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The Winter’s Tale: Act 3, Scene 2

The Winter’s Tale
Act 3, Scene 2

Sicilia. A court of justice.

  1. Enter Leontes, Lords, Officers.

Leontes

2 - 9
  1. This sessions (to our great grief we pronounce)
  2. Even pushes ’gainst our heartthe party tried,
  3. The daughter of a king, our wife, and one
  4. Of us too much belov’d. Let us be clear’d
  5. Of being tyrannous, since we so openly
  6. Proceed in justice, which shall have due course,
  7. Even to the guilt or the purgation.
  8. Produce the prisoner.

Officer

10 - 14
  1. It is his Highness’ pleasure that the Queen
  2. Appear in person here in court.
  3. Enter Hermione (as to her trial), Paulina, and Ladies
  4. attending.
  5.                                 Silence!

Leontes

15
  1. Read the indictment.

Officer

16 - 25
  1. Reads.
  2. Hermione, queen to the worthy Leontes, King of Sicilia,
  3. thou art here accused and arraigned of high treason, in
  4. committing adultery with Polixenes, King of Bohemia, and
  5. conspiring with Camillo to take away the life of our
  6. sovereign lord the King, thy royal husband: the pretense
  7. whereof being by circumstances partly laid open, thou,
  8. Hermione, contrary to the faith and allegiance of a true
  9. subject, didst counsel and aid them, for their better
  10. safety, to fly away by night.”

Hermione

26 - 58
  1. Since what I am to say must be but that
  2. Which contradicts my accusation, and
  3. The testimony on my part no other
  4. But what comes from myself, it shall scarce boot me
  5. To say Not guilty.” Mine integrity,
  6. Being counted falsehood, shall (as I express it)
  7. Be so receiv’d. But thus, if pow’rs divine
  8. Behold our human actions (as they do),
  9. I doubt not then but innocence shall make
  10. False accusation blush, and tyranny
  11. Tremble at patience. You, my lord, best know
  12. (Who least will seem to do so) my past life
  13. Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true,
  14. As I am now unhappy; which is more
  15. Than history can pattern, though devis’d
  16. And play’d to take spectators. For behold me,
  17. A fellow of the royal bed, which owe
  18. A moi’ty of the throne, a great king’s daughter,
  19. The mother to a hopeful prince, here standing
  20. To prate and talk for life and honor ’fore
  21. Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it
  22. As I weigh grief, which I would spare; for honor,
  23. ’Tis a derivative from me to mine,
  24. And only that I stand for. I appeal
  25. To your own conscience, sir, before Polixenes
  26. Came to your court, how I was in your grace,
  27. How merited to be so; since he came,
  28. With what encounter so uncurrent I
  29. Have strain’d t’ appear thus; if one jot beyond
  30. The bound of honor, or in act or will
  31. That way inclining, hard’ned be the hearts
  32. Of all that hear me, and my near’st of kin
  33. Cry fie upon my grave!

Leontes

59 - 62
  1.                        I ne’er heard yet
  2. That any of these bolder vices wanted
  3. Less impudence to gainsay what they did
  4. Than to perform it first.

Hermione

63 - 64
  1.                           That’s true enough,
  2. Though ’tis a saying, sir, not due to me.

Leontes

65
  1. You will not own it.

Hermione

66 - 83
  1.                      More than mistress of
  2. Which comes to me in name of fault, I must not
  3. At all acknowledge. For Polixenes
  4. (With whom I am accus’d), I do confess
  5. I lov’d him as in honor he requir’d;
  6. With such a kind of love as might become
  7. A lady like me; with a love even such,
  8. So, and no other, as yourself commanded;
  9. Which not to have done I think had been in me
  10. Both disobedience and ingratitude
  11. To you and toward your friend, whose love had spoke,
  12. Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely,
  13. That it was yours. Now for conspiracy,
  14. I know not how it tastes, though it be dish’d
  15. For me to try how. All I know of it
  16. Is that Camillo was an honest man;
  17. And why he left your court, the gods themselves
  18. (Wotting no more than I) are ignorant.

Leontes

84 - 85
  1. You knew of his departure, as you know
  2. What you have underta’en to do in ’s absence.

Hermione

86 - 89
  1. Sir,
  2. You speak a language that I understand not.
  3. My life stands in the level of your dreams,
  4. Which I’ll lay down.

