« PreviousContinue »
Leo. Whilft I remember
Her and her virtues, I cannot forget
My blemishes in them, and so ftill think of
The wrong I did myself; which was so much,
That heir-less it hath made my kingdom ; and
Destroy'd the sweet'st companion, that e'er man (30)
Bred his hopes out of.
Paul. True, too true, my Lord;
If one by one you wedded all the world,
Or, from the all that are, took something good,
To make a perfect woman; she, you kill'd,
Would be unparalellid.
Leo. I think so. Kill'd ?
Kill'd ? she I kill'd? I did so, but thou strik'st me
Sorely, to say I did; it is as bitter
Upon my tongue, as in my thought. Now, good now,
Say so but seldom.
Cleo. Not at all, good Lady; You might have spoke a thousand things, that would Have done the time more benefit, and grac'd Your kindness better.
Paul. You are one of those,
Would have him wed again.
Dio. If you would not so,
You pity not the State, nor the remembrance
Of his most fovereign name; consider little,
What dangers (by his Highness' fail of issue)
May drop upon bis Kingdom, and devour
Jocertain lookers on. What were more holy,
Than to rejoice, the former Queen is well ?
What holier, than for royalty's repair,
For present comfort, and for future good,
To bless the bed of Majesty again
(30) Deffrey'd tke sweet's companion, that e'er man
Bred bis hope's out of, true. Paul. Too true, iny Lord.) A very night examination will convince cv'ry intelligent reader, that, true, here has jump'd out of its place in all the editions. What the King would say, is absolutely complete without it: and the placing it, where the printed copies have done; is an embarrassment to the sense. These two reasons, I hope, will be fufficiënt io justify my transposition.
With a sweet fellow to't?
Paul. There is none worthy,
Respecting her that's gone; besides, the god's
Will have fulfill'd their secret purposes:
For has not the divine Apollo said,
Is't not the tenor of his oracle,
That King Leontes Mall not have an heir,
'Till his loft child be found? which, that it Mall,
Is all as monstrous to our human reason,
As my Antigonus to break his grave,
And come again to me; who, on my life,
Did perish with the infant. 'Tis your counsel,
My Lord should to the heav'ns be contrary;
Oppose against their wills.
Care not for issue;
[To the King: -
The Crown will find an heir. Great Alexander
Left his to th' worthieft; fo his successor.
Was like to be the best.
Leo. Good Paulina,
Who haft the memory of Hermione,
I know, in honour: O, that ever !
Had squar'd me to thy counsel! then, even now:
I might have look’d upon my Queen's full eyes,
Have taken treasure from her lips !:
Paul. And left them
More rich, for what they yielded.
Leo. Thou speak'st truth: No more such wives, therefore no wife ; one worse, And better us’d, would make her sainted spirit (31) Again poffefs her corps; and on this stage, (Where we offend her now) appear soul-vext, And begin, Why to me (31)
Paul. Had the such
power, She had just such cause.
Leo. She had, and would incense me
To murder her I married.
Paul. I should so :
Were I the ghost that walk’d, I'd bid you mark
Her eye, and tell me, for what dull
You chose her; then I'd fhriek, that even your ears
Shou'd rift to hear me, and the words that follow'd
Should be, Remember mine.
Leo. Stars, ftars,
And all eyes else, dead coals : fear thou no wife:
I'll have no wife, Paulina.
Never to marry, but by my free leave ?
Leo. Never, Paulina; fo be bless'd my spirit !
Paul. Then, good my Lords, bear witness to his oath.
Cleo. You tempt him over-much.
Paul. Unless another,
As like Hermione as is her picture,
Afront 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 chase you a Queen ; she shall not be fo young
As was your former ; but she shall be fuch,
As, walk'd your first Queen's ghost, it should take joy
To see her in your arms.
Leo. My true Paulina,
We shall not marry, 'till thou bid'st us.
Shall be, when your first Queen's again in breath :
Never till then.
Enter a Gentleman.
Gent. One that gives out himself Prince Florizel,
Son of Polixenes, with his Princess (the,
The fairest I have yet beheld) desires access
To your high presence.
Leo. What with him he comes not
Like to his father's greatness; his approach,
So out of circumstance and sudden, tells us,
'Tis not a visitation fram’d, but forc'd
By need and accident. What train
Gent. But few,
And those but mean.
Leo. His Princess, say you, with him?
Gent. Yes; the most peerless piece of earth, I think, That e'er the sun fhone bright on.
Paul. Oh Hermione,
As every present time doth boast itself
Above a better, gone; so muft thy grave
Give way to what's seen now. Sir, you yourself
Have said, and writ so; but your writing now
Is colder than that theme; fhe had not been,
Nor was she to be equall'd ; thus your verse
Flow'd with her beauty once ; 'tis fhrewdly ebb’d,
To say, you've seen a better.
Gent. Pardon, Madam;
The one I have almost 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 sect, might quench the zeal
Of all profeffors else, make profelites
Of who she but bid follow.
Paul. How? not women ?
Gent. Women will love her, that she is a woman
More worth than any man: men, that she is
The rarest of all women.
Leo. Go, Cleomines ;
Yourself, (aflisted with your honour'd friends)
Bring them to our embracement.
Still 'tis strange,
He thus should steal upon us. [Exit Cleomines.
Paul. Had our Prince
(Jewel of children) seen this hour, he had pair'd
Well with this Lord; there was not full a month
Between their births.
Leo. Pr’ythee, no more; cease ; thou know'st,
He dies to me again, when talk'd of : sure,
When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches
Will bring me to consider that which may
Unfurnish me of reason. They are come.
Enter Florizel, Perdita, Cleomines, and others..
Your mother was moft true to wedlock, Prince,
For she did print your royal father off,
Conceiving you. Were I but twenty-one,
Your father's image is so hit in you,
His very air, that I should call you brother,
As I did him, and speak of something wildly
By us perform'd before. Moit dearly welcome,
As your fair Princess, goddess:- oh! alas!
I lost a couple, that 'twixt heav'n and earth (32))
Might thus have stood begetting wonder, as
You gracious couple do; and then I loft
(All mine own folly) the society,
Amity too of your brave father, whom
(Tho' bearing misery) I defire my life.
Once more to look on.
Flo. Sir, by his command
Have I here touch'd Sicilia, and from him
Give you all greetings, that a King, (at friend)
Can fend his brother; and but infirmity,
Which waits upon worn times, hath something seiz?d?
His will'd ability, he had himself
The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his
Measur’d, to look upon you ; whom he loves,
He bade me say so, more than all the scepters;
And those that bear them living.
Leo. Oh, my brother! Good gentleman, the wrongs I have done thee ftir(32) I lost a couple, that 'iuxt heav'n and earth
Might thus bate floor, bugetting wonder, as
You gracious couple ds; -} I have several times hinted how dangerous to sense an innocent comma is, in the hands of ignorance. The editors, by a stupid pointing here, had itified a fine hyperbole, and blunder'd the iext into absurdiıy. Did the young Prince and his Consort fand betwixt heaven and earth, suspensi ad ventos, as Virgil.calls, it? No such matter. The King's meaning is this; he had lost pair of children, who might have stood the wonder of two worlds, the objects of admiration to gods and men; as this young Prince and his Princess did, in his opinion.