The Winters Tale


William Shakespeare

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Classic Literature Library

The Winters Tale Page 01

Actus Primus. Scoena Prima.

Enter Camillo and Archidamus.

Arch. If you shall chance (Camillo) to visit Bohemia, on the like occasion whereon my seruices are now on-foot, you shall see (as I haue said) great difference betwixt our Bohemia, and your Sicilia

Cam. I thinke, this comming Summer, the King of Sicilia meanes to pay Bohemia the Visitation, which hee iustly owes him

Arch. Wherein our Entertainment shall shame vs: we will be iustified in our Loues: for indeed- Cam. 'Beseech you- Arch. Verely I speake it in the freedome of my knowledge: we cannot with such magnificence- in so rare- I know not what to say- Wee will giue you sleepie Drinkes, that your Sences (vn-intelligent of our insufficience) may, though they cannot prayse vs, as little accuse vs

Cam. You pay a great deale to deare, for what's giuen freely

Arch. 'Beleeue me, I speake as my vnderstanding instructs me, and as mine honestie puts it to vtterance

Cam. Sicilia cannot shew himselfe ouer-kind to Bohemia: They were trayn'd together in their Childhoods; and there rooted betwixt them then such an affection, which cannot chuse but braunch now. Since their more mature Dignities, and Royall Necessities, made seperation of their Societie, their Encounters (though not Personall) hath been Royally attornyed with enter-change of Gifts, Letters, louing Embassies, that they haue seem'd to be together, though absent: shooke hands, as ouer a Vast; and embrac'd as it were from the ends of opposed Winds. The Heauens continue their Loues

Arch. I thinke there is not in the World, either Malice or Matter, to alter it. You haue an vnspeakable comfort of your young Prince Mamillius: it is a Gentleman of the greatest Promise, that euer 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 Subiect, makes old hearts fresh: they that went on Crutches ere he was borne, 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 liue

Arch. If the King had no Sonne, they would desire to liue on Crutches till he had one.


Scoena Secunda.

Enter Leontes, Hermione, Mamillius, Polixenes, Camillo.

Pol. Nine Changes of the Watry-Starre hath been The Shepheards Note, since we haue left our Throne Without a Burthen: Time as long againe Would be fill'd vp (my Brother) with our Thanks, And yet we should, for perpetuitie, Goe hence in debt: And therefore, like a Cypher (Yet standing in rich place) I multiply With one we thanke you, many thousands moe, That goe before it

Leo. Stay your Thanks a while, And pay them when you part

Pol. Sir, that's to morrow: I am question'd by my feares, of what may chance, Or breed vpon our absence, that may blow No sneaping Winds at home, to make vs say, This is put forth too truly: besides, I haue stay'd To tyre your Royaltie

Leo. We are tougher (Brother) Then you can put vs to't

Pol. No longer stay

Leo. One Seue' night longer

Pol. Very sooth, to morrow

Leo. Wee'le part the time betweene's then: and in that Ile no gaine-saying

Pol. Presse me not ('beseech you) so: There is no Tongue that moues; none, none i'th' World So soone as yours, could win me: so it should now, Were there necessitie in your request, although 'Twere needfull I deny'd it. My Affaires Doe euen drag me home-ward: which to hinder, Were (in your Loue) a Whip to me; my stay, To you a Charge, and Trouble: to saue both, Farewell (our Brother.) Leo. Tongue-ty'd our Queene? speake you

William Shakespeare
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