Nor night nor day no rest. It is but weakness
To bear the matter thus, mere weakness. If
The cause were not in being—part o’ th’ cause,
She th’ adult’ress, for the harlot king
 Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
And level of my brain, plot-proof. But she
I can hook to me. Say that she were gone,
Given to the fire, a moiety of my rest
Might come to me again.—Who’s there?
[Enter a Servant.]
SERVANT My lord.
LEONTES How does the boy?
SERVANT He took good rest tonight. ’Tis hoped
His sickness is discharged.
LEONTES To see his nobleness,
 Conceiving the dishonor of his mother.
He straight declined, drooped, took it deeply,
Fastened and fixed the shame on ’t in himself,
Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep,
And downright languished. Leave me solely. Go,
 See how he fares. [Servant exits.]
Fie, fie, no thought of him.
The very thought of my revenges that way
Recoil upon me—in himself too mighty,
And in his parties, his alliance. Let him be
 Until a time may serve. For present vengeance,
Take it on her. Camillo and Polixenes
Laugh at me, make their pastime at my sorrow.
They should not laugh if I could reach them, nor
Shall she within my power.
[Enter Paulina, carrying the baby, with Servants,
Antigonus, and Lords.]
LORD You must not enter.
Nay, rather, good my lords, be second to me.
Fear you his tyrannous passion more, alas,
Than the Queen’s life? A gracious innocent soul,
More free than he is jealous.
ANTIGONUS That’s enough.
Madam, he hath not slept tonight, commanded
None should come at him.
PAULINA Not so hot, good sir.
I come to bring him sleep. ’Tis such as you
 That creep like shadows by him and do sigh
At each his needless heavings, such as you
Nourish the cause of his awaking. I
Do come with words as medicinal as true,
Honest as either, to purge him of that humor
 That presses him from sleep.
LEONTES What noise there, ho?
No noise, my lord, but needful conference
About some gossips for your Highness.
 Away with that audacious lady. Antigonus,
I charged thee that she should not come about me.
I knew she would.
ANTIGONUS I told her so, my lord,
On your displeasure’s peril and on mine,
 She should not visit you.
LEONTES What, canst not rule her?
From all dishonesty he can. In this,
Unless he take the course that you have done—
Commit me for committing honor—trust it,
 He shall not rule me.
ANTIGONUS La you now, you hear.
When she will take the rein I let her run,
But she’ll not stumble.
PAULINA Good my liege, I come—
 And I beseech you hear me, who professes
Myself your loyal servant, your physician,
Your most obedient counselor, yet that dares
Less appear so in comforting your evils
Than such as most seem yours—I say I come
 From your good queen.
LEONTES Good queen?
Good queen, my lord, good queen, I say “good
And would by combat make her good, so were I
 A man, the worst about you.
LEONTES Force her hence.
Let him that makes but trifles of his eyes
First hand me. On mine own accord I’ll off,
But first I’ll do my errand.—The good queen,
 For she is good, hath brought you forth a
Here ’tis—commends it to your blessing.
[She lays down the baby.]
A mankind witch! Hence with her, out o’ door.
 A most intelligencing bawd.
PAULINA Not so.
I am as ignorant in that as you
In so entitling me, and no less honest
Than you are mad—which is enough, I’ll warrant,
 As this world goes, to pass for honest.
Will you not push her out? [ To Antigonus.] Give her
Thou dotard; thou art woman-tired, unroosted
 By thy Dame Partlet here. Take up the bastard,
Take ’t up, I say. Give ’t to thy crone.
PAULINA , [to Antigonus] Forever
Unvenerable be thy hands if thou
Tak’st up the Princess by that forced baseness
 Which he has put upon ’t.
LEONTES He dreads his wife.
So I would you did. Then ’twere past all doubt
You’d call your children yours.
LEONTES A nest of traitors!
 I am none, by this good light.
PAULINA Nor I, nor any
But one that’s here, and that’s himself. For he
The sacred honor of himself, his queen’s,
His hopeful son’s, his babe’s, betrays to slander,
 Whose sting is sharper than the sword’s; and will
For, as the case now stands, it is a curse
He cannot be compelled to ’t—once remove
The root of his opinion, which is rotten
 As ever oak or stone was sound.
