William Michael Rossetti William Shakespeare.

The complete works of Shakespeare: With a critical biography online

. (page 72 of 224)
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How he bath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides,
With violent hefts :— I have drunk, and seen the

Camillo \ras his help in this, bis pander :—
There is a plot against my life, my crown |
All's true that is mistrusted : — that false villain,
Whom I employed, was pre-employ'd by him :
He has discover'd my design, and 1
Remain a pinch'd thine: ; yea, a very trick
For then to play at wiU :— How came the poetenu
So easily open?

1 Lord By his great authority ;

Which often hath no less prevailed than so,
On your command.

Leon. I know*t too welL—

Givemetheboy; I am glad you did not nurse him I
Though he does bear some signs of me, yet you
Have too much blood in him.

Her. What is this ? sport ?

Leon. Bear the boy hence, he shall not come
about her ;
Away with him i—and let her sport herself
With that she's big with ; for *tis Polixenes
Has made thee swell thus.

Her. But I*d say, he had not.

And, 111 be sworn, you would believe my saying,
Howe'er you lean to the nayward.

Lecn. You, my lords.

Look on her, mark her well ; be but about
To say " she is a goodly lady," and
The justice of your hearts will thereto add,
" *Tis pity shes not honest, honourable :**
Praise her but for tiiis her withou^door form
(Which, on my futh, deserves high speech), and

The shrug, the hum, or ha : these petty brands
That calumny doth use :— 0, 1 am out.
That mercy aoes ; for calumny will sear
Virtue itself: these shrugs, these hums, and has,
When you have said she's goodly, come between,
Ere you can say she's honest : But bet known.
From him that has most cause to grieve it should be,
She's an adultress.

Her. Should a villain say so,

The most replenish'd villain in the world.
He were as much more villain : you, my lord.
Do but mistake.

LeoTi. You have mistook, my lady,
Polixenes for Leontes : thou thing,
Which 111 not call a creature of thy place,
Lest barbarism, making me the precedent.
Should alike lan^age use to all degrees.
And mannerly distinguishment leave out
Betwixt the prince and beggar t — I have said,
She's an adultress ; I have saidj with whom :
More, she's a traitor ; and Camillo is
A federary with her ; and one that knows
What she should shame to know herself, *

But with her most vile principal, that she's
A bed-swerver, even as oad as those
That vulgars give bold^t titles ; ay, and privy
To this their late escape.

Her. No, b^^ my lifs,

Privy to none of this : How will this grieve you
When you shall come to clearer knowledge, that
You ttms have publish'd me ! Gentle my lord.
You scarce can right me thoroughly then, to saj
Yon did mistake.

Leon. No ; if I mistake

In those foundations which I build upon.
The centre is not big enough to bear
A schoolboy^ top. — Away with her to prIiOD


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Ht who ihan fpeak for net is afiur off guilty,
But tliat he speaiu.

Ear, There^ some ill plinet reigns :

I must be patient, till the heavens look
With an aspect more favourable.— Good mj lords,
I am not prone to weeping, as oar sex
Commonly are ; the waat of which vain dew,
Perchance, shall dr^ yoor pities : but 1 have
That honourable grief lodged here, which bums
Worse tlian tears drown : 'Beseech you all,m7 lords,
With thoughts so qualified as your diarities
Shall best mstruct you, measure me ^-Hmd so
The king's will be perform'd I

Leom. Shall I be heard? [To the Quaxda,

Ber. Who ist that goes with me?— 'Beseech
yonr hiehness,
My women may be with me ; for, you see,
My plieht requires it Do not weep, good fools ;
There Is no cause: when you shall know your

Has deserved prison, then abound in tears,
As I oome out: this action I now go on
Is for my better grace. — Adieu, my lord;
I never wish'd to see you sorry; now,
I trust, I shall. — My women, come ; you have leave.

LeoH, Qo, do our bidding; hence.

[Exeunt Queen €cnd Ladies.

1 Lard. 'Beseech your highness, call the queen

AnL Be certain what you do, sir; lest your
Prove violence: in the which three great onessuffer.
Yourself, your queen, your son.

1 Lord For her, my lord,

I dare my life lay down, and wiU do% sir,
Please you t* accept it, that the queen is spotless
I' the eyes of Heaven, and to you ; I mean.
In this which yon accuse her.

