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Scene I.-Sicilia. A Room in the Palace of Leontes.
Enter LEONTES, CLEOMENES, Dion, PAULINA,
Cleo. Sir, you have done enough, and have perform'd
A saint-like sorrow: no fault could you make,
Which you have not redeem'd; indeed, paid down
More penitence, than done trespass: At the last
Do, as the heavens have done; forget your evil;
With them, forgive yourself.
Whilst I remember
Her, and her virtues, I cannot forget
My blemishes in them; and so still think of
The wrong I did myself: which was so much,
That heirless it hath made my kingdom; and
Destroy'd the sweet'st companion, that e'er man
Bred his hopes out of.
True, too true, my lord:
If, one by one, you wedded all the world,
Or, from the all that are, took something good,
To make a perfect woman; she, you killid,
Would be unparallel’d.
I think so.
Kill'd! She I kill'd? I did so: but thou strik'st me Sorely, to say I did; it is as bitter Upon thy tongue, as in my thought: Now, good now, Say so but seldom. Cleo.
Not at all, good lady:
You might have spoken a thousand things that would
Have done the time more benefit, and grac'd
Your kindness better.
You are one of those,
Would have him wed again.
If you would not so,
You pity not the state, nor the remembrance
Of his most sovereign dame; consider little,
What dangers, by his highness' fail of issue,
May drop upon his kingdom, and devour
Incertain lookers-on. What were more holy,
Than to rejoice, the former queen is well ?m
What holier, than,- for royalty's repair,
For present comfort and for future good, -
To bless the bed of majesty again
With a sweet fellow to't?
There is none worthy,
Respecting her that's gone. Besides, the gods
Will have fulfilld their secret purposes :
For has not the divine Apollo said,
Is't not the tenour of his oracle,
That king Leontes shall not have an heir,
Till his lost child be found ? which, that it shall,
Is all as monstrous to our human reason,
As my Antigonus to break his grave,
And come again to me; who, on my life,
Did perish with the infant. 'Tis your counsel,
My lord should to the heavens be contrary,
Oppose against their wills.-Care not for issue ;
The crown will find an heir: Great Alexander
Left his to the worthiest; so his successor
Was like to be the best.
Who hast the memory of Hermione,
I know, in honour,-0, that ever I
Had squar'd me to thy counsel !-then, even now,
I might have look'd upon my queen's full eyes ;
Have taken treasure from her lips,-
And left them
More rich, for what they yielded.
Thou speak'st truth.
No more such wives ; therefore, no wife; one worse,
And better us’d, would make her sainted spirit
Again possess her corps; and, on this stage,
(Where we offenders now appear,) soul-vex'd,
Begin, And why to me?
the former queen is well?] i. e. At rest, doad.
Had she such power,
She bad just cause.
She had; and would incense me
To murder her I married.
I should so:
Were I the ghost that walk'd, I'd bid you mark
Her eye; and tell me, for what dull part in't
You chose her: then I'd shriek, that even your ears
Shou'd rifto to hear me, and the words that follow'd
Should be, Remember mine.
And all eyes else dead coals!-
fear thou no wife, I'll have no wife, Paulina. Paul.
Will you swear
Never to marry, but by my free leave?
Leon. Never, Paulina : so be bless'd my spirit !
Paul. Then, good my lords, bear witness to his oath.
Cleo. You tempt him over-much.
As like Hermione as is her picture,
Affrontp his eye.
I have done.
Yet, if my lord will marry,-if you will, sir,
No remedy, but you will; give me the office
To choose you a queen ; she shall not be so young
As was your former ; but she shall be such,
As, walk'd your first queen's ghost, it should take joy
To see her in
My true Paulina, We shall not marry, till thou bidd'st us. Paul.
That Shall be, when your first queen's again in breath; Neyer till then.
Enter a Gentleman.
Gent. One that gives out himself prince Florizel, Son of Polixenes, with his princess, (she incensem] i. e. Instigale.
rift) i. e. Split. P Affront--] i. e. Meet.
The fairest I have yet beheld,) desires access
To your high presence.
What with him? he comes not
Like to his father's greatness: his approach,
So out of circumstance, and sudden, tells us,
?Tis not a visitation fram'd, but forc'd
By need, and accident. What train?
And those but mean.
His princess, say you, with him ?
Gent. Ay, the most peerless piece of earth, I think,
That e'er the sun shone bright on.
As every present time doth boast itself
Above a better, gone; so must thy grave
Give way to what's seen now. Sir, you yourself
Have said, and writ so, (but your writing now
Is colder than that theme,)She had not been,
Nor was not to be equalld;—thus your verse
Flow'd with her beauty once : 'tis shrewdly ebb’d,
To say, you
have seen a better,
The one I have almost forgót; (your pardon,)
The other, when she has obtain'd your eye,
Will have your tongue too. This is such a creature,
Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal
Of all professors else ; make proselytes
Of who she but bid follow.
How? 'not women?
Gent. Women will love her, that she is a woman
More worth than any man; men, that she is
The rarest of all women.
Yourself, assisted with your honour'd friends,
Bring them to our embracement.-Still 'tis strange,
[Exeunt CLEOMENES, Lords, and Gentleman. He thus should steal upon us. Paul.
Had our prince, q Is colder than that theme,)] i. e. Than the lifeless body of Hermione, the theme or subject of your writing.---MALONE.
(Jewel of children,) seen this hour, he had pair'd
Well with this lord ; there was not full a month
Between their births.
Pr’ythee, no more; cease, thou
He dies to me again, when talk'd of: sure,
When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches
Will bring me to consider that, which may
Unfurnish me of reason.—They are come.
Re-enter CLEOMENES, with FLORIZEL, PERDITA, and
Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince ;
For she did print your royal father off,
Conceiving you: Were I but twenty-one,
Your father's image is so hit in you,
His very air, that I should call you brother, ,
As I did him; and speak of something wildly
By us perform'd before. Most dearly welcome!
And your fair princess, goddess !-0, alas !
I lost a couple, that 'twixt heaven and earth
Might thus have stood, begetting wonder, as
You, gracious couple, do! and then I lost
(All mine own folly,) the society,
Amity too, of your brave father; whom,
Though bearing misery, I desire my life
Once more to look
By his command Have I here touch'd Sicilia : and from him Give you all greetings, that a king, and friend, Can send his brother : and, but infirmity (Which waits upon worn times,) hath something seiz'd His wish'd ability, he had himself The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his Measur'd, to look upon you; whom he loves (He bade me say so,) more than all the scepters, And those that bear them, living. Leon.
O, my brother, (Good gentleman !) the wrongs I have done thee, stir
and friend,] The old copy reads at friend.