previous next


Bohemia. The palace of POLIXENES.

I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more
importunate: 'tis a sickness denying thee any
thing; a death to grant this.

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, (10)
which is another spur to my departure.

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 naming 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 lamented. 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 losing
them when they have approved their virtues.

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.

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 neighbors, is grown into an unspeakable estate.

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 (50)
thought to begin from such a cottage.

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.
Prithee, be my present partner in this business,
and lay aside the thoughts of Sicilia.

I willingly obey your command.

My best Camillo! We must disguise
ourselves. [Exeunt.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (54 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: