Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Jennifer Forsyth
Peer Reviewed

Cymbeline (Modern)


[3.5]

Enter Cymbeline, Queen, Clotten, Lucius, 1890and Lords
Cymbeline
Thus far, and so farewell.
Lucius
Thanks, royal sir.
My emperor hath wrote, I must from hence,
And am right sorry that I must report ye
1895My master's enemy.
Cymbeline
Our subjects, sir,
Will not endure his yoke, and for ourself
To show less sovereignty than they must needs
Appear unkinglike.
1900Lucius
So, sir. I desire of you
A conduct over land to Milford Haven.
Madam, all joy befall Your Grace -- and you.
Cymbeline My Lords, you are appointed for that office;
The due of honor in no point omit.
1905So farewell, noble Lucius.
Lucius
[To Clotten] Your hand, my Lord.
Clotten Receive it friendly, but from this time forth
I wear it as your enemy.
Lucius
Sir, the event
1910Is yet to name the winner. Fare you well.
Cymbeline Leave not the worthy Lucius, good my lords,
Till he have crossed the Severn. Happiness.
[Exeunt] Lucius [and Lords]
Queen He goes hence frowning, but it honors us
That we have given him cause.
1915Clotten
'Tis all the better;
Your valiant Britons have their wishes in it.
Cymbeline Lucius hath wrote already to the emperor
How it goes here. It fits us therefore ripely
Our chariots and our horsemen be in readiness:
1920The powers that he already hath in Gallia
Will soon be drawn to head, from whence he moves
His war for Britain.
Queen
'Tis not sleepy business
But must be looked to speedily and strongly.
1925Cymbeline Our expectation that it would be thus
Hath made us forward. But, my gentle Queen,
Where is our daughter? She hath not appeared
Before the Roman, nor to us hath tendered
The duty of the day. She looks us like
1930A thing more made of malice than of duty;
We have noted it. -- Call her before us, for
We have been too slight in sufferance.
[Exit a Messenger]
Queen
Royal sir,
Since the exile of Posthumus, most retired
1935Hath her life been, the cure whereof, my Lord,
'Tis time must do. Beseech Your Majesty,
Forbear sharp speeches to her. She's a lady
So tender of rebukes that words are strokes,
And strokes death to her.
1940
Enter a Messenger
Cymbeline
Where is she, sir? How
Can her contempt be answered?
Messenger
Please you, sir,
Her chambers are all locked, and there's no answer
1945That will be given to th' loud of noise we make.
Queen My Lord, when last I went to visit her,
She prayed me to excuse her keeping close,
Whereto constrained by her infirmity
She should that duty leave unpaid to you
1950Which daily she was bound to proffer. This
She wished me to make known, but our great court
Made me to blame in memory.
Cymbeline
Her doors locked?
Not seen of late? Grant heavens, that which I
1955Fear prove false.
Exit
Queen
Son, I say, follow the King.
Clotten That man of hers, Pisanio, her old servant,
I have not seen these two days.
Queen
Go, look after.
Exit [Clotten]
1960Pisanio, thou that standst so for Posthumus,
He hath a drug of mine; I pray his absence
Proceed by swallowing that, for he believes
It is a thing most precious. But for her,
Where is she gone? Haply despair hath seized her,
1965Or, winged with fervor of her love, she's flown
To her desired Posthumus. Gone she is,
To death or to dishonor, and my end
Can make good use of either. She being down,
I have the placing of the British crown.
1970
Enter Clotten
How now, my son?
Clotten
'Tis certain she is fled.
Go in and cheer the King. He rages; none
Dare come about him.
1975Queen
All the better: may
This night forestall him of the coming day.
Exit Queen
Clotten I love and hate her. For she's fair and royal
And that she hath all courtly parts more exquisite
Than lady, ladies, woman, from every one
1980The best she hath, and she of all compounded
Outsells them all, I love her therefore; but
Disdaining me and throwing favors on
The low Posthumus slanders so her judgment
That what's else rare is choked, and in that point
1985I will conclude to hate her; nay, indeed,
To be revenged upon her, for when fools shall --
