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That way inclining; harden'd be the hearts
Of all that hear me, and my near'st of kin
Cry, Fie upon my grave!

Leon. I ne'er heard yet,
That any of these bolder vices wanted
Less impudence to gainsay what they did,
Than to perform it first.

Her. That's true enough;
Though 'tis a saying, Sir, not due to me.

Leon. You 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 accus'd, ) I do confess, I lov'd him, as in honour he requir’d; With such a kind of love, as might become A lady like me; with a love, even such, So, and no other, 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


Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely,
That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy,
I know mot how it tastes; though it be dish'd
For me to try hovvi all I know of it,
Is, that Camillo was an homest 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.

Her. Sir,
You speak a language that I unterstand not:
My life stands in the level of your dreams,
Which I'll lay down.

Leon. Your actions are my dreams;

Yo had a bastard by Polixemes,
And I but dream'd it: — As you were past all shame,
(Those of your fact are so, ) so past all truth:
Which to demy, concerns more than avails:
For as -
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 yours 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 barr'd, like one infectious : My third comfort,
Starr'd most unluckily, 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.
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 :
0, that he were alive, and here beholding
His daughter's trial! that he did but see
The fatness of my misery; yet with cyes
Of pity, not revenge! -

Re-enter Officers, with CLEoNIENEs and Dron. Offi. 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 them, You have not dar'd to break the holy seal, Nor read the secrets in't. Cleo. Dion. All this we swear. Leon. Break up the seals, and read. Ossi. [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. w Lords. Now blessed be the great Apollo! Her. Praised 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, haftily. Serv. My Lord the King, the King!

Leon. What is the business 2

Serv. O Sir, I shall be hated to report it:
The Prince your son, with mere conceit and fear
Of the Queen's speed, is gone.

Leon. How ! gone?

Serv. Is dead.

Leon. Apollo's angry; and the heavens themselves Do strike at my injustice. [HERMI on E faints. J - How now there 2 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'ercharg’d; she will recover. - . I have too much believ'd mine own suspicion: 'Beseech you, tenderly apply to her Some remedies for life. — Apollo, pardon [ Exeunt PAULINA and ladies, with HERMIon E. 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 IMy 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 ill'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!

He-enter PAULINA.

Paul. Woe the while! o, 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 Y fires 2 What flaying 2 boiling, In leads, or oils 2 what old, or newer torture IMust 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 dome, 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 him 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, cre 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, mo, Laid to thy answer: But the last, - O, Lords, When I have said, cry, woe! — the Queen, the


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