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The Winter's Tale

The Winter's Tale Translation Act 4, Scene 2

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Enter POLIXENES and CAMILLO

POLIXENES

I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more importunate:'tis a sickness denying thee any thing; a death togrant this.

POLIXENES

Please, Camillo, don't pester me. Though it's hard to deny you anything, it would be the death of you if I said "yes."

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; to whose feeling sorrows I might be some allay, or I o'erween to think so, which is another spur to my departure.

CAMILLO

I haven't been home in fifteen years. I've been away for so long, but I do want to die and be buried there. Besides, the remorseful king, my former boss, has asked me to come. I might be able to ease his suffering, which is just another reason I want to go.

POLIXENES

As thou lovest 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 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 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 callest him, and reconciled king, my brother; whose loss of his most precious queen and children are even now to be afresh lamented. Say to me, when sawest 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.

POLIXENES

Camillo, if you're loyal to me, you wouldn't think of leaving me now; I need your services especially (and, since I've been spoiled with a servant as effective as you, I can hardly settle for someone else). Plus, you've built industries for me here that no one but you can take care of, so you either need to stay here to do it yourself, or take your projects with you. I can never thank you enough for all the work you've done—and for your friendship. Please, don't talk about Sicily anymore. The name alone dredges up bad memories of that "remorseful" king (as you call him), my friend, and the loss of his wife and children, which we should be mourning even now.

Anyway, when did you last see my son, Prince Florizel? It's just as bad for a king to misplace a good son as to have a bad one at hand.

CAMILLO

Sir, it is three days since I saw the prince. Whathis happier affairs may be, are to me unknown: but Ihave missingly noted, he is of late much retiredfrom court and is less frequent to his princelyexercises than formerly he hath appeared.

CAMILLO

Sir, I haven't seen the prince for three days. I'm not sure what he's up to, but I have noticed that he's been away from court a lot and that he's been neglecting his princely duties more than usual.

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, they say, that from very nothing, and beyond the imagination of his neighbours, is grown into an unspeakable estate.

POLIXENES

I've noticed, too, Camillo—so much so that I have people watching him for me wherever he goes. They've reported that he's spending most of his time at a poor shepherd's house. They tell me that some time ago the shepherd suddenly went from rags to riches, to the complete shock of his neighbors.

CAMILLO

I have heard, sir, of such a man, who hath adaughter of most rare note: the report of her isextended more than can be thought to begin from such a cottage.

CAMILLO

I've heard of this guy, sir, and that he has a very beautiful daughter. By all reports, she's far beyond what you'd expect from such circumstances.

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 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.

POLIXENES

I've heard that, too, and I'm afraid you've put your finger on the bait that's lured my son away. You'll come with me to the place, where we'll disguise ourselves and question the shepherd. Since he's probably not all that bright, it won't be difficult to get the story of my son's shenanigans out of him. Please forget about Sicily and come help me with this.

CAMILLO

I willingly obey your command.

CAMILLO

I'm happy to do as you say.

POLIXENES

My best Camillo! We must disguise ourselves.

POLIXENES

Atta boy, Camillo! Let's put on disguises.

Exeunt

The winters tale
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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.