Aid, If it prove

She's otherwise, 111 keep my stables where
I lodge my wife; 111 go m couples with her;
Than when I feel and see her, no further trust her;
For every inch of woman in the world,
Av, every dram of woman^s flesh, is &Ise,
If she be.

Locm, Hold your peaces.

1 Lord, Good my lord, —

Ant, It is for you we speak, not for onrselves :
Ton are abus'd, and by some putter-on, pain.
That will be damn'd for't: 'would I knew the vil-
I would land-damn him : Be she honour-flaw'd —
I have three daughters ; the eldest is eleven ;
The second, and tne third, nine, and some five ;
If this prove true, they'll pay fort; by mine honomr,
111 geld them all : fourteen they shall not see,
To bring false generations: they are co-heirs ;
And I faiad rather glib myself than they
Should not produce fair issne.

Loom, Cease; no more.

Ton smell this business with a sense as cold
As is a dead man's nose : but I do see t, and feel *t,
\8eixe$ the arm qfA^T,
As yoQ feel doing thus; and see withal
The instnmienta that feel.

Ant Ifitbefo,

We need no grave to bury honesty;
There^ not a grain of it, the face to sweeten
Of the whole dungy earth.

Leon. Whatt lack I credit?

I Lord, I had rather you did lack than I, my lord,
Upon this ground : and more it would content me
To have her honour tme, than your suspicion ;
Bo bhun'd for*t how yon might



Leon. Why, what need we

Commuuo with you of this ? but rather follow
Our forceful instigation ? Our prerogative
Calls not your counsels ; but our natural s^odness
Imparts tnis : which— if you (or stupified.
Or seeming so in skill) cannot, or will not.
Relish a truth like us ; inform yourselves.
We need no more of your advice: the matter,
The loss, the gain, the ordering on*t, is all
Properly ours.

Ant, And I wish, my liege,

Yon had only in your silent judgment tried it.
Without more overture.

Zieon. Howoouldthat be?

Either thou art most ignorant hy age.
Or thou wert bom a fool. Camillo^s flight,
Added to their familiarity
[Which was as gross as over touoh'd coniectnre,
That lack'd sight only, nou^t for approbation,
But only seeing, all other circnmstnnces
Made up to the deed), doth push on t . . ^ proceeding.
Yet, for a greater confirmation
j^or, in an act of this irauurtance, 'twere
Most piteous to be wild), I have despatch'd in post.
To sacred Delphos, to Apollo's temple,
Cleomenes ana Dion, whom you know
Of stuff 'd sufficiency: Now, from the oracle
'They will bring all ; whose spiritual counsel had
Shall stop, or spur me. Have I done well ?

1 Lorai Well done, my lord.

Leon. Though I am satisfied, and need no more
Than what I uiow, yet shall the oracle
Give rest to the minds of others ; such as he
Whose ignorant credulity will not
Come up to the truth : So have we thought it good
From our free person she should be confin'd ;
Lest that the treachery of the two, fled henoe.
Be left her to perform. Come, follow us ;
We are to speak in public ; for this business
Will raise us all.

Ant. [Aside.] To kughtcr, as I take it
If tiie good truth were known. [Exeunt

SCENE IL^Theeame. Ifte outer Boom qf a

Enter Pauluta and Attendants.

PauL The keeper of the prison^— call to him j

[ExU an Attendant

Lot him have knowledge who I am. — Good lady 1

No court in Europe is too good for thee.

What dost thou then m prison ?— Now, good sir,

B&wter Attendant, with ihe Keeper.

Yon know me, do yon not ?

Ke^. For a worthy lady.

And one whom much I honour.

PauL Pray you then.

Conduct me to the queen.

Ke^. I may not, madam ; to the contrary
I have express commandment

PauL Here's ado.

To lock np honesty and honour f^om [you.

The access of gentle visitors !— Is't lawful, pray
To see her women ? any of them ? Emilia ?

Ke*p. So please you, madam.
To put apart these your attendants, I
Shail bring Emilia forth.

PauL 1 pray now, oaU her.

Withdraw yoorselres. [Eooeunt Attendants.

Keep, And, madam,

I must be present at yoor oonfereace. .

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I'M. Wen, be it so, prithee. [Exit Keeper.
Here's such ado to mske no stahi a stain,
As passes oolouring.

enter Keeper with Emilia

Dear gentlewoman,
How fares our fipracious lady?

