Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Jennifer Forsyth
Peer Reviewed

Cymbeline (Modern)


Enter two Gentlemen
1 Gentleman You do not meet a man but frowns. 5Our bloods
No more obey the heavens than our courtiers'
Still seem as does the King's.
2 Gentleman
But what's the matter?
1 Gentleman His daughter, and the heir of's kingdom (whom
10He purposed to his wife's sole son, a widow
That late he married), hath referred herself
Unto a poor but worthy gentleman. She's wedded,
Her husband banished, she imprisoned: all
Is outward sorrow, though I think the King
15Be touched at very heart.
2 Gentleman
None but the King?
1 Gentleman He that hath lost her too; so is the Queen,
That most desired the match. But not a courtier,
Although they wear their faces to the bent
20Of the King's looks, hath a heart that is not
Glad at the thing they scowl at.
2 Gentleman
And why so?
1 Gentleman He that hath missed the princess is a thing
Too bad for bad report, and he that hath her --
25I mean that married her, alack, good man,
And therefore banished -- is a creature such
As, to seek through the regions of the earth
For one his like, there would be something failing
In him that should compare. I do not think
30So fair an outward and such stuff within
Endows a man but he.
2 Gentleman
You speak him far.
1 Gentleman I do extend him, sir, within himself;
Crush him together rather than unfold
35His measure duly.
2 Gentleman
What's his name and birth?
1 Gentleman I cannot delve him to the root. His father
Was called Sicilius, who did join his honor
Against the Romans with Cassibelan;
40But had his titles by Tenantius, whom
He served with glory and admired success,
So gained the sur-addition "Leonatus";
And had, besides this gentleman in question,
Two other sons, who in the wars o'th' time
45Died with their swords in hand,for which their father,
Then old and fond of issue, took such sorrow
That he quit being; and his gentle lady,
Big of this gentleman, our theme, deceased
As he was born. The King, he takes the babe
50To his protection; calls him Posthumus Leonatus;
Breeds him and makes him of his bed-chamber;
Puts to him all the learnings that his time
Could make him the receiver of, which he took
As we do air, fast as 'twas ministered;
55And in's spring became a harvest: lived in court
(Which rare it is to do) most praised, most loved;
A sample to the youngest; to th' more mature,
A glass that feated them; and to the graver,
A child that guided dotards. To his mistress,
60For whom he now is banished, her own price
Proclaims how she esteemed him; and his virtue
By her election may be truly read
What kind of man he is.
2 Gentleman
I honor him
Even out of your report. But pray you tell me,
Is she sole child to th' King?
651 Gentleman
His only child.
He had two sons (if this be worth your hearing,
Mark it); the eldest of them at three years old,
I'th' swathing clothes the other, from their nursery
Were stolen, and to this hour no guess in knowledge
70Which way they went.
2 Gentleman
How long is this ago?
1 Gentleman Some twenty years.
2 Gentleman That a king's children should be so conveyed,
So slackly guarded, and the search so slow
75That could not trace them!
1 Gentleman
Howsoe'er 'tis strange
Or that the negligence may well be laughed at,
Yet is it true, sir.
2 Gentleman
I do well believe you.
801 Gentleman We must forbear. Here comes the gentleman,
The Queen, and princess.


Enter the Queen, Posthumus, and Imogen
Queen No, be assured you shall not find me, Daughter,
85After the slander of most stepmothers,
Evil-eyed unto you. You're my prisoner, but
Your jailer shall deliver you the keys
That lock up your restraint. For you, Posthumus,
So soon as I can win th'offended King,
90I will be known your advocate; marry, yet
The fire of rage is in him, and 'twere good
You leaned unto his sentence; with what patience,
Your wisdom may inform you.
Please Your Highness,
95I will from hence today.
You know the peril.
I'll fetch a turn about the garden, pitying
The pangs of barred affections, though the King
Hath charged you should not speak together.
100Imogen O dissembling courtesy! How fine this tyrant
Can tickle where she wounds! My dearest husband,
I something fear my father's wrath but nothing
(Always reserved my holy duty) what
His rage can do on me. You must be gone,
105And I shall here abide the hourly shot
Of angry eyes, not comforted to live
But that there is this jewel in the world
That I may see again.
My queen, my mistress,
110O lady, weep no more lest I give cause
To be suspected of more tenderness
Than doth become a man. I will remain
The loyalest husband that did e'er plight troth.
My residence in Rome, at one Philario's,
115Who to my father was a friend, to me
Known but by letter. Thither write, my queen,
And with mine eyes I'll drink the words you send
Though ink be made of gall.
Enter Queen
Be brief, I pray you.
If the King come, I shall incur I know not
How much of his displeasure -- [Aside] yet I'll move him
To walk this way. I never do him wrong
But he does buy my injuries, to be friends;
125Pays dear for my offenses.
Posthumus Should we be taking leave
As long a term as yet we have to live,
The loathness to depart would grow. Adieu.
Imogen Nay, stay a little:
130Were you but riding forth to air yourself,
Such parting were too petty. Look here, love,
This diamond was my mother's;
[Gives ring to Posthumus]
Take it, heart,
But keep it till you woo another wife
When Imogen is dead.
How, how? Another?
You gentle gods, give me but this I have
And cere up my embracements from a next
With bonds of death. Remain, remain thou here
While sense can keep it on. And sweetest, fairest,
140As I my poor self did exchange for you
To your so infinite loss, so in our trifles
I still win of you. For my sake wear this;
[Gives bracelet to Imogen]
It is a manacle of love. I'll place it
Upon this fairest prisoner.
O the gods!
When shall we see again?
Enter Cymbeline and Lords
Alack, the King!
Cymbeline Thou basest thing, avoid hence, from my sight!
150If after this command thou fraught the court
With thy unworthiness, thou diest. Away:
Thou'rt poison to my blood.
The gods protect you
And bless the good remainders of the court.
155I am gone.
There cannot be a pinch in death
More sharp than this is.
O disloyal thing
That shouldst repair my youth, thou heapst
160A year's age on me.
I beseech you, sir,
Harm not yourself with your vexation.
I am senseless of your wrath; a touch more rare
Subdues all pangs, all fears.
Past grace? Obedience?
Imogen Past hope and in despair, that way past grace.
Cymbeline That mightst have had the sole son of my Queen.
Imogen Oh, blessed that I might not! I chose an eagle
170And did avoid a puttock.
Cymbeline Thou tookst a beggar, wouldst have made my throne
A seat for baseness.
No, I rather added
A luster to it.
O thou vile one!
It is your fault that I have loved Posthumus:
You bred him as my playfellow, and he is
A man worth any woman; over-buys me
Almost the sum he pays.
What? Art thou mad?
Imogen Almost, sir, Heaven restore me! Would I were
A neatherd's daughter and my Leonatus
Our neighbor shepherd's son.
Enter Queen
Thou foolish thing,
They were again together. You have done
Not after our command. Away with her
And pen her up.
Beseech your patience. -- Peace,
190Dear lady daughter, peace. -- Sweet sovereign,
Leave us to ourselves and make yourself some comfort
Out of your best advice.
Nay, let her languish
A drop of blood a day and, being aged,
195Die of this folly.
Enter Pisanio
[To Imogen] Fie! You must give way!
Here is your servant. -- How now, sir? What news?
My lord your son drew on my master.
No harm, I trust, is done?
There might have been,
But that my master rather played than fought
And had no help of anger. They were parted
205By gentlemen at hand.
I am very glad on't.
Imogen Your son's my father's friend: he takes his part
To draw upon an exile. Oh, brave sir!
I would they were in Afric both together,
210Myself by with a needle that I might prick
The goer-back. Why came you from your master?
Pisanio On his command. He would not suffer me
To bring him to the haven; left these notes
Of what commands I should be subject to
215When't pleased you to employ me.
This hath been
Your faithful servant. I dare lay mine honor
He will remain so.
I humbly thank Your Highness.
[To Imogen] Pray walk awhile.
Imogen [To Pisanio] About some half hour hence, pray you speak with me;
You shall at least go see my lord aboard.
For this time, leave me.
Queen and Imogen exeunt together, Pisanio apart


Enter Clotten and two Lords
1 Lord Sir, I would advise you to shift a shirt: the violence of action hath made you reek as a sacrifice. Where air comes out, air comes in; there's none abroad so 230wholesome as that you vent.
Clotten If my shirt were bloody, then to shift it. Have I hurt him?
2 Lord [Aside] No, faith; not so much as his patience.
1 Lord Hurt him? His body's a passable carcass if he be 235not hurt. It is a throughfare for steel if it be not hurt.
2 Lord [Aside] His steel was in debt: it went o'th' backside the town.
Clotten The villain would not stand me.
2 Lord [Aside] No, but he fled forward still, toward your face.
2401 Lord Stand you? You have land enough of your own, but he added to your having, gave you some ground.
2 Lord [Aside] As many inches as you have oceans, puppies.
Clotten I would they had not come between us.
2 Lord [Aside] So would I, till you had measured how long a fool 245you were upon the ground.
Clotten And that she should love this fellow, and refuse me!
2 Lord [Aside] If it be a sin to make a true election, she is damned.
1 Lord Sir, as I told you always, her beauty and her brain 250go not together. She's a good sign, but I have seen small reflection of her wit.
2 Lord [Aside] She shines not upon fools lest the reflection should hurt her.
Clotten Come, I'll to my chamber. Would there had 255been some hurt done!
2 Lord [Aside] I wish not so, unless it had been the fall of an ass, which is no great hurt.
Clotten You'll go with us?
1 Lord I'll attend your lordship.
260Clotten Nay, come; let's go together.
2 Lord Well, my Lord.


Enter Imogen and Pisanio
Imogen I would thou grewst unto the shores o'th' haven
265And questionedst every sail. If he should write
And I not have it, 'twere a paper lost
As offered mercy is. What was the last
That he spake to thee?
It was his queen, his queen.
Then waved his handkerchief?
And kissed it, madam.
Imogen Senseless linen, happier therein than I!
And that was all?
No, madam. For so long
275As he could make me with this eye or ear
Distinguish him from others, he did keep
The deck, with glove or hat or handkerchief
Still waving as the fits and stirs of's mind
Could best express how slow his soul sailed on,
280How swift his ship.
Thou shouldst have made him
As little as a crow or less ere left
To after-eye him.
Madam, so I did.
285Imogen I would have broke mine eyestrings, cracked them but
To look upon him, till the diminution
Of space had pointed him sharp as my needle,
Nay, followed him till he had melted from
The smallness of a gnat to air, and then
290Have turned mine eye and wept. But good Pisanio,
When shall we hear from him?
Be assured, madam,
With his next vantage.
Imogen I did not take my leave of him but had
295Most pretty things to say. Ere I could tell him
How I would think on him at certain hours
Such thoughts and such; or I could make him swear
The shes of Italy should not betray
Mine interest and his honor; or have charged him
300At the sixth hour of morn, at noon, at midnight,
T'encounter me with orisons, for then
I am in heaven for him; or ere I could
Give him that parting kiss which I had set
Betwixt two charming words, comes in my father
305And like the tyrannous breathing of the North
Shakes all our buds from growing.
Enter a Lady
The Queen, madam,
Desires Your Highness' company.
310Imogen [To Pisanio] Those things I bid you do, get them dispatched. --
[To Lady] I will attend the Queen.
Madam, I shall.
Imogen and Lady exeunt together; Pisanio separately


Enter Philario, Iachimo, a Frenchman, a 315Dutchman, and a Spaniard
Iachimo Believe it, sir; I have seen him in Britain. He was then of a crescent note, expected to prove so worthy as since he hath been allowed the name of. But I could then have looked on him without the help of 320admiration, though the catalogue of his endowments had been tabled by his side and I to peruse him by items.
Philario You speak of him when he was less furnished than now he is with that which makes him both without and within.
325Frenchman I have seen him in France; we had very many there could behold the sun with as firm eyes as he.
Iachimo This matter of marrying his King's daughter, wherein he must be weighed rather by her value than 330his own, words him, I doubt not, a great deal from the matter.
Frenchman And then his banishment.
Iachimo Aye, and the approbation of those that weep this lamentable divorce under her colors are wonderfully 335to extend him, be it but to fortify her judgment which else an easy battery might lay flat for taking a beggar without less quality. But how comes it he is to sojourn with you? How creeps acquaintance?
Philario His father and I were soldiers together, to 340whom I have been often bound for no less than my life.
Enter Posthumus
[To Iachimo, Frenchman, Dutchman, and Spaniard] Here comes the Briton. Let him be so entertained amongst you as suits with gentlemen of your knowing to a stranger of his quality. [Posthumus joins them] [To Iachimo, Frenchman, Dutchman, and Spaniard] I beseech you all be better 345known to this gentleman, whom I commend to you as a noble friend of mine. How worthy he is I will leave to appear hereafter rather than story him in his own hearing.
Frenchman Sir, we have known together in Orleans.
350Posthumus Since when I have been debtor to you for courtesies which I will be ever to pay, and yet pay still.
Frenchman Sir, you o'errate my poor kindness. I was glad I did atone my countryman and you; it had been pity you should have been put together with so 355mortal a purpose as then each bore, upon importance of so slight and trivial a nature.
Posthumus By your pardon, sir, I was then a young traveler: rather shunned to go even with what I heard than in my every action to be guided by others' experiences; but 360upon my mended judgment (if I offend not to say it is mended) my quarrel was not altogether slight.
Frenchman Faith, yes, to be put to the arbitrament of swords, and by such two that would by all likelihood have confounded one the other, or have fallen both.
365Iachimo Can we with manners ask what was the difference?
Frenchman Safely, I think. 'Twas a contention in public, which may (without contradiction) suffer the report. It was much like an argument that fell out last 370night, where each of us fell in praise of our countrymistresses, this gentleman at that time vouching, and upon warrant of bloody affirmation, his to be more fair, virtuous, wise, chaste, constant, qualified, and less attemptable than any the rarest of our ladies in 375France.
Iachimo That lady is not now living, or this gentleman's opinion by this worn out.
Posthumus She holds her virtue still, and I my mind.
Iachimo You must not so far prefer her 'fore ours of 380Italy.
Posthumus Being so far provoked as I was in France, I would abate her nothing, though I profess myself her adorer, not her friend.
Iachimo "As fair" and "as good," a kind of hand-in-hand 385comparison, had been something too fair and too good for any lady in Brittany. If she went before others I have seen as that diamond of yours outlusters many I have beheld, I could not but believe she excelled many; but I have not seen the most precious diamond that is, 390nor you the lady.
Posthumus I praised her as I rated her; so do I my stone.
Iachimo What do you esteem it at?
Posthumus More than the world enjoys.
Iachimo Either your unparagoned mistress is dead, or 395she's outprized by a trifle.
Posthumus You are mistaken. The one may be sold or given, or if there were wealth enough for the purchase or merit for the gift; the other is not a thing for sale, and only the gift of the gods.
400Iachimo Which the gods have given you?
Posthumus Which by their graces I will keep.
Iachimo You may wear her in title yours, but you know strange fowl light upon neighboring ponds. Your ring may be stolen too; so, your brace of 405unprizable estimations, the one is but frail, and the other casual. A cunning thief or a that-way accomplished courtier would hazard the winning both of first and last.
Posthumus Your Italy contains none so accomplished a 410courtier to convince the honor of my mistress, if in the holding or loss of that you term her frail. I do nothing doubt you have store of thieves; notwithstanding, I fear not my ring.
Philario Let us leave here, gentlemen.
415Posthumus Sir, with all my heart. This worthy signior, I thank him, makes no stranger of me; we are familiar at first.
Iachimo With five times so much conversation, I should get ground of your fair mistress, make her go back, 420even to the yielding, had I admittance and opportunity to friend.
Posthumus No, no.
Iachimo I dare thereupon pawn the moiety of my estate to your ring, which in my opinion o'ervalues it 425something, but I make my wager rather against your confidence than her reputation. And, to bar your offense herein to, I durst attempt it against any lady in the world.
Posthumus You are a great deal abused in too bold a 430persuasion, and I doubt not you sustain what y'are worthy of by your attempt.
Iachimo What's that?
Posthumus A repulse, though your attempt, as you call it, deserve more: a punishment too.
435Philario Gentlemen, enough of this. It came in too suddenly; let it die as it was born, and I pray you be better acquainted.
Iachimo Would I had put my estate and my neighbor's on th'approbation of what I have spoke!
440Posthumus What lady would you choose to assail?
Iachimo Yours, whom in constancy you think stands so safe. I will lay you ten thousands ducats to your ring that, commend me to the court where your lady is, with no more advantage than the opportunity of a 445second conference, and I will bring from thence that honor of hers which you imagine so reserved.
Posthumus I will wage against your gold, gold to it: my ring I hold dear as my finger; 'tis part of it.
450Iachimo You are a friend, and therein the wiser. If you buy ladies' flesh at a million a dram, you cannot preserve it from tainting; but I see you have some religion in you, that you fear.
Posthumus This is but a custom in your tongue; you 455bear a graver purpose, I hope.
Iachimo I am the master of my speeches and would undergo what's spoken, I swear.
Posthumus Will you? I shall but lend my diamond till your return; let there be covenants drawn between's. 460My mistress exceeds in goodness the hugeness of your unworthy thinking. I dare you to this match; here's my ring.
Philario I will have it no lay.
Iachimo By the gods, it is one. If I bring you no 465sufficient testimony that I have enjoyed the dearest bodily part of your mistress, my ten thousand ducats are yours, so is your diamond too; if I come off and leave her in such honor as you have trust in, she your jewel, this your jewel, and my gold are yours, provided I have 470your commendation for my more free entertainment.
Posthumus I embrace these conditions. Let us have articles betwixt us; only, thus far you shall answer: if you make your voyage upon her and give me directly to understand you have prevailed, I am no further your 475enemy; she is not worth our debate. If she remain unseduced, you not making it appear otherwise, for your ill opinion and th'assault you have made to her chastity, you shall answer me with your sword.
Iachimo Your hand; a covenant. We will have these 480things set down by lawful counsel, and straight away for Britain, lest the bargain should catch cold and starve. I will fetch my gold and have our two wagers recorded.
Posthumus Agreed.
[Exeunt Posthumus and Iachimo]
485Frenchman Will this hold, think you?
Philario Signior Iachimo will not from it. Pray let us follow 'em.


