infected: but if one present
The abhorr'd ingredient to his eye, make known
How he hath drank, he cracks his gorge, his sides,
With violent hefts -I have drank, and seen the
Camillo was his help in this, his pander :-
There is a plot against my life, my crown;
All's true that is mistrusted :-that false villain
Whom I employed, was pre-employ'd by him:
With that she's big with; for 'tis 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.
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, honorable:
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:-0, I am out,
That mercy does; for calumny will sear
Virtue itself:--These shrugs, these hums, and ha's,
When you have said, she's goodly, come between,
Ere you can say she's honest: But be it known,
From him that has most cause to grieve it should be,
Should a villain say so,
The most replenish'd villain in the world,
He were as inuch more villain: you, my lord,
Do but mistake.
You have mistook, my lady,
Polixenes for Leontes: 0 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 adultress; 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,
Buts with her most vile principal, that she's
A bed-swerver, even as bad as those
That vulgars give bold titles; ay, and privy
To this their late escape.
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 thoroughly then, to say
You did mistake.
No, 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.
There's some ill planet reigns:
I must be patient, till the heavens look
With an aspect more favorable. Good my lords,
I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
Commonly are; the want of which vain dew,
Perchance, shall dry our pities: but I have
That honorable grief lodg'd here, which burns
A thing pinched out of clouts, a puppet.
Brand as infamous. 1 Confederate.
a Remotely guilty.
In merely speaking.
Has deserv'd prison, then abound in tears,
As I come out: this action, I now go on,
Is for my better grace.-Adieu, my lord:
I never wish'd to see you sorry; now,
I trust, I shall.--My women, come; you have leave. Leon. Go do our bidding; hence.
[Exeunt QUEEN and Ladies.
1 Lord. 'Beseech your highness, call the queen again.
Ant. Be certain what you do, sir; lest your justice Prove violence; in the which three great ones sutler, Yourself, your queen, your son.
I dare my life lay down, and will do't, sir,
Please you to accept it, that the queen is spotless
I the eyes of heaven, and to you; I mean,
In this which you accuse her.
She's otherwise, I'll keep my stables where
Iodge my wife; I'll go in couples with her ;
Than when I feel, and see her, no further trust her;
For every inch of woman in the world,
Ay, every dram of woman's flesh, is false,
If she be.
1 Lord. Good my lord,Ant. It is for you we speak, not for ourselves: You are abused, and by some putter on, That will be damn'd for't; 'would I knew the villain, I would land-damn him: Be she honor-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 honor, I'll geld them all; fourteen they shall not see, To bring false generations: they are co-heirs; And I had rather glib myself, than they Should not produce fair issue.
We need no grave to bury honesty;
There's not a grain of it, the face to sweeten
Of the whole dungy earth.
What! lack I credit? 1 Lord. I had rather you did lack, than I, my lord, Upon this ground: and more it would content me To have her honor true, than your suspicion; Be blam'd for't how you might. Leon. Why, what need we Commune with you of this? but rather follow Our forceful instigation? Our prerogative Calls not your councils; but our natural goodness Imparts this: which-if you (or stupified, Or seeming so in skill) cannot, or will not, Relish as truth, like us; inform yourselves, We need no more of your advice: the matter, The loss, the gain, the ordering on't, is all Properly ours.
You had only in your silent judgment tried it, Without more overture.
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 touched conjecture, That lack'd sight only, nought for approbation, But only seeing, all other circumstances
Made up to the deed,) doth push on this proceeding: Yet, for a greater confirmation,
(For, in act of this importance, 'twere
Most piteous to be wild,) 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. Have I done well? 1 Lord. Well done, my lord.
Leon. Though I am satisfied, and need no more
Than what I know, yet shall the oracle
Give rest to the minds of others; such as he,
Whose ignorant credulity will not
Come up to the truth: So we have thought it good,
From our free person she should be confined;
Lest the treachery of the two, fled hence,
Be left her to perform. Come, follow us;
We are to speak in public: for this business
Will raise us all.
Ant. Aside. To laughter, as I take it,
If the good truth were known.
To lock up honesty and honor from
The access of gentle visitors-Is it lawful,,
Pray you, to see her women? any of them?
Keep. So please you, madam, to put
A part these your attendants, I shali bring
I pray now, call her.
[Exeunt Attend. And, madam,
I must be present at your conference.
Puul. Well, be it so, prythee. | Exit Keeper
Here's such ado to make no stain a stain,
As passes coloring.
Re-enter Keeper, with EMILIA.
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?
A daughter, and a goodly babe,
Lusty, and like to live: the queen receives
Much comfort in't: says, My poor prisoner,
I am innocent as you.
I dare be sworn :-
These dangerous unsafe lunes' o' the king! beshrew
He must be told on't, and he shall: the office
Becomes a woman best; I'll tak'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 dare trust me with her little babe,
I'll show't the king, and undertake to be
Her advocate to th' loudest: We do not know
How he may soften at the sight o' the child;
The silence often of pure innocence
Persuades, when speaking fails.