Enter Pisanio
Who is here? What, are you packing, sirrah?
Come hither. Ah, you precious pander, villain,
1990Where is thy lady? In a word, or else
Thou art straightway with the fiends.
Pisanio
Oh, good my Lord!
Clotten Where is thy lady? Or, by Jupiter,
I will not ask again. Close villain,
1995I'll have this secret from thy heart or rip
Thy heart to find it. Is she with Posthumus,
From whose so many weights of baseness cannot
A dram of worth be drawn?
Pisanio
Alas, my Lord,
2000How can she be with him? When was she missed?
He is in Rome.
Clotten
Where is she, sir? Come nearer.
No farther halting; satisfy me home,
What is become of her?
2005Pisanio
Oh, my all-worthy Lord!
Clotten
All-worthy villain,
Discover where thy mistress is at once,
At the next word. No more of "worthy Lord."
Speak, or thy silence on the instant is
2010Thy condemnation and thy death.
Pisanio
Then, sir,
This paper is the history of my knowledge
Touching her flight.
[Gives letter]
Clotten
Let's see't. I will pursue her
2015Even to Augustus' throne.
Pisanio
[Aside] Or this or perish.
She's far enough, and what he learns by this
May prove his travel, not her danger.
Clotten
Hum.
2020Pisanio [Aside] I'll write to my lord she's dead. O Imogen,
Safe mayst thou wander, safe return again.
Clotten
Sirrah, is this letter true?
Pisanio
Sir, as I think.
Clotten It is Posthumus' hand; I know't. Sirrah, if thou 2025wouldst not be a villain but do me true service, undergo those employments wherein I should have cause to use thee with a serious industry -- that is, what villainy soe'er I bid thee do, to perform it directly and truly -- I would think thee an honest man. Thou shouldst neither want 2030my means for thy relief, nor my voice for thy preferment.
Pisanio Well, my good Lord.
Clotten Wilt thou serve me? For since patiently and constantly thou hast stuck to the bare fortune of that 2035beggar Posthumus, thou canst not in the course of gratitude but be a diligent follower of mine. Wilt thou serve me?
Pisanio Sir, I will.
Clotten Give me thy hand; here's my purse. Hast any 2040of thy late master's garments in thy possession?
Pisanio I have, my Lord, at my lodging the same suit he wore when he took leave of my lady and mistress.
Clotten The first service thou dost me, fetch that suit 2045hither; let it be thy first service. Go.
Pisanio I shall, my Lord.
Exit
Clotten Meet thee at Milford Haven -- I forgot to ask him one thing; I'll remember't anon -- even there, thou villain Posthumus, will I kill thee. I would these 2050garments were come. She said upon a time (the bitterness of it I now belch from my heart) that she held the very garment of Posthumus in more respect than my noble and natural person, together with the adornment of my qualities. With that suit upon my back will I 2055ravish her -- first kill him, and in her eyes; there shall she see my valor, which will then be a torment to her contempt. He on the ground, my speech of insultment ended on his dead body, and when my lust hath dined (which, as I say, to vex her, I will execute in the clothes that she so 2060praised), to the court I'll knock her back, foot her home again. She hath despised me rejoicingly, and I'll be merry in my revenge.
Enter Pisanio [with a suit of Posthumus' clothes]
Be those the garments?
2065Pisanio Aye, my noble Lord.
Clotten How long is't since she went to Milford Haven?
Pisanio She can scarce be there yet.
Clotten Bring this apparel to my chamber; that is the second thing that I have commanded thee. The third 2070is that thou wilt be a voluntary mute to my design. Be but duteous, and true preferment shall tender itself to thee. My revenge is now at Milford; would I had wings to follow it! Come, and be true.
Exit
Pisanio Thou bidst me to my loss, for true to thee
2075Were to prove false, which I will never be
To him that is most true. To Milford go,
And find not her whom thou pursu'st. Flow, flow,
You heavenly blessings, on her. This fool's speed
Be crossed with slowness; labor be his meed.
Exit