Enter Queen, Ladies, and Cornelius
490Queen Whiles yet the dew's on ground, gather those flowers;
Make haste. Who has the note of them?
I, madam.
Queen Dispatch.
Exeunt Ladies
495Now, Master Doctor, have you brought those drugs?
Cornelius Pleaseth Your Highness, aye; here they are, madam.
But I beseech Your Grace, without offense,
My conscience bids me ask wherefore you have
Commanded of me these most poisonous compounds
500Which are the movers of a languishing death,
But, though slow, deadly.
I wonder, Doctor,
Thou askst me such a question. Have I not been
Thy pupil long? Hast thou not learned me how
505To make perfumes? Distill? Preserve? Yea, so
That our great King himself doth woo me oft
For my confections? Having thus far proceeded,
Unless thou thinkst me devilish, is't not meet
That I did amplify my judgment in
510Other conclusions? I will try the forces
Of these thy compounds on such creatures as
We count not worth the hanging, but none human,
To try the vigor of them and apply
Allayments to their act, and by them gather
515Their several virtues and effects.
Your Highness
Shall from this practice but make hard your heart;
Besides, the seeing these effects will be
Both noisome and infectious.
Oh, content thee. --
Enter Pisanio
[Aside] Here comes a flattering rascal; upon him
Will I first work: he's for his master
And enemy to my son. -- How now, Pisanio? --
525Doctor, your service for this time is ended;
Take your own way.
[Aside] I do suspect you, madam,
But you shall do no harm.
[To Pisanio] Hark thee, a word.
530Cornelius [Aside] I do not like her. She doth think she has
Strange ling'ring poisons; I do know her spirit
And will not trust one of her malice with
A drug of such damned nature. Those she has
Will stupefy and dull the sense awhile,
535Which first perchance she'll prove on cats and dogs,
Then afterward up higher, but there is
No danger in what show of death it makes
More than the locking up the spirits a time
To be more fresh, reviving. She is fooled
540With a most false effect, and I the truer,
So to be false with her.
Queen [To Cornelius] No further service, Doctor,
Until I send for thee.
Cornelius I humbly take my leave.
545Queen Weeps she still, sayst thou? Dost thou think in time
She will not quench and let instructions enter
Where folly now possesses? Do thou work:
When thou shalt bring me word she loves my son,
550I'll tell thee on the instant, thou art then
As great as is thy master; greater, for
His fortunes all lie speechless, and his name
Is at last gasp. Return he cannot, nor
Continue where he is. To shift his being
555Is to exchange one misery with another,
And every day that comes, comes to decay
A day's work in him. What shalt thou expect
To be depender on a thing that leans,
Who cannot be new built, nor has no friends
560So much as but to prop him?
[Queen drops the drug, which Pisanio picks up]
Thou tak'st up
Thou knowst not what, but take it for thy labor.
It is a thing I made which hath the King
Five times redeemed from death. I do not know
What is more cordial. Nay, I prithee, take it;
565It is an earnest of a farther good
That I mean to thee. Tell thy mistress how
The case stands with her; do't as from thyself.
Think what a chance thou changest on, but think
Thou hast thy mistress still; to boot, my son,
570Who shall take notice of thee. I'll move the King
To any shape of thy preferment such
As thou'lt desire, and then myself, I chiefly,
That set thee on to this desert, am bound
To load thy merit richly. Call my women.
575Think on my words.
Exit Pisanio
A sly and constant knave,
Not to be shaked; the agent for his master,
And the remembrancer of her to hold
The handfast to her lord. I have given him that
Which, if he take, shall quite unpeople her
580Of liegers for her sweet, and which she after,
Except she bend her humor, shall be assured
To taste of too. --
Enter Pisanio and Ladies
[To Ladies] So, so; well done, well done:
585The violets, cowslips, and the primroses
Bear to my closet. -- Fare thee well, Pisanio.
Think on my words.
Exeunt Queen and Ladies
Pisanio And shall do,
But when to my good lord I prove untrue,
590I'll choke myself: there's all I'll do for you.


Enter Imogen alone
Imogen A father cruel and a stepdame false,
A foolish suitor to a wedded lady
595That hath her husband banished -- oh, that husband,
My supreme crown of grief, and those repeated
Vexations of it! Had I been thief-stolen
As my two brothers, happy; but most miserable
Is the desire that's glorious. Blessed be those,
600How mean soe'er, that have their honest wills,
Which seasons comfort. Who may this be? Fie!
Enter Pisanio and Iachimo
Pisanio Madam, a noble gentleman of Rome
Comes from my lord with letters.
Change you, madam:
The worthy Leonatus is in safety
And greets Your Highness dearly.
Thanks, good sir;
You're kindly welcome.
610Iachimo [Aside] All of her that is out of door, most rich;
If she be furnished with a mind so rare,
She is alone th'Arabian bird, and I
Have lost the wager. Boldness, be my friend;
Arm me, audacity, from head to foot,
615Or like the Parthian I shall flying fight --
Rather, directly fly.
[Gives a letter]
Imogen Reads
He is one of the noblest note, to whose kindnesses I am most infinitely tied. Reflect upon him accordingly, as you value your 620trust.
So far I read aloud.
But even the very middle of my heart
Is warmed by th'rest, and takes it thankfully.
You are as welcome, worthy sir, as I
625Have words to bid you, and shall find it so
In all that I can do.
Thanks, fairest lady.
What, are men mad? Hath nature given them eyes
To see this vaulted arch and the rich crop
630Of sea and land, which can distinguish 'twixt
The fiery orbs above and the twinned stones
Upon th'unnumbered beach, and can we not
Partition make with spectacles so precious
'Twixt fair and foul?
What makes your admiration?
Iachimo It cannot be i'th' eye, for apes and monkeys
'Twixt two such shes would chatter this way and
Condemn with mows the other; nor i'th' judgment,
For idiots in this case of favor would
640Be wisely definite; nor i'th' appetite:
Sluttery to such neat excellence opposed
Should make desire vomit emptiness,
Not so allured to feed.
What is the matter, trow?
The cloyèd will,
That satiate yet unsatisfied desire, that tub
Both filled and running, ravening first the lamb,
Longs after for the garbage.
What, dear sir,
650Thus raps you? Are you well?
Thanks, madam, well. --
[To Pisanio]
Beseech you, sir, desire my man's abode,
Where I did leave him; he's strange and peevish.
Pisanio I was going, sir, 655to give him welcome.
Imogen Continues well my lord? His health, beseech you?
Iachimo Well, madam.
Imogen Is he disposed to mirth? I hope he is.
660Iachimo Exceeding pleasant. None a stranger there
So merry and so gamesome; he is called
The Briton Reveler.
When he was here
He did incline to sadness and oft-times
665Not knowing why.
I never saw him sad.
There is a Frenchman his companion, one
An eminent monsieur, that it seems much loves
A Gallian girl at home. He furnaces
670The thick sighs from him whiles the jolly Briton,
Your lord I mean, laughs from's free lungs, cries, "Oh,
Can my sides hold, to think that man who knows
By history, report, or his own proof
What woman is -- yea, what she cannot choose
675But must be, will's free hours languish for
Assurèd bondage?"
Will my lord say so?
Iachimo Aye, madam, with his eyes in flood with laughter.
It is a recreation to be by
680And hear him mock the Frenchman. But heavens know
Some men are much to blame.
Not he, I hope.
Iachimo Not he; but yet Heaven's bounty towards him might
685Be used more thankfully. In himself 'tis much;
In you, which I account his, beyond all talents.
Whilst I am bound to wonder, I am bound
To pity too.
What do you pity, sir?
Two creatures heartily.
Am I one, sir?
You look on me. What wrack discern you in me
Deserves your pity?
Lamentable! What,
695To hide me from the radiant sun and solace
I'th' dungeon by a snuff?
I pray you, sir,
Deliver with more openness your answers
To my demands. Why do you pity me?
700Iachimo That others do --
I was about to say, "enjoy your --" but
It is an office of the gods to venge it,
Not mine to speak on't.
You do seem to know
705Something of me or what concerns me; pray you,
Since doubting things go ill often hurts more
Than to be sure they do (for certainties
Either are past remedies, or, timely knowing,
The remedy then borne), discover to me
710What both you spur and stop.
Had I this cheek
To bathe my lips upon; this hand, whose touch,
Whose every touch would force the feeler's soul
To th' oath of loyalty; this object, which
715Takes prisoner the wild motion of mine eye,
Firing it only here; should I, damned then,
Slaver with lips as common as the stairs
That mount the Capitol, join grips with hands
Made hard with hourly falsehood (falsehood as
720With labor), then by-peeping in an eye
Base and illustrous as the smoky light
That's fed with stinking tallow, it were fit
That all the plagues of hell should at one time
Encounter such revolt.
My lord, I fear,
Has forgot Britain.
And himself. Not I
Inclined to this intelligence pronounce
The beggary of his change, but 'tis your graces
730That from my mutest conscience to my tongue
Charms this report out.
Let me hear no more.
Iachimo O dearest soul, your cause doth strike my heart
With pity that doth make me sick. A lady
735So fair and fastened to an empery
Would make the great'st king double, to be partnered
With tomboys hired with that self exhibition
Which your own coffers yield; with diseased ventures
That play with all infirmities for gold
740Which rottenness can lend Nature. Such boiled stuff
As well might poison poison. Be revenged,
Or she that bore you was no queen and you
Recoil from your great stock.
Imogen Revenged?
745How should I be revenged? If this be true --
As I have such a heart, that both mine ears
Must not in haste abuse -- if it be true,
How should I be revenged?
Should he make me
750Live like Diana's priest betwixt cold sheets
Whiles he is vaulting variable ramps
In your despite, upon your purse -- revenge it.
I dedicate myself to your sweet pleasure,
More noble than that runagate to your bed,
755And will continue fast to your affection,
Still close as sure.
What ho, Pisanio?
Iachimo Let me my service tender on your lips.
Imogen Away! I do condemn mine ears that have
760So long attended thee. If thou wert honorable,
Thou wouldst have told this tale for virtue, not
For such an end thou seekst, as base as strange.
Thou wrongst a gentleman who is as far
From thy report as thou from honor, and
765Solicits here a lady that disdains
Thee and the devil alike. -- What ho, Pisanio? --
The King my father shall be made acquainted
Of thy assault. If he shall think it fit
A saucy stranger in his court to mart
770As in a Romish stew and to expound
His beastly mind to us, he hath a court
He little cares for and a daughter who
He not respects at all. What ho, Pisanio?
Iachimo O happy Leonatus, I may say,
775The credit that thy lady hath of thee
Deserves thy trust; and thy most perfect goodness,
Her assured credit. Blessed live you long,
A lady to the worthiest sir that ever
Country called his, and you his mistress, only
780For the most worthiest fit. Give me your pardon.
I have spoke this to know if your affiance
Were deeply rooted, and shall make your lord
That which he is, new o'er; and he is one
The truest mannered, such a holy witch
785That he enchants societies into him;
Half all men's hearts are his.
You make amends.
Iachimo He sits 'mongst men like a descended god;
He hath a kind of honor sets him off
790More than a mortal seeming. Be not angry,
Most mighty princess, that I have adventured
To try your taking of a false report, which hath
Honored with confirmation your great judgment
In the election of a sir so rare,
795Which you know cannot err. The love I bear him
Made me to fan you thus, but the gods made you,
Unlike all others, chaffless. Pray your pardon.
Imogen All's well, sir; take my power i'th' court for yours.
800Iachimo My humble thanks. I had almost forgot
T'entreat Your Grace but in a small request,
And yet of moment too, for it concerns:
Your lord, myself, and other noble friends
Are partners in the business.
Pray what is't?
Iachimo Some dozen Romans of us and your lord,
The best feather of our wing, have mingled sums
To buy a present for the emperor,
Which I, the factor for the rest, have done
810In France. 'Tis plate of rare device and jewels
Of rich and exquisite form, their values great,
And I am something curious, being strange,
To have them in safe stowage. May it please you
To take them in protection?
And pawn mine honor for their safety; since
My lord hath interest in them, I will keep them
In my bedchamber.
They are in a trunk
820Attended by my men. I will make bold
To send them to you, only for this night;
I must aboard tomorrow.
Oh, no, no.
Iachimo Yes, I beseech, or I shall short my word
825By length'ning my return. From Gallia,
I crossed the seas on purpose and on promise
To see Your Grace.
I thank you for your pains,
But not away tomorrow.
Oh, I must, madam;
Therefore, I shall beseech you, if you please
To greet your lord with writing, do't tonight.
I have outstood my time, which is material
To th' tender of our present.
I will write.
Send your trunk to me; it shall safe be kept
And truly yielded you. You're very welcome.


