Sicilia. An Antichamber in Leontes' Palace.


Arch. 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.

Cam. I think, this coming summer, the king of Sicilia means to pay Bohemia the visitation which he justly

owes him.

Arch. Wherein our entertainment shall shame us,1 we will be justified in our loves: for, indeed,

Cam. 'Beseech you,

Arch. Verily, I speak it in the freedom of my knowledge: we cannot with such magnificence-in so rareI 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 us.

Cam. You pay a great deal too dear, for what's given freely.

Arch. Believe me, I speak as my understanding instructs me, and as mine honesty puts it to utterance.

Cam. Sicilia cannot show himself over-kind to Bohemia. They 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

1 — our entertainment &c.] Though we cannot give you equal entertainment, yet the consciousness of our good-will shall justify us. Johnson.

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of their society, their encounters, though not personal, have been royally attornied,2 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 winds.3 The heavens continue their loves!

Arch. I think, there is not in the world either malice, or matter, to alter it. You have an unspeakable comfort of your young prince Mamillius; it is a gentleman of the greatest promise, that ever came into my note.

Cam. I very well agree with you in the hopes of him: It is a gallant child; one that, indeed physicks the subject, makes old hearts fresh: they, that went on crutches ere he was born, desire yet their life, to see him a


Arch. Would they else be content to die?

Cam. Yes; if there were no other excuse why they should desire to live.

Arch. If the king had no son, they would desire to live on crutches till he had one.


2 royally attornied,] Nobly supplied by substitution of embassies, &c. Johnson.


-shook hands, as over a vast; and embraced, as it were, from the ends of opposed winds.] Thus the folio, 1623. The folio, 1632:-over a vast sea. I have since found that Sir T. Hanmer attempted the same correction; though I believe the old reading to be the true one. Vastum was the ancient term for waste uncultivated land. Over a vast, therefore, means at a great and vacant distance from each other. Vast, however, may be used for the sea, as in Pericles, Prince of Tyre:

"Thou God of this great vast, rebuke the surges."

Steevens. Shakspeare has, more than once, taken his imagery from the prints, with which the books of his time were ornamented. If my memory do not deceive me, he had his eye on a wood cut in Holinshed, while writing the incantation of the weird sisters in Macbeth. There is also an allusion to a print of one of the Henries holding a sword adorned with crowns. In this passage he refers to a device common in the title-pages of old books, of two hands extended from opposite clouds, and joined as in token of friendship over a wide waste of country. Henley.


-physicks the subject,] Affords a cordial to the state; has the power of assuaging the sense of misery. Johnson. So, in Macbeth:

"The labour we delight in, physicks pain." Steevens


The same. A Room of State in the Palace.


Pol. Nine changes of the wat❜ry star have been The shepherd's note, since we have left our throne Without a burden: time as long again

Would be fill'd up, my brother, with our thanks;
And yet we should, for perpetuity,

Go hence in debt: And therefore, like a cipher,
Yet standing in rich place, I multiply,
With one we-thank-you, many thousands more
That go before it.


Leon. Stay your thanks awhile; And pay them when you part. Pol. Sir, that's to-morrow. I am question'd by my fears, of what may chance, Or breed upon our absence: That may blow No sneaping winds at home, to make us say, This is put forth too truly! Besides, I have stay'd To tire your royalty.

that may blow

No sneaping winds-] Dr. Warburton calls this nonsense; and Dr. Johnson tells us it is a Gallicism. It happens, however, to be both sense and English. That, for Oh! that is not uncommon. In an old translation of the famous Alcoran of the Franciscans: "St. Francis observing the holiness of friar Juniper, said to the priors, That I had a wood of such Junipers!” And, in The Two Noble Kinsmen:

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In thy rumination,

"That I poor man might eftsoons come between!" And so in other places. This is the construction of the passage in Romeo and Juliet:

"That runaway's eyes may wink!"

Which in other respects Mr. Steevens has rightly interpreted. Farmer.

sneaping winds —] Nipping winds. So, in Gawin Douglas's Translation of Virgil's Eneid. Prologue of the seuynth Booke: "Scharp soppis of sleit, and of the snyppand snaw."

