The Winter's Tale

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Leontes, Hermione, Mamillius, Polixenes,

Camillo, and Attendants


Nine changes of the watery star hath been

The shepherd's note since we have left our throne

Without a burden. Time as long again

Would be filled up, my brother, with our thanks,

And yet we should for perpetuity

Go hence in debt. And therefore, like a cipher
cipher (n.) figure nought, nonentity, mere nothing

Yet standing in rich place, I multiply

With one ‘ We thank you ’ many thousands more

That go before it.
stay (v.) 2 linger, tarry, delay


                         Stay your thanks a while,

And pay them when you part.


                         Sir, that's tomorrow.

I am questioned by my fears of what may chance
chance (v.) 1 happen [to], transpire, come about

Or breed upon our absence. That may blow

No sneaping winds at home, to make us say
sneaping (adj.) nipping, biting, sharp

‘ This is put forth too truly ’! Besides, I have stayed

To tire your royalty.
royalty (n.) 1 majesty, royal highness


                         We are tougher, brother,

Than you can put us to't.
put to it put to the proof, make trial of


                         No longer stay.


One sev'n-night longer.


                         Very sooth, tomorrow.


We'll part the time between's then; and in that
part (v.) 2 divide, share, split up

I'll no gainsaying.
gainsaying (n.) denial, refusal


                         Press me not, beseech you, so.

There is no tongue that moves, none, none i'th' world,

So soon as yours could win me. So it should now,

Were there necessity in your request, although

'Twere needful I denied it. My affairs

Do even drag me homeward; which to hinder

Were, in your love, a whip to me, my stay

To you a charge and trouble. To save both,
charge (n.) 7 expense, cost, outlay

Farewell, our brother.


                         Tongue-tied, our queen? Speak you.


I had thought, sir, to have held my peace until

You had drawn oaths from him not to stay. You, sir,

Charge him too coldly. Tell him you are sure
charge (v.) 2 entreat, exhort, enjoin

All in Bohemia's well: this satisfaction
satisfaction (n.) 1 removal of doubt, resolved state of mind

The by-gone day proclaimed. Say this to him,
by-gone (adj.) that has just gone by, yesterday

He's beat from his best ward.
ward (n.) 1 [fencing] defensive posture, parrying movement


                         Well said, Hermione.


To tell he longs to see his son were strong.

But let him say so, then, and let him go;

But let him swear so and he shall not stay:

We'll thwack him hence with distaffs.
distaff (n.) device for weaving, spindle

Leontes draws apart
adventure (v.) venture, dare, chance, risk

Yet of your royal presence I'll adventure

The borrow of a week. When at Bohemia
borrow (n.) borrowing, loan, allowance

You take my lord, I'll give him my commission
take (v.) 6 captivate, delight, enrapture

To let him there a month behind the gest
gest (n.) 2 stage [in a journey], point in time
let (v.) 2 allow to stay, let remain

Prefixed for's parting; yet, good deed, Leontes,
good deed (adv.) in truth, in reality See Topics: Discourse markers
prefixed (adj.) fixed, settled, prearranged, decided in advance

I love thee not a jar o'th' clock behind
jar (n.) 3 tick

What lady she her lord. You'll stay?
she (n.) lady, woman, girl


                         No, madam.


Nay, but you will!


                         I may not, verily.


verily (adv.) in truth, truly, indeed See Topics: Swearing

You put me off with limber vows; but I,
limber (adj.) limp, floppy, weak

Though you would seek t' unsphere the stars with oaths,
unsphere (v.) remove [a star] from its sphere

Should yet say, ‘ Sir, no going.’ Verily,

You shall not go. A lady's ‘ verily ’ is

As potent as a lord's. Will you go yet?

Force me to keep you as a prisoner,

Not like a guest; so you shall pay your fees

When you depart, and save your thanks. How say you?

My prisoner? Or my guest? By your dread ‘ verily,’

One of them you shall be.


