The Winter's Tale

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Original text
Act I, Scene I
Enter Camillo and Archidamus.

Arch.
IF you shall chance (Camillo) to visit Bohemia,
on the like occasion whereon my seruices are now
on-foot, you shall see (as I haue said) great difference
betwixt our Bohemia, and your Sicilia.

Cam.
I thinke, this comming Summer, the King of Sicilia
meanes to pay Bohemia the Visitation, which hee iustly
owes him.

Arch.
Wherein our Entertainment shall shame
vs: we will be iustified in our Loues: for indeed---

Cam.
'Beseech you---

Arch.
Verely I speake it in the freedome of my
knowledge: we cannot with such magnificence--- in so
rare---I know not what to say--- Wee will giue you sleepie
Drinkes, that your Sences (vn-intelligent of our insufficience)
may, though they cannot prayse vs, as little
accuse vs.

Cam.
You pay a great deale to deare, for what's giuen
freely.

Arch.
'Beleeue me, I speake as my vnderstanding
instructs me, and as mine honestie puts it to vtterance.

Cam.
Sicilia cannot shew himselfe ouer-kind to Bohemia:
They were trayn'd together in their Child-hoods;
and there rooted betwixt them then such an affection,
which cannot chuse but braunch now. Since their more
mature Dignities, and Royall Necessities, made seperation
of their Societie, their Encounters (though not Personall)
hath been Royally attornyed with enter-change of Gifts,
Letters, louing Embassies, that they haue seem'd to be
together, though absent: shooke hands, as ouer a Vast;
and embrac'd as it were from the ends of opposed
Winds. The Heauens continue their Loues.

Arch.
I thinke there is not in the World, either
Malice or Matter, to alter it. You haue an vnspeakable
comfort of your young Prince Mamillius: it is a Gentleman
of the greatest Promise, that euer came into my Note.

Cam.
I very well agree with you, in the hopes of him:
it is a gallant Child; one, that (indeed) Physicks the Subiect,
makes old hearts fresh: they that went on Crutches ere
he was borne, desire yet their life, to see him a Man.

Arch.
Would they else be content to die?

Cam.
Yes; if there were no other excuse, why they
should desire to liue.

Arch.
If the King had no Sonne, they would desire
to liue on Crutches till he had one.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act I, Scene II
Enter Leontes, Hermione, Mamillius, Polixenes,
Camillo.

Pol.
Nine Changes of the Watry-Starre hath been
The Shepheards Note, since we haue left our Throne
Without a Burthen: Time as long againe
Would be fill'd vp (my Brother) with our Thanks,
And yet we should, for perpetuitie,
Goe hence in debt: And therefore, like a Cypher
(Yet standing in rich place) I multiply
With one we thanke you, many thousands moe,
That goe before it.

Leo.
Stay your Thanks a while,
And pay them when you part.

Pol.
Sir, that's to morrow:
I am question'd by my feares, of what may chance,
Or breed vpon our absence, that may blow
No sneaping Winds at home, to make vs say,
This is put forth too truly: besides, I haue stay'd
To tyre your Royaltie.

Leo.
We are tougher (Brother)
Then you can put vs to't.

Pol.
No longer stay.

Leo.
One Seue' night longer.

Pol.
Very sooth, to morrow.

Leo.
Wee'le part the time betweene's then: and in that
Ile no gaine-saying.

Pol.
Presse me not ('beseech you) so:
There is no Tongue that moues; none, none i'th' World
So soone as yours, could win me: so it should now,
Were there necessitie in your request, although
'Twere needfull I deny'd it. My Affaires
Doe euen drag me home-ward: which to hinder,
Were (in your Loue) a Whip to me; my stay,
To you a Charge, and Trouble: to saue both,
Farewell (our Brother.)

Leo.
Tongue-ty'd our Queene? speake you.

Her.
I had thought (Sir) to haue held my peace, vntill
You had drawne Oathes from him, not to stay: you (Sir)
Charge him too coldly. Tell him, you are sure
All in Bohemia's well: this satisfaction,
The by-gone-day proclaym'd, say this to him,
He's beat from his best ward.

Leo.
Well said, Hermione.

Her.
To tell, he longs to see his Sonne, were strong:
But let him say so then, and let him goe;
But let him sweare so, and he shall not stay,
Wee'l thwack him hence with Distaffes.

Yet of your Royall presence, Ile aduenture
The borrow of a Weeke. When at Bohemia
You take my Lord, Ile giue him my Commission,
To let him there a Moneth, behind the Gest
Prefix'd for's parting: yet (good-deed) Leontes,
I loue thee not a Iarre o'th' Clock, behind
What Lady she her Lord. You'le stay?

Pol.
No, Madame.

Her.
Nay, but you will?

Pol.
I may not verely.