Leontes

90 - 99
  1.                      Your actions are my dreams.
  2. You had a bastard by Polixenes,
  3. And I but dream’d it. As you were past all shame
  4. (Those of your fact are so), so past all truth;
  5. Which to deny concerns more than avails; for as
  6. Thy brat hath been cast out, like to itself,
  7. No father owning it (which is indeed
  8. More criminal in thee than it), so thou
  9. Shall feel our justice; in whose easiest passage
  10. Look for no less than death.

Hermione

100 - 125
  1.                              Sir, spare your threats.
  2. The bug which you would fright me with, I seek.
  3. To me can life be no commodity;
  4. The crown and comfort of my life, your favor,
  5. I do give lost, for I do feel it gone,
  6. But know not how it went. My second joy
  7. And first-fruits of my body, from his presence
  8. I am barr’d, like one infectious. My third comfort
  9. (Starr’d most unluckily) is from my breast
  10. (The innocent milk in it most innocent mouth)
  11. Hal’d out to murder; myself on every post
  12. Proclaim’d a strumpet; with immodest hatred
  13. The child-bed privilege denied, which ’longs
  14. To women of all fashion; lastly, hurried
  15. Here to this place, i’ th’ open air, before
  16. I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege,
  17. Tell me what blessings I have here alive,
  18. That I should fear to die? Therefore proceed.
  19. But yet hear thismistake me not; no life
  20. (I prize it not a straw), but for mine honor,
  21. Which I would freeif I shall be condemn’d
  22. Upon surmises (all proofs sleeping else
  23. But what your jealousies awake), I tell you
  24. ’Tis rigor and not law. Your honors all,
  25. I do refer me to the oracle:
  26. Apollo be my judge!

First Lord

126 - 128
  1.                     This your request
  2. Is altogether just; therefore bring forth,
  3. And in Apollo’s name, his oracle.
  1. Exeunt certain Officers.

Hermione

130 - 134
  1. The Emperor of Russia was my father.
  2. O that he were alive, and here beholding
  3. His daughter’s trial! That he did but see
  4. The flatness of my misery, yet with eyes
  5. Of pity, not revenge!
  1. Enter Officers with Cleomines, Dion.

Officer

136 - 142
  1. You here shall swear upon this sword of justice,
  2. That you, Cleomines and Dion, have
  3. Been both at Delphos, and from thence have brought
  4. This seal’d-up oracle, by the hand deliver’d
  5. Of great Apollo’s priest; and that since then
  6. You have not dar’d to break the holy seal
  7. Nor read the secrets in’t.

Both Cleomines and Dion

143
  1.                            All this we swear.

Leontes

144
  1. Break up the seals, and read.

Officer

145 - 149
  1. Reads.
  2. Hermione is chaste, Polixenes blameless, Camillo a true
  3. subject, Leontes a jealous tyrant, his innocent babe truly
  4. begotten, and the King shall live without an heir, if that
  5. which is lost be not found.”

All Lords

150
  1. Now blessed be the great Apollo!

Hermione

151
  1.                                  Praised!

Leontes

152
  1. Hast thou read truth?

Officer

153 - 154
  1.                       Ay, my lord, even so
  2. As it is here set down.

Leontes

155 - 156
  1. There is no truth at all i’ th’ oracle.
  2. The sessions shall proceed; this is mere falsehood.
  1. Enter First Servant.

First Servant

158
  1. My lord the King! The King!

Leontes

159
  1.                             What is the business?

First Servant

160 - 162
  1. O sir, I shall be hated to report it!
  2. The Prince your son, with mere conceit and fear
  3. Of the Queen’s speed, is gone.

Leontes

163
  1.                                How? Gone?

First Servant

164
  1.            Is dead.

Leontes

165 - 168
  1. Apollo’s angry, and the heavens themselves
  2. Do strike at my injustice.
  3. Hermione swoons.
  4.                            How now there?

Paulina

169 - 170
  1. This news is mortal to the Queen. Look down
  2. And see what death is doing.

Leontes

171 - 196
  1.                              Take her hence;
  2. Her heart is but o’ercharg’d; she will recover.
  3. I have too much believ’d mine own suspicion.
  4. Beseech you tenderly apply to her
  5. Some remedies for life.
  6. Exeunt Paulina and Ladies with Hermione.
  7.                         Apollo, pardon
  8. My great profaneness ’gainst thine oracle!
  9. I’ll reconcile me to Polixenes,
  10. New woo my queen, recall the good Camillo,
  11. Whom I proclaim a man of truth, of mercy;
  12. For being transported by my jealousies
  13. To bloody thoughts, and to revenge, I chose
  14. Camillo for the minister to poison
  15. My friend Polixenes; which had been done,
  16. But that the good mind of Camillo tardied
  17. My swift command, though I with death and with
  18. Reward did threaten and encourage him,
  19. Not doing it and being done. He (most humane
  20. And fill’d with honor) to my kingly guest
  21. Unclasp’d my practice, quit his fortunes here
  22. (Which you knew great), and to the hazard of
  23. All incertainties himself commended,
  24. No richer than his honor. How he glisters
  25. Through my rust! And how his piety
  26. Does my deeds make the blacker!
  1. Enter Paulina.

