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O Hermione! As every present time doth boast itself Above a better gone, so must thy grave Give way to what's seen now. Sir, you yourself Have said and writ so, but your writing now Is colder than that theme, 'She had not been, 100 Nor was not to be equall'd;' thus your verse Flow'd with her beauty once: 'tis shrewdly ebb'd To say you have seen a better. Gent. Pardon, madam: The one I have almost forgot--your pardonThe other, when she has obtain'd your eye, Will have your tongue too. This is a creature, Would she begin a sect, might quench the zeal Of all professors else, make proselytes Of whom she but bid follow.
I should so :
Exeunt CLEOMENES, Lords, and Gentleman. 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. Prithee, no more: cease! thou know'st He dies to me again when talk'd of: sure, 120 When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches Will bring me to consider that which may Unfurnish me of reason. They are come. Re-enter CLEOMENES, with FLORIZEL, PERDITA,
Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince;
His wish'd ability, he had himself
The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his
Afresh within me, and these thy offices,
Of my behind-hand slackness. Welcome hither,
She came from Libya.
Good my lord, Leon. Where the war-like Smalus, That noble honour'd lord, is fear'd and lov'd? Flo. Most royal sir, from thence; from him, whose daughter
His tears proclaim'd his, parting with thence,
A prosperous south-wind friendly, we
To execute the charge my father gave me
Who for Bohemia bend, to signify
Camillo has betray'd me;
Lay 't so to his charge:
Whose honour and whose honesty till now
He's with the king your father.
Forswear themselves as often as they speak: 200
Is this the daughter of a king?
Leon. That once,' I see by your good father's speed,
Will come on very slowly. I am sorry,
Dear, look up: Though Fortune, visible an enemy, Should chase us with my father, power no jot
Gent. I was by at the opening of the fardel, heard the old shepherd deliver the manner how he found it whereupon, after a little amazedness, we were all commanded out of the chamber; only this methought I heard the shepherd say, he found the child.
Aut. I would most gladly know the issue of it. Gent. I make a broken delivery of the business; but the changes I perceived in the king and Camillo were very notes of admiration: they seemed almost, with staring on one another, to tear the cases of their eyes; there was speech in their dumbness, language in their very gesture; they looked as they had heard of a world ransomed, or one destroyed: a notable passion of wonder appeared in them; but the wisest beholder, that knew no more but seeing, could not say if the importance were joy or sorrow; but in the extremity of the one it must needs be.
Enter another Gentleman.
Third Gent. Then you have lost a sight, which was to be seen, cannot be spoken of. There might you have beheld one joy crown another, so and in such manner that it seemed sorrow wept to take leave of them, for their joy waded in tears. There was casting up of eyes, holding up of hands, with countenances of such distraction that they were to be known by garment, not by favour. Our king, being ready to leap out of himself for joy of his found daughter, as if that joy were now become a loss, cries, ‘0! thy mother, thy mother:' then asks Bohemia forgiveness; then embraces his son-in-law; then again worries he his daughter with clipping her; now he thanks the old shepherd, which stands by like a weather-bitten conduit of many kings' reigns. I never heard of such another encounter, which lames report to follow it and undoes description to do it.
Second Gent. What, pray you, became of Antigonus that carried hence the child?
Third Gent. Like an old tale still, which will have matter to rehearse, though credit be asleep and not an ear open. He was torn to pieces with a bear this avouches the shepherd's son, who has not only his innocence, which seems much, to justify him, but a handkerchief and rings of his that Paulina knows.
First Gent. What became of his bark and his followers?
Third Gent. Wrecked the same instant of their master's death, and in the view of the shepherd: so that all the instruments which aided to expose the child were even then lost when it was found. But O! the noble combat that 'twixt joy and sorrow was fought in Paulina. She had one eve declined for the loss of her husband, another elevated that the oracle was fulfilled: she lifted the princess from the earth, and so locks her in embracing, as if she would pin her to her heart that she might no more be in danger of losing,
First Gent. The dignity of this act was worth the audience of kings and princes, for by such was it acted.
Third Gent. One of the prettiest touches of all, and that which angled for mine eyes, caught the water though not the fish, was when, at the relation of the queen's death, with the manner how she came to 't bravely confessed and lamented by the king, how attentiveness wounded his daughter; till, from one sign of dolour to another, she did, with an 'alas!' I would fain say, bleed tears, for I am sure my heart wept blood. Who was most marble there changed colour; some swooned, all sorrowed: if all the world could have seen 't, the woe had been universal.
First Gent. Are they returned to the court? Third Gent. No; the princess hearing of her mother's statue, which is in the keeping of Paulina-a piece many years in doing, and now newly performed by that rare Italian master, Julio Romano; who, had he himself eternity and could put breath into his work, would beguile
Nature of her custom, so perfectly he is her ape: he so near to Hermione hath done Hermione that they say one would speak to her and stand in hope of answer: thither with all greediness of affection are they gone, and there they intend to sup. Second Gent. I thought she had some great matter there in hand, for she hath privately, twice or thrice a day, ever since the death of Hermione, visited that removed house. Shall we thither and with our company piece the rejoicing? 122 First Gent. Who would be thence that has the benefit of access? every wink of an eye some new grace will be born: our absence makes us unthrifty to our knowledge. Let's along. Excunt Gentlemen. Aut. Now, had I not the dash of my former life in me, would preferment drop on my head. I brought the old man and his son aboard the prince; told him I heard them talk of a fardel and I know not what; but he at that time, overfond of the shepherd's daughter, so he then took her to be, who began to be much sea-sick, and himself little better, extremity of weather continuing, this mystery remained undiscovered. But 'tis all one to me; for had I been the finder-out of this secret, it would not have relished among my other discredits. Here come those I have done good to against my will, and already appearing in the blossoms of their fortune.