                         Your guest, then, madam:

To be your prisoner should import offending;
import (v.) 1 signify, mean, suggest

Which is for me less easy to commit

Than you to punish.


                         Not your gaoler, then,

But your kind hostess. Come, I'll question you

Of my lord's tricks, and yours, when you were boys.

You were pretty lordings then?
lording (n.) 1 young lord, young gentleman


                         We were, fair Queen,

Two lads that thought there was no more behind
behind (adv.) 1 still to come, to follow

But such a day tomorrow as today,

And to be boy eternal.


                         Was not my lord

The verier wag o'th' two?
very (adj.) 1 [intensifying] thorough-going, absolute


We were as twinned lambs that did frisk i'th' sun,
twinned (adj.) indistinguishable, identical, closely linked

And bleat the one at th' other. What we changed
change (v.) 1 exchange, trade

Was innocence for innocence: we knew not

The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dreamed

That any did. Had we pursued that life,

And our weak spirits ne'er been higher reared

With stronger blood, we should have answered heaven
blood (n.) 7 nobility, breeding, gentility, good parentage

Boldly ‘ Not guilty,’ the imposition cleared
imposition (n.) 3 imposed penalty, burden, weight

Hereditary ours.


                         By this we gather

You have tripped since.


                         O my most sacred lady,

Temptations have since then been born to's: for

In those unfledged days was my wife a girl;

Your precious self had then not crossed the eyes

Of my young playfellow.
boot, to in addition, as well See Topics: Swearing


                         Grace to boot!

Of this make no conclusion, lest you say
conclusion (n.) 2 inference, deduction, logical conclusion

Your queen and I are devils. Yet go on:

Th' offences we have made you do we'll answer,

If you first sinned with us, and that with us

You did continue fault, and that you slipped not
fault (n.) 1 sin, offence, crime

With any but with us.



                         Is he won yet?


He'll stay, my lord.


                         At my request he would not.

Hermione, my dearest, thou never spok'st

To better purpose.
purpose, to effectively, to any effect




                                                         Never but once.


What? Have I twice said well? When was't before?

I prithee tell me. Cram's with praise, and make's

As fat as tame things. One good deed dying tongueless
tongueless (adj.) dumb, silent, mute

Slaughters a thousand waiting upon that.

Our praises are our wages. You may ride's

With one soft kiss a thousand furlongs ere

With spur we heat an acre. But to th' goal:
heat (v.) race over, speed across

My last good deed was to entreat his stay.

What was my first? It has an elder sister,

Or I mistake you. O, would her name were Grace!

But once before I spoke to th' purpose? When?
purpose (n.) 2 point at issue, matter in hand

Nay, let me have't; I long.


                         Why, that was when

Three crabbed months had soured themselves to death
crabbed (adj.) 1 frustrating, disagreeable, unpleasant

Ere I could make thee open thy white hand

And clap thyself my love: then didst thou utter
clap (v.) 1 [of two people's hands] strike together, clasp [to seal a bargain]

‘ I am yours for ever.’


                         'Tis Grace indeed.

Why, lo you now, I have spoke to th' purpose twice:

The one for ever earned a royal husband;

Th' other for some while a friend.

She gives her hand to Polixenes



                         Too hot, too hot!

To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods.

I have tremor cordis on me: my heart dances,
tremor... palpitation of the heart See Topics: Latin

But not for joy, not joy. This entertainment
entertainment (n.) 2 pleasant reception, favourable welcome

May a free face put on, derive a liberty
free (adj.) 5 innocent, guiltless

From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom,
bosom (n.) 3 warm-heartedness, tender affection
bounty (n.) 1 great generosity, gracious liberality, munificence
fertile (adj.) abundant, profuse, rich

And well become the agent – 't may, I grant.
become (v.) 1 be fitting, befit, be appropriate to See Topics: Frequency count

But to be paddling palms and pinching fingers,
paddle (v.) toy [with], play wantonly [with], fondle
pinch (v.) 6 take, squeeze, press

As now they are, and making practised smiles
practised (adj.) studied, well-versed, accomplished

As in a looking glass; and then to sigh, as 'twere

The mort o'th' deer – O, that is entertainment
entertainment (n.) 4 treatment, attitude, disposition
mort (n.) death, dying moment

My bosom likes not, nor my brows! Mamillius,
brow (n.) 3 eyebrow
brow (n.) 4 forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]

Art thou my boy?


