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About his neck, Bohemia: Who-if I
Have bench'd, and rear'd to worship; who may'st see
To give mine enemy a lasting wink;5
Which draught to me were cordial.
Sir, my lord,
The old copy has-her medal, which was evidently an error of the press, either in consequence of the compositor's eye glancing on the word her in the preceding line, or of an abbreviation being used in the MS. In As you Like it and Love's Labour's Lost, her and his are frequently confounded. Theobald, I find, had made the same emendation.-In King Henry VIII, we have again the same thought:
a loss of her,
"That like a jewel has hung twenty years
"About his neck, yet never lost her lustre."
It should be remembered that it was customary for gentlemen, in our author's time, to wear jewels appended to a ribbon round the neck. So, in Honour in Perfection, or a Treatise in Commendation of Henrie Earl of Oxenford, Henrie Earl of Southampton, &c. by Gervais Markham, 4to. 1624, p. 18:-"he hath hung about the neck of his noble kinsman, Sir Horace Vere, like a rich jewel." -The Knights of the Garter wore the George, in this manner, till the time of Charles I. Malone.
I suppose the poet' meant to say, that Polixenes wore her, as he would have worn a medal of her, about his neck. Sir Christopher Hatton is represented with a medal of Queen Elizabeth appended to his chain. Steevens.
more doing:] The latter word is used here in a wanton Malone.
4- might'st bespice a cup,] So, in Chapman's translation of the tenth Book of Homer's Odyssey:
With a festival
"She'll first receive thee; but will spice thy bread
Again, in the eighteenth Book:
spice their pleasure's cup." Steevens.
— a lasting wink;] So, in The Tempest:
I could do this; and that with no rash potion,
Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress,
I have lov'd thee,7
with no rash potion,
Maliciously, like poison:] Rash is hasty, as in King Henry IV, P. II: "-rash gunpowder." Maliciously is malignantly, with effects openly hurtful. Johnson.
Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress,
I have lov'd thee, &c.] The last hemistich assigned to Camillo must have been mistakenly placed to him. It is disrespect and insolence in Camillo to his king, to tell him that he has once loved him. I have ventured at a transposition, which seems selfevident. Camillo will not be persuaded into a suspicion of the disloyalty imputed to his mistress. The King, who believes nothing but his jealousy, provoked that Camillo is so obstinately diffident, finely starts into a rage, and cries:
I've lov'd thee-Make 't thy question, and go rot!
i. e. I have tendered thee well, Camillo, but I here cancel all former respect at once. If thou any longer make a question of my wife's disloyalty, go from my presence, and perdition overtake thee for thy stubbornness. Theobald.
I have admitted this alteration, as Dr. Warburton has done, but am not convinced that it is necessary. Camillo, desirous to defend the Queen, and willing to secure credit to his apology, begins, by telling the King that he has loved him, is about to give instances of his love, and to infer from them his present zeal, when he is interrupted. Johnson.
I have lov'd thee,] In the first and second folio, these words are the conclusion of Camillo's speech. The later editors have certainly done right in giving them to Leontes; but I think they would come in better at the end of the line:
Make that thy question, and go rot!I have lov'd thee.
Tyrwhitt. I have restored the old reading. Camillo is about to tell Leontes how much he had loved him. The impatience of the King interrupts him by saying: Make that thy question, i. e. make the love of which you boast, the subject of your future conversation, and go to the grave with it. Question, in our author, very often has this meaning. So, in Measure for Measure: "But in the loss of question," i. e. in conversation that is thrown away. Again, in Hamlet: "questionable shape” is a form propitious to conversation. Again, in As you Like it: "an unquestionable spirit" is a spirit unwilling to be conversed with. Steevens.
Make 't thy question, and go rot !
I think Steevens right in restoring the old reading, but mistaken in his interpretation of it. Camillo is about to express his affection for Leontes, but the impatience of the latter will not suf fer him to proceed. He takes no notice of that part of Camillo's speech, but replies to that which gave him offence-the doubts he had expressed of the Queen's misconduct; and says-" Make that thy question, and go rot." Nothing can be more natural than this interruption. M. Mason.
The commentators have differed much in explaining this passage, and some have wished to transfer the words-"I have lov'd thee," from Camillo to Leontes. Perhaps the words "being honourable," should be placed in a parenthesis, and the full point that has been put in all the editions after the latter of these words, ought to be omitted. The sense will then be: Having ever had the highest respect for you, and thought you so estimable and honourable a character, so worthy of the love of my mistress, I cannot believe that she has played you false, has dishonoured you. However, the text is very intelligible as now regulated. Camillo is going to give the King instances of his love, and is interrupted. I see no sufficient reason for transferring the words, I have lov'd thee, from Camillo to Leontes. In the original copy there is a comma at the end of Camillo's speech, to denote an abrupt speech.
Make 't thy question, and go rot! &c.] This refers to what Camillo has just said, relative to the Queen's chastity:
"Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress."
Not believe it, replies Leontes; make that (i. e. Hermione's disloyalty, which is so clear a point) a subject of debate or discussion, and go rot! Dost thou think, I am such a fool as to tor'ment myself, and to bring disgrace on me and my children, without sufficient grounds? Malone.
9 Is goads, &c.] Somewhat necessary to the measure is omitted in this line. Perhaps we should read, with Sir T. Hanmer: "Is goads and thorns, nettles and tails of wasps."
1 Could man so blench!] To blench is to start off, to shrink. So, in Hamlet:
I must believe you, sir;
I do; and will fetch off Bohemia for 't:
Provided, that when he 's remov'd, your highness
Even for your son's sake; and, thereby, for sealing
Thou dost advise me,
Even so as I mine own course have set down:
I'll give no blemish to her honour, none.
Cam. My lord,
Go then; and with a countenance as clear
As friendship wears at feasts, keep with Bohemia,
If from me he have wholesome beverage,
This is all:
Do 't, and thou hast the one half of my heart;
Cam. O miserable lady!-But, for me,
66 if he but blench,
"I know my course.'
Leontes means-could any man so start or fly off from propriety of behaviour? Steevens.
If I could find example &c.] An allusion to the death of the Queen of Scots. The play, therefore, was written in King James's time. Blackstone.
Here comes Bohemia.
This is strange! methinks,
My favour here begins to warp. Not speak?-
Hail, most royal sir! Pol. What is the news i' the court?
None rare, my lord. Pol. The king hath on him such a countenance, As he had lost some province, and a region, Lov'd as he loves himself: even now I met him With customary compliment; when he, Wafting his eyes to the contrary, and falling A lip of much contempt, speeds from me;3 and So leaves me, to consider what is breeding, That changes thus his manners.
Cam. I dare not know, my lord.
Pol. How! dare not? do not. Do you know, and dare
Be intelligent to me?4 'Tis thereabouts;
For, to yourself, what you do know, you must;
Myself thus alter'd with it.
There is a sickness
How! caught of me?
Make me not sighted like the basilisk:
This is a stroke of
Wafting his eyes to the contrary, and falling A lip of much contempt, speeds from me; nature worthy of Shakspeare. Leontes had but a moment before assured Camillo that he would seem friendly to Polixenes, according to his advice; but on meeting him, his jealousy gets the better of his resolution, and he finds it impossible to restrain his hatred. M. Mason.
Do you know, and dare not
Be intelligent to me?] i. e. do you know, and dare not confess to me that you know? Tyrwhitt.