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Aut. If I had a mind to be honest, I see, fortune would not suffer me; she drops booties in my mouth. I am courted now with a double occasion; gold, and a means to do the prince my master good; which, who knows how that may turn back to my advancement? I will bring these two moles, these blind ones, aboard him: if he think it fit to shore them again, and that the complaint they have to the king concerns him nothing, let him call me rogue, for being so far officious; for I am proof against that title, and what else shame belongs to't: To him will I present them, there may be matter in it. [Exit.


SCENE I-Sicilia. A room in the palace of Leontes. Enter Leontes, Cleomenes, Dion, Paulina, and others.

Cleo. Sir, you have done enough, and have per form'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 kill'd, 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

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Would have him wed again.

Dion. 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?! 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 fulfill'd their secret purposes:

For has not the divine Apollo said,

Is't not the tenor 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 will.

-Care not for issue;
[To Leontes.

(1) At rest, dead.

The crown will find an heir: Great Alexander
Left his to the worthiest; so his successor

Was like to be the best.


Good Paulina,

Who hast the memory of Hermione,

I know, in honour,-Ö, 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,


More rich, for what they yielded.

And left them

Leon. 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 corpse; and, on this stage (Where we offenders now appear,) soul-vex'd, Begin, And why to me?


She had just cause.

Had she such power,


She had;

and would incense1 me

I should so:

To murder her I married.


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 cars
Should rift2 to hear me; and the words that follow'd
Should be, Remember mine.


Stars, very stars,

And all eyes else dead coals!-fear thou no wife, I'll have no wife, Paulina.


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


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Good madam,

Affront! 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 your arms.


My true Paulina,


We shall not marry, till thou bidd'st us.


Shall be, when your first queen's again in breath; Never till then.

Enter a Gentleman.

Gent. One that gives out himself prince Florizel, Son of Polixenes, with his princess (she

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.


But few,

His princess, say you, with him?

Gent. Ay; the most peerless piece of earth, I


That e'er the sun shone bright on.


O Hermione,

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

(1) Meet.

Is colder than that theme,1) She had not been, Nor was not to be equall'd;-thus your verse Flow'd with her beauty once; 'tis shrewdly ebb'd, To say, you have seen a better.

Gent. Pardon, madam : The one I have almost forgot; (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.


Go, Cleomenes;

Yourself, assisted with your honour'd friends, Bring them to our embracement.-Still 'tis strange, [Exeunt Cleomenes, Lords, and Gentlemen.

He thus should steal upon us.

Had our prince

Paul. (Jewel of children,) seen this hour, he had pair'd Well with this lord; there was not full a month Between their births.

Leon. Pr'ythee, no more; thou know'st 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 attendants.

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,

(1) i. e. Than the corse of Hermione, the sub ject of your writing.



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