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Leo. Whilft I remember
Her and her virtues, I cannot forget
My blemishes in them, and so still think of
Paul. True, too true, my Lord;
If one by one you wedded all the world,
Or, from the all that are, took fomething good,
Leo. I think fo.
Kill'd? the I kill'd ? I did fo, but thou strik’st me
Upon my tongue, as in my thought. Now, good now,
Cleo. Not at all, good Lady;
You might have spoke a thousand things, that would
Your kindness better.
Paul. You are one of those, Would have him wed again.
Dio. If you would not fo,
You pity not the State, nor the remembrance
(30) Deftroy'd the fweet'ft companion, that e'er man
Paul. Teo true, my Lord.] A very flight examination will convince ev'ry intelligent reader, that, true, here has jump'd out of its place in all the editions. What the King would fay, is abfolutely complete without it and the placing it, where the printed copies have done, is an embarrafment to the fenfe. Thefe two reafons, I hope, will be fufficient to juftify my transposition.
With a fweet fellow to't?·
Paul. There is none worthy,
Refpecting her that's gone; befides, the gods
Is't not the tenor of his oracle,
That King Leontes fhall not have an heir,
'Till his loft child be found? which, that it fhall,
And come again to me; who, on my life,
The Crown will find an heir.
Care not for issue;
[To the King.
Left his to th' worthieft; fo his fucceffor
Was like to be the beft.
Leo. Good Paulina,
Who haft the memory of Hermione,
I know, in honour: O, that ever I
Had fquar'd me to thy counfel! then, even now
Paul. And left them
More rich, for what they yielded.
Leo. Thou fpeak'st truth:
No more fuch wives, therefore no wife; one worfe,
(31)- -would make ber fainted fpirit
Again poffefs ber corps, and on this flage
(Where we offenders now appear) foul wext,
And begin, &c.] 'Tis obvious, that the grammar is defective; and the fenfe confequently wants fupporting. The flight change I have made cures both and, furely, 'tis an improvement to the fentiment for the King to fay, that Paulina and he offended his dead wife's ghoft with the fubject of a second match; rather than in general terms to call themselves offenders, finners.
Paul. Had the fuch
She had just fuch caufe.
Leo. She had, and would incenfe me To murder her I married.
Paul. I fhould fo:
Were I the ghoft that walk'd, I'd bid you mark
Leo. Stars, ftars,
And all eyes elfe, dead coals: fear thou no wife :
Paul. Will you fwear
Never to marry, but by my free leave?
Leo. Never, Paulina; fo be blefs'd my spirit!
Paul. Unlefs another,
As like Hermione as is her picture,
Affront his eye.
Cleo. Good Madam, pray, have done.
Paul. Yet, if my Lord will marry; if you will, Sir; No remedy, but you will; give me the office
To chufe you a Queen; fhe fhall not be fo young
As, walk'd your first Queen's ghoft, it should take joy
Leo. My true Paulina,
We shall not marry, 'till thoù bid'st us.
Shall be, when your firft Queen's again in breath:
Enter a Gentleman.
Gent. One that gives out himfelf Prince Florizel, Son of Polixenes, with his Princess (she,
The fairest I have yet beheld) defires access
To your high prefence.
Leo. What with him? he comes not
Like to his father's greatnefs; his approach,
And thofe but mean.
Leo. His Princefs, fay you, with him?
Gent. Yes; the moft peerless piece of earth, I think, That e'er the fun fhone bright on.
Paul. Oh Hermione,
As every prefent time doth boast itself
Sir, you yourself
Gent. Pardon, Madam;
The one I have almoft forgot, (your pardon)
The other, when she has obtain'd your eye,
Will have your tongue too.
This is a creature,
Would the begin a fect, might quench the zeal
Of all profeffors elfe, make profelytes
Of who the but bid follow.
Paul. How? not women?
Gent. Women will love her, that fhe is a woman More worth than any man: men, that fhe is
The rarest of all women.
Leo. Go, Cleomines;
Yourfelf, (affitted with your honour'd friends)
Bring them to our embracement. Still 'tis ftrange,
Paul. Had our Prince
(Jewel of children) feen this hour, he had pair'd Well with this Lord; there was not full a month Between their births.
Leo. Pr'ythee, no more; ceafe; thou know'ft, He dies to me again, when talk'd of: fure, When I fhall fee this gentleman, thy speeches
Will bring me to confider that which may
Enter Florizel, Perdita, Cleomines, and others;
His very air, that I fhould call you brother,
Amity too of your brave father, whom
Flo. Sir, by his command
Have I here touch'd Sicilia, and from him
Give you all greetings, that a King, (at friend)
Which waits upon worn times, hath fomething feiz’d.
His wifh'd ability, he had himself
The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his
Meafur'd, to look upon you; whom he loves,
Leo. Oh, my brother!
Good gentleman, the wrongs I have done thee ftir (32) I loft a couple, that 'twixt beav'n and earth
Might thus bave flood, begetting wonder, as
You gracious couple do ;] I have several times hinted how dangerous to fenfe an innocent comma is, in the hands of ignorance, The editors, by a ftupid pointing here, had ftifled a fine byperbole, and blunder'd the text into abfurdity. Did the young Prince and his Confört ftand betwixt heaven and earth, fufpenfi ad ventos, as Virgil calls it? No fuch matter. The King's meaning is this; he had loft a pair of children, who might have ftood the wonder of two worlds, the objects of admiration to gods and men; as this young Prince and his Princess did, in his opinion,