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Emil. Most worthy madam,
Your honor, and your goodness, is so evident,
Paul. Tell her, Emilia,
I'll use that tongue I have. If wit flow from it,
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,
Keep. I do believe it.
Paul. Do not you fear; upon
Mine honor, I will stand 'twixt you and danger.
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
1 Attend. My lord!
Leon. How does the boy?
1 Attend. He took good rest to-night;
'Tis hoped his sickness is discharged.
Leon. To see
Conceiving the dishonor of his mother,
thought of him ;—
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,—
Leon. What noise there, ho!
Paul. No noise, my lord; but needful conference About some gossips for your highness.
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,
Leon. What, canst not rule her?
Paul. From all dishonesty, he can. In this,
Ant. Lo you now; you hear!
When she will take the rein, I let her run;
Paul. Good my liege, I come,—
And, I beseech you, hear me, who profess x
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.
A mankind2 witch! Hence with her, out o' door!
Paul. Not so.
I am as ignorant in that, as you
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
Leon. A callat,1
Of boundless tongue; who late hath beat her husband,
Paul. It is yours;
And, might we lay the old proverb to your charge,
Leon. A gross hag!—
And, lozel,3 thou art worthy to be hanged,
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.