                         Ay, my good lord.


                                                         I' fecks!

Why, that's my bawcock. What, hast smutched thy nose?
bawcock (n.) [fine bird] fine fellow, good chap See Topics: Address forms
smutch (v.) smudge, dirty, blacken

They say it is a copy out of mine. Come, captain,

We must be neat – not neat but cleanly, captain.
neat (adj.) 3 clean, spotless, smart

And yet the steer, the heifer, and the calf

Are all called neat. Still virginalling
neat (n.) ox, cow, cattle
virginal (v.) move the fingers up and down [as if playing a virginal]

Upon his palm? – How now, you wanton calf!
wanton (adj.) 1 carefree, light-hearted, frolicsome, playful

Art thou my calf?


                         Yes, if you will, my lord.


Thou want'st a rough pash and the shoots that I have
rough (adj.) 6 hairy, shaggy
shoot (n.) 2 outgrowth, offshoot, sprouting
want (v.) 4 require, demand, need

To be full like me; yet they say we are
full (adv.) 1 fully, completely, properly

Almost as like as eggs. Women say so,

That will say anything. But were they false

As o'er-dyed blacks, as wind, as waters, false
black (n.) 1 black clothes
false (adj.) 3 sham, spurious, not genuine, artificial
over-dyed (adj.) dyed over with another colour

As dice are to be wished by one that fixes

No bourn 'twixt his and mine, yet were it true
bourn (n.) 1 frontier, destination, boundary

To say this boy were like me. Come, sir page,

Look on me with your welkin eye. Sweet villain!
villain (n.) 2 scoundrel, rogue, rascal
welkin (adj.) heavenly blue

Most dear'st! My collop! Can thy dam? May't be?
collop (n.) [piece of flesh] offspring, flesh and blood

Affection, thy intention stabs the centre.
affection (n.) 3 desire, passion, lustful feeling
centre (n.) 3 core of being, heart, soul
intention (n.) intensity, forceful purpose, powerful direction

Thou dost make possible things not so held,

Communicat'st with dreams – how can this be? –

With what's unreal thou coactive art,
coactive (adj.) working together, acting in concert

And fellow'st nothing. Then 'tis very credent
credent (adj.) 3 probable, likely
fellow (v.) share in, become a partner of

Thou mayst co-join with something; and thou dost,
conjoin (v.) 2 make contact, come together

And that beyond commission, and I find it,
commission (n.) 1 warrant, authority [to act]

And that to the infection of my brains

And hardening of my brows.
brow (n.) 3 eyebrow
brow (n.) 4 forehead [often plural, referring to the two prominences of the forehead]
mean (v.) 1 intend, purpose, mean to act


                         What means Sicilia?


He something seems unsettled.
something (adv.) 2 a little, to some extent


                         How, my lord!

What cheer? How is't with you, best brother?
cheer (n.) 5 mood, disposition See Topics: Exclamations


                         You look

As if you held a brow of much distraction.
brow (n.) 1 appearance, aspect, countenance See Topics: Frequency count
distraction (n.) 1 perturbation, agitation, frenzied state

Are you moved, my lord?
moved (adj.) 1 upset, agitated, distressed


                         No, in good earnest.

