Paul. I pray you doe not push me, Ile be gone. Looke to your Babe (my Lord) 'tis yours: Ioue send her A better guiding Spirit. What needs these hands? You that are thus so tender o're his Follyes, Will neuer doe him good, not one of you. So, so: Farewell, we are gone. Enter.

Leo. Thou (Traytor) hast set on thy Wife to this. My Child? away with't? euen thou, that hast A heart so tender o're it, take it hence, And see it instantly consum'd with fire. Euen thou, and none but thou. Take it vp straight: Within this houre bring me word 'tis done, (And by good testimonie) or Ile seize thy life, With what thou else call'st thine: if thou refuse, And wilt encounter with my Wrath, say so; The Bastard-braynes with these my proper hands Shall I dash out. Goe, take it to the fire, For thou sett'st on thy Wife

Antig. I did not, Sir: These Lords, my Noble Fellowes, if they please, Can cleare me in't

Lords. We can: my Royall Liege, He is not guiltie of her comming hither

Leo. You're lyers all

Lord. Beseech your Highnesse, giue vs better credit: We haue alwayes truly seru'd you, and beseech' So to esteeme of vs: and on our knees we begge, (As recompence of our deare seruices Past, and to come) that you doe change this purpose, Which being so horrible, so bloody, must Lead on to some foule Issue. We all kneele

Leo. I am a Feather for each Wind that blows: Shall I liue on, to see this Bastard kneele, And call me Father? better burne it now, Then curse it then. But be it: let it liue. It shall not neyther. You Sir, come you hither: You that haue beene so tenderly officious With Lady Margerie, your Mid-wife there, To saue this Bastards life; for 'tis a Bastard, So sure as this Beard's gray. What will you aduenture, To saue this Brats life? Antig. Any thing (my Lord) That my abilitie may vndergoe, And Noblenesse impose: at least thus much; Ile pawne the little blood which I haue left, To saue the Innocent: any thing possible

Leo. It shall be possible: Sweare by this Sword Thou wilt performe my bidding

Antig. I will (my Lord.) Leo. Marke, and performe it: seest thou? for the faile Of any point in't, shall not onely be Death to thy selfe, but to thy lewd-tongu'd Wife, (Whom for this time we pardon) We enioyne thee, As thou art Liege-man to vs, that thou carry This female Bastard hence, and that thou beare it To some remote and desart place, quite out Of our Dominions; and that there thou leaue it (Without more mercy) to it owne protection, And fauour of the Climate: as by strange fortune It came to vs, I doe in Iustice charge thee, On thy Soules perill, and thy Bodyes torture, That thou commend it strangely to some place, Where Chance may nurse, or end it: take it vp

Antig. I sweare to doe this: though a present death Had beene more mercifull. Come on (poore Babe) Some powerfull Spirit instruct the Kytes and Rauens To be thy Nurses. Wolues and Beares, they say, (Casting their sauagenesse aside) haue done Like offices of Pitty. Sir, be prosperous In more then this deed do's require; and Blessing Against this Crueltie, fight on thy side (Poore Thing, condemn'd to losse.) Enter.

Leo. No: Ile not reare Anothers Issue. Enter a Seruant.

Seru. Please' your Highnesse, Posts From those you sent to th' Oracle, are come An houre since: Cleomines and Dion, Being well arriu'd from Delphos, are both landed, Hasting to th' Court

Lord. So please you (Sir) their speed Hath beene beyond accompt

Leo. Twentie three dayes They haue beene absent: 'tis good speed: fore-tells The great Apollo suddenly will haue The truth of this appeare: Prepare you Lords, Summon a Session, that we may arraigne Our most disloyall Lady: for as she hath Been publikely accus'd, so shall she haue A iust and open Triall. While she liues, My heart will be a burthen to me. Leaue me, And thinke vpon my bidding.


William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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