Enter Clotten and the two Lords
840Clotten Was there ever man had such luck, when I kissed the jack, upon an upcast to be hit away? I had a hundred pound on't. And then a whoreson jackanapes must take me up for swearing as if I borrowed mine oaths of him and might not spend them at my pleasure.
8451 Lord What got he by that? You have broke his pate with your bowl.
2 Lord [Aside] If his wit had been like him that broke it, it would have run all out.
Clotten When a gentleman is disposed to swear, it is 850not for any standers-by to curtail his oaths. Ha?
2 Lord [Aside] No, my Lord, nor crop the ears of them.
Clotten Whoreson dog. I gave him satisfaction! Would he had been one of my rank.
2 Lord [Aside] To have smelled like a fool.
855Clotten I am not vexed more at anything in th'earth. A pox on't! I had rather not be so noble as I am. They dare not fight with me because of the Queen my mother. Every jack-slave hath his belly full of fighting, and I must go up and down like a cock that nobody 860can match.
2 Lord [Aside] You are cock and capon too, and you crow, cock, with your comb on.
Clotten Sayst thou?
2 Lord It is not fit your lordship should undertake every 865companion that you give offense to.
Clotten No, I know that; but it is fit I should commit offense to my inferiors.
2 Lord Aye, it is fit for your lordship only.
Clotten Why, so I say.
8701 Lord Did you hear of a stranger that's come to court tonight?
Clotten A stranger, and I not know on't?
2 Lord [Aside] He's a strange fellow himself and knows it not.
1 Lord There's an Italian come, and 'tis thought one of 875Leonatus' friends.
Clotten Leonatus? A banished rascal, and he's another, whatsoever he be. Who told you of this stranger?
1 Lord One of your lordship's pages.
Clotten Is it fit I went to look upon him? Is there no 880derogation in't?
2 Lord You cannot derogate, my Lord.
Clotten Not easily, I think.
2 Lord [Aside] You are a fool granted; therefore, your issues, being foolish, do not derogate.
885Clotten Come, I'll go see this Italian. What I have lost today at bowls, I'll win tonight of him. Come; go.
2 Lord I'll attend your lordship.
[Exit Clotten or 1 Lord]
That such a crafty devil as is his mother
Should yield the world this ass! A woman that
890Bears all down with her brain, and this her son
Cannot take two from twenty for his heart
And leave eighteen. Alas, poor princess,
Thou divine Imogen, what thou endur'st
Betwixt a father by thy stepdame governed,
895A mother hourly coining plots, a wooer
More hateful than the foul expulsion is
Of thy dear husband, than that horrid act
Of the divorce he'd make. The heavens hold firm
The walls of thy dear honor. Keep unshaked
900That temple, thy fair mind, that thou mayst stand
T'enjoy thy banished lord and this great land.


Enter Imogen in her bed and a Lady [Helen]
Who's there? My woman, Helen?
Please you, madam.
What hour is it?
Almost midnight, madam.
Imogen I have read three hours then. Mine eyes are weak;
910Fold down the leaf where I have left. To bed.
Take not away the taper; leave it burning;
And if thou canst awake by four o'th' clock,
I prithee call me.
[Lady exits or sleeps]
Sleep hath seized me wholly.
To your protection I commend me, gods;
915From fairies and the tempters of the night,
Guard me, beseech ye.
Iachimo from the trunk
Iachimo The crickets sing, and man's o'er-labored sense
Repairs itself by rest. Our Tarquin thus
920Did softly press the rushes ere he wakened
The chastity he wounded. Cytherea,
How bravely thou becom'st thy bed, fresh lily,
And whiter than the sheets. That I might touch,
But kiss, one kiss. Rubies unparagoned,
925How dearly they do't: 'tis her breathing that
Perfumes the chamber thus. The flame o'th' taper
Bows toward her and would underpeep her lids
To see th'enclosed lights, now canopied
Under these windows, white and azure laced
930With blue of heaven's own tinct. But my design,
To note the chamber. I will write all down.
Such and such pictures; there the window; such
Th'adornment of her bed; the arras, figures,
Why, such and such; and the contents o'th' story.
935Ah, but some natural notes about her body
Above ten thousand meaner moveables
Would testify, t'enrich mine inventory.
O sleep, thou ape of death, lie dull upon her,
And be her sense but as a monument
940Thus in a chapel lying. Come off, come off;
[Removes her bracelet]
As slippery as the Gordian knot was hard.
'Tis mine, and this will witness outwardly
As strongly as the conscience does within
To th' madding of her lord. On her left breast,
945A mole cinq-spotted, like the crimson drops
I'th' bottom of a cowslip. Here's a voucher
Stronger than ever law could make; this secret
Will force him think I have picked the lock and ta'en
The treasure of her honor. No more: to what end?
950Why should I write this down that's riveted,
Screwed to my memory? She hath been reading late
The tale of Tereus; here the leaf's turned down
Where Philomel gave up. I have enough.
To th' trunk again, and shut the spring of it.
955Swift, swift, you dragons of the night, that dawning
May bare the raven's eye. I lodge in fear:
Though this a heavenly angel, hell is here.
Clock strikes
One, two, three: time, time.
Exit [into the trunk]


Enter Clotten and Lords
1 Lord Your lordship is the most patient man in loss, the most coldest that ever turned up ace.
Clotten It would make any man cold to lose.
9651 Lord But not every man patient after the noble temper of your lordship: you are most hot and furious when you win.
[Clotten] Winning will put any man into courage. If I could get this foolish Imogen, I should have gold enough. It's 970almost morning, is't not?
1 Lord Day, my Lord.
Clotten I would this music would come. I am advised to give her music o' mornings; they say it will penetrate.
Enter Musicians
975Come on, tune. If you can penetrate her with your fingering, so; we'll try with tongue, too. If none will do, let her remain, but I'll never give o'er. First, a very excellent good conceited thing; after, a wonderful sweet air with admirable rich words to it, and then let her 980consider.
[Musicians and possibly Clotten]
Hark, hark, the lark at Heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
985On chaliced flowers that lies,
And winking Mary-buds begin to ope their golden eyes;
With every thing that pretty is, my lady sweet, arise,
Arise, arise.
[Clotten] So, get you gone. If this penetrate, I will consider your 990music the better; if it do not, it is a voice in her ears which horse-hairs and calves' guts nor the voice of unpaved eunuch to boot can never amend.
[Exeunt Musicians]
Enter Cymbeline and Queen
2 Lord Here comes the King.
995Clotten I am glad I was up so late, for that's the reason I was up so early. He cannot choose but take this service I have done fatherly. -- Good morrow to Your Majesty and to my gracious mother.
Cymbeline Attend you here the door of our stern daughter?
1000Will she not forth?
Clotten I have assailed her with musics, but she vouchsafes no notice.
Cymbeline The exile of her minion is too new;
She hath not yet forgot him. Some more time
1005Must wear the print of his remembrance on't,
And then she's yours.
You are most bound to th' King,
Who lets go by no vantages that may
Prefer you to his daughter. Frame yourself
1010To orderly solicits and be friended
With aptness of the season; make denials
Increase your services; so seem as if
You were inspired to do those duties which
You tender to her, that you in all obey her
1015Save when command to your dismission tends,
And therein you are senseless.
Senseless? Not so.
[Enter Messenger]
Messenger So like you, sir, ambassadors from Rome;
The one is Caius Lucius.
A worthy fellow
Albeit he comes on angry purpose now,
But that's no fault of his. We must receive him
According to the honor of his sender,
And towards himself, his goodness forespent on us,
1025We must extend our notice. Our dear son,
When you have given good morning to your mistress,
Attend the Queen and us; we shall have need
T'employ you towards this Roman. Come, our Queen.
Exeunt [all but Clotten]
1030Clotten If she be up, I'll speak with her; if not,
Let her lie still and dream. -- By your leave, ho! --
I know her women are about her; what
If I do line one of their hands? 'Tis gold
Which buys admittance (oft it doth), yea, and makes
1035Diana's rangers false themselves, yield up
Their deer to th' stand o'th' stealer; and 'tis gold
Which makes the true man killed and saves the thief --
Nay, sometime hangs both thief and true man. What
Can it not do, and undo? I will make
1040One of her women lawyer to me, for
I yet not understand the case myself. --
By your leave.
Enter a Lady
Who's there that knocks?
A gentleman.
No more?
Yes, and a gentlewoman's son.
That's more
Than some whose tailors are as dear as yours
1050Can justly boast of. What's your lordship's pleasure?
Your lady's person. Is she ready?
To keep her chamber.
There is gold for you;
Sell me your good report.
How, my good name?
Or to report of you what I shall think
Is good? The princess.
Enter Imogen
Clotten Good morrow, fairest; Sister, your sweet hand.
Imogen Good morrow, sir; you lay out too much pains
1060For purchasing but trouble. The thanks I give
Is telling you that I am poor of thanks
And scarce can spare them.
Still I swear I love you.
Imogen If you but said so, 'twere as deep with me;
1065If you swear still, your recompense is still
That I regard it not.
This is no answer.
Imogen But that you shall not say I yield, being silent,
I would not speak. I pray you spare me; faith,
1070I shall unfold equal discourtesy
To your best kindness. One of your great knowing
Should learn, being taught, forbearance.
Clotten To leave you in your madness 'twere my sin;
I will not.
1075Imogen Fools are not mad folks.
Do you call me fool?
As I am mad, I do:
If you'll be patient, I'll no more be mad;
That cures us both. I am much sorry, sir,
1080You put me to forget a lady's manners
By being so verbal; and learn now, for all,
That I which know my heart do here pronounce
By th' very truth of it, I care not for you
And am so near the lack of charity --
1085To accuse myself -- I hate you, which I had rather
You felt than make't my boast.
You sin against
Obedience which you owe your father, for
The contract you pretend with that base wretch,
1090One bred of alms and fostered with cold dishes,
With scraps o'th' court, it is no contract, none.
And though it be allowed in meaner parties --
Yet who than he more mean? -- to knit their souls,
On whom there is no more dependency
1095But brats and beggary, in self-figured knot,
Yet you are curbed from that enlargement by
The consequence o'th' crown and must not foil
The precious note of it with a base slave,
A hilding for a livery, a squire's cloth,
1100A pantler -- not so eminent.
Profane fellow!
Wert thou the son of Jupiter and no more
But what thou art besides, thou wert too base
To be his groom. Thou wert dignified enough
1105Even to the point of envy if 'twere made
Comparative for your virtues to be styled
The under-hangman of his kingdom, and hated
For being preferred so well.
The south fog rot him!
1110Imogen He never can meet more mischance than come
To be but named of thee. His meanest garment
That ever hath but clipped his body is dearer
In my respect than all the hairs above thee,
Were they all made such men. How now, Pisanio?
Enter Pisanio
Clotten His garment? Now the devil!
Imogen [To Pisanio] To Dorothy my woman hie thee presently.
His garment?
[To Pisanio] I am sprighted with a fool,
1120Frighted, and angered worse. Go bid my woman
Search for a jewel that too casually
Hath left mine arm; it was thy master's. Shrew me
If I would loose it for a revenue
Of any king's in Europe. I do think
1125I saw't this morning; confident I am,
Last night 'twas on mine arm; I kissed it.
I hope it be not gone to tell my lord
That I kiss aught but he.
'Twill not be lost.
I hope so; go and search.
You have abused me.
[Exit Pisanio]
His meanest garment?
Aye, I said so, sir;
If you will make't an action, call witness to't.
I will inform your father.
Your mother, too:
She's my good lady and will conceive, I hope,
But the worst of me. So I leave you, sir,
To th' worst of discontent.
I'll be revenged:
His meanest garment? Well.


Enter Posthumus and Philario
Posthumus Fear it not, sir. I would I were so sure
1145To win the King as I am bold her honor
Will remain hers.
What means do you make to him?
Posthumus Not any, but abide the change of time,
Quake in the present winter's state and wish
1150That warmer days would come. In these feared hopes
I barely gratify your love; they failing,
I must die much your debtor.
Philario Your very goodness and your company
O'erpays all I can do. By this your King
1155Hath heard of Great Augustus; Caius Lucius
Will do's commission throughly. And I think
He'll grant the tribute, send th'arrearages,
Or look upon our Romans, whose remembrance
Is yet fresh in their grief.
I do believe,
Statist though I am none, nor like to be,
That this will prove a war, and you shall hear
The legion now in Gallia sooner landed
In our not-fearing Britain than have tidings
1165Of any penny tribute paid. Our countrymen
Are men more ordered than when Julius Caesar
Smiled at their lack of skill but found their courage
Worthy his frowning at. Their discipline,
Now wing-led with their courages, will make known
1170To their approvers they are people such
That mend upon the world.
See Iachimo.
Enter Iachimo
Posthumus The swiftest harts have posted you by land,
And winds of all the corners kissed your sails
1175To make your vessel nimble.
Welcome, sir.
Posthumus I hope the briefness of your answer made
The speediness of your return.
Your lady
1180Is one of the fairest that I have looked upon.
Posthumus And therewithal the best, or let her beauty
Look through a casement to allure false hearts
And be false with them.
Here are letters for you.
Their tenor good, I trust.
'Tis very like.
Posthumus Was Caius Lucius in the Britain court
When you were there?
He was expected then,
1190But not approached.
[Aside] All is well yet. --
Sparkles this stone as it was wont, or is't not
Too dull for your good wearing?
If I have lost it,
1195I should have lost the worth of it in gold;
I'll make a journey twice as far t'enjoy
A second night of such sweet shortness which
Was mine in Britain, for the ring is won.
The stone's too hard to come by.
Not a whit,
Your lady being so easy.
Make not, sir,
Your loss, your sport. I hope you know that we
Must not continue friends.
Good sir, we must
If you keep covenant. Had I not brought
The knowledge of your mistress home, I grant
We were to question farther; but I now
Profess myself the winner of her honor,
1210Together with your ring, and not the wronger
Of her or you, having proceeded but
By both your wills.
If you can make't apparent
That you have tasted her in bed, my hand
1215And ring is yours. If not, the foul opinion
You had of her pure honor gains or loses
Your sword or mine, or masterless leave both
To who shall find them.
Sir, my circumstances
1220Being so near the truth as I will make them
Must first induce you to believe; whose strength
I will confirm with oath, which I doubt not
You'll give me leave to spare when you shall find
You need it not.
First, her bedchamber,
Where I confess I slept not, but profess
Had that was well worth watching. It was hanged
With tapestry of silk and silver; the story,
1230Proud Cleopatra when she met her Roman
And Cydnus swelled above the banks, or for
The press of boats or pride -- a piece of work
So bravely done, so rich, that it did strive
In workmanship and value, which I wondered
1235Could be so rarely and exactly wrought
Since the true life on't was --
This is true,
And this you might have heard of here by me
Or by some other.
More particulars
Must justify my knowledge.
So they must,
Or do your honor injury.
The chimney
1245Is south the chamber; and the chimney-piece,
Chaste Dian, bathing. Never saw I figures
So likely to report themselves. The cutter
Was as another Nature; dumb, outwent her:
Motion and breath left out.
This is a thing
Which you might from relation likewise reap,
Being, as it is, much spoke of.
The roof o'th' chamber
With golden cherubins is fretted. Her andirons --
1255I had forgot them -- were two winking Cupids
Of silver, each on one foot standing, nicely
Depending on their brands.
This is her honor!
Let it be granted you have seen all this (and praise
1260Be given to your remembrance), the description
Of what is in her chamber nothing saves
The wager you have laid.
Then if you can
Be pale, I beg but leave to air this jewel:
[Shows bracelet]
1265And now 'tis up again. It must be married
To that your diamond. I'll keep them.
Jove --
Once more let me behold it. Is it that
Which I left with her?
Sir, I thank her that
She stripped it from her arm; I see her yet.
Her pretty action did outsell her gift,
And yet enriched it, too. She gave it me
And said she prized it once.
Maybe she plucked it off
To send it me.
She writes so to you? Doth she?
Posthumus Oh, no, no, no, 'tis true. Here, take this, too;
[Gives ring]
It is a basilisk unto mine eye,
1280Kills me to look on't. Let there be no honor
Where there is beauty; truth, where semblance; love,
Where there's another man. The vows of women
Of no more bondage be to where they are made
Than they are to their virtues, which is nothing.
1285Oh, above measure false!
Have patience, sir,
And take your ring again; 'tis not yet won.
It may be probable she lost it, or
Who knows if one her women, being corrupted,
1290Hath stolen it from her.
Very true,
And so I hope he came by't. Back, my ring.
[Takes bracelet and possibly ring from Iachimo]
Render to me some corporal sign about her
More evident than this, for this was stolen.
1295Iachimo By Jupiter, I had it from her arm.
Posthumus Hark you, he swears; by Jupiter he swears.
'Tis true. Nay, keep the ring; 'tis true. I am sure
She would not lose it; her attendants are
All sworn and honorable: they induced to steal it?
1300And by a stranger? No; he hath enjoyed her.
The cognizance of her incontinency
Is this. She hath bought the name of whore thus dearly.
There, take thy hire, and all the fiends of hell
Divide themselves between you.
[Returns bracelet to Iachimo]
Sir, be patient.
This is not strong enough to be believed
Of one persuaded well of.
Never talk on't:
She hath been colted by him.
If you seek
For further satisfying, under her breast
(Worthy her pressing) lies a mole, right proud
Of that most delicate lodging. By my life
I kissed it, and it gave me present hunger
1315To feed again, though full. You do remember
This stain upon her?
Aye, and it doth confirm
Another stain as big as hell can hold,
Were there no more but it.
Will you hear more?
Posthumus Spare your arithmetic; never count the turns:
Once, and a million.
I'll be sworn --
No swearing.
1325If you will swear you have not done't, you lie;
And I will kill thee, if thou dost deny
Thou'st made me cuckold.
I'll deny nothing.
Posthumus Oh, that I had her here to tear her limb-meal;
1330I will go there and do't i'th' court, before
Her father. I'll do something.
Quite besides
The government of patience. You have won.
Let's follow him and pervert the present wrath
1335He hath against himself.
With all my heart.


