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.
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 ? noon, midnight ? and all eyes
Blind with the pin and web but theirs, theirs
That would unseen be wicked ? is this nothing ?
Why, then the world and all that 's in 't is no-
The covering sky is nothing ; Bohemia nothing ;
My wife is nothing ; nor nothing have these no-
If this be nothing.
Cam. Good my lord, be cured
Of this diseased 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,
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 cup-bearer, whom I from meaner form
Have benched and reared to worship ; who mayst
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 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,
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, 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 to 't ? Would I do this ?
Could man so blench ?
Cam. I must believe you, sir :
I do ; and will fetch off Bohemia 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 sake ; and thereby for sealing
The injury of tongues in courts and kingdoms
Known and allied to yours.
Leo. Thou dost advise me,
Even so as I mine own course have set down :
I '11 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 cup-bearer :
If from me he have wholesome beverage,
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 '11 do 't, my lord.
Leo. I will seem friendly, as thou hast advised
Cam. 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 nourished 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
ACT II., Sc. 1.
THE WINTER'S TALE.
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 chang'd too ; for I must be
A party in this alteration, finding
Myself thus alter'd with 't.
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
By my regard, but kill'd 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 know-
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 will tell you ;
Since I am charged in honour and by him
That I think honourable : therefore mark my
Which must be ev'n 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
As he had seen 't, or been an instrument
To vice you to 't, that you have touched 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 !
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 enclosed 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 them o' the city. For myself, I '11 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 condemned by the king's own mouth
His execution sworn.
Pol. 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
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. A Room in the Palace.
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 ?
THE WINTER'S TALE.
ACT II., Sc. 1.
Mam. No, I '11 none of you.
1 Lady. Why, my sweet lord ?
Mam. You '11 kiss me hard, and speak to me
I were a baby still. I love you better.
2 Lady. And why so, my 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 semi circle,
Or a half -moon made with a pen .
2 Lady. Who taught you this ?
Mam. I learn'd it out of women's faces. Pray
What colour are your eyebrows ?
1 Lady. Blue, my lord.
Mam. Nay, that ' s a mock : I have seen a
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 'Id wanton
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,
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, good sir.
Come on ; sit down : come on, and do your best
To fright me with your sprites ; you 're powerful
Mam. There was a man,
Her. Nay, come, sit down ; then on.
Mam. Dwelt by a churchyard : I will tell it
Yond crickets shall not hear it.
Her. Come on, then,
And give 't me in mine ear.
Enter Leontes, Antigonus, Lords and others.
Leo. Was he met there ? his train ? Camillo
with him ?
1 Lord. Behind the tuft of pines I met them ;
Saw I men scour so on their way : I eyed them
Even to their ships.
Leo. How blest 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 side: j ,
With violent hefts. I have drunk, and seen the
Camillo was his help in this, his pander :
There is a plot a.gainst my life, my crown ;
All 's true that is mistrusted : that false villain,
Whom I employed, was pro-employed by him :
He has discovered my design, and I
Eemain a pinched 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.
Leo. '. I know 't too well.
Give me the boy : I am glad you did not nurse
Though he does bear some signs of me, yet you
Have too much blood in him.
Her. What is this? sport?
Leo. 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 'Id say he had not ;
And I '11 be sworn you would believe my saying,
Howe'er you lean to the nayward.
Leo. 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,
'TYs pity she'* not honest, honourable :
Praise her but for this her without-door form,
Which, on my faith, deserves high speech, and
The shrug, the hum, or ha, these petty brands
That calumny doth use, O, I am out.
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 't known,
From him that has most cause to grieve it
She 's an adulteress.
Her. Should a villain say so,
The most replenish' d villain in the world,
He were as much more villain : you, my Icrd,
Do but mistake.
Leo. You have mistook, my lady,
Polixenes for Leontes : O thou thing,
Which I '11 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 adult' ress ; I have said with whom :
More, she 's a traitor ; and Camillo is
A federary with her, and one that knows
What she should shame to know herself,
But with her most vile principal, that she 's
A bed-swerver, even as bad as those
That vulgars give bold'st titles ; ay, and privy
To this their late escape.
Her. No, by my life,
Privy to none of this. How will this grieve yon,
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.
Leo. No ; if I mistake
In those foundations which I build upon,
The centre is not big enough to bear
A schoolboy's top. Away with her to prison !
He who shall speak for her is afar off guilty
But that he speaks.
ACT II., Sc. 2.
THE WINTER'S TALE.
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 lodg'd here which burns
Worse than tears drown : beseech you all, my
With thoughts so qualified as your charities
Shall best instruct you, measure me ; and so
The king's will be perform' d !