Her.
Verely?
You put me off with limber Vowes: but I,
Though you would seek t'vnsphere the Stars with Oaths,
Should yet say, Sir, no going: Verely
You shall not goe; a Ladyes Verely 'is
As potent as a Lords. Will you goe yet?
Force me to keepe you as a Prisoner,
Not like a Guest: so you shall pay your Fees
When you depart, and saue your Thanks. How say you?
My Prisoner? or my Guest? by your dread Verely,
One of them you shall be.

Pol.
Your Guest then, Madame:
To be your Prisoner, should import offending;
Which is for me, lesse easie to commit,
Then you to punish.

Her.
Not your Gaoler then,
But your kind Hostesse. Come, Ile question you
Of my Lords Tricks, and yours, when you were Boyes:
You were pretty Lordings then?

Pol.
We were (faire Queene)
Two Lads, that thought there was no more behind,
But such a day to morrow, as to day,
And to be Boy eternall.

Her.
Was not my Lord
The veryer Wag o'th' two?

Pol.
We were as twyn'd Lambs, that did frisk i'th' Sun,
And bleat the one at th' other: what we chang'd,
Was Innocence, for Innocence: we knew not
The Doctrine of ill-doing, nor dream'd
That any did: Had we pursu'd that life,
And our weake Spirits ne're been higher rear'd
With stronger blood, we should haue answer'd Heauen
Boldly, not guilty; the Imposition clear'd,
Hereditarie ours.

Her.
By this we gather
You haue tript since.

Pol.
O my most sacred Lady,
Temptations haue since then been borne to's: for
In those vnfledg'd dayes, was my Wife a Girle;
Your precious selfe had then not cross'd the eyes
Of my young Play-fellow.

Her.
Grace to boot:
Of this make no conclusion, least you say
Your Queene and I are Deuils: yet goe on,
Th' offences we haue made you doe, wee'le answere,
If you first sinn'd with vs: and that with vs
You did continue fault; and that you slipt not
With any, but with vs.

Leo.
Is he woon yet?

Her.
Hee'le stay (my Lord.)

Leo.
At my request, he would not:
Hermione (my dearest) thou neuer spoak'st
To better purpose.

Her.
Neuer?

Leo.
Neuer, but once.

Her.
What? haue I twice said well? when was't before?
I prethee tell me: cram's with prayse, and make's
As fat as tame things: One good deed, dying tonguelesse,
Slaughters a thousand, wayting vpon that.
Our prayses are our Wages. You may ride's
With one soft Kisse a thousand Furlongs, ere
With Spur we heat an Acre. But to th' Goale:
My last good deed, was to entreat his stay.
What was my first? it ha's an elder Sister,
Or I mistake you: O, would her Name were Grace.
But once before I spoke to th' purpose? when?
Nay, let me haue't: I long.

Leo.
Why, that was when
Three crabbed Moneths had sowr'd themselues to death,
Ere I could make thee open thy white Hand:
A clap thy selfe, my Loue; then didst thou vtter,
I am yours for euer.

Her.
'Tis Grace indeed.
Why lo-you now; I haue spoke to th' purpose twice:
The one, for euer earn'd a Royall Husband;
Th' other, for some while a Friend.

Leo.
Too hot, too hot:
To mingle friendship farre, is mingling bloods.
I haue Tremor Cordis on me: my heart daunces,
But not for ioy; not ioy. This Entertainment
May a free face put on: deriue a Libertie
From Heartinesse, from Bountie, fertile Bosome,
And well become the Agent: 't may; I graunt:
But to be padling Palmes, and pinching Fingers,
As now they are, and making practis'd Smiles
As in a Looking-Glasse; and then to sigh, as 'twere
The Mort o'th' Deere: oh, that is entertainment
My Bosome likes not, nor my Browes. Mamillius,
Art thou my Boy?

Mam.
I, my good Lord.

Leo.
I'fecks:
Why that's my Bawcock: what? has't smutch'd thy Nose?
They say it is a Coppy out of mine. Come Captaine,
We must be neat; not neat, but cleanly, Captaine:
And yet the Steere, the Heycfer, and the Calfe,
Are all call'd Neat. Still Virginalling
Vpon his Palme? How now (you wanton Calfe)
Art thou my Calfe?

Mam.
Yes, if you will (my Lord.)

Leo.
Thou want'st a rough pash, & the shoots that I haue
To be full, like me: yet they say we are
Almost as like as Egges; Women say so,
(That will say any thing.) But were they false
As o're-dy'd Blacks, as Wind, as Waters; false
As Dice are to be wish'd, by one that fixes
No borne 'twixt his and mine; yet were it true,
To say this Boy were like me. Come (Sir Page)
Looke on me with your Welkin eye: sweet Villaine,
Most dear'st, my Collop: Can thy Dam, may't be
Affection? thy Intention stabs the Center.
Thou do'st make possible things not so held,
Communicat'st with Dreames (how can this be?)
With what's vnreall: thou coactiue art,
And fellow'st nothing. Then 'tis very credent,
Thou may'st co-ioyne with something, and thou do'st,
(And that beyond Commission) and I find it,
(And that to the infection of my Braines,
And hardning of my Browes.)

