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Leontes, King of Sicilia.
Rogero, a Sicilian Gentleman.
Polixenes, King of Bohemia. Florizel, Son to Polixenes. Archidamus, a Bohemian Lord. A Mariner. Gaoler.
An old Shepherd, reputed Father of Perdita. Clown, his Son.
Autolycus, a Rogue. Time, as Chorus.
Hermione, Queen to Leontes.
Perdita, Daughter to Leontes and Hermione. Paulina, Wife to Antigonus. Emilia, a Lady attending on the Queen.
Dorcas, } shePherdesses.
Lcrds, Ladies, Gentlemen, and Attendants, Satyrs, Shepherds, Shepherdesses, Guards, &c.
SCENE: Sometimes in Sicilia; sometimes in Bohemia.
THE WINTER'S TALE.
Scene I. — Sicilia. An Antechamber in Leontes' Palace.
Enter Camillo and Akchidamtts.
IF you shall chance, Camillo, to visit Bohemia, on. the like occasion whereon my services are now on foot, you shall see, as I have said, great difference betwixt our Bohemia and your Sicilia.
Camillo. I think, this coming summer, the King of Sicilia means to pay Bohemia the visitation which he justly owes him.
Arch. Wherein our entertainment shall shame us we will be justified in our loves: for, indeed, —
Cam. 'Beseech you,—
Arch. Verily, I speak it in the freedom of my knowledge: we cannot with such magnificence — in so rare — I know not what to say. — We will give you sleepy drinks, that your senses, unintelligent of our insufficience, may, though they cannot praise us, as little accuse us.
Cam. You pay a great deal too dear for what's given freely.
Arch. Believe me, I speak as my understanding instructs me, and as mine honesty puts it to utterance.
Cam. Sicilia cannot shew himself over-kind to Bohemia. They were train'd together in their childhoods; and there rooted betwixt them then such an affection which cannot choose but branch now. Since their more mature dignities and royal necessities made separation of their society, their encounters, though not personal, have been royally attorneyed, with interchange of gifts, letters, loving embassies; that they have seem'd to be together, though absent; shook hands, as over a vast; and embrac'd, as it were, from the ends of opposed winds. The Heavens continue their loves!
Arch. I think there is not in the world either malice or matter to alter it. You have an unspeakable comfort of your young Prince Mamillius; it is a gentleman of the greatest promise that ever came into my note.
Cam. I very well agree with you in the hopes of him. It is a gallant child; one that, indeed, physics the subject, makes old hearts fresh; they that went on crutches ere he was born, desire yet their life to see him a man.
Arch. Would they else be content to die?
Cam. Yes; if there were no other excuse why they should desire to live.
Arch. If the King had no son, they would desire to live on crutches till he had one.
\_Exeunt. Scene II.
The Same. A Room of State in the Palace.
Enter Leontes, Polixenes, Hermione, Mamillius, Camillo, and Attendants.
Polixenes. Nine changes of the wat'ry star have "been The shepherd's note, since we have left our throne Without a burthen. Time as long again Would be fill'd up, my brother, with our thanks:And yet we should, for perpetuity, Go hence in debt. And therefore, like a cipher, Yet standing in rich place, I multiply, With one 'we thank you' many thousands more That go before it.
Leontes. Stay your thanks a while;
And pay them when you part.
Pol. Sir, that's to-morrow.
I am question'd by my fears, of what may chance,
Leon. We are tougher, brother,
Than you can put us to't.
Pol. No longer stay.
Leon. One sev'-night longer.
Pol. Very sooth, to-morrow.
Leon. We'll part the time between's, then: and in that I'll no gainsaying.
Pol. Press me not, 'beseech you, so;
There is no tongue that moves, none, none i' th' world,
So soon as yours, could win me: so it should now,
Leon. Tongue-ti'd, our Queen? Speak you.
Hermione. I had thought, sir, to have held my peace, until You had drawn oaths from him not to stay. You, sir, Charge him too coldly. Tell him you are sure All in Bohemia's well: this satisfaction The by-gone day proclaim'd: say this to him, He's beat from his best ward.
Leon. Well said, Hermione.
Her. To tell he longs to see his son, were strong: But let him say so, then, and let him go; But let him swear so, and he shall not stay; We'll thwack him hence with distaffs. — Yet of your royal presence [to Polixenes] I'll adventure The borrow of a week. When at Bohemia You take my lord, I'll give him my commission, To let him there a month behind the gest Prefix'd for's parting: yet, good deed, Leontes, I love thee not a jar o' th' clock behind What lady she her lord. — You'll stay?
Pol. No, Madam.
Her. Nay, but you will?Pol. I may not, verily.
Her. Verily!You put me off with limber vows: but I, Though you would seek t' unsphere the stars with oaths,