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

That's true enough;
Though 'tis a saying, sir, not due to me.

Leontes. You will not own it.
Hermione.

More than mistress of,
Which comes to me in name of fault, I must not
At all acknowledge. For Polixenes
(With whom I am accus'd), I do confess,
I lov'd him, as in honour he requir'd;
With such a kind of love, as might become
A lady like me; with a love, even such,
So, and no other, as yourself commanded:
Which not to have done, I think, had been in me
Both disobedience and ingratitude,
To you, and toward your friend; whose love had spoke,
Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely,
That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy,
I know not how it tastes; though it be dish'd
For me to try how: all I know of it,
Is, that Camillo was an honest man;
And, why he left your court, the gods themselves,
Wotting no more than I, are ignorant.

Leontes. You knew of his departure, as you know
What
you

have underta'en to do in his absence.
Hermione. Sir,
You speak a language that I understand not :
My life stands in the level of your dreams,
Which I 'll lay down.

*

Paulina. What studied torments, tyrant, hast 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 : nor was 't much,
Thou would'st have poison'd good Camillo's honour,
To have him kill a king ; poor trespasses,
More monstrous standing by : whereof I reckon
The casting forth to crows thy baby daughter,
To be or none, or little ; though a devil
Would have shed water out of fire, ere done 't ;
Nor is 't directly laid to thee, the death
Of the young prince; whose honourable thoughts
(Thoughts high for one so tender) cleft the heart
That could conceive, a gross and foolish sire
Blemish'd his gracious dam : this is not, no,
Laid to thy answer : But the last,—0, lords,
When I have said, cry, woe !-the queen,

the

queen, The sweetest, dearest creature's dead ; and vengeance for't Not dropp'd down yet. Lord.

The higher powers forbid ! Paulina. I say, she's dead : I'll swear 't: if word,

nor oath, Prevail not, go

if you can bring
Tincture, or lustre, in her lip, her eye,
Heat outwardly, or breath within, I 'll serve you
As I would do the gods.—But, O thou tyrant !
Do not repent these things, for they are heavier

and see ;

Than all thy woes can stir ; therefore betake thee
To nothing but despair, A thousand knees
Ten thousand years together, naked, fasting,
Upon a barren mountain, and still winter
In storm perpetual, could not move the gods
To look that way thou wert.

Act IV. SCENE III.

Florizel. Thou dearest Perdita, With these forc'd thoughts, I pr’ythee, darken not The mirth o' the feast : Or I'll be thine, my fair, Or not my father's; for I cannot be Mine own, nor any thing to any, if I be not thine : to this I am most constant, Though destiny say, no. Be merry, gentle ; Strangle such thoughts as these, with any thing That you behold the while. Your guests are coming : Lift up your countenance; as it were the day Of celebration of that nuptial, which We two have sworn shall come. Perdita.

O lady fortune, Stand you auspicious !

Enter Shepherd and others.
Florizel.

See, your guests approach ;
Address yourself to entertain them sprightly,
And let's be red with mirth.

Shepherd. Fye, daughter ! when my old wife liv'd, upon
This day, she was both pantler, butler, cook;
Both dame and servant; welcom'd all, serv'd all;
Would sing her song, and dance her turn; now here,

At upper end o’the table, now i' the middle ;
On his shoulder, and his; her face o' fire
With labour ; and the thing she took to quench it,
She would to each one sip : You are retird,
As if you were a feasted one, and not
The hostess of the meeting : Pray you, bid
These unknown friends to us welcome : for it is
A way to make us better friends, more known.
Come, quench your blushes; and present yourself
That which you are, mistress o' the feast: Come on,
And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing,
As your good flock shall prosper.
Perdita.

Welcome, sir !
It is my father's will, I should take on me
The hostesship o' the day.--You 're welcome, sir !
Give me those flowers there, Dorcas.—Reverend sirs,
For you there's rosemary, and rue; these keep
Seeming, and savour, all the winter long :
Grace, and remembrance, be to you both,
And welcome to our shearing !
Polixenes.

Shepherdess
(A fair one are you), well you fit our ages
With flowers of winter.
Perdita.

Sir, the year growing ancient,-
Not yet on summer's death, nor on the birth
Of trembling winter,—the fairest flowers o' the season
Are our carnations, and streak'd gilliflowers,
Which some call nature's bastards : of that kind
Our rustic garden 's barren; and I care not
To get slips of them.
Polixenes.

Wherefore, gentle maiden,
Do you neglect them?
Perdita.

For I have heard it said,

There is an art, which, in their piedness, shares
With great creating nature.
Polixenes.

Say, there be;
Yet nature is made better by no mean,
But nature makes that mean : so, o'er that art,
Which, you say, adds to nature, is an art
That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry
A gentler scion to the wildest stock;
And make conceive a bark of baser kind
By bud of nobler race; This is an art
Which does mend nature,—change it rather : but
The art itself is nature.
Perdita.

So it is.
Polixenes. Then make your garden rich in gilliflowers,
And do not call them bastards.
Perdita.

I'll not put The dibble in earth to set one slip of them : No more than, were I painted, I would wish This youth should say, 'twere well; and only therefore Desire to breed by me.—Here's flowers for you ; Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram; The marigold, that goes to bed with the sun, And with him rises weeping; these are flowers Of middle summer, and, I think, they are given To men of middle age: You are very welcome.

Camillo. I should leave grazing, were I of your flock, And only live by gazing. Perdita.

Out, alas ! You 'd be so lean, that blasts of January Would blow you through and through.—Now, my fairest

friend, I would I had some flowers o' the spring, that might Become your time of day; and yours, and yours;

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