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  • Title: Cymbeline (Modern)
  • 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 (Modern)

    1[1.1]
    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.
    Exeunt
    [1.2]
    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.
    Posthumus
    Please Your Highness,
    95I will from hence today.
    Queen
    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.
    Exit
    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.
    Posthumus
    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
    120Queen
    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.
    135Posthumus
    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.
    145Imogen
    O the gods!
    When shall we see again?
    Enter Cymbeline and Lords
    Posthumus
    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.
    Posthumus
    The gods protect you
    And bless the good remainders of the court.
    155I am gone.
    Exit
    Imogen
    There cannot be a pinch in death
    More sharp than this is.
    Cymbeline
    O disloyal thing
    That shouldst repair my youth, thou heapst
    160A year's age on me.
    Imogen
    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.
    165Cymbeline
    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.
    Imogen
    No, I rather added
    A luster to it.
    Cymbeline
    O thou vile one!
    175Imogen
    Sir,
    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.
    180Cymbeline
    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
    185Cymbeline
    Thou foolish thing,
    They were again together. You have done
    Not after our command. Away with her
    And pen her up.
    Queen
    Beseech your patience. -- Peace,
    190Dear lady daughter, peace. -- Sweet sovereign,
    Leave us to ourselves and make yourself some comfort
    Out of your best advice.
    Cymbeline
    Nay, let her languish
    A drop of blood a day and, being aged,
    195Die of this folly.
    Exit
    Enter Pisanio
    Queen [To Imogen]
    Fie! You must give way!
    Here is your servant. -- How now, sir? What news?
    Pisanio
    My lord your son drew on my master.
    200Queen
    Ha?
    No harm, I trust, is done?
    Pisanio
    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.
    Queen
    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.
    Queen
    This hath been
    Your faithful servant. I dare lay mine honor
    He will remain so.
    Pisanio
    I humbly thank Your Highness.
    220Queen [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
    225[1.3]
    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.
    Exeunt
    [1.4]
    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?
    Pisanio
    It was his queen, his queen.
    270Imogen
    Then waved his handkerchief?
    Pisanio
    And kissed it, madam.
    Imogen
    Senseless linen, happier therein than I!
    And that was all?
    Pisanio
    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.
    Imogen
    Thou shouldst have made him
    As little as a crow or less ere left
    To after-eye him.
    Pisanio
    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?
    Pisanio
    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
    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.
    Pisanio
    Madam, I shall.
    Imogen and Lady exeunt together; Pisanio separately
    [1.5]
    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.
    Exeunt
    [1.6]
    Enter Queen, Ladies, and Cornelius
    490Queen
    Whiles yet the dew's on ground, gather those flowers;
    Make haste. Who has the note of them?
    Lady
    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.
    Queen
    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.
    Cornelius
    Your Highness
    Shall from this practice but make hard your heart;
    Besides, the seeing these effects will be
    Both noisome and infectious.
    520Queen
    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.
    Cornelius [Aside]
    I do suspect you, madam,
    But you shall do no harm.
    Queen [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.
    Exit
    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.
    Exit
    [1.7]
    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.
    605Iachimo
    Change you, madam:
    The worthy Leonatus is in safety
    And greets Your Highness dearly.
    Imogen
    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.
    Leonatus
    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.
    Iachimo
    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?
    635Imogen
    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.
    Imogen
    What is the matter, trow?
    645Iachimo
    The cloyèd will,
    That satiate yet unsatisfied desire, that tub
    Both filled and running, ravening first the lamb,
    Longs after for the garbage.
    Imogen
    What, dear sir,
    650Thus raps you? Are you well?
    Iachimo
    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.
    Exit
    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.
    Imogen
    When he was here
    He did incline to sadness and oft-times
    665Not knowing why.
    Iachimo
    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?"
    Imogen
    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.
    Imogen
    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.
    Imogen
    What do you pity, sir?
    690Iachimo
    Two creatures heartily.
    Imogen
    Am I one, sir?
    You look on me. What wrack discern you in me
    Deserves your pity?
    Iachimo
    Lamentable! What,
    695To hide me from the radiant sun and solace
    I'th' dungeon by a snuff?
    Imogen
    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.
    Imogen
    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.
    Iachimo
    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.
    725Imogen
    My lord, I fear,
    Has forgot Britain.
    Iachimo
    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.
    Imogen
    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?
    Iachimo
    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.
