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Ant. I did not, Sir: These lords, my noble fellows, if they please, Can clear me ill't. 1. Lord. We can ; my royal Liege, He is not guilty of her coming hither. Leon. ... You are liars all. 1. Lord. "Beseech your Highness, give us better credit: We have always truly serv'd you; and beseech So to esteem, of us: And on our knees we beg, (As recompence 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 a"
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;
[ To ANTIG on vs.
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.
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.
4nt, I will, my Lord.
Leon. Mark, and perform it; (seest 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 &njoin thee, As thou art liegeman 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 its 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: Take it up. 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 de thy nurses! VVolves, and bears, they say, Casting their savageness aside, have done Like offices of pity. — Sir, be prospefous In more than this deed does require! and blessing, 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. 1. Attend. Please your Highness, posts, From those you sent to the oracle, are come An hour since: Cleomenes and Dion, Being well arriv'd from Delphos, are both landed, Hasting to the court. 1. Lord. So please you, Sir, their speed Hath been beyond account. Leon. Twenty-three days They have becil absent; 'Tis good speed; foretels,
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
Bcen publickly accus'd, so shall she have
A just and open trial. While she lives,
My heart will be a burden to me. Leave me;
And think upon my bidding. [Exeunt.
A C T I I I. S C E N E I.
The same. A Street in some town.
Enter CLEoNIENEs and D10N.
Cleo. The climate's delicate; the air most sweet; Fertile the isle; temple much surpassing The common praise it bears.
Dion. I shall report,
For most it caught me, the celestial habits,
(Methinks, Iso should term them, ) and the reverence
Of the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice!
How ceremonious, solemn, and unearthly
It was i'the offering !
Cleo. Butt, of all, the burst
And the ear-deafening voice o'the oracle,
I(in to Jove's thunder, so surpriz'd my sense,
That I was nothing.
Dion. If the event o'the journey
Prove as successful to the Queen, - O, be’t so? –
As it hath been to us, rare, pleasant, speedy,
The time is worth the use on't.
Cleo. Great Apollo,
Turm all to the best! These proclamations,
So forcing faults upon Hermione,
I little like.
Dion. The violent carriage of it
Will clear, or end, the business : When the oracle,
(Thus by Apollo's great divine seal’d up,)
Shall the contents discover, something rare,
Even them will rush to knowledge. — Go, - fresh
And gracious be the issue! [Exeunt.
LE on TEs, Lords, and Officers, appear properly
Ileon. This sessions (to our great grief, we pro-
Even pushes 'gainst our heart : The party tried,
The daughter of a King; our wife; and one
Of us too much belov'd. — Let us be clear'd
Of being tyrannous, since we so openly
Proceed in justice; which shall have due course,
Even to the guilt, or the purgation. --
Produce the prisoner. -
Offi. It is his Highness' pleasure, that the Queen
Appear in person here in court. — Silence 1
HERMI on E is brought in, guarded; PAULINA and Ladies, attending.
Leon. Read the indictment.
Offi. Hermione, Queen to the worthy Leontes, Hing of Sicilia, thou art here accused and arraigned of high treason, in committing adultery with Polixenes, Ising of Bohemia; and conspiring with Camillo to take away the life of our sovereign,
Wol, WI, 9
lord the King, thy royal husband; the pretence
whereof being by circumstance, partly laid open,
thou, Hermione, contrary to the faith and alle-
giance of a true Jubject, didst counsel and aid
them, for their better safety, to fly away by
Her. Since what I am to say, must be but that
Which contradicts my accusation; and
The testimony on my part, mo other
But what comes from myself; it shall scarcelooot me
To say, Not guilty; mine integrity,
Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it,
Be so receiv'd. But thus, – If powers divine
Behold our human actions, (as they do, )
I doubt not then, but innocence shall make
False accusation blush, and tyranny -
Tremble at patience. — You, my Lord, best know,
(Who least will seem to do so, ) my past life
Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true,
As I am now unhappy; which is more
Than history can pattern, though devis'd,
And play'd, to take spectators: For behold me, -
A fellow of the royal bed, which owe
A moiety of the throne, a great King's daughter,
The mother to a hopeful Prince, — here standing,
To prate and talk for life, and honour, 'fore
Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it
As I weigh grief, which I would spare: for honour,
'Tis a derivative from me to mine, -
And only that I stand for. I appeal
To your own conscience, Sir, before Polixenes
Came to your court, how I was in your grace,
How merited to be so; since he came,
With what encounter so uncurrent I
Have strain'd, to appear thus: if one jot beyond
The bound of honour; or, in act, or will,