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You chose her: then I'd shriek, that even your ears Should rift to hear me; and the words that followed Should be, Remember mine.

Leon.

Stars, stars,

And all eyes else dead coals!-Fear thou no wife;
I'll have no wife, Paulina.

Paul.
Will you swear
Never to marry but by my free leave?

Leon. Never, Paulina; so be blessed my spirit! Paul. Then, good my lords, bear witness to his oath.

Cleo. You tempt him overmuch.
Paul.
As like Hermione as is her picture,
Affront his eye.

Good madam,

Cleo.

Paul.

Unless another

I have done.

Yet, if my lord will marry,-if you will, sir,
No remedy, but you will,―give me the office
To choose you a queen. She shall not be so young
As was your former; but she shall be such,
As, walked your first queen's ghost, it should take joy
To see her in your arms.

Leon.

My true Paulina, We shall not marry, till thou bidd'st us.

Paul.

That Shall be, when your first queen's again in breath; Never till then.

Enter a Gentleman.

Gent. One that gives out himself prince Florizel, Son of Polixenes, with his princess, (she The fairest I have yet beheld,) desires access To your high presence. Leon.

What with him? He comes not

1 i. e. split.

2 i. e. meet his eye, or encounter it—affrontare (Ital.). Shakspeare uses

this word with the same meaning again in Hamlet, Act iii. Sc. 1:

"That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
Affront Ophelia."

His approach,

Like to his father's greatness.
So out of circumstance, and sudden, tells us,
'Tis not a visitation framed, but forced
By need and accident. What train?

Gent.

But few,

And those but mean.

Leon.

His princess, say you, with him? Gent. Ay; the most peerless piece of earth, I think, That e'er the sun shone bright on.

Paul.

O Hermione,
As every present time doth boast itself
Above a better, gone; so must thy grave1
Give way to what's seen now. Sir, you yourself
Have said, and writ so,2 (but your writing now
Is colder than that theme,3) She had not been
Nor was not to be equalled ;-thus your verse
Flowed with her beauty once; 'tis shrewdly ebbed,
To say, you have seen a better.

Gent.

Pardon, madam.
The one I have almost forgot, (your pardon ;)
The other, when she has obtained your eye,
Will have your tongue too. This is a creature,
Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal
Of all professors else; make proselytes
Of who she but bid follow.

Paul.

How? not women?
Gent. Women will love her, that she is a woman
More worth than any man; men, that she is
The rarest of all women.

Leon.

Go, Cleomenes; Yourself, assisted with your honored friends, Bring them to our embracement.-Still 'tis strange [Exeunt CLEOMENES, Lords, and Gentlemen. He thus should steal upon us.

Paul. Had our prince (Jewel of children) seen this hour, he had paired

1 i. e. thy beauties which are buried in the grave.

2 So relates not to what precedes, but to what follows; that she had

not been equalled.

3 i. e. than the corse of Hermione, the subject of your writing.

Well with this lord; there was not full a month

Between their births.

Leon. Pr'ythee, no more; thou know'st1 He dies to me again, when talked of. Sure, When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches Will bring me to consider that which may Unfurnish me of reason.-They are come.

Re-enter CLEOMENES, with FLORIZEL, PERDITA, and Attendants.

our mother was most true to wedlock, prince;
For she did print your royal father off,
Conceiving you. Were I but twenty-one,
Your father's image is so hit in you,

His very air, that I should call you brother,
As I did him; and speak of something, wildly
By us performed before. Most dearly welcome!
And your fair princess, goddess!-O, alas!
I lost a couple, that 'twixt heaven and earth
Might thus have stood, begetting wonder, as
You, gracious couple, do! And then I lost
(All mine own folly) the society,
Amity too, of your brave father; whom,
Though bearing misery, I desire my life
Once more to look on him.2

Flo.
By his command
Have I here touched Sicilia; and from him

Give you all greetings, that a king, at friend,3

Can send his brother: and, but infirmity

(Which waits upon worn times) hath something seized His wished ability, he had himself

The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his
Measured, to look upon you; whom he loves

1 The old copy reads, “Pr’ythee, no more: cease; thou know'st," &c. Steevens made the omission of the redundant word, which he considers a mere marginal gloss or explanation of no more.

2 Steevens altered this to look upon, but there are many instances of similar construction, in Shakspeare, incorrect as they may now appear. 3 i. e. at amity, as we now say.

He bade me say so) more than all the sceptres,

And those that bear them, living.

Leon.

O, my brother, (Good gentleman!) the wrongs I have done thee, stir Afresh within me; and these thy offices, So rarely kind, are as interpreters

Of

my behind-hand slackness!-Welcome hither, As is the spring to the earth. And hath he too Exposed this paragon to the fearful usage (At least, ungentle) of the dreadful Neptune, To greet a man not worth her pains; much less The adventure of her person?

Flo.

Good my lord,

She came from Libya.
Leon.

Where the warlike Smalus,

That noble, honored lord, is feared and loved?
Flo. Most royal sir, from thence; from him, whose
daughter

His tears proclaimed his, parting with her; thence
(A prosperous south wind friendly) we have crossed,
To execute the charge my father gave me,
For visiting your highness. My best train
I have from your Sicilian shores dismissed;
Who for Bohemia bend, to signify
Not only my success in Libya, sir,
But my arrival, and my wife's, in safety,
Here, where we are.

Leon.
The blessed gods
Purge all infection from our air, whilst you
Do climate here! You have a holy father,
A graceful1 gentleman; against whose person,
So sacred as it is, I have done sin;

For which the Heavens, taking angry note,
Have left me issueless; and your father's blessed
(As he from Heaven merits it) with you,
Worthy his goodness. What might I have been,
Might I a son and daughter now have looked on,
Such goodly things as you?

1 i. e. full of grace and virtue.

Enter a Lord.

Most noble sir,

Lord. That which I shall report, will bear no credit, Were not the proof so nigh. Please you, great sir, Bohemia greets you from himself, by me; Desires you to attach his son; who has (His dignity and duty both cast off) Fled from his father, from his hopes, and with A shepherd's daughter.

Leon.

Where's Bohemia? speak. Lord. Here in the city; I now came from him. I speak amazedly; and it becomes

My marvel, and my message. To your court
Whiles he was hastening, (in the chase, it seems,
Of this fair couple,) meets he on the way
The father of this seeming lady, and
Her brother, having both their country quitted
With this young prince.

Flo.

Whose honor, and whose honesty, till now
Endured all weathers.

Lord.

Camillo has betrayed me;

Lay't so to his charge;

He's with the king your father.

Leon.

Who? Camillo ?

Lord. Camillo, sir; I spake with him; who now Has these poor men in question.1 Never saw I Wretches so quake; they kneel, they kiss the earth ; Forswear themselves as often as they speak; Bohemia stops his ears, and threatens them With divers deaths in death.

Per.

O, my poor father!The Heaven sets spies upon us, will not have Our contract celebrated.

Leon.

You are married? Flo. We are not, sir, nor are we like to be; The stars, I see, will kiss the valleys first.— The odds for high and low's alike.

1 i. e. conversation.

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