The Winter’s Tale
Act IV, Scene 2
Bohemia. A room in the palace of Polixenes.
- Enter Polixenes and Camillo.
Polixenes1 - 2
- I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more importunate. ’Tis a
- sickness denying thee any thing; a death to grant this.
Camillo3 - 8
- It is fifteen years since I saw my country; though I have
- for the most part been air’d abroad, I desire to lay my
- bones there. Besides, the penitent King, my master, hath
- sent for me, to whose feeling sorrows I might be some allay
- (or I o’erween to think so), which is another spur to my
Polixenes9 - 25
- As thou lov’st me, Camillo, wipe not out the rest of thy
- services by leaving me now. The need I have of thee, thine
- own goodness hath made. Better not to have had thee than
- thus to want thee. Thou, having made me businesses which
- none without thee can sufficiently manage, must either stay
- to execute them thyself, or take away with thee the very
- services thou hast done; which if I have not enough
- consider’d (as too much I cannot), to be more thankful to
- thee shall be my study, and my profit therein the heaping
- friendships. Of that fatal country Sicilia, prithee speak no
- more, whose very naming punishes me with the remembrance of
- that penitent (as thou call’st him) and reconcil’d king, my
- brother, whose loss of his most precious queen and children
- are even now to be afresh lamented. Say to me, when saw’st
- thou the Prince Florizel, my son? Kings are no less unhappy,
- their issue not being gracious, than they are in losing them
- when they have approv’d their virtues.
Camillo26 - 30
- Sir, it is three days since I saw the Prince. What his
- happier affairs may be, are to me unknown; but I have
- (missingly) noted, he is of late much retir’d from court,
- and is less frequent to his princely exercises than formerly
- he hath appear’d.
Polixenes31 - 36
- I have consider’d so much, Camillo, and with some care, so
- far that I have eyes under my service which look upon his
- removedness; from whom I have this intelligence, that he is
- seldom from the house of a most homely shepherd, a man, they
- say, that from very nothing, and beyond the imagination of
- his neighbors, is grown into an unspeakable estate.
Camillo37 - 39
- I have heard, sir, of such a man, who hath a daughter of
- most rare note. The report of her is extended more than can
- be thought to begin from such a cottage.
Polixenes40 - 46
- That’s likewise part of my intelligence; but (I fear) the
- angle that plucks our son thither. Thou shalt accompany us
- to the place, where we will (not appearing what we are) have
- some question with the shepherd; from whose simplicity I
- think it not uneasy to get the cause of my son’s resort
- thither. Prithee be my present partner in this business, and
- lay aside the thoughts of Sicilia.
- I willingly obey your command.
- My best Camillo! We must disguise ourselves.