Pol.
What meanes Sicilia?

Her.
He something seemes vnsetled.

Pol.
How? my Lord?
Leo. What cheere? how is't with you, best Brother?

Her.
You look
as if you held a Brow of much distraction:
Are you mou'd (my Lord?)

Leo.
No, in good earnest.
How sometimes Nature will betray it's folly?
It's tendernesse? and make it selfe a Pastime
To harder bosomes? Looking on the Lynes
Of my Boyes face, me thoughts I did requoyle
Twentie three yeeres, and saw my selfe vn-breech'd,
In my greene Veluet Coat; my Dagger muzzel'd,
Least it should bite it's Master, and so proue
(As Ornaments oft do's) too dangerous:
How like (me thought) I then was to this Kernell,
This Squash, this Gentleman. Mine honest Friend,
Will you take Egges for Money?

Mam.
No (my Lord) Ile fight.

Leo.
You will: why happy man be's dole. My Brother
Are you so fond of your young Prince, as we
Doe seeme to be of ours?

Pol.
If at home (Sir)
He's all my Exercise, my Mirth, my Matter;
Now my sworne Friend, and then mine Enemy;
My Parasite, my Souldier: States-man; all:
He makes a Iulyes day, short as December,
And with his varying child-nesse, cures in me
Thoughts, that would thick my blood.

Leo.
So stands this Squire
Offic'd with me: We two will walke (my Lord)
And leaue you to your grauer steps. Hermione,
How thou lou'st vs, shew in our Brothers welcome;
Let what is deare in Sicily, be cheape:
Next to thy selfe, and my young Rouer, he's
Apparant to my heart.

Her.
If you would seeke vs,
We are yours i'th' Garden: shall's attend you there?

Leo.
To your owne bents dispose you: you'le be found,
Be you beneath the Sky: I am angling now,
(Though you perceiue me not how I giue Lyne)
Goe too, goe too.
How she holds vp the Neb? the Byll to him?
And armes her with the boldnesse of a Wife
To her allowing Husband.
Gone already,
Ynch-thick, knee-deepe; ore head and eares a fork'd one.
Goe play (Boy) play: thy Mother playes, and I
Play too; but so disgrac'd a part, whose issue
Will hisse me to my Graue: Contempt and Clamor
Will be my Knell. Goe play (Boy) play, there haue been
(Or I am much deceiu'd) Cuckolds ere now,
And many a man there is (euen at this present,
Now, while I speake this) holds his Wife by th' Arme,
That little thinkes she ha's been sluyc'd in's absence,
And his Pond fish'd by his next Neighbor (by
Sir Smile, his Neighbor:) nay, there's comfort in't,
Whiles other men haue Gates, and those Gates open'd
(As mine) against their will. Should all despaire
That haue reuolted Wiues, the tenth of Mankind
Would hang themselues. Physick for't, there's none:
It is a bawdy Planet, that will strike
Where 'tis predominant; and 'tis powrefull: thinke it:
From East, West, North, and South, be it concluded,
No Barricado for a Belly. Know't,
It will let in and out the Enemy,
With bag and baggage: many thousand on's
Haue the Disease, and feele't not. How now Boy?

Mam.
I am like you say.

Leo.
Why, that's some comfort.
What? Camillo there?

Cam.
I, my good Lord.

Leo.
Goe play (Mamillius) thou'rt an honest man:
Camillo, this great Sir will yet stay longer.

Cam.
You had much adoe to make his Anchor hold,
When you cast out, it still came home.

Leo.
Didst note it?

Cam.
He would not stay at your Petitions, made
His Businesse more materiall.

Leo.
Didst perceiue it?
They're here with me already; whisp'ring, rounding:
Sicilia is a so-forth: 'tis farre gone,
When I shall gust it last. How cam't (Camillo)
That he did stay?

Cam.
At the good Queenes entreatie.

Leo.
At the Queenes be't: Good should be pertinent,
But so it is, it is not. Was this taken
By any vnderstanding Pate but thine?
For thy Conceit is soaking, will draw in
More then the common Blocks. Not noted, is't,
But of the finer Natures? by some Seueralls
Of Head-peece extraordinarie? Lower Messes
Perchance are to this Businesse purblind? say.

Cam.
Businesse, my Lord? I thinke most vnderstand
Bohemia stayes here longer.

Leo.
Ha?

Cam.
Stayes here longer.

Leo.
I, but why?

Cam.
To satisfie your Highnesse, and the Entreaties
Of our most gracious Mistresse.

