Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Jennifer Forsyth
Peer Reviewed

Cymbeline (Folio 1, 1623)


Scena Quarta.
1670
Enter Pisanio and Imogen.
Imo. Thou told'st me when we came frõ horse, ye place
Was neere at hand: Ne're long'd my Mother so
To see me first, as I haue now. Pisanio, Man:
Where is Posthumus? What is in thy mind
1675That makes thee stare thus? Wherefore breaks that sigh
From th'inward of thee? One, but painted thus
Would be interpreted a thing perplex'd
Beyond selfe-explication. Put thy selfe
Into a hauiour of lesse feare, ere wildnesse
1680Vanquish my stayder Senses. What's the matter?
Why tender'st thou that Paper to me, with
A looke vntender? If't be Summer Newes
Smile too't before: if Winterly, thou need'st
But keepe that count'nance stil. My Husbands hand?
1685That Drug-damn'd Italy, hath out-craftied him,
And hee's at some hard point. Speake man, thy Tongue
May take off some extreamitie, which to reade
Would be euen mortall to me.
Pis. Please you reade,
1690And you shall finde me (wretched man) a thing
The most disdain'd of Fortune.
Imogen reades.
THy Mistris (Pisanio) hath plaide the Strumpet in my
Bed: the Testimonies whereof, lyes bleeding in me. I speak
1695not out of weake Surmises, but from proofe as strong as my
greefe, and as certaine as I expect my Reuenge. That part, thou
(Pisanio) must acte for me, if thy Faith be not tainted with the
breach of hers; let thine owne hands take away her life: I shall
giue thee opportunity at Milford Hauen. She hath my Letter
1700for the purpose; where, if thou feare to strike, and to make mee
certaine it is done, thou art the Pander to her dishonour, and
equally to me disloyall.
Pis. What shall I need to draw my Sword, the Paper
Hath cut her throat alreadie? No, 'tis Slander,
1705Whose edge is sharper then the Sword, whose tongue
Out-venomes all the Wormes of Nyle, whose breath
Rides on the posting windes, and doth belye
All corners of the World. Kings, Queenes, and States,
Maides, Matrons, nay the Secrets of the Graue
1710This viperous slander enters. What cheere, Madam?
Imo. False to his Bed? What is it to be false?
To lye in watch there, and to thinke on him?
To weepe 'twixt clock and clock? If sleep charge Nature,
To breake it with a fearfull dreame of him,
1715And cry my selfe awake? That's false to's bed? Is it?
Pisa. Alas good Lady.
Imo. I false? Thy Conscience witnesse: Iachimo,
Thou didd'st accuse him of Incontinencie,
Thou then look'dst like a Villaine: now, me thinkes
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,
Alacke no remedy) to the greedy touch
Of common-kissing Titan: and forget
Your laboursome and dainty Trimmes, wherein
1855You made great Iuno angry.
Imo. Nay be breefe?
I see into thy end, and am almost
A man already.
Pis. First, make your selfe but like one,
1860Fore-thinking this. I haue already fit
('Tis in my Cloake-bagge) Doublet, Hat, Hose, all
That answer to them: Would you in their seruing,
(And with what imitation you can borrow
From youth of such a season) 'fore Noble Lucius
1865Present your selfe, desire his seruice: tell him
Wherein you're happy; which will make him know,
If that his head haue eare in Musicke, doubtlesse
With ioy he will imbrace you: for hee's Honourable,
And doubling that, most holy. Your meanes abroad:
1870You haue me rich, and I will neuer faile
Beginning, nor supplyment.
Imo. Thou art all the comfort
The Gods will diet me with. Prythee away,
There's more to be consider'd: but wee'l euen
1875All that good time will giue vs. This attempt,
I am Souldier too, and will abide it with
A Princes Courage. Away, I prythee.
Pis. Well Madam, we must take a short farewell,
Least being mist, I be suspected of
1880Your carriage from the Court. My Noble Mistris,
Heere is a boxe, I had it from the Queene,
What's in't is precious: If you are sicke at Sea,
Or Stomacke-qualm'd at Land, a Dramme of this
Will driue away distemper. To some shade,
1885And fit you to your Manhood: may the Gods
Direct you to the best.
Imo. Amen: I thanke thee.
Exeunt.