How sometimes Nature will betray its folly,

Its tenderness, and make itself a pastime

To harder bosoms! Looking on the lines
hard (adj.) 7 tough, unfeeling, unsentimental

Of my boy's face, methoughts I did recoil
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count
recoil (v.) 3 go back in time, return in memory

Twenty-three years, and saw myself unbreeched,
unbreeched (adj.) not dressed in breeches

In my green velvet coat; my dagger muzzled,

Lest it should bite its master and so prove,

As ornaments oft does, too dangerous.
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

How like, methought, I then was to this kernel,
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

This squash, this gentleman. Mine honest friend,
squash (n.) 2 youngster, youth

Will you take eggs for money?


No, my lord, I'll fight.


You will? Why, happy man be's dole! My brother,
dole, happy man be his destiny, fate, lot

Are you so fond of your young prince as we

Do seem to be of ours?


                         If at home, sir,

He's all my exercise, my mirth, my matter;
exercise (n.) 1 habitual activity, usual occupation, employment
matter (n.) 4 affair(s), business, real issue
mirth (n.) 1 merry-making, pleasure-seeking

Now my sworn friend, and then mine enemy;

My parasite, my soldier, statesman, all.

He makes a July's day short as December,

And with his varying childness cures in me
childness (n.) childish qualities, childishness

Thoughts that would thick my blood.
squire (n.) 2 lad, fellow, youngster
thick (v.) thicken, make dense


                         So stands this squire

Officed with me. We two will walk, my lord,
officed (adj.) 2 playing a role, having a function

And leave you to your graver steps. Hermione,
grave (adj.) 2 important, dignified, serious

How thou lov'st us show in our brother's welcome.

Let what is dear in Sicily be cheap.

Next to thyself and my young rover, he's
rover (n.) wanderer, vagabond

Apparent to my heart.
apparent (n.) heir-apparent, closest in line


                         If you would seek us,

We are yours i'th' garden. Shall's attend you there?
attend (v.) 1 await, wait for, expect See Topics: Frequency count


To your own bents dispose you: you'll be found,
bent (n.) 1 direction, turning, inclination
dispose (v.) 4 direct, make arrangements for

Be you beneath the sky. (Aside) I am angling now,

Though you perceive me not how I give line.

Go to, go to!

How she holds up the neb, the bill to him!
neb (n.) mouth, beak

And arms her with the boldness of a wife

To her allowing husband!

Exeunt Hermione and Polixenes

                         Gone already!

Inch-thick, knee-deep, o'er head and ears a forked one!
forked (adj.) 1 two-horned

Go play, boy, play: thy mother plays, and I

Play too – but so disgraced a part, whose issue
disgraced (adj.) humiliating, shamed, dishonoured
issue (n.) 2 outcome, result, consequence(s) See Topics: Frequency count

Will hiss me to my grave. Contempt and clamour

Will be my knell. Go play, boy, play. There have been,

Or I am much deceived, cuckolds ere now;
cuckold (n.) [mocking name] man with an unfaithful wife See Topics: Frequency count

And many a man there is, even at this present,

Now, while I speak this, holds his wife by th' arm,

That little thinks she has been sluiced in's absence,
sluice (v.) send water through, draw water from; screw

And his pond fished by his next neighbour, by

Sir Smile, his neighbour. Nay, there's comfort in't

Whiles other men have gates, and those gates opened,

As mine, against their will. Should all despair

That have revolted wives, the tenth of mankind
revolted (adj.) 2 faithless, disloyal, inconstant

Would hang themselves. Physic for't there's none:
physic (n.) 1 medicine, healing, treatment See Topics: Frequency count

It is a bawdy planet, that will strike
strike (v.), past form stroke 5 have an evil influence, do harm

Where 'tis predominant; and 'tis powerful, think it,
predominant (adj.) [astrology] in the ascendant, ruling

From east, west, north, and south. Be it concluded,

No barricado for a belly. Know't:
barricado (n.) barricade, rampart, barrier
belly (n.) womb, uterus

It will let in and out the enemy

With bag and baggage. Many thousand on's

Have the disease and feel't not. How now, boy?


I am like you, they say.


                         Why, that's some comfort.

What! Camillo there!


Ay, my good lord.

