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I am innocent as you.'


I dare be sworn :

These dangerous unsafe lunes i' the king, beshrew

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 the loud'st. 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 lady

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 't
As boldness from my bosom, let 't not be doubted
I shall do good.


Now be you blest for it!

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





30. lunes, capricious moods.

49. hammer'd of, was forging,


50. tempt, attempt.

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

the babe,

I know not what I shall incur to pass it,

Having no warrant.


You need not fear it, sir:

This child was prisoner to the womb and is

By law and process of great nature thence
Freed and enfranchised, not a party to
The anger of the king nor guilty of,

If any be, the trespass of the queen.
Gaol. I do believe it.

Paul. Do not you fear: upon mine honour, I

Will stand betwixt you and danger.


SCENE III. A room in LEONTES' palace.

Enter LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, Lords, and


Leon. Nor night nor day no rest: it is but

To bear the matter thus; mere weakness.


The cause were not in being,-part o' the cause,
She the adulteress; 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.

First Serv.

Who's there?

Leon. How does the boy?
First Serv.

My lord?

He took good rest to-night;

"Tis hoped his sickness is discharged.

4. harlot, rascal.

5. out of the blank and level



of my brain, out of the aim of my missiles, beyond the reach of my plots.

Leon. To see his nobleness !

Conceiving the dishonour of his mother,
He straight declined, 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 downright languish'd. Leave me solely: go,
See how he fares. [Exit Serv.] 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.

First Lord.

You must not enter.

Paul. Nay, rather, good my lords, be second to me : Fear you his tyrannous passion more, alas,

Than the queen's life? a gracious innocent soul,
More free than he is jealous.


That's enough.

Sec. Serv. Madam, he hath not slept to-night;


None should come at him.


I come to bring him sleep.

Not so hot, good sir:
'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 medicinal as true,

Honest as either, to purge him of that humour

20. Recoil, recoils, -is instinctively rejected as infeasible.

30. free, innocent.



38. humour, capricious mood,

What noise there, ho?

That presses him from sleep.


Paul. No noise, my lord; but needful confer


About some gossips for your highness.



Away with that audacious lady! Antigonus,
I charged thee that she should not come about me:
I knew she would.


I told her so, my lord,

What, canst not rule her?

On your displeasure's peril and on mine,
She should not visit you.


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.


When she will take the
But she'll not stumble.



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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.



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Good queen; I say good queen;

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

Force her hence.

Leon. Paul. Let him that makes but trifles of his eyes First hand me: on mine own accord I'll off;

41. gossips, sponsors.


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.


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


I am as ignorant in that as you

Not so:

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.



Will you not push her out? Give her the bastard.
Thou dotard! thou art woman-tired, unroosted
By thy dame Partlet here. Take up the bastard;
Take 't up, I say: give 't to thy crone.


Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou

For ever

Takest 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'ld call your children yours.




A nest of traitors!

Ant. I am none, by this good light.

Nor I, nor any
But one that's here, and that's himself, for he
The sacred honour of himself, his queen's,

67. mankind, violent, ferocious.

68. intelligencing, going between two parties.

74. pecked.

woman - tired,


Tire is to tear a prey, seize and feed on it raven

ously (said of birds of prey).'

75. dame Partlet, the name of the Hen in Chaucer's Nonnes Prestes Tale.

78. by that forced baseness, in deference to a command in which she is called 'bastard.'

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