Enter Shepherd and Clown.
Shep. Come, boy; I am past more children, but thy sons and daughters will be all gentlemen born.
Clo. You are well met, sir. You denied to fight with me this other day, because I was no gentleman born: see you these clothes? say you see them not and think me still no gentleman born: you were best say these robes are not gentlemen born. Give me the lie, do, and try whether I am not now a gentleman born.
Aut. I know you are now, sir, a gentleman born.
Clo. Ay, and have been so any time these four hours.
Shep. And so have I, boy.
Clo. So you have: but I was a gentleman born before my father; for the king's son took me by the hand and called me brother; and then the two kings called my father brother; and then the prince my brother and the princess my sister called my father father; and so we wept: and there was the first gentleman-like tears that ever we shed.
Shep. We may live, son, to shed many more. Clo. Ay; or else 'twere hard luck, being in so preposterous estate as we are.
Aut. I humbly beseech you, sir, to pardon me all the faults I have committed to your worship, and to give me your good report to the prince my master.
Shep. Prithee, son, do; for we must be gentle, now we are gentlemen.
Clo. Thou wilt amend thy life?
Aut. Ay, an it like your good worship.
Clo. Give me thy hand: I will swear to the prince thou art as honest a true fellow as any is in Bohemia,
Shep. You may say it, but not swear it. Clo. Not swear it now I am a gentleman ? Let boors and franklins say it, I'll swear it. 181 Shep. How if it be false, son?
Clo. If it be ne'er so false, a true gentleman may swear it in the behalf of his friend: and I'll swear to the prince thou art a tall fellow of thy hands and that thou wilt not be drunk; but I know thou art no tall fellow of thy hands and that thou wilt be drunk: but I'll swear it, and I would thou would'st be a tall fellow of thy hands.
Aut. I will prove so, sir, to my power.
Clo. Ay, by any means prove a tall fellow: if I do not wonder how thou darest venture to be drunk, not being a tall fellow, trust me not. Hark! the kings and the princes, our kindred, are going to see the queen's picture. Come, follow us: we'll be thy good masters. Exeunt.
PAULINA draws a curtain, and discovers HERMIONE as a statue. I like your silence: it the more shows off Your wonder; but yet speak: first you, my liege. Comes it not something near?
Leon. Her natural posture! Chide me, dear stone, that I may say indeed Thou art Hermione; or, rather, thou art she In thy not chiding, for she was as tender As infancy and grace. But yet, Paulina, Hermione was not so much wrinkled; nothing So aged as this seems. Pol. O! not by much. Paul. So much the more our carver's excellence;
Which lets go by some sixteen years and makes
As she liv'd now.
Leon. As now she might have done, So much to my good comfort, as it is Now piercing to my soul. O! thus she stood, Even with such life of majesty, warm life, As now it coldly stands, when first I woo'd her. I am asham'd: does not the stone rebuke me For being more stone than it? O royal piece! There's magic in thy majesty, which has My evils conjur'd to remembrance, and From thy admiring daughter took the spirits. Standing like stone with thee.
Per. And give me leave, And do not say 'tis superstition, that I kneel and then implore her blessing. Dear queen, that ended when I but began, Give me that hand of yours to kiss. Paul.
O patience; The statue is but newly fix'd, the colour 's Not dry.
Cam. My lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on, Which sixteen winters cannot blow away So many summers dry scarce any joy Did ever so long live; no sorrow But kill'd itself much sooner. Pol. Dear my brother, Let him that was the cause of this have power To take off so much grief from you as he Will piece up in himself.
Indeed, my lord, If I had thought the sight of my poor image Would thus have wrought you, for the stone is mine,
I'd not have show'd it.
May think anon it moves.
'Tis time; descend; be stone no more: approach;
O she's warm.
She embraces him.
Cam. She hangs about his neck :
If she pertain to life let her speak too. Pol. Ay; and make it manifest where she has liv'd,
Or how stol'n from the dead.
Paul. That she is living, Were it but told you, should be hooted at Like an old tale; but it appears she lives, Though yet she speak not. Mark a little while. Please you to interpose, fair madam : kneel And pray your mother's blessing. Turn, good lady; Our Perdita is found.
You gods, look down, And from your sacred vials pour your graces Upon my daughter's head! Tell me, mine own, Where hast thou been preserv'd? where liv'd!
Thy father's court? for thou shalt hear that I,
Paul. There's time enough for that; Lest they desire upon this push to trouble Your joys with like relation. Go together, 199 You precious winners all your exultation Partake to every one. 1, an old turtle, Will wing me to some wither'd bough, and there My mate, that 's never to be found again, Lament till I am lost.
Leon. O! peace, Paulina. Thou should'st a husband take by my consent,