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When I shall gust1 it last.-How came 't, Camillo,
That he did stay?


At the good queen's entreaty.

Leon. At the queen's, be't: good, should be pertinent;

But so it is, it is not. Was this taken

By any understanding pate but thine?
For thy conceit soaking, will draw in


More than the common blocks.-Not noted, is't, a
But of the finer natures? By some severals,
Of head-piece extraordinary? Lower messes,2
Perchance, are to this business purblind: say.

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Cam. Business, my lord? I think most understand Bohemia stays here longer.



Leon. Ay, but why?


Stays here longer.

Cam. To satisfy your highness, and the entreaties Of our most gracious mistress.


The entreaties of your mistress?


-Satisfy?Let that suffice. I have trusted thee, Camillo, With all the nearest things to my heart, as well My chamber-councils; wherein, priestlike, thou Hast cleansed my bosom; I from thee departed Thy penitent reformed; but we have been Deceived in thy integrity, deceived

In that which seems so.


Be it forbid, my lord!

Leon. To bide upon't: Thou art not honest; or, If thou inclin'st that way, thou art a coward;


Which hoxes honesty behind, restraining

From course required; or else thou must be counted
A servant, grafted in my serious trust,

And therein negligent; or else a fool,

That seest a game played home, the rich stake drawn, And tak'st it all for jest.

1 i. e. taste it:-"ille domus sciet ultimus.".........Juv. Sat. x.

2 Messes is here put for degrees, conditions.

3 To hox is to hamstring: the proper word is to hough.

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My gracious lord,

I may be negligent, foolish, and fearful;
In every one of these no man is free,
But that his negligence, his folly, fear,
Amongst the infinite doings of the world,
Sometime puts forth. In your affairs, my lord,
If ever I were wilful-negligent,

It was my folly; if industriously

I played the fool, it was my negligence,
Not weighing well the end; if ever fearful
To do a thing, where I the issue doubted,
Whereof the execution did cry out

Against the non-performance,' 'twas a fear
Which oft affects the wisest. These, my lord,
Are such allowed infirmities, that honesty
Is never free of. But, 'beseech your grace,
Be plainer with me; let me know my trespass
By its own visage. If I then deny it,

"Tis none of mine.


Have not you seen, Camillo, (But that's past doubt: you have; or your eye-glass Is thicker than a cuckold's horn ;) or heard, (For, to a vision so apparent, rumor

Cannot be mute,) or thought,—(for cogitation
Resides not in that man, that does not think,)2
My wife is slippery? If thou wilt confess,
(Or else be impudently negative,

To have nor eyes, nor ears, nor thought,) then say,
My wife's a hobby-horse; deserves a name
As rank as any flax-wench, that puts to
Before a 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,

1 This is expressed obscurely, but seems to mean "the execution of which (when done) cried out against the non-performance of it before."

2 Leontes means to say, "Have you not thought that my wife is slippery? (for cogitation resides not in the man that does not think my wife is slippery.") The four latter words, though disjoined from the word think by the necessity of a parenthesis, are evidently to be connected in construction with it.

You never spoke what did become you less
Than this, which to reiterate, were sin
As deep as that, though true.

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,
Noon, midnight? And all eyes


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.


Good my lord, be cured

Of this diseased opinion, and betimes;

For 'tis most dangerous.



Cam. No, no, my lord.


Say, it be; 'tis true.

It is; you lie, you lie :

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.2


Who does infect her?

Leon. Why, he that wears her like his medal,3


About his neck, Bohemia. Who-if I

Had servants true about me, that bare eyes

To see alike mine honor as their profits,

Their own particular thrifts,—they would do that

1 The pin and web is the cataract in an early stage.

2 i. e. one hour.

3 The old copy reads, "her medal."

Which should undo more doing. Ay, and thou,
His cupbearer,-whom I from meaner form

Have benched, and reared to worship; who mayst see Plainly, as heaven sees earth, and earth sees heaven, How I am galled,-mightst bespice a cup,'

To give mine enemy a lasting wink;

Which draught to me were cordial.


Sir, my lord,

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

I have loved thee,


Make't thy question, and go rot!3

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?4
Give scandal to the blood o' the prince, my son,
Who, I do think, is mine, and love as mine;
Without ripe moving to't? Would I do this?
Could man so blench ?5


I must believe you, sir.
I do; and will fetch off Bohemia for't;

Provided, that when he's removed, your highness
Will take again your queen, as yours at first;

1 "Bespice a cup." So in Chapman's Translation of the tenth book of the Odyssey:


with a festival

She'll first receive thee; but will spice thy bread

With flowery poisons."

2 Rash is hasty; as in King Henry IV. Part II. "rash gunpowder." Maliciously is malignantly, with effects openly hurtful.

3 Make that, i. e. Hermione's disloyalty, which is a clear point, a subject of doubt, and go rot! Dost think I am such a fool as to torment myself, and bring disgrace on me and my child, without sufficient grounds?

4 Something is necessary to complete the verse. Hanmer reads:"Is goads and thorns, nettles and tails of wasps."

5 To blench is to start off, to shrink.

Even for your son's sake; and thereby, for sealing
The injury of tongues in courts and kingdoms
Known and allied to yours.


Even so as I mine own course have set down.

Thou dost advise me,

My lord,

I'll give no blemish to her honor, none.


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.


This is all;

Do't, and thou hast the one half of my heart;

Do't not, thou splittest thine own.


I'll do't, my lord.

Leon. I will seem friendly, as thou hast advised


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 flourished 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.

This is strange! Methinks

My favor here begins to warp. Not speak?

Good-day, Camillo.


Pol. What is the news i'the court?


Hail, most royal sir!

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