I have a question about the opening lines of the second scene in The Winter's Tale.
From Act 1, scene 2:
Pol. Nine Changes of the Watry-Starre hath been
The Sheppards Note since we have left our Throne
Without a Burthen: Time as long againe
Would be fill'd up (my Brother) with our Thanks,
This follows the First Follio closely. I have rendered "haue" as "have".
What does "Nine changes to the watery star" mean? The watery star is glossed as meaning moon because it affects the tides. I'm guessing that Shakespeare's coined this, or was this a more usual way to refer to the moon? But later in the play, "the moon" is referenced without figurative language.
Astrological references appear throughout the play. The implication being — it is the stars that are causing Leontes's unusual behavior.
I had thought that the phrase meant it was nine nights that had passed (nine phases of the moon), but another interpretation reads this as being nine months is also possible.