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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.



SCENE I. Sicilia. A Room in the Palace of


Enter Leontes, CLEOMENES, Dion, PAULINA, and


Cleo. Sir, you have done enough, and have per

form'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. Paul.

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.

Or, from the all that are, took something good,] This is a favourite thought; it was bestowed on Miranda and Rosalind before. Johnson.


I think so. Kill'd! She I kill'd? I did so: but thou strik'st me Sorely, to say I did; it is as bitter Upon thy tongue, as in my thought: Now, good

now, Say so but seldom. Cleo.

Not at all, good lady: You might have spoken a thousand things that

Have done the time more benefit, and grac'd
Your kindness better.
i Paul.

You are one of those,
Would have him wed again.


would not so,
You pity not the state, nor the remembrance
Of his most sovereign dame; 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 coun

sel, My lord should to the heavens be contrary,

Oppose against their wills.-Care not for issue;

[T. LEONTES. The crown will find an heir: Great Alexander Left his to the worthiest; so his successor Was like to be the best. Leon.

Good Paulina, Who hast the memory of Hermione, I know, in honour,-0, 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, Paul.

And left them More rich, for what they yielded. Leon.

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 offenders now appear, soul-vex’d,
Begin, And why to me?

Had she such power,
She had just cause.

She had; and would incense mes
To murder her I married.

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 Shou'd rift to hear me; and the words that follow'd Should be, Remember mine. Leon.

Stars, very stars, And all


else dead coals!—fear thou no wife, I'll have no wife, Paulina. Paul.

Will you swear Never to marry, but by my free leave?

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incense me —] i. e. instigate me, set me on, Shou'd rift - i. e. split.


Leon. Never, Paulina; so be bless'd my spirit! Paul. 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, Paul.

I have done. Yet, if my lord will marry,—if you will, sir, No remedy, but you will; give me the office To choose you a queen: she 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

To see her in your arms.

My true Paulina,
We shall not marry, till thou bidd'st us.

That Shall be, when your first queen's again in breath; Never till then.

Enter a Gentleman. Gent. One that gives out himself prince Florizel, Son of Polixenes, with his princess, (she The fairest I have yet beheld,) desires access Το your high presence. Leon.

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?

But few,
And those but mean.

His princess, say you, with him?

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Gent. Ay, the most peerless piece of earth, I

think, That e'er the sun shone bright on. Paul.

O Hermione, As every present time doth boast itself Above a better, gone; so must thy grave Give way

to what's seen now. Sir, you yourself Have said, and writ so, (but your writing now Is colder than that theme,)& She had not been, Nor was not to be equalld;—thus your verse Flow'd with her beauty once; 'tis shrewdly ebb'd, To say, you have 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 professors else; make proselytes Of who she but bid follow. Paul.

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. Leon.

Go, Cleomenes; Yourself, assisted with your honour'd friends, Bring them to our embracement.—Still 'tis strange,

[Exeunt CLEOMENES, Lords, and Gentleman. He thus should steal upon us. Paul.

Had our prince, (Jewel of children,) seen this hour, he had pair'd Well with this lord; there was not full a month Between their births. Leon.

Pr’ythee, no more; thou know'st, He dies to me again, when talk'd of: sure,

8 Is colder than that theme,)] i.e. than the lifeless body of Hermione, the theme or subject of your writing. MALONE.

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