He comes forward


Go play, Mamillius. Thou'rt an honest man.

Exit Mamillius

Camillo, this great sir will yet stay longer.
sir (n.) 2 gentleman, lord, gallant, master See Topics: Address forms


You had much ado to make his anchor hold:

When you cast out, it still came home.
home (adv.) 6 [nautical] back into the ship, away from its hold
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count


                         Didst note it?


He would not stay at your petitions, made

His business more material.


                         Didst perceive it?

(aside) They're here with me already: whispering, rounding,

‘ Sicilia is a so-forth.’ 'Tis far gone
so-forth (n.) such-and-such, you know what

When I shall gust it last. – How came't, Camillo,
gust (v.) taste; realize, know of

That he did stay?


                         At the good Queen's entreaty.


‘ At the Queen's ’ be't. ‘ Good ’ should be pertinent;

But, so it is, it is not. Was this taken
take (v.) 5 take in, comprehend, understand

By any understanding pate but thine?
pate (n.) head, skull See Topics: Frequency count

For thy conceit is soaking, will draw in
conceit (n.) 3 understanding, intelligence, apprehension
soaking (adj.) quick to absorb, ready to assimilate

More than the common blocks. Not noted, is't,
block (n.) 1 blockhead

But of the finer natures? By some severals
fine (adj.) 8 sensitive, responsive, reactive
nature (n.) 5 personality, innate disposition, character
several (n.) 2 (plural) individuals, persons

Of headpiece extraordinary? Lower messes
headpiece (n.) 2 brain, intellect
low (adj.) 1 humble, lowly, inferior
mess (n.) 2 small group of people eating together

Perchance are to this business purblind? Say.
perchance (adv.) 1 perhaps, maybe See Topics: Frequency count


Business, my lord? I think most understand

Bohemia stays here longer.




                                                         Stays here longer.


Ay, but why?


To satisfy your highness, and the entreaties

Of our most gracious mistress.



Th' 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-counsels, wherein, priestlike, thou
chamber-counsel (n.) personal confidences, private conversation

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!


To bide upon't: thou art not honest; or
bide upon (v.) insist on, dwell on, maintain

If thou inclin'st that way, thou art a coward,

Which hoxes honesty behind, restraining
hox (v.) hamstring, disable, cripple

From course required. Or else thou must be counted
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count

A servant grafted in my serious trust
graft (v.) insert, implant, make grow

And therein negligent, or else a fool

That see'st a game played home, the rich stake drawn,
draw (v.) 2 take up, receive, collect
home (adv.) 3 to the end, to the finish

And tak'st it all for jest.


                         My gracious lord,

I may be negligent, foolish, and fearful:

In every one of these no man is free,
free (adj.) 5 innocent, guiltless

But that his negligence, his folly, fear,

Among the infinite doings of the world,

Sometime puts forth. In your affairs, my lord,
put forth (v.) 4 be in evidence, emerge, be displayed

If ever I were wilful-negligent,
wilful-negligent (adj.) deliberately negligent, at fault for being too negligent

It was my folly; if industriously
industriously (adv.) intentionally, deliberately, purposely

I played the fool, it was my negligence,

Not weighing well the end; if ever fearful
weigh (v.) 2 consider, take into account

To do a thing where I the issue doubted,
issue (n.) 2 outcome, result, consequence(s) See Topics: Frequency count

Whereof the execution did cry out
execution (n.) 1 action, performance, doing

Against the non-performance, 'twas a fear

Which oft infects the wisest. These, my lord,
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

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,
visage (n.) 1 face, countenance See Topics: Frequency count

'Tis none of mine.


