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The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 1 Scene 2
No Fear Act 1 Scene 2 Page 18

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POLIXENES

How! caught of me!
Make me not sighted like the basilisk:
455I have look’d on thousands, who have sped the better
By my regard, but kill’d none so. Camillo,—
As you are certainly a gentleman, thereto
Clerk-like experienced, which no less adorns
Our gentry than our parents’ noble names,
460In whose success we are gentle,—I beseech you,
If you know aught which does behove my knowledge
Thereof to be inform’d, imprison’t not
In ignorant concealment.

POLIXENES

What do you mean, I’ve caught it, too? Don’t tell me I have the deadly stare of the

basilisk

A mythical reptile that was able to kill with its stare.

basilisk
. I’ve looked at thousands of people who have been better off by having been seen by me, but I’ve never killed anyone that way. Camillo, I know you are a gentleman because you are educated, and that makes one a gentleman as much as having parents who are nobles. I beg you, if you know something I should know, please don’t pretend not to know and keep it from me.

CAMILLO

I may not answer.

CAMILLO

I can’t tell you.

POLIXENES

465A sickness caught of me, and yet I well!
I must be answer’d. Dost thou hear, Camillo,
I conjure thee, by all the parts of man
Which honour does acknowledge, whereof the least
Is not this suit of mine, that thou declare
470What incidency thou dost guess of harm
Is creeping toward me; how far off, how near;
Which way to be prevented, if to be;
If not, how best to bear it.

POLIXENES

I’ve caught an illness, even though I am well! You have to tell me. Do you hear me, Camillo? I appeal to you by all the traits in a man that respond to honor, including this request itself. Tell me why you think I’m in danger, how close the danger is, and how I might prevent it. Or if I can’t, how I might best endure it.

CAMILLO

Sir, I will tell you;
475Since I am charged in honour and by him
That I think honourable: therefore mark my counsel,
Which must be even as swiftly follow’d as
I mean to utter it, or both yourself and me
Cry lost, and so good night!

CAMILLO

Sir, I will tell you, since I am obligated by my honor and since you’re an honorable man. Therefore listen to my advice, which must be followed immediately, or both you and I will be doomed and will meet a bad end.