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I do give lost; for I do feel it gone,
But know not how it went: My second joy,
And first-fruits of my body, from his presence
I am barr’d, like one infectious: My third comfort,
Starr'd most unluckily,a is from my breast
The innocent milk in its most innocent mouth,
Haled out to murder: Myself on every post
Proclaim'd a strumpet; With immodest hatred,
The child-bed privilege denied, which ’longs
To women of all fashion ;-Lastly, hurried
Here to this place, i'the open air, before
I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege,
Tell me what blessings I have here alive,
That I should fear to die? Therefore, proceed.
But yet hear this; mistake me not; No! life,
I prize it not a straw :--but for mine honour,
(Which I would free,) if I shall be condemn'd
Upon surmises; all proofs sleeping else,
But what your jealousies awake; I tell you,
'Tis rigour, and not law.t-Your honours all,

Starr'd most unluckily,] i. e. born under an inauspicious plannet. So, in Romeo and Juliet:

" And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars

“ From this world-wearied flesh.” Steevens. 3 I have got strength of limit.] I know not well how strength of limit can mean strength to pass the limits of the child-bed chamber; which yet it must mean in this place, unless we read in a more easy phrase, frength of limb. And now, &c. JOHNSON.

Mr. M. Mason judiciously conceives strength of limit to mean, the limited degree of strength which it is customary for women to acquire, before they are suffered to go abroad after child-bearing. STEVENS,

- I tell you,

'Tis rigour, and not law.] This also is from the novel : “Bel. laria, no whit dismaid with this rough reply, told her husband Pandofto, that he spake upon choller, and not conscience; for her virtuous life had been such as no spot of suspicion could ever stayne. And if she had borne a friendly countenance to Egisthus, it was in respect he was his friend, and not for any lusting atfection: there. fore if she were condemned without any farther proofe, it was rigoar and not law.MALONE.

I do refer me to the oracle ;
Apollo be my judge.
1. Lord.

This your request
Is altogether just: therefore, bring forth,
And in Apollo's name, his oracle.

Exeunt certain Oficers.
Her. The emperor of Russia was my father:
O, that he were alive, and here beholding
His daughter's trial! that he did but see
The flatness of my misery ;' yet with eyes
Of pity, not revenge!

Re-enter Officers, with Cleomenes and Dion. Offi. You here shall swear upon this sword of

justice,
That you, Cleomenes and Dion, have
Been both at Delphos; and from thence have brought
This seal’d-up oracle, by the hand deliverd
Of great Apollo's priest; and that, since then,
You have not dard to break the holy seal,
Nor read the secrets in't.
Cleo. Dion.

All this we swear.
Leon. Break up the seals, and read.
Opfi. [reads.] Hermione is chaste,Polixenes

5 The flatness of my misery;] That is, how low, how flat I am laid by my calamity. Johnson. So, Milton, Paradise Loft, B. II:

“ — Thus repuls'd, our final hope

Is flat despair.” MALONB. 6 Hermione is chaste, &c.] This is almost literally from Lodge's Novel :

" The Oracle. “ Suspicion is no proofe ; jealousie is an unequal judge; Bellaria is chaste; Egifthus blameless; Franion a true subject ; Pandofto treacherous; his babe innocent; and the king shall dye without an heire, if that which is lost be not found.” MALONE.

blameless, Camillo a true subjeet, Leontes a jealous tyrant, his innocent babe truly begotten; and the king pall live without an beir, if that, which is loft, be not found.

Lords. Now blessed be the great Apollo!
Her.

Praised!
Leon. Hast thou read truth?
Offi.

Ay, my lord; even so As it is here set down. !

Leon. There is no truth 'at'all i'the oracle: The sessions shall proceed;' this is mere falsehood.

Enter a Servant, bastily.
Ser. My lord the king, the king!
Leon.

What is the business?
Ser. O fir, I shall be hated to report it:
The prince your son, with mere conceit and fear
Of the queen's speed, is gone.
Leon.

How! gone?
SER.

Is dead.
Leon. Apollo's angry; and the heavens them-

selves Do strike at my injustice. [Hermione faints.] How

now there? Paul. This news is mortal to the queen :-Look

down, And see what death is doing. Leon.

Take her hence: Her heart is but o'ercharg'd; she will recover.

7 Of the queen's speed,] Of the event of the queen's trial : so we Atill say, he sped well or ill. . JOHNSON.

I have too much believ'd mine own suspicion :-
'Beseech you, tenderly apply to her
Some remedies for life.-Apollo, pardon

[Exeunt PAULINA and ladies, with HERMIONE.
My great profaneness ’gainst thine oracle !
I'll reconcile me to Polixenes;
New woo my queen; recall the good Camillo;
Whom I proclaim a man of truth, of mercy:
For, being transported by my jealousies
To bloody thoughts and to revenge, I chose
Camillo for the minister, to poison
My friend Polixenes, which had been done,
But that the good mind of Camillo tardied
My swift command, though I with death, and with
Reward, did threaten and encourage him,
Not doing it, and being done: he, most humane,
And fill'd with honour, to my kingly guest
Unclasp'd my practice; quit his fortunes here,
Which you knew great ; and to the certain hazard
Of all incertainties himself commended,

8 But that the good mind of Camillo tardied

My swift command,] Here likewise our author has closely fol. towed Greene: “ — promising not only to fhew himself a loyal and a loving husband ; but also to reconcile himselfe to Egifthus and Franion; revealing then before them all the cause of their secret flight, and how treacherously he thought to have practised his death, if that the good wind of his cup-bearer had not prevented his purpose.” MALONE. 9 - and to the certain bazard

Of all incertainties himself commended,] In the original copy some word probably of two fyllables, was inadvertently omitted in the first of these lines. I believe the word omitted was either doubta ful, or fearful. The editor of the second folio endeavoured to cure the defect by reading—the certain hazard; the most improper word that could have been chosen. How little attention the alterations made in that copy are entitled to, has been shown in my preface. Commended is committed. See p. 76. MALONĘ.

I am of a contrary opinion, and therefore retain the emendamon of the second folio.

No richer than his honour :-How he glisters
Thorough my rust! and how his piety
Does my deeds make the blacker !?

Re-enter Paulina. Paul.

Woe the while ! O, cut my lace; left my heart, cracking it, Break too!

1. Lord. What fit is this, good lady? Paul. What studied torments, tyrant, haft for

me? What wheels? racks ? fires ? What flaying? boiling, In leads, or oils ? what old, or newer torture Must I receive; whose every word deserves To taste of thy most worst? Thy tyranny Together working with thy jealousies, Fancies too weak for boys, too green and idle For girls of nine!—0, think, what they have done, And then run mad, indeed; stark mad! for all Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it. That thou betray’dst Polixenes, 'twas nothing; That did but show thee, of a fool, inconstant, And damnable ungrateful:3 nor was't much,

Certain hazard, &c. is quite in our author's manner. So, in The Comedy of Errors, Act II. sc. ii:

“ Until I know this sure uncertainty.Steevens. 2 Does my deeds make the blacker!] This vehement retraction of Leontes, accompanied with the confession of more crimes than he was suspected of, is agreeable to our daily experience of the vicissitudes of violent tempers, and the eruptions of minds oppressed with guilt. JOHNSON. 3 That thou betray'dft Polixenes, 'twas nothing;

That did but show thee, of a fool, inconftant,

And damnable ungrateful:] I have ventured at a slight alteration here, against the authority of all the copies, and for fool read Joul. It is certainly too gross and blunt in Paulina, though she might impeach the king of fooleries in some of his past actions and fonduct, to call him downright a fool. And it is much more par

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