Leo.
Satisfie?
Th' entreaties of your Mistresse? Satisfie?
Let that suffice. I haue trusted thee (Camillo)
With all the neerest things to my heart, as well
My Chamber-Councels, wherein (Priest-like) thou
Hast cleans'd my Bosome: I, from thee departed
Thy Penitent reform'd: but we haue been
Deceiu'd in thy Integritie, deceiu'd
In that which seemes so.

Cam.
Be it forbid (my Lord.)

Leo.
To bide vpon't: thou art not honest: or
If thou inclin'st that way, thou art a Coward,
Which hoxes honestie behind, restrayning
From Course requir'd: or else thou must be counted
A Seruant, grafted in my serious Trust,
And therein negligent: or else a Foole,
That seest a Game play'd home, the rich Stake drawne,
And tak'st it all for ieast.

Cam.
My gracious Lord,
I may be negligent, foolish, and fearefull,
In euery one of these, no man is free,
But that his negligence, his folly, feare,
Among the infinite doings of the World,
Sometime puts forth in your affaires (my Lord.)
If euer I were wilfull-negligent,
It was my folly: if industriously
I play'd the Foole, it was my negligence,
Not weighing well the end: if euer fearefull
To doe a thing, where I the issue doubted,
Whereof the execution did cry out
Against the non-performance, 'twas a feare
Which oft infects the wisest: these (my Lord)
Are such allow'd Infirmities, that honestie
Is neuer free of. But beseech your Grace
Be plainer with me, let me know my Trespas
By it's owne visage; if I then deny it,
'Tis none of mine.

Leo.
Ha' not you seene Camillo?
(But that's past doubt: you haue, or your eye-glasse
Is thicker then a Cuckolds Horne) or heard?
(For to a Vision so apparant, Rumor
Cannot be mute) or thought? (for Cogitation
Resides not in that man, that do's not thinke)
My Wife is slipperie? If thou wilt confesse,
Or else be impudently negatiue,
To haue nor Eyes, nor Eares, nor Thought, then say
My Wife's a Holy-Horse, deserues a Name
As ranke as any Flax-Wench, that puts to
Before her troth-plight: say't, and iustify't.

Cam.
I would not be a stander-by, to heare
My Soueraigne Mistresse clouded so, without
My present vengeance taken: 'shrew my heart,
You neuer spoke what did become you lesse
Then this; which to reiterate, were sin
As deepe as that, though true.

Leo.
Is whispering nothing?
Is leaning Cheeke to Cheeke? is meating Noses?
Kissing with in-side Lip? stopping the Cariere
Of Laughter, with a sigh? (a Note infallible
Of breaking Honestie) horsing foot on foot?
Skulking in corners? wishing Clocks more swift?
Houres, Minutes? Noone, Mid-night? and all Eyes
Blind with the Pin and Web, but theirs; theirs onely,
That would vnseene be wicked? Is this nothing?
Why then the World, and all that's in't, is nothing,
The couering Skie is nothing, Bohemia nothing,
My Wife is nothing, nor Nothing haue 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 lye, you lye:
I say thou lyest Camillo, and I hate thee,
Pronounce thee a grosse Lowt, a mindlesse Slaue,
Or else a houering Temporizer, that
Canst with thine eyes at once see good and euill,
Inclining to them both: were my Wiues Liuer
Infected (as her life) she would not liue
The running of one Glasse.

Cam.
Who do's infect her?

Leo.
Why he that weares her like her Medull, hanging
About his neck (Bohemia) who, if I
Had Seruants true about me, that bare eyes
To see alike mine Honor, as their Profits,
(Their owne particular Thrifts) they would doe that
Which should vndoe more doing: I, and thou
His Cup-bearer, whom I from meaner forme
Haue Bench'd, and rear'd to Worship, who may'st see
Plainely, as Heauen sees Earth, and Earth sees Heauen,
How I am gall'd, might'st be-spice a Cup,
To giue mine Enemy a lasting Winke:
Which Draught to me, were cordiall.

Cam.
Sir (my Lord)
I could doe this, and that with no rash Potion,
But with a lingring Dram, that should not worke
Maliciously, like Poyson: But I cannot
Beleeue this Crack to be in my dread Mistresse
(So soueraignely being Honorable.)
I haue lou'd thee,

Leo.
Make that thy question, and goe rot:
Do'st thinke I am so muddy, so vnsetled,
To appoint my selfe in this vexation? / Sully
the puritie and whitenesse of my Sheetes
(Which to preserue, is Sleepe; which being spotted,
Is Goades, Thornes, Nettles, Tayles of Waspes)
Giue scandall to the blood o'th' Prince, my Sonne,
(Who I doe thinke is mine, and loue as mine)
Without ripe mouing to't? Would I doe this?
Could man so blench?