Enter Posthumus
Posthumus Is there no way for men to be but women
Must be half-workers? We are all bastards,
1340And that most venerable man which I
Did call my father was I know not where
When I was stamped. Some coiner with his tools
Made me a counterfeit, yet my mother seemed
The Dian of that time; so doth my wife
1345The nonpareil of this. Oh, vengeance, vengeance!
Me of my lawful pleasure she restrained
And prayed me oft forbearance, did it with
A pudency so rosy the sweet view on't
Might well have warmed old Saturn 1350that I thought her
As chaste as unsunned snow. Oh, all the devils!
This yellow Iachimo in an hour, was't not?
Or less? At first perchance he spoke not but
Like a full-acorned boar, a German one,
1355Cried "Oh" and mounted; found no opposition
But what he looked for should oppose, and she
Should from encounter guard. Could I find out
The woman's part in me -- for there's no motion
That tends to vice in man but I affirm
1360It is the woman's part -- be it lying, note it,
The woman's; flattering, hers; deceiving, hers;
Lust and rank thoughts, hers, hers; revenges, hers;
Ambitions, covetings, change of prides, disdain,
Nice-longing, slanders, mutability --
1365All faults that [have a] name, nay, that Hell knows, Why, hers, in part, or all -- but rather all,
For even to vice
They are not constant but are changing still,
One vice but of a minute old for one
Not half so old as that. I'll write against them,
1370Detest them, curse them, yet 'tis greater skill
In a true hate to pray they have their will:
The very devils cannot plague them better.


Enter in state, Cymbeline, Queen, Clotten, and Lords at 1375one door, and at another, Caius Lucius and Attendants
Cymbeline Now say, what would Augustus Caesar with us?
Lucius When Julius Caesar, whose remembrance yet
Lives in men's eyes, and will to ears and tongues
1380Be theme and hearing ever, was in this Britain
And conquered it, Cassibelan, thine uncle,
Famous in Caesar's praises no whit less
Than in his feats deserving it, for him
And his succession granted Rome a tribute,
1385Yearly three thousand pounds, which by thee lately
Is left untendered.
And, to kill the marvel,
Shall be so ever.
Clotten There be many Caesars 1390ere such another Julius. Britain's a world by itself, and we will nothing pay for wearing our own noses.
Queen That opportunity
Which then they had to take from's, to resume
1395We have again. Remember, sir, my liege,
The kings your ancestors, together with
The natural bravery of your isle, which stands
As Neptune's park, ribbed and paled in
With oaks unscalable and roaring waters,
1400With sands that will not bear your enemies' boats
But suck them up to th' topmast. A kind of conquest
Caesar made here, but made not here his brag
Of "came and saw and overcame"; with shame,
The first that ever touched him, he was carried
1405From off our coast, twice beaten; and his shipping,
Poor ignorant baubles, on our terrible seas
Like eggshells moved upon their surges, cracked
As easily 'gainst our rocks; for joy whereof
The famed Cassibelan, who was once at point
1410(O giglet Fortune) to master Caesar's sword,
Made Luds-Town with rejoicing fires bright,
And Britons strut with courage.
Clotten Come, there's no more tribute to be paid. Our kingdom is stronger than it was at that time, and, as I 1415said, there is no more such Caesars. Other of them may have crook'd noses, but to owe such straight arms, none.
Cymbeline Son, let your mother end.
Clotten We have yet many among us can grip as hard as Cassibelan; I do not say I am one, but I have a hand. 1420Why tribute? Why should we pay tribute? If Caesar can hide the sun from us with a blanket or put the moon in his pocket, we will pay him tribute for light; else, sir, no more tribute, pray you now.
Cymbeline You must know,
1425Till the injurious Romans did extort
This tribute from us, we were free. Caesar's ambition,
Which swelled so much that it did almost stretch
The sides o'th' world, against all color here
Did put the yoke upon's; which to shake off
1430Becomes a warlike people, whom we reckon
Ourselves to be, we do. Say then to Caesar,
Our ancestor was that Mulmutius which
Ordained our laws, whose use the sword of Caesar
Hath too much mangled, whose repair and franchise
1435Shall by the power we hold be our good deed,
Though Rome be therefore angry. Mulmutius made our laws
Who was the first of Britain, which did put
His brows within a golden crown and called
Himself a king.
I am sorry, Cymbeline,
That I am to pronounce Augustus Caesar
(Caesar, that hath more kings his servants than
Thyself domestic officers) thine enemy;
Receive it from me, then. War and confusion
1445In Caesar's name pronounce I 'gainst thee; look
For fury not to be resisted. Thus defied,
I thank thee for myself.
Thou art welcome, Caius.
Thy Caesar knighted me; my youth I spent
1450Much under him; of him, I gathered honor,
Which he to seek of me again, perforce,
Behooves me keep at utterance. I am perfect
That the Pannonians and Dalmatians for
Their liberties are now in arms, a precedent
1455Which not to read would show the Britons cold;
So Caesar shall not find them.
Let proof speak.
Clotten His Majesty bids you welcome. Make pastime with us a day or two, or longer; if you seek us 1460afterwards in other terms, you shall find us in our saltwater girdle. If you beat us out of it, it is yours; if you fall in the adventure, our crows shall fare the better for you: and there's an end.
Lucius So, sir.
1465Cymbeline I know your master's pleasure, and he mine;
All the remain is welcome.


Enter Pisanio reading of a letter
Pisanio How? Of adultery? Wherefore write you not
1470What monsters her accuse? Leonatus,
Oh, master, what a strange infection
Is fallen into thy ear? What false Italian,
As poisonous-tongued as -handed, hath prevailed
On thy too-ready hearing? Disloyal? No.
1475She's punished for her truth and undergoes
More goddess-like than wife-like such assaults
As would take in some virtue. Oh, my master,
Thy mind to her is now as low as were
Thy fortunes. How, that I should murder her
1480Upon the love and truth and vows which I
Have made to thy command? I, her? Her blood?
If it be so to do good service, never
Let me be counted serviceable. How look I,
That I should seem to lack humanity
1485So much as this fact comes to? "Do't. The letter
That I have sent her by her own command
Shall give thee opportunity." O damned paper,
Black as the ink that's on thee, senseless bauble,
Art thou a fedary for this act and lookst
1490So virgin-like without? Lo, here she comes.
Enter Imogen
I am ignorant in what I am commanded.
Imogen How now, Pisanio?
Pisanio Madam, here is a letter from my lord.
1495Imogen Who, thy lord? That is my lord Leonatus?
Oh, learned indeed were that astronomer
That knew the stars as I his characters;
He'd lay the future open. You good gods,
Let what is here contained relish of love,
1500Of my lord's health, of his content -- yet not
That we two are asunder; let that grieve him:
Some griefs are med'cinable; that is one of them,
For it doth physic love -- of his content
All but in that. Good wax, thy leave; blessed be
1505You bees that make these locks of counsel. Lovers
And men in dangerous bonds pray not alike;
Though forfeiters you cast in prison, yet
You clasp young Cupid's tables. Good news, gods.
Justice and your father's wrath, should he take me in his 1510dominion, could not be so cruel to me as you, oh, the dearest of creatures, would even renew me with your eyes. Take notice that I am in Cambria at Milford Haven. What your own love will out of this advise you, follow. So he wishes you all happiness that remains loyal to his vow, and your 1515increasing in love.
Leonatus Posthumus
Oh, for a horse with wings! Hearst thou, Pisanio?
He is at Milford Haven. Read, and tell me
How far 'tis thither. If one of mean affairs
May plod it in a week, why may not I
1520Glide thither in a day? Then, true Pisanio,
Who longst like me to see thy lord, who longst --
Oh, let me bate -- but not like me; yet longst,
But in a fainter kind. Oh, not like me,
For mine's beyond, beyond. Say, and speak thick
1525(Love's counselor should fill the bores of hearing
To th' smothering of the sense) how far it is
To this same blessed Milford. And by th' way
Tell me how Wales was made so happy as
T'inherit such a haven. But first of all,
1530How we may steal from hence, and for the gap
That we shall make in time from our hence-going
And our return to excuse -- but first, how get hence.
Why should excuse be born or ere begot?
We'll talk of that hereafter. Prithee speak:
1535How many score of miles may we well ride
'Twixt hour and hour?
One score 'twixt sun and sun,
Madam, 's enough for you, and too much too.
Imogen Why, one that rode to's execution, man,
1540Could never go so slow. I have heard of riding wagers
Where horses have been nimbler than the sands
That run i'th' clock's behalf. But this is foolery.
Go, bid my woman feign a sickness, say
She'll home to her father; and provide me presently
1545A riding suit no costlier than would fit
A franklin's housewife.
Madam, you're best consider.
Imogen I see before me, man, nor here, nor here,
Nor what ensues but have a fog in them
1550That I cannot look through. Away, I prithee;
Do as I bid thee. There's no more to say:
Accessible is none but Milford way.


Enter Belarius [as Morgan], Guiderius [as Polydore], and Arviragus [as Cadwal]
1555Belarius A goodly day not to keep house with such
Whose roof's as low as ours. Stoop, boys; this gate
Instructs you how t'adore the heavens and bows you
To a morning's holy office. The gates of monarchs
Are arched so high that giants may jet through
1560And keep their impious turbans on without
Good morrow to the sun. Hail thou, fair Heaven:
We house i'th' rock yet use thee not so hardly
As prouder livers do.
Hail, Heaven.
Hail, Heaven.
Belarius Now for our mountain sport: up to yond hill;
Your legs are young; I'll tread these flats. Consider,
When you above perceive me like a crow,
That it is place which lessens and sets off,
1570And you may then revolve what tales I have told you
Of courts, of princes, of the tricks in war.
This service is not service so being done,
But being so allowed. To apprehend thus
Draws us a profit from all things we see,
1575And often to our comfort shall we find
The sharded beetle in a safer hold
Than is the full-winged eagle. Oh, this life
Is nobler than attending for a check,
Richer than doing nothing for a babe,
1580Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk:
Such gain the cap of him that makes him fine
Yet keeps his book uncrossed. No life to ours!
Guiderius Out of your proof you speak; we poor unfledged
Have never winged from view o'th' nest, nor knows not
1585What air's from home. Haply this life is best
(If quiet life be best), sweeter to you
That have a sharper known, well corresponding
With your stiff age; but unto us it is
A cell of ignorance, travailing abed,
1590A prison for a debtor that not dares
To stride a limit.
What should we speak of
When we are old as you, when we shall hear
The rain and wind beat dark December? How
1595In this our pinching cave shall we discourse
The freezing hours away? We have seen nothing;
We are beastly: subtle as the fox for prey,
Like warlike as the wolf for what we eat.
Our valor is to chase what flies; our cage
1600We make a choir as doth the prisoned bird,
And sing our bondage freely.
How you speak!
Did you but know the city's usuries
And felt them knowingly: the art o'th' court,
1605As hard to leave as keep, whose top to climb
Is certain falling, or so slippery that
The fear's as bad as falling; the toil o'th' war,
A pain that only seems to seek out danger
I'th' name of fame and honor which dies i'th' search,
1610And hath as oft a sland'rous epitaph
As record of fair act -- nay, many times
Doth ill deserve by doing well; what's worse,
Must curtsey at the censure. O boys, this story
The world may read in me: my body's marked
1615With Roman swords, and my report was once
First, with the best of note. Cymbeline loved me,
And when a soldier was the theme, my name
Was not far off: then was I as a tree
Whose boughs did bend with fruit. But in one night,
1620A storm or robbery, call it what you will,
Shook down my mellow hangings -- nay, my leaves --
And left me bare to weather.
Uncertain favor.
Belarius My fault being nothing, as I have told you oft,
1625But that two villains, whose false oaths prevailed
Before my perfect honor, swore to Cymbeline
I was confederate with the Romans. So
Followed my banishment, and this twenty years
This rock and these demesnes have been my world,
1630Where I have lived at honest freedom, paid
More pious debts to Heaven than in all
The fore-end of my time. But up to th' mountains!
This is not hunters' language. He that strikes
The venison first shall be the Lord o'th' Feast;
1635To him the other two shall minister,
And we will fear no poison, which attends
In place of greater state.
I'll meet you in the valleys.
Exeunt [Guiderius and Arviragus]
How hard it is to hide the sparks of Nature!
1640These boys know little they are sons to th' King,
Nor Cymbeline dreams that they are alive.
They think they are mine, and though trained up thus meanly
I'th' cave, wherein the bow their thoughts do hit
1645The roofs of palaces, and Nature prompts them
In simple and low things to prince it much
Beyond the trick of others. This Polydore,
The heir of Cymbeline and Britain, who
The King his father called Guiderius. Jove!
1650When on my three-foot stool I sit and tell
The warlike feats I have done, his spirits fly out
Into my story: say, "Thus mine enemy fell,
And thus I set my foot on's neck," even then
The princely blood flows in his cheek, he sweats,
1655Strains his young nerves, and puts himself in posture
That acts my words. The younger brother, Cadwal,
Once Arviragus, in as like a figure
Strikes life into my speech and shows much more
His own conceiving. Hark, the game is roused!
1660O Cymbeline, Heaven and my conscience knows
Thou didst unjustly banish me, whereon
At three and two years old I stole these babes,
Thinking to bar thee of succession as
Thou reftst me of my lands. Euriphile,
1665Thou wast their nurse; they took thee for their mother,
And every day do honor to her grave.
Myself Belarius, that am Morgan called,
They take for natural father. The game is up.


