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Enter CLEOMENES and DION.
Dion. The violent carriage of it
Will clear or end the business : when the oracle Cleo. The climate's delicate ; the air most (Thus by Apollo's great divine seal'd up) sweet;
Shall the contents discover, something rare Fertile the isle ; the temple much surpassing Even then will rush to knowledge.-G0,-fresh The common praise it bears.
horses ;Dion. I shall report, And gracious be the issue !
[Exeunt. For most it caught me, the celestial habits, (Methinks I so should term them) and the reverence
SCENE II.—The same. A Court of Justice. Of the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice ! How ceremonious, solemn, and unearthly
LEONTES, Lords, and Officers discovered, proIt was i' the offering !
perly seated. CLEO.
But, of all, the burst And the ear-deafening voice o' the oracle,
LEON. This sessions (to our great grief we Kin to Jove's thunder, so surpris'd my sense,
pronounce That I was nothing.
Even pushes 'gainst our heart; the party tried, Dion.
If the event o' the journey | The daughter of a king, our wife, and one
Proceed in justice ; which shall have due course, CLEO.
Great Apollo, Even to the guilt or the purgation.-
OFFI. It is his highness' pleasure that the queen I little like.
Appear in person here in court.—Silence !
a Silence !] In the old copies this word stands as a stage direction; but that it was intended for a command, to be spoken by
the officer, or by the ordinary crier, is evident. Compare the opening of the scene of Queen Katharine's trial in “ Henry VIII."
Enter HERMIONE, guarded; PAULINA and I
conspiring with Camillo to take away the life of Ladies, attending.
our sovereign lord the king, thy royal husband : LEON. Read the indictment.
the pretencewhereof being by circumstances partly OFFI. [Reads.] Hermione, queen to the worthy | laid open, thou, Hermione, contrary to the faith Leontes, king of Sicilia, thou art here accused and allegiance of a true subject, didst counsel and and arraigned of high treason, in committing aid them, for their better safety, to fly away by adultery with Polixenes, king of Bohemia; and night. * - pretence-] That is, plot, design, &c. So, in "Macbeth,”
" and thence Act 11. sc. 1,
Against the undivulg'd pretence I fight
Of treasonous malice
A moiety of the throne, a great king's daughter, | My life stands in the level of your dreams,
Your actions are my dreams; Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it You had a bastard by Polixenes, As I weigh grief," which I would spare: for honour, And I but dream'd it :-as you were past all 'T is a derivative from me to mine,
shame, And only that I stand for. I appeal
(Those of your factd are so,) so past all truth ; To your own conscience, sir, before Polixenes Which to deny, concerns more than avails; for as Came to your court, how I was in your grace, | Thy brat hath been cast out, like to itself, How merited to be so; since he came,
No father owning it, (which is, indeed, With what encounter so uncurrent I
More criminal in thee than it) so thou Have strain'd, to appear thus : " if one jot beyond Shalt feel our justice ; in whose easiest passage, The bound of honour, or in act or will
Look for no less than death.(1) That way inclining, harden'd be the hearts
Sir, spare your threats; Of all that hear me, and my near'st of kin
The bug which you would fright me with, I seek. Cry Fie! upon my grave!
To me can life be no commodity: LEON,
I ne'er heard yet The crown and comfort of my life, your favour, That any of these bolder vices wanted
I do give lost ; for I do feel it gone, Less impudence to gainsay what they did,
But know not how it went: my second joy, Than to perform it first.
And first-fruits of my body, from his presence HER.
That's true enough; I am barrd, like one infectious : my third comfort, Though 't is a saying, sir, not due to me.
Starr'd most unluckily, is from my breast, LEON. You will not own it.
The innocent milk in it ® most innocent mouth, HER.
More than mistress of Hald out to murder: myself on every post Which comes to me in name of fault, I must Proclaim'd a strumpet ; with immodest hatred, not
The child-bed privilege denied, which 'longs At all acknowledge. For Polixenes,
To women of all fashion ;-lastly, hurried (With whom I am accus'd) I do confess
Here to this place, i' the open air, before I lov'd him, -as in honour he requir'd,
I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege, With such a kind of love as might become Tell me what blessings I have here alive, A lady like me; with a love, even such,
That I should fear to die? Therefore, proceed. So and no other, as yourself commanded:
But yet hear this ; mistake me not;—no life, Which not to have done, I think had been in me I prize it not a straw :—but for mine honour, Both disobedience and ingratitude
(Which I would free) if I shall be condemn'd To you and toward your friend; whose love had Upon surmises,—all proofs sleeping else, spoke, .
