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Leon. Out!

A mankind witch!3 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,4 unroosted

By thy dame Partlet here,—take up the bastard;
Take't up, I say; give't to thy crone.5

Paul. For ever

Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou
Tak'st up the princess, by that forced baseness8
Which he has put upon't!

Leon. He dreads his wife.

Paul. So, I would, you did; then 'twere past all

doubt, You'd call your children yours.

Leon. A nest of traitors!

Ant. I am none, by this good light.

Paul. Nor I; nor any,

But one, that's here; and that's himself: for he
The sacred honour of himself, his queen's,
His hopeful son's, his babe's, betrays to slander,

3 A mankind witch /] i. e. masculine.

4—— thou art woman-tir'd,] Woman-tir'd, is peck'd by a woman; hen-pecked.

h % crone.] i. e. thy old-worn out woman. A croan is

an old toothless sheep: thence an old woman.

8 Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou

Tak'st up the princess, by that forced baseness—] Leontes had ordered Antigonus to take up the bastard; Paulina forbids him to touch the Princess under that appellation. Forced is false, uttered with violence to truth. Johnson.

Whose sting is sharper than the sword's; and will

not
(For, as the case now stands, it is a curse
He cannot be compell'd to't,) once remove
The root of his opinion, which is rotten,
As ever oak, or stone, was sound.

Leon. A callat,

Of boundless tongue; who late hath beat her hus-
band,
And now baits me!—This brat is none of mine;
It is the issue of Polixenes:
Hence with it; and, together with the dam,
Commit them to the fire.

Paul. It is yours;

And, might we lay the old proverb to your charge,
So like you, 'tis the worse.—Behold, my lords,
Although the print be little, the whole matter
And copy of the father: eye, nose, lip,
The trick of his frown, his forehead; nay, the val-
ley.
The pretty dimples of his chin, and cheek; his

smiles;
The very mould and frame of hand, nail, finger:—
And, thou, good goddess nature, which hast made it
So like to him that got it, if thou hast
The ordering of the mind too, 'mongst all colours
No yellow in't;' lest she suspect, as he does,
Her children not her husband's!

Leon. A gross hag!—

And, lozel,8 thou art worthy to be hang'd,
That wilt not stay her tongue.

Ant. Hang all the husbands,

That cannot do that feat, you'll leave yourself
Hardly one subject.

7 No yellow in't;] Yellow is the colour of jealousy.

8 And, lozel,] A term of contempt, meaning worthless, dishonest.

Leon. Once more, take her hence.

Paul. A most unworthy and unnatural lord Can do no more.

Leon. I'll have thee burn'd.

Paul. I care not:

It is an heretick, 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 sa-
vours

Of tyranny, and will ignoble make you,
Yea, scandalous to the world. i

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

Ant. 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 grey,—what will you adventure To save this brat's life?

Ant. Any thing, my lord,

That my ability may undergo,
And nobleness impose: at least, thus much;
I'll pawn the little blood which I have left,
To save the innocent: any thing possible.

Leon. It shall be possible: Swear by this sword,9 Thou wilt perform my bidding.

Ant. I will, my lord.

Leon. Mark, and perform it; (seest thou?) for the fail

* Swear by this sword,] It was anciently the custom to

swear by the cross on the handle of a sword.

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,1
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,
Against this cruelty, fight on thy side,
Poor thing, condemn'd to loss!

[Exit, with the Child.

Leon. No, I'll not rear

Another's issue.

] 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.

Leon. Twenty-three days

They have been absent: 'Tis good speed; foretels,

1 commend it strangely to some place,] Commit it to some

place, as a stranger, without more provision.

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