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Dion. The violent carriage of it Will clear or end the business : when the oracle (Thus by Apollo's great divine seald up) Shall the contents discover, something rare Even then will rush to knowledge. -Go,-fresh

horses ; And gracious be the issue !


Cleo. The climate's delicate; the air most

Fertile the isle; the temple much surpassing
The common praise it bears.

I shall report, For most it caught me, the celestial habits, (Methinks I so should term them) and the re

Of the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice !
How ceremonious, solemn, and unearthly
It was i' the offering !

But, of all, the burst
And the ear-deafening voice o' the oracle,
Kin to Jove's thunder, so surpris'd my sense,
That I was nothing.

If the event o’ the journey
Prove as successful to the queen,-0, be it so !
As it hath been to us rare, pleasant, speedy,
The time is worth the use on 't.

Great Apollo, Turn all to the best! These proclamations, So forcing faults upon Hermione, I little like.

SCENE II.The same. A Court of Justice. LEONTES, Lords, and Officers discovered, pro

perly seated. LEON. This sessions (to our great grief we

pronounce) Even pushes 'gainst our heart; the party tried, The daughter of a king, our wife, and one Of us too much belov'd.-Let us be clear'd Of being tyrannous, since we so openly Proceed in justice ; which shall have due course, Even to the guilt or the purgation.Produce the prisoner.

OFFI. It is his highness' pleasure that the queen Appear in person here in court.—Silence ! *

a Silence!) In the old copies this word stands as a stage direction; but that it was intended for a command, to be spoken by

the officer, or by the ordinary crier, is evident. Compare the opening of the scene of Queen Katharine's trial in “ Henry VIII."

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Enter HERMIONE, guarded ; PAULINA and conspiring with Camillo to take away the life of Ladies, attending.

our sovereign lord the king, thy royal husband : LEON. Read the indictment.

the pretence a whereof being by circumstances partly OFFI. [Reads.] Hermione, queen to the worthy laid open, thou, Hermione, contrary to the faith Leontes, king of Sicilia, thou art here accused and allegiance of a true subject, didst counsel and and arraigned of high treason, in committing aid them, for their better safety, to fly away by adultery with Polixenes, king of Bohemia; and night. pretence-] That is, plot, design, &c. So, in “Macbeth,"

Against the indivulg'd pretence I fight

" and thence

Act II. Sc. 1,

or treasonous malice

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A moiety of the throne, a great king's daughter, My life stands in the level of your dreams,
The mother to a hopeful prince,-here standing, Which I 'll lay down.
To prate and talk for life and honour 'fore


Your actions are my dreams; Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it You had a bastard by Polixenes, As I weigh grief," which I would spare: for honour, And I but dream'd it :-as you were past all 'T is a derivative from me to mine,

shame, And only that I stand for. I appeal

(Those of your facta are so,) so past all truth ; To your own conscience, sir, before Polixenes Which to deny, concerns more than avails ; for as Came to your court, how I was in your grace, Thy brat hath been cast out, like to itself, How merited to be so ; since he came,

No father owning it, (which is, indeed, With what encounter so uncurrent I

More criminal in thee than it) so thou Have strain’d, to appear thus : if one jot beyond Shalt feel our justice; in whose easiest passage, The bound of honour, or in act or will

Look for no less than death.(1) That way inclining, harden'd be the hearts


Sir, spare your threats ; Of all that hear me, and my near’st of kin The bug which you would fright me with, I seek. Cry Fie! upon my grave !

To me can life be no commodity : LEON,

I ne'er heard yet The crown and comfort of my life, your favour, That any of these bolder vices wanted

I do give lost ; for I do feel it gone,
Less impudence to gainsay what they did, But know not how it went: my second joy,
Than to perform it first.

And first-fruits of my body, from his presence HER,

That's true enough ; I am barr’d, like one infectious : my third comfort, Though 't is a saying, sir, not due to me.

Starr's most unluckily, is from my breast, LEON. You will not own it.

The innocent milk in it e most innocent mouth, HER.

More than mistress of Hald out to murder : myself on every post Which comes to me in name of fault, I must Proclaim'd a strumpet ; with immodest hatred,

The child-bed privilege denied, which 'longs At all acknowledge. For Polixenes,

To women of all fashion ;-lastly, hurried (With whom I am accus'd) I do confess

Here to this place, i’ the open air, before Ì lov'd him,—as in honour he requir'd,

I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege, With such a kind of love as might become Tell me what blessings I have here alive, A lady like me; with a love, even such,

That I should fear to die? Therefore, proceed. So and no other, as yourself commanded : But yet hear this ; mistake me not ;—no life, Which not to have done, I think had been in me I prize it not a straw :—but for mine honour, Both disobedience and ingratitude

(Which I would free) if I shall be condemn'd To you and toward your friend; whose love had Upon surmises,—all proofs sleeping else, spoke,

But what your jealousies awake, - I tell you Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely, 'T is rigour, and not law.—Your honours all, That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy,

I do refer me to the oracle :
I know not how it tastes ; though it be dish'd Apollo be my judge ! (2)
For me to try how: all I know of it,


This your request
Is that Camillo was an honest man;

Is altogether just :-therefore, bring forth,
And why he left your court, the gods themselves, And in Apollo's name, his oracle.
Wotting no more than I, are ignorant.