Leo. Shall I be heard ?
Her. Who is 't that goes with me ? Beseech
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
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
Leo. Go, do our bidding ; hence !
Exeunt Queen guarded, with Ladies.
1 Lord. Beseech your highness, call the queen
Ant. Be certain what you do, sir, lest your
Prove violence : in the which three great ones
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 prove
She 's otherwise, I '11 keep my stables where
I lodge my wife ; I '11 go in couples with her ;
Then, when I feel and see her, no further trust
For every inch of woman in the world,
Ay, every dram of woman's flesh is false,
If she be.
Leo. Hold your peaces.
1 Lord. Good my lord,
Ant . It is for you we speak, not for ourselves :
You are abused, and by some putter-on,
That will be damn'd for't; would I knew the
I would land-damn him. Be she honour-flaw'd,
I have three daughters ; the eldest is eleven ;
The second and the third, nine and some five ;
If this prove true, they '11 pay for 't : by mine
Fourteen they shall not see,
To bring false generations : they are co-heirs ;
And I had rather glib myself, than they
Should not produce fair issue.
Leo. Cease ; no more.
You smell this business with a sense as cold
As is a dead man's nose : but I do see 't and feel 't,
As you feel doing thus ; and see withal
The instruments that feel.
Ant. If it be so,
We need no grave to bury honesty :
There 's not a grain of it the face to sweeten
Of the whole dungy earth.
Leo. What ! lack I credit ?
1 Lord. I had rather you did lack than I, my
Upon this ground ; and more it would content me
To have her honour true than your suspicion,
Be blamed for 't how you might.
Leo. Why, what need we
Commune with you of this, but rather follow
Our forceful instigation ? Our prerogative
Calls not your counsels, but our natural goodness
Imparts this ; which, if you, or stupified
Or seeming so in skill, cannot or will not
Tlelish a truth like us, inform yourselves,
We need no more of your advice : the matter,
The loss, the gain, the ordering on 't, is all
Ant. And I wish, my liege,
You had only in your silent judgment tried it,
Without more overture.
Leo. How could that be ?
Either thou art most ignorant by age,
Or thou wert born a fool. Camillo's flight,
Added to their familiarity,
Which was as gross as ever fcouch'd conjecture,
That lack'd sight only, nought for approbation
But only seeing, all other circumstances
Made up to the deed, doth push on this pro-
Yet, for a greater confirmation,
(For in an act of this importance 'twere
Most piteous to be wild,) I have despatch'd in
To sacred Delphos, to Apollo's temple,
Cleomenes and Dion, whom you know
Of stuff 'd sufficiency : now, from the oracle
They will bring all ; whose spiritual counsel had,
Shall stop or spur me. Have I done well ?
1 Lord. Well done, my lord.
Leo. Though I am satisfied and need no more
Than what I know, yet shall the oracle
Give rest to the minds of others, such as he,
Whose ignorant credulity will not
Come up to the truth. So have we thought it
From our free person she should be confined,
Lest that the treachery of the two fled hence
Be left her to perform. Come, follow us ;
We are to speak in public ; for this business
Will raise us all.
Ant. [ Aside. 1 To laughter, as I take it,
If the good truth were known. Exeunt.
Scene II. A Prison.
Enter Paulina, Gentleman and Attendants.
Pan. The keeper of the prison, call to him ;
Let him have knowledge who I am. Good lady,
No court in Europe is too good for thee,
What dost thou, then, in prison ?
Re-enter Gentleman with Gaoler.
Now, good sir,
You know me, do you not ?
Goo. For a worthy lady,
And one whom much I honour.
THE WINTER'S TALE.
ACT II., Sc. 3.
Pau. Pray you, then,
Conduct me to the queen.
G-ao. I may not, madam :
To the contrary I have express commandment.
Pau. Here 's ado,
To lock up honesty and honour from
The access of gentle visitors ! Is 't lawful,
To see her women ? any of them ? Emilia ?
Gao. So please you, madam,
To put apart these your attendants, I
Shall bring Emilia forth.
Pau. I pray now, call her.
Withdraw yourselves. Exeunt Attendants.
Gao. And, madam,
I must be present at your conference.
Pau. Well, be 't so, prithee. Exit Gaoler.
Here 's such ado to make no stain a stain
As passes colouring.
Re-enter Gaoler, with Emilia.
How fares our gracious lady ?
Emi. As well as one so great and so forlorn
May hold together : on her frights and griefs,
Which never tender lady hath borne greater,
She is, something before her time, deliver'd.
