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I'll have thee burn'd. Paul.

I care not: It is a heretic that makes the fire, Not she which burns in't. I'll not call you tyrant; But this most cruel usage of your queen (Not able to produce more accusation Than your own weak-hing'd fancy) something savours Of tyranny, and will ignoble make

you, Yea, scandalous to the world. Leon.

On your allegiance, Out of the chamber with her. Were I a tyrant, Where were her life? she durst not call me so, If she did know me one. Away with her.

Paul. I pray you, do not push me; I'll be gone. Look to your babe, my lord; 'tis yours: Jove send her A better guiding spirit!-What need these hands?You, that are thus so tender o'er his follies, Will never do him good, not one of you. So, so:- Farewell; we are gone.

[Exit. Leon. Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to this.My child?

away with't!--even thou, that hast
A heart so tender o'er it, take it hence,
And see it instantly consum'd with fire;
Even thou, and none but thou. Take it

up straight: Within this hour bring me word, 'tis done (And by good testimony), or I'll seize thy life, With what thou else call'st thine: If thou refuse, And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so; The bastard brains with these my proper

Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire;
For thou sett'st on thy wife.

I did not, sir :
These lords, my noble fellows, if they please,
Can clear me in't.
1 Lord.

We can; my royal liege,
He is not guilty of her coming hither.

Leon. You are liars all. 1 Lord. 'Beseech your highness, give us better

credit: We have always truly serv'd you; and beseech So to esteem of us; And on our knees we beg (As recompense of our dear services, Past, and to come) that you do change this purpose; Which, being so horrible, so bloody, must Lead on to some foul issue: We all kneel.

Leon. I am a feather for each wind that blows:-Shall I live on, to see this bastard kneel And call me father? Better burn it now, Than curse it then. But, be it; let it live: It shall not neither.—You, sir, come you hither;

[TO ANTIGONUS. You, that have been so tenderly officious With lady Margery, your midwife, there, To save this bastard's life :—for 'tis a bastard, So sure as this beard's

gray 14,—what will


adventure To save this brat's life? Ant.

Any thing, my lord,
That my ability may undergo,
And nobleness impose: at least, thus much;

the little blood which I have left, To save the innocent: any thing possible.

Leon. It shall be possible: Swear by this sword 15, Thou wilt perform my bidding. Ant.

I will, my lord. Leon. Mark, and perform it; (seest thou?) for

the fail 14 Leontes must mean the beard of Antigonus, which he may he supposed to touch. He himself tells us that twenty-three

ago he was unbreech’d, of course his age must be under
and his own beard would hardly be gray.
was anciently a practice to swear by the cross at the

Of any point in't shall not only be
Death to thyself, but to thy lewd-tongu'd wife;
Whom, for this time, we pardon. We enjoin thee,
As thou art liegeman to us, that thou carry
This female bastard hence; and that thou bear it
To some remote and desert place, quite out
Of our dominions; and that there thou leave it,
Without more mercy, to its own protection,
And favour of the climate. As by strange fortune
It came to us, I do in justice charge thee,-
On thy soul's peril, and thy body's torture,-
That thou commend it strangely to some place 16,
Where chance may nurse, or end it: Take it up.

Ant. I swear to do this, though a present death Had been more merciful.—Come on, poor

babe: Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens, To be thy nurses! Wolves, and bears, they say, Casting their savageness aside, have done Like offices of pity.—Sir, be prosperous In more than this deed doth require ! and blessing 17, Against this cruelty, fight on thy side, Poor thing, condemn’d to loss 18!

[Exit, with the Child. i Leon.

No, I'll not rear Another's issue.

1 Atten. Please your highness, posts, From those you sent to the oracle, are come An hour since: Cleomenes and Dion, Being well arriv'd from Delphos, are both landed, Hasting to the court. 1 Lord.

So please you, sir, their speed Hath been beyond account.

16 i. e. commit it to some place as a stranger. To commend is to commit, according to the old dictionaries.

17 i. e. the favour of heaven.
18 i. e. to exposure, or to be lost or dropped.


Twenty-three days
They have been absent: 'Tis good speed; foretells,
The great Apollo suddenly will have
The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords ;

Summon a session, that we may arraign
Our most disloyal lady: for, as she hath
Been publickly accus'd, so shall she have
A just and open trial. While she lives,
My heart will be a burden to me.

Leave me;
And think upon my bidding.



SCENE I. The same.

A Street in some Town.

Enter CLEOMENES and Dion. Cleo. The climate's delicate; the air most sweet; Fertile the isle 1; the temple much surpassing The common praise it bears. Dion.

I shall report,
For most it caught me, the celestial habits
(Methinks, I so should term them), and the reverence
Of the grave wearers. 0, 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.

1 Warburton has remarked that the temple of Apollo was at Delphi, which was not an island. But Shakspeare little regarded geographical accuracy. He followed Green's Dorastus and Fawnia, in which it is called the isle of Delphos. There was a temple of Apollo in the isle of Delos.


If the event o' the journey
Prove as successful to the queen,—0, be't 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.

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

horses ; And gracious be the issue !



The same.

A Court of Justice. LEONTES, Lords, and Officers, appear properly

seated. Leon. This sessions (to our great grief, we pro

nounce) 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 !

2 The time is worth the use on't ;' that is, the event of our journey will recompense us for the time we spent in it. Thus in Florio's Translation of Montaigne, 1603 : The common saying is, the time we live is worth the money we pay for it.'

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