The Winter's Tale By William Shakespeare Act I: Scene 2

MAMILLIUS.
No, my lord, I'll fight.

LEONTES.
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?

POLIXENES.
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.

LEONTES.
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.

HERMIONE.
If you would seek us,
We are yours i' the garden. Shall 's attend you there?

LEONTES.
To your own bents dispose you: you'll be found,
Be you beneath the sky. [Aside] I am angling now.
Though you perceive me not how I give line.
Go to, go to!

[Observing POLIXENES and HERMIONE]

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 clamour
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 the arm
That little thinks she has been sluic'd in his 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 hath 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 powerful, 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 of us
Have the disease, and feel't not. — How now, boy!

MAMILLIUS.
I am like you, they say.

LEONTES.
Why, that's some comfort. —
What! Camillo there?

CAMILLO.
Ay, my good lord.

LEONTES.
Go play, Mamillius; thou'rt an honest man. —

[Exit MAMILLIUS.]

Camillo, this great sir will yet stay longer.

CAMILLO.
You had much ado to make his anchor hold:
When you cast out, it still came home.

LEONTES.
Didst note it?

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

LEONTES.
Didst perceive it? —
[Aside.] They're here with me already; whispering, rounding,
'Sicilia is a so-forth.' 'Tis far gone
When I shall gust it last. — How came't, Camillo,
That he did stay?

CAMILLO.
At the good queen's entreaty.

LEONTES.
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.

CAMILLO.
Business, my lord! I think most understand
Bohemia stays here longer.

LEONTES.
Ha!

CAMILLO.
Stays here longer.

LEONTES.
Ay, but why?

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

LEONTES.
Satisfy
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.

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After Camillo reveals Leontes' plan to kill Polixenes, Camillo is sentenced to die for treason.


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