Page images

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. Emil.

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

Attendants, Leon. Nor niglit, 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 arın, 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 ту

rest Might come to me again. Who's there? 1 Atten.

[advancing Leon. How does the boy? 1 Atten.

He took good rest to-night; 'Tis hop'd, his sickness is discharg’d.

His nobleness !
Conceiving the dishonour of his mother,

My lord?

To see,


He straight declin'd, droop’d, took it deeply;
Fasten'd and fix'd the shame on't in himself;
Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep,
And down-right languish’d. - Leave me solely: go,
See how he fares. [Exit Attend. ]—Fie, fie! no

thought of him;-
The very thought of my revenges that way
Recoil upon me: in himself too mighty;
And in his parties, his alliance, -Let him be,
Until a time may serve: for present vengeance,
Take it on her. Camillo and Polixenes
Laugh at me; make their pastime at my sorrow:
They should not laugh, if I could reach them; nor
Shall she, within my power.

Enter Paulina, with a Child. 1 Lord.

You must not enter. Paul. Nay, rather, good my lords, be second to


Fear you

his tyrannous passion more, alas, Than the queen's life? a gracious innocent soul; More free, than he is jealous. Ant.

That's enough. 1 Atten. Madam, he hath not slept to-night;

commanded None should come at him. Paul.

Not so hot, good sir; I come to bring him sleep. 'Tis such as you,That creep like shadows by him, and do sigh At each his needless heavings, such as you Nourish the cause of his awaking: I Do come with words as med'cinal as true;

Honest, as either; to purge him of that humour,
That presses him from sleep.

What noise there, ho?
Paul. No noise, my lord; but needful conference,
About some gossips for your highness.

Away with that audacious lady: Antigonus,
I charg'd thee, that she should not come about me;
I knew, she would.

I told her so, my lord,
On your displeasure's peril, and on mine,
She should not visit you. .

What, canst not rule her?
Paul. From all dishonesty, he can: in this,
(Unless he take the course that you have done,
Commit me, for committing honour,) trust it,
He shall not rule me.


you now; you hear!
When she will take the rein, I let her run;
But she'll not stumble.

Good my liege, I come, -
And, I beseech you, hear me, who profess
Myself your loyal servant, your physician,
Your most obedient counsellor; yet that dare
Less appear so, in comforting your evils,
Than such as most seem yours:- I say, I come
From your good queen.

Good queen!
Paul, Good queen, my lord, good queen:


say, good queen; And would by combat make her good, so were I A man, the worst about you.


Force her hence. Paul. Let him, that makes but trifles of his eyes, First hand me: on mine own accord, I'll off; But, first, I'll do my errand.—The good queen, For she is good, hath brought you forth a daughter; Here ’tis; commends it to your blessing.

[Laying down the child. Leon.

Out! A mankind witch! Hence with her, out o' door: A most intelligencing bawd! Paul.

Not so: I am as ignorant in that, as you In so entitling me: and no less honest Than you are mad; which is enough, I'll warrant, As this world goes, to pass for honest. Leon.

Traitors! Will you not push her out? Give her the bastard :Thou, dotard, [To Antigonus.] thou art woman

tir’d, unroosted By thy dame Partlet here,—take up the bastard; Take't



say; give't to thy crone.

For ever
Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou
Tak’st up the princess, by that forced baseness
Which he has put upon't!

He dreads his wife.
Paul. So, I would, you did; then, 'twere past all

doubt, You'd call



A nest of traitors!
Ant. I am none, by this good light.

Nor I; nor any,

« PreviousContinue »