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The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 2 Scene 1
No Fear Act 2 Scene 1 Page 6

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LEONTES

No; if I mistake
In those foundations which I build upon,
The centre is not big enough to bear
125A school-boy’s top. Away with her! to prison!
He who shall speak for her is afar off guilty
But that he speaks.

LEONTES

No. If I am wrong about this, then the Earth isn’t big enough to hold a schoolboy’s

top

a top for spinning, such as schoolboys would play with

top
. Take her to prison! Anyone who would defend her is indirectly as guilty as she is, just by speaking.

HERMIONE

There’s some ill planet reigns:
I must be patient till the heavens look
130With an aspect more favourable. Good my lords,
I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
Commonly are; the want of which vain dew
Perchance shall dry your pities: but I have
That honourable grief lodged here which burns
135Worse than tears drown: beseech you all, my lords,
With thoughts so qualified as your charities
Shall best instruct you, measure me; and so
The king’s will be perform’d!

HERMIONE

The stars must be aligned in a way that is making everyone mad! I must be patient until their positions change. My good lords, I don’t cry as much as other women do, which might make you think I’m not deserving of pity. But my honorable grief burns more fiercely than tears can extinguish. I beg you all, my lords, judge me in as measured a manner as your sense of charity will allow. And so carry out the king’s will!

LEONTES

Shall I be heard?

LEONTES

Will I be obeyed?

HERMIONE

140Who is’t that goes with me? Beseech your highness,
My women may be with me; for you see
My plight requires it. Do not weep, good fools;
There is no cause: when you shall know your mistress
Has deserved prison, then abound in tears
145As I come out: this action I now go on
Is for my better grace. Adieu, my lord:
I never wish’d to see you sorry; now
I trust I shall. My women, come; you have leave.

HERMIONE

Who will go with me? Your highness, I beg that my women might go with me, since I need help in my condition. Don’t cry, my dear ones. There’s no reason to. If you ever know that your mistress is guilty and deserves to be in prison, then you can cry when I come out. But since I’m innocent, this trial I’m enduring will make me more virtuous. Goodbye, my lord. I never wanted to see you feeling sorry, but now I know I will. My women, come, you have permission.