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ACT II.

SCENE I.

A room in LEONTES' palace.

Enter HERMIONE, MAMILLIUS, and Ladies. Her. Take the boy to you: he so troubles me, 'Tis past enduring.

First Lady. Come, my gracious lord,
Shall I be your playfellow ?
Mam.

No, I 'll none of you.
First 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.

Sec. Lady. And why so, my lord ?
Mam.

Not for because
Your brows are blacker; yet black brows, they say,
Become some women best, so that there be not
Too much hair there, but in a semicircle,
Or a half-moon made with a pen.
Sec. Lady.

Who taught you this ?
Mam. I learnt it out of women's faces. Pray

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now

What colour are your eyebrows ?
First Lady.

Blue, my lord.
Mam. Nay, that's a mock: I have seen a lady's

nose

That has been blue, but not her eyebrows.
First Lady.

Hark

ye; The queen your mother rounds apace: we shall Present our services to a fine new prince

II. Who taught you this ? Rowe's reading for F, who taught 'this.

20

One of these days; and then you ’ld wanton with

us,
If we would have you.
Sec. Lady.

She is spread of late
Into a goodly bulk : good time encounter her!
Her. What wisdom stirs amongst you? Come,

sir, now
I am for you again : pray you, sit by us,
And tell's a tale.
Mam.

Merry or sad shall’t be?
Her. As merry as you will.

Mam. A sad tale 's best for winter: I have one Of sprites and goblins. Her.

Let's have that, good sir. Come on, sit down : come on, and do your best To fright me with your sprites; you ’re powerful

at it. Mam. There was a manHer.

Nay, come, sit down; then on. Mam. Dwelt by a churchyard : I will tell it

softly;
Yond crickets shall not hear it.
Her.

Come on, then,
And give't me in mine ear.
Enter LEONTES, with ANTIGONUS, Lords, and

others. Leon. Was he met there ? his train ? Camillo

with him? First Lord. Behind the tuft of pines I met

them; never
Saw I men scour so on their way: I eyed them
Even to their ships.
Leon.

How blest am I
In my just censure, in my true opinion !

18. wanton, sport.

30

40

50

Alack, for lesser knowledge ! how accursed
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 drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides,
With violent hefts. I have drunk, and seen the

spider.
Camillo was his help in this, his pandar :
There is a plot against my life, my crown;
All's true that is mistrusted : that false villain
Whom I employ'd was pre-employ'd by him :
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 ?

First Lord. By his great authority;
Which often hath no less prevail'd than so
On your command.
Leon.

I know 't too well.
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.
Her.

What is this ? sport?
Leon. Bear the boy hence; he shall not come

about her;
Away with him ! and let her sport herself
With that she's big with ; for 'tis Polixenes
Has made thee swell thus.
Her.

But I'ld say he had not, 39. There may be in the cup, 45. hefts, retchings.

The spider was held to be 50. He has discover'd.(Camillo) venomous, but with the reserve has betrayed. that ignorance was a charm 51. pinch'd, tricked, outwitted. against its infection.

ib. trick, toy, plaything.

60

etc.

70

And I'll be sworn you would believe my saying,
Howe'er you lean to the nayward.
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

straight The shrug, the hum or ha, these petty brands That calumny doth use -O, I am outThat 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 '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,
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

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64. to the nayward, to denial. 82. thou thing, which I'll not

call, etc. ; he will not call a queen 71. brands, stigmas.

by the bold title' she has de79. replenish'd, complete. served.

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100

A federary 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.
Leon.

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.
Her.

There's some ill planet reigns :
I must be patient till the heavens look
With an aspect more favourable. Good my lords,
I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
Commonly are ; the want of which vain dew
Perchance shall dry your pities : but I have
That honourable grief lodged here which burns
Worse than tears drown: beseech you all, my

lords,
With thoughts so qualified as your charities
Shall best instruct you, measure me; and so
The king's will be perform'd !
Leon.

Shall I be heard ?
Her. Who is 't that goes with me? Beseech

your highness, My women may be with me; for you see 90. federary, accomplice. (as the centre of the planetary The centre, the earth system).

ΙΙο

102.

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