Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Jennifer Forsyth
Peer Reviewed

Cymbeline (Folio 1, 1623)

The Tragedie of Cymbeline.
1720Thy fauours good enough. Some Iay of Italy
(Whose mother was her painting) hath betraid him:
Poore I am stale, a Garment out of fashion,
And for I am richer then to hang by th'walles,
I must be ript: To peeces with me: Oh!
1725Mens Vowes are womens Traitors. All good seeming
By thy reuolt (oh Husband) shall be thought
Put on for Villainy; not borne where't growes,
But worne a Baite for Ladies.
Pisa. Good Madam, heare me.
1730Imo. True honest men being heard, like false Æneas,
Were in his time thought false: and Synons weeping
Did scandall many a holy teare: tooke pitty
From most true wretchednesse. So thou, Posthumus
Wilt lay the Leauen on all proper men;
1735Goodly, and gallant, shall be false and periur'd
From thy great faile: Come Fellow, be thou honest,
Do thou thy Masters bidding. When thou seest him,
A little witnesse my obedience. Looke
I draw the Sword my selfe, take it, and hit
1740The innocent Mansion of my Loue (my Heart:)
Feare not, 'tis empty of all things, but Greefe:
Thy Master is not there, who was indeede
The riches of it. Do his bidding, strike,
Thou mayst be valiant in a better cause;
1745But now thou seem'st a Coward.
Pis. Hence vile Instrument,
Thou shalt not damne my hand.
Imo. Why, I must dye:
And if I do not by thy hand, thou art
1750No Seruant of thy Masters. Against Selfe-slaughter,
There is a prohibition so Diuine,
That crauens my weake hand: Come, heere's my heart:
Something's a-foot: Soft, soft, wee'l no defence,
Obedient as the Scabbard. What is heere,
1755The Scriptures of the Loyall Leonatus,
All turn'd to Heresie? Away, away
Corrupters of my Faith, you shall no more
Be Stomachers to my heart: thus may poore Fooles
Beleeue false Teachers: Though those that are betraid
1760Do feele the Treason sharpely, yet the Traitor
Stands in worse case of woe. And thou Posthumus,
That didd'st set vp my disobedience 'gainst the King
My Father, and makes me put into contempt the suites
Of Princely Fellowes, shalt heereafter finde
1765It is no acte of common passage, but
A straine of Rarenesse: and I greeue my selfe,
To thinke, when thou shalt be disedg'd by her,
That now thou tyrest on, how thy memory
Will then be pang'd by me. Prythee dispatch,
1770The Lambe entreats the Butcher. Wher's thy knife?
Thou art too slow to do thy Masters bidding
When I desire it too.
Pis. Oh gracious Lady:
Since I receiu'd command to do this businesse,
1775I haue not slept one winke.
Imo. Doo't, and to bed then.
Pis. Ile wake mine eye-balles first.
Imo. Wherefore then
Didd'st vndertake it? Why hast thou abus'd
1780So many Miles, with a pretence? This place?
Mine Action? and thine owne? Our Horses labour?
The Time inuiting thee? The perturb'd Court
For my being absent? whereunto I neuer
Purpose returne. Why hast thou gone so farre
1785To be vn-bent? when thou hast 'tane thy stand,
Th'elected Deere before thee?
Pis. But to win time
To loose so bad employment, in the which
I haue consider'd of a course: good Ladie
1790Heare me with patience.
Imo. Talke thy tongue weary, speake:
I haue heard I am a Strumpet, and mine eare
Therein false strooke, can take no greater wound,
Nor tent, to bottome that. But speake.
1795Pis. Then Madam,
I thought you would not backe againe.
Imo. Most like,
Bringing me heere to kill me.
Pis. Not so neither:
1800But if I were as wise, as honest, then
My purpose would proue well: it cannot be,
But that my Master is abus'd. Some Villaine,
I, and singular in his Art, hath done you both
This cursed iniurie.
1805Imo. Some Roman Curtezan?
Pisa. No, on my life:
Ile giue but notice you are dead, and send him
Some bloody signe of it. For 'tis commanded
I should do so: you shall be mist at Court,
1810And that will well confirme it.
Imo. Why good Fellow,
What shall I do the while? Where bide? How liue?
Or in my life, what comfort, when I am
Dead to my Husband?
1815Pis. If you'l backe to'th'Court.
Imo. No Court, no Father, nor no more adoe
With that harsh, noble, simple nothing:
That Clotten, whose Loue-suite hath bene to me
As fearefull as a Siege.
1820Pis. If not at Court,
Then not in Britaine must you bide.
Imo. Where then?
Hath Britaine all the Sunne that shines? Day? Night?
Are they not but in Britaine? I'th'worlds Volume
1825Our Britaine seemes as of it, but not in't:
In a great Poole, a Swannes-nest, prythee thinke
There's liuers out of Britaine.
Pis. I am most glad
You thinke of other place: Th'Ambassador,
1830Lucius the Romane comes to Milford-Hauen
To morrow. Now, if you could weare a minde
Darke, as your Fortune is, and but disguise
That which t'appeare it selfe, must not yet be,
But by selfe-danger, you should tread a course
1835Pretty, and full of view: yea, happily, neere
The residence of Posthumus; so nie (at least)
That though his Actions were not visible, yet
Report should render him hourely to your eare,
As truely as he mooues.
1840Imo. Oh for such meanes,
Though perill to my modestie, not death on't
I would aduenture.
Pis. Well then, heere's the point:
You must forget to be a Woman: change
1845Command, into obedience. Feare, and Nicenesse
(The Handmaides of all Women, or more truely
Woman it pretty selfe) into a waggish courage,
Ready in gybes, quicke-answer'd, sawcie, and
As quarrellous as the Weazell: Nay, you must
1850Forget that rarest Treasure of your Cheeke,
Exposing it (but oh the harder heart,