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The Winter's Tale

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Act I, Scene 1

Antechamber in LEONTES’ palace.



  • Archidamus. 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. 5
  • Camillo. I think, this coming summer, the King of Sicilia
    means to pay Bohemia the visitation which he justly owes him.
  • Archidamus. Wherein our entertainment shall shame us we will be
    justified in our loves; for indeed—
  • Archidamus. 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 15
  • Camillo. You pay a great deal too dear for what's given freely.
  • Archidamus. Believe me, I speak as my understanding instructs me
    and as mine honesty puts it to utterance.
  • Camillo. Sicilia cannot show himself over-kind to Bohemia. 20
    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, 25
    though not personal, have been royally attorneyed
    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 30
    winds. The heavens continue their loves!
  • Archidamus. 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 35
    into my note.
  • Camillo. I very well agree with you in the hopes of him: it
    is a gallant child; one that indeed physics the
    subject, makes old hearts fresh: they that went on
    crutches ere he was born desire yet their life to 40
    see him a man.
  • Camillo. Yes; if there were no other excuse why they should
    desire to live.
  • Archidamus. If the king had no son, they would desire to live 45
    on crutches till he had one.