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About this text

  • Title: Cymbeline (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Jennifer Forsyth
  • ISBN: 1-55058-300-X

    Copyright Jennifer Forsyth. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Jennifer Forsyth
    Peer Reviewed

    Cymbeline (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Tragedy of Cymbeline.
    Yea, though thou do demand a Prisoner
    3365The Noblest tane.
    Imo. I humbly thanke your Highnesse.
    Luc. I do not bid thee begge my life, good Lad,
    And yet I know thou wilt.
    Imo. No, no, alacke,
    3370There's other worke in hand: I see a thing
    Bitter to me, as death: your life, good Master,
    Must shuffle for it selfe.
    Luc. The Boy disdaines me,
    He leaues me, scornes me: briefely dye their ioyes,
    3375That place them on the truth of Gyrles, and Boyes.
    Why stands he so perplext?
    Cym. What would'st thou Boy?
    I loue thee more, and more: thinke more and more
    What's best to aske. Know'st him thou look'st on? speak
    3380Wilt haue him liue? Is he thy Kin? thy Friend?
    Imo. He is a Romane, no more kin to me,
    Then I to your Highnesse, who being born your vassaile
    Am something neerer.
    Cym. Wherefore ey'st him so?
    3385Imo. Ile tell you (Sir) in priuate, if you please
    To giue me hearing.
    Cym. I, with all my heart,
    And lend my best attention. What's thy name?
    Imo. Fidele Sir.
    3390Cym. Thou'rt my good youth: my Page
    Ile be thy Master: walke with me: speake freely.
    Bel. Is not this Boy reuiu'd from death?
    Arui. One Sand another
    Not more resembles that sweet Rosie Lad:
    3395Who dyed, and was Fidele: what thinke you?
    Gui. The same dead thing aliue.
    Bel. Peace, peace, see further: he eyes vs not, forbeare
    Creatures may be alike: were't he, I am sure
    He would haue spoke to vs.
    3400Gui. But we see him dead.
    Bel. Be silent: let's see further.
    Pisa. It is my Mistris:
    Since she is liuing, let the time run on,
    To good, or bad.
    3405Cym. Come, stand thou by our side,
    Make thy demand alowd. Sir, step you forth,
    Giue answer to this Boy, and do it freely,
    Or by our Greatnesse, and the grace of it
    (Which is our Honor) bitter torture shall
    3410Winnow the truth from falshood. One speake to him.
    Imo. My boone is, that this Gentleman may render
    Of whom he had this Ring.
    Post. What's that to him?
    Cym. That Diamond vpon your Finger, say
    3415How came it yours?
    Iach. Thou'lt torture me to leaue vnspoken, that
    Which to be spoke, wou'd torture thee.
    Cym. How? me?
    Iach. I am glad to be constrain'd to vtter that
    3420Which torments me to conceale. By Villany
    I got this Ring: 'twas Leonatus Iewell,
    Whom thou did'st banish: and which more may greeue
    As it doth me: a Nobler Sir, ne're liu'd
    'Twixt sky and ground. Wilt thou heare more my Lord?
    3425Cym. All that belongs to this.
    Iach. That Paragon, thy daughter,
    For whom my heart drops blood, and my false spirits
    Quaile to remember. Giue me leaue, I faint.
    Cym. My Daughter? what of hir? Renew thy strength
    3430I had rather thou should'st liue, while Nature will,
    Then dye ere I heare more: striue man, and speake.
    Iach. Vpon a time, vnhappy was the clocke
    That strooke the houre: it was in Rome, accurst
    The Mansion where: 'twas at a Feast, oh would
    3435Our Viands had bin poyson'd (or at least
    Those which I heau'd 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
    Among'st the rar'st of good ones) sitting sadly,
    3440Hearing vs praise our Loues of Italy
    For Beauty, that made barren the swell'd boast
    Of him that best could speake: for Feature, laming
    The Shrine of Venus, or straight-pight Minerua,
    Postures, beyond breefe Nature. For Condition,
    3445A shop of all the qualities, that man
    Loues woman for, besides that hooke of Wiuing,
    Fairenesse, which strikes the eye.
    Cym. I stand on fire. Come to the matter.
    Iach. All too soone I shall,
    3450Vnlesse thou would'st greeue quickly. This Posthumus,
    Most like a Noble Lord, in loue, and one
    That had a Royall Louer, tooke his hint,
    And (not dispraising whom we prais'd, therein
    He was as calme as vertue) he began
    3455His Mistris picture, which, by his tongue, being made,
    And then a minde put in't, either our bragges
    Were crak'd of Kitchin-Trulles, or his description
    Prou'd vs vnspeaking sottes.
    Cym. Nay, nay, to'th' purpose.
    3460Iach. Your daughters Chastity, (there it beginnes)
    He spake of her, as Dian had hot dreames,
    And she alone, were cold: Whereat, I wretch
    Made scruple of his praise, and wager'd with him
    Peeces of Gold, 'gainst this, which then he wore
    3465Vpon his honour'd finger) to attaine
    In suite the place of's bed, and winne this Ring
    By hers, and mine Adultery: he (true Knight)
    No lesser of her Honour confident
    Then I did truly finde her, stakes this Ring,
    3470And would so, had it beene a Carbuncle
    Of Phœbus Wheele; and might so safely, had it
    Bin all the worth of's Carre. Away to Britaine
    Poste I in this designe: Well may you (Sir)
    Remember me at Court, where I was taught
    3475Of your chaste Daughter, the wide difference
    'Twixt Amorous, and Villanous. Being thus quench'd
    Of hope, not longing; mine Italian braine,
    Gan in your duller Britaine operate
    Most vildely: for my vantage excellent.
    3480And to be breefe, my practise so preuayl'd
    That I return'd with simular proofe enough,
    To make the Noble Leonatus mad,
    By wounding his beleefe in her Renowne,
    With Tokens thus, and thus: auerring notes
    3485Of Chamber-hanging, Pictures, this her Bracelet
    (Oh cunning how I got) nay some markes
    Of secret on her person, that he could not
    But thinke her bond of Chastity quite crack'd,
    I hauing 'tane the forfeyt. Whereupon,
    3490Me thinkes I see him now.
    Post. I so thou do'st,
    Italian Fiend. Aye me, most credulous Foole,
    Egregious murtherer, Theefe, any thing
    That's due to all the Villaines past, in being
    3495To come. Oh giue me Cord, or knife, or poyson,