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The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 2

page Act 1 Scene 2 Page 17

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CAMILLO

Hail, most royal sir!

CAMILLO

Hello, most royal sir!

POLIXENES

430What is the news i’ the court?

POLIXENES

What is the news of the court?

CAMILLO

None rare, my lord.

CAMILLO

Nothing unusual, my lord.

POLIXENES

The king hath on him such a countenance
As he had lost some province and a region
Loved as he loves himself: even now I met him
435With customary compliment; when he,
Wafting his eyes to the contrary and falling
A lip of much contempt, speeds from me and
So leaves me to consider what is breeding
That changeth thus his manners.

POLIXENES

The king looked as though he had lost a part of his kingdom as dear to him as himself. Just now I met him with the usual cordial greetings, but turning his eyes away and sneering in contempt, he walked away from me, leaving me to wonder what happened to make him act this way.

CAMILLO

440I dare not know, my lord.

CAMILLO

I don’t dare know, my lord.

POLIXENES

How! dare not! do not. Do you know, and dare not?
Be intelligent to me: ’tis thereabouts;
For, to yourself, what you do know, you must.
And cannot say, you dare not. Good Camillo,
445Your changed complexions are to me a mirror
Which shows me mine changed too; for I must be
A party in this alteration, finding
Myself thus alter’d with ’t.

POLIXENES

What? You don’t dare, or you don’t know? Do you know, but don’t dare? It must be something of the sort, because if you know something for certain, you can’t deny it. Good Camillo, your face is like a mirror to me, in which your changed expression shows my own. I must be responsible in some way for Leontes’s altered behavior, since I’m changed, too.

CAMILLO

There is a sickness
450Which puts some of us in distemper, but
I cannot name the disease; and it is caught
Of you that yet are well.

CAMILLO

There is an illness that makes some of us mad, but I can’t say exactly what it is. But even though you are still well, you have caught it, too.