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Dramatis Perfonæ.

LEONTES, King of Sicilia.
Polixenes, King of Bohemia.
Mamillius, young Prince of Sicilia.
Florizel, Prince of Bohemia.

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Another Sicilian Lord,

Archidamus, a Bohemian Lord.

Rogero, a Sicilian Gentleman.

An Attendant on the young Prince Mamillius.
Officers of a Court of Judicature.

Old Shepherd, reputed Father of Perdita.
Clown, his Son.

A Mariner.

Goaler.

Servant to the old Shepherd.

Autolicus, a Rogue.

Time, as Chorus.

Hermione, Queen to Leontes.

Perdita, Daughter to Leontes and Hermione.

Paulina, Wife to Antigonus.

Emilia, Attendant on the Queen..

Two other Ladies.

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Satyrs for a Dance, Shepherds, Shepherdesses, Guards, and

Attendants.

SCENE, fometimes in Sicilia; fometimes, in Bohemia.

THE

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IF you fhall chance, Camillo, to vifit Bohemia, on the like occafion whereon my fervices are now on foot; you fhall fee, as I have faid, great difference betwixt our Bohemia and your Sicilia.

Cam. I think, this coming fummer, the King of Sicilia means to pay Bohemia the vifitation, which he juftly owes him.

Arch. Wherein our entertainment shall shame 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 fuch magnificence- in

The Winter's Tale.] This Play throughout is written in the very Spirit of its Author. And in telling this homely and fimple, tho' agreeable, country Tale,

Our Sweetest Shakespear, fancy's child,

Warbles his native wood nutes wild.

MILTON.

This was neceffary to obferve in mere Juftice to the Play, as the Meannels of the Fable, and the extravagant Conduct of it, had mifled fome of great Name into a wrong Judgment of its Merit; which 2. as far as it regards Sentiment and Character, is scarce inferior to any of the whole Collection.

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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 speak, as my Understanding inftructs me and as mine honefty puts it to utterance.

Cam. Sicilia cannot fhew himself over-kind to Bohemia; 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 separation of their fociety, their encounters, though not perfonal, have been royally attornied with enterchange of gifts, letters, loving embaffies; that they have feem'd to be together, tho' absent; shook hands, as over a Vaft; and embrac'd, as it were, from the ends of oppofed winds. The heav'ns 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 promife, that ever came into iny note.

Cam. I very well agree with you in the hopes of him: it is a gallant child; one that, indeed, phyfics the fubject, 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 desire to live on crutches 'till he had one.

SCENE

SCENE II.
Opens to the Prefence.

Enter Leontes, Hermione, Mamillius, Polixenes,

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Pol.

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and Attendants.

INE Changes of the watry ftar hath been (The fhepherd's note,) fince we have left our Throne

B Without a burden: time as long again

od Would be fill'd up, my brother, with our thanks; And yet we should, for perpetuity,

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Go hence in debt: and therefore, like a cypher,
Yet ftanding in rich place, I multiply

With one, we thank you, many thousands more
That go before it.

Leo. Stay your thanks a while;

An pay them, when you part.

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Pol. Sir, that's to-morrow:

I'm queftion'd by my fears, of what may chance,
Or breed upon our abfence, *may there blow
No fneaping winds at home, to make us fay,
This is put forth too truly. Befides, I have ftay'd
To tire your royalty.

Leo. We are tougher, brother,

Than

you can put us to't.

Pol. No longer Stay.

Leo. One fev'n-night longer.

Pol. Very footh, to-morrow.

Leo. We'll part the time between's then: and in that

I'll no gain-faying.

Pol. Prefs me not, 'befeech you, so;

There is no tongue that moves, none, none i'th'world, So foon as yours, could win me: fo it fhould now, Were there neceffity in your request, altho'

'Twere needful I deny'd it. My affairs

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No neaping winds at home, &c.] We should read it thus,
may there blow, &c.

Do

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 fave both,
Farewel, our brother.

Leo. Tongue-ty'd, our Queen? speak you.

Her. I had thought, Sir, to've held my peace, until You'ad drawn oaths from him not to ftay: you, Sir, Charge him too coldly. Tell him, you are fure, All in Bohemia's well: this fatisfaction

The by-gone day proclaim'd; fay this to him,
He's beat from his best ward

Leo. Well faid, Hermione.

Her. To tell, he longs to fee his fon, were ftrong,

But let him fay fo then, and let him go;

But let him fwear fo, and he shall not stay;

We'll thwack him hence with distaffs.

*

[To Pol.

Yet of your royal prefence I'll adventure
The borrow of a week. When at Bohemia
You take my lord, I'll give you my commiffion,
To let him there a month, behind the geft
Prefix'd for's parting: yet, good heed, Leontes,
I love thee not a jar o'th' clock behind
What lady fhe her lord. You'll stay?

Pol. No, madam.

Her. Nay, but you will?

Pol. I may not, verily.

Her. Verily?

You put me off with limber vows; but I,

Tho' you would feek t'unfphere the ftars with oaths, Should yet fay, Sir, no going: verily,

You shall not go; a lady's verily is

As potent as a lord's. Will you go, yet?
Force me to keep you as a prisoner,

behind the geft] Mr. Theobald fays, he can neither trace, nor underftand the Phrafe, and therefore thinks it, fhould be juft: But the Word Geft is right, and fignifies a Stage or Journey. In the Time of Royal Progreffes the King's Stages, as we may fee by the Journals of them in the Herald's Office, were called his Gefts; from the old French Word Gifte, Diverforium.

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