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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.


So stands this squire Offic'd with me: We two will walk, my lord, Aud leave you to your graver steps.


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.


If you would seek us,

We are yours i'the garden shall's attend you

there ?

Leon. To your own bents dispose you: you'll be found,

Be you beneath the sky. - [Aside.] I am angling


Though you perceive me not how I give line.

Go to, go to!


[Observing POLIX. and HERM. How she holds up the neb," the bill to him! And arms her with the boldness of a wife To her allowing husband! Gone already!

[Exeunt POL., HER., and Attendants. Inch-thick, knee-deep, o'er head and ears a fork'd one! — 24

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 clamour
Wil be my knell. — Go play, boy, play. There
have been,

22 Heir apparent, next claimant.

23 That is, mouth.

That is, a horned one.

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 the arm,
That little thinks she has been sluic'd in's absence,
And his pond fish'd by his next neighbour, by
Sir Smile, his neighbour: 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 is none :
It is a bawdy planet, that will strike

Where 'tis predominant; and 'tis powerful, think it,
From east, west, north, and south: be it concluded,
No barricado for a belly: know it;

It will let in and out the enemy,
With bag and baggage:

Many a thousand on's
How now, boy?

Have the disease, and feel't not.
Mam. I am like you, they say..

What! Camillo there?

Why, that's some comfort.

Cam. Ay, my good lord.

Leon. Go play, Mamillius; thou'rt an honest



Camillo, this great sir will yet stay longer.

Cam. You had much ado to make his anchor hold⚫

When you cast out, it still came home.


Didst note it?

Cam. He would not stay at your petitions; made His business more material.



Didst perceive it? [Aside.] They're here with me already; 2 whispering, rounding,

25 They are already aware of my condition; they referring, not to Polixenes and Hermione, but to people about the court. Rounding, says Mr. Dyce, means much the same as mullering: to round in the ear was common in the old writers.


"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.

Leon. At the queen's, be't: good should be per


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.
Cam. Business, my lord? I think most understand
Bohemia stays here longer.



Leon. Ay, but why?


Stays here longer.

Cam. To satisfy your highness, and the entreaties Of our most gracious mistress.


The 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, priestlike, thou

20 That is, the knowledge of my disgrace has spread far, since all have it before myself, since I am the last to find it out.- Gust

for taste.


27 Messes is here put for degrees, conditions. The company at great tables were divided according to their rank into higher and lower messes. Sometimes the messes were served at different tables, and seem to have been arranged in fours, whence the word came to express four in vulgar speech. - That Leontes' fanatical passion should stuff him with the conceit of a finer nature, a sharper insight, and a higher virtue than others had, is shrewdly natural. Such conceit is among the commonest symptoms of fanaticism in all its forms.


Hast cleans'd my bosom: I from thee departed
Thy penitent reform'd; but we have been
Deceiv'd in thy integrity, deceiv'd

[blocks in formation]

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.

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 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.


Have not you seen, Camillo,

(But that's past doubt; you have, or your eye-glass

To hox is to hamstring: the proper word is to hough.

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 hobby-horse; 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

As deep as that, though true."



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.



Good my lord, be cur'd

29 Of course the next clause, "my wife is slippery," follows both think and thought; the overlooking of which has called forth some rare drops of wisdom from the commentators.


30 To reiterate your accusation of her would be as great a sin

as that (if committed) of which you accuse her.

31 The pin and web is the cataract in an early stage,

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