Leontes, King of Sicilia
Mamillius, his son
Camillo, Sicilian Lord
Antigonus, Sicilian Lord
Cleomenes, Sicilian Lord
Dion, Sicilian Lord
Polixenes, King of Bohemia
Florizel, his son
ARCHIDAMUS, a Bohemian Lord
An Old Shepherd, reputed father of Perdita
clown, his son
autolycus, a rogue
Servant to the Old Shepherd
Other Sicilian Lords
Officers of a Court of Judicature
Hermione, Queen to Leontes
Perdita, daughter to Leontes and Hermione
Paulina, wife to Antigonus
Emilia, a lady attending on the Queen
Other Ladies, attending on the Queen
Lords, Ladies, and Attendants; Satyrs for a Dance;
Shepherdesses, Guards, &c.
Time, as Chorus
Scene: Sometimes in Sicilia; sometimes in Bohemia.
Scene I. Sicilia. An Antechamber in Leontes’ Palace.
[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.
I think this coming summer the King of Sicilia means to
pay Bohemia the visitation which he justly owes him.
Wherein our entertainment shall shame us we will be
justified in our loves; for indeed,—
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.
You pay a great deal too dear for what’s given freely.
Believe me, I speak as my understanding instructs me
and as mine honesty puts it to utterance.
Camillo. Sicilia cannot show himself overkind 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!
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.