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Against this cruelty, fight on thy fide !
Poor thing, condemn'd to loss.- [Exit, with the Child.
Leo. No; I'll not rear
Enter a Mesenger.
Mes. Please your Highness, posts,
From those you sent to th' oracle, are come ·
An hour since. Cleomines and Dion,
Being well arriv'd from Delphos, are both landed,
Hasting to th' court.
Lord. So please you, Sir, their speed
Hath been beyond account.
Leo. Twenty-three days. They have been absent. this good speed foretels The great Apollo suddenly will have The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords. Summon a feífion, that we may arraign Our most difoyal Lady; for as she hath Been publickly accus'd, so fall she have A just and open tryal.,. While she lives, , My heart will be a burthen to mę.. Leave me, And think upon my bidding. [Exeunt severaly
SCENE, A Part of Sicily, near the
Enter Cleomines and Dion.
CLEOMIN E 3.
*H E climate's delicate, the air moft sweet,
Pertile the ide, the temple-much-surpassing:
The common praise it bears.
Dion. I shall report,
For molt it caught me, the celestial habits,
(Methinks, I fo should term them,) and the reverence
Of the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice
How ceremonious, folemn, and unearthly
It was i' th' offering !
Cleo. But of all, the burst
And the ear-deafning voice o' th' oracle,
Kin to Jove's thunder, so surpriz'd my sense,
That I was nothing.
Dion. If th' event o’th' journey
Prove as successful to the Queen, so 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 th' 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 feal'd up,)
Shall the contents discover : something rare
Even then will rush to knowledge. Go; fresh horses :
And gracious be the issue! -
SCEN E represents a court of Justice.
Leontes, Lords and Officers, appear properly seated.
HIS feffion, (to our great grief, we pro-
Ev'n pushes 'gainst our heart. The party try'd,
The daughter of a King, our wife, and one
Of us too much belov'd;. let us be clear'd
Of being tyrannous, fince 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 !
Hermione is brought in, guarded; Paulina, and Ladies,
attending Leo. Read the indi&tment.
Off. Hermione, Queen to the worthy Leontes, King of Sicilia, thou art here accused and arraigned of high ireason, in committing adultery with Polixenes, King of Bohemia, and conspiring with Camillo to take away the life of our sovereign lord the King, thy royal husband; the pretence whereof being by circumstances partly laid open, thou, Hermione, contrary to the faith and allegiance of a true subject, did 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 falihood, Thall
, 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, beit 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, tho' 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 ftanding
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, bow I was in your grace,
How merited to be fo; fince he came,
With what encounter so uncurrant. I
Have strain'd t'appear thus ; if one jot beyond
The bounds of honour, or in act, or will
That wa; inclining, hardned be the hearts
Of all that hear me, and my near'it of kin
Cry, fie, upon my grave!
Leo. I ne'er heard yet,
of those bolder vices wanted Less impudence to gain-say what they did, Than to perform it first.
Her. That's true enough ;
Tho''tis a saying, Sir, not due to me.
Leo. You will not own it.
Her: More than miltress of,
What 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
To you, and towards your friend; whose love had
Even fince it could speak, from an infant, freely
That it was yours. Now for Conspiracy,
I know not how it tastes, tho? it be dilh'd
For me to try how; all I know of it,
Js, that Camillo was an honest man;
And why he left your Court, the Gods themselves
(Wotting no more than 1,) are ignorant.
Leo. You knew of his departure, as you know
have underta'en to do in's absence.
You speak a language that I understand not ;
My life stands in the level of your dreams,
Which I'll lay down.
Lro. Your Actions are my Dreams
You bad a Baitard by Pelixenes,
And I but dream'd it :- as you were past all shame, -
(Those of your Fact are so) so past all truth;
Which to deny, concerns more than avails : for, as
Thy brat hath been cast out, like to it self,
No. father owning it, (which is, indeed,
More criminal in thee than it) so thou
Shalt feel our justice; in whose easiest passage
Look for no less than death.
Her. Sir, spare your threats';
The bug, which you would fright me with, I seek :
To me can life be no commodity:
'I he crown and comfort of my life, your Favour,
I do give loft ; for I do feel it gone,
But knowo not how it went. My second joy,
The first-fruits of my body,, from his presence
I'm barr'd like one infectious. My third comfort,
(Starr'd most unluckily,) is from my breast
(The innocent milk in its most innocent mouth)
Hald out to murder ; my self on every post
Proclaim'd a strumpet ; with immodest hatreda
The child-bed privilege deny'd, which 'longs
To women of all fashion : lastly, hurried
Here to this place, i'th' open air, before
I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege,
Tell me what blessings I have here alive,
That I should fear to die? therefore proceed:
But yet hear this; mistake me not; no life,
I prize it not a straw; but for mine honour,
Which I would free, if I shall be condemn'd
Upon surmises, (all proofs sleeping else,
But what your jealousies awake,) I tell you,
'Tis Rigour, and not Law. Your Honours all,
I do refer me to the Oracle :
Apollo be my judge.
Enter Dion and Cleomines.
Lord. This your request
Is altogether just ; therefore bring forth,
And in Apollo's name, his Oracle.
Her. The Emperor of Rusia was my father,