Cam.
I must beleeue you (Sir)
I doe, and will fetch off Bohemia for't:
Prouided, that when hee's remou'd, your Highnesse
Will take againe your Queene, as yours at first,
Euen for your Sonnes sake, and thereby for sealing
The Iniurie of Tongues, in Courts and Kingdomes
Knowne, and ally'd to yours.

Leo.
Thou do'st aduise me,
Euen so as I mine owne course haue set downe:
Ile giue no blemish to her Honor, none.

Cam.
My Lord,
Goe then; and with a countenance as cleare
As Friendship weares at Feasts, keepe with Bohemia,
And with your Queene: I am his Cup-bearer,
If from me he haue wholesome Beueridge,
Account me not your Seruant.

Leo.
This is all:
Do't, and thou hast the one halfe of my heart;
Do't not, thou splitt'st thine owne.

Cam.
Ile do't, my Lord.

Leo.
I wil seeme friendly, as thou hast aduis'd me.
Exit

Cam.
O miserable Lady. But for me,
What case stand I in? I must be the poysoner
Of good Polixenes, and my ground to do't,
Is the obedience to a Master; one,
Who in Rebellion with himselfe, will haue
All that are his, so too. To doe this deed,
Promotion followes: If I could find example
Of thousand's that had struck anoynted Kings,
And flourish'd after, Il'd not do't: But since
Nor Brasse, nor Stone, nor Parchment beares not one,
Let Villanie it selfe forswear't. I must
Forsake the Court: to do't, or no, is certaine
To me a breake-neck. Happy Starre raigne now,
Here comes Bohemia.
Enter Polixenes.

Pol.
This is strange: Me thinkes
My fauor here begins to warpe. Not speake?
Good day Camillo.

Cam.
Hayle most Royall Sir.

Pol.
What is the Newes i'th' Court?

Cam.
None rare (my Lord.)

Pol.
The King hath on him such a countenance,
As he had lost some Prouince, and a Region
Lou'd, as he loues himselfe: euen now I met him
With customarie complement, when hee
Wafting his eyes to th' contrary, and falling
A Lippe of much contempt, speedes from me, and
So leaues me, to consider what is breeding,
That changes thus his Manners.

Cam.
I dare not know (my Lord.)

Pol.
How, dare not? doe not? doe you know, and dare not?
Be intelligent to me, 'tis thereabouts:
For to your selfe, what you doe know, you must,
And cannot say, you dare not. Good Camillo,
Your chang'd complexions are to me a Mirror,
Which shewes me mine chang'd too: for I must be
A partie in this alteration, finding
My selfe thus alter'd with't.

Cam.
There is a sicknesse
Which puts some of vs in distemper, but
I cannot name the Disease, and it is caught
Of you, that yet are well.

Pol.
How caught of me?
Make me not sighted like the Basilisque.
I haue look'd on thousands, who haue sped the better
By my regard, but kill'd none so: Camillo,
As you are certainely a Gentleman, thereto
Clerke-like experienc'd, which no lesse adornes
Our Gentry, then our Parents Noble Names,
In whose successe we are gentle: I beseech you,
If you know ought which do's behoue my knowledge,
Thereof to be inform'd, imprison't not
In ignorant concealement.

Cam.
I may not answere.

Pol.
A Sicknesse caught of me, and yet I well?
I must be answer'd. Do'st thou heare Camillo,
I coniure thee, by all the parts of man,
Which Honor do's acknowledge, whereof the least
Is not this Suit of mine, that thou declare
What incidencie thou do'st ghesse of harme
Is creeping toward me; how farre off, how neere,
Which way to be preuented, if to be:
If not, how best to beare it.

Cam.
Sir, I will tell you,
Since I am charg'd in Honor, and by him
That I thinke Honorable: therefore marke my counsaile,
Which must be eu'n as swiftly followed, as
I meane to vtter it; or both your selfe, and me,
Cry lost, and so good night.

Pol.
On, good Camillo.

Cam.
I am appointed him to murther you.

Pol.
By whom, Camillo?

Cam.
By the King.

Pol.
For what?

Cam.
He thinkes, nay with all confidence he sweares,
As he had seen't, or beene an Instrument
To vice you to't, that you haue toucht his Queene
Forbiddenly.

Pol.
Oh then, my best blood turne
To an infected Gelly, and my Name
Be yoak'd with his, that did betray the Best:
Turne then my freshest Reputation to
A sauour, that may strike the dullest Nosthrill
Where I arriue, and my approch be shun'd,
Nay hated too, worse then the great'st Infection
That ere was heard, or read.

