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Commune with you of this? but rather follow
Our forceful instigation? Our prerogative

Calls not your counsels; but our natural goodness
Imparts this: which,-if you (or stupified,
Or seeming so in skill,) cannot, or will not,
Relish as truth, like us; inform yourselves,
We need no more of your advice: the matter,
The loss, the gain, the ordering on't, is all
Properly ours.


And I wish, my liege,

You had only in your silent judgment tried it,
Without more overture.


How could that be?

Either thou art most ignorant by age,

Or thou wert born a fool. Camillo's flight,
Added to their familiarity,

(Which was as gross as ever touch'd conjecture, That lack'd sight only, nought for approbation,

But only seeing, all other circumstances

Made up to the deed,) doth push on this proceeding:

Yet, for a greater confirmation,

(For, in an act of this importance, 'twere

Most piteous to be wild,) I have despatch'd in post, To sacred Delphos, to Apollo's temple,

Cleomenes and Dion, whom you know

Of stuff'd sufficiency: Now, from the oracle They will bring all; whose spiritual counsel had, Shall stop, or spur me. Have I done well?

1 Lord. Well done, my lord.

Leon. Though I am satisfied, and need no more Than what I know, yet shall the oracle

Give rest to the minds of others; such as he,

Whose ignorant credulity will not

Come up to the truth: So have we thought it good,
From our free person she should be confin'd;
Lest that the treachery of the two, fled hence,
Be left her to perform. Come, follow us;
We are to speak in publick: for this business
Will raise us all.

Ant. [Aside.]

To laughter, as I take it,

If the good truth were known.




Enter Paulina and Attendants.

Paul. The keeper of the prison,-call to him;

[Erit an Attendant.

Let him have knowledge who I am.—Good lady!

No court in Europe is too good for thee,
What dost thou then in prison?—Now, good sir,

Re-enter Attendant, with the Keeper.

You know me, do you not?

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Keep. I may not, madam; to the contrary

I have express commandment.


Here's ado,

To lock up honesty and honour from

The access of gentle visitors!Is it lawful,
Pray you, to see her women? any of them?

Keep. So please you, madam, to put
Apart these your attendants, I shall bring
Emilia forth.

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[Exit Keeper.

I must be present at your conference.

Paul. Well, be it so, pr'ythee.

Here's such ado to make no stain a stain,

As passes colouring.

Re-enter Keeper, with Emilia.

Dear gentlewoman, how fares our gracious lady?
Emil. As well as one so great, and so forlorn,
May hold together: On her frights, and griefs,
(Which never tender lady hath borne greater,)
She is, something before her time, deliver❜d.
Paul. A boy?


A daughter; and a goodly babe, Lusty, and like to live: the queen receives Much comfort in't: says, My poor prisoner,

I am innocent as you.


I dare be sworn:

These dangerous unsafe lunes o'the king! beshrew them!

He must be told on't, and he shall: the office
Becomes a woman best; I'll take't upon me:

If I prove honey-mouth'd, let my tongue blister;

And never to my red-look'd anger be
The trumpet any more:-Pray you, Emilia,
Commend my best obedience to the queen;
If she dares trust me with her little babe,
I'll show't the king, and undertake to be
Her advocate to th' loudest: We do not know
How he may soften at the sight o'the child;
The silence often of pure innocence

Persuades, when speaking fails.


Most worthy madam,

Your honour, and your goodness, is so evident,
That your free undertaking cannot miss

A thriving issue; there is no lady living,

So meet for this great errand: Please your ladyship
To visit the next room, I'll presently

Acquaint the queen of your most noble offer;
Who, but to-day, hammer'd of this design;
But durst not tempt a minister of honour,
Lest she should be denied.


Tell her, Emilia,

I'll use that tongue I have: if wit flow from it, As boldness from my bosom, let it not be doubted I shall do good.


Now be you blest for it!

I'll to the queen: Please you, come something


Keep. Madam, if't please the queen to send the


I know not what I shall incur, to pass it,

Having no warrant.


You need not fear it, sir:

The child was prisoner to the womb; and is,

By law and process of great nature, thence
Free'd and enfranchis'd: not a party to
The anger of the king; nor guilty of,
If any be, the trespass of the queen.
Keep. I do believe it.


Do not you fear: upon

Mine honour, I will stand 'twixt you and danger.




Enter Leontes, Antigonus, Lords, and other

Leon. Nor night, nor day, no rest: It is but weakness

To bear the matter thus; mere weakness, if
The cause were not in being;-part o'the cause,
She, the adultress;-for the harlot king
Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
And level of my brain, plot-proof: but she
I can hook to me: Say, that she were gone,
Given to the fire, a moiety of my rest

Might come to me again.

1 Atten.

Leon. How does the boy?

1 Atten.

-Who's there?

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He took good rest to-night;

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