Actus Quartus. Scena Prima.
Enter Time, the Chorus.
Time. I that please some, try all: both ioy and terror Of good, and bad: that makes, and vnfolds error, Now take vpon me (in the name of Time) To vse my wings: Impute it not a crime To me, or my swift passage, that I slide Ore sixteene yeeres, and leaue the growth vntride Of that wide gap, since it is in my powre To orethrow Law, and in one selfe-borne howre To plant, and orewhelme Custome. Let me passe The same I am, ere ancient'st Order was, Or what is now receiu'd. I witnesse to The times that brought them in, so shall I do To th' freshest things now reigning, and make stale The glistering of this present, as my Tale Now seemes to it: your patience this allowing, I turne my glasse, and giue my Scene such growing As you had slept betweene: Leontes leauing Th' effects of his fond iealousies, so greeuing That he shuts vp himselfe. Imagine me (Gentle Spectators) that I now may be In faire Bohemia, and remember well, I mentioned a sonne o'th' Kings, which Florizell I now name to you: and with speed so pace To speake of Perdita, now growne in grace Equall with wond'ring. What of her insues I list not prophesie: but let Times newes Be knowne when 'tis brought forth. A shepherds daughter And what to her adheres, which followes after, Is th' argument of Time: of this allow, If euer you haue spent time worse, ere now: If neuer, yet that Time himselfe doth say, He wishes earnestly, you neuer may. Enter.
Enter Polixenes, and Camillo.
Pol. I pray thee (good Camillo) be no more importunate: 'tis a sicknesse denying thee any thing: a death to grant this
Cam. It is fifteene yeeres since I saw my Countrey: though I haue (for the most part) bin ayred abroad, I desire to lay my bones there. Besides, the penitent King (my Master) hath sent for me, to whose feeling sorrowes I might be some allay, or I oreweene to thinke so) which is another spurre to my departure
Pol. As thou lou'st me (Camillo) wipe not out the rest of thy seruices, by leauing me now: the neede I haue of thee, thine owne goodnesse hath made: better not to haue had thee, then thus to want thee, thou hauing made me Businesses, (which none (without thee) can sufficiently manage) must either stay to execute them thy selfe, or take away with thee the very seruices thou hast done: which if I haue not enough considered (as too much I cannot) to bee more thankefull to thee, shall bee my studie, and my profite therein, the heaping friendshippes. Of that fatall Countrey Sicillia, prethee speake no more, whose very naming, punnishes me with the remembrance of that penitent (as thou calst him) and reconciled King my brother, whose losse of his most precious Queene & Children, are euen now to be a-fresh lamented. Say to me, when saw'st thou the Prince Florizell my son? Kings are no lesse vnhappy, their issue, not being gracious, then they are in loosing them, when they haue approued their Vertues
Cam. Sir, it is three dayes since I saw the Prince: what his happier affayres may be, are to me vnknowne: but I haue (missingly) noted, he is of late much retyred from Court, and is lesse frequent to his Princely exercises then formerly he hath appeared
Pol. I haue considered so much (Camillo) and with some care, so farre, that I haue eyes vnder my seruice, which looke vpon his remouednesse: from whom I haue this Intelligence, that he is seldome from the house of a most homely shepheard: a man (they say) that from very nothing, and beyond the imagination of his neighbors, is growne into an vnspeakable estate