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The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 2

page Act 1 Scene 2 Page 11

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CAMILLO

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

CAMILLO

What happened, my lord? I think almost everyone understands that Polixenes will stay here longer.

LEONTES

275Ha?

LEONTES

What?

CAMILLO

Stays here longer.

CAMILLO

He will stay here longer.

LEONTES

Ay, but why?

LEONTES

But why?

CAMILLO

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

CAMILLO

To satisfy your highness and the request of our most gracious mistress.

LEONTES

280Satisfy!
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, priest-like, thou
285Hast cleansed my bosom, I from thee departed
Thy penitent reform’d: but we have been
Deceived in thy integrity, deceived
In that which seems so.

LEONTES

Satisfy! The request of your mistress! Satisfy her! That’s enough. I have trusted you, Camillo, with everything dearest to my heart, as well as confessed to you in my chamber. I parted from you there feeling repentant and reformed, as though departing from a visit to a priest. But now I feel that I have been deceived by what appears to be your integrity.

CAMILLO

Be it forbid, my lord!

CAMILLO

Forbid the thought, my lord!

LEONTES

290To bide upon’t, thou art not honest, or,
If thou inclinest that way, thou art a coward,
Which hoxes honesty behind, restraining
From course required; or else thou must be counted
A servant grafted in my serious trust
295And therein negligent; or else a fool
That seest a game play’d home, the rich stake drawn,
And takest it all for jest.

LEONTES

Now that I think of it, you are either dishonest or, if you are honest, you are a coward, hiding your honesty for fear of having to follow the correct course of action. Perhaps you neglect your duties as a most trusted servant, or perhaps you are a fool who sees the high stakes of a game but thinks it’s all a joke.