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ARCHIDAMUS, a Lord of Bithynia.
AUTOLICUS, a Roguish Pedlar.
HERMIONE, Queen to Leontes.
PERDITA, Daughter to Leontes and Hermione!
Goaler, Shepherds, Shepherdeffes, and Attendants. SCENE, partly in Sicilia, and partly in Bithynia. The plot taken from the old ftory-book of Doraftus and Faunia.
N B. The Country here call'd Bithynia hath in all former Edi tions been printed Bohemia an inland kingdom fituated nearly in the center of Europe, whereas many of the great incid nts of the Play turn upon its being a maritime country of which Pol xenes was the King. This is a blunder and an abfurdity of which Shake/rear in justice ought not to be thought capable: and as he hath turn'd quite anew the ftory contain'd in the old paltry book of Doraftus and Faunia, changing moft of the main circumstances and all the names of the Perfons; it is probable he removed this impropriety and placed the fcene in Bithynia, which the ignorance and negligence of the first Tranfcribers or Printers might corrupt and bring back again to Bobe mia by a lefs variation in the letters than they have been guilty of in numberless other places of this Work.
A Palace. Enter Camillo, and Archidamus.
Cam. I think, this coming fummer, the King of Sicilia means to pay Bithynia the vifitation which he justly owes
Arch. Wherein our entertainment fhall fhame us, we will be juftified in our loves; for indeed
Cam. Befeech you
Arch. Verily I fpeak it in the freedom of my knowledge we cannot with fuch magnificence-in fo rare-I know not what to fay-we will give you fleepy drinks, that your fenfes (unintelligent of our infufficience) may, tho' they cannot praise us, as little accufe us.
Cam. You pay a great deal too dear, for what's given freely.
Arch. Believe me, I fpeak as my understanding instructs me, and as mine honefty puts it to utterance.
Cam. Sicilia cannot fhew himself over-kind to Bithynias VOL. W.
they were train'd together in their childhoods; and there rooted betwixt them then fuch an affection, which cannot chufe but branch now. Since their more mature dignities and royal neceffities made feparation of their fociety, their incounters, though not perfonal, have been royally attornied with enterchange of gifts, letters, loving embaffies, that they have feem'd to be together, tho' absent; fhook hands, as over a vast sea, and embrac'd as it were from the ends of oppofed winds. The heav'ns continue their love!
Arch. I think there is not in the world either malice or matter to alter it. You have an unspeakable comfort of your young Prince Mamillus: it is a gentleman of the greatest promise that ever came into my note. Cam. I well agree very with you in the hopes of him : it is a gallant child, one that, indeed, phyficks the fubject, makes old hearts fresh: they that went on crutches ere he was born defire yet their life to fee him a man.
Arch. Would they else be content to die ?
Cam. Yes, if there were no other excuse why they should defire to live.
Arch. If the King had no fon, they would defire to live on crutches 'till he had one. [Exeunt. SCENE II. Enter Leontes, Hermione, Mamillus, Polixenes, Camillo, and Attendants.
Pol. Nine changes of the watry ftar hath been The fhepherd's note, fince we have left our throne Without a burthen; time as long again
Would be fill'd up, my brother, with our thanks,
Go hence in debt and therefore, like a cypher,
With one we thank you, many thousands more
Leo. Stay your thanks a while,
I'm queftion'd by my fears, of what may chance