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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;
l'll pawn the little blood which I have left,
To save the innocent : any thing possible.
Leo. It shall be possible: Swear by this sword,
Thou wilt perform my bidding.
Ant. I will, my lord.
Leo. Mark, and perform it; (feest thou ?) for the * fail
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,
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
As thou art liegeman to us,]—On thy allegiance.
commend it ftrangely to]-cast it out as a Itranger upon.
In more than this deed does require ! and blessing,
Against his cruelty, fight on thy side
Poor thing, condemn’d to loss ! [Exit, with the child.
Leo. No, I'll not rear
Enter a Messenger.
Mes. 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.
Lord. So please you, sir, their speed
Hath been beyond account.
Leo. Twenty-three days
They have been absent : This good speed fortels,
That great Apollo suddenly will have
The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords ;
Summon a sesion, that we may arraign
Our most difoyal lady : for, as she hath
Been publickly accus'd, so shall she have
A just and open trial. While The lives,
My heart will be a burden to me. Leave me;
And think upon my bidding.
A CT III. SCENE I.
A Part of Sicily, near the Sea fide.
Enter Cleomenes, and Dion.
Cleo. The climate's delicate ; the air most sweet ;
Fertile the bille; the temple much surpassing
a this deed does require ! &c.]—may reasonably be expected after the commission of such a horrid piece of barbarity; and may the blefling of heaven shield thee from all the intended effects of his cruelty, poor thing, devoted to perdition.
The common praise it bears.
Dion. I shall report,
For moft it caught me, the celestial habits,
(Methinks, I so should term them) and the reverence
Of the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice !
How ceremonious, folemn, and unearthly
It was i'the offering!
Cleo. But, of all, the burst
And the ear-deafʼning voice o'the oracle,
Kin to Jove's thunder, fo surpriz'd my sense,
That I was nothing.
Dion. 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.
Cleo. 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 !
S C Ε Ν Ε II.
A Court of Justice.
Leontes, Lords, and Officers, appear properly feated.
Leo. This session (to our great grief, we pronounce) Even pushes 'gainst our heart : The party try'd,
· I fall report, for most it caught me, ]-My report will chiefly turn upon what struck me most.
d The time is worth the use on't. ]—The profit of this journey will amply compensate the time taken up by it ;-our time has been well bestowed.
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 fo openly
Proceed in justice; which shall have due course,
• Even to the guilt, or the purgation.-
Produce the prisoner.
Ofi. It is his highness' pleasure, that the queen
Appear in person here in court.-Silence!
Hermione is brought in, guarded; Paulina and Ladies,
attending Leo. Read the indictment.
Of. Hermione, queen to the worthy Leontes, king of Sicilia, thou art bere accused and arraigned of high treason, in committing adultery with Polixenes, king of Bobemia ; and conSpiring with Camillo to take away the life of our sovereign lord the king, thy royal husband : 'the pretence whereof being by circumstances partly laid open, thou, Hermione, contrary to the faith and allegiance of a true subject, didst counsel and aid them, for their better safety, to fly away by night.
Her. Since what I am to say, must be but that
Which contradicts my accusation ; and
The testimony on my part, no other
But what comes from myself; it shall scarce boot me
To say, Not guilty: mine integrity,
Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it,
Be 8 so receiv’d. But thus - If powers
Behold our human actions, (as they do)
I doubt not then, but innocence shall make
False accusation blush, and tyranny
Tremble at patience. You, my lord, best know,
e Even to the guilt, or the purgation.)—Unbiass'd in regard to the
proof of her guilt, or of her acquittal.
pretence whereof)-the plot, scheme form’d, & lo receiv'd.)-received as a lie,
(Who least will seem to do so) my past life
Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true,
As I am now unhappy; which is more
Than history can pattern, though devis’d,
And play'd, "to take spectators : For behold me, --
A fellow of the royal bed, which 'owe
A moiety of the throne, a great king's daughter,
The mother to a hopeful prince,-here standing,
To prate and talk for life, and honour, 'fore
Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it
As I weigh grief, which I would spare: for honour,
'Tis a derivative from me to mine,
And only that I stand for. I appeal
your own conscience, sir, before Polixenes Came to your court, how I was in your grace, How merited to be fo: Since he came,
With what encounter so uncurrent. I
Have strain’d, to appear thus : if one jor beyond
The bound of honour; or, in act, or will,
That way inclining ; hardned be the hearts
Of all that hear me, and my near'st of kin
Cry, Fye upon my grave !
Leo. I ne'er heard yet,
That any of * these bolder vices wanted
Less impudence to gain-say what they did,
Than to perform it first.
Her. That's true enough ;
Though 'tis a saying, sir, not due to me.
h to take]-to gain the applause of. i owe)-own, am entitled to.
spare : }-get rid of. With what encounier so uncurrent I have strain'd, ]-Declare if your are able, what unjustifiable congress have I held with him ;-in what criminal instance have I swerv'd. — “ Have fray'd.”
m theje bolder vices wanted less impudence, &c.]-these hardened ofę fenders were less at a loss for, were more deficient in impudence to deny their crime, than to commit it.