EmiL As well as one so great, and so forlorn,
May hold together : on her frights, and griefs —
(Which nerer tender lady hath borne ^eater),
She is. something before her time, delivered.

Paul A boy?

EmU A daughter ; and a goodly babe,

Lusty, and like to live : the queen receives
Much comfort in*t: says, " My poor prisoner,
I am innocent as you."

FauL I dare be sworn :—

These dangerous unsafe lunes i'the kingi beshrew

them I
He must be told on*t, and he shall : the office
Becomes a woman best; 111 take *t upon me:
If I prove honey-mouth *d, let my tongue blister;
And never to my red-look *d anger be
The trumpet any more:— Pray you, Emilia,
Commend ray best obedience to the queen ;
If she dares trust me with her Ifttle babe,
IMl show 't the king, and undertake to be
Her advocate to th loudest : We do not know
How he may soften at the sight o* the child ;
The Mlence often of pare innocence
Persuades, when speaking fails.

EmiL Most worthymadam.

Tour honour, and your ^odness, is so evident,
That your free undertakmg cannot miss
A thriving issue ; tliere is no lady living
So meet for this great errand: Please your ladyship
To visit the next room. 111 presently
Acquaint the queen of your most noble offer;
Who, but to-day, hammered of this design :
But durst not tempt a minister of honour.
Lest she should be denied.

BxuL Tell her, Emilia,

111 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 bless'd for it I

111 to the queen : Please you, come something
nearer. [babe,

Keep. Madam, ift please the queen to send the
I know not what I shall incur to pass it.
Having no warrant

FauU You need not fear it, sir:
This 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 mme honour, I
Will stand betwixt you and danger. [Exeunt^

BCE^E 111.— The tame, A rwm in the Palace,

Enter Lboittbs, Avtioonus, Lords, and other

Leon, Nor night nor day, no rest : It is but
To bear the matter thus; mere weakness, if
The cause were not iu being;— part o*the cause.
She, the adultress ; for the harlot kmg
Is Quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
And level of o^ b*tin plot-proof: but she


I can hook to me: Say^ that she were gone,
Qiven to the fire, a moiety of my rest
Might come to me again. — Who^s there?

1 Attend. My lord I [Adeandi^

Leon. How does the boy ?

1 Attend. He took good rest to-night {

Tis hop'd his sickness is discharg'd.

Leon, To see his nobleness 1
Conceivmg the dishonour of his mother.
He straight declined, droop'd, took it deeply;
Fastened and fix*d the shame on't in himself;
Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep, [go,
And downrif ht languish xL — Leave me solely :—
See how he fares. [Exit Attend.]— Fie, fie I 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 Pauliha, with a ChSd,

1 Lord. You must not enter, [me :

PavL ^tij% rather, good my lords, be second to
Fear you hts tyrannous passion more, alas,
Than the queenis life? a gracious innocent soul,
More free than he is jealous.

Ant. That^ enough.

1. Attend. Madam, he hath not slept to-night;
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 oy him, and do sigh
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.

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: Antigonns,
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 f

PauL From all dishonesty he can : in this

Snless he take the course that you have done,
mmit me, for committing honour), trust it,
He shall not rule me.

Ant, La ^rou now : you hear I

When she will take the rein, I let ner run ;
But shel} not stumble.

PauL Gk)od my liege, I come^~-

And, I besench you, hear me, who profess
Myself your loyal servant, vour physician.
Your most obedient counsellor ; yet tliat dare
Less appear so, in comforting your evils.
Than such as most seem yours, — I say, I come
From your good queen.
Leon. Good queen!

PauL Oood queen, my lord, good queens I say
good queen ;
And would by combat make her good, so ¥rere I
A man the worst about you. >r -. .

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Leon, Force ner hence.

PomL Let Him that makes bat trifles of his ejes
First hand me: on mine own accord, Til off;
But, first, V\\ do mine errand.— The good queen,
Fur she is good, liath brought you forth a daugh ter ;
Here *tis ; commends it to your blessing.

[Laying down the child,

Leon, Out!

A mankind witoh ! Hence with her, out o' door :
A most intelligenoing bawd !

PauL Not so :

I am as i|piorant in that, as you
In 80 entitling me : and no less honest
Than prou are mad ; which is enough, 111 waRint,
As this world goes, to pass for honest

Leon, Traitors !

