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That see'st a game play'd home, the rich stake drawn,
And tak'st it all for jest.

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,
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 industriously
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


Against the non-performance 33, 'twas a fear
Which oft affects 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.

Have 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 39)


38 This is expressed obscurely, but seems to mean 'the execution of which (when done ) cried out against the nonpersormance of it before ;' or, as Johnson laconically expresses it, was

a thing necessary to be done, but which Camillo had delayed doing because he doubted the issue.

39 Theobald quoted this passage in defence of the well known line in his Double Falsehood, “None but himself can be his parallel.'— For who does not see at once (says he) that he who does not think has no thought in him. In the same light the subsequent editors view this passage, and read with Pope, 'that does not think it.' But the old reading is right, and the absar

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 a troth-plight: say it, and justify it.

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 40.

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 41, 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.

dity only in the misapprehension of it. Leontes means to say, • Have you not thought that my wife is slippery (for cogitation resides not in the man that does not think my wife is slippery?) The four latter words, though disjoined from the word think by. the necessity of a parenthesis, are evidently to be connected in construction with it. Malone, whose explanation this is, justly remarks that there are more involved and parenthetical passages in this play than in any other of Shakspeare's, except, perhaps, King Henry VIII.

40 To reiterate your accusation of her would be as great a sin as that (if committed) of which you accuse her.

41 The pin and web is the cataract in an early stage. See King Lear, Act iji. Sc. 4.


Good my lord, be cur'd
Of this diseas'd opinion, and betimes;
For ’tis most dangerous.

Say, it be; 'tis true.
Cam. No, no, my lord..

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 42.

Who does infect her? Leon. Why he, that wears her like his medal 43,

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 cup-bearer,—whom I from meaner form Have bench’d, and rear'd to worship; who may'st see Plainly, as heaven sees earth, and earth sees heaven, How I am galled, -might'st bespice a cup 44, To give mine enemy a lasting wink; Which draught to me were cordial.

42 i. e. one hour.

43 The old copy reads her medal.' The allusion is to the custom of wearing a medallion or jewel appended to a ribbon about the neck. Thus in Gervase Markham's Honour in Perfection, 1624,' he hath hung about the neck of his kinsman, Sir Horace Vere, like a rich jewel.'

44 • Bespice a cup.' So in Chapman's Translation of the tenth book of the Odyssey :

with a festival
She'll first receive thee; but will spice thy bread
With flowery poisons.'

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Sir, my lord, I could do this: and that with no rash *5 potion, But with a ling’ring 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 lov'd thee,

Leon. Make't thy question, and go rot 46! 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 47 ? 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 48? Cam.

I must believe

you, I do: and will fetch off Bohemia fort; 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.


45 Rash is hasty; as in King Henry IV. Part II. 'rash gunpowder. Maliciously is malignantly, with effects openly hurtful.

46 Make that (i. e. Hermione's disloyalty, which is a clear point) a subject of doubt, and go rot! Dost think, I am such a fool as to torment myself, and to bring disgrace on me and my child, without sufficient grounds ?

47 Something is necessary to complete the verse. Hanmer reads :

• Is goads and thorns, nettles and tails of wasps.' 48 To blench is to start off, to shrink. Thus in Hamlet :

if he do blench,

I know my course.' Leontes means, could any man so start or fly off from propriety of behaviour ?


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 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 the one half of


heart; Do't not, thou split’st thine own. Cam.

I'll do't, my lord. Leon. I will seem friendly, as thou hast advis'd

[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.



This is strange! methinks, My favour here begins to warp. Not speak? Good-day, Camillo. Cam.

Hail, most royal sir ! Pol. What is the news i'the court ?

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