Obrázky na stránke

With lady Margery, your midwife, there,
To save this bastard's life:--for 'tis a bastard,
So fure as this beard's grey,—what will you

adventure To save this brat's life?

Ant. Any thing, my lord,
That my ability may undergó;
And nobleness impose : at least, thus much;
I'll pawn the little blood which I have left,
To save the innocent : any thing possible.

Leon. It shall be possible : Swear by this sword,
Thou wilt perform my bidding.

ANT. I will, my lord.

Leon. Mark, and perform it; (feest thou ?) for the fail
Of any point in't shall not only be
Death to thyself, but to thy lewd-tongued wife;
Whom, for this time, we pardon. We enjoin thee,
As thou art liegeman to us, that thou carry
This female bastard hence; and that thou bear it
To some remote and desert place, quite out
Of our dominions; and that there thou leave it,
Without more mercy, to its own protection,
And favour of the climate. As by strange fortune
It came to us, I do in justice charge thee,-
On thy soul's peril, and thy body's torture,
That thou commend it strangely to some place,
Where chance may nurse, or end it: Take it up.

Ant. I swear to do this; though a present death
Had been more merciful._Come on, poor babe :
Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens,
To be thy nurses ! Wolves, and bears, they say,
Casting their favageness aside, have done
Like offices of pity --Sir, be prosperous
In more than this deed does require ! and blessing,

Against this cruelty, fight on thy side,
Poor thing, condemn’d to loss ! [Exit, with the child.

Leon. No, I'll not rear
Another's issue.

I Attend. Please your highness, posts
From those you sent to the oracle, are come
An hour since: Cleomenes and Dion,
Being well arriv'd from Delphos, are both landed,
Hasting to the court.

i Lord. So please you, sir, their speed Hath been beyond account.

Leon. Twenty-three days
They have been absent : 'Tis good speed ; foretels,
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 fome Town.

Enter CLEOMEN ES and Dron.

Cleo. The climate's delicate ; the air most sweet; Fertile the isle ; the temple much surpalling The common praise it bears.

Dion. I shall report, For most it caught me, the celestial habits, (Methinks, I so should term them,) and the reverence Of the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice !

How ceremonious, folemn, and unearthly
It was i'the offering !

Cleo. But, of all, the burst
And the ear-deafening voice o'the oracle,
Kin to Jove's thunder, so surpris'd my sense,
That I was nothing.

Dion. If the event o'the journey
Prove as successful to the queen,-0, be't so!
As it hath been to us, rare, pleasant, speedy,
The time is worth the use on't.

Cleo. Great Apollo,
Turn all to the best! These proclamations,
So forcing faults upon Hermione,
I little like.

Dion. 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.-Go,-freih horses;
And gracious be the issue !


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

SCENE II. 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.-
Produce the prisoner.

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

I i

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 of high treason, in committing adultery with Polisenes, king of Bohemia ; and conspiring with Camillo to take away the life of our sovereign lord the king, tby 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 me 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 As I weigh grief, which I would spare : for honour,

'Tis a derivative from me to mine,
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, Fie upon my grave !

Leon. I ne'er heard yet,

of these bolder vices wanted Less impudence to gainsay what they did, Than to perform it first.

Her. That's true enough ;
Though 'tis a saying, fir, not due to me.

LEON. You will not own it.

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

and toward your friend; whose love had spoke,
Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely,
That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy,
I know not how it tastes; though it be dish'd
For me to try how : all I know of it,

« PredošláPokračovať »