                         Ha' not you seen, Camillo –

But that's past doubt, you have, or your eye-glass
eye-glass (n.) lens of the eye

Is thicker than a cuckold's horn – or heard –
cuckold (n.) [mocking name] man with an unfaithful wife See Topics: Frequency count

For to a vision so apparent rumour
apparent (adj.) 1 plainly visible, conspicuous, evident, obvious
vision (n.) sight, object of sight, display

Cannot be mute – or thought – for cogitation

Resides not in that man that does not think –

My wife is slippery? If thou wilt confess –
slippery (adj.) 2 faithless, unchaste, difficult to hold on to

Or else be impudently negative
negative (adj.) denying, refusing to believe

To have nor eyes, nor ears, nor thought – then say

My wife's a hobby-horse, deserves a name
hobby-horse (n.) 1 harlot, whore, prostitute

As rank as any flax-wench that puts to
flax-wench (n.) female flax worker
put to (v.) 2 go to work, have sex
rank (adj.) 4 gross, outlandish, coarse

Before her troth-plight: say't and justify't.
justify (v.) 1 affirm, acknowledge, corroborate
troth-plight (n.) engagement, act of betrothal


I would not be a stander-by to hear

My sovereign mistress clouded so without
cloud (v.) defame, blacken, sully

My present vengeance taken. 'Shrew my heart,
beshrew, 'shrew (v.) 1 curse, devil take, evil befall See Topics: Frequency count

You never spoke what did become you less
become (v.) 2 grace, honour, dignify See Topics: Frequency count

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
career (n.) 4 rapid course, height, full swing

Of laughing with a sigh? – a note infallible

Of breaking honesty. Horsing foot on foot?
honesty (n.) 1 virtue, chastity
horse (v.) 2 mount, put on top of

Skulking in corners? Wishing clocks more swift?

Hours minutes? Noon midnight? And all eyes

Blind with the pin and web but theirs, theirs only,
web and the pin, pin and web disease of the eye, cataract

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,
betimes (adv.) 3 speedily, soon, in a short time

For 'tis most dangerous.


                         Say it be, 'tis true.


No, no, my lord!


                         It is. You lie, you lie!

I say thou liest, Camillo, and I hate thee,

Pronounce thee a gross lout, a mindless slave,
gross (adj.) 8 vile, abhorrent, wicked

Or else a hovering temporizer, that
hovering (adj.) wavering, hesitating, uncertain
temporizer (n.) delayer, procrastinator, someone who plays for time

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.
glass (n.) 3 [sand of the] hourglass


                         Who does infect her?


Why, he that wears her like her medal, hanging
medal (n.) miniature portrait, pendant, charm

About his neck, Bohemia; who, if I

Had servants true about me, that bare eyes
true (adj.) 5 reliable, trustworthy, dependable

To see alike mine honour as their profits,

Their own particular thrifts, they would do that
thrift (n.) profit, advantage, gain

Which should undo more doing. Ay, and thou,

His cupbearer – whom I from meaner form
form (n.) 7 position, rank, status
mean (adj.) 1 of low rank, inferior in position, less important

Have benched and reared to worship; who mayst see
bench (v.) 2 give a position of honour, place in authority
worship (n.) 2 honour, distinction, repute

Plainly as heaven sees earth and earth sees heaven

How I am galled – mightst bespice a cup
bespice (v.) season with a spice; poison
gall (v.) 1 vex, annoy, irritate

To give mine enemy a lasting wink;
wink (n.) 1 closing of the eyes, shutting, sleep

Which draught to me were cordial.
cordial (adj.) reviving, invigorating, restorative


                         Sir, my lord,

I could do this, and that with no rash potion,
rash (adj.) 1 sudden, quickly acting, operating immediately

But with a lingering dram that should not work
dram (n.) 2 [small dose of] poison

Maliciously, like poison: but I cannot
maliciously (adv.) violently, virulently, ragingly

Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress,
crack (n.) 1 flaw, defect, deficiency
dread (adj.) 1 revered, deeply honoured, held in awe

So sovereignly being honourable.
sovereignly (adv.) supremely, outstandingly, superlatively

I have loved thee –
question (n.) 2 point at issue, problem, business


                         Make that thy question, and go rot!

