Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Jennifer Forsyth
Peer Reviewed

Cymbeline (Folio 1, 1623)


372
The Tragedy of Cymbeline.
335to extend him, be it but to fortifie her iudgement, which
else an easie battery might lay flat, for taking a Begger
without lesse quality. But how comes it, he is to soiourne
with you? How creepes acquaintance?
Phil. His Father and I were Souldiers together, to
340whom I haue bin often bound for no lesse then my life.
Enter Posthumus.
Heere comes the Britaine. Let him be so entertained a-
mong'st you, as suites with Gentlemen of your knowing,
to a Stranger of his quality. I beseech you all be better
345knowne to this Gentleman, whom I commend to you,
as a Noble Friend of mine. How Worthy he is, I will
leaue to appeare hereafter, rather then story him in his
owne hearing.
French. Sir, we haue knowne togither in Orleance.
350Post. Since when, I haue bin debtor to you for courte-
sies, which I will be euer to pay, and yet pay still.
French. Sir, you o're-rate my poore kindnesse, I was
glad I did attone my Countryman and you: it had beene
pitty you should haue beene put together, with so mor-
355tall a purpose, as then each bore, vpon importance of so
slight and triuiall a nature.
Post. By your pardon Sir, I was then a young Trauel-
ler, rather shun'd to go euen with what I heard, then in
my euery action to be guided by others experiences: but
360vpon my mended iudgement (if I offend to say it is men-
ded) my Quarrell was not altogether slight.
French. Faith yes, to be put to the arbiterment of
Swords, and by such two, that would by all likelyhood
haue confounded one the other, or haue falne both.
365Iach. Can we with manners, aske what was the dif-
ference?
French. Safely, I thinke, 'twas a contention in pub-
licke, which may (without contradiction) suffer the re-
port. It was much like an argument that fell out last
370night, where each of vs fell in praise of our Country-
Mistresses. This Gentleman, at that time vouching (and
vpon warrant of bloody affirmation) his to be more
Faire, Vertuous, Wise, Chaste, Constant, Qualified, and
lesse attemptible then any, the rarest of our Ladies in
375Fraunce.
Iach. That Lady is not now liuing; or this Gentle-
mans opinion by this, worne out.
Post. She holds her Vertue still, and I my mind.
Iach. You must not so farre preferre her, 'fore ours of
380Italy.
Posth. Being so farre prouok'd as I was in France: I
would abate her nothing, though I professe my selfe her
Adorer, not her Friend.
Iach. As faire, and as good: a kind of hand in hand
385comparison, had beene something too faire, and too
good for any Lady in Britanie; if she went before others.
I haue seene as that Diamond of yours out-lusters many
I haue beheld, I could not beleeue she excelled many:
but I haue not seene the most pretious Diamond that is,
390nor you the Lady.
Post. I prais'd her, as I rated her: so do I my Stone.
Iach. What do you esteeme it at?
Post. More then the world enioyes.
Iach. Either your vnparagon'd Mistirs is dead, or
395she's out-priz'd by a trifle.
Post. You are mistaken: the one may be solde or gi-
uen, or if there were wealth enough for the purchases, or
merite for the guift. The other is not a thing for sale,
and onely the guift of the Gods.
400Iach. Which the Gods haue giuen you?
Post. Which by their Graces I will keepe.
Iach. You may weare her in title yours: but you
know strange Fowle light vpon neighbouring Ponds.
Your Ring may be stolne too, so your brace of vnprizea-
405ble Estimations, the one is but fraile, and the other Casu-
all;. A cunning Thiefe, or a (that way) accomplish'd
Courtier, would hazzard the winning both of first and
last.
Post. Your Italy, containes none so accomplish'd a
410Courtier to conuince the Honour of my Mistris: if in the
holding or losse of that, you terme her fraile, I do no-
thing doubt you haue store of Theeues, notwithstanding
I feare not my Ring.
Phil. Let vs leaue heere, Gentlemen?
415Post. Sir, with all my heart. This worthy Signior I
thanke him, makes no stranger of me, we are familiar at
first.
Iach. With fiue times so much conuersation, I should
get ground of your faire Mistris; make her go backe, e-
420uen to the yeilding, had I admittance, and opportunitie
to friend.
Post. No, no.
Iach. I dare thereupon pawne the moytie of my E-
state, to your Ring, which in my opinion o're-values it
425something: but I make my wager rather against your
Confidence, then her Reputation. And to barre your of-
fence heerein to, I durst attempt it against any Lady in
the world.
Post. You are a great deale abus'd in too bold a per-
430swasion, and I doubt not you sustaine what y'are worthy
of, by your Attempt.
Iach. What's that?
Posth. A Repulse though your Attempt (as you call
it) deserue more; a punishment too.
435Phi. Gentlemen enough of this, it came in too so-
dainely, let it dye as it was borne, and I pray you be bet-
ter acquainted.
Iach. Would I had put my Estate, and my Neighbors
on th'approbation of what I haue spoke.
440Post. What Lady would you chuse to assaile?
Iach. Yours, whom in constancie you thinke stands
so safe. I will lay you ten thousands Duckets to your
Ring, that commend me to the Court where your La-
dy is, with no more aduantage then the opportunitie of a
445second conference, and I will bring from thence, that
Honor of hers, which you imagine so reseru'd.
Posthmus. I will wage against your Gold, Gold to
it: My Ring I holde deere as my finger, 'tis part of
it.
450Iach. You are a Friend, and there in the wiser: if you
buy Ladies flesh at a Million a Dram, you cannot pre-
seure it from tainting; but I see you haue some Religion
in you, that you feare.
Posthu. This is but a custome in your tongue: you
455beare a grauer purpose I hope.
Iach. I am the Master of my speeches, and would vn-
der-go what's spoken, I sweare.
Posthu. Will you? I shall but lend my Diamond till
your returne: let there be Couenants drawne between's.
460My Mistris exceedes in goodnesse, the hugenesse of your
vnworthy thinking. I dare you to this match: heere's my
Ring.
Phil. I will haue it no lay.
Iach. By the Gods it is one: if I bring you no suffi-
465cient testimony that I haue enioy'd the deerest bodily
part of your Mistris: my ten thousand Duckets are yours,
so