Enter Pisanio and Imogen
Imogen Thou toldst me when we came from horse the place
Was near at hand. Ne'er longed my mother so
To see me first as I have 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 perplexed
Beyond self-explication. Put thyself
Into a havior of less fear ere wildness
1680Vanquish my staider senses. What's the matter?
[Pisanio offers letter to Imogen]
Why tenderst thou that paper to me with
A look untender? If't be summer news,
Smile to't before; if winterly, thou needst
But keep that countenance still.
[Takes letter]
My husband's hand?
1685That drug-damned Italy hath out-craftied him,
And he's at some hard point. Speak, man: thy tongue
May take off some extremity which to read
Would be even mortal to me.
Please you read,
1690And you shall find me, wretched man, a thing
The most disdained of Fortune.
Thy mistress, Pisanio, hath played the strumpet in my bed, the testimonies whereof lies bleeding in me. I speak 1695not out of weak surmises but from proof as strong as my grief and as certain as I expect my revenge. That part, thou, Pisanio, must act for me if thy faith be not tainted with the breach of hers: let thine own hands take away her life. I shall give thee opportunity at Milford Haven. She hath my letter 1700for the purpose; where, if thou fear to strike and to make me certain it is done, thou art the pander to her dishonor and equally to me disloyal.
Pisanio What shall I need to draw my sword? The paper
Hath cut her throat already. No, 'tis slander,
1705Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue
Out-venoms all the worms of Nile, whose breath
Rides on the posting winds and doth belie
All corners of the world. Kings, queens, and states,
Maids, matrons -- nay, the secrets of the grave
1710This viperous slander enters. -- What cheer, madam?
Imogen False to his bed? What is it to be false?
To lie in watch there and to think on him?
To weep 'twixt clock and clock if Sleep charge Nature
To break it with a fearful dream of him
1715And cry myself awake? That's false to's bed, is it?
Pisanio Alas, good lady.
Imogen I, false? Thy conscience witness. Iachimo,
Thou didst accuse him of incontinency.
Thou then look'dst like a villain; now, methinks
1720Thy favor's good enough. Some jay of Italy
Whose mother was her painting hath betrayed him.
Poor I am stale, a garment out of fashion,
And for I am richer than to hang by th' walls,
I must be ripped: to pieces with me. Oh!
1725Men's vows are women's traitors. All good seeming
By thy revolt, o husband, shall be thought
Put on for villainy; not born where't grows,
But worn a bait for ladies.
Good madam, hear me.
1730Imogen True honest men being heard, like false Aeneas,
Were in his time thought false; and Sinon's weeping
Did scandal many a holy tear, took pity
From most true wretchedness. So thou, Posthumus,
Wilt lay the leaven on all proper men:
1735Goodly and gallant shall be false and perjured
From thy great fail. Come, fellow; be thou honest.
Do thou thy master's bidding. When thou seest him,
A little witness my obedience. Look,
I draw the sword myself; take it and hit
1740The innocent mansion of my love, my heart.
Fear not; 'tis empty of all things but grief.
Thy master is not there, who was indeed
The riches of it. Do his bidding; strike.
Thou mayst be valiant in a better cause,
1745But now thou seemst a coward.
Hence, vile instrument;
Thou shalt not damn my hand.
Why, I must die,
And if I do not by thy hand, thou art
1750No servant of thy master's. Against self-slaughter
There is a prohibition so divine
That cravens my weak hand. Come, here's my heart.
Something's afoot! Soft, soft; we'll no defense,
Obedient as the scabbard. What is here?
1755The scriptures of the loyal Leonatus,
All turned to heresy? Away, away,
Corrupters of my faith. You shall no more
Be stomachers to my heart. Thus may poor fools
Believe false teachers. Though those that are betrayed
1760Do feel the treason sharply, yet the traitor
Stands in worse case of woe. And thou, Posthumus,
That didst set up my disobedience 'gainst the King
My father and makes me put into contempt the suits
Of princely fellows, shalt hereafter find
1765It is no act of common passage but
A strain of rareness; and I grieve myself
To think when thou shalt be disedged by her
That now thou tirest on how thy memory
Will then be panged by me. Prithee, dispatch,
1770The lamb entreats the butcher. Where's thy knife?
Thou art too slow to do thy master's bidding
When I desire it too.
Oh, gracious lady,
Since I received command to do this business,
1775I have not slept one wink.
Do't, and to bed then.
I'll wake mine eyeballs first.
Wherefore then
Didst undertake it? Why hast thou abused
1780So many miles with a pretense? This place?
Mine action and thine own? Our horses' labor?
The time inviting thee? The perturbed court
For my being absent, whereunto I never
Purpose return? Why hast thou gone so far
1785To be unbent when thou hast ta'en thy stand,
Th'elected deer before thee?
But to win time
To lose so bad employment, in the which
I have considered of a course. Good lady,
1790Hear me with patience.
Talk thy tongue weary; speak.
I have heard I am a strumpet, and mine ear
Therein false struck can take no greater wound
Nor tent to bottom that. But speak.
Then, madam,
I thought you would not back again.
Most like,
Bringing me here to kill me.
Not so, neither.
1800But if I were as wise as honest, then
My purpose would prove well. It cannot be
But that my master is abused. Some villain --
Aye, and singular in his art -- hath done you both
This cursed injury.
Some Roman courtesan?
No, on my life.
I'll give but notice you are dead and send him
Some bloody sign of it, for 'tis commanded
I should do so; you shall be missed at court,
1810And that will well confirm it.
Why, good fellow,
What shall I do the while? Where bide? How live?
Or in my life, what comfort, when I am
Dead to my husband?
If you'll back to th' court . . .
Imogen No court, no father, nor no more ado
With that harsh, noble, simple nothing,
That Clotten, whose lovesuit hath been to me
As fearful as a siege.
If not at court,
Then not in Britain must you bide.
Where then?
Hath Britain all the sun that shines? Day, night,
Are they not but in Britain? I'th' world's volume
1825Our Britain seems as of it but not in't:
In a great pool, a swan's nest. Prithee think
There's livers out of Britain.
I am most glad
You think of other place. Th'ambassador,
1830Lucius the Roman, comes to Milford Haven
Tomorrow. Now, if you could wear a mind
Dark as your fortune is and but disguise
That which t'appear itself must not yet be
But by self-danger, you should tread a course
1835Pretty and full of view; yea, happily, near
The residence of Posthumus; so nigh, at least,
That though his actions were not visible, yet
Report should render him hourly to your ear
As truly as he moves.
Oh, for such means,
Though peril to my modesty, not death on't
I would adventure.
Well, then, here's the point:
You must forget to be a woman; change
1845Command into obedience; fear and niceness,
The handmaids of all women, or more truly
Woman it pretty self, into a waggish courage,
Ready in gibes, quick-answered, saucy, and
As quarrellous as the weasel. Nay, you must
1850Forget that rarest treasure of your cheek,
Exposing it (but, oh, the harder heart!
Alack, no remedy) to the greedy touch
Of common-kissing Titan, and forget
Your laborsome and dainty trims, wherein
1855You made great Juno angry.
Nay, be brief.
I see into thy end and am almost
A man already.
First, make yourself but like one.
1860Forethinking this, I have already fit
('Tis in my cloak-bag) doublet, hat, hose, all
That answer to them; would you in their serving,
And with what imitation you can borrow
From youth of such a season, 'fore noble Lucius
1865Present yourself, desire his service, tell him
Wherein you're happy, which will make him know,
If that his head have ear in music, doubtless
With joy he will embrace you, for he's honorable
And, doubling that, most holy. Your means abroad:
1870You have me rich, and I will never fail
Beginning nor supplyment.
Thou art all the comfort
The gods will diet me with. Prithee, away:
There's more to be considered, but we'll even
1875All that good time will give us. This attempt
I am soldier to and will abide it with
A prince's courage. Away, I prithee.
Pisanio Well, madam, we must take a short farewell,
Lest being missed I be suspected of
1880Your carriage from the court. My noble mistress,
Here is a box.
[Gives box to Imogen]
I had it from the Queen.
What's in't is precious: if you are sick at sea
Or stomach-qualmed at land, a dram of this
Will drive away distemper. To some shade,
1885And fit you to your manhood. May the gods
Direct you to the best.
Amen; I thank thee.


Enter Cymbeline, Queen, Clotten, Lucius, 1890and Lords
Thus far, and so farewell.
Thanks, royal sir.
My emperor hath wrote, I must from hence,
And am right sorry that I must report ye
1895My master's enemy.
Our subjects, sir,
Will not endure his yoke, and for ourself
To show less sovereignty than they must needs
Appear unkinglike.
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.
[To Clotten] Your hand, my Lord.
Clotten Receive it friendly, but from this time forth
I wear it as your enemy.
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.
'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.
'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.
Royal sir,
[Exit a Messenger]
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.
Enter a Messenger
Where is she, sir? How
Can her contempt be answered?
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.
Her doors locked?
Not seen of late? Grant heavens, that which I
1955Fear prove false.
Son, I say, follow the King.
Clotten That man of hers, Pisanio, her old servant,
I have not seen these two days.
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.
Enter Clotten
How now, my son?
'Tis certain she is fled.
Go in and cheer the King. He rages; none
Dare come about him.
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.
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?
Alas, my Lord,
2000How can she be with him? When was she missed?
He is in Rome.
Where is she, sir? Come nearer.
No farther halting; satisfy me home,
What is become of her?
Oh, my all-worthy Lord!
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.
Then, sir,
This paper is the history of my knowledge
Touching her flight.
Let's see't. I will pursue her
[Gives letter]
2015Even to Augustus' throne.
[Aside] Or this or perish.
She's far enough, and what he learns by this
May prove his travel, not her danger.
2020Pisanio [Aside] I'll write to my lord she's dead. O Imogen,
Safe mayst thou wander, safe return again.
Sirrah, is this letter true?
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.
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.
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.


Enter Imogen alone, as Fidele
Imogen I see a man's life is a tedious one:
I have tired myself, and for two nights together
Have made the ground my bed. I should be sick
2085But that my resolution helps me. Milford,
When from the mountaintop Pisanio showed thee,
Thou wast within a ken. O Jove, I think
Foundations fly the wretched: such, I mean,
Where they should be relieved. Two beggars told me
2090I could not miss my way. Will poor folks lie
That have afflictions on them, knowing 'tis
A punishment or trial? Yes; no wonder,
When rich ones scarce tell true. To lapse in fullness
Is sorer than to lie for need, and falsehood
2095Is worse in kings than beggars. My dear lord,
Thou art one o'th' false ones -- now I think on thee
My hunger's gone, but even before I was
At point to sink for food.
[Sees cave]
But what is this?
Here is a path to't; 'tis some savage hold.
2100I were best not call; I dare not call; yet famine
Ere clean it o'erthrow nature makes it valiant.
Plenty and peace breeds cowards; hardness ever
Of hardiness is mother. Ho! Who's here?
If any thing that's civil, speak; if savage,
2105Take or lend. Ho! No answer? Then I'll enter.
Best draw my sword, and if mine enemy
But fear the sword like me, he'll scarcely look on't.
Such a foe, good heavens!
Exit [to the cave]
Enter Belarius [as Morgan], Guiderius [as Polydore], and Arviragus [as Cadwal]
Belarius You, Polydore, have proved best woodman and
Are master of the feast; Cadwal and I
Will play the cook and servant; 'tis our match.
The sweat of industry would dry and die
2115But for the end it works to. Come, our stomachs
Will make what's homely, savory: weariness
Can snore upon the flint when resty sloth
Finds the down pillow hard. Now peace be here,
Poor house, that keepst thyself.
I am throughly weary.
Arviragus I am weak with toil yet strong in appetite.
Guiderius There is cold meat i'th' cave; we'll browse on that
Whilst what we have killed be cooked.
Stay; come not in.
[Belarius looks into or begins to go into the cave]
2125But that it eats our victuals, I should think
Here were a fairy.
What's the matter, sir?
Belarius By Jupiter, an angel! Or, if not,
An earthly paragon. Behold divineness
2130No elder than a boy.
Enter Imogen [from the cave]
Imogen Good masters, harm me not.
Before I entered here, I called, and thought
To have begged or bought what I have took. Good troth,
2135I have stolen nought, nor would not, though I had found
Gold strewed i'th' floor. Here's money for my meat;
I would have left it on the board so soon
As I had made my meal, and parted
With prayers for the provider.
Money, youth?
Arviragus All gold and silver rather turn to dirt,
As 'tis no better reckoned but of those
Who worship dirty gods.
I see you're angry.
2145Know, if you kill me for my fault, I should
Have died had I not made it.
Whither bound?
Imogen To Milford Haven.
Belarius What's your name?
2150Imogen Fidele, sir. I have a kinsman who
Is bound for Italy; he embarked at Milford,
To whom being going, almost spent with hunger,
I am fallen in this offense.
Prithee, fair youth,
2155Think us no churls, nor measure our good minds
By this rude place we live in. Well encountered.
'Tis almost night; you shall have better cheer
Ere you depart, and thanks to stay and eat it.
Boys, bid him welcome.
2160Guiderius Were you a woman, youth,
I should woo hard but be your groom, in honesty;
I bid for you as I do buy.
I'll make't my comfort
He is a man. I'll love him as my brother,
2165And such a welcome as I'd give to him
After long absence, such is yours. Most welcome:
Be sprightly, for you fall 'mongst friends.
'Mongst friends,
If brothers. [Aside] Would it had been so, that they
2170Had been my father's sons; then had my prize
Been less, and so more equal ballasting
To thee, Posthumus.
He wrings at some distress.
[Belarius, Guiderius, and Arviragus speak apart]
Would I could free't.
Or I, whate'er it be,
What pain it cost, what danger. Gods!
Hark, boys.
[Belarius whispers to Guiderius and Arviragus]
Imogen [Aside] Great men
That had a court no bigger than this cave,
2180That did attend themselves, and had the virtue
Which their own conscience sealed them, laying by
That nothing-gift of differing, multitudes
Could not outpeer these twain. Pardon me, gods;
I'd change my sex to be companion with them
2185Since Leonatus false.
[Aloud] It shall be so.
Boys, we'll go dress our hunt. -- Fair youth, come in.
Discourse is heavy, fasting; when we have supped,
We'll mannerly demand thee of thy story,
2190So far as thou wilt speak it.
Pray draw near.
Arviragus The night to th' owl and morn to th' lark less welcome.
Thanks, sir.
I pray draw near.


Enter two Roman Senators and Tribunes
1 Senator This is the tenor of the emperor's writ:
That since the common men are now in action
2200'Gainst the Pannonians and Dalmatians,
And that the legions now in Gallia are
Full weak to undertake our wars against
The fallen-off Britons, that we do incite
The gentry to this business. He creates
2205Lucius proconsul, and to you the tribunes,
For this immediate levy, he commands
His absolute commission. Long live Caesar!
Is Lucius general of the forces?
2 Senator
Remaining now in Gallia?
1 Senator
With those legions
Which I have spoke of, whereunto your levy
Must be suppliant. The words of your commission
Will tie you to the numbers and the time
2215Of their dispatch.
We will discharge our duty.


Enter Clotten alone
Clotten I am near to th' place where they should meet 2220if Pisanio have mapped it truly. How fit his garments serve me! Why should his mistress, who was made by him that made the tailor, not be fit, too? The rather (saving reverence of the word) for 'tis said a woman's fitness comes by fits. Therein I must play the workman: I dare 2225speak it to myself, for it is not vainglory for a man and his glass to confer in his own chamber. I mean, the lines of my body are as well drawn as his, no less young, more strong, not beneath him in fortunes, beyond him in the advantage of the time, above him in 2230birth, alike conversant in general services, and more remarkable in single oppositions, yet this imperseverant thing loves him in my despite. What mortality is? Posthumus, thy head, which now is growing upon thy shoulders, shall within this hour be off, thy mistress 2235enforced, thy garments cut to pieces before thy face; and, all this done, spurn her home to her father, who may, haply, be a little angry for my so rough usage, but my mother, having power of his testiness, shall turn all into my commendations. My horse is tied up safe; out, 2240sword, and to a sore purpose. Fortune put them into my hand; this is the very description of their meeting place and the fellow dares not deceive me.


