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Emil. Most worthy madam,

Your honor, 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, hammered of this design;
But durst not tempt a minister of honor,
Lest she should be denied.

Paul. Tell her, Emilia,

I'll use that tongue I have. If wit flow from it,
As boldness from my bosom, let it not be doubted
I shall do good.

Emil. Now be you blest for it!

I'll to the queen. Please you, come something nearer.

Keep. 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
Freed and enfranchised: not a party to
The anger of the king; nor guilty of,
If any be, the trespass of the queen.

Keep. I do believe it.

Paul. Do not you fear; upon

Mine honor, I will stand 'twixt you and danger.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III. The same. A Room in the Palace.

Enter Leontes, Antigonus, Lords, and other Attendants.

Leon. Nor night, nor day, no rest. It is but weakness To bear the matter thus; mere weakness, if The cause were not in being;—part o' the 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 she
I can hook to me. Say, that she were gone,
Given to the fire, a moiety of my rest
Might come to me again. Who's there?

1 Attend. My lord!

[Advancing.

Leon. How does the boy?

1 Attend. He took good rest to-night;

'Tis hoped his sickness is discharged.

Leon. To see

His nobleness!

Conceiving the dishonor of his mother,
He straight declined, drooped, took it deeply;Fastened and fixed the shame on't in himself;
Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep,
And downright languished.—Leave me solely;2—go,
See how he fares. [Exit Attend.]—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 vengeance,
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.

Enter Paulina, with a Child.

1 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,3 than he is jealous.

1 Blank and level mean mark and aim, or direction. They are terms of gunnery.

2 i. e. leave me alone,

3 Free, i. e. as here used, pure, chaste.

Ant. That's enough.

1 Attend. 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 sigh
At each his needless heavings,—such as you
Nourish the cause of his awaking: I
Do come with words as med'cinal as true;
Honest, as either; to purge him of that humor,
That presses him from sleep.

Leon. What noise there, ho!

Paul. No noise, my lord; but needful conference About some gossips for your highness.

Leon. How?

Away with that audacious lady. Antigonus,

I charged 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.

Leon. What, canst not rule her?

Paul. From all dishonesty, he can. In this,
(Unless he take the course that you have done,
Commit me, for committing honor,) 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 stumble.

Paul. Good my liege, I come,—

And, I beseech you, hear me, who profess x
Myself your loyal servant, your physician,
Your most obedient counsellor; yet that dare
Less appear so, in comforting your evils,2
Than such as most seem yours;—I say, I come
From your good queen.

1 The old copy has professes.

2 "In comforting your evils." To comfort, in old language, is to aid, to encourage. Evils here mean wicked courses.

Leon. 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, the worst1 about you.

Leon. 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. Out!

A mankind2 witch! Hence with her, out o' door!
A most intelligencing bawd!

Paul. Not so.

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.

Leon. Traitors!

Will you not push her out? Give her the bastard.— Thou dotard [To Antigonus.] thou art woman-tired,3 unroosted By thy dame Partlet here.—Take up the bastard; Take't up, I say; give't to thy crone.4

Paul. Forever Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou Tak'st up the princess, by that forced5 baseness Which he has put upon't!

Leon. He dreads his wife.

1 i. e. the weakest, or least warlike,

2 "A mankind witch." In Junius's Nomenclator, hy Abraham Fleming, 1585, Virago is interpreted "A manly woman, or a mankind woman." Johnson asserts that the phrase is still used in the midland counties for a woman violent, ferocious, and mischievous.

3 i. e. hen-pecked. To tire in falconry is to tear with the beak. Partlet is the name of the hen in the old story of Renard the Fox.

4 A crone was originally a toothless old ewe; and thence became a term of contempt for an old woman.

5 Forced is false; uttered with violence to truth. Baseness for bastardy; we still say base born.

Paul. So I would you did; then, 'twere past all doubt, You'd call your children yours.

Leon. 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 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 compelled to't) once remove
The root of his opinion, which is rotten,
As ever oak, or stone, was sound.

Leon. A callat,1

Of boundless tongue; who late hath beat her husband,
And now baits me !—This brat is none of mine;
It is the issue of Polixenes.
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 yellow2 in't; lest she suspect, as he does,
Her children not her husband's!

Leon. A gross hag!—

And, lozel,3 thou art worthy to be hanged,
That wilt not stay her tongue.

1 A callat is a trull.

2 "No yellow? the color of jealousy.

3 Lozel, a worthless fellow; one lost to all goodness—from the Saxon losian, to perish, to be lost. Lord, losel, losliche, are all of the same family.

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