Pau. A boy?
Emi. A daughter, and a goodly babe,
Lusty, and like to live : the queen receives
Much comfort in 't ; says, My poor prisoner,
I am innocent as you.
Pau. I dare be sworn :
These dangerous unsafe lunes i' the king, beshrew
He must be told on 't, and he shall : the office
Becomes a woman best ; I '11 take 't upon me :
If I prove honey-mouth' d, let my tongue blister,
And never to my red-look' d anger be
The trumpet any more. Pray you, Emilia,
Commend my best obedience to the queen :
If she dares trust me with her little babe,
I '11 show it the king and undertake to be
Her advocate to the loud'st. We do not know
How he may soften at the sight o' the child :
The silence often of pure innocence
Persuades when speaking fails.
Emi. Most worthy madam,
Your honour and your goodness is so evident,
That your free undertaking cannot miss
A thriving issue : there is no lady living
So meet for this great errand. Please your lady-
To visit the next room, I '11 presently
Acquaint the queen of your most noble offer
Who but to-day hammer' d of this design,
But durst not tempt a minister of honour,
Lest she should be denied.
Pau. Tell her, Emilia,
I '11 use that tongue I have : if wit flow from 't
As boldness from my bosom, let 't not be doubted ;
I shall do good.
Emi. Now, be you blest for it !
I '11 to the queen : please you, come something
Gao. Madam, if 't please the queen to send the
I know not what I shall incur to pass it,
Having no warrant.
Pau. You need not fear it, sir :
The child was prisoner to the womb, and is
By law and process of great nature, thence
Freed and enfranchised ; not a party to
The anger of the king, nor guilty of,
If any be, the trespass of the queen.
Gao. I do believe it.
Pau. Do not you fear : upon mine honour, I
Will stand betwixt you and danger. Exeunt.
Scene III. Leontes' Palace.
Enter Leontes, Antigonus, Lords and Servants.
Leo. Nor night nor day no rest; it is but
To bear the matter thus, mere weakness. If
The cause were not in being, part o' the cause,
She the adultress ; for the harlot king
Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank
And level of my brain, plot-proof ; but she
I can hook to me : say, that she were gone,
Given to the fire, a moiety of my rest
Might come to me again. Who 's there ?
1 Ser. My lord ?
Leo. How does the boy ?
1 Ser. He took good rest to-night ;
'Tis hoped his sickness is discharged.
Leo. To see his nobleness
Conceiving the dishonour of his mother,
He straight declined, droop' d, took it deeply,
Fasten'd and fix'd the shame on 't in himself,
Threw off his spirit, his appetite, his sleep,
And downright languish'd. Leave me solely : go,
See how he fares. [Exit Ser.] Fie, fie ! no
thought of him ;
The very thought of my revenges that way
Recoil upon me : in himself too mighty,
And in his parties, his alliance, let him be,
Until a time may serve : for present vengeance,
Take it on her. Camillo and Polixenes
Laugh at me, make their pastime at my sorrow :
They should not laugh if I could reach them, nor
Shall she, within my power.
Enter Paulina, with a child.
1 Lord. You must not enter.
Pau. Nay, rather, good my lords, be second
to me :
Fear you his tyrannous passion more, alas,
Than the queen's life? a gracious innocent soul,
More free than he is jealous.
Ant . That 's enough.
2 Ser. Madam, he hath not slept to-night;
None should come at him.
Pau. Not so hot, good sir ;
I come to bring him sleep. 'Tis such as you,
That creep like shadows by him, and do sigh
At each his needless heavings, such as you
Nourish the cause of his awaking : I
Do come with words as medicinal as true,
Honest as either, to purge him of that humour
That presses him from sleep.
Leo. What noise there, ho ?
Pau. No noise, my lord, but needful conference
About some gossips for your highness.
Leo. How !
Away with that audacious lady ! Antigonus,
ACT II., Sc. 3.
THE WINTER'S TALE.
I charged thee that she should not corne about
I knew she would.
Ant. I told her so, my lord,
On your displeasure's peril and on mine,
She should not visit you.
Leo. What ! canst not rule her ?
Pau. From all dishonesty he can : in this,
Unless he take the course that you have done,
Commit me for committing honour, trust it,
He shall not rule me.
Ant. La, you now, you hear :
When she will take the rein I let her run ;
But she '11 not stumble.
Pau. Good my liege, I come,
And, I beseech you, hear me, who professes
Myself your loyal servant, your physician,
Your most obedient counsellor, yet that dares
Less appear so in comforting your evils,
Than such as most seem yours : I say, I come