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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)

    Scena Quarta.
    Enter Pisanio and Imogen.
    Imo. Thou told'st me when we came frõ horse, ye place
    Was neere at hand: Ne're long'd my Mother so
    To see me first, as I haue now. Pisanio, Man:
    Where is Posthumus? What is in thy mind
    1675That makes thee stare thus? Wherefore breaks that sigh
    From th' inward of thee? One, but painted thus
    Would be interpreted a thing perplex'd
    Beyond selfe-explication. Put thy selfe
    Into a hauiour of lesse feare, ere wildnesse
    1680Vanquish my stayder Senses. What's the matter?
    Why tender'st thou that Paper to me, with
    A looke vntender? If't be Summer Newes
    Smile too't before: if Winterly, thou need'st
    But keepe that count'nance stil. My Husbands hand?
    1685That Drug-damn'd Italy, hath out-craftied him,
    And hee's at some hard point. Speake man, thy Tongue
    May take off some extreamitie, which to reade
    Would be euen mortall to me.
    Pis. Please you reade,
    1690And you shall finde me (wretched man) a thing
    The most disdain'd of Fortune.
    Imogen reades.
    THy Mistris (Pisanio) hath plaide the Strumpet in my
    Bed: the Testimonies whereof, lyes bleeding in me. I speak
    1695not out of weake Surmises, but from proofe as strong as my
    greefe, and as certaine as I expect my Reuenge. That part, thou
    (Pisanio) must acte for me, if thy Faith be not tainted with the
    breach of hers; let thine owne hands take away her life: I shall
    giue thee opportunity at Milford Hauen. She hath my Letter
    1700for the purpose; where, if thou feare to strike, and to make mee
    certaine it is done, thou art the Pander to her dishonour, and
    equally to me disloyall.
    Pis. What shall I need to draw my Sword, the Paper
    Hath cut her throat alreadie? No, 'tis Slander,
    1705Whose edge is sharper then the Sword, whose tongue
    Out-venomes all the Wormes of Nyle, whose breath
    Rides on the posting windes, and doth belye
    All corners of the World. Kings, Queenes, and States,
    Maides, Matrons, nay the Secrets of the Graue
    1710This viperous slander enters. What cheere, Madam?
    Imo. False to his Bed? What is it to be false?
    To lye in watch there, and to thinke on him?
    To weepe 'twixt clock and clock? If sleep charge Nature,
    To breake it with a fearfull dreame of him,
    1715And cry my selfe awake? That's false to's bed? Is it?
    Pisa. Alas good Lady.
    Imo. I false? Thy Conscience witnesse: Iachimo,
    Thou didd'st accuse him of Incontinencie,
    Thou then look'dst like a Villaine: now, me thinkes
    1720Thy fauours good enough. Some Iay of Italy
    (Whose mother was her painting) hath betraid him:
    Poore I am stale, a Garment out of fashion,
    And for I am richer then to hang by th' walles,
    I must be ript: To peeces with me: Oh!
    1725Mens Vowes are womens Traitors. All good seeming
    By thy reuolt (oh Husband) shall be thought
    Put on for Villainy; not borne where't growes,
    But worne a Baite for Ladies.
    Pisa. Good Madam, heare me.
    1730Imo. True honest men being heard, like false Æneas,
    Were in his time thought false: and Synons weeping
    Did scandall many a holy teare: tooke pitty
    From most true wretchednesse. So thou, Posthumus
    Wilt lay the Leauen on all proper men;
    1735Goodly, and gallant, shall be false and periur'd
    From thy great faile: Come Fellow, be thou honest,
    Do thou thy Masters bidding. When thou seest him,
    A little witnesse my obedience. Looke
    I draw the Sword my selfe, take it, and hit
    1740The innocent Mansion of my Loue (my Heart:)
    Feare not, 'tis empty of all things, but Greefe:
    Thy Master is not there, who was indeede
    The riches of it. Do his bidding, strike,
    Thou mayst be valiant in a better cause;
    1745But now thou seem'st a Coward.
    Pis. Hence vile Instrument,
    Thou shalt not damne my hand.
    Imo. Why, I must dye:
    And if I do not by thy hand, thou art
    1750No Seruant of thy Masters. Against Selfe-slaughter,
    There is a prohibition so Diuine,
    That crauens my weake hand: Come, heere's my heart:
    Something's a-foot: Soft, soft, wee'l no defence,
    Obedient as the Scabbard. What is heere,
    1755The Scriptures of the Loyall Leonatus,
    All turn'd to Heresie? Away, away
    Corrupters of my Faith, you shall no more
    Be Stomachers to my heart: thus may poore Fooles
    Beleeue false Teachers: Though those that are betraid
    1760Do feele the Treason sharpely, yet the Traitor
    Stands in worse case of woe. And thou Posthumus,
    That didd'st set vp my disobedience 'gainst the King
    My Father, and makes me put into contempt the suites
    Of Princely Fellowes, shalt heereafter finde
    1765It is no acte of common passage, but
    A straine of Rarenesse: and I greeue my selfe,
    To thinke, when thou shalt be disedg'd by her,
    That now thou tyrest on, how thy memory
    Will then be pang'd by me. Prythee dispatch,
    1770The Lambe entreats the Butcher. Wher's thy knife?
