A line-by-line translation

The Winter's Tale

The Winter's Tale Translation Act 1, Scene 1

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Enter CAMILLO and ARCHIDAMUS

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, in your duties as a servant to the king, you ever happen to visit Bohemia (as I'm visiting Sicily now), you'll see how different our two countries are.

CAMILLO

I think, this coming summer, the King of Siciliameans to pay Bohemia the visitation which he justly owes him.

CAMILLO

I think the King of Sicily is planning to visit the King of Bohemia this coming summer (as he should).

ARCHIDAMUS

Wherein our entertainment shall shame us we will bejustified in our loves; for indeed—

ARCHIDAMUS

The parties we throw might not be much to be proud of, but we make up for it with heart! Seriously—

CAMILLO

Beseech you—

CAMILLO

Oh, come on—

ARCHIDAMUS

Verily, 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 us.

ARCHIDAMUS

No, really, I'm being honest—we can't compete with such over-the-top, such amazing—I don't even know what to say. We'll have to spike your drinks so that you get really groggy and won't be able to compliment or criticize our party.

CAMILLO

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

CAMILLO

You don't have to pay us back for anything; everything we give is a gift.

ARCHIDAMUS

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

ARCHIDAMUS

I'm only saying what I know to be true. I'm being completely honest with you.

CAMILLO

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 of their society, their encounters, though 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 winds. The heavens continue their loves!

CAMILLO

It would be impossible for the King of Sicily to be too kind to the King of Bohemia. They went to school together when they were kids and became really close, though, naturally, they've grown apart since. Once they reached adulthood and were crowned as kings, they had to attend to business in their respective countries. Though they haven't been able to meet in person, they've exchanged gifts and letters and have sent servants on their behalf. They haven't really been together, of course, but it's as if they were shaking hands or hugging from opposite sides of the globe. God bless their friendship!

ARCHIDAMUS

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.

ARCHIDAMUS

I don't think anything in the world could change it. You're so lucky to have your young prince, Mamillius. He's the most promising kid I've ever met.

CAMILLO

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

CAMILLO

I couldn't agree with you more; I have high expectations for him. He's a great kid—like chicken soup for the soul, he keeps us old folks young. The Sicilians who were old and in wheelchairs before he was even born are hoping they live to see him grow up.

ARCHIDAMUS

Would they else be content to die?

ARCHIDAMUS

Otherwise, would they be happy to die?

CAMILLO

Yes; if there were no other excuse why they shoulddesire to live.

CAMILLO

Yes, if they had nothing else to live for.

ARCHIDAMUS

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

ARCHIDAMUS

If the king didn't have a son, they would want to hang onto life in their wheelchairs until he did!

Exeunt

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Bailey sincox
About the Translator: Bailey Sincox

Bailey Sincox is a PhD student in English at Harvard University, where she researches the theatre of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Her teaching experience includes accessible online courses with edX on Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice. She holds a Master's from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor's from Duke University.