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But notdeliver'd.—O, hear me breathe my life
Before this ancient sir, who, it should seem,
Hath sometime lov'd: I take thy hand; this hand,
As soft as dove's down, and as white as it;
Or Ethiopian's tooth, or the fann'd snow,
That's bolted5 by the northern blasts twice o'er.

Pol. What follows this ?—
How prettily the young swain seems to wash
The hand, was fair before!—I have put you out:—.
But, to your protestation; let me hear
What you profess.

Flo. Do, and be witness to't.

Pol. And this my neighbour too?

Flo. And he, and more

Than he, and men; the earth, the heavens, and all:
That,—were I crown'd the most imperial monarch,
Thereof most worthy; were I the fairest youth
That ever made eye swerve; had force, and know-
ledge,
More than was ever man's,—I would not prize them,
Without her love: for her, employ them all;
Commend them, and condemn them, to her ser-
vice,
Or to their own perdition.

Pol Fairly offer'd.

Cam. This shows a sound affection.

Shep. But, my daughter,

Say you the like to him?

Per. I cannot speak

So well, nothing so well; no, nor mean better:
By the pattern of mine own thoughts I cut out
The purity of his.

Shep. Take hands, a bargain;

And, friends unknown you shall bear witness to't:

5 or the fann'd maw,

That's bolted, fyc.] The fine sieve used by millers to separate flower from bran is called a bolting cloth.

I give my daughter to him, and will make
Her portion equal his.

Flo. O, that must be

I'the virtue of your daughter: one being dead,
I shall have more than you can dream of' yet;
Enough then for your wonder: But, come on,
Contract us 'fore these witnesses.

Shep. Come, your hand;

And, daughter, yours.

Pol. Soft, swain, awhile, 'beseech you;

Have you a father?

Flo. I have: But what of him?

Pol. Knows he of this?

Flo. He neither does, nor shall.

Pol. Methinks, a father
Is, at the nuptial of his son, a guest
That best becomes the table. Pray you, once more;
Is not your father grown incapable
Of reasonable affairs? is he not stupid
With age, and altering rheums? Can he speak?

hear?
Know man from man? dispute his own estate ?fi
Lies he not bed-rid? and again does nothing,
But what he did being childish?

Flo. No, good sir;

He has his health, and ampler strength, indeed,
Than most have of his age.

Pol. By my white beard,

You offer him, if this be so, a wrong
Something unfilial: Reason, my son
Should choose himself a wife; but as good reason,
The father, (all whose joy is nothing else
But fair posterity,) should hold some counsel
In such a business.

* dispute his own estate ?] Perhaps for dispute we might read

compute: but dispute his estate may be the same with talk over his affairs. Johnson.

Flo. I yield all this;

But, for some other reasons, my grave sir,
Which 'tis not fit you know, I not acquaint
My father of this business.

Pol. Let him know't.

Flo. He shall not.

Pol. Pr'ythee, let him.

Flo. No, he must not.

Shep. Let him, my son; he shall not need to grieve At knowing of thy choice.

Flo. Come, come, he must not:—

Mark our contract.

Pol. Mark your divorce, young sir,

[Discovering himself.
Whom son I dare not call; thou art too base
To be acknowledg'd: Thou a scepter's heir,
That thus affect'st a sheep-hook !—Thou old traitor,
I am sorry, that, by hanging thee, I can but
Shorten thy life one week.—And thou, fresh piece
Of excellent witchcraft; who, of force, must know
The royal fool thou cop'st with;

Shep. O, my heart!

Pol. I'll have thy beauty scratch'd with briars,
and made
More homely than thy state.—For thee, fond boy,—
If I may ever know, thou dost but sigh,
That thou no more shalt see this knack, (as never
I mean thou shalt,) we'll bar thee from succession;
Not hold thee of our blood, no not our kin,
Far than Deucalion off;—Mark thou my words;
Follow us to the court.—Thou churl, for this

time,
Though full of our displeasure, yet we free thee
From the dead blow of it.—And you, enchant-
ment,—
Worthy enough a herdsman; yea, him too,

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That makes himself, but for our honour therein,

Unworthy thee,—if ever, henceforth, thou

These rural latches to his entrance open,

Or hoop his body more with thy embraces,

I will devise a death as cruel for thee,

As thou art tender to't. [Exit.

Per. Even here undone!

I was not much afeard :7 for once, or twice,
I was about to speak; and tell him plainly,
The selfsame sun, that shines upon his court,
Hides not his visage from our cottage, but
Looks on alike.—WilFt please you, sir, be gone?

[To Florizel.
I told you, what would come of this: 'Beseech you,
Of your own state take care: this dream of mine,—
Being now awake, I'll queen it no inch further,
But milk my ewes, and weep.

Cam. Why, how now, father?

Speak, ere thou diest.

Shep. I cannot speak, nor think,

Nor dare to know that which I know.—O, sir,

[To Floeizel. You have undone a man of fourscore three. That thought to fill his grave in quiet; yea, To die upon the bed my father died, To lie close by his honest bones: but now Some hangman must put on my shroud, and lay me Where no priest shovel s-in dust.—O cursed wretch!

[To Perdita. That knew'st this was the prince, and would'st adventure To mingle faith with him.—Undone! undone!

7 I was not much afeard: &c] The character is here finely sustained. To have made her quite astonished at the King's discovery of himself had not become her birth; and to have given her presence of mind to have made this reply to the King, had not become her education. Warburton.

If I might die within this hour, I have liv'd

To die when I desire. [Exit.

Flo. Why look you so upon me?

I am but sorry, not afeard; delay'd,
But nothing alter'd: What I was, I am:
More straining on, for plucking back; not following
My leash unwillingly.

Cam. Gracious my lord,

You know your father's temper: at this time
He will allow no speech,—which, I do guess,
You do not purpose to him;—and as hardly
Will he endure your sight as yet, I fear:
Then, till the fury of his highness settle,
Come not before him.

Flo. I not purpose it.

I think, Camillo.

Cam. Even he, my lord.

Per. How often have I told you, 'twould be thus? How often said, my dignity would last But till 'twere known?

Flo. It cannot fail, but by

The violation of my faith; And then
Let nature crush the sides o'the earth together,
And mar the seeds within!—Lift up thy looks:—
From my succession wipe me, father! I
Am heir to my affection.

Cam. Be advis'd.

Flo. I am; and by my fancy:8 if my reason
Will thereto be obedient, I have reason;
If not, my senses, better pleas'd with madness,
Do bid it welcome.

Cam. This is desperate, sir.

Flo. So call it: but it does fulfil my vow;

'and by my fancy:] It must be remembered that fancy in

our author very often, as in this place, means love.

VOL. IV. Q

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