The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 1 Scene 2
No Fear Act 1 Scene 2 Page 15

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LEONTES

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,
385Which to preserve is sleep, which being spotted
Is goads, thorns, nettles, tails of wasps,
Give scandal to the blood o’ the prince my son,
Who I do think is mine and love as mine,
Without ripe moving to’t? Would I do this?
390Could man so blench?

LEONTES

Make that your problem, and go to hell! Do you think I am so dull-witted, so unsettled, that I would give myself all this trouble and dirty up the pure, clean whiteness of my bed? To preserve that purity gives one peace of mind, but if it’s tainted it hurts like thorns, nettles, and wasp stings. Do you think I would raise doubt about the legitimacy of my son, who I believe is mine and who I love, without compelling reasons? Would I do this? Could I turn aside from this?

CAMILLO

I must believe you, sir:
I do; and will fetch off Bohemia for’t;
Provided that, when he’s removed, your highness
Will take again your queen as yours at first,
395Even for your son’s sake; and thereby for sealing
The injury of tongues in courts and kingdoms
Known and allied to yours.

CAMILLO

I must believe you sir, and I do. I’ll take care of Polixenes for you, as long as once he’s gone you will again treat your wife as your own, at least for your son’s sake. That way you will silence all the harmful rumors that might spread to other kingdoms and courts that are allied with you.

LEONTES

Thou dost advise me
Even so as I mine own course have set down:
400I’ll give no blemish to her honour, none.

LEONTES

You advise me to do what I already determined I would do. I won’t tarnish her reputation in any way.

CAMILLO

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:
405If from me he have wholesome beverage,
Account me not your servant.

CAMILLO

My lord, then go, and with a face as open and friendly as if you were at a party, keep company with Polixenes and your queen. I am his cupbearer, and I will give him the potion, or no longer think of me as your servant.