Characters In the Play
LEONTES, King of SICILIA
HERMIONE, Queen of Sicilia
MAMILLIUS, their son
PERDITA, their daughter
POLIXENES, King of BOHEMIA
FLORIZELL, his son
CAMILLO, a courtier, friend to Leontes and then to Polixenes ANTIGONUS, a Sicilian courtier
PAULINA, his wife and lady-in-waiting to Hermione
CLEOMENES courtier in Sicilia
DION courtier in Sicilia
EMILIA, a lady-in-waiting to Hermione
SHEPHERD, foster father to Perdita
AUTOLYCUS, former servant to Florizell, now a rogue ARCHIDAMUS, a Bohemian courtier
TIME, as Chorus
TWO LADIES attending on Hermione
LORDS, SERVANTS, and GENTLEMEN attending on Leontes
An OFFICER of the court
MOPSA shepherdess in Bohemia
DORCAS shepherdess in Bohemia
SERVANT to the Shepherd
SHEPHERDS and SHEPHERDESSES
Twelve COUNTRYMEN disguised as satyrs
Enter Camillo and Archidamus.
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.
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 -
CAMILLO Beseech you -
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 us.
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. 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, hath 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 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 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 see him a man.
ARCHIDAMUS Would they else be content to die?
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 five on crutches till he had one.
Excerpted from The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare Copyright © 1995 by William Shakespeare. Excerpted by permission.
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