    Imogen
    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.
    Imogen
    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.
    805Imogen
    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?
    815Imogen
    Willingly,
    And pawn mine honor for their safety; since
    My lord hath interest in them, I will keep them
    In my bedchamber.
    Iachimo
    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.
    Imogen
    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.
    Imogen
    I thank you for your pains,
    But not away tomorrow.
    830Iachimo
    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.
    835Imogen
    I will write.
    Send your trunk to me; it shall safe be kept
    And truly yielded you. You're very welcome.
    Exeunt
    [2.1]
    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.
    Exeunt
    [2.2]
    Enter Imogen in her bed and a Lady [Helen]
    Imogen
    Who's there? My woman, Helen?
    905Lady
    Please you, madam.
    Imogen
    What hour is it?
    Lady
    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.
    Sleeps
    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]
    960[2.3]
    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.
    Queen
    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.
    Clotten
    Senseless? Not so.
    [Enter Messenger]
    Messenger
    So like you, sir, ambassadors from Rome;
    The one is Caius Lucius.
    1020Cymbeline
    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.
    Knocks
    Enter a Lady
    Who's there that knocks?
    1045Clotten
    A gentleman.
    Lady
    No more?
    Clotten
    Yes, and a gentlewoman's son.
    Lady
    That's more
    Than some whose tailors are as dear as yours
    1050Can justly boast of. What's your lordship's pleasure?
    Clotten
    Your lady's person. Is she ready?
    Lady
    Aye,
    To keep her chamber.
    Clotten
    There is gold for you;
    Sell me your good report.
    1055Lady
    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.
    Clotten
    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.
    Clotten
    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.
    Clotten
    Do you call me fool?
    Imogen
    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.
    Clotten
    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.
    Imogen
    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.
    Clotten
    The south fog rot him!
    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?
    1115Enter Pisanio
    Clotten
    His garment? Now the devil!
    Imogen [To Pisanio]
    To Dorothy my woman hie thee presently.
    Clotten
    His garment?
    Imogen [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.
    Pisanio
    'Twill not be lost.
    I hope so; go and search.
    [Exit Pisanio]
    Clotten
    You have abused me.
    His meanest garment?
    Imogen
    Aye, I said so, sir;
    If you will make't an action, call witness to't.
    1135Clotten
    I will inform your father.
    Imogen
    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.
    Exit
    1140Clotten
    I'll be revenged:
    His meanest garment? Well.
    Exit
    [2.4]
    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.
    Philario
    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.
    1160Posthumus
    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.
    Enter Iachimo
    Philario
    See Iachimo.
    Posthumus
    The swiftest harts have posted you by land,
    And winds of all the corners kissed your sails
    1175To make your vessel nimble.
    Philario
    Welcome, sir.
    Posthumus
    I hope the briefness of your answer made
    The speediness of your return.
    Iachimo
    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.
    Iachimo
    Here are letters for you.
    1185Posthumus
    Their tenor good, I trust.
    Iachimo
    'Tis very like.
    Posthumus
    Was Caius Lucius in the Britain court
    When you were there?
    Iachimo
    He was expected then,
    1190But not approached.
    Posthumus [Aside]
    All is well yet. --
    Sparkles this stone as it was wont, or is't not
    Too dull for your good wearing?
    Iachimo
    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.
    Posthumus
    The stone's too hard to come by.
    1200Iachimo
    Not a whit,
    Your lady being so easy.
    Posthumus
    Make not, sir,
    Your loss, your sport. I hope you know that we
    Must not continue friends.
    1205Iachimo
    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.
    Posthumus
    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.
    Iachimo
    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.
    1225Posthumus
    Proceed.
    Iachimo
    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 --
    Posthumus
    This is true,
    And this you might have heard of here by me
    Or by some other.
    1240Iachimo
    More particulars
    Must justify my knowledge.
    Posthumus
    So they must,
    Or do your honor injury.
    Iachimo
    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.
    1250Posthumus
    This is a thing
    Which you might from relation likewise reap,
    Being, as it is, much spoke of.
    Iachimo
    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.
    Posthumus
    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.
    Iachimo
    Then if you can
    Be pale, I beg but leave to air this jewel:
    [Shows bracelet]
    See,
    1265And now 'tis up again. It must be married
    To that your diamond. I'll keep them.
    Posthumus
    Jove --
    Once more let me behold it. Is it that
    Which I left with her?
