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Cleo. Not at all, good lady;
You might have spoke a thousand things that would
Have done the time more benefit, and grac'd
Your kindness better.
Pau. You are one of those
Would have him wed again.
.Dion. If you would not,
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? This will.
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?
Pau. There is none worthy,
Respecting her that's gone; besides, the gods
Will have fulfilld 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 heav'ns be contrary,
Oppose against their wills. Care not for issue; [to.tbe king.
The crown will find an heir : great Alexander
Left his to th’worthiest; so his successor
Was like to be the best.
Leo. Ah! good Paulina,
Who hast the memory of Hermione,
I know, in honour: 0, that ever I
Had squar'd me to thy counsell then, even now
I might have look'd upon my queen's full eyes,
Have taken treasure from her lips !
Pau. And left them
More rich, for what they yielded.
Leo. 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 corps, and on this stage,
(Where we offended anew) appear soul-vex’d,
And begin, why to me?
Pau. Had she such power,
She had just cause.
Leo. She had, and would incense me
To murder her I married.
Pau. I should so:
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
Should rift to hear me, and the words that follow'd
Should be, remember mine.
Leo. Stars, very stars ;
And all eyes else, dead coals: fear thou no wife:
I'll have no wife, Paulina.
Pau. Will you swear
Never to marry, but by my free leave?
Leo. Never, Paulina, so be bless’d my spirit !
Pau. Then, good my lords, bear witness to his oath.
Cleo. You tempt him over-much.
Paul. Unless another,
As like Hermione as is her picture,
Affront his eye.
Cleo. Good madam, pray have done.
Pau. Yet if
my lord will marry; if you will, fir;
No remedy, but you will; give me the office
To choose you a queen : The 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.
Leo. 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.
Gent, One that gives himself out prince Florizel,
Son of Polixenes, with his princess (The
The fairest I have yet beheld) desires access
To your high presence.
Leo. 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 ?
Gent. But few,
And those but mean.
Leo. His princess, say you, with him?
Gent. Yes; the most peerless piece of earth, I think,
That e'er the sun shone bright on.
Pau. O Hermione,
As every present time doth boast itself
Above a better, gone; so must thy graces
Give way to what's seen now. Sir, you yourself
Have said, and writ so, that your writing now
Is colder on that theme; he had not been
Nor was me to be equall’d; thus your verse
Flow'd with her beauty once, 'tis shrewdly ebb’d,
To say, you've 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 profeffors else, make proselytes
Of whom she but bid follow.
Pau. 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.
Leo. Go, Cleomines;
Yourself, assisted with your honour'd friends,
Bring them to our embracement. Still 'tis strange
He thus should steal upon us.
[Exit Cleomines. Pau. Had our prince (Jewel of children) seen this hour, he had pair'd Well with this lord; there was not a full month Between their births.
Leo. Pr’ythee, no more; thou know'ft,
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.
Enter Florizel, Perdita, Cleomines, and others.
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,
As I did him; and speak of something wildly
By us perform'd before. Most dearly welcome,
And your fair princess : goddess, o, alas!
I lost a couple, that 'twixt heav'n and earth
Might thus have stood begetting wonder, as
You, gracious couple, do; and then I loft
(All mine own folly) the society,
Amity too, of your brave father; whom
(Though bearing misery) I defire my life
Once more to look on.
Flo. Sir, by his command
Have I here touch'd Sicilia, and from him
all greetings, that a king, as friend,
Can send his brother; and but infirmity,
Which waits upon worn times, hath something seiz'd
His wish'd ability, he had himself
The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his
Measur’d, to look upon you, whom he loves,
He bad me say so, more than all the sceptres
And those that bear them living.
Leo. O my brother!
Good gentleman, the wrongs I have done thee stir
Afresh within me; and these thy offices,
So rarely kind, are as interpreters
Of my behind-hand Nackness. Welcome hither,
As is the spring to th' earth. And hath he too
Expos’d this paragon to th' fearful usage
(At least ungentle) of the dreadful Neptune,
To greet a man, not worth her pains; much less
Th’adventure of her person?
Flo. Good my lord,
She came from Lybia.
Leo. Where the warlike Smalus,
That noble honour'd lord, is fear'd, and lov'd ?
Flo. Most royal fir, from thence, from him whose daughter
His tears proclaim’d bis, parting with her; thence
(A prosperous south-wind friendly) we have cross’d,
To execute the charge my father gave me,
For visiting your highness; my best train
I have from your Sicilian shores dismiss’d,