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Cam. Who does infect her?
Leon. Why he, that wears her like her medal, hanging
About his neck, Bohemia: Who-if I
Had servants true about me: that bear 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 bench’d, and reard 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.
Cam. Sir, my lord,
I could do this; and that with no rash * potion,
But with a ling ring dram, that should not work
Maliciouslyt like poison : But I cannot
Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress,
So sovereignly being honourable.
I have loved thee,-
Leon. Make't thy question, and go rot!
Dost think, I am so muddy, so unsettled,
To appoint myself in this vexation? sully
The purity and whiteness of my sheets,
Which to preserve, is sleep.; which being spotted,
Is goads, thorns, nettles, tails of wasps ?
Give scandal to the blood o' the prince my son,
Who, I do think is mine, and love as mine;
Without ripe moving toʻt? Would I do this?
Could man so blench? I
Cam. I must believe
I do; and will fetch off Bohemia fort:
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, for sealing
The injury of tongues, in courts and kingdoms
Known and allied to yours.
Leon. Thou dost advise me,
Even so as I mine own coursé have set down:
I'll give no blemish to her honour, none.
Cam. My lord,
Go then: and with a countenance as clear
As friendship wears at feasts, keep with Bohemia,
And with your queen: I am his cupbearer;
If from me he have wholesome beverage,
Account me not your servant,
Leon. This is all:
Do’t, and thou hast one-half of my heart;
Do't' not, thou splitst thine own.
Cam. I'll do't, my lord.
Leon. I will seem friendly, as thou hast advised me. [Exit.
Cam. O miserable lady!-But, for me,
What case stand I in? I must be the poisoner
Of good Polixenes: and my ground to do't
Is the obedience to a master; one,
Who, in rebellion with himself, will have
All that are his, so too.—To do this deed,
Promotion follows: If I could find example
Of thousands, that had struck anointed kings,
And flourish'd after, I'd not do’t: but since
Nor brass, nor stone, nor parchment, bears not one,
Let villany itself forswear't. I must
Forsake the court: to do’t, or no, is certain
To me a break-neck. Happy star, reign now!
Here comes Bohemia.
Pol. This is strange! methinks,
My favour here begins to warp. Not speak ?
Cam. Hail, most royal Sir!
Pol. What is the news i' the court ?
Cam. None rare, my lord.
Pol. 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 the contrary, and falling
A lip of much contempt, speeds from me; and
So leaves me, to consider what is breeding,
That changes thus his manners.
Cam. I dare not know, my lord.
Pol. How! dare not ? do not ? 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 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 sighted like the basilisk:
I have look'd on thousands, who have sped the better
By my regard, but kill'd none so. Camillo,-
As you are certainly a gentleman; thereto
Clerk-like, experienced, which no less adorns
Qur gentry, than our parents' noble names,
In whose success* we are gentle, t-I beseech you,
† Well born. VOL. II.
If you know aught which does behove my knowledge
Thereof to be inform’d, imprison it not
In ignorant concealment.
Cam. I may not answer.
Pol. A sickness caught of me, and yet I well! I must be answer'd.—Dost thou hear, Camillo, I conjure thee, by all the parts of man, Which honour does acknowledge, -whereof the least Is not this suit of mine,—that thou declare What incidency thou dost guess of harm Is creeping toward me; how far off, how near; Which way to be prevented, if to be; If not, how best to bear it.
Cam. Sir, I'll tell you;
Since I am charged in honour, and by him
That I think honourable : Therefore mark my counsel;
Which must be even as swiftly follow'd as
I mean to utter it; or both yourself and me
Cry, lost, and so good-night.
Pol. On, good Camillo.
Cam. I am appointed him to murder you.
Pol. By whom, Camillo ?
Cam. By the king.
Pol. For what?
Cam. He thinks, nay, with all confidence he swears,
As he had seen't, or been an instrument
To vice* you to’t,-that you have touch'd his queen
Pol. O, then my best blood turn
To an infected jelly; and my name
Be yoked with his, that did betray the best !t
Turn then my freshest reputation to
A savour, that may strike the dullest nostril
Where I'arrive; and my approach be shunn'd,
Nay, hated too, worse than the great'st infection
That e'er was heard, or read !
