Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Jennifer Forsyth
Peer Reviewed

Cymbeline (Folio 1, 1623)


Scena Quarta.
Enter Posthumus, and Gaoler.
Gao. You shall not now be stolne,
3035You haue lockes vpon you:
So graze, as you finde Pasture.
2. Gao. I, or a stomacke.
Post. Most welcome bondage; for thou art a way
(I thinke) to liberty: yet am I better
3040Then one that's sicke o'th'Gowt, since he had rather
Groane so in perpetuity, then be cur'd
By'th'sure Physitian, Death; who is the key
T'vnbarre these Lockes. My Conscience, thou art fetter'd
More then my shanks, & wrists: you good Gods giue me
3045The penitent Instrument to picke that Bolt,
Then free for euer. Is't enough I am sorry?
So Children temporall Fathers do appease;
Gods are more full of mercy. Must I repent,
I cannot do it better then in Gyues,
3050Desir'd, more then constrain'd, to satisfie
If of my Freedome 'tis the maine part, take
No stricter render of me, then my All.
I know you are more clement then vilde men,
Who of their broken Debtors take a third,
3055A sixt, a tenth, letting them thriue againe
On their abatement; that's not my desire.
For Imogens deere life, take mine, and though
'Tis not so deere, yet 'tis a life; you coyn'd it,
'Tweene man, and man, they waigh not euery stampe:
3060Though light, take Peeces for the figures sake,
(You rather) mine being yours: and so great Powres,
If you will take this Audit, take this life,
And cancell these cold Bonds. Oh Imogen,
Ile speake to thee in silence.
3065 Solemne Musicke. Enter (as in an Apparation) Sicillius Leo-
natus, Father to Posthumus, an old man, attyred like a war-
riour, leading in his hand an ancient Matron (his wife, &
Mother to Posthumus) with Musicke before them. Then
after other Musicke, followes the two young Leonati (Bro-
3070thers to Posthumus) with wounds as they died in the warrs.
They circle Posthumus round as he lies sleeping.
Sicil. No more thou Thunder-Master
shew thy spight, on Mortall Flies:
With Mars fall out with Iuno chide, that thy Adulteries
3075Rates, and Reuenges.
Hath my poore Boy done ought but well,
whose face I neuer saw:
I dy'de whil'st in the Wombe he staide,
attending Natures Law.
3080Whose Father then (as men report,
thou Orphanes Father art)
Thou should'st haue bin, and sheelded him,
from this earth-vexing smart.
Moth. Lucina lent not me her ayde,
3085but tooke me in my Throwes,
That from me was Posthumus ript,
came crying 'mong'st his Foes.
A thing of pitty.
Sicil. Great Nature like his Ancestrie,
3090moulded the stuffe so faire:
That he deseru'd the praise o'th'World,
as great Sicilius heyre.
1. Bro. When once he was mature for man,
in Britaine where was hee
3095That could stand vp his paralell?
Or fruitfull obiect bee?
In eye of Imogen, that best could deeme
his dignitie.
Mo. With Marriage wherefore was he mockt
3100to be exil'd, and throwne
From Leonati Seate, and cast from her,
his deerest one:
Sweete Imogen?
Sic. Why did you suffer Iachimo, slight thing of Italy,
3105To taint his Nobler hart & braine, with needlesse ielousy,
And to become the geeke and scorne o'th'others vilany?
2 Bro. For this, from stiller Seats we came,
our Parents, and vs twaine,
That striking in our Countries cause,
3110fell brauely, and were slaine,
Our Fealty, & Tenantius right, with Honor to maintaine.
1 Bro. Like hardiment Posthumus hath
to Cymbeline perform'd:
Then Iupiter, yu King of Gods, why hast yu thus adiourn'd
3115The Graces for his Merits due, being all to dolors turn'd?
Sicil. Thy Christall window ope; looke,
looke out, no longer exercise
Vpon a valiant Race, thy harsh, and potent iniuries:
Moth. Since (Iupiter) our Son is good,
3120take off his miseries.
Sicil. Peepe through thy Marble Mansion, helpe,
or we poore Ghosts will cry
To'th'shining Synod of the rest, against thy Deity.
Brothers. Helpe (Iupiter) or we appeale,
3125and from thy iustice flye.
Iupiter descends in Thunder and Lightning, sitting vppon an
Eagle:
hee throwes a Thunder-bolt. The Ghostes fall on
their knees.
Iupiter. No more you petty Spirits of Region low
3130Offend our hearing: hush. How dare you Ghostes
Accuse the Thunderer, whose Bolt (you know)
Sky-planted, batters all rebelling Coasts.
Poore shadowes of Elizium, hence, and rest
Vpon your neuer-withering bankes of Flowres.
3135Be not with mortall accidents opprest,
No care of yours it is, you know 'tis ours.
Whom best I loue, I crosse; to make my guift
The more delay'd, delighted. Be content,
Your low-laide Sonne, our Godhead will vplift:
3140His Comforts thriue, his Trials well are spent:
Our Iouiall Starre reign'd at his Birth, and in
Our Temple was he married: Rise, and fade,
He shall be Lord of Lady Imogen,
And happier much by his Affliction made.
