Page images

ear open. He was torn to pieces with a bear; this avouches the shepherd's son ; who has not only his innocence (which seems much) to justify him, but a handkerchief, and rings, of his, that Paulina knows.

1 Gent. What became of his bark, and his followers?

3 Gent. Wrecked the same instant of their master's death, and in the view of the shepherd; so that all the instruments, which aided to expose the child, were even then lost, when it was found. But, O, the noble combat, that, 'twixt joy and sorrow, was fought in Paulina! She had one eye declined for the loss of her husband; another elevated that the oracle was fulfilled. She lifted the princess from the earth ; and so locks her in embracing, as if she would pin her to her heart, that she might no more be in danger of losing.

1 Gent. The dignity of this act was worth the audience of kings and princes; for by such was it acted.

3 Gent. One of the prettiest touches of all, and that which angled for mine eyes, (caught the water, though not the fish,) was, when at the relation of the queen's death, with the manner how she came to it, (bravely confessed, and lamented by the king,) how attentiveness wounded his daughter ; till, from one sign of dolor to another, she did, with an alas! I would fain say, bleed tears; for, I am sure, my heart wept blood.

, Who was most marble there, changed color; some swooned, all sorrowed. If all the world could have seen it, the woe had been universal. 1 Gent. Are they returned to the court ?

. 3 Gent. No; the princess, hearing of her mother's statue, which is in the keeping of Paulina,-a piece many years in doing, and now newly performed by that rare Italian master, Julio Romano; who, had he himself eternity,' and could put breath into his work, would beguile nature of her custom, so perfectly he is her ape; he so near to Hermione hath done Hermione, that, they say, one would speak to her, and stand in

[ocr errors]

1 However misplaced the praise, it is no small honor to Julio Romano to be thus mentioned by the Poet. By eternity Shakspeare only means immortality.

hope of answer. Thither, with all greediness of affection, are they gone; and there they intend to sup.

2 Gent. I thought she had some great matter there in hand; for she hath privately, twice or thrice a day, ever since the death of Hermione, visited that removed house. Shall we thither, and with our company piece the rejoicing ?

1 Gent. Who would be thence, that has the benefit of access ? Every wink of an eye, some new grace will be born; our absence makes us unthrifty to our knowledge. Let's along. [Exeunt Gentlemen.

Aut. Now, had I not the dash of my former life in me, would preferment drop on my head. I brought the old man and his son aboard the prince; told him, I heard them talk of a fardel, and I know not what ; but he at that time, over-fond of the shepherd's daughter, (so he then took her to be,) who began to be much sea-sick, and himself little better, extremity of weather continuing, this mystery remained undiscovered. But 'tis all one to me; for had I been the finder-out of this secret, it would not have relished among my other discredits.

Enter Shepherd and Clown. Here come those I have done good to against my will, and already appearing in the blossoms of their fortune.

Shep. Come, boy; I am past more children; but thy sons and daughters will be all gentlemen born.

Clo. You are well met, sir. You denied to fight with me this other day, because I was no gentleman born. See you these clothes ? Say, you see them not, and think me still no gentleman born; you were best say, these robes are not gentlemen born. Give me the lie; do; and try whether I am not now a gentleman born.

Aut. I know, you are now, sir, a gentleman born.

Clo. Ay, and have been so any time these four hours.

1 1. e. remote.

Shep. And so have I, boy.

Clo. So you have;—but I was a gentleman born before my father; for the king's son took me by the hand, and called me, brother; and then the two kings called my father, brother; and then the prince, my brother, and the princess, my sister, called my father, father; and so we wept; and there was the first gentlemanlike tears that ever we shed.

Shep. We may live, son, to shed many more.

Clo. Ay; or else 'twere hard luck, being in so preposterous estate as we are.

Aut. I humbly beseech you, sir, to pardon me all the faults I have committed to your worship, and to give me your good report to the prince my master.