Enter Belarius [as Morgan], Guiderius [as Polydore], Arviragus [as Cadwal], and 2245Imogen [as Fidele] from the cave
Belarius You are not well. Remain here in the cave;
We'll come to you after hunting.
[To Imogen] Brother, stay here.
Are we not brothers?
So man and man should be. --
But clay and clay differs in dignity
Whose dust is both alike. -- I am very sick.
Guiderius [To Belarius and Arviragus] Go you to hunting; I'll abide with him.
Imogen So sick I am not, yet I am not well,
2255But not so citizen a wanton as
To seem to die ere sick. So please you, leave me.
Stick to your journal course: the breach of custom
Is breach of all. I am ill, but your being by me
Cannot amend me. Society is no comfort
2260To one not sociable. I am not very sick
Since I can reason of it. Pray you, trust me here;
I'll rob none but myself, and let me die,
Stealing so poorly.
I love thee. I have spoke it;
2265How much the quantity, the weight as much,
As I do love my father.
What? How, how?
Arviragus If it be sin to say so, sir, I yoke me
In my good brother's fault. I know not why
2270I love this youth, and I have heard you say
Love's reason's without reason. The bier at door
And a demand who is't shall die, I'd say
My father, not this youth.
[Aside] Oh, noble strain!
2275O worthiness of Nature, breed of greatness!
"Cowards father cowards, and base things sire base;
Nature hath meal and bran, contempt and grace."
I'm not their father, yet who this should be
Doth miracle itself, loved before me. --
2280'Tis the ninth hour o'th' morn.
Brother, farewell.
I wish ye sport.
You, health. --
[To Belarius]
So please you, sir.
Imogen [Aside] These are kind creatures. 2285Gods, what lies I have heard:
Our courtiers say all's savage but at court;
Experience, oh, thou disprov'st report.
Th'imperious seas breeds monsters; for the dish,
Poor tributary rivers, as sweet fish.
2290I am sick still, heart-sick; Pisanio,
I'll now taste of thy drug.
[To Belarius and Arviragus] I could not stir him.
He said he was gentle but unfortunate,
Dishonestly afflicted but yet honest.
2295Arviragus Thus did he answer me, yet said hereafter
I might know more.
To th' field, to th' field. --
[To Imogen]
We'll leave you for this time; go in and rest.
We'll not be long away.
Pray be not sick,
For you must be our housewife.
Well or ill,
I am bound to you.
And shalt be ever.
Exit [to the cave]
2305This youth, howe'er distressed, appears he hath had
Good ancestors.
How angel-like he sings!
Guiderius But his neat cookery! He cut our roots in characters
2310And sauc'd our broths as Juno had been sick
And he her dieter.
Nobly he yokes
A smiling with a sigh, as if the sigh
Was that it was for not being such a smile;
2315The smile mocking the sigh that it would fly
From so divine a temple to commix
With winds that sailors rail at.
I do note
That grief and patience rooted in them both
2320Mingle their spurs together.
Grow patient,
And let the stinking elder, grief, untwine
His perishing root with the increasing vine.
Belarius It is great morning. Come away. -- Who's there?
Enter Clotten [without seeing them]
Clotten [To himself] I cannot find those runagates; that villain
Hath mocked me. I am faint.
[To Guiderius and Arviragus] Those runagates?
Means he not us? I partly know him; 'tis
2330Clotten, the son o'th' Queen. I fear some ambush.
I saw him not these many years, and yet
I know 'tis he. We are held as outlaws. Hence!
Guiderius He is but one. You and my brother search
What companies are near. Pray you, away;
2335Let me alone with him.
[Clotten notices them] Soft; what are you
[Exeunt Belarius and Arviragus]
That fly me thus? Some villain mountaineers?
I have heard of such. What slave art thou?
A thing
2340More slavish did I ne'er than answering
A slave without a knock.
Thou art a robber,
A law-breaker, a villain; yield thee, thief.
Guiderius To who? To thee? What art thou? Have not I
2345An arm as big as thine? A heart as big?
Thy words, I grant, are bigger, for I wear not
My dagger in my mouth. Say what thou art,
Why I should yield to thee.
Thou villain base,
2350Knowst me not by my clothes?
No, nor thy tailor, rascal,
Who is thy grandfather. He made those clothes,
Which, as it seems, make thee.
Thou precious varlet,
2355My tailor made them not.
Hence then, and thank
The man that gave them thee. Thou art some fool;
I am loath to beat thee.
Thou injurious thief,
2360Hear but my name and tremble.
What's thy name?
Clotten Clotten, thou villain.
Guiderius "Clotten thou double villain" be thy name,
I cannot tremble at it. Were it toad or adder, spider,
2365'Twould move me sooner.
To thy further fear,
Nay, to thy mere confusion, thou shalt know
I am son to th' Queen.
I am sorry for't, not seeming
2370So worthy as thy birth.
Art not afeard?
Guiderius Those that I reverence, those I fear: the wise;
At fools I laugh, not fear them.
Die the death!
2375When I have slain thee with my proper hand,
I'll follow those that even now fled hence
And on the gates of Luds-Town set your heads.
Yield, rustic mountaineer!
Fight and exeunt
Enter Belarius and Arviragus
2380Belarius No company's abroad?
Arviragus None in the world. You did mistake him sure.
Belarius I cannot tell. Long is it since I saw him,
But time hath nothing blurred those lines of favor
Which then he wore. The snatches in his voice
2385And burst of speaking were as his: I am absolute
'Twas very Clotten.
In this place we left them.
I wish my brother make good time with him
You say he is so fell.
Being scarce made up,
I mean to man, he had not apprehension
Of roaring terrors, for defect of judgment
Is oft the cause of fear.
Enter Guiderius [with Clotten's head]
2395But see thy brother.
Guiderius This Clotten was a fool, an empty purse;
There was no money in't. Not Hercules
Could have knocked out his brains, for he had none;
Yet I not doing this, the fool had borne
2400My head as I do his.
What hast thou done?
Guiderius I am perfect what: cut off one Clotten's head,
Son to the Queen after his own report,
Who called me traitor, mountaineer, and swore
2405With his own single hand he'd take us in,
Displace our heads where, thanks the gods, they grow
And set them on Luds-Town.
We are all undone.
Guiderius Why, worthy father, what have we to lose
2410But that he swore to take, our lives? The law
Protects not us; then why should we be tender
To let an arrogant piece of flesh threat us,
Play judge and executioner all himself
For we do fear the law? What company
2415Discover you abroad?
No single soul
Can we set eye on, but in all safe reason
He must have some attendants. Though his honor
Was nothing but mutation, aye, and that
2420From one bad thing to worse, not frenzy,
Not absolute madness could so far have raved
To bring him here alone -- although perhaps
It may be heard at court that such as we
Cave here, hunt here, are outlaws, and in time
2425May make some stronger head; the which, he hearing,
As it is like him, might break out and swear
He'd fetch us in -- yet is't not probable
To come alone, either he so undertaking,
Or they so suffering. Then on good ground we fear
2430If we do fear this body hath a tail
More perilous than the head.
Let ord'nance
Come as the gods fore-say it; howsoe'er,
My brother hath done well.
I had no mind
To hunt this day; the boy Fidele's sickness
Did make my way long forth.
With his own sword
Which he did wave against my throat I have ta'en
2440His head from him. I'll throw't into the creek
Behind our rock and let it to the sea
And tell the fishes he's the Queen's son, Clotten;
That's all I reck.
I fear 'twill be revenged.
2445Would, Polydore, thou hadst not done't, though valor
Becomes thee well enough.
Would I had done't,
So the revenge alone pursued me. Polydore,
I love thee brotherly, but envy much
2450Thou hast robbed me of this deed. I would revenges
That possible strength might meet would seek us through
And put us to our answer.
Well, 'tis done.
We'll hunt no more today, nor seek for danger
2455Where there's no profit. I prithee to our rock:
You and Fidele play the cooks; I'll stay
Till hasty Polydore return, and bring him
To dinner presently.
Poor, sick Fidele.
2460I'll willingly to him. To gain his color,
I'd let a parish of such Clotten's blood
And praise myself for charity.
O thou goddess,
Thou divine Nature, thou thyself thou blazonst
2465In these two princely boys: they are as gentle
As zephyrs blowing below the violet,
Not wagging his sweet head; and yet as rough,
Their royal blood enchafed, as the rudest wind
That by the top doth take the mountain pine
2470And make him stoop to th' vale. 'Tis wonder
That an invisible instinct should frame them
To royalty unlearned, honor untaught,
Civility not seen from other, valor
That wildly grows in them but yields a crop
2475As if it had been sowed. Yet still it's strange
What Clotten's being here to us portends
Or what his death will bring us.
Enter Guiderius
Where's my brother?
2480I have sent Clotten's clot-pole down the stream
In embassy to his mother; his body's hostage
For his return.
My ingenious instrument:
Solemn music
Hark, Polydore, it sounds; but what occasion
2485Hath Cadwal now to give it motion? Hark!
Is he at home?
He went hence even now.
Guiderius What does he mean? Since death of my dear'st mother
2490It did not speak before. All solemn things
Should answer solemn accidents. The matter?
Triumphs for nothing and lamenting toys
Is jollity for apes and grief for boys.
Is Cadwal mad?
Enter Arviragus with Imogen dead, bearing her in his arms
Belarius Look, here he comes,
And brings the dire occasion in his arms
Of what we blame him for.
The bird is dead
That we have made so much on. I had rather
Have skipped from sixteen years of age to sixty,
To have turned my leaping time into a crutch
Than have seen this.
O sweetest, fairest lily,
My brother wears thee not the one half so well
As when thou grewst thyself.
O melancholy,
Who ever yet could sound thy bottom? Find
2510The ooze to show what coast thy sluggish care
Might easil'est harbor in. Thou blessèd thing,
Jove knows what man thou mightst have made; but I,
Thou diedst a most rare boy, of melancholy.
How found you him?
2515Arviragus Stark, as you see;
Thus smiling as some fly had tickled slumber,
Not as death's dart being laughed at, his right cheek
Reposing on a cushion.
O'th' floor,
Reposing on a cushion.
O'th' floor,
His arms thus leagued; I thought he slept and put
My clouted brogues from off my feet, whose rudeness
Answered my steps too loud.
Why, he but sleeps.
2525If he be gone, he'll make his grave a bed;
With female fairies will his tomb be haunted,
And worms will not come to thee.
With fairest flowers
Whilst summer lasts and I live here, Fidele,
2530I'll sweeten thy sad grave; thou shalt not lack
The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose; nor
The azured harebell like thy veins; no, nor
The leaf of eglantine, whom not to slander,
Outsweetened not thy breath. The ruddock would
2535With charitable bill (o bill, sore shaming
Those rich-left heirs that let their fathers lie
Without a monument) bring thee all this,
Yea, and furred moss besides. When flowers are none
To winter-ground thy corpse --
Prithee have done,
And do not play in wench-like words with that
Which is so serious. Let us bury him
And not protract with admiration what
Is now due debt. To th' grave.
Say, where shall's lay him?
By good Euriphile, our mother.
Be't so,
And let us, Polydore, though now our voices
Have got the mannish crack, sing him to th' ground
2550As once to our mother, use like note and words,
Save that "Euriphile" must be "Fidele."
I cannot sing; I'll weep and word it with thee,
For notes of sorrow out of tune are worse
2555Than priests and fanes that lie.
We'll speak it, then.
Belarius Great griefs, I see, med'cine the less, for Clotten
Is quite forgot. He was a queen's son, boys,
And though he came our enemy, remember
2560He was paid for that. Though mean and mighty rotting
Together have one dust, yet reverence,
That angel of the world, doth make distinction
Of place 'tween high and low. Our foe was princely,
And though you took his life as being our foe,
2565Yet bury him as a prince.
Pray you, fetch him hither;
Thersites' body is as good as Ajax'
When neither are alive.
If you'll go fetch him,
2570We'll say our song the whilst.
[Exit Belarius]
Brother, begin.
Guiderius Nay, Cadwal, we must lay his head to th'east;
My father hath a reason for't.
'Tis true.
Come on, then, and remove him.
So, begin.
Guiderius Fear no more the heat o'th' sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
2580Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages.
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
Arviragus Fear no more the frown o'th' great;
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke.
2585Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The scepter, learning, physic must
All follow this and come to dust.
Guiderius Fear no more the lightning-flash,
2590Arviragus Nor th'all-dreaded thunder-stone;
Guiderius Fear not slander, censure rash;
Arviragus Thou hast finished joy and moan.
BOTH All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee and come to dust.
2595Guiderius No exorciser harm thee,
Arviragus Nor no witchcraft charm thee;
Guiderius Ghost unlaid forbear thee;
Arviragus Nothing ill come near thee;
BOTH Quiet consummation have,
2600And renowned be thy grave.
Enter Belarius with the body of Clotten
Guiderius We have done our obsequies; come, lay him down.
Belarius Here's a few flowers, but 'bout midnight more;
2605The herbs that have on them cold dew o'th' night
Are strewings fitt'st for graves: upon their faces. --
You were as flowers, now withered; even so
These herblets shall, which we upon you strew. --
Come on, away, apart upon our knees;
2610The ground that gave them first has them again.
Their pleasures here are past, so are their pain.
[Imogen awakes]
Imogen Yes, sir, to Milford Haven, which is the way?
I thank you. By yond bush? Pray, how far thither?
2615'Ods-pittikins, can it be six mile yet?
I have gone all night. Faith, I'll lie down and sleep.
[Discovers the body]
But soft; no bedfellow! Oh, gods and goddesses!
These flowers are like the pleasures of the world;
This bloody man, the care on't. I hope I dream,
2620For so I thought I was a cave-keeper
And cook to honest creatures. But 'tis not so:
'Twas but a bolt of nothing, shot at nothing,
Which the brain makes of fumes. Our very eyes
Are sometimes like our judgments, blind. Good faith,
2625I tremble still with fear, but if there be
Yet left in Heaven as small a drop of pity
As a wren's eye, feared gods, a part of it.
The dream's here still. Even when I wake it is
Without me as within me; not imagined, felt.
2630A headless man? The garments of Posthumus?
I know the shape of's leg; this is his hand,
His foot Mercurial, his Martial thigh,
The brawns of Hercules, but his Jovial face --
Murder in heaven? How? 'Tis gone. Pisanio,
2635All curses madded Hecuba gave the Greeks
And mine to boot be darted on thee! Thou
Conspired with that irregulous devil Clotten,
Hast here cut off my lord. To write and read
Be henceforth treacherous. Damned Pisanio
2640Hath with his forgèd letters (damned Pisanio!)
From this most bravest vessel of the world
Struck the main-top! O Posthumus, alas,
Where is thy head? Where's that? Ay me! Where's that?
Pisanio might have killed thee at the heart
2645And left this head on. How should this be, Pisanio?
'Tis he and Clotten; malice and lucre in them
Have laid this woe here. Oh, 'tis pregnant, pregnant!
The drug he gave me, which he said was precious
And cordial to me, have I not found it
2650Murderous to th' senses? That confirms it home:
This is Pisanio's deed, and Clotten. Oh!
Give color to my pale cheek with thy blood
That we the horrider may seem to those
Which chance to find us. Oh, my lord! My lord!
Falls on the body
Enter Lucius, [Roman] Captains, and a Soothsayer
Captain To them the legions garrisoned in Gallia,
After your will, have crossed the sea, attending
You here at Milford Haven with your ships;
They are here in readiness.
But what from Rome?
Captain The senate hath stirred up the confiners
And gentlemen of Italy, most willing spirits
That promise noble service, and they come
Under the conduct of bold Iachimo,
2665Sienna's brother.
When expect you them?
With the next benefit o'th' wind.
This forwardness
Makes our hopes fair. Command our present numbers
2670Be mustered; bid the captains look to't. Now, sir,
What have you dreamed of late of this war's purpose?
Soothsayer Last night, the very gods showed me a vision
(I fast and prayed for their intelligence) thus:
I saw Jove's bird, the Roman eagle, winged
2675From the spongy south to this part of the west,
There vanished in the sunbeams, which portends,
Unless my sins abuse my divination,
Success to th' Roman host.
Dream often so,
2680And never false. -- [Sees the body] Soft ho, what trunk is here,
Without his top? The ruin speaks that sometime
It was a worthy building. How, a page?
Or dead, or sleeping on him? But dead, rather,
For Nature doth abhor to make his bed
2685With the defunct or sleep upon the dead.
Let's see the boy's face.
He's alive, my Lord.
Lucius He'll then instruct us of this body. Young one,
Inform us of thy fortunes, for it seems
2690They crave to be demanded. Who is this
Thou mak'st thy bloody pillow? Or who was he
That, otherwise than noble Nature did,
Hath altered that good picture? What's thy interest
In this sad wrack? How came't? Who is't?
2695What art thou?
I am nothing; or, if not,
Nothing to be were better. This was my master,
A very valiant Briton and a good,
That here by mountaineers lies slain. Alas,
2700There is no more such masters. I may wander
From east to occident; cry out for service;
Try many, all good; serve truly; never
Find such another master.
'Lack, good youth,
2705Thou mov'st no less with thy complaining than
Thy master in bleeding. Say his name, good friend.
Imogen Richard du Champ. -- [Aside] If I do lie and do
No harm by it, though the gods hear, I hope
They'll pardon it. -- Say you, sir?
Thy name?
Fidele, sir.
Lucius Thou dost approve thyself the very same:
Thy name well fits thy faith; thy faith, thy name.
Wilt take thy chance with me? I will not say
2715Thou shalt be so well mastered, but be sure
No less beloved. The Roman emperor's letters,
Sent by a consul to me, should not sooner
Than thine own worth prefer thee. Go with me.
Imogen I'll follow, sir. But first, an't please the gods,
2720I'll hide my master from the flies as deep
As these poor pickaxes can dig, and when
With wildwood-leaves and weeds I ha' strewed his grave
And on it said a century of prayers,
Such as I can, twice o'er, I'll weep and sigh,
2725And leaving so his service, follow you,
So please you entertain me.
Aye, good youth,
And rather father thee than master thee. My friends,
The boy hath taught us manly duties: let us
2730Find out the prettiest daisied plot we can
And make him with our pikes and partisans
A grave. --
[To Captains]
Come, arm him. --
[To Imogen]
Boy, he's preferred
By thee to us, and he shall be interred
As soldiers can. Be cheerful; wipe thine eyes:
2735Some falls are means the happier to arise.