Dost think I am so muddy, so unsettled,
muddy (adj.) 3 dull-witted, muddle-headed

To appoint my self in this vexation; sully
appoint (v.) 4 ordain, set up, establish

The purity and whiteness of my sheets –

Which to preserve is sleep, which being spotted
spotted (adj.) 1 stained, blemished

Is goads, thorns, nettles, tails of wasps;

Give scandal to the blood o'th' Prince, my son –
blood (n.) 7 nobility, breeding, gentility, good parentage
scandal (n.) 2 disgraceful reputation, scandalous imputation

Who I do think is mine, and love as mine –

Without ripe moving to't? Would I do this?
ripe (adj.) 4 properly considered, fully thought out

Could man so blench?
blench (v.) 2 swerve, turn aside, give way


                         I must believe you, sir.

I do; and will fetch off Bohemia for't:
fetch off (v.) 2 do away with, make an end of, kill

Provided that when he's removed your highness

Will take again your queen as yours at first,

Even for your son's sake, and thereby forsealing
forseal (v.) [unclear usage] seal up close, forestall, prevent
seal (v.) 7 [unclear usage] seal up close, forestall, prevent

The injury of tongues in courts and kingdoms

Known and allied to yours.


                         Thou dost advise me

Even so as I mine own course have set down.
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count

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


My lord,

Go then; and, with a countenance as clear
clear (adj.) 3 serene, cheerful, unclouded

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 split'st thine own.


                         I'll do't, my lord.


I will seem friendly, as thou hast advised me.



O miserable lady! But, for me,

What case stand I in? I must be the poisoner
case (n.) 1 state, plight, situation, circumstance

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 villainy itself forswear't. I must
forswear (v), past forms forsworn, forswore 2 abandon, renounce, reject, give up See Topics: Frequency count

Forsake the court: to do't or no is certain

To me a break-neck. Happy star reign now!
break-neck (n.) total ruin, destruction, disaster

Here comes Bohemia.

Enter Polixenes


                         This is strange: methinks

My favour here begins to warp. Not speak?
favour (n.) 4 friendship, good will, friendly regard
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count
warp (v.) 5 reduce, shrink, lessen

Good day, Camillo.


                         Hail, most royal sir!


What is the news i'th' court?
rare (adj.) 2 unusual, striking, exceptional


                         None rare, my lord.


The King hath on him such a countenance

As he had lost some province, and a region

Loved as he loves himself: even now I met him

With customary compliment, when he,

Wafting his eyes to th' contrary, and falling
contrary (n.) 1 opposite direction, other way
fall (v.) 1 drop, descend, let fall
waft (v.) 3 turn derisively, direct scornfully

A lip of much contempt, speeds from me, and

So leaves me to consider what is breeding
breed (v.), past form bred 3 develop, go on, happen

That changes thus his manners.


I dare not know, my lord.


How, dare not? Do not? Do you know and dare not

Be intelligent to me? 'Tis thereabouts;
intelligent (adj.) 2 communicative, forthcoming, candid

For to yourself what you do know you must,

And cannot say you dare not. Good Camillo,

Your changed complexions are to me a mirror
complexion (n.) 1 appearance, look, colouring

Which shows me mine changed too: for I must be

A party in this alteration, finding
party (n.) 4 participant, accessory, supporter

Myself thus altered with't.


                         There is a sickness

Which puts some of us in distemper, but
distemper (n.) 3 bad temper, cross mood

I cannot name the disease; and it is caught

Of you, that yet are well.


                         How! Caught of me?

Make me not sighted like the basilisk.
basilisk (n.) 1 mythical serpent which killed with its look

I have looked on thousands who have sped the better

By my regard, but killed none so. Camillo,

As you are certainly a gentleman, thereto

Clerk-like experienced, which no less adorns
clerk-like (adv.) in the ways of learning, in scholarly ways
gentry (n.) 3 position of gentleman, high rank

Our gentry than our parents' noble names,

In whose success we are gentle: I beseech you,
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count
success (n.) 3 succession, lineage, inheritance

If you know aught which does behove my knowledge
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count
behove (v.) 1 befits, be appropriate to, be due to

Thereof to be informed, imprison't not

In ignorant concealment.
ignorant (adj.) 2 that keeps one in ignorance


                         I may not answer.


