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Her. Since what I am to say, must be but that
your own conscience, sir, before Polixenes
mine integrity, &c.] That is, my virtue being accounted wickedness, my assertion of it will pass but for a lie. Falsehood means both treachery and lie. Johnson.
spare :) i. e. Be quit of.-Johnson. s 'Tis a derivative from me to mine,] This sentiment, which is probably borrowed from Ecclesiasticus, iii. 11, cannot be too often impressed on the female mind: “The glory of a man is from the honour of his father; and u mother in dishonour is a reproach unto her children."-STEEVENS.
With what encounter so uncurrent I
Have strain'd, to appear thús:] Uncurrent is here used in the sense of unwarranted ; the meaning is, “I offer it to your conscience to determine with what unwarrantable action I have strained (i. e. exceeded the rules of propriety) so as to uppear thus dishonoured."-SEYMOUR.
Of all that hear me, and
near'st of kin
I ne'er heard yet,
That's true enough;
Leon. You will not own it.
More than mistress of,
Leon. You knew of his departure, as you know
Your actions are my dreams ;
2 Which-] This relative, without an antecedent, is very harsh. Perhaps we should read what.
stands in the level] i. e. Is within the reach of.
Which to deny, concerns more than avails :for as
Sir, spare your threats;
-No! life, I prize it not a straw :but for mine honour, (Which I would free,) if I shall be condemn'd Upon surmises; all proofs sleeping else, But what your jealousies awake: I tell you 'Tis rigour, and not law.—Your honours all, I do refer me to the oracle ; Apollo be my judge. 1 Lord.
This your request Is altogether just: therefore, bring forth, And in Apollo's name, his oracle.
[Exeunt certain Officers. concerns more than avails:) i. e. Is more trouble to you than it avails Starr'd most unluckily,] i. e. Born under an inauspicious planet.
limit.] i. e. Limb. The limbs were so called from being the extremities or limits of the body.–Nares's Glossary.
Her. The emperor of Russia was my father : :
Re-enter Officers, with CLEOMEnes and Dion. Offi. You here shall swear upon this sword of justice, That you, Cleomenes and Dion, have Been both at Delphos; and from thence have brought This seal’d-up oracle, by the hand deliver'd Of great Apollo's priest; and that, since then, You have not dared to break the holy seal, Nor read the secrets in't. Cleon. Dion.
All this we swear. Leon. Break up the seals, and read.
Offi. [reads.] Hermione is chaste, Polixenes blameless, Camillo a true subject, Leontes a jealous tyrant, his innocent babe truly begotten; and the king shall live without an heir, of that which is lost, be not found.
Lords. Now blessed be the great Apollo !
Ay, my lord; even 'so, As it is here set down.
Leon. There is no truth at all i'the oracle :
Enter a Servant, hastily. Serv. My lord, the king, the king ! Leon.
What is the business? Serv. O sir, I shall be hated to report it : The prince your son, with mere conceit and fear Of the queen's speed,s is gone.
Is dead. Leon. Apollo's angry, and the heavens themselves * The flatness of my misery;] That is, how low, how flat I am laid by my calamity.-JOHNSON.
speed,] i. e. Success.
Do strike at my injustice. (HERMIONE faints.] How now
there? Paul. This news is mortal to the queen :
Take her hence :
[Exeunt PAULINA and Ladies, with HERM.
Re-enter PAULINA. Paul.
Woe the while!
1 Lord. What fit is this, good lady?
commended,] i. e. Committed. i Does
my deeds make the blacker!] This vehement retraction of Leontes, accompanied with the confession of more crimes than he was suspected of, is agreeable to our daily experience of the vicissitudes of violent tempers, and the eruptions of minds oppressed with guilt.-Johnson.