Most worthy madam,
Your honor, 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 durst not tempt a minister of honor,
Lest she should be denied.
Tell her, Emilia,
I'll use that tongue I have: if wit flow from it,
Of abilities more than sufficient.
Lunacies, fits of madness.
Keep. Madam, if 't please the queen to send the babe,
I know not what I shall incur, to pass it,
Having no warrant.
You need not fear it, sir:
The 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.
Keep. I do believe it.
Do not you fear: upon
Mine honor, I will stand 'twixt you and danger.
SCENE III-A Room in the Palace. Enter LEONTES, ANTIGONUs, Lords, and other Attendants.
Leon. 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 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?
My lord? [Advancing. He took good rest to-night: 'Tis hop'd, his sickness is discharged. Leon.
Leon. How does the boy? 1 Atten.
Conceiving the dishonor of his mother,
He straight declined, 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 :-go
See how he fares. [Exit Attend.]-Fye, fye! no
thought of him;
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; nor
Shall she, within my power.
Enter PAULINA, with a Child.
Commit me, for committing honor,) trust it,
He shall not rule me.
Lo you now; you hear!
When she will take the rein, 1 let her run;
But she'll not stumble.
Good my liege, I co:ne,-
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 most seem yours:-I say, I come
From your good queen.
Paul. Good queen, my lord, good queen: I say
And would by combat make her good, so were I
A man, the worst' about you.
Force her hence.
Paul. Let him, that makes but trifles of his eyes,
First hand ine: on mine own 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.
[Laying down the Child. Leon. Out! A very mankind witch! Hence with her, out o'door: A most intelligencing bawd! Paul.
But one, that's here; and that's himself: for he
The sacred honor 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
(For as the case now stands, it is a curse
He cannot be compell'd to't) once remove
The root of his opinion, which is rotten,
As ever oak, or stone, was sound.
Paul. Nay, rather, good my lords, be second to Of boundless tongue; who late hath beat her hus
1 Atten. Madam, he hath not slept to-night; commanded
None should come at him.
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 heaving,-such as you
Nourish the cause of his awaking: I
Do come with words as med'cinal as true;
Honest, as either; to purge him of that humor,
That presses him from sleep.
What noise there, ho?
Paul. No noise, my lord; but needful conference,
About some gossips for your highness.
Away with that audacious lady: Antigonus,
I charged thee, that she should not come about me;
I knew, she would.
I told her so, my lord,
On your displeasure's peril, and on mine,
She should not visit you.
What, canst not rule her? Paul. From all dishonesty, he can; in this (Unless he take the course that you have done,
On your allegiance,
Out of the chamber with her. Were I a tyrant,
Where were her life? she durst not call me so,
If she did know me one. Away with her.
Paul. I pray you, do not push me; I'll be gone.
Look to your babe, my lord; 'tis yours: Jove send
Of any point in't shall not only be Death to thyself, but to thy lewd-tongued wife; Whom, for this time, we pardon. We enjoin thee, As thou art liege-man to us, that thou carry This female bastard hence; and that thou bear it A better guiding spirit!-What need these hands?-To some remote and desert place, quite out 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.
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 consumed 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: If thou refuse,
And will encounter with my wrath, say so;
The bastard brains with these my proper hands
Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire;
For thou sett'st on thy wife.
These lords, my noble fellows, if they please,
Can clear me in't.
1 Lord. We can; my royal liege, He is not guilty of her coming hither."
Leon. You are liars all.
1 Lord. 'Beseech your highness, give us better credit;
We have always truly serv'd you; and beseech
So to esteem of us: And on our knees we beg,
(As recompense of our 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 all kneel.
Leon. 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, sit, come you hither;
You, that have been so tenderly officious
SCENE I-A Street in some Town.
Enter CLEOMENES and DION.
Of our dominions; and that there thou leave it,
Without more mercy, to its own protection,
And favor of the climate. As by strange 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 strangely to some place,1
Where chance may nurse or end it: Take it up.
Ant. I swear to do this, though 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 doth require! and blessing,
Against this cruelty, fight on thy side.
Poor thing, condemn'd to loss!
[Exit with the Child. No, I'll not rear
Please your highness, posts,
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.
So please you, sir, their speed
Hath been beyond account.
They have been absent: 'Tis good speed; foretells,
The great Apollo suddenly will have
The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords;
Summon a session, that we may arraign
Our most disloyal lady: for as she hath
Been publicly accus'd, so shall she have
A just and open trial. While she lives,
My heart will be a burden to me.
And think upon my bidding.
SCENE II-A Court of Justice. LEONTES, Lords, and Officers, appear properly seated.
Leon. This sessions (to our great grief, we pro-
Even pushes 'gainst our heart: The party tried,
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
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
Leon. Read the indictment.
It was anciently a practice to swear by the cross at the hilt of the sword.