Leo. I ne're heard yet, That any of these bolder Vices wanted Lesse Impudence to gaine-say what they did, Then to performe it first

Her. That's true enough, Though 'tis a saying (Sir) not due to me

Leo. You will not owne it

Her. More then Mistresse of, Which comes to me in name of Fault, I must not At all acknowledge. For Polixenes (With whom I am accus'd) I doe confesse I lou'd him, as in Honor he requir'd: With such a kind of Loue, as might become A Lady like me; with a Loue, euen such, So, and no other, as your selfe commanded: Which, not to haue done, I thinke had been in me Both Disobedience, and Ingratitude To you, and toward your Friend, whose Loue had spoke, Euen since it could speake, from an Infant, freely, That it was yours. Now for Conspiracie, I know not how it tastes, though it be dish'd For me to try how: All I know of it, Is, that Camillo was an honest man; And why he left your Court, the Gods themselues (Wotting no more then I) are ignorant

Leo. You knew of his departure, as you know What you haue vnderta'ne to doe in's absence

Her. Sir, You speake a Language that I vnderstand not: My Life stands in the leuell of your Dreames, Which Ile lay downe

Leo. Your Actions are my Dreames. You had a Bastard by Polixenes, 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, concernes more then auailes: for as Thy Brat hath been cast out, like to it selfe, No Father owning it (which is indeed More criminall in thee, then it) so thou Shalt feele our Iustice; in whose easiest passage, Looke for no lesse then death

Her. Sir, spare your Threats: The Bugge which you would fright me with, I seeke: To me can Life be no commoditie; The crowne and comfort of my Life (your Fauor) I doe giue lost, for I doe feele it gone, But know not how it went. My second Ioy, And first Fruits of my body, from his presence I am bar'd, like one infectious. My third comfort (Star'd most vnluckily) is from my breast (The innocent milke in it most innocent mouth) Hal'd out to murther. My selfe on euery Post Proclaym'd a Strumpet: With immodest hatred The Child-bed priuiledge deny'd, which longs To Women of all fashion. Lastly, hurried Here, to this place, i'th' open ayre, before I haue got strength of limit. Now (my Liege) Tell me what blessings I haue here aliue, That I should feare to die? Therefore proceed: But yet heare this: mistake me not: no Life, (I prize it not a straw) but for mine Honor, Which I would free: if I shall be condemn'd Vpon surmizes (all proofes sleeping else, But what your Iealousies awake) I tell you 'Tis Rigor, and not Law. Your Honors all, I doe referre me to the Oracle: Apollo be my Iudge

Lord. This your request Is altogether iust: therefore bring forth (And in Apollo's Name) his Oracle

Her. The Emperor of Russia was my Father. Oh that he were aliue, and here beholding His Daughters Tryall: that he did but see The flatnesse of my miserie; yet with eyes Of Pitty, not Reuenge

Officer. You here shal sweare vpon this Sword of Iustice, That you (Cleomines and Dion) haue Been both at Delphos, and from thence haue brought This seal'd-vp Oracle, by the Hand deliuer'd Of great Apollo's Priest; and that since then, You haue not dar'd to breake the holy Seale, Nor read the Secrets in't

Cleo. Dio. All this we sweare

Leo. Breake vp the Seales, and read

The Winters Tale Page 16

William Shakespeare Plays

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