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William Shakespeare
Sir, spare your threats
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Sir, spare your threats:
The bug which you would fright me with, I seek.
To me can life be no commodity:
The crown and comfort of my life, your favour,
I do give lost, for I do feel it gone,
But know not how it went. My second joy,
And first fruits of my body, from his presence
I am barred, like one infectious. My third comfort,
Starred most unluckily, is from my breast,
The innocent milk in its most innocent mouth,
Hauled off to murder. Myself on every post
Proclaimed a strumpet; with immodest hatred
The child-bed privilege denied, which 'longs
To women of all fashion. Lastly, hurried
Here to this place, in the open air, before
I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege,
Tell me, what blessings I have here alive,
That I should fear to die?
But yet hear this-- mistake me not; no life,
I prize it not a straw, but for mine honour,
Which I would free-- if I shall be condemned
Upon surmises, all proofs sleeping else
But what your jealousies awake, I tell you
It is rigor, and not law. Your honours all,
I do commend me to the oracle:
Apollo be my judge!

(Hermione, in "The Winter's Tale," Act III, Scene 2, lines 90-113)

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Read by: Michelle Haner

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