The Winter’s Tale
Act I, Scene 2
Sicilia. A room of state in Leontes’ palace.
- Enter Leontes, Hermione, Mamillius, Polixenes, Camillo, and
Polixenes1 - 9
- Nine changes of the wat’ry star hath been
- The shepherd’s note since we have left our throne
- Without a burden. Time as long again
- Would be fill’d up, my brother, with our thanks,
- And yet we should, for perpetuity,
- Go hence in debt. And therefore, like a cipher
- (Yet standing in rich place), I multiply
- With one “We thank you” many thousands more
- That go before it.
Leontes10 - 11
- Stay your thanks a while,
- And pay them when you part.
Polixenes12 - 17
- Sir, that’s tomorrow.
- I am question’d by my fears of what may chance
- Or breed upon our absence, that may blow
- No sneaping winds at home, to make us say,
- “This is put forth too truly.” Besides, I have stay’d
- To tire your royalty.
Leontes18 - 19
- We are tougher, brother,
- Than you can put us to’t.
- No longer stay.
- One sev’nnight longer.
- Very sooth, tomorrow.
Leontes23 - 24
- We’ll part the time between ’s then; and in that
- I’ll no gainsaying.
Polixenes25 - 33
- Press me not, beseech you, so.
- There is no tongue that moves, none, none i’ th’ world,
- So soon as yours could win me. So it should now,
- Were there necessity in your request, although
- ’Twere needful I denied it. My affairs
- Do even drag me homeward; which to hinder
- Were (in your love) a whip to me; my stay,
- To you a charge and trouble. To save both,
- Farewell, our brother.
- Tongue-tied our queen? Speak you.
Hermione35 - 40
- I had thought, sir, to have held my peace until
- You had drawn oaths from him not to stay. You, sir,
- Charge him too coldly. Tell him you are sure
- All in Bohemia’s well; this satisfaction
- The by-gone day proclaim’d. Say this to him,
- He’s beat from his best ward.
- Well said, Hermione.
Hermione42 - 52
- To tell he longs to see his son were strong;
- But let him say so then, and let him go;
- But let him swear so, and he shall not stay,
- We’ll thwack him hence with distaffs.
- Yet of your royal presence I’ll adventure
- The borrow of a week. When at Bohemia
- You take my lord, I’ll give him my commission
- To let him there a month behind the gest
- Prefix’d for ’s parting; yet, good deed, Leontes,
- I love thee not a jar o’ th’ clock behind
- What lady she her lord. You’ll stay?
- No, madam.
- Nay, but you will?
- I may not, verily.
Hermione56 - 66
- You put me off with limber vows; but I,
- Though you would seek t’ unsphere the stars with oaths,
- Should yet say, “Sir, no going.” Verily,
- You shall not go; a lady’s “verily” is
- As potent as a lord’s. Will you go yet?
- Force me to keep you as a prisoner,
- Not like a guest: so you shall pay your fees
- When you depart, and save your thanks. How say you?
- My prisoner? Or my guest? By your dread “verily,”
- One of them you shall be.
Polixenes67 - 70
- Your guest then, madam.
- To be your prisoner should import offending,
- Which is for me less easy to commit
- Than you to punish.
Hermione71 - 74
- Not your jailer then,
- But your kind hostess. Come, I’ll question you
- Of my lord’s tricks and yours when you were boys.
- You were pretty lordings then?
Polixenes75 - 78
- We were, fair queen,
- Two lads that thought there was no more behind
- But such a day tomorrow as today,
- And to be boy eternal.
Hermione79 - 80
- Was not my lord
- The verier wag o’ th’ two?
Polixenes81 - 89
- We were as twinn’d lambs that did frisk i’ th’ sun,
- And bleat the one at th’ other. What we chang’d
- Was innocence for innocence; we knew not
- The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dream’d
- That any did. Had we pursu’d that life,
- And our weak spirits ne’er been higher rear’d
- With stronger blood, we should have answer’d heaven
- Boldly, “Not guilty”; the imposition clear’d,
- Hereditary ours.
Hermione90 - 91
- By this we gather
- You have tripp’d since.
Polixenes92 - 96
- O my most sacred lady,
- Temptations have since then been born to ’s: for
- In those unfledg’d days was my wife a girl;
- Your precious self had then not cross’d the eyes
- Of my young playfellow.
