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I trust, I shall.-My women, come; you have leave. Leon. Go, do our bidding; hence.

[Exeunt Queen and Ladies. 1 Lord. 'Beseech your highness, call the queen again. Ant. Be certain what you do, sir; lest your justice Prove violence; in the which three great ones suffer, Yourself, your queen, your son.

1 Lord. For her, my lord,—

I dare my life lay down, and will do't, sir,

Please you to accept it, that the queen is spotless

I'the eyes of heaven, and to you; I mean,

In this which you accuse her.

Ant. If it prove

She's otherwise, I'll keep my stables where

I lodge my wife; I'll go in couples with her;

Than when I feel, and see her, no further trust her;

For every inch of woman in the world,

Ay, every dram of woman's flesh, is false,

If she be.

Leon. Hold your peaces.

1 Lord. Good my lord,

Ant. It is for you we speak, not for ourselves: You are abus'd, and by some putter-on,

That will be damn'd for't; 'would I knew the villain,
I would land-damn him: Be she honour-flaw'd,-

I have three daughters; the eldest is eleven;
The second, and the third, nine, and some five;
If this prove true, they'll pay for't: by mine honour,
I'll geld them all; fourteen they shall not see,
To bring false generations: they are co-heirs;
And I had rather glib myself, than they
Should not produce fair issue.

Leon. Cease; no more.

You smell this business with a sense as cold
As is a dead man's nose: I see't, and feel't,

As

you

feel doing thus; and see withal

The instruments that feel.

Ant. If it be so,

We need no grave to bury honesty;

There's not a grain of it, the face to sweeten
Of the whole dungy earth.

Leon. What! lack I credit?

1 Lord. I had rather you did lack, than I, my lord, Upon this ground: and more it would content me To have her honour true, than your suspicion; Be blam'd for't how you might.

Leon. Why, what need we

Commune with you of this? but rather follow
Our forceful instigation? Our prerogative
Calls not your counsels; but our natural goodness
Imparts this which, if you (or stupified,
Or seeming so in skill,) cannot, or will not,
Relish as truth, like us; inform yourselves,
We need no more of your advice: the matter,
The loss, the gain, the ordering on't, is all
Properly ours.

Ant. And I wish, my liege,

You had only in your silent judgment tried it,
Without more overture.

Leon. How could that be?

Either thou art most ignorant by age,

Or thou wert born a fool. Camillo's flight,
Added to their familiarity,

(Which was as gross as ever touch'd conjecture,

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That lack'd sight only, nought for approbation,

But only seeing, all other circumstances

Made up to the deed,) doth push on this proceeding: Yet, for a greater confirmation,

(For, in an act of this importance, 'twere

Most piteous to be wild,) I have despatch'd in post,
To sacred Delphos, to Apollo's temple,

Cleomenes and Dion, whom you know

Of stuff'd sufficiency: Now, from the oracle
They will bring all; whose spiritual counsel had,
Shall stop, or spur me. Have I done well?
1 Lord. Well done, my lord.

Leon. Though I am satisfied, and need no more
Than what I know, yet shall the oracle

Give rest to the minds of others; such as he,
Whose ignorant credulity will not

Come up to the truth: So have we thought it good,

From our free person she should be confin'd;
Lest that the treachery of the two, fled hence,

Be left her to perform. Come, follow us;
We are to speak in publick: for this business
Will raise us all.

Ant. [Aside.] To laughter, as I take it,

If the good truth were known.

[Exeunt.

SCENE II.-The same. The outer Room of a Prison.

Enter PAULINA and Attendants.

Paul. The keeper of the prison,-call to him;

[Exit an Attendant

Let him have knowledge who I am.-Good lady!

No court in Europe is too good for thee;
What dost thou then in prison?-Now, good sir,

Re-enter Attendant, with the Keeper.

You know me, do you not?

Keep. For a worthy lady,

And one whom much I honour.

Paul. Pray you then,

Conduct me to the queen.

Keep. I may not, madam; to the contrary I have express commandment.

Paul. Here's ado,

To lock up honesty and honour from
The access of gentle visitors!-Is it lawful,
Pray you, to see her women? any of them?
Emilia ?

Keep. So please you, madam, to put
Apart these your attendants, I shall bring
Emilia forth.

Paul. I pray now, call her.—

Withdraw yourselves.

Keep. And, madam,

I must be present at your conference.

Paul. Well, be it so, pr'ythee.

[Exeunt Attend.

Here's such ado to make no stain a stain,

As passes colouring.

Re-enter Keeper, with EMILIA.

[Exit Keeper.

Dear gentlewoman, how fares our gracious lady?
Emil. As well as one so great, and so forlorn,
May hold together: On her frights, and griefs,
(Which never tender lady hath borne greater,)

She is, something before her time, deliver'd.
Paul. A boy?

Emil. A daughter; and a goodly babe,
Lusty, and like to live: the queen receives
Much comfort in't: says, My poor prisoner,
I am innocent as you.

Paul. I dare be sworn :

These dangerous unsafe lunes o' the king! beshrew them!
He must be told on't, and he shall: the office
Becomes a woman best; I'll take't upon me:
If I prove honey-mouth'd, let my tongue blister;
And never to my red-look'd anger be

The trumpet any more :-Pray you, Emilia,
Commend my best obedience to the queen;
If she dares trust me with her living babe,
I'll show't the king, and undertake to be
Her advocate to th' loudest: We do not know
How he may soften at the sight o' the child;
The silence often of pure innocence

Persuades, when speaking fails.

Emil. Most worthy madam,

Your honour, and your goodness is so evident,
That your free undertaking cannot miss

A thriving issue; there is no lady living,

So meet for this great errand: Please your ladyship
To visit the next room, I'll presently

Acquaint the queen of your most noble offer;
Who, but to-day, hammer'd of this design;
But durst not tempt a minister of honour,
Lest she should be denied.

Paul. Tell her, Emilia,

I'll use that tongue I have: if wit flow from it,

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