Page images

A federary with her, one that knows
What she should be asham’d to know herself,
But with her most vile principal ; that she's
A bed-swerver, even as bad as those
The vulgar give bold'At 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.

Leo. No, if I do mistake
In those foundations which I build upon,
The center is not big enough to bear
A school-boy's top. Away with her to prison :
He who shall speak for her, is far off guilty
In that he speaks.

Her. There's some ill planet reigns ;
I must be patient, 'till the heavens look
With aspect of more favour. Good my Lords,
I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
Commonly are, the want of which vain dew
Perchance hall dry your pities; but I have
That honourable grief lodg'd here, which burns
Worse than tears drown : 'beseech you all, my Lords,
With thoughts so qualified as your charities
Shall best instruct you, measuré me; and fo
The King's will be perform'd!

Leo. Shall I be heard?

Her. Who is't that goes with me?'beseech your Highness, My women may be with me, for you see My plight requires it. Do not weep, good fools, There is no cause : when you shall know your mistress 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 with'd to see you sorry, now I trust I shall. My women, come, you've leave.


Leo. Go, do our bidding ; hence !

[Ex. Queen-guarded, and Ladies. Lord. 'Beseech your Highness, call the Queen again.

Ant. Be certain what you do, Sir, left your justice
Prove violence, in the which three great ones fuffer,
Your self, your Queen, your son.

Lord. -For her, my Lord,
I dare my life lay down, and will do's, Sir,
Please you t'accept it, that the Queen is spotless
I'th' eyes of heaven, and to you; I mean
In this which you accuse her.

Ant. If it prove
She's otherwise, I'll keep my ftable-land * where
I lodge my wife, I'll go in couples with her :
Than when I feel, and fee her, no further trust her;
For every inch of woman in the world,
Ay, every dram of woman's flesh is false,
If the be.

Leo. Hold your peaces.
Lord. Good my Lord !

Ant. It is for you we speak, not for our selses :
You are abused by fome putter-on,
That will be damn'd for’t ; would I knew the villain,
I would land-damn: him : be the honour-flaw'd,
I have three daughters; th' eldeft is eleven ;
The second, and the third, nine, and some five;
If this prove true, they?H pay for t. By mine honour,
I'll geld 'em all : fourteen they fhall not see
To bring false generations: they are co-heirs,

Stable fand (ftabilis ftatio as Spelman interpréts it) is a term of the Forelt-Laws, and signifies a place where a Deer-ftcaler fixes bis ftand under fome convenient cover, and keeps watch for the purpofe of killing Deer as they passby. From the place it came to be applied also to the Person, and any man taken in a forest in that situation with a gun or how in his hand was presumed to be an of. fender and had the name of a Stable.ftand. In all former editions this hath becn printed fables, and it may perhaps bè obje&ted that another syllable aducd, spoils the smoothness of the verse. But by pronouncing table short che mcafure will very well-bearit accord*ing to the liberty allowed in this kind of writing, and which Sbakef-. Dear Acyer scruples to use.

And I had rather glib my self, than they
Should not produce fair issue.

Leo. Cease, no more :
You smell this business with a sense as cold
As is a dead man's nose ; I see't, and feelit,
As you feel doing thus ; and see withal

[Laying bold of bis arm, The instruments I feel.

Ant. If it be lo,
We need no grave to bury honesty,
There's not a grain of it, the face to sweeten
Of the whole dungy earth.

Leo, What ? lack I credit ?

Lord, I had rather you did lack than I, my Lord,
Upon this ground; and more it would content me
To have your honour true, than your suspicion ;
Be blam'd for’t how you might.

Leo. Why, what need we
Commune with you for this ? not rather follow
Our forceful instigation ? our prerogative
Calls not your counsels, but our natural goodness
Imparts this; which if you, or stupified,
Or seeming so in skill, cannot, or will not
Relish' a truth like us ; inform yourselves,
We need no more of your advice: the matter,
The loss, the gain, the ordering on't, are all
Properly ours.

Ant. And I wish, my Liege,
You had only in your filent judgment try'd it
Without more overture.

Leo. 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 touch'd conjecture,
That lack'd fight only, nought for approbation;
But only seeing, all other circumstances
Made up to th' deed) doth push on this proceeding;
Yet for a greater confirmation,
(For in an act of this importance, 'twere

The word approbation here fignifics, proof.

Most piteous to be wild) I've dispatch'd in poft,
To facred Delphos, to Apollo's temple,
Cleomines 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 on. Have I done well?

Lord, Well done, my Lord.

Leo. Tho' I am satisfy'd, and need no more
Than what I know, yet shall the Oracle
Give rest to th' minds of others; such as he,
Whose ignorant credulity will not
Come up to th' truth. So we have thought it good
From our free person she thould be confind,
Lest that the treachery of the two, filed hence,
Be left her to perform. Come, follow us,
We are to speak in publick; for this business
Will raise us all.
Ant. To laughter, as I take it,

[Ande. If the good truth were known.

SCENE III. A Prison:
Enter Paulina and a Gentleman, with other Attendants,

Pau. The keeper of the prison, call to him: [Exit Gea.
Let him have knowledge who I am. Good Lady,
No Court in Europe is too good for thee;
What doft thou then in prison ? now, good Sir,
You know me, do you not ?

(Re-enter Gentleman with the Goaler,
Goa. For a worthy Lady,
And one whom much I honour.

Pau. Pray you then
Conduct me to the Queen.

Goa. I may not, Madam;
To th' contrary I have express commandment,

Pau. Here's a do
To lock up honesty and honour from
Th' access of gentle visitors! It's lawful,
Pray you, to see her women ? any of them?

Goa. If it so please you, Madam,
*To put a.part these your attendants, I


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Shall bring Emilia forth.'

Pau. I pray now, call her : Withdraw your felves. [To ber Attendants who go out

Goa. And, Madam, I must be Prefent at all your conference.

Pau. Well, well ; Be it so, pr’ythee.

Enter Emilia. Here's such a-do to make no ftain a ftain, As passes colouring. Dear gentlewoman, How fairs our gracious Lady?

Emil. As well as one fo great and so forlorn May hold together; on her frights and griefs, Which never tender Lady hath born greater, She is, something before her time, deliver'd.

Pau. A boy ?

Emil. A daughter, and a goodly babe. Lusty, and like to live : the Queen receives Much comfort in’t ; says my poor prisoner, I'm innocent as you.

Pau. I dare be sworn :
These dang rous, unfafe lunes i'th' King, beshrew thema!
He must be told of it, and shall; the office
Becomes a woman beft. I'll take't
If 1 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 dares trust me with her little babe,
I'll fhew't the King, and undertake to be
Her advocate to th' loud'ft. We do not know
How he may foften at the fight o'th' child :
The filence often of pure innocence
Persuades, when speaking fails.

Emil. Most worthy Madam,
Your honour and your goodness is so evident,
That your free undertaking cannot miss
A thriving issue: there's no Lady living
So meet for this great errand. Please your Ladyship
To viĝt the next room, I'll presently


upon me.

« PreviousContinue »