Enter Cymbeline, Lords, [a Messenger,] and Pisanio
Cymbeline [To Messenger] Again, and bring me word how 'tis with her.
[Exit Messenger]
A fever with the absence of her son,
2740A madness of which her life's in danger. Heavens,
How deeply you at once do touch me! Imogen,
The great part of my comfort, gone; my Queen
Upon a desperate bed, and in a time
When fearful wars point at me; her son gone,
2745So needful for this present. It strikes me past
The hope of comfort. But, for thee, fellow,
Who needs must know of her departure and
Dost seem so ignorant, we'll enforce it from thee
By a sharp torture.
Sir, my life is yours;
I humbly set it at your will. But for my mistress,
I nothing know where she remains, why gone,
Nor when she purposes return. Beseech Your Highness,
Hold me your loyal servant.
Good my liege,
The day that she was missing, he was here;
I dare be bound he's true and shall perform
All parts of his subjection loyally. For Clotten,
There wants no diligence in seeking him,
2760And will no doubt be found.
The time is troublesome:
We'll slip you for a season, but our jealousy
Does yet depend.
So please Your Majesty,
2765The Roman legions, all from Gallia drawn,
Are landed on your coast with a supply
Of Roman gentlemen by the senate sent.
Cymbeline Now for the counsel of my son and Queen:
I am amazed with matter.
Good my liege,
Your preparation can affront no less
Than what you hear of; come, more, for more you're ready:
The want is but to put those powers in motion
That long to move.
I thank you. Let's withdraw
And meet the time as it seeks us. We fear not
What can from Italy annoy us, but
We grieve at chances here. Away.
Exeunt all but Pisanio
Pisanio I heard no letter from my master since
2780I wrote him Imogen was slain; 'tis strange;
Nor hear I from my mistress, who did promise
To yield me often tidings. Neither know I
What is betid to Clotten but remain
Perplexed in all. The heavens still must work:
2785Wherein I am false, I am honest; not true, to be true.
These present wars shall find I love my country
Even to the note o'th' King, or I'll fall in them.
All other doubts, by time let them be cleared;
Fortune brings in some boats that are not steered.


Enter Belarius [as Morgan], Guiderius [as Polydore], and Arviragus [as Cadwal]
The noise is round about us.
Let us from it.
Arviragus What pleasure, sir, we find in life, to lock it
2795From action and adventure?
Nay, what hope
Have we in hiding us? This way the Romans
Must or for Britons slay us or receive us
For barbarous and unnatural revolts
2800During their use and slay us after.
We'll higher to the mountains, there secure us.
To the King's party there's no going: newness
Of Clotten's death, we being not known, not mustered
2805Among the bands, may drive us to a render
Where we have lived; and so extort from's that
Which we have done, whose answer would be death
Drawn on with torture.
This is, sir, a doubt
2810In such a time nothing becoming you
Nor satisfying us.
It is not likely
That when they hear their Roman horses neigh,
Behold their quartered fires, have both their eyes
2815And ears so cloyed importantly as now,
That they will waste their time upon our note
To know from whence we are.
Oh, I am known
Of many in the army; many years,
2820Though Clotten then but young, you see, not wore him
From my remembrance. And besides, the King
Hath not deserved my service nor your loves,
Who find in my exile the want of breeding,
The certainty of this hard life, ay hopeless
2825To have the courtesy your cradle promised
But to be still hot summer's tanlings and
The shrinking slaves of winter.
Than be so,
Better to cease to be. Pray, sir, to th' army.
2830I and my brother are not known, yourself
So out of thought and thereto so o'ergrown
Cannot be questioned.
By this sun that shines,
I'll thither. What thing is't that I never
2835Did see man die, scarce ever looked on blood
But that of coward hares, hot goats, and venison;
Never bestrid a horse, save one that had
A rider like myself who ne'er wore rowel
Nor iron on his heel! I am ashamed
2840To look upon the holy sun, to have
The benefit of his blessed beams, remaining
So long a poor unknown.
By heavens, I'll go!
If you will bless me, sir, and give me leave,
2845I'll take the better care, but if you will not,
The hazard therefore due fall on me by
The hands of Romans.
So say I, amen.
Belarius No reason I, since of your lives you set
2850So slight a valuation, should reserve
My cracked one to more care. Have with you, boys:
If in your country wars you chance to die,
That is my bed, too, lads, and there I'll lie.
Lead, lead. [Aside] The time seems long; their blood thinks scorn
2855Till it fly out and show them princes born.


Enter Posthumus alone [with a bloody cloth]
Posthumus Yea, bloody cloth, I'll keep thee, for I am wished
Thou shouldst be colored thus. You married ones,
2860If each of you should take this course, how many
Must murder wives much better than themselves
For wrying but a little? O Pisanio,
Every good servant does not all commands;
No bond but to do just ones. Gods, if you
2865Should have ta'en vengeance on my faults, I never
Had lived to put on this; so had you saved
The noble Imogen to repent and struck
Me, wretch, more worth your vengeance. But alack,
You snatch some hence for little faults; that's love,
2870To have them fall no more; you some permit
To second ills with ills, each elder worse,
And make them dread it, to the doer's thrift.
But Imogen is your own. Do your best wills,
And make me blessed to obey. I am brought hither
2875Among th'Italian gentry, and to fight
Against my lady's kingdom. 'Tis enough
That, Britain, I have killed thy mistress; peace,
I'll give no wound to thee. Therefore, good heavens,
Hear patiently my purpose: I'll disrobe me
2880Of these Italian weeds and suit myself
As does a Briton peasant; so I'll fight
Against the part I come with; so I'll die
For thee, O Imogen, even for whom my life
Is every breath a death. And thus, unknown,
2885Pitied nor hated, to the face of peril
Myself I'll dedicate. Let me make men know
More valor in me than my habits show.
Gods, put the strength o'th' Leonati in me.
To shame the guise o'th' world, I will begin,
2890The fashion less without and more within.


Enter Lucius, Iachimo, and the Roman army at one door and the Briton army at another, Posthumus following like a poor soldier.
They march over and go 2895out.
Then enter again in skirmish Iachimo and Posthumus.
He vanquisheth and disarmeth Iachimo, and then leaves him.
Iachimo The heaviness and guilt within my bosom
Takes off my manhood. I have belied a lady,
2900The princess of this country, and the air on't
Revengingly enfeebles me, or could this carl,
A very drudge of Nature's, have subdued me
In my profession? Knighthoods and honors borne
As I wear mine are titles but of scorn.
2905If that thy gentry, Britain, go before
This lout as he exceeds our lords, the odds
Is that we scarce are men and you are gods.
The battle continues; the Britons fly; Cymbeline is taken.
Then enter to his rescue Belarius [as Morgan], Guiderius [as Polydore], 2910and Arviragus [as Cadwal].
Belarius Stand, stand! We have th'advantage of the ground;
The lane is guarded. Nothing routs us but
The villainy of our fears.
Guiderius and Arviragus
Stand, stand, and fight!
Enter Posthumus and seconds the Britons.
They rescue Cymbeline and exeunt.
Then enter Lucius, Iachimo, and Imogen [as Fidele].
Lucius Away, boy, from the troops, and save thyself,
For friends kill friends, and the disorder's such
2920As war were hoodwinked.
'Tis their fresh supplies.
Lucius It is a day turned strangely. Or betimes
Let's reinforce or fly.


Enter Posthumus and a Briton Lord
Cam'st thou from where they made the stand?
I did,
Though you it seems come from the fliers?
I did.
2930Posthumus No blame be to you, sir, for all was lost
But that the heavens fought. The King himself
Of his wings destitute, the army broken
And but the backs of Britons seen, all flying
Through a strait lane; the enemy, full-hearted,
2935Lolling the tongue with slaughtering, having work
More plentiful than tools to do't, struck down
Some mortally, some slightly touched, some falling
Merely through fear, that the strait pass was dammed
With dead men, hurt behind, and cowards living
2940To die with lengthened shame.
Where was this lane?
Posthumus Close by the battle, ditched and walled with turf,
Which gave advantage to an ancient soldier,
An honest one, I warrant, who deserved
2945So long a breeding as his white beard came to
In doing this for's country. Athwart the lane,
He, with two striplings, lads more like to run
The country base than to commit such slaughter,
With faces fit for masks, or rather fairer
2950Than those for preservation cased or shame,
Made good the passage, cried to those that fled,
"Our Britain's harts die flying, not our men;
To darkness fleet souls that fly backwards. Stand,
Or we are Romans and will give you that
2955Like beasts which you shun, beastly, and may save
But to look back in frown. Stand, stand!" These three,
Three thousand confident; in act as many,
For three performers are the file when all
The rest do nothing. With this word, "Stand, stand,"
2960Accommodated by the place, more charming
With their own nobleness, which could have turned
A distaff to a lance, gilded pale looks,
Part shame, part spirit renewed, that some turned coward
But by example (oh, a sin in war,
2965Damned in the first beginners) gan to look
The way that they did and to grin like lions
Upon the pikes o'th' hunters. Then began
A stop i'th' chaser, a retire; anon
A rout, confusion thick; forthwith they fly,
2970Chickens, the way which they stooped eagles; slaves,
The strides they victors made. And now our cowards,
Like fragments in hard voyages, became
The life o'th' need: having found the back door open
Of the unguarded hearts, heavens, how they wound!
2975Some slain before; some dying; some their friends --
O'erborne i'th' former wave, ten chased by one --
Are now each one the slaughterman of twenty:
Those that would die or ere resist are grown
The mortal bugs o'th' field.
This was strange chance:
A narrow lane, an old man, and two boys.
Posthumus Nay, do not wonder at it; you are made
Rather to wonder at the things you hear
Than to work any. Will you rhyme upon't
2985And vend it for a mockery? Here is one:
"Two boys, an old man (twice a boy), a lane,
Preserved the Britons, was the Romans' bane."
Nay, be not angry, sir.
'Lack, to what end?
2990Who dares not stand his foe, I'll be his friend,
For if he'll do as he is made to do,
I know he'll quickly fly my friendship, too.
You have put me into rhyme.
Farewell; you're angry.
2995Posthumus Still going? This is a lord. Oh, noble misery,
To be i'th' field and ask "What news?" of me!
Today, how many would have given their honors
To have saved their carcasses; took heel to do't,
And yet died too? I, in mine own woe charmed,
3000Could not find death where I did hear him groan,
Nor feel him where he struck. Being an ugly monster,
'Tis strange he hides him in fresh cups, soft beds,
Sweet words; or hath more ministers than we
That draw his knives i'th' war. Well, I will find him,
3005For, being now a favorer to the Briton,
No more a Briton, I have resumed again
The part I came in. Fight I will no more,
But yield me to the veriest hind that shall
Once touch my shoulder. Great the slaughter is
3010Here made by th' Roman; great the answer be
Britons must take. For me, my ransom's death;
On either side I come to spend my breath,
Which neither here I'll keep nor bear again,
But end it by some means for Imogen.
Enter two [British] Captains and Soldiers
1 Captain Great Jupiter be praised, Lucius is taken.
'Tis thought the old man and his sons were angels.
2 Captain There was a fourth man, in a silly habit,
That gave th'affront with them.
30201 Captain
So 'tis reported,
But none of 'em can be found. Stand, who's there?
A Roman,
Who had not now been drooping here if seconds
Had answered him.
30252 Captain
Lay hands on him. A dog,
A leg of Rome shall not return to tell
What crows have pecked them here. He brags his service
As if he were of note: bring him to th' King.
Enter Cymbeline, Belarius [as Morgan], Guiderius [as Polydore], Arviragus [as Cadwal], Pisanio, [two Jailers,] and 3030Roman captives, including Posthumus.
The Captains present Posthumus to Cymbeline, who delivers him over to a Jailer.
[Exeunt all but Posthumus and Jailers.]
1 Jailer You shall not now be stolen; 3035you have locks upon you.
So graze as you find pasture.
2 Jailer
Aye, or a stomach.
[Exeunt Jailers]
Posthumus Most welcome bondage, for thou art a way,
I think, to liberty; yet am I better
3040Than one that's sick o'th' gout, since he had rather
Groan so in perpetuity than be cured
By th' sure physician, Death, who is the key
T'unbar these locks. My conscience, thou art fettered
More than my shanks and wrists; you good gods, give me,
3045The penitent, instrument to pick that bolt,
Then free for ever. Is't enough I am sorry?
So children temporal fathers do appease;
Gods are more full of mercy. Must I repent,
I cannot do it better than in gyves,
3050Desired more than constrained. To satisfy
If of my freedom 'tis the main part, take
No stricter render of me than my all.
I know you are more clement than vile men
Who of their broken debtors take a third,
3055A sixth, a tenth, letting them thrive again
On their abatement; that's not my desire.
For Imogen's dear life, take mine, and though
'Tis not so dear, yet 'tis a life; you coined it.
'Tween man and man, they weigh not every stamp;
3060Though light, take pieces for the figure's sake:
You rather mine, being yours. And so, great powers,
If you will take this audit, take this life,
And cancel these cold bonds. O Imogen,
I'll speak to thee in silence.
Solemn music
Enter as in an apparition, Sicilius Leonatus, father to Posthumus, an old man, attired like a warrior; leading in his hand an ancient matron, his wife, and mother to Posthumus, with music before them. Then after other music follows the two young Leonati, 3070brothers to Posthumus, with wounds as they died in the wars.
They circle Posthumus round as he lies sleeping.
Sicilius Leonatus No more, thou Thunder-Master,show thy spite on mortal flies:
With Mars fall out; with Juno chide that thy adulteries
3075Rates and revenges.
Hath my poor boy done ought but well, whose face I never saw?
I died whilst in the womb he stayed, attending Nature's law,
3080Whose father then, as men report thou orphans' father art,
Thou shouldst have been and shielded him from this earth-vexing smart.
Mother Lucina lent not me her aid 3085but took me in my throes,
That from me was Posthumus ripped, came crying 'mongst his foes,
A thing of pity.
Sicilius Leonatus Great Nature, like his ancestry, 3090molded the stuff so fair
That he deserved the praise o'th' world as great Sicilius' heir.
1 Brother When once he was mature for man, in Britain where was he
3095That could stand up his parallel, or fruitful object be
In eye of Imogen, that best could deem his dignity?
Mother With marriage wherefore was he mocked, 3100to be exiled and thrown
From Leonati seat and cast from her, his dearest one,
Sweet Imogen?
Sicilius Leonatus Why did you suffer Iachimo, slight thing of Italy,
3105To taint his nobler heart and brain with needless jealousy,
And to become the geck and scorn o'th' other's villainy?
2 Brother For this from stiller seats we came, our parents and us twain,
That, striking in our country's cause, 3110fell bravely and were slain,
Our fealty and Tenantius' right with honor to maintain.
1 Brother Like hardiment Posthumus hath to Cymbeline performed;
Then, Jupiter, thou king of gods, why hast thou thus adjourned
3115The graces for his merits due, being all to dolors turned?
Sicilius Leonatus Thy crystal window ope; look out; no longer exercise
Upon a valiant race thy harsh and potent injuries.
Mother Since, Jupiter, our son is good, 3120take off his miseries.
Sicilius Leonatus Peep through thy marble mansion; help, or we poor ghosts will cry
To th' shining synod of the rest against thy deity.
Brothers Help, Jupiter, or we appeal, 3125and from thy justice fly.
Jupiter descends in thunder and lightning, sitting upon an eagle.
He throws a thunderbolt. The ghosts fall on their knees.
Jupiter No more, you petty spirits of region low,
3130Offend our hearing. Hush! How dare you ghosts
Accuse the Thunderer, whose bolt, you know,
Sky-planted, batters all rebelling coasts?
Poor shadows of Elysium, hence, and rest
Upon your never-withering banks of flowers.
3135Be not with mortal accidents oppressed;
No care of yours it is; you know 'tis ours.
Whom best I love, I cross, to make my gift
The more delayed, delighted. Be content:
Your low-laid son our godhead will uplift;
3140His comforts thrive; his trials well are spent.
Our Jovial star reigned 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 upon his breast, wherein
Our pleasure, his full fortune, doth confine,
And so away; no farther with your din
Express impatience, lest you stir up mine.
Mount, eagle, to my palace crystalline.
3150Sicilius Leonatus He came in thunder; his celestial breath
Was sulfurous to smell. The holy eagle
Stooped, as to foot us. His ascension is
More sweet than our blessed fields; his royal bird
Preens the immortal wing and cloys his beak,
3155As when his god is pleased.
Thanks, Jupiter.
Sicilius Leonatus The marble pavement closes; he is entered
His radiant roof. Away, and to be blessed,
Let us with care perform his great behest.
[They place the tablet on Posthumus' chest.]
[Posthumus wakes]
3160Posthumus Sleep, thou hast been a grandsire and begot
A father to me, and thou hast created
A mother and two brothers. But, oh, scorn,
Gone; they went hence so soon as they were born.
And so I am awake. Poor wretches that depend
3165On greatness' favor dream as I have done,
Wake, and find nothing. But, alas, I swerve:
Many dream not to find, neither deserve,
And yet are steeped in favors; so am I
That have this golden chance and know not why.
[Sees the tablet]
3170What fairies haunt this ground? A book? Oh, rare one,
Be not, as is our fangled world, a garment
Nobler than that it covers. Let thy effects
So follow to be, most unlike our courtiers,
As good as promise.
Whenas a lion's whelp shall, to himself unknown, without seeking, find and be embraced by a piece of tender air; and when from a stately cedar shall be lopped branches, which, being dead many years, shall after revive, be jointed to 3180the old stock, and freshly grow; then shall Posthumus end his miseries, Britain be fortunate, and flourish in peace and plenty.
'Tis still a dream, or else such stuff as madmen
Tongue, and brain not; either both or nothing:
3185Or senseless speaking, or a speaking such
As sense cannot untie. Be what it is,
The action of my life is like it, which I'll keep
If but for sympathy.
Enter 1 Jailer
31901 Jailer Come, sir, are you ready for death?
Posthumus Over-roasted, rather: ready long ago.
1 Jailer Hanging is the word, sir; if you be ready for that, you are well cooked.
Posthumus So if I prove a good repast to the spectators, the 3195dish pays the shot.
1 Jailer A heavy reckoning for you, sir, but the comfort is, you shall be called to no more payments, fear no more tavern bills, which are often the sadness of parting, as the procuring of mirth. You come in faint for want of 3200meat, depart reeling with too much drink; sorry that you have paid too much, and sorry that you are paid too much; purse and brain both empty, the brain the heavier for being too light; the purse too light, being drawn of heaviness. Oh, of this contradiction you shall 3205now be quit. Oh, the charity of a penny cord: it sums up thousands in a trice. You have no true debitor and creditor but it. Of what's past, is, and to come, the discharge; your neck, sir, is pen, book, and counters; so the acquittance follows.
3210Posthumus I am merrier to die than thou art to live.
1 Jailer Indeed, sir, he that sleeps feels not the toothache, but a man that were to sleep your sleep, and a hangman to help him to bed, I think he would change places with his officer, for, look you, sir, you know not 3215which way you shall go.
Posthumus Yes, indeed, do I, fellow.
1 Jailer Your death has eyes in's head, then; I have not seen him so pictured. You must either be directed by some that take upon them to know, or to take upon 3220yourself that which I am sure you do not know, or jump the after-enquiry on your own peril. And how you shall speed in your journey's end, I think you'll never returnto tell one.
Posthumus I tell thee, fellow, there are none want eyes to 3225direct them the way I am going but such as wink and will not use them.
1 Jailer What an infinite mock is this that a man should have the best use of eyes to see the way of blindness. I am sure hanging's the way of winking.
Enter a Messenger
Messenger Knock off his manacles; bring your prisoner to the King.
Posthumus Thou bringst good news: I am called to be made free.
32351 Jailer I'll be hanged then.
Posthumus Thou shalt be then freer then a jailer: no bolts for the dead.
1 Jailer [Aside] Unless a man would marry a gallows and beget young gibbets, I never saw one so prone; yet, on my 3240conscience, there are verier knaves desire to live, for all he be a Roman; and there be some of them, too, that die against their wills; so should I, if I were one. I would we were all of one mind, and one mind good. Oh, there were desolation of jailers and gallowses! I speak 3245against my present profit, but my wish hath a preferment in't.