    Thou art too slow to do thy Masters bidding
    When I desire it too.
    Pis. Oh gracious Lady:
    Since I receiu'd command to do this businesse,
    1775I haue not slept one winke.
    Imo. Doo't, and to bed then.
    Pis. Ile wake mine eye-balles first.
    Imo. Wherefore then
    Didd'st vndertake it? Why hast thou abus'd
    1780So many Miles, with a pretence? This place?
    Mine Action? and thine owne? Our Horses labour?
    The Time inuiting thee? The perturb'd Court
    For my being absent? whereunto I neuer
    Purpose returne. Why hast thou gone so farre
    1785To be vn-bent? when thou hast 'tane thy stand,
    Th' elected Deere before thee?
    Pis. But to win time
    To loose so bad employment, in the which
    I haue consider'd of a course: good Ladie
    1790Heare me with patience.
    Imo. Talke thy tongue weary, speake:
    I haue heard I am a Strumpet, and mine eare
    Therein false strooke, can take no greater wound,
    Nor tent, to bottome that. But speake.
    1795Pis. Then Madam,
    I thought you would not backe againe.
    Imo. Most like,
    Bringing me heere to kill me.
    Pis. Not so neither:
    1800But if I were as wise, as honest, then
    My purpose would proue well: it cannot be,
    But that my Master is abus'd. Some Villaine,
    I, and singular in his Art, hath done you both
    This cursed iniurie.
    1805Imo. Some Roman Curtezan?
    Pisa. No, on my life:
    Ile giue but notice you are dead, and send him
    Some bloody signe of it. For 'tis commanded
    I should do so: you shall be mist at Court,
    1810And that will well confirme it.
    Imo. Why good Fellow,
    What shall I do the while? Where bide? How liue?
    Or in my life, what comfort, when I am
    Dead to my Husband?
    1815Pis. If you'l backe to'th' Court.
    Imo. No Court, no Father, nor no more adoe
    With that harsh, noble, simple nothing:
    That Clotten, whose Loue-suite hath bene to me
    As fearefull as a Siege.
    1820Pis. If not at Court,
    Then not in Britaine must you bide.
    Imo. Where then?
    Hath Britaine all the Sunne that shines? Day? Night?
    Are they not but in Britaine? I'th' worlds Volume
    1825Our Britaine seemes as of it, but not in't:
    In a great Poole, a Swannes-nest, prythee thinke
    There's liuers out of Britaine.
    Pis. I am most glad
    You thinke of other place: Th' Ambassador,
    1830Lucius the Romane comes to Milford-Hauen
    To morrow. Now, if you could weare a minde
    Darke, as your Fortune is, and but disguise
    That which t' appeare it selfe, must not yet be,
    But by selfe-danger, you should tread a course
    1835Pretty, and full of view: yea, happily, neere
    The residence of Posthumus; so nie (at least)
    That though his Actions were not visible, yet
    Report should render him hourely to your eare,
    As truely as he mooues.
    1840Imo. Oh for such meanes,
    Though perill to my modestie, not death on't
    I would aduenture.
    Pis. Well then, heere's the point:
    You must forget to be a Woman: change
    1845Command, into obedience. Feare, and Nicenesse
    (The Handmaides of all Women, or more truely
    Woman it pretty selfe) into a waggish courage,
    Ready in gybes, quicke-answer'd, sawcie, and
    As quarrellous as the Weazell: Nay, you must
    1850Forget that rarest Treasure of your Cheeke,
    Exposing it (but oh the harder heart,
    Alacke no remedy) to the greedy touch
    Of common-kissing Titan: and forget
    Your laboursome and dainty Trimmes, wherein
    1855You made great Iuno angry.
    Imo. Nay be breefe?
    I see into thy end, and am almost
    A man already.
    Pis. First, make your selfe but like one,
    1860Fore-thinking this. I haue already fit
    ('Tis in my Cloake-bagge) Doublet, Hat, Hose, all
    That answer to them: Would you in their seruing,
    (And with what imitation you can borrow
    From youth of such a season) 'fore Noble Lucius
    1865Present your selfe, desire his seruice: tell him
    Wherein you're happy; which will make him know,
    If that his head haue eare in Musicke, doubtlesse
    With ioy he will imbrace you: for hee's Honourable,
    And doubling that, most holy. Your meanes abroad:
    1870You haue me rich, and I will neuer faile
    Beginning, nor supplyment.
    Imo. Thou art all the comfort
    The Gods will diet me with. Prythee away,
    There's more to be consider'd: but wee'l euen
    1875All that good time will giue vs. This attempt,
    I am Souldier too, and will abide it with
    A Princes Courage. Away, I prythee.
    Pis. Well Madam, we must take a short farewell,
    Least being mist, I be suspected of
    1880Your carriage from the Court. My Noble Mistris,
    Heere is a boxe, I had it from the Queene,
    What's in't is precious: If you are sicke at Sea,
    Or Stomacke-qualm'd at Land, a Dramme of this
    Will driue away distemper. To some shade,
    1885And fit you to your Manhood: may the Gods
    Direct you to the best.
    Imo. Amen: I thanke thee.