Tuesday, November 11, 2014
There may be in the cup
A spider steeped, and one may drink, depart,
And yet partake no venom, for his knowledge
Is not infected; but if one present
Th'abhorred ingredient to his eye, make known
How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides,
With violent hefts. I have drunk, and seen the spider.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British dramatist, poet. Leontes, in The Winter's Tale, act 2, sc. 1, l. 39-45.
Finding the escape of Polixenes to be convincing evidence of his wife's adultery; only if the drinker sees the spider in the cup is he poisoned; "hefts" means heavings (vomiting out the poison).