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The Winter's Tale

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

Antechamber in LEONTES’ palace.
A waiting room in Leontes’s palace.
Enter CAMILLO and ARCHIDAMUS
CAMILLO and ARCHIDAMUS enter.
ARCHIDAMUS
If you shall chance, Camillo, to visit Bohemia, on
the like occasion whereon my services are now on
foot, you shall see, as I have said, great
difference betwixt our Bohemia and your Sicilia.
ARCHIDAMUS
Camillo, if you ever happen to accompany your King to Bohemia, as I am accompanying mine to Sicilia, you’ll see there’s a great difference between our countries—and our masters.
CAMILLO
5I think, this coming summer, the King of Sicilia
means to pay Bohemia the visitation which he justly owes him.
CAMILLO
I think the King of Sicilia plans to visit the King of Bohemia this coming summer.
ARCHIDAMUS
Wherein our entertainment shall shame us we will be
justified in our loves; for indeed—
ARCHIDAMUS
If our hospitality is inadequate, we’ll make up for it with our love for you; in fact—
CAMILLO
Beseech you,—
CAMILLO
Please—
ARCHIDAMUS
10Verily, I speak it in the freedom of my knowledge:
we cannot with such magnificence—in so rare—I know
not what to say. We will give you sleepy drinks,
that your senses, unintelligent of our insufficience,
may, though they cannot praise us, as little accuse
15us.
ARCHIDAMUS
Truly, I say it from experience. We can’t match the magnificence, the excellence—I don’t even know how to describe it. We’ll give you drinks to dull your senses, so that you won’t be aware of our inadequacies, and even if you will be too sleepy to praise us, you won’t be able to accuse us of negligence, either.
CAMILLO
You pay a great deal too dear for what’s given freely.
CAMILLO
You are putting too great a value on something that is given for free.
ARCHIDAMUS
Believe me, I speak as my understanding instructs me
and as mine honesty puts it to utterance.
ARCHIDAMUS
Believe me, I say what my knowledge tells me, and I say it honestly.
CAMILLO
Sicilia cannot show himself over-kind to Bohemia.
20They were trained together in their childhoods; and
there rooted betwixt them then such an affection,
which cannot choose but branch now. Since their
more mature dignities and royal necessities made
separation of their society, their encounters,
25though not personal, have been royally attorneyed
with interchange of gifts, letters, loving
embassies; that they have seemed to be together,
though absent, shook hands, as over a vast, and
embraced, as it were, from the ends of opposed
30winds. The heavens continue their loves!
CAMILLO
The King of Sicily could never be anything but kind to the King of Bohemia. They were brought up together as children, and so they have a deep-rooted affection for one another that can only grow. Because of their adult responsibilities and their duties as kings, they have not been able to meet personally. Instead their meetings have taken place via royal deputies and through the exchange of presents, letters, and fond words. Through these means they’ve stayed in touch despite the great distance between them. May the heavens keep their friendship strong!