The Winter’s Tale – Hermione

    The Winter’s Tale – Hermione

    Shakespeare – Women

    Act 3, sc.2, lines 23-54

    Since what I am to say must be but that
    Which contradicts my accusation, and
    The testimony on my part no other
    But what comes from myself, it shall scarce boot me
    To say “Not guilty.” Mine integrity,
    Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it,
    Be so received. But thus, if Powers Divine
    Behold our human actions, as they do,
    I doubt not then but innocence shall make
    False accusation blush and tyranny
    Tremble at patience. You, my lord, best know,
    Who least will seem to do so, my past life
    Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true,
    As I am now unhappy–which is more
    Than history can pattern, though devised
    And played to spectators. For behold me
    A fellow of the royal bed, which owe
    A moiety of the throne, a great King’s daughter,
    The mother to a hopeful Prince, here standing
    To prate and talk for life and honor ‘fore
    Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it
    As I weigh grief, which I would spare. For honor,
    ‘Tis a derivative from me to mine,
    And only that I stand for. I appeal
    To your own conscience, sir, before Polixenes
    Came to your Court, how I was in your grace,
    How merited to be so; since he came,
    With what encounter so uncurrent I
    Have strained, to appear thus. If one jot beyond
    The bound of honor, or in act or will
    That way inclining, hardened be the hearts
    Of all that hear me, and my near’st of kin
    Cry fie upon my grave!