LEONTES A callet
Of boundless tongue, who late hath beat her
And now baits me! This brat is none of mine.
 It is the issue of Polixenes.
Hence with it, and together with the dam
Commit them to the fire.
PAULINA It is yours,
And, might we lay th’ old proverb to your charge,
 So like you ’tis the worse.—Behold, my lords,
Although the print be little, the whole matter
And copy of the father—eye, nose, lip,
The trick of ’s frown, his forehead, nay, the valley,
The pretty dimples of his chin and cheek, his
The very mold and frame of hand, nail, finger.
And thou, good goddess Nature, which hast made it
So like to him that got it, if thou hast
The ordering of the mind too, ’mongst all colors
 No yellow in ’t, lest she suspect, as he does,
Her children not her husband’s.
LEONTES A gross hag!—
And, losel, thou art worthy to be hanged
That wilt not stay her tongue.
ANTIGONUS Hang all the husbands
That cannot do that feat, you’ll leave yourself
Hardly one subject.
LEONTES Once more, take her hence.
A most unworthy and unnatural lord
 Can do no more.
LEONTES I’ll ha’ thee burnt.
PAULINA I care not.
It is an heretic that makes the fire,
Not she which burns in ’t. I’ll not call you tyrant;
 But this most cruel usage of your queen,
Not able to produce more accusation
Than your own weak-hinged fancy, something
Of tyranny, and will ignoble make you,
 Yea, scandalous to the world.
LEONTES , [to Antigonus] On your allegiance,
Out of the chamber with her! Were I a tyrant,
Where were her life? She durst not call me so
If she did know me one. Away with her!
PAULINA , [to Lords]
 I pray you do not push me; I’ll be gone.—
Look to your babe, my lord; ’tis yours. Jove send her
A better guiding spirit.—What needs these hands?
You that are thus so tender o’er his follies
Will never do him good, not one of you.
 So, so. Farewell, we are gone. [She exits.]
LEONTES , [to Antigonus]
Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to this.
My child? Away with ’t! Even thou, that hast
A heart so tender o’er it, take it hence,
And see it instantly consumed with fire.
 Even thou, and none but thou. Take it up straight.
Within this hour bring me word ’tis done,
And by good testimony, or I’ll seize thy life,
With what thou else call’st thine. If thou refuse
And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so.
 The bastard brains with these my proper hands
Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire,
For thou sett’st on thy wife.
ANTIGONUS I did not, sir.
These lords, my noble fellows, if they please,
 Can clear me in ’t.
LORDS We can, my royal liege.
He is not guilty of her coming hither.
LEONTES You’re liars all.
Beseech your Highness, give us better credit.
 We have always truly served you, and beseech
So to esteem of us. And on our knees we beg,
As recompense of our dear services
Past and to come, that you do change this purpose,
Which being so horrible, so bloody, must
 Lead on to some foul issue. We all kneel.
I am a feather for each wind that blows.
Shall I live on to see this bastard kneel
And call me father? Better burn it now
Than curse it then. But be it; let it live.
 It shall not neither. [To Antigonus.] You, sir, come
You that have been so tenderly officious
With Lady Margery, your midwife there,
To save this bastard’s life—for ’tis a bastard,
 So sure as this beard’s gray. What will you
To save this brat’s life?
ANTIGONUS Anything, my lord,
That my ability may undergo
 And nobleness impose. At least thus much:
I’ll pawn the little blood which I have left
To save the innocent. Anything possible.
It shall be possible. Swear by this sword
Thou wilt perform my bidding.
ANTIGONUS , [his hand on the hilt] I will, my lord.
Mark, and perform it, seest thou; for the fail
Of any point in ’t shall not only be
Death to thyself but to thy lewd-tongued wife,
Whom for this time we pardon. We enjoin thee,
 As thou art liegeman to us, that thou carry
This female bastard hence, and that thou bear it