Act 2 Scene 2

Scene 2

[Enter Paulina, a Gentleman, and Paulina’s Attendants.]


PAULINA , [to Gentleman]  
 The keeper of the prison, call to him.
 Let him have knowledge who I am.
[Gentleman exits.]
 Good lady,


 No court in Europe is too good for thee.
[5]  What dost thou then in prison?


[Enter  Jailer, with the Gentleman.]


 Now, good sir,
 You know me, do you not?

JAILER   For a worthy lady
 And one who much I honor.

[10]PAULINA   Pray you then,
 Conduct me to the Queen.

JAILER   I may not, madam.
 To the contrary I have express commandment.

PAULINA 
 Here’s ado, to lock up honesty and honor from
[15]  Th’ access of gentle visitors. Is ’t lawful, pray you,
 To see her women? Any of them? Emilia?

JAILER  So please you, madam,
 To put apart these your attendants, I
 Shall bring Emilia forth.

[20]PAULINA   I pray now, call her.—
 Withdraw yourselves.
[Attendants and Gentleman exit.]

JAILER 
 And, madam, I must be present at your conference.

PAULINA  Well, be ’t so, prithee. [Jailer exits.]
 Here’s such ado to make no stain a stain
[25]  As passes coloring.


[Enter Emilia with Jailer.]


 Dear gentlewoman,
 How fares our gracious lady?

EMILIA 
 As well as one so great and so forlorn
 May hold together. On her frights and griefs,
[30]  Which never tender lady hath borne greater,
 She is something before her time delivered.


PAULINA 
 A boy?

EMILIA   A daughter, and a goodly babe,
 Lusty and like to live. The Queen receives
[35]  Much comfort in ’t, says “My poor prisoner,
 I am innocent as you.”

PAULINA   I dare be sworn.
 These dangerous unsafe lunes i’ th’ King, beshrew
 them!
[40]  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-mouthed, let my tongue blister
 And never to my red-looked anger be
 The trumpet anymore. Pray you, Emilia,
[45]  Commend my best obedience to the Queen.
 If she dares trust me with her little babe,
 I’ll show ’t the King and undertake to be
 Her advocate to th’ loud’st We do not know
 How he may soften at the sight o’ th’ child.
[50]  The silence often of pure innocence
 Persuades when speaking fails.

EMILIA   Most worthy madam,
 Your honor and your goodness is so evident
 That your free undertaking cannot miss
[55]  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 today hammered of this design,
[60]  But durst not tempt a minister of honor
 Lest she should be denied.

PAULINA   Tell her, Emilia,
 I’ll use that tongue I have. If wit flow from ’t
 As boldness from my bosom, let ’t not be doubted
[65]  I shall do good.


EMILIA   Now be you blest for it!
 I’ll to the Queen. Please you come something
 nearer.

JAILER , [to Paulina]  
 Madam, if ’t please the Queen to send the babe,
[70]  I know not what I shall incur to pass it,
 Having no warrant.

PAULINA   You need not fear it, sir.
 This child was prisoner to the womb, and is
 By law and process of great nature thence
[75]  Freed and enfranchised, not a party to
 The anger of the King, nor guilty of,
 If any be, the trespass of the Queen.

JAILER  I do believe it.

PAULINA 
 Do not you fear. Upon mine honor, I
[80]  Will stand betwixt you and danger.
[They exit.]



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