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Arch. Believe me, I speak as my understanding instructs me, and as mine honesty puts it to utter

ance.

Cam. Sicilia cannot show himself over-kind to Bohemia. They were trained 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 attornied ?, with interchange of gifts, letters, loving embassies; that they have seemed to be together, though absent; shook hands, as over a vast?; and embraced, 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, physicks the subjects, 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.

16

2

* Royally attornied. Nobly supplied by. substitution of embassies.

2 i. e. over a wide intervening space.

3 • Physicks the subject.' Affords a cordial to the state ; has the power of assuaging the sense of misery.

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SCENE II.

The same.

A Room of State in the Palace. Enter LEONTES, POLIXENES, HERMIONE, MA

MILLIUS, CAMILLO, and Attendants.
Pol. Nine changes of the watry star have been
The shepherd's note, since we have left our throne
Without a burden: 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.
Leon.

Stay your thanks awhile;
And pay them when you part.
Pol.

Sir, that's to-morrow.
I am question d by my fears, of what may chance,
Or breed upon our absence: That* may blow
No sneaping winds at home, to make us say,
This is put forth too truly! Besides, I have stay'd
To tire your royalty.
Leon.

We are tougher, brother, Than

you can put us to't. Pol.

No longer stay.
Leon. One seven-night longer.
Pol.

Very sooth, to-morrow. Leon. We'll part the time between's then: and in that I'll no gain-saying.

^ That for Oh that! is not uncommon in old writers. So in Romeo and Juliet :

That runaway's eyes may wink.' 5 Sneaping, nipping.

6 i.e. to make me stay. I had too good reason for my fears concerning what may happen in my absence from home.

5

Pol.

Press me not, ’beseech you, so; There is no tongue that moves, none, none i'the world, So soon as yours, could win me: so it should now, Were there necessity in your request, although "Twere needful I denied it. My affairs Do even drag me homeward: which to hinder Were, in your love, a whip to me; my stay,

a To you a charge and trouble: to save both, Farewell, our brother.

Leon. Tongue-tied, our queen? speak you. Her. 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? Prefixʼd for his parting: yet, good deed 8, Leontes,

7 To let had for its synonymes to stay or stop; to let him there is to stay him there. Gests were scrolls in which were marked the stages or places of rest in a progress or journey, especially a royal one. Strype says that Cranmer entreated Cecil. To let him have the new resolved upon gests, from that time to the end, that he might from time to time know where the king was.' It is supposed to be derived from the old French word giste.

8 i. e. indeed, in very deed, in troth. Good deed is used in the same sense by the Earl of Surrey, Sir John Hayward, and Gascoigne.

I love thee not a jar o'the 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 to unsphere the stars with

oaths, Should yet say, Sir, no going. Verily, You shall not go; a lady's verily is As potent as a lord's. Will you go yet? Force me to keep you as a prisoner, Not like a guest; so you shall pay. your fees, When you depart, and save your thanks. How

say you? My prisoner? or my guest? by your dread verily, One of them you shall be. Pol.

Your guest then, madam: To be your prisoner, should import offending ; Which is for me less easy to commit, Than you to punish. Her.

Not your gaoler then, But your kind hostess. Come, I'll question you Of my lord's tricks, and yours, when you were boys; ; You were pretty lordings 9 then. Pol.

We

queen, Two lads that thought there was no more behind, But such a day to-morrow as to-day, And to be boy eternal.

Her. Was not my lord the verier wag o’the two? Pol. We were as twinn'd lambs, that did frisk

were, fair

; the sun,

And bleat the one at the other: what we chang’d, Was innocence for innocence; we knew not

Lordings, a diminutive of lords, often used by Chaucer,

9

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The doctrine of ill doing, nor dream'd
That any did : Had we pursued that life,
And our weak spirits ne'er been higher rear'd
With stronger blood, we should have answer'd heaven
Boldly, Not Guilty; the imposition clear'd 10,
Hereditary ours.
Her.

By this we gather,
You have tripp'd since.
Pol.

O my most sacred lady,
Temptations have since then been born to us : for
In those unfledg'd days was my wife a girl ;
Your precious self had then not cross'd the eyes
Of my young play-fellow.
Her.

Grace to boot 11! Of this make no conclusion; lest you say, Your queen and I are devils: Yet, go on; The offences we have made

you

we'll answer; If you

first sinn’d with us, and that with us
You did continue fault, and that you slipp'd not
With any but with us.
Leon.

Is he won yet ?
Her. He'll stay, my lord.
Leon.

At my request, he would not.
Hermione, my dearest, thou never spok’st
To better purpose.
Her.

Never ? Leon.

Never, but once. Her. What? have I twice said well ? when was't

before?

10 i.e. setting aside original sin, bating the imposition from the offence of our first parents, we might have boldly protested our innocence.

11 « Grace to boot.' An exclamation equivalent to give us grace. In King Richard III. we have :

· Saint George to boot.' The phrase has been well explained by the author of the Diversions of Purley.

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