Illustrated Tales from Shakespeare


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Excerpt: At first this visit gave nothing but pleasure to Leontes. He recommended the friend of his youth to the queen's particular attention, and seemed in the presence of his dear friend and old companion to have his felicity quite completed. They talked over old times; their school-days and their youthful pranks were remembered and recounted to Hermione, w h always took a cheerful part in these conversations. When after a long stay Polixenes was preparing to depart, Hermione, at the desire of her husband, joined her intreaties to his that Polixenes would prolong his visit. And now began this good queen's sorrow; for Polixenes refusing to stay t the request of Leontes, was won over by Hermione's gentle and persuasive words to put off his departure for some weeks longer. Upon this, although Leontes had so long known the integrity and honourable principles of his friend Polixenes, as well as the excellent disposition of his virtuous queen, he was seized with an ungovernable jealousy. Every attention Hermione shewed to Polixenes, though by her husband's particular desire, and merely to please him, increased theunfortunate king's malady; and from being a loving and a true friend, and the best and fondest of husbands, Leontes became suddenly a savage and inhuman monster. Sending for Camillo, one of the lords of his court, and telling him of the suspicion he entertained, he commanded him to poison Polixenej. Camillo was a good man; and he, well knowing that the jealousy of Leontes had not the slightest foundation in truth, instead of poisoning Poli...

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