A sickness caught of me, and yet I well?

I must be answered. Dost thou hear, Camillo?

I conjure thee, by all the parts of man
conjure (v.) 1 ask solemnly, entreat earnestly, beseech

Which honour does acknowledge, whereof the least

Is not this suit of mine, that thou declare
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count

What incidency thou dost guess of harm
incidency (n.) incident, event, occurrence

Is creeping toward me; how far off, how near;

Which way to be prevented, if to be;

If not, how best to bear it.


                         Sir, I will tell you,

Since I am charged in honour, and by him

That I think honourable. Therefore mark my counsel,
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count

Which must be ev'n as swiftly followed as

I mean to utter it, or both yourself and me

Cry lost, and so good night.
cry (v.) 1 speak loudly, shout out, proclaim
good night [as farewell] we bid each other a last farewell


                         On, good Camillo.


I am appointed him to murder you.


By whom, Camillo?


                         By the King.


                                                         For what?


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 touched his queen
vice (v.) force, constrain, press hard



                         O, then my best blood turn

To an infected jelly, and my name

Be yoked with his that did betray the Best!
Best, the (n.) Jesus Christ

Turn then my freshest reputation to

A savour that may strike the dullest nostril
dull (adj.) 5 insensitive, incapable of sensation
savour (n.) 2 smell, stench, stink

Where I arrive, and my approach be shunned,

Nay, hated too, worse than the great'st infection

That e'er was heard or read!
swear over (v.) [unclear usage] swear in opposition to, disavow, deny


                         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
fabric (n.) building, edifice

Is piled upon his faith, and will continue

The standing of his body.
grow (v.) 1 arise, come into existence
standing (n.) 1 continuing existence, duration


                         How should this grow?


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
trunk (n.) body, form, frame

Shall bear along impawned, away tonight!
impawn (v.) 1 pledge as security, put in pawn, commit

Your followers I will whisper to the business,

And will by twos and threes, at several posterns,
postern (n.) entrance, side gate, back door
several (adj.) 1 separate, different, distinct See Topics: Frequency count

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,
discovery (n.) 1 disclosure, admission, revelation

For, by the honour of my parents, I

Have uttered truth; which if you seek to prove,
prove (v.) 1 test, try out, make trial [of]

I dare not stand by; nor shall you be safer

Than one condemned by the King's own mouth, thereon

His execution sworn.


                         I do believe thee:

I saw his heart in's face. Give me thy hand.

Be pilot to me, and thy places shall
place (n.) 3 dignity, honour, privilege
place (n.) 1 position, post, office, rank See Topics: Frequency count

Still neighbour mine. My ships are ready, and
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

My people did expect my hence departure

Two days ago. This jealousy

Is for a precious creature; as she's rare

Must it be great; and as his person's mighty

Must it be violent; and as he does conceive

He is dishonoured by a man which ever

Professed to him, why, his revenges must
profess (v.) 5 profess friendship, declare attachment

In that be made more bitter. Fear o'ershades me.
overshade (v.) overshadow, cast a gloom over

Good expedition be my friend and comfort
expedition (n.) 2 prompt departure, sudden leaving

The gracious Queen, part of his theme, but nothing
theme (n.) 2 reason for acting, ground of belief

Of his ill-ta'en suspicion! Come, Camillo,
ill-ta'en (adj.) [ill-taken] unfounded, unwarranted, badly grounded

I will respect thee as a father if

Thou bear'st my life off. Hence! Let us avoid.
avoid (v.) 1 be off, be gone, go away


It is in mine authority to command

The keys of all the posterns. Please your highness
postern (n.) entrance, side gate, back door

To take the urgent hour. Come, sir, away.


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