Paulina

198 - 200
  1.                                 Woe the while!
  2. O, cut my lace, lest my heart, cracking it,
  3. Break too!

First Lord

201
  1.            What fit is this, good lady?

Paulina

202 - 229
  1. What studied torments, tyrant, hast for me?
  2. What wheels? Racks? Fires? What flaying? Boiling
  3. In leads or oils? What old or newer torture
  4. Must I receive, whose every word deserves
  5. To taste of thy most worst? Thy tyranny,
  6. Together working with thy jealousies
  7. (Fancies too weak for boys, too green and idle
  8. For girls of nine), O, think what they have done,
  9. And then run mad indeedstark mad! For all
  10. Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it.
  11. That thou betrayedst Polixenes, ’twas nothing
  12. That did but show thee, of a fool, inconstant,
  13. And damnable ingrateful; nor was’t much
  14. Thou wouldst have poison’d good Camillo’s honor,
  15. To have him kill a kingpoor trespasses,
  16. More monstrous standing by; whereof I reckon
  17. The casting forth to crows thy baby-daughter
  18. To be or none or littlethough a devil
  19. Would have shed water out of fire ere done’t;
  20. Nor is’t directly laid to thee, the death
  21. Of the young Prince, whose honorable thoughts
  22. (Thoughts high for one so tender) cleft the heart
  23. That could conceive a gross and foolish sire
  24. Blemish’d his gracious dam; this is not, no,
  25. Laid to thy answer: but the lastO lords,
  26. When I have said, cry Woe!”—the Queen, the Queen,
  27. The sweet’st, dear’st creature’s dead, and vengeance for’t
  28. Not dropp’d down yet.

First Lord

230
  1.                       The higher pow’rs forbid!

Paulina

231 - 242
  1. I say she’s dead; I’ll swear’t. If word nor oath
  2. Prevail not, go and see. If you can bring
  3. Tincture or lustre in her lip, her eye,
  4. Heat outwardly or breath within, I’ll serve you
  5. As I would do the gods. But, O thou tyrant!
  6. Do not repent these things, for they are heavier
  7. Than all thy woes can stir; therefore betake thee
  8. To nothing but despair. A thousand knees,
  9. Ten thousand years together, naked, fasting,
  10. Upon a barren mountain, and still winter
  11. In storm perpetual, could not move the gods
  12. To look that way thou wert.

Leontes

243 - 245
  1.                             Go on, go on;
  2. Thou canst not speak too much, I have deserv’d
  3. All tongues to talk their bitt’rest.

First Lord

246 - 248
  1.                                      Say no more.
  2. Howe’er the business goes, you have made fault
  3. I’ th’ boldness of your speech.

Paulina

249 - 263
  1.                                 I am sorry for’t.
  2. All faults I make, when I shall come to know them,
  3. I do repent. Alas, I have show’d too much
  4. The rashness of a woman; he is touch’d
  5. To th’ noble heart. What’s gone and what’s past help
  6. Should be past grief. Do not receive affliction
  7. At my petition; I beseech you, rather
  8. Let me be punish’d, that have minded you
  9. Of what you should forget. Now, good my liege,
  10. Sir, royal sir, forgive a foolish woman.
  11. The love I bore your queenlo, fool again!—
  12. I’ll speak of her no more, nor of your children;
  13. I’ll not remember you of my own lord,
  14. Who is lost too. Take your patience to you,
  15. And I’ll say nothing.

Leontes

264 - 275
  1.                       Thou didst speak but well
  2. When most the truth; which I receive much better
  3. Than to be pitied of thee. Prithee bring me
  4. To the dead bodies of my queen and son.
  5. One grave shall be for both; upon them shall
  6. The causes of their death appear (unto
  7. Our shame perpetual). Once a day I’ll visit
  8. The chapel where they lie, and tears shed there
  9. Shall be my recreation. So long as nature
  10. Will bear up with this exercise, so long
  11. I daily vow to use it. Come, and lead me
  12. To these sorrows.
  1. Exeunt.
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