Will 700 not pnsh her out? Give her the bastard—
Thoo dotard [to Antiqonub], thou art woman*

tired, unroosted
Bj thy Dame Parti et here, — ^take up the bastard;
Taket up, I say; give't to thy crone.

PamL For ever

Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou
Tak*st up the princess, by that forced baseness
Which he has put upon 1 1

Leon. He dreads his wife.

PauL So I would yon did ; then twere past all
You'd call your children yours.

Leon, A nest of traitors 1

Ant, I am none, by thb good li^ht.

PauL Nor I; nor any,

But one, that's here; and that's himself: for he
The sacred honour of himself, his queen's.
His hopeful son's, his babe's, betrays to slaiider.
Whose sting is sharper than the sword's ; and wul

g'or, as the case now stands, it is a corse
e cannot be compelled to't) once remove
The root of his opmion, which is rotten,
As ever oak, or stone, was sound.

Leon, A callat, [band.

Of boundless tongue; who late hath heather hua-
And now baits me I — This brat is none of mine ;
It is the issue of Polixenes :
Heuce 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 chaise,
80 like yoo, tis the worse.— Behold, my lords,
Allhough the print be little, the whole matter
And copy of the father : eve, nose, lip, [valley,
The trick of his frown, his forehead ; nay, the
The pretty dimples of his chin and cheek ; his

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, 'monest all colours
No yellow int ; lest she suspect, as he does.
Her children not her husband's 1

Leon, A gross hag !

And, lozel, then art worthy to be hang'd.
That wilt not stay her tongue.

Ant, Hang all the husbands

niat cuinot do that feat, you'll leave yourself
Hardly one subject.

Leon, Once more, take her hence.

PauL A most unworthy and unnatural lord
Can do no more.

Leon, 111 have thee bum'd.

PauL I care not:

It is an heretlo that makes the fire.



Not she which bums int J11 not call yon tyrant ;
But this most cruel usage of your queen
(Not able to produce more accusation [savonn
Than your own weak-hing'd fancy) something
Of tjrranny, and will ignoble make you.
Yea, scandalous to the world.

Lum, 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. Awav with her.

PauL I pray vou, do not push me; 111 be gone.
Look to your babe, my lord; tis yours: Jove

send her
A better guiding spirit I — What need these hands?
You, that are thus se tender o'er his follies,
Will never do him good, not one of yon.
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 mstantly oonsum'd 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 111 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 int.

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 ns better
We have always truly serv'd yon ; and beseech
So to esteem of us : And on our knees we beg

iAs recompense of our dear services,
'ast, and to come), that you do change this

Which, being so horrible, so bloody, must
Lead 00 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&ther? Better bum it now.
Than curse it then. But, be it ; let it live :
It shall not neither. You, sir, oome you hither ;

[to Ant.
You that have been so tenderly officious
With Lad^ Margerv, your midwife, there.
To save this bastard's life : for tis a bastard,
So sure as this beard's grey, — what will ;ott

To save this brat's life?

AnL Anything, my lord.

That mv ability^ may undergo.
And nobleness impose : at least, thus much, —
111 pawn the little blood which 1 have left
To save the innocent : anytliing possible.

L<:on, It shall be possible : iSwear by this sword.
Thou wilt perform my bidduig.

AnL 1 will, my lord.

Leon, Mark, and perform it; (seest thou?) for
the fail
Of any point int shall not only be
Death to thyself, but to thy lewd-tongued wife;
WhonL, 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

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Of our dominions; and that there thoa leave it,
Without more meroy, to its own protection.
And favoor of the climate. As by strange fortuiie
It came to us, I do in justice charge thee, —
On thy sool's peril, and thj body's torture,—
That thou commend it strangely to some place
Where clianoe may nurse, or end it : Take it np.
Ant, I swear to do this, though a present death
Had been more merciful. — Come on, poor babe :
gome powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens
To be tbv nurses! Wolves and bears, they say,
Casting their savageness asiJe, have done
Like offices of pitv. — Sir, be prosperous
In more than this aeed does require! and blessing,
Agamst this cruelty, fight on thy side.
Poor thing, condemn 'd to loss I

[Exit, with the chOd.
Leom, No, ill not rear

Another's issue.