Cam.
Sweare his thought ouer
By each particular Starre in Heauen, and
By all their Influences; you may as well
Forbid the Sea for to obey the Moone,
As (or by Oath) remoue, or (Counsaile) shake
The Fabrick of his Folly, whose foundation
Is pyl'd vpon 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
Auoid what's growne, then question how 'tis borne.
If therefore you dare trust my honestie,
That lyes enclosed in this Trunke, which you
Shall beare along impawnd, away to Night,
Your Followers I will whisper to the Businesse,
And will by twoes, and threes, at seuerall Posternes,
Cleare them o'th' Citie: For my selfe, Ile put
My fortunes to your seruice (which are here
By this discouerie lost.) Be not vncertaine,
For by the honor of my Parents, I
Haue vttred Truth: which if you seeke to proue,
I dare not stand by; nor shall you be safer,
Then one condemnd by the Kings owne mouth: / Thereon
his Execution sworne.

Pol.
I doe beleeue thee:
I saw his heart in's face. Giue me thy hand,
Be Pilot to me, and thy places shall
Still neighbour mine. My Ships are ready, and
My people did expect my hence departure
Two dayes agoe. This Iealousie
Is for a precious Creature: as shee's rare,
Must it be great; and, as his Person's mightie,
Must it be violent: and, as he do's conceiue,
He is dishonor'd by a man, which euer
Profess'd to him: why his Reuenges must
In that be made more bitter. Feare ore-shades me:
Good Expedition be my friend, and comfort
The gracious Queene, part of his Theame; but nothing
Of his ill-ta'ne suspition. Come Camillo,
I will respect thee as a Father, if
Thou bear'st my life off, hence: Let vs auoid.

Cam.
It is in mine authoritie to command
The Keyes of all the Posternes: Please your Highnesse
To take the vrgent houre. Come Sir, away.
Exeunt.
Modern text
Act I, Scene I
Enter Camillo and Archidamus

ARCHIDAMUS
If you shall chance, Camillo, to visit Bohemia,
on the like occasion whereon my services are now
on foot, you shall see, as I have said, great difference
betwixt our Bohemia and your Sicilia.

CAMILLO
I think this coming summer the King of Sicilia
means to pay Bohemia the visitation which he justly
owes him.

ARCHIDAMUS
Wherein our entertainment shall shame
us: we will be justified in our loves. For indeed –

CAMILLO
Beseech you –

ARCHIDAMUS
Verily, I speak it in the freedom of my
knowledge: we cannot with such magnificence, in so
rare – I know not what to say. We will give you sleepy
drinks, that your senses, unintelligent of our insufficience,
may, though they cannot praise us, as little
accuse us.

CAMILLO
You pay a great deal too dear for what's given
freely.

ARCHIDAMUS
Believe me, I speak as my understanding
instructs me and as mine honesty puts it to utterance.

CAMILLO
Sicilia cannot show himself over-kind to Bohemia.
They were trained together in their childhoods;
and there rooted betwixt them then such an affection,
which cannot choose but branch now. Since their more
mature dignities and royal necessities made separation
of their society, their encounters, though not personal,
hath been royally attorneyed with interchange of gifts,
letters, loving embassies: that they have seemed to be
together, though absent; shook hands as over a vast;
and embraced, as it were, from the ends of opposed
winds. The heavens continue their loves!

ARCHIDAMUS
I think there is not in the world either
malice or matter to alter it. You have an unspeakable
comfort of your young prince Mamillius. It is a gentleman
of the greatest promise that ever came into my note.

CAMILLO
I very well agree with you in the hopes of him.
It is a gallant child; one that indeed physics the subject,
makes old hearts fresh. They that went on crutches ere
he was born desire yet their life to see him a man.

ARCHIDAMUS
Would they else be content to die?

CAMILLO
Yes – if there were no other excuse why they
should desire to live.

ARCHIDAMUS
If the King had no son, they would desire
to live on crutches till he had one.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act I, Scene II
Enter Leontes, Hermione, Mamillius, Polixenes,
Camillo, and Attendants

POLIXENES
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
Yet standing in rich place, I multiply
With one ‘ We thank you ’ many thousands more
That go before it.

LEONTES
Stay your thanks a while,
And pay them when you part.

POLIXENES
Sir, that's tomorrow.
I am questioned by my fears of what may chance
Or breed upon our absence. That may blow
No sneaping winds at home, to make us say
‘ This is put forth too truly ’! Besides, I have stayed
To tire your royalty.

LEONTES
We are tougher, brother,
Than you can put us to't.

POLIXENES
No longer stay.

LEONTES
One sev'n-night longer.

POLIXENES
Very sooth, tomorrow.

LEONTES
We'll part the time between's then; and in that
I'll no gainsaying.

POLIXENES
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,
Farewell, our brother.

LEONTES
Tongue-tied, our queen? Speak you.

HERMIONE
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
All in Bohemia's well: this satisfaction
The by-gone day proclaimed. Say this to him,
He's beat from his best ward.

LEONTES
Well said, Hermione.

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.
Leontes draws apart
Yet of your royal presence I'll adventure
The borrow of a week. When at Bohemia
You take my lord, I'll give him my commission
To let him there a month behind the gest
Prefixed for's parting; yet, good deed, Leontes,
I love thee not a jar o'th' clock behind
What lady she her lord. You'll stay?

