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Aut. If I had a mind to be honest, I see Fortune would not suffer me: she drops booties in my mouth. I am courted now with a double occasion, gold and a means to do the prince my master good; which who knows how that may turn back to my advancement? I will bring these two moles, these blind ones, aboard him : if he think it fit to shore them again and that the complaint they have to the king concerns him nothing, 890 let him call me rogue for being so far officious; for I am proof against that title and what shame else belongs to 't. To him will I present them : there may be matter in it.




A room in LEONTES' palace.


and Servants.

Cleo. Sir, you have done enough, and have

perform'd A saint-like sorrow : no fault could you make, Which you have not redeem'd; indeed, paid down More penitence than done trespass : at the last, Do as the heavens have done, forget your evil; With them forgive yourself. Leon.

Whilst I remember Her and her virtues, I cannot forget

872. I am proof against that against legal arrest and punish. title. He may be called a rogue ment as a 'rogue and vaga. by way of abuse, but is secure bond.'



My blemishes in them, and so still think of
The wrong I did myself; which was so much,
That heirless it hath made my kingdom and
Destroy'd the sweet'st companion that e'er man
Bred his hopes out of.

True, too true, my

If, one by one, you wedded all the world,
Or from the all that are took something good,
To make a perfect woman, she you kill'd
Would be unparallel'd.

I think so.

Kill'd! She I kill'd! I did so: but thou strikest me Sorely, to say I did ; it is as bitter Upon thy tongue as in my thought : now, good now, Say so but seldom. Cleo.

Not at all, good lady:
You might have spoken a thousand things that

Have done the time more benefit and graced
Your kindness better.

You are one of those
Would have him wed again.

If you would not so,
You pity not the state, nor the remembrance
Of his most sovereign name; consider little
What dangers, by his highness' fail of issue,
May drop upon his kingdom and devour
Incertain lookers on. What were more holy
Than to rejoice the former queen is well?
What holier than, for royalty's repair,
For present comfort and for future good,
To bless the bed of majesty again
With a sweet fellow to 't?

There is none worthy 29.

Incertain lookers foreseen the danger without irresolute counsellors who have guarding against it.





Respecting her that's gone. Besides, the gods
Will have fulfill'd their secret purposes ;
For has not the divine Apollo said,
Is't not the tenour of his oracle,
That king Leontes shall not have an heir
Till his lost child be found ? which that it shall,
Is all as monstrous to our human reason
As my Antigonus to break his grave
And come again to me; who, on my life,
Did perish with the infant. 'Tis your counsel
My lord should to the heavens be contrary,
Oppose against their wills. (To Leontes.] Care

not for issue;
The crown will find an heir: great Alexander
Left his to the worthiest; so his successor
Was like to be the best.

Good Paulina,
Who hast the memory of Hermione,
I know, in honour, O, that ever I
Had squared me to thy counsel! then, even now,
I might have look'd upon my queen's full eyes,
Have taken treasure from her lips-

And left them
More rich for what they yielded.

Thou speak'st truth. No more such wives; therefore, no wife : one worse, And better used, would make her sainted spirit Again possess her corpse, and on this stage, Where we offenders now, appear soul-vex'd,

35. Respecting, in comparison however, even for Shakespeare's with.

later style, and many alterations

have been proposed, the most 59. Where we offenders now. plausible being, ('Where we This differs from Ff only in offenders now appear, soul-ver'd) ending the subordinate sentence begin "And why to at now, appear' being under (Capell); '(Where we offenders stood with it as well as with the move) appear and begin' (Delius principal. The ellipsis is harsh, conj.)

me ?"


And begin, "Why to me?'

Had she such power,
She had just cause.

She had ; and would incense me
To murder her I married.

I should so.
Were I the ghost that walk'd, I'ld bid you mark
Her eye, and tell me for what dull part in 't
You chose her; then I'ld shriek, that even your



Should rift to hear me ; and the words that follow'd
Should be “Remember mine.'.

Stars, stars,
And all eyes else dead coals ! Fear thou no wife;
I'll have no wife, Paulina.

Will you swear
Never to marry but by my free leave?

Leon. Never, Paulina; so be blest my spirit !
Paul. Then, good my lords, bear witness to his

Cleo. You tempt him over-much.

Unless another,
As like Hermione as is her picture,
Affront his eye.

Good madam,-

I have done.
Yet, if my lord will marry,-if you will, sir,
No remedy, but you will, --give me the office
To choose you a queen : she shall not be so young
As was your former ; but she shall be such
As, walk'd your first queen's ghost, it should take


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60. 'Why to me ?' sc. this humiliation. The Camb. edds. compare the opening of Jonson's Execration upon Vulcan :

And why to me this? thou lame god

of fire,
What have I done thus to provoke

thy ire?
75. Afront, confront.

To see her in your arms.

My true Paulina,
We shall not marry till thou bid'st us.

Shall be when your first queen 's again in breath;
Never till then.


Enter a Gentleman.
Gent. One that gives out himself Prince Florizel,
Son of Polixenes, with his princess, she
The fairest I have yet beheld, desires access
To your high presence.

What with him ? he comes not
Like to his father's greatness: his approach,
So out of circumstance and sudden, tells us
'Tis not a visitation framed, but forced
By need and accident. What train ?

But few,
And those but mean.

His princess, say you, with him ? Gent. Ay, the most peerless piece of earth, I

That e'er the sun shone bright on.

O Hermione,
As every present time doth boast itself
Above a better gone, so must thy grave
Give way to what 's seen now! Sir, you yourself
Have said and writ so, but your writing now
Is colder than that theme, ‘She had not been,
Nor was not to be equallid ;'_thus your verse
Flow'd with her beauty once : 'tis shrewdly ebb’d,
To say you have seen a better.

84. a Gentleman. Theobald's 90. out of circumstance, with. alteration for Ff a Servant ; the out ceremony. context (v. 98 f) implying a higher rank

100. that theme, Hermione.


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