Page images


looking with a southward eye upon him; where he is to behold him, with flies blown to death. what talk we of these traitorly rascals, whose miseries are to be smil'd at, their offences being so capital? Tell me, (for you seem to be honest plain men,) what you have to the king: being something gently considered, I'll bring you where he is aboard, tender your persons to his presence, whisper him in your behalfs; and, if it be in man, besides the king, to effect your suits, here is man shall do it.

Clown. He seems to be of great authority: close with him, give him gold; and though authority be a stubborn bear, yet he is oft led by the nose with gold: show the inside of your purse to the outside of his hand, and no more ado: Remember, stoned, and flay'd alive.

Shep. An't please you, sir, to undertake the business for us, here is that gold I have: I'll make it as much more; and leave this young man in pawn, till I bring it you.

Aut. After I have done what I promised?

Shep. Ay, sir.

Aut. Well, give me the moiety:-Are you a party in this business?

Clown. In some sort, sir: but though my case be a pitiful one, I hope I shall not be flay'd out of it. Aut. O, that's the case of the shepherd's son:-Hang him, he'll be made an example.

Clown. Comfort, good comfort: We must to the king, and show our strange sights: he must know, 'tis none of your daughter, nor my sister; we are

gone else. Sir, I will give you as much as this old man does, when the business is perform'd; and remain, as he says, your pawn, till it be brought you.

Aut. I will trust you. Walk before toward the sea-side; go on the right hand; I will but look upon the hedge, and follow you.

Clown. We are bless'd in this man, as I may say, even bless'd.

Shep. Let's before, as he bids us: he was provided to do us good. [Exeunt Shepherd and Clown. 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 shame else belongs to't: To him will I present them, there may be matter in it.





Enter Leontes, Cleomenes, Dion, Paulina, and Others. Cleo. Sir, you have done enough, and have perform'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..

Leon. 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.


She I kill'd? I did so: but thou strikest me

Sorely, to say I did; it is as bitter

Upon thy tongue, as in my thought: Now, good


Say so but seldom.

[blocks in formation]


Would have him wed again.

Dion. you would not so, You pity not the state, nor the remembrance Of his most sovereign name; 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 tenour 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 wills.-Care not for issue;
[To Leontes.

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,-O, 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

Thou speak'st truth.

Leon. No more such wives; therefore, no wife: one worse, And better us'd, would make her sainted spirit Again possess her corps; and, on this stage, (Where we offenders now appear,) soul-vex'd, Begin, And why to me?

[blocks in formation]

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 ears
Shou'd rift 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.


you swear

Never to marry, but by my free leave?

« PreviousContinue »