POLIXENES
No, madam.

HERMIONE
Nay, but you will!

POLIXENES
I may not, verily.

HERMIONE
Verily!
You put me off with limber vows; but I,
Though you would seek t' unsphere the stars with oaths,
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.

POLIXENES
Your guest, then, madam:
To be your prisoner should import offending;
Which is for me less easy to commit
Than you to punish.

HERMIONE
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?

POLIXENES
We were, fair Queen,
Two lads that thought there was no more behind
But such a day tomorrow as today,
And to be boy eternal.

HERMIONE
Was not my lord
The verier wag o'th' two?

POLIXENES
We were as twinned lambs that did frisk i'th' sun,
And bleat the one at th' other. What we changed
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
Boldly ‘ Not guilty,’ the imposition cleared
Hereditary ours.

HERMIONE
By this we gather
You have tripped since.

POLIXENES
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.

HERMIONE
Grace to boot!
Of this make no conclusion, lest you say
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
With any but with us.

LEONTES
(approaching)
Is he won yet?

HERMIONE
He'll stay, my lord.

LEONTES
At my request he would not.
Hermione, my dearest, thou never spok'st
To better purpose.

HERMIONE
Never?

LEONTES
Never but once.

HERMIONE
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
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:
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?
Nay, let me have't; I long.

LEONTES
Why, that was when
Three crabbed months had soured themselves to death
Ere I could make thee open thy white hand
And clap thyself my love: then didst thou utter
‘ I am yours for ever.’

HERMIONE
'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

LEONTES
(aside)
Too hot, too hot!
To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods.
I have tremor cordis on me: my heart dances,
But not for joy, not joy. This entertainment
May a free face put on, derive a liberty
From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom,
And well become the agent – 't may, I grant.
But to be paddling palms and pinching fingers,
As now they are, and making practised smiles
As in a looking glass; and then to sigh, as 'twere
The mort o'th' deer – O, that is entertainment
My bosom likes not, nor my brows! Mamillius,
Art thou my boy?

MAMILLIUS
Ay, my good lord.

LEONTES
I' fecks!
Why, that's my bawcock. What, hast smutched thy nose?
They say it is a copy out of mine. Come, captain,
We must be neat – not neat but cleanly, captain.
And yet the steer, the heifer, and the calf
Are all called neat. Still virginalling
Upon his palm? – How now, you wanton calf!
Art thou my calf?

MAMILLIUS
Yes, if you will, my lord.

LEONTES
Thou want'st a rough pash and the shoots that I have
To be full like me; yet they say we are
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
As dice are to be wished by one that fixes
No bourn 'twixt his and mine, yet were it true
To say this boy were like me. Come, sir page,
Look on me with your welkin eye. Sweet villain!
Most dear'st! My collop! Can thy dam? May't be?
Affection, thy intention stabs the centre.
Thou dost make possible things not so held,
Communicat'st with dreams – how can this be? –
With what's unreal thou coactive art,
And fellow'st nothing. Then 'tis very credent
Thou mayst co-join with something; and thou dost,
And that beyond commission, and I find it,
And that to the infection of my brains
And hardening of my brows.

POLIXENES
What means Sicilia?

HERMIONE
He something seems unsettled.

POLIXENES
How, my lord!
What cheer? How is't with you, best brother?

HERMIONE
You look
As if you held a brow of much distraction.
Are you moved, my lord?

LEONTES
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
Of my boy's face, methoughts I did recoil
Twenty-three years, and saw myself unbreeched,
In my green velvet coat; my dagger muzzled,
Lest it should bite its master and so prove,
As ornaments oft does, too dangerous.
How like, methought, I then was to this kernel,
This squash, this gentleman. Mine honest friend,
Will you take eggs for money?

MAMILLIUS
No, my lord, I'll fight.

LEONTES
You will? Why, happy man be's dole! My brother,
Are you so fond of your young prince as we
Do seem to be of ours?

POLIXENES
If at home, sir,
He's all my exercise, my mirth, my matter;
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
Thoughts that would thick my blood.

LEONTES
So stands this squire
Officed with me. We two will walk, my lord,
And leave you to your graver steps. Hermione,
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
Apparent to my heart.

HERMIONE
If you would seek us,
We are yours i'th' garden. Shall's attend you there?

LEONTES
To your own bents dispose you: you'll be found,
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!
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!
Go play, boy, play: thy mother plays, and I
Play too – but so disgraced a part, whose issue
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;
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,
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
Would hang themselves. Physic for't there's none:
It is a bawdy planet, that will strike
Where 'tis predominant; and 'tis powerful, think it,
From east, west, north, and south. Be it concluded,
No barricado for a belly. Know't:
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?

MAMILLIUS
I am like you, they say.