Cam. Swear his thought over
By each particular star in heaven, and
By all their influences, you may as well
Forbid the sea for to obey the moon,
As or, by oath, remove, or counsel, shake,
The fabric of his folly : whose foundation
Is piled upon his faith, and will continue
The standing of his body.
Pol. How should this grow?
Cam. I know not: but, I am sure, 'tis safer to
Avoid what's grown, than question how 'tis born.
If therefore you dare trust my honesty,-
That lies inclosed in this trunk, which you
Shall bear along impawn’d,-away to-night.
Your followers I will whisper to the business,
And will, by twos and threes, at several posterns,
Clear thém o' the city : For myself, I'll put
My fortunes to your service, which are here
By this discovery lost. Be not uncertain;
For, by the honour of my parents, I
Have utter'd truth : which if you seek to prove,
I dare not stand by; nor shall you be safer
Than one condemn'd; by the king's own mouth, thereon
Is execution sworn.
Pol. I do believe thee:
I saw his heart in his 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 dishonour'd by a man which ever
Profess'd 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;
will respect thee as a father, if
Thou bear'st my life off hence: Let us avoid.
Cam. It is in mine authority, to command
The keys of all the posterns : Please your highness
To take the urgent hour: come, Sir, away.
Enter HERMIONE, MAMILLIUS, and LADIES. Her. Take the boy to you: he so troubles me, 'Tis past enduring.
1 Lady. Come, my gracious lord, Shall I be your playfellow ?
Mam. No, I'll none of you.
1 Lady. Why, my sweet lord ?
Mam. You'll kiss me hard; and speak to me as if
I were a baby still.— I love you better.
2 Lady. And why so, my good lord ?
Mam. Not for because
Your brows are blacker; yet black brows, they say,
Become some women best; so that there be not
Too much hair there, but in a semicircle,
Or half-moon made with a pen.
2 Lady. Who taught you this ?
Mam. I learn'd it out of women's faces.-Pray now What colour are your eyebrows ?
1 Lady, Blue, my lord.
Mam. Nay, that's a mock: I have seen a lady's nose
That has been blue, but not her eyebrows.
2 Lady. Hark ye:
The queen, your mother, rounds apace: we shall
Present our services to a fine new prince,
One of these days; and then you'd wanton with us,
If we would have you.
1 Lady. She is spread of late
Into a goodly bulk : Good time encounter her!
Her. What wisdom stirs amongst you ? Come, Sir, now
I am for you again : Pray you, sit by us,
And tell's a tala.
Mam. Merry, or sad, shall't be ?
Her. As merry as you will.
Mam. A sad tale's best for winter:
I have one of sprites and goblins.
Her. Let's have that, Sir.
Come on, sit down: Come on, and do your best
To fright me with your sprites: you're powerful at it.
Mam. There was a man,-
Her. Nay, come, sit down; then on.
Mam. Dwelt by a church-yard; I will tell it softly;
Yon crickets shall not hear it.
Her. Come on then,
And give't me in mine ear.
Enter LEONTES, ANTIGONUS, LORDS, and others. Leon. Was he met there? his train ? Camillo with him ?
1 Lord. Behind the tuft of pines I met them; never Saw I men scour so on their way: I eyed them Even to their ships.
Leon. How bless'd am I In my just censure?* in my true opinion ? Alack, for lesser knowledge! How accursed, In being so blest !—There may be in the cup A spider steep'd, and one may drink; depart, And yet partake no venom; for his knowledge Is not infected: but if one present The abhorr'd ingredient to his eye, make known How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides, With violent hefts :t-I have drunk, and seen the spider. Camillo was his help in this, his pander : There is a plot against my life, my crown; All's true that is mistrusted :—that false villain, Whom I employ'd, was pre-employ'd by him: He has discover'd my design, and I Remain a pinch'd thing if yea, a very trick