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SCENE I. Sicilia. An Antechamber in Leontes' Palace.
Enter CAMILLO and ARCHIDAMUS.
Archidamus. 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.
Cam. 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 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 attorneyed,' 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, physics the subject,3 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.
SCENE II. The same.
A Room of State in the Palace.
Enter LEONTES, POLIXENES, HERMIONE, MAMILlius, CAMILLO, and Attendants.
Pol. Nine changes of the watery star have been The shepherd's note, since we have left our throne Without a burden. Time as long again. Would be filled up, my brother, with our thanks;
1 "Royally attorneyed." Nobly supplied by substitution of embassies. 2 i. e. over a wide, intervening space.
3 "Physics the subject." Affords a cordial to the state; has the power of assuaging the sense of misery.
And yet we should, for perpetuity,
Go hence in debt. And therefore, like a cipher,
Stay your thanks awhile; And pay them when you part.
Sir, that's to-morrow. I am questioned 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 staid To tire your royalty.
Leon. We are tougher, brother,
Than you can put us to't.
I'll no gainsaying.
Very sooth, to-morrow. Leon. We'll part the time between 's then; and in that
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, To you a charge and trouble. To save both, Farewell, our brother.
Tongue-tied, our queen? Speak you. Her. I had thought, sir, to have held my peace,
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
1 That for Oh that! is not uncommon in old writers.
2 Sneaping, nipping.
3 i. e. to make me say, I had too good reason for my fears concerning what may happen in my absence from home.
The by-gone day proclaimed; say this to him,
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;
Yet of your royal presence [To PoL.] I'll adventure
Her. Nay, but you will?
may not, verily.
Should yet say, Sir, no going. Verily,
As potent as a lord's. Will you go yet?
you! My prisoner, or my guest? One of them you shall be.
You put me off with limber vows; but I,
Though you would seek to unsphere the stars with
Force me to keep you as a prisoner,
By your dread verily,
Than you to punish.
Not your jailer, then,
1 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 ages or places of rest in a progress or journey, especially a royal one.
2 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.
But your kind hostess. Come, I'll question you
We were, fair queen,
Two lads that thought there was no more behind,
And to be boy eternal.
Her. Was not my lord the verier wag o' the two?
And bleat the one at the other. What we changed,
That any did. Had we pursued that life,
By this we gather,
you were boys;
O, my most sacred lady,
Grace to boot! 2
Of this make no conclusion;
Is he won yet?
Leon. Her. He'll stay, my Leon. At my request he would not. Hermione, my dearest, thou never spok'st To better purpose.
1 i. e. setting aside the original sin, bating the imposition from the offence of our first parents, we might have boldly protested our innocence. 2 "Grace to boot:" an exclamation equivalent to give us grace.