William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale in the complete original text.
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The Winter's Tale

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Act I. Scene I.

Act I. Scene I.—Sicilia. An Antechamber in
LEONTES' Palace.


Arch. If you shall chance, Camillo, to visit
Bohemia, on the like occasion whereon my ser-
vices are now on foot, you shall see, as I have
said, great difference betwixt our Bohemia and
your Sicilia.
Cam. I think, this coming summer, the King
of Sicilia means to pay Bohemia the visitation
which he justly owes him.
Arch. Wherein our entertainment shall shame
us we will be justified in our loves: for, indeed,—
Cam. Beseech you,—
Arch. 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.
Cam. You pay a great deal too dear for what's
given freely.
Arch. Believe me, I speak as my understand-
ing instructs me, and as mine honesty puts it to
Cam. 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 ma-
ture dignities and royal necessities made sepa-
ration of their society, their encounters, 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 em-
braced, as it were, from the ends of opposed
winds. The heavens continue their loves!
Arch. I think there is not in the world either
malice or matter to alter it. You have an un-
speakable comfort of your young Prince Mamil-
lius: 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
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.
Arch. Would they else be content to die?
Cam. Yes; if there were no other excuse why
they should desire to live.
Arch. If the king had no son, they would
desire to live on crutches till he had one.
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