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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 shall she have
A just and open trial. While she lives,
My heart will be a burden to me,
And think upon my bidding..

Leave me;



SCENE I. The same.

A Street in some Town.


Cleo. The climate's delicate; the air most sweet; Fertile the isle; the temple much surpassing

The common praise it bears.


I shall report,

For most it caught me, the celestial habits,

(Methinks, I so should term them,) and the reverence Of the grave wearers. Q, the sacrifice!

How ceremonious, solemn, and unearthly

It was i'the offering!


But, of all, the burst

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

If the event o'the journey
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't.2


Great Apollo,

*The time is worth the use on't.] The time is worth the use on't, means, the time which we have spent in visiting Delos, has recompensed us for the trouble of so spending it.

Turn all to the best! These proclamations,
So forcing faults upon Hermione,

I little like.


The violent carriage of it

Will clear, or end, the business: When the oracle, (Thus by Apollo's great divine seal'd up,)

Shall the contents discover, something rare,
Even then will rush to knowledge.-

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And gracious be the issue!




The same. A Court of Justice.

LEONTES, Lords, and Officers, appear properly' seated.

Leon. This sessions (to our great grief, we pronounce,)

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 tyrannous, since we so openly
Proceed in justice; which shall have due course,
Even to the guilt, or the purgation.3-
Produce the prisoner.

Offi. It is his highness' pleasure, that the queen Appear in person here in court.-Silence!

HERMIONE is brought in, guarded; PAULINA and Ladies, attending.

Leon. Read the indictment.

Offi. Hermione, queen to the worthy Leontes, king of Sicilia, thou art here accused and arraigned

3 Even to the guilt, or the purgation.] The word even is not to be understood here as an adverb, but as an adjective, signifying equal or indifferent.


of high treason, in committing adultery with Polixenes, king of Bohemia; and conspiring with Camillo to take away the life of our sovereign lord the king, thy royal husband: the pretence whereof being by circumstances partly laid open, thou, Hermione, contrary to the faith and allegiance of a true subject, didst counsel and aid them, for their better safety, to fly away by night.

Her. Since what I am to say, must be but that Which contradicts my accusation; and

The testimony on my part, no other

But what comes from myself; it shall scarce boot


To say, Not guilty: mine integrity,

Being counted falsehood," shall, as I express it,
Be so receiv'd. But thus,-If powers divine
Behold our human actions, (as they do,)

I doubt not then, but innocence shall make
False accusation blush, and tyranny

Tremble at patience.-You, my lord, best know,
(Who least will seem to do so,) my past life
Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true,
As I am now unhappy; which is more
Than history can pattern, though devis'd,
And play'd, to take spectators: For behold me,-
A fellow of the royal bed, which owe

A moiety of the throne, a great king's daughter,
The mother to a hopeful prince,—here standing,
To prate and talk for life, and honour, 'fore
Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it"

pretence-] Is, in this place, taken for a scheme laid, a design formed.

•mine integrity, &c.] That is, my virtue being accounted wickedness, my assertion of it will pass but for a lie. Falsehood

means both treachery and lie. JOHNSON.


For life, I prize it-]

Life is now to me only grief, and

as such only is considered by me: I would therefore willingly dismiss it. JOHNSON.

As I weigh grief, which I would spare: for honour, "Tis a derivative from me to mine,7

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; since he came,
With what encounter so uncurrent 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 that hear me, and my near'st of kin
Cry, Fye upon my grave!

I ne'er heard yet,
That any of these bolder vices wanted
Less impudence to gainsay what they did,
Than to perform it first.


Though 'tis a saying, sir,

That's true enough;

not due to me.

Leon. You will not own it.

More than mistress of,

Her. Which comes to me in name of fault, I must not At all acknowledge. For Polixenes,

7 'Tis a derivative from me to mine,] This sentiment, which is probably borrowed from Ecclesiasticus, iii. 11, cannot be too often impressed on the female mind: "The glory of a man is from the honour of his father; and a mother in dishonour, is a reproach unto her children." STEEVENS.

s I ne'er heard yet,

That any of these bolder vices wanted

Less impudence to gainsay what they did,

Than to perform it first.] It is apparent that according to the proper, or at least, according to the present, use of words, less should be more, or wanted should be had. But Shakspeare is very uncertain in his use of negatives. It may be necessary once to observe, that in our language, two negatives did not originally affirm, but strengthen the negation. This mode of speech was in time changed, but, as the change was made in opposition to long custom, it proceeded gradually, and uniformity was not obtained but through an intermediate confusion. JOHNSON.

(With whom I am accus'd,) I do confess,
I lov'd him, as in honour he requir'd;
With such a kind of love, as might become
A lady like me; with a love, even such,
So, and no other, as yourself commanded:
Which not to have done, I think, had been in me
Both disobedience and ingratitude,

To you, and toward your friend; whose love had spoke,

Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely,
That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy,

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I know not how it tastes; though it be dish'd
For me to try how: all I know of it,

Is, that Camillo was an honest man;

And, why he left your court, the gods themselves, Wotting no more than I, are ignorant.

Leon. You knew of his departure, as you know
What you have underta'en to do in his absence.
Her. Sir,

You speak a language that I understand not:
My life stands in the level of your

Which I'll lay down.



Your actions are my dreams;

You had a bastard by Polixenes,

And I but dream'd it:-As you were past all shame,

(Those of your fact are so,')

fact are so,') so past all truth:

Which to deny, concerns more than avails:

For as

Thy brat hath been cast out, like to itself,
No father owning it, (which is, indeed,
More criminal in thee, than it,) so thou
Shalt feel our justice; in whose easiest passage,
Look for no less than death.


Sir, spare your threats;

9 My life stands in the level] To be in the level is, to be within the reach.

(Those of your fact are so,)] i. e. guilt.


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