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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 services 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:1 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.
1 -—- our entertainment, &c.] Though we cannot give you equal entertainment, yet the consciousness of our good-will shall justify us. Johnson.
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,2 with interchange of gifts, letters, loving embassies; that they have seemed to be together, though absent; shook hands, as over a vast; and embraced, as it were, from the ends of opposed winds.3 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,4 makes old hearts fresh: they,
a royally attornied,] Nobly supplied by substitution of
embassies, &c. Johnson.
3 shook hands, as over a vast; and embraced, as it were,
from the ends of opposed winds."] Shakspeare has, more than once, taken his imagery from the prints, with which the books of his time were ornamented. If my memory do not deceive me, he had his eye on a wood cut in Holinshed, while writing the incantation of the weird sisters in Macbeth. There is also an allusion to a print of one of the Henries holding a sword adorned with crowns. In this passage he refers to a device common in the title-page of old books, of two hands extended from opposite clouds, and joined as in token of friendship over a wide waste of country. Hen Ley.
4 physicks the subject,] Affords a cordial to the state; has
the power of assuaging the sense of misery. Johnson.
tliat 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.
The same. A Room of State in the Palace.
Enter Leontes, Polixenes, Hekmione, 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, Go hence in debt: And therefore, like a cipher, Yet standing in rich place, I multiply, With one we-thank-you, many thousands more That go before it.
Leon. Stay your thanks awhile;
And pay them when you part.
Pol. Sir, that's to-morrow.
I am question'd by my fears, of what may chance,
• That may blow
No sneaping winds —] i. e. Oh ! that. Sneaping, nipping winds. 6 This is put forth too truly .'] i. e. to make me say, I had too good reason for my fears.
TOL. IV. L
Leon. We are tougher, brother,
Than you can put us to't.
Pol. No longer stay.
Leon. One seven-night longer.
Pol. Very sooth, to-morrow.
Leon. We'll part the time between's then: and in that I'll no gain-saying.
Pol. Press me not, 'beseech you, so;
There is no tongue that moves, none, none i' the
world, So soon as yours, could win me: so it should now, Were there necessity in your request, although 'Twere needful I denied it. My affairs Do even drag me homeward: which to hinder, Were, in your love, a whip to me; my stay, To you a charge, and trouble: to save both, Farewell, our brother.
Leon. Tongue-tied, our queen? speak 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 sure, All in Bohemia's well: this satisfaction7 The by-gone day proclaim'd; say this to him, He's beat from his best ward.
Leon. Well said, Hermione.
Her. To tell, he longs to see his son, were strong: But let him say so then, and let him go; But let him swear so, and he shall not stay, We'll thwack him hence with distaffs.— Yet of your real presence [To Polixenes.] I'll
adventure The borrow of a week. When at Bohemia
7 this satisfaction —] We had satisfactory accounts yesterday of the state of Bohemia. Johnson.
You take my lord, I'll give him my commission,
Pol. No, madam.
Her. Nay, but you will?
You put me off with limber vows: But I,
Should yet say, Sir, no going. Verily,
My prisoner? or my guest? by your dread verily, One of them you shall be.
Pol. Your guest then, madam:
To be your prisoner, should import offending;
Her. Not your gaoler then,
But your kind hostess. Come, I'll question you
• In-hind the gest —] Gest signifies a stage, or journey.
In the time of roital progresses the king's stages, as we may see by the journals of them in the herald's office, were called his gests; from the old French word giste, diversorium.
B i/et, good-deed,] signifies, indeed, in very deed.
1 —— a jar o' the cluck —] A jar is, I believe, a single repetition of the noise made by the pendulum of a clock: what children call the ticking of it. Steevens.