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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 inan, 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;
I 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.
SCENE I.-The same.
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 tale.
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 miné 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 P* 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 :- 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;# yea, a very trick
For them to play at will :- How came the posterns
So easily open ?
1 Lord. By his great authority;
Which often hath no less prevail'd than so,
On your command.
Leon. I know't too well.-
Give me the boy ; I am glad you did not nurse him:
Though he does bear some signs of me, yet you
Have too much blood in him.
Her. What is this? sport?
Leon. Bear the boy hence, he shall not come about her;
Away with him :-and let her sport herself
With that she's big with; for 'tis Polixenes
Has made thee swell thus.
Her. But I'd say, he had not,
And I'll be sworn, you would believe my saying,
Howe'er you lean to the nayward.
Leon. You, my lords,
Look on her, mark her well; be but about
To say, she is a goodly lady, and
The justice of your hearts will thereto add,
'Tis pity she's not honest, honourable :
Praise her but for this her without-door form
(Which, on my faith, deserves high speech), and straight
The shrug, the hum, or ha; these pretty brands,
That mercy does; for calumny will sear*
Virtue itself:—these shrugs, these hums, and ha's,
When you have said she's goodly, come between,
Ere you can say she's honest: But be it known,
From him that has most cause to grieve it should be,
She's an adultress.
Her. Should a villain say so,
The most replenish'd villain in the world,
He were as much more villain : you, my lord,
Do but mistake.
Leon. You have mistook, my lady,
Polixenes for Leontes : 0 thou thing,
Which I'll not call a creature of thy place,
Lest barbarism making me the precedent,
Should a like language use to all degrees,
And mannerly distinguishment leave out
Betwixt the prince and beggar ! I have said,
She's an adultress; I have said with whom:
More, she's a traitor ; and Camillo is
A federary with her; and one that knows
What she would shame to know herself,
Butt with her most vile principal, that she's
A bed-swerver, even as bad as those
That vulgars give bold titles ; ay, and privy
To this their late escape.
Her. No, by my life,
Privy to none of this: How will this grieve you,
When you shall come to clearer knowledge, that
You thus have publish'd me? Gentle, my lord,
You scarce can right me throughly then, to say
You did mistake.
Leon. No, no; if I mistake
In those foundations which I build upon,
The centre is not big enough to bear
A school-boy's top. - Away with her to prison:
He, who shall speak for her, is afar off guilty,
But that he speaks.
Her. There's some ill planet reigns :
I must be patient, till the heavens look
With an aspect more favourable.—Good my lords,
I am not prone to weeping, as our sex.
Commonly are; the want of which vain dew,
Perchance, shall dry your pities: but I have
That honourable grief lodged here, which burns
Worse than tears drown: 'Beseech you all, my lords,
With thoughts so qualified as your charities
Shall best instruct you, measure me; and so
The king's will be perform'd!
Leon. Shall I be heard ?
[To the Guards.
Her. Who is't, that goes with me?--Beseech your highness,
My women may be with me; for, you see,
My plight requires it. Do not weep, good fools;
There is no cause: when you shall know your mistress
Has deserved prison, then abound in tears,
As I come out: this action, I now go on,
Is for my better grace.-Adieu, my lord:
I never wish'd to see you sorry; now,
I trust, I shall. --My women, come; you have leave.
Leon. Go, do our bidding; hence.
[Exeunt QUEEN and LADIES. 1 Lord. 'Beseech your highness, call the queen again.
Ant. Be certain what you do, Sir ; lest your justice
Prove violence; in the which three great ones suffer,
Yourself, your queen, your son.
1 Lord. For her, my lord,-
I dare my life lay down, and will do’t, Sir,
Please you to accept it, that the queen is spotless
I' the eyes of heaven, and to you; I mean,
In this which you accuse her.
Ant. If it proven
She's otherwise, I'll keep my stables where
I lodge my wife; I'll go in couples with her;
Than when I feel, and see her, no further trust her;
For every inch of woman in the world,
Ay, every dram of woman's flesh, is false,
If she be.