1 Attend, Please your highness, postSi
From those yon sent to the oracle, are come
An hour since : Cleomenes and Dion,
Being well arrived £rom Delphos, are botk

Hasting to the court.

1 LonL So please yon, sir, their q^eed

Hath been beyond account

Leon. Twenty-three days

They have been absent : 'tis good speed ; foreteUi
The great Apollo suddenly will have
The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords ;
Summon a session, that we may arraign
Our 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 burthen to me. Leave me ;
And think upon my bidding. [EstemL


SCENE L-Sidlia. A SlreeL
Enter CLBOMBim and Diov.

Oleo, The climate's delicate: the air most sweet ;
Fertile the isle ; the temple much surpassing
The oonmion praise it bears.

JJicfn. I shall report.

For most it caught me, the celestial habits

giethinks I so should term them) , and the reverence
f the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice 1
How ceremonious, solenm, and unearthly
It was i' the oflforing !

Cko. But, of all, the burst

And the ear deafening voice o* the oracle.
Kin to Jove's thunder, so surprised my sense,
That I was nothing.

Dion. if the event o* the ioumey

Prove as successful to the queen,— O, be't so ! —
As it hath been to us rare, pleasant, speedy,
The time is worth the use on*L

Cleo, Great Apollo,

Turn all to the best ! These proclamations.
So forcing faults upon Hermione,
I little like.

Dim, The violent carriage of it
Will clear, or end, the business : When the oracle

grhus by Apollo's great divine seaPd up)
hall the contents discover, something rare
Even then will rush to knowledge.— Qo,— fresh

horses ;—
And gracious be the issue! [EaeunL

SCENE JL— The eame. A OouH qf Juttioe.

Lbohtbs, Lords, and Officers, (yapeat properly


Leon, This sessions (to our great grief we pro-
Even pushes 'gainst our heart: The party tried,
The daughter of a king ; our wife ; and one
Of us too much belov'd. — Let us be clear'd
Of being tyraimous, since we so openly
Proceed in justice; which shall have due course,
Even to the guilt, or the purgation.
Produce the prisoner.
Offi. It is his highness' pleasure that ttie queen
ppear in person here in court.— Silence 1

HBBMioms u brxm^ tn, guaraed; Pauuxa and
Ladies attending,

Leon, Read the indictment.

0£L ** Hermione, queen to the worthr Leontes,
kin^ of Sicilia, tbon art here accused and arraigned
of nigh treabon, in oommittinft adultery with
Polixenes, king of Bohemia ; and conspiring with
Camillo to take away the life of our sovereign lord
the king, th^ royal husbrnd : the pretence thereof
being by circumstances partly laid open, thou.
Hermione, contrary to the faith and allegumoe of
a true subject, didst counsel and aid them, for
theur better safety, to fly away by night."

Her, Since whut I am to sa^ must be btit that
Which contradicts my accusation, and
The testimony on my part no other
But what comes firom myself, it shall scarce boot

To say, ** Not ffuilty ;" mine integrity.
Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it.
Be so receiv'd. But thus, — If powers divino
Behold our human actions, as they do,
I doubt not then but innocence sliall make
False accusation blush, and tyranny
Tremble at patience.— You, my lord, best know
rW'Uo least will seem to do so), my past life
Ilath been as continent, as chaste, as true,
As I am now unhappy, which is more
Than histoiy can pattern, though devis'd.
And phiy'd, to take spectators : For behold me, —
A fellow of the royal bed, which owe
A moietv of the throne, a ^eat king'b daughter,
The motner to a hopeful prmce,— here standing,
To prate and talk for life and honour Yore
Who please to come and hear. For life. 1 prise it,
As I weigh grief, which I would spare : tor honour,
'TIS a derivative from me to mine.
And only that I stand for. I appeal
To your own conscience, sir, before Polixenes
Came to your court, how I was in your grace,
How merited to be so j since he came.
With what encounter so unourrent I
Have strain'd, to appear thus : if one jot beyond
The bound of honour; or, in act or will.
That way inclining; harden'd be the hearts
Of all tluit hear me, and my near'st of km
Cry Fie ! upon my gravel


That anj of these bolder vioes wanted
Lefli impadenoe to gainaaj what thej did,
Than to perfonn it fint.

Online LibraryWilliam Michael Rossetti William ShakespeareThe complete works of Shakespeare: With a critical biography → online text (page 72 of 224)