Hermione97 - 103
- Grace to boot!
- Of this make no conclusion, lest you say
- Your queen and I are devils. Yet go on,
- Th’ offenses we have made you do we’ll answer,
- If you first sinn’d with us, and that with us
- You did continue fault, and that you slipp’d not
- With any but with us.
- Is he won yet?
- He’ll stay, my lord.
Leontes106 - 108
- At my request he would not.
- Hermione, my dearest, thou never spok’st
- To better purpose.
- Never, but once.
Hermione111 - 122
- What? Have I twice said well? When was’t before?
- I prithee tell me; cram ’s with praise, and make ’s
- As fat as tame things. One good deed dying tongueless
- Slaughters a thousand waiting upon that.
- Our praises are our wages. You may ride ’s
- With one soft kiss a thousand furlongs ere
- With spur we heat an acre. But to th’ goal:
- My last good deed was to entreat his stay;
- What was my first? It has an elder sister,
- Or I mistake you. O, would her name were Grace!
- But once before I spoke to th’ purpose? When?
- Nay, let me have’t; I long.
Leontes123 - 127
- Why, that was when
- Three crabbed months had sour’d themselves to death,
- Ere I could make thee open thy white hand,
- And clap thyself my love; then didst thou utter,
- “I am yours forever.”
Hermione128 - 131
- ’Tis Grace indeed.
- Why, lo you now! I have spoke to th’ purpose twice:
- The one forever earn’d a royal husband;
- Th’ other for some while a friend.
- Gives her hand to Polixenes.
Leontes132 - 144
- Too hot, too hot!
- To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods.
- I have tremor cordis on me; my heart dances,
- But not for joy; not joy. This entertainment
- May a free face put on, derive a liberty
- From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom,
- And well become the agent; ’t may—I grant.
- But to be paddling palms and pinching fingers,
- As now they are, and making practic’d smiles,
- As in a looking-glass; and then to sigh, as ’twere
- The mort o’ th’ deer—O, that is entertainment
- My bosom likes not, nor my brows! Mamillius,
- Art thou my boy?
- Ay, my good lord.
Leontes146 - 153
- I’ fecks!
- Why, that’s my bawcock. What? Hast smutch’d thy nose?
- They say it is a copy out of mine. Come, captain,
- We must be neat; not neat, but cleanly, captain:
- And yet the steer, the heckfer, and the calf
- Are all call’d neat.—Still virginalling
- Upon his palm?—How now, you wanton calf,
- Art thou my calf?
- Yes, if you will, my lord.
Leontes155 - 173
- Thou want’st a rough pash and the shoots that I have,
- To be full like me; yet they say we are
- Almost as like as eggs; women say so—
- That will say any thing. But were they false
- As o’er-dy’d blacks, as wind, as waters, false
- As dice are to be wish’d by one that fixes
- No bourn ’twixt his and mine, yet were it true
- To say this boy were like me. Come, sir page,
- Look on me with your welkin eye. Sweet villain!
- Most dear’st! My collop! Can thy dam?—may’t be?—
- Affection! Thy intention stabs the center.
- Thou dost make possible things not so held,
- Communicat’st with dreams (how can this be?),
- With what’s unreal thou co-active art,
- And fellow’st nothing. Then ’tis very credent
- Thou mayst co-join with something, and thou dost
- (And that beyond commission), and I find it
- (And that to the infection of my brains
- And hard’ning of my brows).
- What means Sicilia?
- He something seems unsettled.
- How? My lord?
- What cheer? How is’t with you, best brother?
Hermione178 - 180
- You look
- As if you held a brow of much distraction.
- Are you mov’d, my lord?
Leontes181 - 192
- No, in good earnest.
- How sometimes nature will betray its folly!
- Its tenderness! And make itself a pastime
- To harder bosoms! Looking on the lines
- Of my boy’s face, methoughts I did recoil
- Twenty-three years, and saw myself unbreech’d
- In my green velvet coat, my dagger muzzled,
- Lest it should bite its master, and so prove
- (As ornament oft does) too dangerous.
- How like (methought) I then was to this kernel,
- This squash, this gentleman. Mine honest friend,
- Will you take eggs for money?
- No, my lord, I’ll fight.
Leontes194 - 196
- You will? Why, happy man be ’s dole! My brother,
- Are you so fond of your young prince as we
- Do seem to be of ours?
