Document:  All > Shakespeare > Comedies > The Winter's Tale > Act II, scene III



	[Enter LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, Lords, and Servants]

LEONTES: Nor night nor day no rest: it is but weakness
	To bear the matter thus; mere weakness. If
	The cause were not in being,--part o' the cause,
	She the adulteress; for the harlot king
	Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
	And level of my brain, plot-proof; but she
	I can hook to me: say that she were gone,
	Given to the fire, a moiety of my rest
	Might come to me again. Who's there?

First Servant: My lord?

LEONTES: How does the boy?

First Servant:                   He took good rest to-night;
	'Tis hoped his sickness is discharged.

LEONTES: To see his nobleness!
	Conceiving the dishonour of his mother,
	He straight declined, droop'd, took it deeply,
	Fasten'd and fix'd the shame on't in himself,
	Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep,
	And downright languish'd. Leave me solely: go,
	See how he fares.

	[Exit Servant]

	Fie, fie! no thought of him:
	The thought of my revenges that way
	Recoil upon me: in himself too mighty,
	And in his parties, his alliance; let him be
	Until a time may serve: 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 power.

	[Enter PAULINA, with a child]

First Lord: You must not enter.

PAULINA: Nay, rather, good my lords, be second to me:
	Fear you his tyrannous passion more, alas,
	Than the queen's life? a gracious innocent soul,
	More free than he is jealous.

ANTIGONUS: That's enough.

Second Servant: Madam, he hath not slept tonight; commanded
	None should come at him.

PAULINA: Not so hot, good sir:
	I come to bring him sleep. 'Tis such as you,
	That creep like shadows by him and do sigh
	At each his needless heavings, such as you
	Nourish the cause of his awaking: I
	Do come with words as medicinal as true,
	Honest as either, to purge him of that humour
	That presses him from sleep.

LEONTES: What noise there, ho?

PAULINA: No noise, my lord; but needful conference
	About some gossips for your highness.

LEONTES: How!
	Away with that audacious lady! Antigonus,
	I charged thee that she should not come about me:
	I knew she would.

ANTIGONUS:                   I told her so, my lord,
	On your displeasure's peril and on mine,
	She should not visit you.

LEONTES: What, canst not rule her?

PAULINA: From all dishonesty he can: in this,
	Unless he take the course that you have done,
	Commit me for committing honour, trust it,
	He shall not rule me.

ANTIGONUS: La you now, you hear:
	When she will take the rein I let her run;
	But she'll not stumble.

PAULINA: Good my liege, I come;
	And, I beseech you, hear me, who profess
	Myself your loyal servant, your physician,
	Your most obedient counsellor, yet that dare
	Less appear so in comforting your evils,
	Than such as most seem yours: I say, I come
	From your good queen.

LEONTES: Good queen!

PAULINA: Good queen, my lord,
	Good queen; I say good queen;
	And would by combat make her good, so were I
	A man, the worst about you.

LEONTES: Force her hence.

PAULINA: Let him that makes but trifles of his eyes
	First hand me: on mine own accord I'll off;
	But first I'll do my errand. The good queen,
	For she is good, hath brought you forth a daughter;
	Here 'tis; commends it to your blessing.

	[Laying down the child]

LEONTES: Out!
	A mankind witch! Hence with her, out o' door:
	A most intelligencing bawd!

PAULINA: Not so:
	I am as ignorant in that as you
	In so entitling me, and no less honest
	Than you are mad; which is enough, I'll warrant,
	As this world goes, to pass for honest.

LEONTES: Traitors!
	Will you not push her out? Give her the bastard.
	Thou dotard! thou art woman-tired, unroosted
	By thy dame Partlet here. Take up the bastard;
	Take't up, I say; give't to thy crone.

PAULINA: For ever
	Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou
	Takest up the princess by that forced baseness
	Which he has put upon't!

LEONTES: He dreads his wife.

PAULINA: So I would you did; then 'twere past all doubt
	You'ld call your children yours.

LEONTES: A nest of traitors!

ANTIGONUS: I am none, by this good light.