LEONTES
Why, that's some comfort.
What! Camillo there!

CAMILLO
Ay, my good lord.
He comes forward

LEONTES
Go play, Mamillius. Thou'rt an honest man.
Exit Mamillius
Camillo, this great sir will yet stay longer.

CAMILLO
You had much ado to make his anchor hold:
When you cast out, it still came home.

LEONTES
Didst note it?

CAMILLO
He would not stay at your petitions, made
His business more material.

LEONTES
Didst perceive it?
(aside) They're here with me already: whispering, rounding,
‘ Sicilia is a so-forth.’ 'Tis far gone
When I shall gust it last. – How came't, Camillo,
That he did stay?

CAMILLO
At the good Queen's entreaty.

LEONTES
‘ 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 is soaking, will draw in
More than the common blocks. Not noted, is't,
But of the finer natures? By some severals
Of headpiece extraordinary? Lower messes
Perchance are to this business purblind? Say.

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

LEONTES
Ha?

CAMILLO
Stays here longer.

LEONTES
Ay, but why?

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

LEONTES
Satisfy?
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
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.

CAMILLO
Be it forbid, my lord!

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

CAMILLO
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,
Among 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 infects 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.

LEONTES
Ha' 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 rumour
Cannot be mute – or thought – for cogitation
Resides not in that man that does not think –
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 her troth-plight: say't and justify't.

CAMILLO
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.

LEONTES
Is whispering nothing?
Is leaning cheek to cheek? Is meeting noses?
Kissing with inside lip? Stopping the career
Of laughing 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.

CAMILLO
Good my lord, be cured
Of this diseased opinion, and betimes,
For 'tis most dangerous.

LEONTES
Say it be, 'tis true.

CAMILLO
No, no, my lord!

LEONTES
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.

CAMILLO
Who does infect her?

LEONTES
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,
Their own particular thrifts, they would do that
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.

CAMILLO
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 honourable.
I have loved thee –

LEONTES
Make that thy question, and go rot!
Dost think I am so muddy, so unsettled,
To appoint my self 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 ripe moving to't? Would I do this?
Could man so blench?

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

LEONTES
Thou dost advise me
Even so as I mine own course have set down.
I'll give no blemish to her honour, none.

CAMILLO
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.

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

CAMILLO
I'll do't, my lord.

LEONTES
I will seem friendly, as thou hast advised me.
Exit

CAMILLO
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 villainy 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

POLIXENES
This is strange: methinks
My favour here begins to warp. Not speak?
Good day, Camillo.

CAMILLO
Hail, most royal sir!

POLIXENES
What is the news i'th' court?

CAMILLO
None rare, my lord.

POLIXENES
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
A lip of much contempt, speeds from me, and
So leaves me to consider what is breeding
That changes thus his manners.

CAMILLO
I dare not know, my lord.

POLIXENES
How, dare not? Do not? Do you know and dare not
Be intelligent to me? 'Tis thereabouts;
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
Which shows me mine changed too: for I must be
A party in this alteration, finding
Myself thus altered with't.

CAMILLO
There is a sickness
Which puts some of us in distemper, but
I cannot name the disease; and it is caught
Of you, that yet are well.

POLIXENES
How! Caught of me?
Make me not sighted like the basilisk.
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
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 informed, imprison't not
In ignorant concealment.

CAMILLO
I may not answer.

POLIXENES
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
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.

CAMILLO
Sir, I will tell you,
Since I am charged in honour, and by him
That I think honourable. Therefore mark my counsel,
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.

POLIXENES
On, good Camillo.

CAMILLO
I am appointed him to murder you.

POLIXENES
By whom, Camillo?

CAMILLO
By the King.

POLIXENES
For what?

CAMILLO
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
Forbiddenly.

POLIXENES
O, then my best blood turn
To an infected jelly, and my name
Be yoked 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 shunned,
Nay, hated too, worse than the great'st infection
That e'er was heard or read!

CAMILLO
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 piled upon his faith, and will continue
The standing of his body.

POLIXENES
How should this grow?

CAMILLO
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 impawned, away tonight!
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 uttered truth; which if you seek to prove,
I dare not stand by; nor shall you be safer
Than one condemned by the King's own mouth, thereon
His execution sworn.

POLIXENES
I do believe thee:
I saw his heart in's face. Give me thy hand.
Be pilot to me, and thy places shall
Still neighbour mine. My ships are ready, and
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
In that be made more bitter. Fear o'ershades me.
Good expedition be my friend and comfort
The gracious Queen, part of his theme, but nothing
Of his ill-ta'en suspicion! Come, Camillo,
I will respect thee as a father if
Thou bear'st my life off. Hence! Let us avoid.

CAMILLO
It is in mine authority to command
The keys of all the posterns. Please your highness
To take the urgent hour. Come, sir, away.
Exeunt
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