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ARCHIDAMUS, a Lord of Bithynia.
AUTOLICUS, a Roguish Pedlar.
HERMIONE, Queen to Leontes,
PERDITA, Daughter to Leontes and Hermione
Goaler, Shepherds, Shepherdesses, and Attendants. SCENE, partly in Sicilia, and partly in Bithynia. The plot taken from the old ftory-book of Doraftus and Faunia,
.B. The Country here call'd Bithynia hath in all former Editions been printed Bohemia an inland kingdom fituated nearly in the center of Europe, whereas many of the great incidents of the Play turn upon its being a maritime country of which Polixenes was the King. This is a blunder and an abfurdity of which Shakespear in justice ought not to be thought capable; and as he hath turn'd quite anew the story contain'd in the old paltry book of Doraftus and Fannia, changing most of the main circumftances and all the names of the Perfons; it is probable he removed this impropriety and placed the fcene in Bithynia, which the ignorance and negligence of the firft Tranfcribers or Printers might corrupt and bring back again to Bohemia by a lefs variation in the letters than they have been guilty of in aumberlefs other places of this Work.
A Palace. Enter Camillo, and Archidamus.
F you fhall chance, Camillo, to vifit Bithynia, on the like occafion whereon my fervices are now on foot, you fhall fee, as I have faid, great difference betwixt our Bithynia and our Sicilia.
Cam. I think, this coming fummer, the King of Sicilia means to pay Bithynia the vifitation which he justly owes him.
Arch. Wherein our entertainment shall shame us, we will be juftified in our loves; for indeed
Cam. 'Befeech you
Arch. Verily I fpeak it in the freedom of my knowledge; we cannot with fuch magnificence-in fo rare-I know not what to fay-we will give you fleepy drinks, that your fenfes (unintelligent of our infufficience) may, tho' they cannot praise us, as little accufe us.
Cam. You pay a great deal too dear, for what's given freely.
Arch. Believe me, I fpeak as my understanding inftructs me, and as mine honefty puts it to utterance.
Cam. Sicilia cannot fhew himself over-kind to Bitlynia;
they were train'd together in their childhoods; and there rooted betwixt them then fuch an affection, which cannot chufe but branch now. Since their more mature dignities and royal neceffities made feparation of their society, their incounters, though not perfonal, have been royally attornied with enterchange of gifts, letters, loving embaffies, that they have feem'd to be together, tho' abfent; fhook hands, as over a vaft fea, and embrac'd as it were from the ends of oppofed winds. The heav'ns continue their love!
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 Mamillus: it is a gentleman of the greatest promise that ever came into my note.
Cam. very well agree with you in the hopes of him : it is a gallant child, one that, indeed, phyficks the fubject, makes old hearts fresh: they that went on crutches ere he was born defire yet their life to see him a man.
Arch. Would they else be content to die?
Cam. Yes, if there were no other excufe why they fhould defire to live.
Arch. If the King had no fon, they would defire to live on crutches 'till he had one. [Exeunt. SCENE II. Enter Leontes, Hermione, Mamillus, Polixenes, Camillo, and Attendants.
Pol. Nine changes of the watry star hath been
Go hence in debt: and therefore, like a cypher,
Leo. Stay your thanks a while,
And pay them when you part.
Pol. Sir, that's to-morrow: