The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 1 Scene 2
No Fear Act 1 Scene 2 Page 16

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LEONTES

This is all:
Do’t and thou hast the one half of my heart;
Do’t not, thou split’st thine own.

LEONTES

Do this and you will have one half of my heart. Don’t do it and your own will be split.

CAMILLO

410I’ll do’t, my lord.

CAMILLO

I’ll do it, my lord.

LEONTES

I will seem friendly, as thou hast advised me.

LEONTES

I’ll act friendly, as you’ve advised me.
Exit
LEONTES exits.

CAMILLO

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
415Is 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
420And flourish’d after, I’ld not do’t; but since
Nor brass nor stone nor parchment bears not one,
Let villany itself forswear’t. I must
Forsake the court: to do’t, or no, is certain
To me a break-neck. Happy star, reign now!
425Here comes Bohemia.

CAMILLO

Oh, unfortunate lady! What have I gotten into? I have to poison good Polixenes, only because I would obey a master who is mad and wants all his servants to be mad, too. If I do this, I’ll be promoted. But even if I could find one example of someone who had struck down a chosen king and prospered, I wouldn’t do it. Since there isn’t such an example recorded anywhere in history, even a villain wouldn’t do it. I have to leave the court, since whether I do it or not I’m certain to be hanged. Oh, good! Here comes Polixenes.
Re-enter POLIXENES
POLIXENES reenters.

POLIXENES

This is strange: methinks
My favour here begins to warp. Not speak?
Good day, Camillo.

POLIXENES

This is odd. I think I’m losing favor here. He wouldn’t speak? Good day Camillo.