    1270Iachimo
    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.
    1275Posthumus
    Maybe she plucked it off
    To send it me.
    Iachimo
    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!
    Philario
    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.
    Posthumus
    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]
    1305Philario
    Sir, be patient.
    This is not strong enough to be believed
    Of one persuaded well of.
    Posthumus
    Never talk on't:
    She hath been colted by him.
    1310Iachimo
    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?
    Posthumus
    Aye, and it doth confirm
    Another stain as big as hell can hold,
    Were there no more but it.
    1320Iachimo
    Will you hear more?
    Posthumus
    Spare your arithmetic; never count the turns:
    Once, and a million.
    Iachimo
    I'll be sworn --
    Posthumus
    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.
    Iachimo
    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.
    Exit
    Philario
    Quite besides
    The government of patience. You have won.
    Let's follow him and pervert the present wrath
    1335He hath against himself.
    Iachimo
    With all my heart.
    Exeunt
    [2.5]
    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.
    Exit
    [3.1]
    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.
    Queen
    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.
    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.
    1440Lucius
    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.
    Cymbeline
    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.
    Lucius
    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.
    Exeunt
    [3.2]
    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.
    [Reads]
    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?
    Pisanio
    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.
    Pisanio
    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.
    Exeunt
    [3.3]
    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.
    Guiderius
    Hail, Heaven.
    1565Arviragus
    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.
    Arviragus
    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.
    Belarius
    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.
    Guiderius
    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.
    Exit
    [3.4]
    1670Enter 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.
    Pisanio
    Please you read,
    1690And you shall find me, wretched man, a thing
    The most disdained of Fortune.
    Imogen:
    Reads
    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.
    Pisanio
    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.
    Pisanio
    Hence, vile instrument;
    Thou shalt not damn my hand.
    Imogen
    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.
    Pisanio
    Oh, gracious lady,
    Since I received command to do this business,
    1775I have not slept one wink.
    Imogen
    Do't, and to bed then.
    Pisanio
    I'll wake mine eyeballs first.
    Imogen
    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?
    Pisanio
    But to win time
    To lose so bad employment, in the which
    I have considered of a course. Good lady,
    1790Hear me with patience.
    Imogen
    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.
    1795Pisanio
    Then, madam,
    I thought you would not back again.
    Imogen
    Most like,
    Bringing me here to kill me.
    Pisanio
    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?
    Pisanio
    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.
    Imogen
    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?
    1815Pisanio
    If you'll back to th' court . . .
    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.
    1820Pisanio
    If not at court,
    Then not in Britain must you bide.
    Imogen
    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.
    Pisanio
    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.
    1840Imogen
    Oh, for such means,
    Though peril to my modesty, not death on't
    I would adventure.
    Pisanio
    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.
    Imogen
    Nay, be brief.
    I see into thy end and am almost
    A man already.
    Pisanio
    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.
    Imogen
    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.
    Imogen
    Amen; I thank thee.
    Exeunt
    [3.5]
    Enter Cymbeline, Queen, Clotten, Lucius, 1890and Lords
    Cymbeline
    Thus far, and so farewell.
    Lucius
    Thanks, royal sir.
    My emperor hath wrote, I must from hence,
    And am right sorry that I must report ye
    1895My master's enemy.
    Cymbeline
    Our subjects, sir,
    Will not endure his yoke, and for ourself
    To show less sovereignty than they must needs
    Appear unkinglike.
    1900Lucius
    So, sir. I desire of you
    A conduct over land to Milford Haven.
    Madam, all joy befall Your Grace -- and you.
    Cymbeline
    My Lords, you are appointed for that office;
    The due of honor in no point omit.
    1905So farewell, noble Lucius.
    Lucius [To Clotten]
    Your hand, my Lord.
    Clotten
    Receive it friendly, but from this time forth
    I wear it as your enemy.
    Lucius
    Sir, the event
    1910Is yet to name the winner. Fare you well.
    Cymbeline
    Leave not the worthy Lucius, good my lords,
    Till he have crossed the Severn. Happiness.
    [Exeunt] Lucius [and Lords]
    He goes hence frowning, but it honors us
    That we have given him cause.
    1915Clotten
    'Tis all the better;
    Your valiant Britons have their wishes in it.
