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Without ripe moving to't? Would I do this?
Could man so blench 48?


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.


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.

This is all:

Do't and thou hast the one half of my heart;
Do't not, thou split'st thine own.


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


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,

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?

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.


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 it.

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.


How! caught of me? Make me not sighted like the basilisk:

I have look'd on thousands, who have sped the better
By my regard, but kill'd none so. Camillo,--
As you are certainly a gentleman; thereto
Clerk-like, experienc'd, which no less adorns

Our gentry, than our parents' noble names,

In whose success we are gentle49,-I beseech you, If you know aught which does behove my knowledge Thereof to be inform'd, imprison it not

In ignorant concealment.


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.

Sir, I'll tell you;
Since I am charg'd in honour, and by him
That I think honourable: Therefore, mark my

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.


On, good Camillo. Cam. I am appointed him to murder you50, Pol. By whom, Camillo?



By the king.

For what?

Cam. He thinks, nay, with all confidence he swears, As he had seen't, or been an instrument To vice 51 you to't,-that you have touch'd his queen Forbiddenly.


O, then my best blood turn

To an infected jelly; and my name

49 Success, for succession.


Gentle, well born, was opposed to

50 I am appointed him to murder you,' I am the person appointed to murder you.

51 i. e. to screw or move you to it. time meant any kind of winding screw. a common expression.

A vice in Shakspeare's

The vice of a clock was

Be yok'd with his, that did betray the best52!
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 over53 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 pil'd upon his faith54, and will continue The standing of his body.

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'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
His execution sworn.


I do believe thee:

I saw his heart in his face55, Give me thy hand;

52 That is Judas. A clause in the sentence of excommunicated persons was: 'let them have part with Judas that betrayed Christ.'

53 Swear his thought over.' The meaning apparently is 'overswear his thought by, &c.

54 Is pil'd upon his faith.' This folly which is erected on the foundation of settled belief.

55 I saw his heart in his face. In Macbeth we have :"To find the mind's construction in the face,

Vol IV.


Be pilot to me, and thy places shall

Still neighbour mine56; 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 suspicion57! 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.


Take the boy to you: he so troubles me, "Tis past enduring.

1 Lady.

Come, my gracious lord,

Shall I be your playfellow?

56 i. e. I will place thee in elevated rank always near to my own in dignity, or near my person.

57 Johnson might well say, 'I can make nothing of the following words :'

-and comfort

The gracious queen, part of his theme, but nothing
Of his ill-ta'en suspicion.'

he suspected the line which connected them to the rest to have been lost. I have sometimes thought that we should read not noting instead of but nothing. Perhaps they will bear this construction: Good expedition be my friend, and may my absence bring comfort to the gracious queen who is part of his theme. but who knows nothing of his unjust suspicion.'

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