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To bless the bed of majesty again
There is none worthy,
[To LEONTES. The crown will find an heir: Great Alexander Left his to the worthiest; so his successor Was like to be the best. Leon.
Good Paulina, Who hast the memory of Hermione, I know, in honour,_0, that ever I Had squar'd me to thy counsel !—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. Leon.
Thou speak’st truth. No more such wives; therefore, no wife: one worse, And better us’d, would make her sainted spirit Again possess her corps; and, on this stage (Where we offenders now appear), soul-vex’d, Begin, And why to me??
2 The old copy reads, · And begin, why to me.' The transposition of and was made by Steevens.
Had she such power,
She had; and would incense 3 me
I should so:
eye; and tell me, for what dull part in't
Stars, stars, And all eyes else dead coals!—fear thou no wife, I'll have no wife, Paulina. Paul.
you swear Never to marry, but by my free leave?
Leon. Never, Paulina; so be bless'd my spirit !
Unless another, As like Hermione as is her picture, Affront' his eye.
3 Incense, to instigate or stimulate, was the ancient sense of this word; it is rendered in the Latin dictionaries by dare stimulo. So in King Richard III.
Think you, my lord, this little prating York
Was not incensed by his subtle mother?' 4 i.e. split.
5 i. e. meet his eye, or encounter it. Affrontare, Ital. Shakspeare uses this word with the same meaning again in Hamlet, Act iii. Sc. 1:
. That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
Affront Ophelia.' And in Cymbeline : Your preparation can affront no less than what you hear of. The word is used in the same sense by Ben Jonson, and even by Dryden. Lodge, in the Preface to his Translation of Seneca, says, “No soldier is counted valiant that affronteth not his enemie.'
Good madam, Paul.
I have done. Yet, if my lord will marry,-if you will, sir, No remedy, but you will: give me the office To choose you a queen: She shall not be so young As was your former; but she shall be such, As, walk'd your first queen's ghost, it should take joy To see her in your arms. Leon.
My true Paulina, We shall not marry, till thou bidd'st us. Paul.
That Shall be, when your first queen's again in breath; Never till then.
Enter a Gentleman. Gent. One that gives out himself prince Florizel, Son of Polixenes, with his princess (she The fairest I have yet beheld), desires access To your high presence. Leon.
What with him ? he comes not Like to his father's greatness: his approach, So out of circumstance, and sudden, tells us, 'Tis not a visitation fram’d, but forc'd By need, and accident. What train ? Gent.
But few, And those but mean. Leon.
His princess, say you, with him? Gent. Ay; the most peerless piece of earth, I think, That e'er the sun shone bright on. Paul.
O Hermione, As every present time doth boast itself Above a better, gone; so must thy grave 6 Give way
to what's seen now. Sir, you yourself
6 i.e. thy beauties which are buried in the grave.
Have said, and writ so? (but your writing now
How? not women ? Gent. Women will love her, that she is a woman More worth than any man; men, that she is The rarest of all women. Leon,
Go, Cleomenes; Yourself, assisted with your honour'd friends, Bring them to our embracement.-Still ’tis strange,
[Exeunt CLEOMENES, Lords, and Gentlemen. He thus should steal upon us. Paul.
Had our prince (Jewel of children) seen this hour, he had pair’d Well with this lord; there was not full a month Between their births.
Leon. Pr’ythee, no more; thou know’st 9, He dies to me again, when talk'd of: sure, When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches Will bring me to consider that, which
may Unfurnish me of reason.—They are come.
? So relates not to what precedes, but to what follows; that she had not been equalld.
8 i.e. than the corse of Hermione, the subject of your writing,
9 The old copy reads, ‘Prythee, no more; cease; thou know'st,' &c. Steevens made the omission of the redundant word, which he considers a mere marginal gloss or explanation of no more,
Re-enter CLEOMENES, with FLORIZEL, PERDITA,
and Attendants. Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince; For she did print your royal father off, Conceiving you: Were I but twenty-one, Your father's image is so hit in you, His very air, that I should call you brother, As I did him: and speak of something, wildly By us perform'd before. Most dearly welcome! And your fair princess, goddess !-0, alas! I lost a couple, that 'twixt heaven and earth Might thus have stood, begetting wonder, as You, gracious couple, do! and then I lost (All mine own folly) the society, Amity too, of your brave father; whom, Though bearing misery, I desire my
life Once more to look on him 10. Flo.
By his command Have I here touch'd Sicilia: and from him Give you all greetings, that a king, at friend 11, Can send his brother: and, but infirmity (Which waits upon worn times) hath something seiz’d His wish'd ability, he had himself The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his Measur’d, to look upon you; whom he loves (He bade me say so) more than all the sceptres, And those that bear them, living. Leon.
O, my brother, (Good gentleman!) the wrongs, I have done thee, stir
10 Steevens altered this to look upon, but there are many instances of similar construction in Shakspeare, incorrect as they may now appear.
11 i. e. at amity, as we now say. Malone, contrary to his usual castom, would here desert the old reading; and says he has met with no example of similar phraseology! He surely must have read very inattentively.