« PreviousContinue »
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 injuriously
I play'd 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 allow'd 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.
Leo. Ha'not you seen, Camillo,
(But that's past doubt: you have, or your eyeglass
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't)
My wife is Nippery? 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: fáy't, and justify't.
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 ? the 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, Bithynia 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, Bithynia; who, if I
Had servants true about me, that bear
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 bench’d, and rear’d to worship, who may'st see
Plainly, as heav'n sees earth, and earth sees heav'n,
How I am gall’d, thou 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,
Like a malicious poison : but I cannot
Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress,
So sovereignly being honourable,
Leo. Make that 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, and thorns, nettles, and 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?
Cam. I must believe you, fir;
I do, and will fetch off Bithynia 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 fake, and thereby for sealing
The injury of tongues, in courts and kingdoms
Known and ally'd 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 Bithynia,
And with your queen: I am his cupbearer ;
If from me he have wholesome beveridge,
Account me not your servant.
Leo. This is all :
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 Bithynia.
Pol. This is strange! methinks,
My favour here begins to warp. Not speak
Good day, Camillo !
Cam. Hail, most royal fir!
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 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.
Cam. I dare not know.
Pol. How! dare not? dare not? you do 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 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 cannot name the disease: and it is caught
Of you that yet are well.
Pol. How caught of me?
Make me not fighted like the basilisk.
I've look’d on thousands, who have sped the better
By my regard, but kill'd none so: Camillo,
As you are certainly a gentleman,
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't not
In ignorant concealment.
Cam. I may not answer.
Pol. A sickness caught of
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 towards 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
* Success here is to be understood in the same fense as Succeffion.