Actus Quintus. Scena Prima.

Enter Leontes, Cleomines, Dion, Paulina, Seruants: Florizel, Perdita.

Cleo. Sir, you haue done enough, and haue perform'd A Saint-like Sorrow: No fault could you make, Which you haue not redeem'd; indeed pay'd downe More penitence, then done trespas: At the last Doe, as the Heauens haue done; forget your euill, With them, forgiue your selfe

Leo. Whilest I remember Her, and her Vertues, I cannot forget My blemishes in them, and so still thinke of The wrong I did my selfe: which was so much, That Heire-lesse it hath made my Kingdome, and Destroy'd the sweet'st Companion, that ere man Bred his hopes out of, true

Paul. Too true (my Lord:) If one by one, you wedded all the World, Or from the All that are, tooke something good, To make a perfect Woman; she you kill'd, Would be vnparallell'd

Leo. I thinke so. Kill'd? She I kill'd? I did so: but thou strik'st me Sorely, to say I did: it is as bitter Vpon thy Tongue, as in my Thought. Now, good now, Say so but seldome

Cleo. Not at all, good Lady: You might haue spoken a thousand things, that would Haue done the time more benefit, and grac'd Your kindnesse better

Paul. You are one of those Would haue him wed againe

Dio. If you would not so, You pitty not the State, nor the Remembrance Of his most Soueraigne Name: Consider little, What Dangers, by his Highnesse faile of Issue, May drop vpon his Kingdome, and deuoure Incertaine lookers on. What were more holy, Then to reioyce the former Queene is well? What holyer, then for Royalties repayre, For present comfort, and for future good, To blesse the Bed of Maiestie againe With a sweet Fellow to't? Paul. There is none worthy, (Respecting her that's gone:) besides the Gods Will haue fulfill'd their secret purposes: For ha's not the Diuine Apollo said? Is't not the tenor of his Oracle, That King Leontes shall not haue an Heire, Till his lost Child be found? Which, that it shall, Is all as monstrous to our humane reason, As my Antigonus to breake his Graue, And come againe to me: who, on my life, Did perish with the Infant. 'Tis your councell, My Lord should to the Heauens be contrary, Oppose against their wills. Care not for Issue, The Crowne will find an Heire. Great Alexander Left his to th' Worthiest: so his Successor Was like to be the best

Leo. Good Paulina, Who hast the memorie of Hermione I know in honor: O, that euer I Had squar'd me to thy councell: then, euen now, I might haue look'd vpon my Queenes full eyes, Haue taken Treasure from her Lippes

Paul. And left them More rich, for what they yeelded

Leo. Thou speak'st truth: No more such Wiues, therefore no Wife: one worse, And better vs'd, would make her Sainted Spirit Againe possesse her Corps, and on this Stage (Where we Offendors now appeare) Soule-vext, And begin, why to me? Paul. Had she such power, She had iust such cause

Leo. She had, and would incense me To murther her I marryed

Paul. I should so: Were I the Ghost that walk'd, Il'd bid you marke Her eye, and tell me for what dull part in't You chose her: then Il'd shrieke, that euen your eares Should rift to heare me, and the words that follow'd, Should be, Remember mine

Leo. Starres, Starres, And all eyes else, dead coales: feare thou no Wife; Ile haue no Wife, Paulina

Paul. Will you sweare Neuer to marry, but by my free leaue? Leo. Neuer (Paulina) so be bless'd my Spirit

Paul. Then good my Lords, beare witnesse to his Oath

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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