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(Unless he take the course that you have done,
Commit me, for committing honor,) trust it,
He shall not rule me.
Lo you now; you hear !
When she will take the rein, I let her run;
But she'll not stumble.
Good my liege, I come,
And, I beseech you, hear me, who profess
Myself your loyal servant, your physician,
Your most obedient counsellor; yet that dare
Less appear so, in comforting your evils,
Than such as most seem yours;-I say, I come
From your good queen.
Paul. Good queen, my lord, good queen: I say, good
And would by combat make her good, so were I
A man, the worst about you.
Force her hence.
Paul. Let him that makes but trifles of his eyes,
First hand me: on my 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. Leon.
A mankind witch! Hence with her, out o' door!
A most intelligencing bawd!
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.
Will you not push her out? Give her the bastard.-
Thou dotard [T. ANTIGONUS.] thou art woman-tired, un-
By thy dame Partlet here.—Take up the bastard;
Take't up, I say; give't to thy crone.
Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou
Tak'st up the princess, by that forced baseness
Which he has put upon't!
He dreads his wife.
Paul. So I would you did; then, 'twere past all doubt,
You'd call your children yours.
A nest of traitors!
Ant. I am none, by this good light.
Nor I; nor any,
But one, that's here; and that's himself: for he
The sacred honor of himself, his queen's,
His hopeful son's, his babe's, betrays to slander,
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.
A callat, Of boundless tongue; who late hath beat her husband, And now baits me!- This brat is none of mine; It is the issue of Prolixenes. 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 valley,
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 colors
No yellow in't ; lest she suspect, as he does,
Her children not her husband's!
A gross hag!-
And, lozel, thou art worthy to be hanged,
That wilt not stay her tongue.
Hang all the husbands
That cannot do that feat, you'll leave yourself
Hardly one subject.
Once more, take her hence.
Paul. A most unworthy and unnatural lord
Can do no more.
I'll have thee burned.
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-hinged fancy) something savors
Of tyranny, and will ignoble make you,
Yea, scandalous to the world.
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 consumed 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 served 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;
You, that have been so tenderly officious
With lady Margery, your midwife, there,
To save this bastard's life,- for 'tis a bastard,
her see this beach wind neel.
So sure as this beard's gray,—what will you adventure
To save this brat's life?
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,
Thou wilt perform my bidding.
I will, my lord.
Leon. Mark, and perform it; (see'st thou ?) for the fail
Of any point in't shall not only be
Death to thyself, but to thy lewd-tongued 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 favor 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 In more than this deed doth require ! and blessing, Against this cruelty, fight on thy side, Poor thing, condemned to loss! [Exit, with the Child. Leon.
No, I'll not rear Another's issue.
1 Attend. Please your highness, posts,
From those you sent to the oracle, are come
An hour since. Cleomenes and Dion,
Being well arrived from Delphos, are both landed,
Hasting to the court.
So please you, sir, their speed
Hath been beyond account.
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
Qur most disloyal lady; for, as she hath
Been publicly accused, 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; the temple much surpassing
The common praise it bears.
. I shall report,
For most it caught me — the celestial habits
(Methinks I so should term them) and the reverence
Of the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice!
How ceremonious, solemn, and unearthly
It was i' the offering!
But of all, the burst
And ear-deafening voice o'the oracle,
Kin to Jove's thunder, so surprised my sense,
That I was nothing.
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.
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 sealed up)
Shall the contents discover something rare
Even then will rush to knowledge.- Go, fresh horses !-
And gracious be the issue !