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Leontes, king of Sicilia.
Hermione, queen to Leontes.
Emilia, a lady; } attending the queen.
Lords, ladies, and attendants; satyrs for a dance ; shepherds, WINTER'S TALE.
shepherdesses, guards, &c.
Scene, sometimes in Sicilia, sometimes in Bohemia.
SCENE I. Sicilia. An Antechamber in Leontes'
Enter Camillo and Archidamus. Arch. If you shall chance, Camillo, to visit Bohemia, on the like occasion whereon my service 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 attornied *, with interchange of gifts, letters, loving embassies; that they have seemed to be together, though absent; shook hands, as over a vast t; 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 subject I, 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,
A room of state in the palace.
Enter Leontes, Polixenes, Hermione, Mamillius,
Camillo, and attendants. Pol. Nine changes of the wat'ry 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,
* Nobly supplied by substitution of embassies. + Wide waste of country.
Affords a cordial to the state.