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From him that has most cause to grieve it should be,
She's an adult'ress.

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.

Leo. You have mistook, my lady,
Polixenes for Leontes. O thou thing!
Which I'll not call a creature of thy place,
Lest barbarism, making me the precedent,
Should a like language use to all degrees,
And mannerly distinguishment leave out
Betwixt the prince and beggar. I have said,
She's an adult'ress; I have said with whom :
More, she's a traitor; and Camillo is
A federary with her, one that knows
What she should be asham'd to know herself,
But with her most vile principal; that she's
A bed-swerver, even as bad as those
The vulgar give bold'st titles; ay, and privy
To this their late escape.

Her. No, by my life,
Privy to none of this: how will this grieve you,

you shall come to clearer knowledge, that
You thus have publish'd me? gentle my lord,
You scarce can right me throughly then, to say
You did mistake.

Leo. No, if I do mistake
In those foundations which I build upon,
The centre is not big enough to bear
A schoolboy's top. Away with her to prison :
He who shall speak for her, is far off guilty
In that he speaks.

Her. There's some ill planet reigns ;
I must be patient, till the heavens look
With aspect of more favour. Good my lords,

Uuu 2

I am

I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
Commonly are; the want of which vain dew,
Perchance, shall dry your pities: but I have
That honourable grief lodg’d here, which burns
Worse than tears drown: 'beseech you all, my lords,
With thoughts so qualified as your charities
Shall best instruct you, measure me; and so
The king's will be perform’d!

Leo. Shall I be heard ?

Her. Who is't that goes with me? 'beseech your highness, My women may be with me; for, you see, My plight requires it. Do not weep, good fools; There is no cause: when you shall know your mistress Has deserv'd prison, then abound in tears, As I come out; this action, I now go on, Is for my better grace. Adieu, my lord, I never with’d to see you sorry; now, I trust, I shall. My women, come; you've leave. Leo. Go, do our bidding; hence !

[Exe. Queen guarded, and Ladies. Lord. 'Beseech your highness, call the queen again.

Ant. Be certain what you do, fir, lest your justice
Prove violence, in the which three great ones suffer,
Yourself, your queen, your son.

Lord. For her, my lord,
I dare my life lay down, and will do't, fir,
Please you t’accept it, that the queen is spotless,
I'th' eyes of heaven, and to you; I mean,
In this which you accuse her.

Ant; If it prove
She's otherwise, I'll keep my stablestand where
I lodge my wife; I'll go in couples with her:

Stablestand (stabilis ftatio as Spelman interprets it) is a term of the forest-laws, and fignifies a place where a deerStealer fixes his stand under some convenient cover, and keeps watch for the purpose of killing deer as they pass by. From the place it came to be applied also to the person, and any man taken in a forest in that situation with a gun or bow in his hand was presumed to be an offender and had the name of a stableftand. In all former editions this hath been printed ftables, and it may perhaps be


Than when I feel, and see her, no further trust her;
For every inch of woman in the world,
Ay, every dram of woman's flesh, is false,
If she be.

Leo. Hold your peaces.
Lord. Good my lord !

Ant. It is for you we speak, not for ourselves :
You are abused by some putter-on,
That will be damn’d for’t; would I knew the villain,
I would land-damm him : be she honour-flaw'd, -
I have three daughters; th' eldest is eleven ;
The second, and the third, nine, and some five;
If this prove true, they'll pay for’t: by mine honour,
I'll geld 'em all: fourteen they shall not see
To bring falfe generations : they are coheirs,
And I had rather glib myself, than they
Should not produce fair issue.

Leo. Cease; no more :
You smell this business with a sense as cold
As is a dead man's nose: I see't, and feel’t,
As you feel doing thus; and see withal (laying hold of his arm.
The instruments I feel.

Ant. If it be fo,
We need no grave to bury honesty;
There's not a grain of it, the face to sweeten
Of the whole dungy earth.

Leo. What? lack I credit ?

Lord. I had rather you did lack than I, my lord,
Upon this ground; and more it would content me.
To have your honour true, than your suspicion;
Be blam'd for’t how you might.

Leo. Why, what need we
Commune with you for this? not rather follow

objected that another syllable added spoils the smoothness of the verse. But by pronouncing stable fort the measure will very well bear it according to the liberty allowed in this kind of writing, and which Shakespear never firuples to use.




Our forceful inftigation? our prerogative
Calls not your counsels, but our natural goodness
Imparts this; 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, are all
Properly ours.

Ant. And I wish, my liege,
You had only in your silent judgment try'd it,
Without more overture.

Leo. How could that be?
Either thou art most ignorant by age,
Or thou wert born a fool. Camillo's flight
Added to their familiarity,
(Which was as gross as ever touch'd conjecture,
That lack'd fight only, nought for approbation'
But only seeing, all other circumstances
Made up to th’deed) doth push on this proceeding;
Yet, for a greater confirmation,
(For, in an act of this importance, 'twere
Most piteous to be wild) I've despatch'd in post,
To facred Delphos, to Apollo's temple,
Cleomines and Dion, whom


Of stuff’d sufficiency: now, from the oracle
They will bring all, whose spiritual counsel had,
Shall stop or spur me on. Have I done well ?

Lord. Well done, my lord.
Leo. Though I am satisfy’d, and need no more

Than what I know, yet shall the oracle
Give rest to th' minds of others; such as he,
Whose ignorant credulity will not
Come up to th' truth. So we have thought it good
From our free person she should be confin'd,
Lest that the treachery of the two, fled hence,

a The word approbation here signifies, proof.


Be left her to perform. Come, follow us,
We are to speak in publick; for this business
Will raise us all.

Ant. To laughter, as I take it,
If the good truth were known.

[aside. [Exeunt.



A Prison. Enter Paulina, and a Gentleman, with other Attendants. Pau. HE keeper of the prison, call to him: [Exit. Gent:

Let him have knowledge who I am. Good lady,
No court in Europe is too good for thee;
What doft thou then in prison? Now, good fir,
You know me, do you not? [Reenter Gentleman with the jailer.

Jai. For a worthy lady,
And one whom much I honour.

Pau. Pray you then,
Conduct me to the queen.

Jai. I may not, madam;
To th'contrary I have express commandment.

Pau. Here's ado
To lock up honesty and honour from
Th’access of gentle visitors! Is’t lawful,
Pray you, to see her women ? any of them?

Jai. If it so please you, madam,
To put apart these your attendants, I
Shall bring Emilia forth.

Pau. I pray now, call her: Withdraw yourselves.

[to her attendants who go out. Jai. And, madam, I must be Present at all your conference.

Pau. Well, well; Be it fo, pr’ythee.


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