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Enter Time, as Chorus.
Time. I,—that please some, try all; both joy and terror
Of good and bad; that make, and unfold error,—
Now take upon me, in the name of Time,
To use my wings. Impute it not a crime
To me or my swift passage, that I slide
O'er sixteen years and leave the growth untried
Of that wide gap; since it is in my power
To o'erthrow law, and in one self-born hour
To plant and o'erwhelm custom. Let me pass,
The same I am, ere ancient'st order was,
Or what is now received: I witness to
The times that brought them in; so shall I do
To the freshest things now reigning, and make stale
The glistering of this present, as my tale
Now seems to it. Your patience this allowing
I turn my glass, and give my scene such growing
As you had slept between. Leontes leaving,
The effects of his fond jealousies so grieving
That he shuts up himself,—imagine me,
Gentle spectators, that I now may be
In fail Bohemia; and remember well,
And what to her adheres which follows after,
Is the argument of Time. Of this allow,
If ever you have spent time worse ere now:
If never, yet that Time himself doth say,
He wishes earnestly you never may. \Efdt.
Scene L—Bohemia. A Room in the Palace of Polixenes.
Enter Polixenes and Camillo.
Pol. I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more importunate; 't is a sickness denying thee anything, 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 whoso 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, pr'ythee speak no more, whose very naming punishes me with the remembrance of that penitent, as thou call'st him, and reconciled king, my brother, whose loss of his most precious queen and children are even now to be afresh lamented. Say to me, when saw'st thou the Prince Florizel, my son? Kings are no less unhappy, their issue not being gracious, than they are in losing 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 shepherd; a man, they say that from very nothing, and beyond the imagination of his neighbours, 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 that 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 simplicity I think it not uneasy to get the cause of my son's resort thither. Pr"ythee, 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.
Scene II.—The Same. A Koad near the Shepherd's Cottage.
Enter Autolycus, singing.
When daffodils begin to peer,—
With, heigh/ the doxy over the dale,—
Why, then comes in the sweet o' the year;
The white sheet bleaching on the hedge,—
With heigh! the sweet birds, O, how they sing I—
Doth set my pugging tooth on edge;
The lark, that tirra-lirra chants,—
With heigh/ with heigh / the thrush and the jay, Are summer songs for me and my aunts,
While we lie tumbling in the hay.
I have served Prince Florizel, and, in my time, wore three pile; but now I am out of service:
But shall I go mourn for that, my dear t
And when I wander here and there,