But what your jealousies awake, I tell you Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely, 'T is rigour, and not law.—Your honours all, That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy,
I do refer me to the oracle :
This your request
Is altogether just :—therefore, bring forth,
[Exeunt certain Officers. LEON. You knew of his departure, as you HER. The emperor of Russia was my father : know
O, that he were alive, and here beholding What you have underta’en to do in 's absence. His daughter's trial! that he did but see HER. Sir,
The flatness of my misery,—yet with eyes You speak a language that I understand not :
Of pity, not revenge !
- For life, I prize it As I weigh grief, which I would spare:) It is surprising this passage should have passed without question, for “grief" must surely be an error. Hermione means that life to her is of as little estimation as the most trivial thing which she would part with; and she expresses the same sentiment shortly after, in similar terms,
«4 no life,
I prize it not a straw." Could she speak of "grief" as a trifle, of no moment or importance ?
With what encounter so uncurrent I
Have strain'd, to appear thus:]
This is not remarkably perspicuous; the sense appears to be, By what unwarrantable familiarity have I lapsed, that I should be made to stand as a public criminal thus ?
c- in the level ] To be in the level is to be within the range or compass :-" and therefore when under his covert or pertision he is gotten within his levell and bath the Winde fit and certaine, then hee shall make choice of his marke," &c.--MARKRAM's Hunger's Prevention, 1621, p. 45.
d (Those of your fact-i Those of your crime. Thus, is “ Pericles," Act IV. Sc. 3,
"Becoming well thy fact."
Re-enter Officers, with CLEOMENES and Dion. | New woo my queen ; recall the good Camillo,
Whom I proclaim a man of truth, of mercy; OFFI. You here shall swear upon this sword of
For, being transported by my jealousies justice,
To bloody thoughts and to revenge, I chose That you, Cleomenes and Dion, have
Camillo for the minister, to poison Been both at Delphos ; and from thence have
My friend Polixenes : which had been done, brought
But that the good mind of Camillo tardied This seal'd-up oracle, by the hand deliver'd
My swift command, though I with death, and with Of great Apollo's priest; and that, since then,
Reward, did threaten and encourage him, You have not dar'd to break the holy seal,
Not doing it, and being done: he, most humane, Nor read the secrets in 't.
And filld with honour, to my kingly guest CLEO, and Dion. All this we swear,
Unclasp'd my practice ; quit his fortunes here, LEON. Break up the seals, and read.
Which you knew great ; and to the hazard OFFI. [Reads.] Hermione is chaste ; Polizenes
Of all incertainties himself commended. blameless; Camillo a true subject; Leontes a
No richer than his honour, how he glisters jealous tyrant; his innocent babe truly begotten;
Thorough my rust! and how his piety and the king shall live without an heir, if that
Does my deeds make the blacker 16 which is lost be not found.(3)
LORDS. Now blessed be the great Apollo !
Woe the while ! As it is here set down.
| O, cut my lace ; lest my heart, cracking it,
1 LORD. What fit is this, good lady?
What wheels ? racks ? fires ? what flaying? ATTEN. My lord the king, the king !
• boiling LEON.
What is the business? | In leads or oils ? what old or newer torture ATTEN. O sir, I shall be hated to report it! Must I receive, whose every word deserves The prince your son, with mere conceit and fear To taste of thy most worst? Thy tyranny Of the queen's speed," is gone.
Together working with thy jealousies,LEON.
How! gone ? Fancies too weak for boys, too green and idle ATTEN.
Is dead. For girls of nine !-0, think what they have done, LEON. Apollo's angry; and the heavens them And then run mad indeed,-stark mad! for all selves
Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it. Do strike at my injustice. [HERMIONE faints.] That thou betray’dst Polixenes, 't was nothing, How now there!
That did but show thee of a fool, inconstant Paul. This news is mortal to the queen. And damnabled ingrateful ; nor was 't much, Look down,
Thou wouldst have poison'd good Camillo's honour, And see what death is doing
To have him kill a king ;-poor trespasses, LEON.
Take her hence: More monstrous standing by: whereof I reckon Her heart is but o'ercharg'd; she will recover : The casting forth to crows thy baby daughter, I have too much believ'd mine own suspicion : To be or none, or little,-though a devil Beseech you tenderly apply to her
Would have shed water out of fire, ere done't; Some remedies for life.
Nor is 't directly laid to thee, the death [Exeunt PAULINA and Ladies, with Of the young prince, whose honourable thoughts HERMIONE.
(Thoughts high for one so tender) cleft the heart Apollo, pardon
That could conceive a gross and foolish sire My great profaneness 'gainst thine oracle !
Blemish'd his gracious dam : this is not, no, I'll reconcile me to Polixenes ;
Laid to thy answer : but the last,-0, lords,
a of the queen's speed,-) of the queen's fate, hap, fortune.
No richer than his honour, how he glisters
Does my deeds make the blacker!!
and to the hazard
No richer than his honour. How he glisters," &c.