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The Winter’s Tale - Act 4, scene 2
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Navigate this workThe Winter’s Tale - Act 4, scene 2
Act 4, scene 2
Camillo asks permission to return to Sicilia. Polixenes refuses his request and asks Camillo instead to go with him in disguise to the shepherd’s home where Polixenes’ son is spending his time.Enter Polixenes and Camillo.
POLIXENES 1649 I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more
1650 importunate. ’Tis a sickness denying thee anything,
1651 a death to grant this.
CAMILLO 1652 It is fifteen years since I saw my country.
1653 5 Though I have for the most part been aired abroad,
1654 I desire to lay my bones there. Besides, the penitent
1655 king, my master, hath sent for me, to whose feeling
1656 sorrows I might be some allay—or I o’erween to
1657 think so—which is another spur to my departure.
POLIXENES 1658 10As thou lov’st me, Camillo, wipe not out the
1659 rest of thy services by leaving me now. The need I
1660 have of thee thine own goodness hath made. Better
1661 not to have had thee than thus to want thee. Thou,
1662 having made me businesses which none without
1663 15 thee can sufficiently manage, must either stay to
1664 execute them thyself or take away with thee the very
1665 services thou hast done, which if I have not enough
1666 considered, as too much I cannot, to be more
1667 thankful to thee shall be my study, and my profit
1668 20 therein the heaping friendships. Of that fatal country
p. 1231669 Sicilia, prithee speak no more, whose very
1670 naming punishes me with the remembrance of that
1671 penitent, as thou call’st him, and reconciled king
1672 my brother, whose loss of his most precious queen
1673 25 and children are even now to be afresh lamented.
1674 Say to me, when sawst thou the Prince Florizell, my
1675 son? Kings are no less unhappy, their issue not
1676 being gracious, than they are in losing them when
1677 they have approved their virtues.
CAMILLO 1678 30Sir, it is three days since I saw the Prince.
1679 What his happier affairs may be are to me unknown,
1680 but I have missingly noted he is of late
1681 much retired from court and is less frequent to his
1682 princely exercises than formerly he hath appeared.
POLIXENES 1683 35I have considered so much, Camillo, and
1684 with some care, so far that I have eyes under my
1685 service which look upon his removedness, from
1686 whom I have this intelligence: that he is seldom
1687 from the house of a most homely shepherd, a man,
1688 40 they say, that from very nothing, and beyond the
1689 imagination of his neighbors, is grown into an
1690 unspeakable estate.
CAMILLO 1691 I have heard, sir, of such a man, who hath a
1692 daughter of most rare note. The report of her is
1693 45 extended more than can be thought to begin from
1694 such a cottage.
POLIXENES 1695 That’s likewise part of my intelligence, but,
1696 I fear, the angle that plucks our son thither. Thou
1697 shalt accompany us to the place, where we will, not
1698 50 appearing what we are, have some question with
1699 the shepherd, from whose simplicity I think it not
1700 uneasy to get the cause of my son’s resort thither.
1701 Prithee be my present partner in this business, and
1702 lay aside the thoughts of Sicilia.
CAMILLO 1703 55I willingly obey your command.
p. 125POLIXENES 1704 My best Camillo. We must disguise