Polixenes197 - 203
- If at home, sir,
- He’s all my exercise, my mirth, my matter;
- Now my sworn friend, and then mine enemy;
- My parasite, my soldier, statesman, all.
- He makes a July’s day short as December,
- And with his varying childness cures in me
- Thoughts that would thick my blood.
Leontes204 - 210
- So stands this squire
- Offic’d with me. We two will walk, my lord,
- And leave you to your graver steps. Hermione,
- How thou lov’st us, show in our brother’s welcome;
- Let what is dear in Sicily be cheap.
- Next to thyself and my young rover, he’s
- Apparent to my heart.
Hermione211 - 212
- If you would seek us,
- We are yours i’ th’ garden. Shall ’s attend you there?
Leontes213 - 243
- To your own bents dispose you; you’ll be found,
- Be you beneath the sky.
- I am angling now,
- Though you perceive me not how I give line.
- Go to, go to!
- How she holds up the neb! The bill to him!
- And arms her with the boldness of a wife
- To her allowing husband!
- Exeunt Polixenes, Hermione, and Attendants.
- Gone already!
- Inch-thick, knee-deep, o’er head and ears a fork’d one!
- Go play, boy, play. Thy mother plays, and I
- Play too, but so disgrac’d a part, whose issue
- Will hiss me to my grave: contempt and clamor
- Will be my knell. Go play, boy, play. There have been
- (Or I am much deceiv’d) cuckolds ere now,
- And many a man there is (even at this present,
- Now, while I speak this) holds his wife by th’ arm,
- That little thinks she has been sluic’d in ’s absence,
- And his pond fish’d by his next neighbor—by
- Sir Smile, his neighbor. Nay, there’s comfort in’t,
- Whiles other men have gates, and those gates open’d,
- As mine, against their will. Should all despair
- That have revolted wives, the tenth of mankind
- Would hang themselves. Physic for’t there’s none.
- It is a bawdy planet, that will strike
- Where ’tis predominant; and ’tis pow’rful—think it—
- From east, west, north, and south. Be it concluded,
- No barricado for a belly. Know’t,
- It will let in and out the enemy,
- With bag and baggage. Many thousand on ’s
- Have the disease, and feel’t not. How now, boy?
- I am like you, they say.
Leontes245 - 246
- Why, that’s some comfort.
- What? Camillo there?
- Ay, my good lord.
Leontes248 - 249
- Go play, Mamillius, thou’rt an honest man.
- Exit Mamillius.
- Camillo, this great sir will yet stay longer.
Camillo250 - 251
- You had much ado to make his anchor hold,
- When you cast out, it still came home.
- Didst note it?
Camillo253 - 254
- He would not stay at your petitions, made
- His business more material.
Leontes255 - 259
- Didst perceive it?
- They’re here with me already, whisp’ring, rounding:
- “Sicilia is a so-forth.” ’Tis far gone,
- When I shall gust it last.—How came’t, Camillo,
- That he did stay?
- At the good Queen’s entreaty.
Leontes261 - 268
- At the Queen’s be’t; “good” should be pertinent,
- But so it is, it is not. Was this taken
- By any understanding pate but thine?
- For thy conceit is soaking, will draw in
- More than the common blocks. Not noted, is’t,
- But of the finer natures? By some severals
- Of head-piece extraordinary? Lower messes
- Perchance are to this business purblind? Say.
Camillo269 - 270
- Business, my lord? I think most understand
- Bohemia stays here longer.
- Stays here longer.
- Ay, but why?
Camillo274 - 275
- To satisfy your Highness and the entreaties
- Of our most gracious mistress.
Leontes276 - 284
- Th’ entreaties of your mistress? Satisfy?
- Let that suffice. I have trusted thee, Camillo,
- With all the nearest things to my heart, as well
- My chamber-councils, wherein, priest-like, thou
- Hast cleans’d my bosom: I from thee departed
- Thy penitent reform’d. But we have been
- Deceiv’d in thy integrity, deceiv’d
- In that which seems so.
- Be it forbid, my lord!
Leontes286 - 293
- To bide upon’t: thou art not honest; or
- If thou inclin’st that way, thou art a coward,
- Which hoxes honesty behind, restraining
- From course requir’d; or else thou must be counted
- A servant grafted in my serious trust
- And therein negligent; or else a fool,
- That seest a game play’d home, the rich stake drawn,
- And tak’st it all for jest.
