Page images
PDF
EPUB

We are to speak in public; for this business
Will raise us all.

Ant. To laughter, as I take it,
If the good truth were known.

[ Aside. [Exeunt.

1

me, do

you not?

SCENE III. Changes to a prison. Enter Paulina, and a Gentleman, with other aftendants. Paul. The keeper of the prison, call to him.

[Exit Gentleman.
Let him have knowledge who I am. Good Lady,
No court in Europe is too good for thee;
What dost thou then in prison ? Now, good Sir,
You know

Re-enter Gentleman, with the Goaler.
Goa. For a worthy Lady,
And one whom much I honour.

Paul. Pray you then
Conduct me to the Queen.

Goa. I may not, Madam; To the contrary I have express commandment. Paul. Here's ado to lock up honesty and honour

from
Th’access of gentle visitors ! Is’t lawful, pray you,
To see her women ? any of them? Æmilia ?

Goa. So please you, Madam,
To put apart these your attendants, I
Shall bring Æmilia forth.

Paul. I pray you now, call her.
Withdraw yourselves.

[Exeunt Gent, &c. Goa. And, Madam, I must be present at your conference. Paul. Well; be it so, pr’ythee.

Enter Æmilia.“ Here's such ado to make no ftain a stain, As passes colouring. Dear gentlewoman, How fares our gracious Lady?

Æmil. As well as one fo great and so forlorn May hold together; on her frights and griefs, (Which never tender lady hath borne greater),

She is something before her time deliver'd.

Paul. A boy?

Æmil. A daughter, and a goodly babe, Lufty, and like to live: the Queen receives Much comfort in’t ; says, My poor prisoner, I'm innocent as you.

Paul. I dare be sworn. These dangerous, unsafe lunes i' th’ King ! beshrew them, He must be told on't, and he shall; the office Becomes a woman best. I'll take’t upon me. If I prove honey-mouth, let my tongue blister, And never to my

red-look'd

anger

be The trumpet any more! Pray you, Æmilia, Commend

my

best obedience to the Queen;
If she dares trust me with her little babe,
I'll shew't the King, and undertake to be
Her advocate to th’ loud'ft. We do not know
How he may soften at the sight o'th' child.
The filence often of pure innocence
Persuades, when speaking fails.

Æmil. Most worthy Madam,
Your honour and your goodness is so evident,
That your free undertaking cannot miss
A thriving issue : there is no lady living
So meet for this great errand. Please your Ladyship
To visit the next room, I'll presently
Acquaint the Queen of your most noble offer,
Who but to-day hammer'd of this defign;
But durft not tempt a minister of honour,
Left she should be deny’d.

Paul. Tell her, Æmilia,
I'll use that tongue I have; if wit flow from ’t,
As boldness from my bosom, let't not be doubted
I shall do good.

· Æmil. Now be you bless’d for it! I'll to the Queen: please you, come something nearer.

Goa. Madam, if 't please the Queen to send the babe,
I know not what I shall incur to pass it,
Having no warrant.

Paul. You need not fear it, Sir;
The child was prisoner to the womb, and is
By law and process of great nature thence

Free'd and infranchis'd; not a party to
The anger of the King, nor guilty of,
If any be, the trespass of the Queen.

Goa, I do believe it.

Paul. Do not you fear; upon mine honour I Will stand 'twixt you and danger.

[Exeunt. SCENE IV. Changes to the palace. Enter Leontes, Antigonus, Lords, and other attendants.

Leo. Nor night, nor day, no rest; it is but weakTo bear the matter thus : mere weakness, if

[ness The cause were not in being : part o'th'cause, She, the adult'ress; for the harlot-king Is quite beyond mine arm; out of the blank And level of my brain; plot-proof; but the I can hook to me: say that she were gone, Given to the fire, a moiety of my

reft Might come to me again. Who's there?

Enter an attendant.
Atten. My Lord.
Leo. How do's the boy?

Atten. He took good rest to-night; 'tis hop'd
His sickness is discharg’d.

Leo. To see his nobleness !
Conceiving the dishonour of his mother,
He straight declin’d, droop’d, took it deeply;
Fasten’d, and fix'd the shame on’t in himself;
Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his 'sleep,
And down-right languilh’d. Leave me solely; go,

[Exit Attendant,
See how he fares.-Fie, fie, no thought of him.
The very thought of my revenges that way
Recoil upon me; in himself too mighty,
And in his parties, his alliance; let him be,
Until a time may serve. For present veng_ance,
Take it on her. Camillo and Polixenes
Laugh at me; make their pastime at my sorrow.
They should not laugh, if I could reach them; nor
Shall she within my power,

SCENE V. Enter Paulina, with a child. Lord. You must not enter.

Paul. Nay rather, good my Lords, be second to me,
Fear you his tyrannous passion more, alas,
Than the Queen's life ? a gracious innocent soul,
More free than he is jealous.

Ant. That's enough.
Atten. [within] Madam, he hath not slept to-night,

commanded None should come at him.

Paul. Not so hot, good Sir;
I come to bring him sleep. 'Tis such as you,
That
creep

like shadows by him, and do figh
At each his needless heavings; such as you
Nourish the cause of his awaking. I
Do come with words, as medicinal as true,
Honest as either, to purge him of that humour,
That presses him from sleep.

Leo. What noise there, ho?

Paul. No ncife, my Lord, but needful conference; About some goslips for your Highness.

Leo. How?
Away with that audacious lady. -Antigonus,
I charg’d thee, that she should not come about me;
I knew she would.

Ant. I told her so, my Lord,
On your displeasure's peril and on mine,
She should not visit

you.
Leo. What ? can'st not rule her ?

Paul. From all dishonefty he can; in this,
(Unless he take the course that you have done,
Commit me, for committing honour), trust it,
He shall not rule me.

Ant. Lo-you now, you hear,
When she will take the rein, I let her run,
But she'll not itumble.

Paul. Good my licge, I come
And I beseech you, hear me, who profess
Myself your loyal fervant, your physician,
Your most obedient counsellor; yet that dares
Less appear fo, in comforting your evils,
VOL. III.

U

Than fuch as most seem your's. I say, I come
From your good Queen.

Leo. Good Queen?

Paul. Good Queen, my Lord,
Good Queen, I say, good Queen;
And would by combat make her good, so were I
A man, on th' worst about you.

Lee. Force her hence.

Paul. Let him that makes but trifles of his eyes, First hand me: on mine own accord I'll off ; But first I'll do my errand. The good Queen, For she is good, hath brought you forth a daughter, Here 'tis ; commends it to your blessing.

[Laying down the child.
Leo. Out!
A mankind witch! hence with her, out o'door:
A most intelligencing bawd!

Paul. Not so ;
I am as ignorant in that,

you
In so intitling me; and no less honeft
Than you are mad; which is enough, I'll warrant,
As this world goes, to pass for honest.

Leo. Traitors!
Will you not push her out? give her the bastard.

[To Antigonus.
Thou dotard, thou are woman-tyr'd; unroofted
By thy dame Partlet here. Take up the bastard,
Take't

up,

I say; give 't to thy croan.
Paul. For ever
Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou
Take'st up the Princess, by that forced * baseness
Which he has put upon 't!

Leo. He dreads his wife.
Paul. So I would you did: then 'twere paft all

doubt, You'd call

your
children

у 's.
Leo. 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,

forced, for unnatural.

« PreviousContinue »