Shep. ''Pr’ythee, son, do; for we must be gentle, now we are gentlemen.

Clo. Thou wilt amend thy life?
Aut. Ay, an it like your good worship.

Clo. Give me thy hand. I will swear to the prince, thou art as honest a true fellow as any is in Bohemia.

Shep. You may say it, but not swear it.

Clo. Not swear it, now I am a gentleman ? Let boors and franklins' say it, I'll swear it.

Shep. How if it be false, son ?

Clo. If it be ne'er so false, a true gentleman may swear it in the behalf of his friend. And I'll swear to the prince, thou art a tall a fellow of thy hands, and that thou wilt not be drunk; but I know thou art no tall fellow of thy hands, and that thou wilt be drunk; but I'll swear it; and I would thou wouldst be a tall fellow of thy hands.

Aut. I will prove so, sir, to my power.

Clo. Ay, by any means prove a tall fellow. If I do not wonder how thou darest venture to be drunk, not being a tall fellow, trust me not.—Hark! the kings and the princes, our kindred, are going to see


1 i. e. yeomen. ? i. e. a bold, courageous fellow.

the queen's picture. Come, follow us; we'll be thy good masters.


SCENE III. The same. A Room in Paulina's



Camillo, Paulina, Lords and Attendants. Leon. O grave and good Paulina, the great comfort That I have had of thee! Paul.

What, sovereign sir, I did not well, I meant well. All my services, You have paid home: but that you have vouchsafed, With your crowned brother, and these your contracted Heirs of your kingdoms, my poor house to visit, It is a surplus of your grace, which never My life may last to answer. Leon.

O, Paulina,
We honor you with trouble. But we came
To see the statue of our queen: your gallery
Have we passed through, not without much content
In many singularities; but we saw not
That which iny daughter came to look upon,
The statue of her mother.

As she lived peerless,
So her dead likeness, I do well believe,
Excels whatever yet you looked upon,
Or hand of man hath done; therefore I keep it
Lonely, apart. But here it is; prepare
To see the life as lively mocked, as ever
Still sleep mocked death. Behold; and

Behold; and say, 'tis well.


. [PAUL. undraws a curtain and discovers a statue. I like your silence ; it the more shows off Your wonder. But yet speak ;—first, you, my liege, Comes it not something near ? Leon.

Her natural posture !


1 Good masters. It was a common petitionary phrase to ask a superio to be good lord, or good master to the supplicant.

2 The old copy reads lovely.

Chide me, dear stone; that I may say, indeed,
Thou art Hermione ; or, rather, thou art she,
In thy not chiding; for she was as tender
As infancy and grace.-But yet, Paulina,
Hermione was not so much wrinkled, nothing
So aged, as this seems.

O, not by much.
Paul. So much the more our carver's excellence;
Which lets go by some sixteen years, and makes her
As she lived now.

As now she might have done
So much to my good comfort, as it is
Now piercing to my soul. O, thus she stood,

Even with such life of majesty, (warm life,
As now it coldly stands,) when first I wooed her!
I am ashamed. Does not the stone rebuke me,
For being more stone than it?- royal piece,
There's magic in thy majesty; which has
My evils conjured to remembrance; and
From thy admiring daughter took the spirits,
Standing like stone with thee.

Per. And give me leave;
And do not say, 'tis superstition, that
I kneel, and then implore her blessing.–Lady,
Dear queen, that ended when I but began,
Give me that hand of yours, to kiss.

O patience ;
The statue is but newly fixed; the color's

Not dry.

Cam. My lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on;
Which sixteen winters cannot blow away,
So many summers, dry; scarce any joy
Did ever so long live ; no sorrow,
But killed itself much sooner.

Dear my brother,
Let him, that was the cause of this, have power
To take off so much grief from you, as he
Will piece up in himself.

Indeed, my lord,
If I had thought the sight of my poor image

« PreviousContinue »