« PreviousContinue »
LEONTES, King of Sicilia,
N.B. The Country here called Bithynia hath in all former Editions been printed Bohemia an inland kingdom situated nearly in the center of Excrope, whereas many of the great incidents of the Play turn upon its being a maritime country of which Počixenes was the King. Thisis a blunder and an absurdity of which Shakespear in justice ought not to be thought capable; and as he hath turn’d quite anew the story containd in the old palery book of Deraffus and Faunia, changing inost of the main circumstances and all the names of the persons; it is probable he removed this impropriety and placed the scene in Bithynia, which the ignorance and negligence of the first Transcribers or Printers might corrupt and bring back again to Bohemia by a less variation in the letters than they have been guilty of in numberless other places of this Works,
A CT I. SCENE I.
A Palace. Enter Camillo, and Archidamus.. Arcb, F you shall chance, Camillo, to visit Bithynia,
on the like occasion whereon my services are now on foot, you shall see, as I have said, great difference betwixt our Bithynia and our
Sicilia, Com. I think, this coming summer, the King of Sicilia means to pay Bitbynia the visitation which he justly owes him.
Arcb. Wherein our entertainment shall shame us, we will be justified in our loves ; for indeed
Cam. 'Beseech you
Arcb. 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, tho 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 honelty puts it to utterance.
Cam, Sicilia cannot thew himself over-kind to Bithynia ; VOL, IV,
they were train'd together in their childhoods; and there footed betwixt them then such an affection, which cannot chure but branch now. Since their more mature dignities and royal necessities made separation of their society, their incounters, though not personal, have been royally attornied with enterchange of gifts, letters, loving embassies, that they have seem'd to be together, tho' absent ; shook hands, as over a vast sea, and embrac'd as it were from the ends of opposed winds. The heav'ns continue their love!
Arcb. 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. I very well agree with you in the hopes of him! it is a gallant child, one that, indeed, physicks the subject, makes old hearts fresh: they that went on crutches ere he was born desire yet their life to see him a man.
Arcb. Would they else be content to die?
Cam. Yes, if there were no other excuse why they Thould desire to live.
Arch. If the King had no son, they would defire to live on crutches 'till he had one.
[Exeunt. SCENE II. Enter Leontes, Hermione, Mamillus,
Polixenes, Camillo, and Attendants.
Pol. Sir, that's to-morrow:
To tire your Royalty.
Leg. We are tougher, brother, Than you can put us to't.
Pol. No longer stay. Leo. One sev'n-night longer. Pol. Very sooth, to-morrow. Leo. We'll part the time between's then: and in that I'll no gain-saying,
Pol. Press me not, 'beseech you ! There is no tongue that moves, none, none i'th' world So foon as yours, could win me: so it should now Were there necessity in your requeft, altho' 'Twere needful I deny'd 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, Farewel, our brother!
Leo. Tongue-ty'd 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 Bitbynia's well : this fatisfaction The by-gone day proclaim'd ; say this to him, He's beat from his best ward,
Leo. Well said, Hermione.
Her. To tell, he longs to see his son, were frong ;
Pol. No, Madam.