Camillo294 - 312
- 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,
- Among the infinite doings of the world,
- Sometime puts forth. In your affairs, my lord,
- If ever I were willful-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 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.
Leontes313 - 324
- Ha’ 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 rumor
- 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 hobby-horse, deserves a name
- As rank as any flax-wench that puts to
- Before her troth-plight: say’t and justify’t.
Camillo325 - 330
- 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.
Leontes331 - 343
- 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’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.
Camillo344 - 346
- Good my lord, be cur’d
- Of this diseas’d opinion, and betimes,
- For ’tis most dangerous.
- Say it be, ’tis true.
- No, no, my lord.
Leontes349 - 356
- 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 wive’s liver
- Infected as her life, she would not live
- The running of one glass.
- Who does infect her?
Leontes358 - 369
- Why, he that wears her like her medal hanging
- About his neck, Bohemia—who, if I
- Had servants true about me, that bare eyes
- To see alike mine honor as their profits
- (Their own particular thrifts), they would do that
- Which should undo more doing; ay, and thou,
- His cupbearer—whom I from meaner form
- Have bench’d and rear’d to worship, who mayst see
- Plainly as heaven sees earth and earth sees heaven,
- How I am gall’d—mightst bespice a cup,
- To give mine enemy a lasting wink;
- Which draught to me were cordial.
Camillo370 - 376
- Sir, my lord,
- I could do this, and that with no rash 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 honorable).
- I have lov’d thee—
Leontes377 - 386
- 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’ th’ 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?
Camillo387 - 393
- 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.
Leontes394 - 396
- Thou dost advise me
- Even so as I mine own course have set down.
- I’ll give no blemish to her honor, none.
Camillo397 - 402
- 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.
Leontes403 - 405
- 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.
- I will seem friendly, as thou hast advis’d me.
Camillo408 - 421
- 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’ld 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
- To me a break-neck. Happy star reign now!
- Here comes Bohemia.
- Enter Polixenes.
Polixenes422 - 424
- This is strange; methinks
- My favor here begins to warp. Not speak?
- Good day, Camillo.
- Hail, most royal sir!
- What is the news i’ th’ court?
- None rare, my lord.
Polixenes428 - 435
- 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 th’ 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.
- I dare not know, my lord.
Polixenes437 - 444
- 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.
Camillo445 - 448
- 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.
Polixenes449 - 459
- 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 gentle, I beseech you,
- If you know aught which does behove my knowledge
- Thereof to be inform’d, imprison’t not
- In ignorant concealment.
- I may not answer.
Polixenes461 - 469
- 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 honor 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.
Camillo470 - 475
- Sir, I will tell you,
- Since I am charg’d in honor and by him
- That I think honorable. Therefore mark my counsel,
- Which must be ev’n as swiftly followed as
- I mean to utter it; or both yourself and me
- Cry lost, and so good night!
- On, good Camillo.
- I am appointed him to murder you.
- By whom, Camillo?
- By the King.
- For what?
Camillo481 - 484
- He thinks, nay, with all confidence he swears,
- As he had seen’t or been an instrument
- To vice you to’t, that you have touch’d his queen
Polixenes485 - 492
- O then, my best blood turn
- To an infected jelly, and my name
- Be yok’d with his that did betray the Best!
- Turn then my freshest reputation to
- A savor 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!
Camillo493 - 500
- 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 pil’d upon his faith, and will continue
- The standing of his body.
- How should this grow?
Camillo502 - 516
- 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 tonight!
- Your followers I will whisper to the business,
- And will by twos and threes at several posterns
- Clear them o’ th’ city. For myself, I’ll put
- My fortunes to your service, which are here
- By this discovery lost. Be not uncertain,
- For by the honor of my parents, I
- Have utt’red 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.
Polixenes517 - 533
- I do believe thee:
- I saw his heart in ’s face. Give me thy hand,
- Be pilot to me, and thy places shall
- Still neighbor 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 dishonor’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 suspicion! Come, Camillo,
- I will respect thee as a father, if
- Thou bear’st my life off. Hence! Let us avoid.
Camillo534 - 536
- It is in mine authority to command
- The keys of all the posterns. Please your Highness
- To take the urgent hour. Come, sir, away.