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Leo. 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 Polixenes.
Hence with it; and, together with the dam,
Commit them to the fire.
Pau. It is
And, might we lay th’old proverb to your charge,
'tis the worse. Behold, my lords,
Although the print be little, the whole matter
of the father; eye, nose, lip,
The trick of's frown, his forehead, nay, the valleys,
The dimples of his chin, and cheek, his smiles,
The very mold 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, ʼmongst all colours
No yellow in't! left she suspect, as he does,
Her children not her husband's.
Leo. A grofs hag!
And, lozel, thou art worthy to be hang'd,
That wilt not stay her tongue.
Ant. Hang all the husbands
That cannot do that feat, you'll leave yourself
Hardly one subject.
Leo. Once more, take her hence.
Pau. A most unworthy and unnatural lord Can do no more.
Leo. I'll ha' thee burn'd.
Pau. I care not;
It is an heretick 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-hing'd fancy) something favours
Of tyranny, and will ignoble make you,
Yea, scandalous to all the world.
Leo. On your allegiance,
Out of the chamber with her. Where I a tyrant,
Where were her life? she durst not call me so,
If she did know me one. Away with her.
Pau. 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: farewel; we are gone.
Leo. 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 consum'd with fire;
Even thou, and none but thou. Take it up straight:
Within this hour bring me word ʼtis done,
And by good testimony, or I'll seize
Thy life, with all that's 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’d'st on thy wife.
Ant. I did not, sir :
The lords, my noble fellows, if they please,
Can clear me in't.
Lord. We can, my royal liege,
He is not guilty of her coming hither.
Leo. You're liars all.
Lord. 'Beseech your highness, give us better credit.
We've alway truly serv’d you, and beseech you
So to esteem of us: and on our knees
We beg (as recompence of our dear service
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 -
Leo. 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,
So fure as this beard's gray) what will you
adventure To save this brat's life?
Ant. 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; what's possible.
Leo. It shall be possible: swear by this sword,
Thou wilt perform my bidding.
Ant. I will, my lord.
Leo. Mark, and perform it; feest thou ? for the fail
Of any point in't shall not only be
Death to thyself, but toʻthy lewd-tongu'd 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 favour 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 to some stranger 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 afide) have done
Like offices of pity. Sir, be prosperous
In more than this deed does required and blessing,
Against this cruelty, fight on thy side,
Poor thing, condemn’d to loss !
[Exit with the child.
Leo. No; I'll not rear
Enter a Messenger.
Mel. Please your highness, pofts,
From those you sent to th'oracle, are come
An hour since. Cleomines and Dion,
Being well arriv'd from Delphos, are both landed,
Hasting to th'court.
Lord. So please you, fir, their speed
Hath been beyond account.
Leo. Twenty three days
They have been absent: this good fpeed foretels
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 publickly accus'd, so Thall 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.
A part of Sicily.
Enter Cleomines, and Dion.
HE climate's delicate, the air most sweet,
Fertile the soil, the temple much surpassing
The common praise it bears.
Dion, I shall report,
For most they caught me, the celestial habits,
Methinks, I so should term them, and the reverence
Of the grave wearers. O, the facrifice !
How ceremonious, solemn, and unearthly,
It was i'th' offering!
Cleo. But of all, the burst
And the ear-deafʼning voice o’th'oracle,
Kin to Jove's thunder, so surpris'd my sense
That I was nothing.
Dion. If th’event o'th' journey
Prove as successful to the queen (O be’t so!)
As it hath been to us rare, pleasant, speedy,
The use is worth the time on't.
Cleo. Great Apollo,
Turn all to th' 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 feald up,
Shall the contents discover : something rare