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 IV. Scene I.

Scene I.—Bohemia. A Room in the Palace of
POLIXENES.

Enter POLIXENES and CAMILLO.

Pol. I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more
importunate: 'tis a sickness denying thee any-
thing; a death to grant this.
Cam. It is fifteen years since I saw my
country: though I have for the most part been
aired 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 departure.
Pol. As thou lovest 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 considered,—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 nam-
ing punishes me with the remembrance of that
penitent, as thou callest him, and reconciled
king, my brother; whose loss of his most precious
queen and children are even now to be afresh la-
mented. Say to me, when sawest thou the Prince
Florizel, my son? Kings are no less unhappy,
their issue not being gracious, than they are in los-
ing them when they have approved their virtues.
Cam. 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 retired from court, and is less
frequent to his princely exercises than formerly
he hath appeared.
Pol. I have considered 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 shep-
herd; a man, they say, that from very nothing,
and beyond the imagination of his neiglibours,
is grown into an unspeakable estate.
Cam. 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.
Pol. 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 simpli-
city 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.
Cam. I willingly obey your command.
Pol. My best Camillo!—We must disguise
ourselves. [Exeunt.
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