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Her. What wisdom stirs amongst you? Come,

sir, now
I am for you again : Pray you, sit by us,
And tell's a tale.

Merry, or sad, shall't be?
Her. As merry as you

will. Mam.

A sad tale's best for winter: I have one of sprites and goblins. Her.

Let's have that, good sir. Come on, sit down :-Come on, and do your best To fright me with your sprites: you're powerful at it.

Mam. There was a man,-

Nay, come, sit down; then on.
Mam. Dwelt by a church-yard;— I will tell it softly;
Yon crickets shall not hear it.

Come on then, And give't me in mine ear. Enter LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, Lords, and Others. Leon. Was he met there? his train? Camillo with

him? 1 Lord. Behind the tuft of pines I met them; never Saw I men scour so on their way: I ey'd them Even to their ships. Leon.

How bless'd am I In my just censure ? ? in my true opinion ?Alack, for lesser knowledge?! How accurs’d, In being so blest !—There may be in the cup A spider steep'd, and one may drink; depart, And yet partake no venom; for his knowledge Is not infected: but if one present The abhorr’d ingredient to his eye; make known

1 i. e. judgment.

2 • Alack, for lesser knowledge !' that is, 0 that my knowledge were less !

3 Spiders were esteemed poisonous in our author's time.

How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides, With violent hefts 4 :- I have drunk, and seen the

spider. Camillo was his help in this, his pander :There is a plot against my life, my crown; All's true that is mistrusted :—that false villain, Whom I employ’d, was pre-employ’d by him: He has discover'd my design, and I Remain a pinch'd things; yea, a very trick For them to play at will :—How came the posterns So easily open ?

1 Lord. By his great authority; Which often hath no less prevail'd than so, On your

command. Leon.

I know't too well.Give me the boy; I am glad, you did not nurse him : Though he does bear some signs of me, yet you Have too much blood in him. Her.

What is this ? sport? Leon. Bear the boy hence, he shall not come about

Away with him :—and let her sport herself
With that she's big with; for 'tis Polixenes
Has made thee swell thus.

But I'd


he had not, And, I'll be sworn, you would believe my saying, Howe'er you lean to the nayward. Leon.

You, my lords, Look on her, mark her well; be but about To say, she is a goodly lady, and The justice of your hearts will thereto add, 4 Hefts, heavings, things which are heaved up.

a thing pinched out of clouts, a puppet for them to move and actuate as they please.' This interpretation is countenanced by a passage in The City Match, by Jasper Maine :

Pinch'd napkins, captain, and laid
Like fishes, fowls, or faces.'

5 i.e.

When you

'Tis pity, she's not honest, honourable : Praise her but for this her without-door form, (Which, on my faith, deserves high speech) and

straight The shrug, the hum, or ha; these petty brands, That calumny doth use :-0, I am out, That mercy does; for calumny will sear 6 Virtue itself:—these shrugs, these hums, and has,

have said, she's goodly, come between, Ere you can say

she's honest: But be it known,
From him that has most cause to grieve it should be,
She's an adultress.

Should a villain say so,
The most replenish villain in the world,
He were as much more villain : you, my lord,
Do but mistake.

You have mistook, my lady,
Polixenes for Leontes: O thou thing,
Which I'll not call a creature of thy place,
Lest barbarism, making me the precedent,
Should a like language use to all degrees,
And mannerly distinguishment leave out
Betwixt the prince and beggar!—I have said,
She's an adultress; I have said with whom :
More, she's a traitor! and Camillo is
A federary with her; and one that knows
What she should shame to know herself,
But 8 with her most vile principal, that she's
A bed-swerver, even as bad as those


6 i. e. will brand it. Thus in All's Well that Ends Well :My maiden's name sear'd, otherwise.'

7 Federary. This word, which is probably of the poet's own invention, is used for confederate, accomplice.

8 One that knows what she should be asham'd to know herself, even if the knowledge of it was shared but with her paramour. It is the use of but for be-out (only, according to Malone) that obscures the sense.

That vulgars give bold’st titles; ay, and privy
To this their late escape.

No, by my life,
Privy to none of this: How will this grieve you,
When you shall come to clearer knowledge, that
You thus have publish'd me? Gentle my

You scarce can right me throughly then, to say
You did mistake.

No, no; if I mistake
In those foundations which I build upon,
The centre is not big enough to bear
A school-boy's topo.-Away with her to prison :
He, who shall speak for her, is afar off guilty,
But that he speaks 10.

There's some ill planet reigns : I must be patient, till the heavens look With an aspéct more favourable.-Good my lords, I am not prone to weeping, as our sex Commonly are; the want of which vain dew, Perchance, shall dry your pities: but I have That honourable grief lodg'd here, which burns Worse than tears drown: 'Beseech you all, my lords, With thoughts so qualified as your charities Shall best instruct you, measure me;—and so The king's will be perform'd! Leon.

Shall I be heard ?

[To the Guards. Her. Who is't that

with me?-'Beseech

your highness,


9 i. e, no foundation can be trusted. Milton has expressed the same thought in more exalted language:

• If this fail,
The pillar'd firmament is rottenness,

And earth's base built on stubble.'
10 • He who shall speak for her is afar off guilty,

But that he speaks.' He who shall speak for her is remotely guilty in merely speaking.

My women may be with me; for, you see,
My plight requires it. Do not weep, good fools;
There is no cause: when you shall know your mistress
Has deserv'd prison, then abound in tears,
As I come out: this action, I now go on 11,
Is for my better grace.-Adieu, my lord :
I never wish'd to see you sorry; now,
I trust, I shall. --My women, come; you have

Leon. Go, do our bidding; hence.

[Exeunt Queen and Ladies. 1 Lord. 'Beseech your highness, call the queen

again. Ant. Be certain what you do, sir; lest your justice Prove violence; in the which three great ones suffer, Yourself, your queen, your son. 1 Lord.

For her, my lord,I dare my life lay down, and will do't, sir, Please you to accept it, that the queen is spotless

of heaven, and to you; I mean, In this which you accuse her. Ant.

If it

prove She's otherwise, I'll keep my stables 12 where I lodge my wife; I'll go in couples with her; Then when I feel, and see her, no further trust her; For every

inch of woman in the world,
Ay, every dram of woman's flesh, is false,
If she be.
Leon. Hold

your peaces. 1 Lord.

Good my lord.11 i. e. what I am now about to do.

12 Much has been said about this passage: one has thought it should be stable-stand; another that it means station. But it may be explained thus :- If she prove false, I'll make my stables or kennel of my wife's chamber; I'll go in couples with her like a dog, and never leave her for a moment; trust her no further than I can feel and see her.'

l'the eyes

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