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 consum’d 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 that 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 set’st on thy wife.
I did not, sir:
These lords, my noble fellows, if they please,
Can clear me in’t.
We can:—my royal liege,
He is not guilty of her coming hither.
You’re liars all.
Beseech your highness, give us better credit:
We have always truly serv’d 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 hither:
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 grey,—what will you adventure
To save this brat’s life?
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.
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-tongu’d 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
To some remote and desert place, quite out
Of our dominions; and that there thou leave it,
Without more mercy, to it own protection
And favour of the climate. As by strange fortune
It came to us, I do in justice charge thee,
On thy soul’s peril and thy body’s torture,
That thou commend it strangely to some place
Where chance may nurse or end it. Take it up.