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Her. That's true enough;
Though 'tis a saying, Sir, not due to me,
Leon. Yca will not own it.
Her. More than mistress of,
Which comes to me in name of fault, I must not
At all acknowledge. For Polixenes
(With whom I am accused), I do confess,
I loved him, as in honour he required ;
With such a kind of love, as might become
A lady like me; with a love, even such,
So, and no othér, as yourself commanded:
Which not to have done, I think, had been in me
Both disobedience and ingratitude,
To you, and toward your friend; whose love had spoke,
Even since it could speak, from an infant, frecly,
That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy,
I know not how it tastes, though it be dish'd
For me to try how: all I know of it,
Is, that Camillo was an honest man;
And, why he left your court, the gods themselves
Wotting no more than I, are ignorant.
Leon. You knew of his departure, as you know
What you have underta’en to do in his absence.
You speak a language that I understand not:
My life stands in the level* of your dreams,
'Which I lay down.
Leon. Your actions are my dreams;
You had a bastard by Polixenes,
And I but dream'd it:-As you were past all shame
(Those of your factt are so), so past all truth:
Which to deny, concerns more than avails:
Thy brat hath been cast out, like to itself,
No father owning it (which is, indeed,
More criminal in thee, than it), so thou
Shalt feel our justice; in whose easiest passage,
Look for no less than death.
Her. Sir, spare your threats ;
The bug, which you would fright me with, I seek.
To me can life be no commodity :
The crown and comfort of my life, your favour,
I do give lost; for I do feel it gone,
But know not how it went: My second joy,
And first fruits of my body, from his presence,
I am barrd, like one infectious: My third comfort,
Starr'd most unluckily,I is from my breast
The innocent milk in its most innocent mouth,
Haled out to murder : Myself on every post
Proclaim'd a strumpet: With immodest hatred,
The child-bed privilege denied, which 'longs
+ They who have done like you. # Il-starred. VOL. II,
To women of all fashion :-Lastly, hurried
Here to this place, i’ the open air, before
I have got strength of limit.* Now, my liege,
Tell me what blessings I have here alive,
That I should fear to die? Therefore, proceed.
But yet hear this; mistake me not :- No! life,
I prize it not a straw :-but for mine honour
(Which I would free), if I shall be condemn'd
Upon surmises; all proofs sleeping else,
But what your jealousies awake; I tell you,
'Tis rigour and not law.-Your honours all,
I do refer me to the oracle;
Apollo be my judge.
1 Lord. This your request
Is altogether just: therefore, bring forth,
And in Apollo's name, his oracle. [Exeunt certain OFFICERS.
Her. The emperor of Russia was my father:
O, that he were alive, and here beholding
His daughter's trial ! that he did but see
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 brought
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.
Offi. [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?
Offi. 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 a SERVANT, hastily.
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,t is gone.
Leon. How! gone?
Serv. Is dead.
Leon. Apollo's angry; and the heavens themselves
Do strike at my injustice. (HERMIONE faints.] How now there?
Paul. This news is mortal to the queen :-Look down
And see what death is doing.
Leon. 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 HERM.
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 it, 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 certain 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!
Paul. Woe the while !
0, cut my lace; lest my heart, cracking it,
Break too !
1 Lord. What fit is this, good lady?
Paul. What studied torments, tyrant, hast for me?
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 ungrateful: nor was't much,
Thou would’st have poison'd good Camillo's honour,
To have hiin 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 * don't:
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,–0, lords,
When I have said, cry, woe!-the queen, the queen,
The sweetest, dearest, creature's dead; and vengeance fort
Not dropp'd down yet.
Lord. The higher powers forbid !
Paul. I say, she's dead; I'll sweart: 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
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.
Leon. Go on, go on:
Thou canst not speak too much; I have deserved
All tongues to talk their bitterest.
1 Lord. Say no more;
Howe'er the business goes, you have made fault
1' the boldness of your speech.
Paul. I am sorry fort;
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's 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:
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.
Leon. Thou didst speak but well,
When most the truth; which I receive much beiter
Than to be pitied of thee. Prythee, 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 to these sorrows.
[Exeunt. SCENE III.-Bohemia. A desert Country near the Sea.
Enter ANTIGONUS, with the Child; and a MARINER.
Ant. Thou art perfect* then, our ship hath touch'd upon
The deserts of Bohemia ?
Mar. 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 us.
Ant. Their sacred wills be done !-Go, get aboard;
Look to thy bark; I'll not be long, before
I call upon thee.
Mar. Make your best haste; and go not
Too far i’ the land: 'tis like to be loud weather;
Besides, this place is famous for the creatures
Of prey that keep upon't.
Ant. Go thou away :
I'll follow instantly.
Mar. I am glad at heart To be so rid o the business.
[Exit. Ant. Come, poor babe:I have heard, (but not believed,) the spirits of the dead May walk again: if such thing be, thy mother Appear'd to me last night; for ne'ér was dream So like a waking. To me comes a creature, Sometimes her head on one side, some another; I never saw a vessel of like sorrow, So fill’d and so becoming : in pure white robes, Like very sanctity, she did approach My cabin where I lay: thrice bow'd before me; And, gasping to begin some speech, her eyes Became two spouts : the fury spent, anon Did this break from her: Good Antigonus, Since fate, against thy better disposition, Hath made thy person for the thrower-out Of my poor babe, according to thine oath,Places remote enough are in Bohemia, There weep, and leare it crying; and, for the babe Is counted lost for ever, Perdita, I prythee, callt; for this ungentle business,