Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Hardin Aasand
Peer Reviewed

The Winter's Tale (Folio 1, 1623)

The Winters Tale. 281
I haue look'd on thousands, who haue sped the better
By my regard, but kill'd none so: Camillo,
As you are certainely a Gentleman, thereto
500Clerke-like experienc'd, which no lesse adornes
Our Gentry, then our Parents Noble Names,
In whose successe we are gentle: I beseech you,
If you know ought which do's behoue my knowledge,
Thereof to be inform'd, imprison't not
505In ignorant concealement.
Cam. I may not answere.
Pol. A Sicknesse caught of me, and yet I well?
I must be answer'd. Do'st thou heare Camillo,
I coniure thee, by all the parts of man,
510Which Honor do's acknowledge, whereof the least
Is not this Suit of mine, that thou declare
What incidencie thou do'st ghesse of harme
Is creeping toward me; how farre off, how neere,
Which way to be preuented, if to be:
515If not, how best to beare it.
Cam. Sir, I will tell you,
Since I am charg'd in Honor, and by him
That I thinke Honorable: therefore marke my counsaile,
Which must be eu'n as swiftly followed, as
520I meane to vtter it; or both your selfe, and me,
Cry lost, and so good night.
Pol. On, good Camillo.
Cam. I am appointed him to murther you.
Pol. By whom, Camillo?
525Cam. By the King.
Pol. For what?
Cam. He thinkes, nay with all confidence he sweares,
As he had seen't, or beene an Instrument
To vice you to't, that you haue toucht his Queene
Pol. Oh then, my best blood turne
To an infected Gelly, and my Name
Be yoak'd with his, that did betray the Best:
Turne then my freshest Reputation to
535A sauour, that may strike the dullest Nosthrill
Where I arriue, and my approch be shun'd,
Nay hated too, worse then the great'st Infection
That ere was heard, or read.
Cam. Sweare his thought ouer
540By each particular Starre in Heauen, and
By all their Influences; you may as well
Forbid the Sea for to obey the Moone,
As (or by Oath) remoue, or (Counsaile) shake
The Fabrick of his Folly, whose foundation
545Is pyl'd vpon 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
Auoid what's growne, then question how 'tis borne.
550If therefore you dare trust my honestie,
That lyes enclosed in this Trunke, which you
Shall beare along impawnd, away to Night,
Your Followers I will whisper to the Businesse,
And will by twoes, and threes, at seuerall Posternes,
555Cleare them o'th' Citie: For my selfe, Ile put
My fortunes to your seruice (which are here
By this discouerie lost.) Be not vncertaine,
For by the honor of my Parents, I
Haue vttred Truth: which if you seeke to proue,
560I dare not stand by; nor shall you be safer,
Then one condemnd by the Kings owne mouth:
Thereon his Execution sworne.
Pol. I doe beleeue thee:
I saw his heart in's face. Giue me thy hand,
565Be Pilot to me, and thy places shall
Still neighbour mine. My Ships are ready, and
My people did expect my hence departure
Two dayes agoe. This Iealousie
Is for a precious Creature: as shee's rare,
570Must it be great; and, as his Person's mightie,
Must it be violent: and, as he do's conceiue,
He is dishonor'd by a man, which euer
Profess'd to him: why his Reuenges must
In that be made more bitter. Feare ore-shades me:
575Good Expedition be my friend, and comfort
The gracious Queene, part of his Theame; but nothing
Of his ill-ta'ne suspition. Come Camillo,
I will respect thee as a Father, if
Thou bear'st my life off, hence: Let vs auoid.
580Cam. It is in mine authoritie to command
The Keyes of all the Posternes: Please your Highnesse
To take the vrgent houre. Come Sir, away. Exeunt.

Actus Secundus. Scena Prima.

Enter Hermione, Mamillius, Ladies: Leontes,
585Antigonus, Lords.
Her. Take the Boy to you: he so troubles me,
'Tis past enduring.
Lady. Come (my gracious Lord)
Shall I be your play-fellow?
590Mam. No, Ile none of you.
Lady. Why (my sweet Lord?)
Mam. You'le kisse me hard, and speake to me, as if
I were a Baby still. I loue you better.
2. Lady. And why so (my Lord?)
595Mam. Not for because
Your Browes are blacker (yet black-browes they say
Become some Women best, so that there be not
Too much haire there, but in a Cemicircle,
Or a halfe-Moone, made with a Pen.)
6002. Lady. Who taught 'this?
Mam. I learn'd it out of Womens faces: pray now,
What colour are your eye-browes?
Lady. Blew (my Lord.)
Mam. Nay, that's a mock: I haue seene a Ladies Nose
605That ha's beene blew, but not her eye-browes.
Lady. Harke ye,
The Queene (your Mother) rounds apace: we shall
Present our seruices to a fine new Prince
One of these dayes, and then youl'd wanton with vs,
610If we would haue you.
2. Lady. She is spread of late
Into a goodly Bulke (good time encounter her.)
Her. What wisdome stirs amongst you? Come Sir, now
I am for you againe: 'Pray you sit by vs,
615And tell's a Tale.
Mam. Merry, or sad, shal't be?
Her. As merry as you will.
Mam. A sad Tale's best for Winter:
I haue one of Sprights, and Goblins.
620Her. Let's haue that (good Sir.)
Come-on, sit downe, come-on, and doe your best,
To fright me with your Sprights: you're powrefull at it.
Aa3 Mam. There