3145This Tablet lay vpon his Brest, wherein
Our pleasure, his full Fortune, doth confine,
And so away: no farther with your dinne
Expresse Impatience, least you stirre vp mine:
Mount Eagle, to my Palace Christalline.
Ascends
3150Sicil. He came in Thunder, his Celestiall breath
Was sulphurous to smell: the holy Eagle
Stoop'd, as to foote vs: his Ascension is
More sweet then our blest Fields: his Royall Bird
Prunes the immortall wing, and cloyes his Beake,
3155As when his God is pleas'd.
All. Thankes Iupiter.
Sic. The Marble Pauement clozes, he is enter'd
His radiant Roofe: Away, and to be blest
Let vs with care performe his great behest.
Vanish
3160Post. Sleepe, thou hast bin a Grandsire, and begot
A Father to me: and thou hast created
A Mother, and two Brothers. But (oh scorne)
Gone, they went hence so soone as they were borne:
And so I am awake. Poore Wretches, that depend
3165On Greatnesse, Fauour; Dreame as I haue done,
Wake, and finde nothing. But (alas) I swerue:
Many Dreame not to finde, neither deserue,
And yet are steep'd in Fauours; so am I
That haue this Golden chance, and know not why:
3170What Fayeries haunt this ground? A Book? Oh rare one,
Be not, as is our fangled world, a Garment
Nobler then that it couers. Let thy effects
So follow, to be most vnlike our Courtiers,
As good, as promise.
3175
Reades.
WHen as a Lyons whelpe, shall to himselfe vnknown, with-
out seeking finde, and bee embrac'd by a peece of tender
Ayre: And when from a stately Cedar shall be lopt branches,
which being dead many yeares, shall after reuiue, bee ioynted to
3180the old Stocke, and freshly grow, then shall Posthumus end his
miseries, Britaine be fortunate, and flourish in Peace and Plen-
tie.
'Tis still a Dreame: or else such stuffe as Madmen
Tongue, and braine not: either both, or nothing,
3185Or senselesse speaking, or a speaking such
As sense cannot vntye. Be what it is,
The Action of my life is like it, which Ile keepe
If but for simpathy.
Enter Gaoler.
3190Gao. Come Sir, are you ready for death?
Post. Ouer-roasted rather: ready long ago.
Gao. Hanging is the word, Sir, if you bee readie for
that, you are well Cook'd.
Post. So if I proue a good repast to the Spectators, the
3195dish payes the shot.
Gao. A heauy reckoning for you Sir: But the comfort
is you shall be called to no more payments, fear no more
Tauerne Bils, which are often the sadnesse of parting, as
the procuring of mirth: you come in faint for want of
3200meate, depart reeling with too much drinke: sorrie that
you haue payed too much, and sorry that you are payed
too much: Purse and Braine, both empty: the Brain the
heauier, for being too light; the Purse too light, being
drawne of heauinesse. Oh, of this contradiction you shall
3205now be quit: Oh the charity of a penny Cord, it summes
vp thousands in a trice: you haue no true Debitor, and
Creditor but it: of what's past, is, and to come, the dis-
charge: your necke (Sis) is Pen, Booke, and Counters; so
the Acquittance followes.
3210Post. I am merrier to dye, then thou art to liue.
Gao. Indeed Sir, he that sleepes, feeles not the Tooth-
Ache: but a man that were to sleepe your sleepe, and a
Hangman to helpe him to bed, I think he would change
places with his Officer: for, look you Sir, you know not
3215which way you shall go.
Post. Yes indeed do I, fellow.
Gao. Your death has eyes in's head then: I haue not
seene him so pictur'd: you must either bee directed by
some that take vpon them to know, or to take vpon your
3220selfe that which I am sure you do not know: or iump the
after-enquiry on your owne perill: and how you shall
speed in your iournies end, I thinke you'l neuer returne
to tell one.
Post. I tell thee, Fellow, there are none want eyes, to
3225direct them the way I am going, but such as winke, and
will not vse them.
Gao. What an infinite mocke is this, that a man shold
haue the best vse of eyes, to see the way of blindnesse: I
am sure hanging's the way of winking.
3230
Enter a Messenger.
Mes. Knocke off his Manacles, bring your Prisoner to
the King.
Post. Thou bring'st good newes, I am call'd to bee
made free.
3235Gao. Ile be hang'd then.
Post. Thou shalt be then freer then a Gaoler; no bolts
for the dead.
Gao. Vnlesse a man would marry a Gallowes, & be-
get yong Gibbets, I neuer saw one so prone: yet on my
3240Conscience, there are verier Knaues desire to liue, for all
he be a Roman; and there be some of them too that dye
against their willes; so should I, if I were one. I would
we were all of one minde, and one minde good: O there
were desolation of Gaolers and Galowses: I speake a-
3245gainst my present profit, but my wish hath a preferment
in't.
Exeunt.