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LEONTES, King of Sicilia.
Other Sicilian Lords.
ARCHIDAMUS, a Lord of Bithynia.
Old Shepherd, reputed Father of Perdita.
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.
N.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 juftice ought not to be thought capable; and as he hath turn'd quite anew the story contair.'d in the old paltry book of Doraftus and Faunia, changing most of the main circumstances and all the names of the perfons; it is probable he removed this impropriety and placed the feene in Bithynia, which the ignorance and negligence of the first Tranferibers or Printers might corrupt and bring back again to Bohemia by a lefs variation in the letters than they have been guilty of in numberless 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 services are now on foot, you fhall fee, as I have faid, great difference betwixt our Bithynia and our Sicilia.
Com. I think, this coming fummer, the King of Sicilia means to pay Bithynia the vifitation which he juftly owes him.
Arch. Wherein our entertainment fhall fhame us, we will be juftified in our loves; for indeed
Cam. 'Beseech you
Arch. Verily I fpeak it in the freedom of my knowledge; we cannot with such magnificence-in fo rare - I know not what to fay-v -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 inftru&ts me, and as mine honefty puts it to utterance.
Cam, Sicilia cannot fhew himself over-kind to Bithynia;
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 fociety, 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 vast sea, 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 unfpeakable comfort of your young Prince Mamillus: 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, phyficks the subject, makes old hearts fresh: they that went on crutches ere he was born defire yet their life to fee him a man.
Arch. Would they elfe 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 ftar hath been
The fhepherd's note, fince we have left our throne
Go hence in debt: and therefore, like a cypher,
Lee. Stay your thanks a while,
I'm queftion'd by my fears, of what may chance
To tire your Royalty.
Leo. We'll part the time between's then: and in that I'll no gain-faying,
Pol. Prefs me not, 'befeech you!
There is no tongue that moves, none, none i'th' world
Leo. Tongue-ty'd our Queen? fpeak you.
Her. I had thought, Sir, to have held my peace, until You had drawn oaths from him not to stay: you, Sir, Charge him too coldly. Tell him you are fure All in Bithynia's well: this fatisfaction
The by-gone day proclaim'd; say this to him,
Leo. Well faid, Hermione.
Her. To tell, he longs to fee his fon, were strong;