Before her troth-plight: say it, and justify it.
Cam. I would not be a stander-by, to hear
My sovereign mistress clouded so, without
My present vengeance taken: 'Shrew my heart,
You never spoke what did become you less
Than this; which to reiterate, were sin
As deep as that, though true."

Leo. Is whispering nothing?

Is leaning cheek to cheek? is meeting noses?
Kissing with inside lip? stopping the career
Of laughter with a sigh? (a note infallible
Of breaking honesty :) horsing foot on foot?
Skulking in corners ? wishing clocks more swift?
Hours, minutes? noon, midnight? and all eyes
Blind with the pin and web,' but theirs, theirs only,
That would unseen be wicked? is this nothing?
Why, then the world, and all that's in't, is nothing;
The covering sky is nothing; Bohemia nothing;
My wife is nothing; nor nothing have these nothings,
If this be nothing.

Cam. Good my lord, be cur'd

Of this diseas'd opinion, and betimes;
For 'tis most dangerous.

Leo. Say, it be; 'tis true.

Cam. No, no, my lord.

Leo. It is; you lie, you lie :

I say, thou liest, Camillo, and I hate thee;
Pronounce thee a gross lout, a mindless slave;
Or else a hovering temporizer, that

Canst with thine eyes at once see good and evil,
Inclining to them both: Were my wife's liver
Infected as her life, she would not live
The running of one glass.

Cam. Who does infect her?

Leo. Why he, that wears her like her medal, hanging About his neck, Bohemia: Who-if I

Had servants true about me: that bare eyes

To see alike mine honour as their profits,

[9] i. e. Your suspicion is as great a sin as would be that (if committed,) for which you suspect her. WARBURTON.

Disorders in the eye. STEEVENS.

[2] It should be remembered that it was customary for gentlemen, in our author's ime, to wear jewels appended to a ribbon round the neck The Knights of the Sarter wore the George in this manner till the time of Charles I. MALONE.

Their own particular thrifts,—they would do that
Which should undo more doing: Ay, and thou,
His cup-bearer,-whom I from meaner form

Have bench'd, and rear'd to worship; who may'st see
Plainly, as heaven sees earth, and earth sees heaven,
How I am galled,-might'st bespice a cup,

To give mine enemy a lasting wink;
Which draught to me were cordial.
Cam. Sir, my lord,

I could do this; and that with no rash potion,
But with a ling'ring dram, that should not work
Maliciously like poison: But I cannot
Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress,
So sovereignly being honourable.

I have lov'd thee,

Leo. Make't thy question, and go rot! Dost think, I am so muddy, so unsettled, To appoint myself in this vexation? sully The purity and whiteness of my sheets, Which to preserve, is sleep; which being spotted, Is goads, thorns, nettles, tails of wasps? Give scandal to the blood o' th' prince, my son, Who, I do think is mine, and love as mine; Without right moving to't? Would I do this? Could man so blench?

Cam. I must believe you, sir;

I do; and will fetch off Bohemia for't:

Provided, that when he's remov'd, your highness
Will take again your queen, as yours at first;
Even for your son's sake; and, thereby, for sealing
The injury of tongues, in courts and kingdoms
Known and allied to yours.

Leo. Thou dost advise me,

Even so as I mine own course have set down:

I'll give no blemish to her honour, none.
Cam. My lord,

Go then; and with a countenance as clear

As friendship wears at feasts, keep with Bohemia,
And with your queen: I am his cupbearer;
If from me he have wholesome beverage,
Account me not your servant.

Leo. This is all :

[3] To blench is to start off, to shrink. STEEVENS.

Do't, and thou hast the one half of my heart;
Do't not, thou split'st thine own.

Cam. I'll do't, my lord.

Leo. I will seem friendly, as thou hast advis'd me.

Cam. O miserable lady!-But, for me,
What case stand I in? I must be the poisoner
Of good Polixenes: and my ground to do't
Is the obedience to a master; one,
Who, in rebellion with himself, will have
All that are his, so too.-To do this deed,
Promotion follows: If I could find example
Of thousands, that had struck anointed kings,
And flourish'd after, I'd not do't: but since
Nor brass, nor stone, nor parchment, bears not one;
Let villany itself forswear't. I must

Forsake the court: to do't, or no, is certain
To me a break-neck. Happy star, reign now!
Here comes Bohemia.

Enter POLIXEnes.

Pol. This is strange! methinks,

My favour here begins to warp. Not speak?-
Good-day, Camillo.

Cam. Hail, most royal sir!

Pol. What is the news i' th' court?

Cam. None rare, my lord.

Pol. The king hath on him such a countenance,
As he had lost some province, and a region,
Lov'd as he loves himself: even now I met him
With customary compliment; when he,
Wafting his eyes to the contrary, and falling
A lip of much contempt, speeds from me ; and
So leaves me, to consider what is breeding,
That changes thus his manners.

Cam. I dare not know, my lord.
Pol. How! dare not? do not.

dare not


Do you know, and

[4] An allusion to the death of the Queen of Scots. The play, therefore, was written in King James's time. BLACKSTONE.

[5] This is a stroke of nature worthy of Shakespeare. Leontes had but a moment before assured Camillo that he would seem friendly to Polixenes, according to his advice; but on meeting him, his jealousy gets the better of his resolution, and he finds it impossible to restrain his hatred. M. MASON.

Be intelligent to me? 'Tis thereabouts;
For, to yourself, what you do know, you must;
And cannot say, you dare not. Good Camillo,
Your chang'd complexions are to me a mirror,
Which shows me mine chang'd too: for I must be
A party in this alteration, finding
Myself thus alter'd with it.

Cam. There is a sickness

Which puts some of us in distemper; but
I can not name the disease; and it is caught
Of you that yet are well.

Pol. How! caught of me?

Make me not sighted like the basilisk:

I have look'd on thousands, who have sped the better
By my regard, but kill'd none so. Camillo,-

As you are certainly a gentleman; thereto,

Clerk-like, experienc'd, which no less adorns
Our gentry, than our parents' noble names,

In whose success we are gentle,-I beseech you,
If you know aught which does behove my knowledge
Thereof to be inform'd, imprison it not

In ignorant concealment.

Cam. I may not answer.

Pol. A sickness caught of me, and yet I well! I must be answer'd.-Dost thou hear, Camillo,

I conjure thee, by all the parts of man,

Which honour does acknowledge,-whereof the least

Is not this suit of mine,-that thou declare

What incidency thou dost guess of harm

Is creeping toward me; how far off, how near;
Which way to be prevented, if to be;

If not, how best to bear it.

Cam. Sir, I'll tell you;

Since I am charg'd in honour, and by him

That I think honourable: Therefore, mark my counsel;

Which must be even as swiftly follow'd, as

I mean to utter it; or both yourself and me

Cry, lost, and so good-night.

Pol. On, good Camillo

Cam. I am appointed him to murder you.
Pol. By whom, Camillo ?

Cam. By the king.

[6] I know not whether success here does not mean succession. JOHNSON.

Pol. For what?

Cam. He thinks, nay, with all confidence he swears, As he had seen't, or been an instrument

To vice you to't,—that you have touch'd his queen

Pol. O, then my best blood turn

To an infected jelly; and my name

Be yok'd with his, that did betray the best!
Turn then my freshest reputation to

A savour, that may strike the dullest nostril
Where I arrive; and my approach be shunn'd,
Nay, hated too, worse than the great'st infection
That e'er was heard, or read!

Cam. Swear his thought over

By each particular star in heaven, and
By all their influences, you may as well
Forbid the sea for to obey the moon,
As or, by oath, remove, or counsel, shake,
The fabric of his folly; whose foundation
Is pil'd upon his faith, and will continue
The standing of his body.

Pol. How should this grow?

Cam. I know not: but, I am sure, 'tis safer to
Avoid what's grown, than question how 'tis born.
If therefore you dare trust my honesty,-
That lies enclosed in this trunk, which you
Shall bear along impawn'd,-away to-night.
Your followers I will whisper to the business;
And will, by twos, and threes, at several posterns,
Clear them o' th' city: For myself, I'll put
My fortunes to your service, which are here
By this discovery lost. Be not uncertain;
For, by the honour of my parents, I

Have utter'd truth: which if you seek to prove,

I dare not stand by; nor shall you be safer

Than one condemn'd by the king's own mouth, thereon His execution sworn.

Pol. I do believe thee:

I saw his heart in's face.

Give me thy hand;

[7] i. e. To draw, persuade you. The character called the Vice, in the old plays was the tempter to evil. WARBURTON.

The vice is an instrument well known; its operation is to hold things together. STEEVENS.

[8] This folly which is erected on the foundation of settled belief. STEEVENS.

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