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Read Shakespeare’s First Folio Part 244

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Paul. The Keeper of the prison, call to him: Let him haue knowledge who I am. Good Lady, No Court in Europe is too good for thee, What dost thou then in prison? Now good Sir, You know me, do you not?

Gao. For a worthy Lady, And one, who much I honour

Pau. Pray you then, Conduct me to the Queene

Gao. I may not (Madam) To the contrary I haue expresse commandment

Pau. Here’s ado, to locke vp honesty & honour from Th’ accesse of gentle visitors. Is’t lawfull pray you To see her Women? Any of them? Emilia?

Gao. So please you (Madam) To put a-part these your attendants, I Shall bring Emilia forth

Pau. I pray now call her: With-draw your selues

Gao. And Madam, I must be present at your Conference

Pau. Well: be’t so: prethee.

Heere’s such adoe, to make no staine, a staine, As colouring. Deare Gentlewoman, How fares our gracious Lady?

Emil. As well as one so great, and so forlorne May hold together: On her frights, and greefes (Which neuer tender Lady hath borne greater) She is, something before her time, deliuer’d

Pau. A boy?

Emil. A daughter, and a goodly babe, l.u.s.ty, and like to liue: the Queene receiues Much comfort in’t: Sayes, my poore prisoner, I am innocent as you, Pau. I dare be sworne: These dangerous, vnsafe Lunes i’th’ King, beshrew them: He must be told on’t, and he shall: the office Becomes a woman best. Ile take’t vpon me, If I proue hony-mouth’d, let my tongue blister.

And neuer to my red-look’d Anger bee The Trumpet any more: pray you (Emilia) Commend my best obedience to the Queene, If she dares trust me with her little babe, I’le shew’t the King, and vndertake to bee Her Aduocate to th’ lowd’st. We do not know How he may soften at the sight o’th’ Childe: The silence often of pure innocence Perswades, when speaking failes

Emil. Most worthy Madam, Your honor, and your goodnesse is so euident, That your free vndertaking cannot misse A thriuing yssue: there is no Lady liuing So meete for this great errand; please your Ladiship To visit the next roome, Ile presently Acquaint the Queene of your most n.o.ble offer, Who, but to day hammered of this designe, But durst not tempt a minister of honour Least she should be deny’d

Paul. Tell her (Emilia) Ile vse that tongue I haue: If wit flow from’t As boldnesse from my bosome, le’t not be doubted I shall do good, Emil. Now be you blest for it.

Ile to the Queene: please you come something neerer

Gao. Madam, if’t please the Queene to send the babe, I know not what I shall incurre, to it, Hauing no warrant

Pau. You neede not feare it (sir) This Childe was prisoner to the wombe, and is By Law and processe of great Nature, thence Free’d, and enfranchis’d, not a partie to The anger of the King, nor guilty of (If any be) the of the Queene

Gao. I do beleeue it

Paul. Do not you feare: vpon mine honor, I Will stand betwixt you, and danger.


Scaena Tertia.

Enter Leontes, Seruants, Paulina, Antigonus, and Lords.

Leo. Nor night, nor day, no rest: It is but weaknesse To beare the matter thus: meere weaknesse, if The cause were not in being: part o’th cause, She, th’ Adultresse: for the harlot-King Is quite beyond mine Arme, out of the blanke And leuell of my braine: plot-proofe: but shee, I can hooke to me: say that she were gone, Giuen to the fire, a moity of my rest Might come to me againe. Whose there?

Ser. My Lord

Leo. How do’s the boy?

Ser. He tooke good rest to night: ’tis hop’d His sicknesse is discharg’d

Leo. To see his n.o.blenesse, Conceyuing the dishonour of his Mother.

He straight declin’d, droop’d, tooke it deeply, Fasten’d, and fix’d the shame on’t in himselfe: Threw-off his Spirit, his Appet.i.te, his Sleepe, And down-right languish’d. Leaue me solely: goe, See how he fares: Fie, fie, no thought of him, The very thought of my Reuenges that way Recoyle vpon me: in himselfe too mightie, And in his parties, his Alliance; Let him be, Vntill a time may serue. For present vengeance Take it on her: Camillo, and Polixenes Laugh at me: make their pastime at my sorrow: They should not laugh, if I could reach them, nor Shall she, within my powre.

Enter Paulina.

Lord. You must not enter

Paul. Nay rather (good my Lords) be second to me: Feare you his tyrannous pa.s.sion more (alas) Then the Queenes life? A gracious innocent soule, More free, then he is iealous

Antig. That’s enough

Ser. Madam; he hath not slept to night, commanded None should come at him

Pau. Not so hot (good Sir) I come to bring him sleepe. ‘Tis such as you That creepe like shadowes by him, and do sighe At each his needlesse heauings: such as you Nourish the cause of his awaking. I Do come with words, as medicinall, as true; (Honest, as either;) to purge him of that humor, That presses him from sleepe

Leo. Who noyse there, hoe?

Pau. No noyse (my Lord) but needfull conference, About some Gossips for your Highnesse

Leo. How?

Away with that audacious Lady. Antigonus, I charg’d thee that she should not come about me, I knew she would

Ant. I told her so (my Lord) On your displeasures perill, and on mine, She should not visit you

Leo. What? canst not rule her?

Paul. From all dishonestie he can: in this (Vnlesse he take the course that you haue done) Commit me, for committing honor, trust it, He shall not rule me: Ant. La-you now, you heare, When she will take the raine, I let her run, But shee’l not stumble

Paul. Good my Liege, I come: And I beseech you heare me, who professes My selfe your loyall Seruant, your Physitian, Your most obedient Counsailor: yet that dares Lesse appeare so, in comforting your Euilles, Then such as most seeme yours. I say, I come From your good Queene

Leo. Good Queene?

Paul. Good Queene (my Lord) good Queene, I say good Queene, And would by combate, make her good so, were I A man, the worst about you

Leo. Force her hence

Pau. Let him that makes but trifles of his eyes First hand me: on mine owne accord, Ile off, But first, Ile do my errand. The good Queene (For she is good) hath brought you forth a daughter, Heere ’tis. Commends it to your blessing

Leo. Out: A mankinde Witch? Hence with her, out o’ dore: A most intelligencing bawd

Paul. Not so: I am as ignorant in that, as you, In so ent.i.t’ling me: and no lesse honest Then you are mad: which is enough, Ile warrant (As this world goes) to for honest: Leo. Traitors; Will you not push her out? Giue her the b.a.s.t.a.r.d, Thou dotard, thou art woman-tyr’d: vnroosted By thy dame Partlet heere. Take vp the b.a.s.t.a.r.d, Take’t vp, I say: giue’t to thy Croane

Paul. For euer Vnvenerable be thy hands, if thou Tak’st vp the Princesse, by that forced basenesse Which he ha’s put vpon’t

Leo. He dreads his Wife

Paul. So I would you did: then ’twere past all doubt Youl’d call your children, yours

Leo. A nest of Traitors

Ant. I am none, by this good light

Pau. Nor I: nor any But one that’s heere: and that’s himselfe: for he, The sacred Honor of himselfe, his Queenes, His hopefull Sonnes, his Babes, betrayes to Slander, Whose sting is sharper then the Swords; and will not (For as the case now stands, it is a Curse He cannot be compell’d too’t) once remoue The Root of his Opinion, which is rotten, As euer Oake, or Stone was sound

Leo. A Callat Of boundlesse tongue, who late hath beat her Husband, And now bayts me: This Brat is none of mine, It is the Issue of Polixenes.

Hence with it, and together with the Dam, Commit them to the fire


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Published inShakespeare's First Folio