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The flatness of my misery, yet with eyes
Of pity, not revenge !


Re-enter Officers, with CLEOMENES and DioN.
Off. You here shall swear upon this sword of

justice, That you, Cleomenes and Dion, have Been both at Delphos, and from thence have

This seal'd-up oracle, by the hand deliver'd
Of great Apollo's priest and that since then
You have not dared to break the holy seal
Nor read the secrets in ’t.
Cleo. Dion.

All this we swear.
Leon. Break up the seals and read.

Of. [Reads] 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.

Lords. Now blessed be the great Apollo !

Leon. Hast thou read truth?

Ay, my lord; even so
As it is here set down.

Leon. There is no truth at all i' the oracle : The sessions shall proceed: this is mere falsehood.



Enter Servant. Serv. My lord the king, the king ! Leon.

What is the business ? Serv. O sir, I shall be hated to report it ! The prince your son, with mere conceit and fear Of the queen's speed, is gone.

145. with mere conceit, etc., by the mere imagination of the queen's fate.



How! gone! Serv.

Is dead. Leon. Apollo's angry; and the heavens them

Do strike at my injustice. [Hermione swoons.]

How now there!
Paul. This news is mortal to the queen: look

And see what death is doing.

Take her hence :
Her heart is but o'ercharged; she will recover :
I have too much believed mine own suspicion :
Beseech you, tenderly apply to her
Some remedies for life.
[Exeunt Paulina and Ladies, with Hermione.

Apollo, pardon
My great profaneness 'gainst thine oracle !
I'll reconcile me to Polixenes,
New woo my queen, recall the good Camillo,
Whom I proclaim a man of truth, of mercy ;
For, being transported by my jealousies
To bloody thoughts and to revenge, I chose
Camillo for the minister to poison
My friend Polixenes: which had been done,
But that the good mind of Camillo tardied
My swift command, though I with death and with
Reward did threaten and encourage him,
Not doing 't and being done : he, most humane
And fill'd with honour, to my kingly guest
Unclasp'd my practice, quit his fortunes here,
Which you knew great, and to the hazard
Of all incertainties himself commended,
No richer than his honour : how he glisters
Thorough my rust! and how his piety
Does my deeds make the blacker!

168. practice, knavery.


170 180

Re-enter PAULINA.

Woe the while !
O, cut my lace, lest my heart, cracking it,
Break too!

First Lord. What fit is this, good lady?
Paul. What studied torments, tyrant, hast for

What wheels ? racks ? fires ? what flaying ? boiling ?
In leads or oils ? what old or newer torture
Must I receive, whose every word deserves
To taste of thy most worst? Thy tyranny
Together working with thy jealousies,
Fancies too weak for boys, too green and idle
For girls of nine, O, think what they have done
And then run mad indeed, stark mad ! for all
Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it.
That thou betray'dst Polixenes, 'twas nothing;
That did but show thee, of a fool, inconstant
And damnable ingrateful : nor was 't much,
Thou wouldst have poison'd good Camillo's

To have him kill a king ; poor trespasses,
More monstrous standing by: whereof I reckon
The casting forth to crows thy baby-daughter
To be or none or little ; though a devil
Would have shed water out of fire ere donet:
Nor is 't directly laid to thee, the death
Of the young prince, whose honourable thoughts,
Thoughts high for one so tender, cleft the heart
That could conceive a gross and foolish sire
Blemish'd his gracious dam : this is not, no,
Laid to thy answer : but the last, – lords,



[blocks in formation]

185. but spices, mere season. adding inconstancy ings.

previous folly. 187. of a fool, inconstant,


When I have said, cry woe!'—the queen, the

queen, The sweet'st, dear'st creature 's dead, and venge

ance for 't Not dropp'd down yet. First Lord.

The higher powers forbid ! Paul. I say she's dead; I'll swear't. If word

nor oath
Prevail not, go and see: if you can bring
Tincture or lustre in her lip, her eye,
Heat outwardly or breath within, I'll serve you
As I would do the gods. But, O thou tyrant !
Do not repent these things, for they are heavier
Than all thy woes can stir : therefore betake thee 210
To nothing but despair. A thousand knees
Ten thousand years together, naked, fasting,
Upon a barren mountain, and still winter
In storm perpetual, could not move the gods
To look that way thou wert.

Go on, go on :
Thou canst not speak too much; I have deserved
All tongues to talk their bitterest.
First Lord.

Say no more :
Howe'er the business goes, you have made fault
'the boldness of your speech.

I am sorry for 't :
All faults I make, when I shall come to know them,
I do repent.

Alas! I have show'd too much
The rashness of a woman : he is touch'd
To the noble heart. What 's gone and what is

past help
Should be past grief : do not receive affliction
At my petition ; I beseech you, rather

Let me be punish'd, that have minded you
Of what you should forget. Now, good my liege,
Sir, royal sir, forgive a foolish woman :

220 230

The love I bore your queen-lo, fool again !-
I'll speak of her no more, nor of your children;
I'll not remember you of my own lord,
Who is lost too: take your patience to you,
And I'll say nothing.

Thou didst speak but well
When most the truth ; which I receive much better
Than to be pitied of thee. Prithee, bring me
To the dead bodies of my queen and son:
One grave shall be for both : upon them shall
The causes of their death appear, unto
Our shame perpetual. Once a day I 'll visit
The chapel where they lie, and tears shed there
Shall be my recreation : so long as nature
Will bear up with this exercise, so long
I daily vow to use it. Come and lead me
Unto these sorrows.




Bohemia. A desert country near

the sea.

Enter ANTIGONUS with a Child, and a Mariner.
Ant. Thou art perfect then, our ship hath

touch'd upon

The deserts of Bohemia ?

Ay, my lord ; and fear
We have landed in ill time : the skies look grimly
And threaten present blusters. In my conscience,
The heavens with that we have in hand are angry
And frown upon 's.
Ant. Their sacred wills be done!

Go, get aboard; Look to thy bark: I'll not be long before 231. remember, remind.

common grave. 237. upon them, on their 1. perfect, assured.

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