Enter Cymbeline, Belarius [as Morgan], Guiderius [as Polydore], Arviragus [as Cadwal], Pisanio, and Lords
3250Cymbeline Stand by my side, you whom the gods have made
Preservers of my throne. Woe is my heart
That the poor soldier that so richly fought,
Whose rags shamed gilded arms, whose naked breast
Stepped before targes of proof, cannot be found.
3255He shall be happy that can find him if
Our grace can make him so.
I never saw
Such noble fury in so poor a thing,
Such precious deeds in one that promised nought
3260But beggary and poor looks.
No tidings of him?
Pisanio He hath been searched among the dead and living,
But no trace of him.
[To Guiderius, Arviragus, and Belarius] To my grief, I am
3265The heir of his reward, which I will add
To you, the liver, heart, and brain of Britain,
By whom, I grant, she lives. 'Tis now the time
To ask of whence you are. Report it.
3270In Cambria are we born, and gentlemen;
Further to boast were neither true nor modest,
Unless I add we are honest.
Bow your knees.
Arise, my knights o'th' battle; I create you
3275Companions to our person and will fit you
With dignities becoming your estates.
Enter Cornelius and Ladies
There's business in these faces. Why so sadly
Greet you our victory? You look like Romans
3280And not o'th' court of Britain.
Hail, great King.
To sour your happiness, I must report
The Queen is dead.
Who worse than a physician
3285Would this report become? But I consider:
By medicine life may be prolonged, yet death
Will seize the doctor too. How ended she?
Cornelius With horror, madly dying, like her life,
Which, being cruel to the world, concluded
3290Most cruel to herself. What she confessed
I will report, so please you. These her women
Can trip me, if I err, who with wet cheeks
Were present when she finished.
Prithee, say.
3295Cornelius First, she confessed she never loved you; only
Affected greatness got by you, not you;
Married your royalty, was wife to your place,
Abhorred your person.
She alone knew this,
3300And but she spoke it dying, I would not
Believe her lips in opening it. Proceed.
Cornelius Your daughter, whom she bore in hand to love
With such integrity, she did confess
Was as a scorpion to her sight, whose life,
3305But that her flight prevented it, she had
Ta'en off by poison.
O most delicate fiend!
Who is't can read a woman? Is there more?
Cornelius More, sir, and worse. She did confess she had
3310For you a mortal mineral, which being took
Should by the minute feed on life and, lingering,
By inches waste you, in which time she purposed
By watching, weeping, tendance, kissing, to
O'ercome you with her show, and in time,
3315When she had fitted you with her craft, to work
Her son into th'adoption of the crown;
But failing of her end by his strange absence,
Grew shameless desperate; opened, in despite
Of Heaven and men, her purposes; repented
3320The evils she hatched were not effected; so
Despairing, died.
Heard you all this, her women?
We did, so please Your Highness.
Mine eyes
3325Were not in fault, for she was beautiful;
Mine ears that heard her flattery, nor my heart
That thought her like her seeming. It had been vicious
To have mistrusted her; yet, o my daughter,
That it was folly in me, thou mayst say,
3330And prove it in thy feeling. Heaven mend all.
Enter Lucius, Iachimo, and other Roman prisoners, Posthumus behind, and Imogen [as Fidele]
Thou com'st not, Caius, now for tribute; that
The Britains have rased out, though with the loss
3335Of many a bold one, whose kinsmen have made suit
That their good souls may be appeased with slaughter
Of you their captives, which ourself have granted,
So think of your estate.
Lucius Consider, sir, the chance of war: the day
3340Was yours by accident. Had it gone with us,
We should not, when the blood was cool, have threatened
Our prisoners with the sword. But since the gods
Will have it thus, that nothing but our lives
May be called ransom, let it come; sufficeth,
3345A Roman with a Roman's heart can suffer.
Augustus lives to think on't, and so much
For my peculiar care. This one thing only
I will entreat: my boy, a Briton born,
Let him be ransomed. Never master had
3350A page so kind, so duteous, diligent,
So tender over his occasions, true,
So feat, so nurse-like; let his virtue join
With my request, which I'll make bold Your Highness
Cannot deny. He hath done no Briton harm,
3355Though he have served a Roman. Save him, sir,
And spare no blood beside.
I have surely seen him;
His favor is familiar to me. Boy,
Thou hast looked thyself into my grace
3360And art mine own. I know not why, wherefore,
To say live, boy. Ne'er thank thy master; live,
And ask of Cymbeline what boon thou wilt,
Fitting my bounty and thy state, I'll give it --
Yea, though thou do demand a prisoner
3365The noblest ta'en.
I humbly thank Your Highness.
Lucius I do not bid thee beg my life, good lad,
And yet I know thou wilt.
No, no, alack,
[Imogen sees Iachimo wearing Posthumus' ring.]
3370There's other work in hand. I see a thing
Bitter to me as death; your life, good master,
Must shuffle for itself.
[Aside] The boy disdains me;
He leaves me, scorns me. Briefly die their joys
3375That place them on the truth of girls and boys.
Why stands he so perplexed?
What wouldst thou, boy?
I love thee more and more; think more and more
What's best to ask. Knowst him thou lookst on? Speak:
3380Wilt have him live? Is he thy kin? Thy friend?
Imogen He is a Roman, no more kin to me
Than I to Your Highness, who, being born your vassal,
Am something nearer.
Wherefore ey'st him so?
3385Imogen I'll tell you, sir, in private, if you please
To give me hearing.
Aye, with all my heart,
And lend my best attention. What's thy name?
Fidele, sir.
Thou'rt my good youth, my page;
I'll be thy master. Walk with me; speak freely.
[Cymbeline and Imogen speak apart]
[Belarius, Arviragus, and Guiderius speak together]
Is not this boy revived from death?
One sand another
Not more resembles that sweet rosy lad
3395Who died and was Fidele. What think you?
Guiderius The same dead thing alive.
Belarius Peace, peace; see further. He eyes us not; forbear.
Creatures may be alike; were't he, I am sure
He would have spoke to us.
But we see him dead.
Be silent; let's see further.
[Aside] It is my mistress:
Since she is living, let the time run on
To good or bad.
[To Imogen] Come, stand thou by our side;
[Cymbeline and Imogen come forward]
Make thy demand aloud. -- [To Iachimo] Sir, step you forth.
Give answer to this boy and do it freely,
Or by our greatness and the grace of it
Which is our honor, bitter torture shall
3410Winnow the truth from falsehood. -- On, speak to him.
Imogen My boon is that this gentleman may render
Of whom he had this ring.
[Aside] What's that to him?
Cymbeline That diamond upon your finger, say
3415How came it yours.
Iachimo Thou'lt torture me to leave unspoken that
Which to be spoke would torture thee.
How? Me?
Iachimo I am glad to be constrained to utter that
3420Which torments me to conceal. By villainy
I got this ring. 'Twas Leonatus' jewel,
Whom thou didst banish; and, which more may grieve thee,
As it doth me, a nobler sir ne'er lived
'Twixt sky and ground. Wilt thou hear more, my Lord?
All that belongs to this.
That paragon, thy daughter,
For whom my heart drops blood and my false spirits
Quail to remember -- give me leave; I faint.
Cymbeline My daughter? What of her? Renew thy strength:
3430I had rather thou shouldst live while Nature will
Than die ere I hear more. Strive, man, and speak.
Iachimo Upon a time -- unhappy was the clock
That struck the hour! It was in Rome -- accursed
The mansion where! 'Twas at a feast -- oh, would
3435Our viands had been poisoned, or at least
Those which I heaved to head -- the good Posthumus
(What should I say? He was too good to be
Where ill men were, and was the best of all
Amongst the rar'st of good ones) sitting sadly,
3440Hearing us praise our loves of Italy
For beauty, that made barren the swelled boast
Of him that best could speak; for feature, laming
The shrine of Venus; or straight-pitched Minerva,
Postures beyond brief Nature; for condition,
3445A shop of all the qualities that man
Loves woman for; besides, that hook of wiving,
Fairness, which strikes the eye.
I stand on fire.
Come to the matter.
All too soon I shall
3450Unless thou wouldst grieve quickly. This Posthumus,
Most like a noble lord in love, and one
That had a royal lover, took his hint
And, not dispraising whom we praised -- therein
He was as calm as virtue -- he began
3455His mistress' picture, which by his tongue being made
And then a mind put in't, either our brags
Were cracked of kitchen trulls or his description
Proved us unspeaking sots.
Nay, nay; to th' purpose.
3460Iachimo Your daughter's chastity -- there it begins:
He spake of her as Dian had hot dreams
And she alone were cold, whereat I, wretch,
Made scruple of his praise and wagered with him
Pieces of gold 'gainst this, which then he wore
3465Upon his honored finger, to attain
In suit the place of's bed and win this ring
By hers and mine adultery. He, true knight,
No lesser of her honor confident
Than I did truly find her, stakes this ring,
3470And would so, had it been a carbuncle
Of Phoebus' wheel; and might so safely, had it
Been all the worth of's car. Away to Britain
Post I in this design. Well may you, sir,
Remember me at court, where I was taught
3475Of your chaste daughter the wide difference
'Twixt amorous and villainous. Being thus quenched
Of hope, not longing, mine Italian brain
Gan in your duller Britain operate
Most vilely; for my vantage, excellent;
3480And, to be brief, my practice so prevailed
That I returned with simular proof enough
To make the noble Leonatus mad
By wounding his belief in her renown,
With tokens thus and thus: averring notes
3485Of chamber-hanging, pictures; this her bracelet
(Oh, cunning how I got it!); nay, some marks
Of secret on her person, that he could not
But think her bond of chastity quite cracked,
I having ta'en the forfeit, whereupon --
3490Methinks I see him now.
Aye, so thou dost,
Italian fiend! Ay me, most credulous fool,
Egregious murderer, thief, anything
That's due to all the villains past, in being,
3495To come. Oh, give me cord or knife or poison,
Some upright justicer. Thou, King, send out
For torturers ingenious: it is I,
That all th'abhorrèd things o'th' earth amend
By being worse than they. I am Posthumus,
3500That killed thy daughter -- villain-like, I lie --
That caused a lesser villain than myself,
A sacrilegious thief to do't. The temple
Of virtue was she; yea, and she herself.
Spit and throw stones, cast mire upon me, set
3505The dogs o'th' street to bay me; every villain
Be called Posthumus Leonatus, and