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The same. A room of state in the palace.

Enter Leontes, Polixenes, Hermione, Mamillius, Camillo, and attendants.

Pol. Nine changes of the wat'ry star have been The shepherd's note, since we have left our throne Without a burden: time as long again

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

Go hence in debt: And therefore, like a cipher,

Yet standing in rich place, I multiply,

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


Stay your thanks awhile;

And pay them when you part.


Sir, that's to-morrow. I am question'd by my fears, of what may chance, Or breed upon our absence: That may blow No sneaping winds at home, to make us say, This is put forth too truly! Besides, I have stay'd To tire your royalty.


We are tougher, brother,

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


I'll no gain-saying.


Press me not, 'beseech you, so;

There is no tongue that moves, none, none i' the


* Nipping.

So soon as yours, could win me: so it should now,
Were there necessity in your request, although
"Twere needful I denied it. My affairs

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 save both,
Farewell, our brother.


Tongue-tied, our queen? speak you. Her. I had thought, sir, to have held my peace,


You had drawn oaths from him, not to stay. You,

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Charge him too coldly: Tell him, you are sure,
All in Bohemia's well: this satisfaction..

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


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Well said, Hermione.

Her. To tell, he longs to see his son, were strong: But let him say so then, and let him go;

But let him swear so, and he shall not stay,

We'll thwack him hence with distaffs.

Yet of your royal presence [To Polixenes.] I'll ad


The borrow of a week. When at Bohemia

You take my lord, I'll give him my commission,
To let him there a month, behind the gest*
Prefix'd for his parting: yet, good deed+, Leontes,
I love thee not a jar‡ o' the clock behind
What lady she her lord.-You'll stay?

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You put me off with limber § vows: But I,

Though you would seek to unsphere the stars with oaths,

* Gests were the names of the stages where the king appointed to lie, during a royal progress.

+ Indeed.



Should yet say, 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,

Not like a guest; so you shall pay your fees,
When you depart, and save your thanks. How say

My prisoner? or my guest? by your dread verily, One of them you shall be.


Your guest then, madam :

To be your prisoner, should import offending;
Which is for me less easy to commit,

Than you to punish.


Not your gaoler then,

But your kind hostess. Come, I'll question you Of my lord's tricks, and yours, when you were boys; You were pretty lordings* then.

Pol. We were, fair queen, Two lads, that thought there was no more behind, But such a day to-morrow as to-day,

And to be boy eternal.

Her. Was not my lord the verier wag o' the two?
Pol. We were as twinn'd lambs, that did frisk i'

the sun,

And bleat the one at the other: what we chang'd,
Was innocence for innocence; we knew not
The doctrine of ill-doing, no, nor dream'd
That any did: Had we pursued that life,
And our weak spirits ne'er been higher rear'd
With stronger blood, we should have answer'd heaven
Boldly, Not guilty; the imposition clear'd,
Hereditary ours t.


By this we gather,

You have tripp'd since.


O my most sacred lady,

Temptations have since then been born to us: for In those unfledg'd days was my wife a girl;

* A diminutive of lords.
+ Setting aside original sin.

Your precious self had then not cross'd the eyes
Of my young play-fellow.


Grace to boot!

Of this make no conclusion; lest you say,
Your queen and I are devils: Yet, go on;

The offences we have made you do, we'll answer;
If you first sinn'd with us, and that with us

You did continue fault, and that you slipp'd not
With any but with us.

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Her. What? have I twice said well? when was't


I pr'ythee, tell me: Cram us with praise, and make us As fat as tame things: One good deed, dying tongue.


Slaughters a thousand, waiting upon that.

Our praises are our wages: You may ride us,
With one soft kiss, a thousand furlongs, ere
With spur we heat an acre. But to the goal ;-
My last good was, to entreat his stay;

What was my first? it has an elder sister,

Or I mistake you: O, would her name were Grace! But once before I spoke to the purpose. When?

Nay, let me hav't; I long.


Why, that was when

Three crabbed months had sour'd themselves to death,

Ere I could make thee open thy white hand,

And clap thyself my love; then didst thou utter,
I am yours for ever.


It is Grace, indeed.

Why, lo you now, I have spoke to the purpose twice: The one for ever earn'd a royal husband;

The other, for some while a friend.

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[Giving her hand to Polixenes.


Too hot, too hot:


To mingle friendship far, is mingling bloods.
I have tremor cordis on me: my heart dances;
But not for joy,-not joy-This entertainment
May a free face put on; derive a liberty
From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom,
And well become the agent: it may, I grant:
But to be paddling palms, and pinching fingers,
As now they are; and making practis'd smiles,
As in a looking-glass;-and then to sigh, as 'twere
The mort o' the deert; O, that is entertainment T
My bosom likes not, nor my brows.-Mamillius,
Art thou my boy?


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Ay, my good lord.


Why that's my bawcock. What, hast smutch'd thy


They say, it's a copy out of mine. Come, captain.
We must be neat; not neat, but cleanly, captain :
And yet the steer, the heifer, and the calf,
Are all call'd, neat Still virginalling §

[Observing Polixenes and Hermione: Upon his palm?-How now, you wanton calf?

Art thou my calf?


Yes, if you will, my lord.

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Leon. Thou want'st a rough pash, and the shoots

that I have,

To be full like me:-yet, they say, we are

Almost as like as eggs; women say so,
That will say any thing: But were they false
As o'er-died blacks, as wind, as waters; false
As dice are to be wish'd, by one that fixes

* Trembling of the heart.

The tune played at the death of the deer.
Hearty fellow.

i. e. Playing with her fingers as if on a spinnet. Thou wantest a rough head, and the budding horns that I have.

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