H. White.

6 This is put forth too truly!] i. e. to make me say, I had too good reason for my fears concerning what might happen in my absence from home. Malone.

Than you can put us to 't.
Leon. One seven-night longer.

Very sooth, to-morrow. Leon. We'll part the time between 's then: and in that

I'll no gain-saying.

We are tougher, brother,

No longer stay.

Pol. Press me not, 'beseech you, so; There is no tongue that moves, none, none i' the world, So soon as yours,. could win me: so it should now, Were there necessity in your request, although 'Twere needful I denied it. My affairs Do even drag me homeward: which to hinder, Were, in your love, a whip to me; my stay, To you a charge, and trouble: to save both, Farewel, our brother.


Tongue-tied, our queen? speak you. Her. I had thought, sir, to have held my peace, until You had drawn oaths from him, not to stay. You, sir, Charge him too coldly: Tell him, you are sure, All in Bohemia's well: this satisfaction?

The by-gone day proclaim'd; say this to him,
He's beat from his best ward.


Well said, Hermione. Her. To tell, he longs to see his son, were strong: But let him say so then, and let him go; But let him swear so, and he shall not stay,

We'll thwack him hence with distaffs.

Yet of your royal presence [to POL.] I'll adventure
The borrow of a week. When at Bohemia

You take my lord, I'll give him my commission,



this satisfaction] We had satisfactory accounts yesterday of the state of Bohemia. Johnson.

8 — I'll give him my commission,] We should read: I'll give you my commission,

The verb let, or hinder, which follows, shows the necessity of it: for she could not say she would give her husband a commis. sion to let or hinder himself. The commission is given to Polixenes, to whom she is speaking, to let or hinder her husband.



"I'll give him my licence of absence, so as to obstruct or retard his departure for a month," &c. To let him, however, may

To let him there a month, behind the gest9
Prefix'd for his parting: yet, good-deed,1 Leontes,
I love thee not a jar o' the clock behind

be used as many other reflective verbs are by Shakspeare, for to let or hinder himself: then the meaning will be: "I'll give him my permission to tarry for a month," &c. Dr. Warburton and the subsequent editors read, I think, without necessity—"I'll give you my commission, &c. Malone.


behind the gest] Mr. Theobald says: he can neither trace, nor understand the phrase, and therefore thinks it should be just: But the word gest is right, and signifies a stage or journey. In the time of royal progresses the king's stages, as we may see by the journals of them in the herald's office, were called his gests; from the old French word giste, diversorium. Warburton.

In Strype's Memorials of Archbishop Cranmer, p. 283,-The Archbishop entreats Cecil, "to let him have the new resolved upon gests, from that time to the end, that he might from time to time know where the king was."

Again, in Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, 1594: "Castile, and lovely Elinor with him,

"Have in their gests resolv'd for Oxford town."

Again, in The White Devil, or, Vittoria Corombona, 1612:
Do, like the gests in the progress,


"You know where you shall find me." Steevens. Gests, or rather gists, from the Fr. giste, (which signifies both a bed, and a lodging place) were the names of the houses or towns where the King or Prince intended to lie every night during his PROGRESS. They were written in a scroll, and probably each of the royal attendants was furnished with a copy. Malone.

11 yet, good-deed,] Signifies, indeed, in very deed, as Shakspeare in another place expresses it. Good-deed, is used in the same sense by the Earl of Surrey, Sir John Hayward, and Gascoigne.

Dr. Warburton would read-good heed,-meaning-take good heed. Steevens.

The second folio reads-good heed, which, I believe, is right. Tyrwhitt.

2 a jar o' the clock-] A jar is, I believe, a single repetition of the noise made by the pendulum of a clock; what children call the ticking of it. So, in King Richard II:

"My thoughts are minutes, and with sighs they jar.”


A jar perhaps means a minute, for I do not suppose that the ancient clocks ticked or noticed the seconds. See Holinshed's Description of England, p. 241. Tollet.

To jar certainly means to tick; as in T. Heywood's Troia Britannica, cant. iv, st. 107; edit. 1609: "He hears no waking-clocke, for watch to jarre." H. White.

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