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Leon. No, I 'll not rear

Another's issue.

l Atten. Please your highness, posts

From those you sent to the oracle are come
An hour since: Cleomenes and Dion,
Being well arrived from Delphos, are both landed,
Hasting to the court.

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,
The great Apollo suddenly will have
The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords:
Summon a session, that we may arraign
Our most disloyal lady; for, as she hath
Been publicly accused, so shall she have
A just and open trial. While she lives
My heart will be a burden to me. Leave me,
And think upon my bidding. [Exeunt.


Scene I.—Sicily. A Street in some Town.
Enter Cleomenes and Dion.

Cleo. The climate's delicate, the air most sweet,
Fertile the isle, the temple much surpassing
The common praise it bears.

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,
How ceremonious, solemn, and unearthly
It was i' the offering!

Cleo. But, of all, the burst

And the ear-deafening voice o' the oracle,
Kin to Jove's thunder, so surprised my sense,
That I was nothing.

Dion. If the event o' the journey

Prove as successful to the queen—O, be't so !—
As it hath been to us rare, pleasant, speedy,
The time is worth the use on't.

Cleo. Great Apollo,

Turn all to the best! These proclamations,

So forcing faults upon Hermione,
I little like.

Dion. The violent carriage of it
Will clear or end the business, when the oracle-
Thus by Apollo's great divine sealed up—
Shall the contents discover, something rare
Even then will rush to knowledge.—Go, fresh

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,
The daughter of a king, our wife, and one
Of us too much beloved.—Let us be cleared
Of being tyrannous, since we so openly
Proceed in justice, which shall have due course,
Even to the guilt or the purgation.
Produce the prisoner.

Off. It is his highness' pleasure that the queen Appear in person here in court.—Silence I

Enter Hermione, guarded; Paulina and
Ladies attending.

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
Less impudence to gainsay what they did
Than to perform it first.

Her. That's true enough ,

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