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Act 4, Scene 2


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

CAMILLO: 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,     [5]
to whose feeling sorrows I might be some allay (or I o'erween
to think so), which is another spur to my departure.

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     [10]
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     [15]
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 call'st him) and reconciled king, my brother, whose
loss of his most precious queen and children are even now      [20]
to be afresh lamented. Say to me, when saw'st 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.

CAMILLO: Sir, it is three days since I saw the Prince. What     [25]
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.

POLIXENES: I have considered so much, Camillo, and with     [30]
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 neighbours, is grown into an unspeakable     [35]

CAMILLO: 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 thought to begin from such a cottage.

POLIXENES: That's likewise part of my intelligence; but I fear     [40]
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      [45]
thoughts of Sicilia.

CAMILLO: I willingly obey your command.

POLIXENES: My best Camillo! We must disguise ourselves.


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