    Cymbeline
    Lucius hath wrote already to the emperor
    How it goes here. It fits us therefore ripely
    Our chariots and our horsemen be in readiness:
    1920The powers that he already hath in Gallia
    Will soon be drawn to head, from whence he moves
    His war for Britain.
    Queen
    'Tis not sleepy business
    But must be looked to speedily and strongly.
    1925Cymbeline
    Our expectation that it would be thus
    Hath made us forward. But, my gentle Queen,
    Where is our daughter? She hath not appeared
    Before the Roman, nor to us hath tendered
    The duty of the day. She looks us like
    1930A thing more made of malice than of duty;
    We have noted it. -- Call her before us, for
    We have been too slight in sufferance.
    [Exit a Messenger]
    Queen
    Royal sir,
    Since the exile of Posthumus, most retired
    1935Hath her life been, the cure whereof, my Lord,
    'Tis time must do. Beseech Your Majesty,
    Forbear sharp speeches to her. She's a lady
    So tender of rebukes that words are strokes,
    And strokes death to her.
    1940Enter a Messenger
    Cymbeline
    Where is she, sir? How
    Can her contempt be answered?
    Messenger
    Please you, sir,
    Her chambers are all locked, and there's no answer
    1945That will be given to th' loud of noise we make.
    My Lord, when last I went to visit her,
    She prayed me to excuse her keeping close,
    Whereto constrained by her infirmity
    She should that duty leave unpaid to you
    1950Which daily she was bound to proffer. This
    She wished me to make known, but our great court
    Made me to blame in memory.
    Cymbeline
    Her doors locked?
    Not seen of late? Grant heavens, that which I
    1955Fear prove false.
    Exit
    Queen
    Son, I say, follow the King.
    Clotten
    That man of hers, Pisanio, her old servant,
    I have not seen these two days.
    Queen
    Go, look after.
    Exit [Clotten]
    1960Pisanio, thou that standst so for
    Posthumus,
    He hath a drug of mine; I pray his absence
    Proceed by swallowing that, for he believes
    It is a thing most precious. But for her,
    Where is she gone? Haply despair hath seized her,
    1965Or, winged with fervor of her love, she's flown
    To her desired Posthumus. Gone she is,
    To death or to dishonor, and my end
    Can make good use of either. She being down,
    I have the placing of the British crown.
    1970Enter Clotten
    How now, my son?
    Clotten
    'Tis certain she is fled.
    Go in and cheer the King. He rages; none
    Dare come about him.
    1975Queen
    All the better: may
    This night forestall him of the coming day.
    Exit Queen
    Clotten
    I love and hate her. For she's fair and royal
    And that she hath all courtly parts more exquisite
    Than lady, ladies, woman, from every one
    1980The best she hath, and she of all compounded
    Outsells them all, I love her therefore; but
    Disdaining me and throwing favors on
    The low Posthumus slanders so her judgment
    That what's else rare is choked, and in that point
    1985I will conclude to hate her; nay, indeed,
    To be revenged upon her, for when fools shall --
    Enter Pisanio
    Who is here? What, are you packing, sirrah?
    Come hither. Ah, you precious pander, villain,
    1990Where is thy lady? In a word, or else
    Thou art straightway with the fiends.
    Pisanio
    Oh, good my Lord!
    Clotten
    Where is thy lady? Or, by Jupiter,
    I will not ask again. Close villain,
    1995I'll have this secret from thy heart or rip
    Thy heart to find it. Is she with Posthumus,
    From whose so many weights of baseness cannot
    A dram of worth be drawn?
    Pisanio
    Alas, my Lord,
    2000How can she be with him? When was she missed?
    He is in Rome.
    Clotten
    Where is she, sir? Come nearer.
    No farther halting; satisfy me home,
    What is become of her?
    2005Pisanio
    Oh, my all-worthy Lord!
    Clotten
    All-worthy villain,
    Discover where thy mistress is at once,
    At the next word. No more of "worthy Lord."
    Speak, or thy silence on the instant is
    2010Thy condemnation and thy death.
    Pisanio
    Then, sir,
    This paper is the history of my knowledge
    Touching her flight.
    [Gives letter]
    Clotten
    Let's see't. I will pursue her
    2015Even to Augustus' throne.
    Pisanio [Aside]
    Or this or perish.
    She's far enough, and what he learns by this
    May prove his travel, not her danger.
    Clotten
    Hum.
    2020Pisanio [Aside]
    I'll write to my lord she's dead. O Imogen,
    Safe mayst thou wander, safe return again.