PAULINA: Nor I, nor any
	But one that's here, and that's himself, for he
	The sacred honour of himself, his queen's,
	His hopeful son's, his babe's, betrays to slander,
	Whose sting is sharper than the sword's;
	and will not--
	For, as the case now stands, it is a curse
	He cannot be compell'd to't--once remove
	The root of his opinion, which is rotten
	As ever oak or stone was sound.

LEONTES: A callat
	Of boundless tongue, who late hath beat her husband
	And now baits 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!

PAULINA: It is yours;
	And, might we lay the old proverb to your charge,
	So like you, 'tis the worse. Behold, my lords,
	Although the print be little, the whole matter
	And copy of the father, eye, nose, lip,
	The trick of's frown, his forehead, nay, the valley,
	The pretty dimples of his chin and cheek,
	His smiles,
	The very mould and frame of hand, nail, finger:
	And thou, good goddess Nature, which hast made it
	So like to him that got it, if thou hast
	The ordering of the mind too, 'mongst all colours
	No yellow in't, lest she suspect, as he does,
	Her children not her husband's!

LEONTES: A gross hag
	And, lozel, thou art worthy to be hang'd,
	That wilt not stay her tongue.

ANTIGONUS: Hang all the husbands
	That cannot do that feat, you'll leave yourself
	Hardly one subject.

LEONTES: Once more, take her hence.

PAULINA: A most unworthy and unnatural lord
	Can do no more.

LEONTES:                   I'll ha' thee burnt.

PAULINA: I care not:
	It is an heretic that makes the fire,
	Not she which burns in't. I'll not call you tyrant;
	But this most cruel usage of your queen,
	Not able to produce more accusation
	Than your own weak-hinged fancy, something savours
	Of tyranny and will ignoble make you,
	Yea, scandalous to the world.

LEONTES: On your allegiance,
	Out of the chamber with her! Were I a tyrant,
	Where were her life? she durst not call me so,
	If she did know me one. Away with her!

PAULINA: I pray you, do not push me; I'll be gone.
	Look to your babe, my lord; 'tis yours:
	Jove send her
	A better guiding spirit! What needs these hands?
	You, that are thus so tender o'er his follies,
	Will never do him good, not one of you.
	So, so: farewell; we are gone.

	[Exit]

LEONTES: Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to this.
	My child? away with't! Even thou, that hast
	A heart so tender o'er it, take it hence
	And see it instantly consumed with fire;
	Even thou and none but thou. Take it up straight:
	Within this hour bring me word 'tis done,
	And by good testimony, or I'll seize thy life,
	With what thou else call'st thine. If thou refuse
	And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so;
	The bastard brains with these my proper hands
	Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire;
	For thou set'st on thy wife.

ANTIGONUS: I did not, sir:
	These lords, my noble fellows, if they please,
	Can clear me in't.

Lords:                   We can: my royal liege,
	He is not guilty of her coming hither.

LEONTES: You're liars all.

First Lord: Beseech your highness, give us better credit:
	We have always truly served you, and beseech you
	So to esteem of us, and on our knees we beg,
	As recompense of our dear services
	Past and to come, that you do change this purpose,
	Which being so horrible, so bloody, must
	Lead on to some foul issue: we all kneel.

LEONTES: I am a feather for each wind that blows:
	Shall I live on to see this bastard kneel
	And call me father? better burn it now
	Than curse it then. But be it; let it live.
	It shall not neither. You, sir, come you hither;
	You that have been so tenderly officious
	With Lady Margery, your midwife there,
	To save this bastard's life,--for 'tis a bastard,
	So sure as this beard's grey,
	--what will you adventure
	To save this brat's life?

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

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

ANTIGONUS: I will, my lord.

LEONTES: Mark and perform it, see'st 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 liege-man 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.

ANTIGONUS: 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 savageness 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]

LEONTES: No, I'll not rear
	Another's issue.

	[Enter a Servant]

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

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

LEONTES: Twenty-three days
	They have been absent: 'tis good speed; foretells
	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 publicly accused, so shall she have
	A just and open trial. While she lives
	My heart will be a burthen to me. Leave me,
	And think upon my bidding.

	[Exeunt]




	THE WINTER'S TALE






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