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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 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.
Leon.

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)
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 hobbyhorse'; 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

8

? Which oft INFECTS the wisest.] Malone reads affects for infects, as it is given in all the old copies.

(for cogitation Resides not in that man that does not think,)] The second folio adds it after “think,” but needlessly, the word being clearly understood ; and, as Malone contends, the sense, notwithstanding the parenthesis, carried on to the words “my wife is slippery.” Otherwise, to say that “ cogitation resides not in that man that does not think,” is a mere truism.

9 My wife's a HOBBYHORSE ;] All the old folios read “ holy horse,” which is corrected in MS. in Lord F. Egerton's copy to “hobby horse,” which is most likely the true reading, and was first adopted by Pope.

[graphic]

As deep as that, though true.
Leon.

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 only,
That would unseen be wicked ? is this nothing?
Why, then the world, and all that is in't, is nothing;
The covering sky is nothing; Bohemia 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.
Leon.

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

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?
Leon. Why he, that wears her like her medal', hanging

10

and all eyes blind With the PIN AND WEB,] The pin and web was the old name for a cataract in the eyes : thus Florio, in his “ New World of Words,” 1611, informs us that cataratta is “ a dimness of sight, occasioned by humours hardened in the eyes called a cataract, or a pin and a web. This explanation is wanting in Florio's first edition, 1598.

1 Why he, that wears her like her medal,] So the old copies ; but some of the later editors have altered it to “his medal,” which is anything but an improvement: the meaning is, that Polixenes wears Hermione round his neck, as if it were a medal or resemblance of her—“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 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",
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 lov'd thee,
Leon.

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,

? His cup-bearer,] Greene, in his novel of “ Pandosto," says, that “ devising with himself a long time how he might best put away Egistus, without suspition of treacherous murder, he concluded at last to poyson him : which opinion pleasing his humour, he became resolute in his determination, and the better to bring the matter to passe he called unto him his cup-bearer,” meaning the cup-bearer of Egistus. Shakespeare's Library, Part i. p. 9.

3 How I am galled,-might'st bespice a cup,] The second folio repeats thou before “ might'st ;" but to read “ galled ” as a dissyllable renders it unnecessary.

Make that thy question, and go rot !] The commentators have differed in their printing and interpretation of this passage, which in the folios is given exactly as in our text. Malone would read “ Make't thy question,” which rather seems to refer to the interrupted observation of Camillo, “I have lov'd thee,” than to what the words,“ Make that thy question,” really appear to relate to. The meaning of Leontes surely is, as Mr. Knight suggests, that Camillo may go rot, if he doubts or makes question of that which he has just been told. What follows in the king's speech fully supports this interpretation.

[graphic]

(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 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.
Leon.

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 my 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 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

5 Could man so BLENCH !] To blench is to start off. See Vol. ii. p. 86, note 4. Leontes means, “could any man so start or fly off from propriety of behaviour.” Such is the correct interpretation of Steevens.

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.

Enter POLIXENES.

Pol.

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 ? 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 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 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 '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:

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