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A C T V.

SCENE I.

Changes to Sicilia.

Enter Leontes, Cleômines, Dion, Paulina, and Servants.

SIR

CLEOMINE S.

IR, you have done enough, and have perform'd A faint-like forrow: no fault could you make, Which you have not redeem'd; indeed, paid down More penitence, than done trefpafs. At the laft, Do as the heav'ns have done, forget your evil; With them, forgive yourself.

Leo. Whilft I remember

Her and her virtues, I cannot forget

My blemishes in them, and so still think of
The wrong I did myself; which was so much,
That heir-lefs it hath made my Kingdom; and
Deftroy'd the fweet'ft companion, that e'er man'
Bred his hopes out of.

Paul. True, too true, my Lord;

If one by one you wedded all the world,

Or, from the *All that are, took fomething good,
To make a perfect woman; fhe, you kill'd,
Would be unparallel'd.

Leo. I think fo. Kill'd?

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Kill'd? fhe I kill'd? I did fo, but thou ftrik'ft me

Sorely, to fay I did; it is as bitter

Upon thy tongue, as in my thought. Now, good now,

Say fo but feldom.

9 In former editions, Deftroy'd the fweet'ft Companion, that e'er Man

Bred his hopes out of, true.

Paul. Too true, my Lord.] A very flight Examination will convince every intelligent Reader,

that, true, here has jumped out its place in all the Editions. THEOBALD. *This is a favourite thought; it was bestowed on Miranda and Rofalind before.

Cleo.

Cleo. Not at all, good Lady;

You might have fpoke a thoufand things, that would Have done the time more benefit, and grac'd

Your kindness better.

Paul. You are one of thofe,
Would have him wed again.
Dio. If you would not fo,

You pity not the ftate, nor the remembrance
Of his most sovereign name; confider little,
What dangers (by his Highness' fail of iffue)
May drop upon his kingdom, and devour
Incertain lookers on. What were more holy,
Than to rejoice, the former Queen is well'
What holier, than for royalty's repair,
For prefent comfort, and for future good,
To blefs the bed of Majefty again
With a fweet fellow to't?

Paul. There is none worthy,

Than to rejoice, the former Queen Is WELL] The fpeaker is here giving reafons why the King should marry again. One reafon is, pity to the State; another, regard to the continuance of the royal family; and the third, comfort and confolation to the King's affliction. All hitherto is plain, and becoming a Privycounsellor. But now comes in, what he calls, a boly argument for it, and that is a rejoicing that the former Queen is well and at reft. To make this argument of force, we must conclude that the speaker went upon this opinion, that a widower can never heartily rejoice that his former wife is at reft, till he has got another. Without doubt Shakespeare wrote,

-What were more holy,

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Refpecting her that's gone. Befides, the Gods
Will have fulfill'd their fecret purposes:
For has not the divine Apollo faid,

Is't not the tenour of his oracle,

That King Leontes fhall not have an heir,
'Till his loft child be found? which, that it fhall,
Is all as monstrous to our human reason,
As my Antigonus to break his grave,
And come again to me; who, on my life,
Did perifh with the infant. 'Tis your counfel,
My Lord fhould to the heav'ns be contrary;
Oppose against their wills. Care not for iffue;
[To the King
The crown will find an heir. Great Alexander.
Left his to th' worthieft; fo his fucceffor
Was like to be the best.

Leo. Good Paulina,

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Who haft the memory of Hermione,

I know, in honour: O, that ever I

Had fquar'd me to thy counfel! then, even now
I might have look'd upon my Queen's full eyes,
Have taken treasure from her lips!

Paul. And left them

More rich, for what they yielded.

Leo. Thou speak'ft truth:

2

No more fuch wives, therefore no wife; one worse,
And better us'd, would make her fainted fpirit
Again poffefs her corps; and on this stage
(Where we offend her now) appear foul-vext,

2 In the old copies,

would make her fainted Spirit Again poffefs her Corps, and on

this Stage (Where we Offenders now appear) foul-vext.

And begin, &c.] 'Tis obvious, that the Grammar is defective; and the Sense consequently wants

fupporting. The flight Change, I have made, cures both: and,' furely, 'tis an improvement to the Sentiment for the King to fay, that Paulina and he offended his dead Wife's Ghoft with the Subject of a fecond Match; rather than in general Terms to call themselves Offenders, Sinners.

THEOBALD.
And

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Leo. She had, and would incense me To murder her I married.

Paul. I fhould fo,

Were I the ghoft that walk'd; I'd bid you mark
Her eye, and tell me, for what dull part in't

You chofe her; then I'd fhriek, that even your ears
Shou'd rift to hear me, and the words that follow'd
Should be, Remember mine.

Leo. Stars, ftars,

And all eyes elfe, dead coals. Fear thou no wife,
I'll have no wife, Paulina.

Paul. Will you fwear

Never to marry, but by my free leave?

Leo. Never, Paulina; fo be bless'd my spirit! Paul. Then, good my Lords, bear witness to his oath. Cleo. You tempt him over-much.

Paul. Unless another,

As like Hermione as is her picture,

*Affront his eye.

Cleo. Good Madam, pray, have done.

Paul. Yet, if my Lord will marry.-If you will, Sir; No remedy, but you will; give me the office To chufe you a Queen; fhe fhall not be fo young As was your former; but the fhall be fuch,

As, walk'd your first Queen's ghost, it should take joy To fee her in your arms.

Leo. My true Paulina,

We fhall not marry, 'till thou bid'ft us.

Paul. That

Shall be, when your firft Queen's again in breath: Never till then.

To affront, is to meet.

SCENE

SCENE II.

Enter a Gentleman.

Gent. One that gives out himself prince Florizel, Son of Polixenes, with his Princess fhe,

The fairest I have yet beheld, defires
Accefs to your high prefence.

Leo. What with him? he comes not
Like to his father's greatnefs; his approach,
So out of circumstance and fudden, tells us,
'Tis not a vifitation fram'd, but forc'd

By need and accident. What train?

Gent. But few,

And thofe but mean.

Leo. His Princefs, fay you, with him?

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Gent. Yes; the most peerless piece of earth, I think,

That e'er the fun fhone bright on.

Paul. Oh Hermione,

As every present time doth boaft itfelf
Above a better, gone; fo must thy grave

Give way to what's feen now. Sir, you yourfelf'
Have faid, and writ fo; (but your writing now
Is colder than that theme) he had not been,
Nor was he to be equall'd; thus your verfe
Flow'd with her beauty once; 'tis fhrewdly ebb'd,
To fay; you've feen a better.

Gent. Pardon, Madam;

The one I have almost forgot, (your pardon)
The other, when the has obtain'd your eye,
Will have your tongue too. This is a creature,
Would the begin a fect, might quench the zeal
Of all profeffors elfe, make profelytes

Of who fhe but bid follow.

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