[Exeunt certain Officers, LEON. You knew of his departure, as you HER. The emperor of Russia was my father : know

O, that he were alive, and here beholding What


have underta'en to do in 's absence. His daughter's trial! that he did but see HER. Sir,

The flatness of my misery,—yet with eyes You speak a language that I understand not : Of pity, not revenge !


For life, I prize it As I weigh grief, which I would spare:) It is surprising this passage should have passed without question, for “grief" must surely be an error. Hermione means that life to her is of as little estimation as the most trivial thing which she would part with ; and she expresses the same sentiment shortly after, in similar terms,

“- no life,

I prize it not a straw." Could she speak of "grief" as a trifle, of no moment or importance ?

With what encounter so uncurrent I

Have strain'd, to appear thus :)

This is not remarkably perspicuous; the sense appears to be, By what unwarrantable familiarity have I lapsed, that I should be made to stand as a public criminal thus !

c- in the level] To be in the level is to be within the range or compass;—"and therefore when under his covert or pertision he is gotten within his levell and hath the Winde fit and certaine, then hee shall make choice of his marke," &c.-MARKRAM'S Hunger's Prevention, 1621, p. 45.

d (Those of your fact-i Those of your crime. Thus, is “Pericles," Act IV. Sc. 3,

“Becoming well thy fact."
- in it most innocent mouth,-) See note (b), p. 214.


Re-enter Officers, with CLEOMENES and Dion. New woo my queen ; recall the good Camillo,

Whom I proclaim a man of truth, of mercy; OFFI. You here shall swear upon this sword of

For, being transported by my jealousies justice,

To bloody thoughts and to revenge, I chose That you, Cleomenes and Dion, have

Camillo for the minister, to poison Been both at Delphos ; and from thence have

My friend Polixenes : which had been done, brought

But that the good mind of Camillo tardied This seal'd-up oracle, by the hand deliver'd

My swift command, though I with death, and with Of great Apollo's priest; and that, since then,

Reward, did threaten and encourage him, You have not dar'd to break the holy seal,

Not doing it, and being done: he, most humane, Nor read the secrets in 't.

And fill'd with honour,

to my kingly guest CLEO. and Dion. All this we swear.

Unclasp'd my practice; quit his fortunes here, LEON. Break up the seals, and read.

Which you knew great ; and to the hazard OFFI. [Reads.] Hermione is chaste ; Polixenes

Of all incertainties himself commended. blameless; Camillo a true subject ; Leontes a jealous tyrant ; his innocent babe truly begotten; Thorough my rust! and how his piety

No richer than his honour, how he glisters and the king shall live without an heir, if that

Does my deeds make the blacker 16 which is lost be not found. (3)

LORDS. Now blessed be the great Apollo !

Praised !

Re-enter PAULINA.
LEON. Hast thou read truth?
Ay, my lord; even so

Woe the while ! As it is here set down.

O, cut my lace ; lest my heart, cracking it, LEON. There is no truth at all i' the oracle:

Break too! The sessions shall proceed : this is mere falsehood.

1 LORD. What fit is this, good lady?

Paol. What studied torments, tyrant, hast for Enter an Attendant, hastily.


What wheels ? racks ? fires ? what flaying ? ATTEN. My lord the king, the king!

boiling LEON.

What is the business? In leads or oils? what old or newer torture ATTEN. O sir, I shall be hated to report it! Must I receive, whose every word deserves The prince your son, with mere conceit and fear To taste of thy most worst? Thy tyranny Of the queen's speed," is gone.

Together working with thy jealousies,LEON.

How! gone ? Fancies too weak for boys, too green and idle ATTEN.

Is dead. For girls of nine !—0, think what they have done, LEON. Apollo 's angry; and the heavens them- And then run mad indeed,stark mad ! for all selves

Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it. Do strike at my injustice. (HERMIONE faints.] | That thou betray'dst Polixenes, 't was nothing, How now there!

That did but show thee of a fool,o inconstant PAUL. This news is mortal to the queen.- And damnabled ingrateful ; nor was 't much, Look down,

Thou wouldst have poison'd good Camillo's honour, And see what death is doing.

To have him kill a king ;-poor trespasses, LEON.

Take her hence : More monstrous standing by: whereof I reckon Her heart is but o'ercharg'd; she will recover :- The casting forth to crows thy baby daughter, I have too much believ'd mine own suspicion :- To be or none, or little,—though a devil Beseech you tenderly apply to her

Would have shed water out of fire, ere done 't; Some remedies for life.

Nor is 't directly laid to thee, the death [Exeunt Paulina and Ladies, with Of the young prince, whose honourable thoughts HERMIONE.

(Thoughts high for one so tender) cleft the heart

Apollo, pardon That could conceive a gross and foolish sire My great profaneness 'gainst thine oracle ! Blemish'd his gracious dam : this is not, no, I'll reconcile me to Polixenes;

Laid to thy answer : but the last,-0, lords,

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" and to the hazard
Of all incertainties himself commended,

No richer than his honour. How he glisters," &c.
c That did but show thee of a fool,-) Theobald proposed to
read, -" of a soul ; " and Warburton, — "show thee off, a
fool;" but any change would be to destroy a form of speech
characteristic of the author's time; "of a fool," is the same as
for a fool."
'd And damnable ingrateful ;] That is, "damnably ingrateful."

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