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Leon. No, I 'll not rear
l Atten. Please your highness, posts
From those you sent to the oracle are come
l Lord. So please you, sir, their speed
Hath been beyond account.
Leon. Twenty-three days
They have been a'uijut: 't is good speed, foretells,
Scene I.—Sicily. A Street in some Town.
Cleo. The climate's delicate, the air most sweet,
Dion. I shall report,
For most it caught me, the celestial habits— Methinks, I so should term them—and the reverence
Of the grave wearers. 0, the sacrifice,
Cleo. But, of all, the burst
And the ear-deafening voice o' the oracle,
Dion. If the event o' the journey
Prove as successful to the queen—O, be't so !—
Cleo. Great Apollo,
Turn all to the best! These proclamations,
So forcing faults upon Hermione,
Dion. The violent carriage of it
And gracious be the issue I [Exeunt.
Scene II.—The Same. A Court of Justice.
Enter Leontes, Lords, and Officers.
Leon. This sessions—to our great grief we pronounce—
Even pushes 'gainst our heart: the party tried,
Off. It is his highness' pleasure that the queen Appear in person here in court.—Silence I
Enter Hermione, guarded; Paulina and
Leon. Read the indictment.
Off". 'Herniione, queen to the worthy Leontes, King of Sicilia, thou art here accused and arraigned of high treason, in committing adultery with Polixenes, King of Bohemia, and conspiring with Oamillo to take away the life of our sovereign lord the king, thy royal husband: the pretence whereof i being by circumstances partly laid open, thou, Hermione, contrary to the faith and allegiance of a true subject, didst counsel and aid them, for their better safety, to fly away by night.'
Her. Since what I am to say must be but that Which contradicts my accusation, and The testimony on my part no other But what comes from myself, it shall scarce boot ma To say, 'Not guilty ;' mine integrity, Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it, Be so received. But thus :—if powers divine Behold our human actions—as they do— I doubt not then but innocence shall make False accusation blush and tyranny Tremble at patience.—You, my lord, best know —Who least will seem to do so—my past life
Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true,
As I am now unhappy; which is more
Than history can pattern, though devised
And played to take spectators; for behold me,
A fellow of the royal bed, which owe
A moiety of the throne, a great king's daughter
The mother to a hopeful prince, here standing
To prate and talk for life and honour 'fore
Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it
As I weigh grief which I would spare: for honour,
'T is a derivative from me to mine;
And only that I stand for. I appeal
To your own conscience, sir, before Polixenes
Came to your court, how I was in your grace,
How merited to be so; since he came,
With what encounter so uncurrent I
Have strained, to appear thus: if one jot beyond
The bound of honour, or in act or will
That way inclining, hardened be the hearts
Of all that hear me, and my near'st of kin
Cry ' Fie !' upon my grave!
Leon. I ne'er heard yet
That any of these bolder vices wanted
Her. That's true enough ,