Act 4 Scene 2

Scene 2

[Enter Polixenes and Camillo.]


POLIXENES  I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more
 importunate. ’Tis a sickness denying thee anything,
 a death to grant this.

CAMILLO  It is fifteen years since I saw my country.
[5]  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—which is another spur to my departure.

[10]POLIXENES  As thou lov’st 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
[15]  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
[20]  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 call’st him, and reconciled king
 my brother, whose loss of his most precious queen
[25]  and children are even now to be afresh lamented.
 Say to me, when sawst thou the Prince Florizell, my
 son? Kings are no less unhappy, their issue not
 being gracious, than they are in losing them when
 they have approved their virtues.

[30]CAMILLO  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.

[35]POLIXENES  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,
[40]  they say, that from very nothing, and beyond the
 imagination of his neighbors, is grown into an
 unspeakable estate.

CAMILLO  I have heard, sir, of such a man, who hath a
 daughter of most rare note. The report of her is
[45]  extended more than can be thought to begin from
 such a cottage.

POLIXENES  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
[50]  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.

[55]CAMILLO  I willingly obey your command.


POLIXENES  My best Camillo. We must disguise
 ourselves.
[They exit.]

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