Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Queen, Ladies, and Cornelius


Whiles yet the dew's on ground, gather those flowers;

Make haste. Who has the note of them?


                         I, madam.


dispatch, despatch (v.) 4 hurry up, be quick

Exeunt Ladies

Now master doctor, have you brought those drugs?


Pleaseth your highness, ay: here they are, madam:

(presenting a small box)

But I beseech your grace, without offence –

My conscience bids me ask – wherefore you have

Commanded of me these most poisonous compounds,
command (v.) 4 demand [from], order to be given [from]

Which are the movers of a languishing death:

But though slow, deadly.


                         I wonder, doctor,

Thou ask'st me such a question. Have I not been

Thy pupil long? Hast thou not learned me how
learn (v.) 1 teach, instruct [not a regional dialect usage as in modern English]

To make perfumes? Distil? Preserve? Yea so,

That our great king himself doth woo me oft
oft (adv.) often See Topics: Frequency count

For my confections? Having thus far proceeded –
confection (n.) medicinal preparation, mixture of drugs

Unless thou think'st me devilish – is't not meet
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count

That I did amplify my judgement in
amplify (v.) augment, increase, extend
judgement (n.) 2 knowledge, understanding, wisdom

Other conclusions? I will try the forces
conclusion (n.) 5 experiment, investigation
try (v.) 1 prove, ascertain, find out

Of these thy compounds on such creatures as

We count not worth the hanging – but none human –

To try the vigour of them, and apply
try (v.) 1 prove, ascertain, find out
vigour (n.) power, efficacy, effect

Allayments to their act, and by them gather
act (n.) 2 action (upon a person), effect
allayment (n.) modifying agent, countermeasure, mitigation

Their several virtues, and effects.
several (adj.) 1 separate, different, distinct See Topics: Frequency count
several (adj.) 2 various, sundry, respective, individual
virtue (n.) 4 power, capability, efficacy, property


                         Your highness

Shall from this practice but make hard your heart:

Besides, the seeing these effects will be

Both noisome and infectious.
content (v.) 2 calm [down], settle, relax
noisome (adj.) noxious, harmful, evil


                         O, content thee.

Enter Pisanio

(aside) Here comes a flattering rascal, upon him

Will I first work: he's for his master,

And enemy to my son. How now, Pisanio?

Doctor, your service for this time is ended,

Take your own way.



                         I do suspect you, madam;

But you shall do no harm.


(to Pisanio)

                          Hark thee, a word.



I do not like her. She doth think she has

Strange ling'ring poisons: I do know her spirit;
strange (adj.) 1 remarkable, startling, abnormal, unnatural

And will not trust one of her malice with

A drug of such damned nature. Those she has

Will stupefy and dull the sense awhile;

Which first, perchance, she'll prove on cats and dogs,
perchance (adv.) 1 perhaps, maybe See Topics: Frequency count
prove (v.) 1 test, try out, make trial [of]

Then afterward up higher: but there is

No danger in what show of death it makes,

More than the locking up the spirits a time,

To be more fresh, reviving. She is fooled

With a most false effect; and I the truer,
false (adj.) 2 disloyal, faithless, inconstant, unfaithful
false (adj.) 3 sham, spurious, not genuine, artificial

So to be false with her.


                         No further service, doctor,

Until I send for thee.


                         I humbly take my leave.



Weeps she still, say'st thou? Dost thou think in time

She will not quench, and let instructions enter
instruction (n.) 1 advice, good direction, counsel
quench (v.) 1 cool down, settle down

Where folly now possesses? Do thou work:

When thou shalt bring me word she loves my son,

I'll tell thee on the instant, thou art then

As great as is thy master: greater, for

His fortunes all lie speechless, and his name

Is at last gasp. Return he cannot, nor

Continue where he is: to shift his being
being (n.) 1 lodging, dwelling-place

Is to exchange one misery with another,

And every day that comes comes to decay
decay (v.) be destroyed, become ruined, fail

A day's work in him. What shalt thou expect,

To be depender on a thing that leans?
depender (n.) dependant, one who relies
lean (v.) 2 need support, incline towards a fall

Who cannot be new built, nor has no friends,

So much as but to prop him?

The Queen drops the box: Pisanio takes it up

                         Thou tak'st up

Thou know'st not what: but take it for thy labour:

It is a thing I made, which hath the king

Five times redeemed from death. I do not know

What is more cordial. Nay, I prithee take it;
cordial (adj.) reviving, invigorating, restorative

It is an earnest of a farther good
earnest (n.) pledge, instalment, deposit, payment in advance

That I mean to thee. Tell thy mistress how

The case stands with her: do't, as from thyself;

Think what a chance thou changest on; but think
chance (n.) 3 opportunity, prospect; or: risk

Thou hast thy mistress still, to boot, my son,
boot, to in addition, as well See Topics: Swearing

Who shall take notice of thee. I'll move the king

To any shape of thy preferment, such
preferment (n.) advancement, promotion

As thou'lt desire: and then myself, I chiefly,

That set thee on to this desert, am bound
desert, desart (n.) 1 deserving, due recompense, right
set on (v.) 1 encourage, urge, incite

To load thy merit richly. Call my women:

Think on my words.

Exit Pisanio
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count

                         A sly and constant knave.

Not to be shaked: the agent for his master,

And the remembrancer of her to hold
hold (v.) 1 keep, maintain, observe
remembrancer (n.) official reminder, aide-memoire

The hand-fast to her lord. I have given him that,
handfast, hand-fast (n.) marriage contract, betrothal

Which if he take, shall quite unpeople her
unpeople (v.) empty of people, depopulate

Of liegers for her sweet: and which she after,
leiger, lieger (n.) resident ambassador, representative, envoy
sweet (n.) 4 lover, sweetheart See Topics: Address forms

Except she bend her humour, shall be assured
bend (v.) 3 change, alter, turn in a new direction
humour (n.) 1 mood, disposition, frame of mind, temperament [as determined by bodily fluids] See Topics: Frequency count

To taste of too.

Enter Pisanio and Ladies

                         So, so: well done, well done:

The violets, cowslips, and the primroses

Bear to my closet. Fare thee well, Pisanio;
closet (n.) 1 private chamber, study, own room

Think on my words.

Exeunt Queen and Ladies


                         And shall do:

But when to my good lord I prove untrue,

I'll choke myself: there's all I'll do for you.


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