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90

It is yours;

His hopeful son's, his babe's, betrays to slander,
Whose sting is sharper than the sword's; and

will not-
For, as the case now stands, it is a curse
He cannot be compellid to 't-once remove
The root of his opinion, which is rotten
As ever oak or stone was sound
Leon.

A callat
Of boundless tongue, who late hath beat her

husband
And now baits me! This brat is none of mine;
It is the issue of Polixenes :
Hence with it, and together with the dam
Commit them to the fire !

Paul.
And, might we lay the old proverb to your charge,
So like you, 'tis the worse. Behold, my lords,
Although the print be little, the whole matter
And copy of the father, eye, nose, lip,
The trick of 's frown, his forehead, nay, the valley, 100
The pretty dimples of his chin and cheek,
His smiles,
The.very mould and frame of hand, nail, finger:
And thou, good goddess Nature, which hast

made it
So like to him that got it, if thou hast
The ordering of the mind too, 'mongst all colours
No yellow in 't, lest she suspect, as he does,
Her children not her husband's !
Leon.

A gross hag!
And, lozel, thou art worthy to be hang'd,
That wilt not stay her tongue.
Ant.

Hang all the husbands
That cannot do that feat, you 'll leave yourself
Hardly one subject.
90. callat, trull, loose woman. 109. lozel, rogue.

IIO

Leon.

Once more, take her hence.
Paul. A most unworthy and unnatural lord
Can do no more.
Leon.

I 'll ha' thee burnt.
Paul.

I care not:
It is an heretic that makes the fire,
Not she which burns in 't. I'll not call you tyrant ;
But this most cruel usage of your queen,
Not able to produce more accusation
Than your own weak-hinged fancy, something

savours

120

Of tyranny and will ignoble make you,
Yea, scandalous to the world.
Leon.

On your allegiance,
Out of the chamber with her !

Were I a tyrant,
Where were her life ? she durst not call me so,
If she did know me one.

Away with her!
Paul. I pray you, do not push me; I'll be gone.
Look to your babe, my lord ; 'tis yours : Jove send

her
A better guiding spirit! What needs these hands?
You, that are thus so tender o'er his follies,
Will never do him good, not one of you.
So, so: farewell ; we are gone.

Leon. Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to this.
My child ? away with 't! Even thou, that hast
A heart so tender o'er it, take it hence
And see it instantly consumed with fire;
Even thou and none but thou. Take it up straight:
Within this hour bring me word 'tis done,
And by good testimony, or I'll seize thy life,
With what thou else call'st thine. If thou refuse
And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so;
The bastard brains with these my proper hands
Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire ;
For thou set’st on thy wife.

[Exit. 130

140

150

Ant.

I did not, sir :
These lords, my noble fellows, if they please,
Can clear me in 't.
Lords.

We can: my royal liege,
He is not guilty of her coming hither.

Leon. You 're liars all.
First Lord. Beseech your highness, give us

better credit:
We have always truly served you, and beseech you
So to esteem of us, and on our knees we beg,
As recompense of our dear services
Past and to come, that you do change this purpose,
Which being so horrible, so bloody, must
Lead on to some foul issue : we all kneel.

Leon. I am a feather for each wind that blows : Shall I live on to see this bastard kneel And call me father ? better burn it now Than curse it then. But be it; let it live. It shall not neither. You, sir, come you hither ; You that have been so tenderly officious With Lady Margery, your midwife there, To save this bastard's life,—for 'tis a bastard, So sure as this beard's grey,—what will you ad

venture
To save this brat's life?
Ant.

Any thing, my lord,
That my ability may undergo
And nobleness impose : at least thus much:
I'll pawn the little blood which I have left
To save the innocent: any thing possible.

Leon. It shall be possible. Swear by this sword
Thou wilt perform my bidding.
Ant.

I will, my lord.

160

160. Lady Margery, a con 162. this beard, i.e. Antitemptuous term for a woman. gonus'.

164. undergo, undertake.

170

180

Leon. Mark and perform it, see'st thou ! for the

fail
Of any point in 't shall not only be
Death to thyself but to thy lewd-tongued wife,
Whom for this time we pardon. We enjoin thee,
As thou art liege-man to us, that thou carry
This female bastard hence and that thou bear it
To some remote and desert place quite out
Of our dominions, and that there thou leave it,
Without more mercy, to it own protection
And favour of the climate. As by strange fortune
It came to us, I do in justice charge thee,
On thy soul's peril and thy body's torture,
That thou commend it strangely to some place
Where chance may nurse or end it.

Ant. I swear to do this, though a present death
Had been more merciful. Come on, poor babe :
Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens
To be thy nurses !

Wolves and bears, they say, Casting their savageness aside have done Like offices of pity. Sir, be prosperous In more than this deed does require! And blessing 190 Against this cruelty fight on thy side, Poor thing, condemn’d to loss !

[Exit with the child. Leon.

No, I'll not rear Another's issue.

Take it up.

Enter a Servant. Serv.

Please your highness, posts From those you sent to the oracle are come An hour since: Cleomenes and Dion,

178. it, its; a form of the There is no instance of its in any possessive current for a few edition of a Shakespeare play years of the early seventeenth published in his lifetime. century, when his was obsoles 182. commend, commit. cent and its not yet stal

190. require, claim, deserve,

200

Being well arrived from Delphos, are both landed,
Hasting to the court.

First Lord. So please you, sir, their speed
Hath been beyond account.
Leon.

Twenty three days
They have been absent: 'tis good speed; foretells
The great Apollo suddenly will have
The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords;
Summon a session, that we may arraign
Our most disloyal lady, for, as she hath
Been publicly accused, so shall she have
A just and open

trial. While she lives My heart will be a burthen to me. And think upon my bidding.

(Exeunt

Leave me,

ACT III.

SCENE I. A sea-port in Sicilia.

Enter CLEOMENES and Dion.

Cleo. The climate's delicate, the air most sweet, Fertile the isle, the temple much surpassing The common praise it bears. Dion.

I shall report, For most it caught me, the celestial habits, Methinks I so should term them, and the reverence Of the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice ! How ceremonious, solemn and unearthly It was i' the offering ! Cleo.

But of all, the burst And the ear-deafening voice o' the oracle,

2. the isle; see note to ii. 1. 183.

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