    Clotten
    Sirrah, is this letter true?
    Pisanio
    Sir, as I think.
    Clotten
    It is Posthumus' hand; I know't. Sirrah, if thou 2025wouldst not be a villain but do me true service, undergo those employments wherein I should have cause to use thee with a serious industry -- that is, what villainy soe'er I bid thee do, to perform it directly and truly -- I would think thee an honest man. Thou shouldst neither want 2030my means for thy relief, nor my voice for thy preferment.
    Pisanio
    Well, my good Lord.
    Clotten
    Wilt thou serve me? For since patiently and constantly thou hast stuck to the bare fortune of that 2035beggar Posthumus, thou canst not in the course of gratitude but be a diligent follower of mine. Wilt thou serve me?
    Pisanio
    Sir, I will.
    Clotten
    Give me thy hand; here's my purse. Hast any 2040of thy late master's garments in thy possession?
    Pisanio
    I have, my Lord, at my lodging the same suit he wore when he took leave of my lady and mistress.
    Clotten
    The first service thou dost me, fetch that suit 2045hither; let it be thy first service. Go.
    Pisanio
    I shall, my Lord.
    Exit
    Clotten
    Meet thee at Milford Haven -- I forgot to ask him one thing; I'll remember't anon -- even there, thou villain Posthumus, will I kill thee. I would these 2050garments were come. She said upon a time (the bitterness of it I now belch from my heart) that she held the very garment of Posthumus in more respect than my noble and natural person, together with the adornment of my qualities. With that suit upon my back will I 2055ravish her -- first kill him, and in her eyes; there shall she see my valor, which will then be a torment to her contempt. He on the ground, my speech of insultment ended on his dead body, and when my lust hath dined (which, as I say, to vex her, I will execute in the clothes that she so 2060praised), to the court I'll knock her back, foot her home again. She hath despised me rejoicingly, and I'll be merry in my revenge.
    Enter Pisanio [with a suit of Posthumus' clothes]
    Be those the garments?
    2065Pisanio
    Aye, my noble Lord.
    Clotten
    How long is't since she went to Milford Haven?
    Pisanio
    She can scarce be there yet.
    Clotten
    Bring this apparel to my chamber; that is the second thing that I have commanded thee. The third 2070is that thou wilt be a voluntary mute to my design. Be but duteous, and true preferment shall tender itself to thee. My revenge is now at Milford; would I had wings to follow it! Come, and be true.
    Exit
    Pisanio
    Thou bidst me to my loss, for true to thee
    2075Were to prove false, which I will never be
    To him that is most true. To Milford go,
    And find not her whom thou pursu'st. Flow, flow,
    You heavenly blessings, on her. This fool's speed
    Be crossed with slowness; labor be his meed.
    Exit
    2080[3.6]
    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]
    2110Enter 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.
    2120Guiderius
    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.
    [Belarius looks into or begins to go into the cave]
    Belarius
    Stay; come not in.
    2125But that it eats our victuals, I should think
    Here were a fairy.
    Guiderius
    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.
    2140Guiderius
    Money, youth?
    Arviragus
    All gold and silver rather turn to dirt,
    As 'tis no better reckoned but of those
    Who worship dirty gods.
    Imogen
    I see you're angry.
    2145Know, if you kill me for my fault, I should
    Have died had I not made it.
    Belarius
    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.
    Belarius
    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.
    Arviragus
    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.
    Imogen
    '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.
    [Belarius, Guiderius, and Arviragus speak apart]
    Belarius
    He wrings at some distress.
    Guiderius
    Would I could free't.
    2175Arviragus
    Or I, whate'er it be,
    What pain it cost, what danger. Gods!
    Belarius
    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.
    Belarius [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.
    Guiderius
    Pray draw near.
    Arviragus
    The night to th' owl and morn to th' lark less welcome.
    Thanks, sir.
    2195Arviragus
    I pray draw near.
    Exeunt
    [3.7]
    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!
    Tribune
    Is Lucius general of the forces?
    2 Senator
    Aye.
    2210Tribune
    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.
    Tribune
    We will discharge our duty.
    Exeunt
    [4.1]
    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.
    Exit
    [4.2]
    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.
    Arviragus [To Imogen]
    Brother, stay here.
    Are we not brothers?
    2250Imogen
    So man and man should be. --
    [Aside]
    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.
    Guiderius
    I love thee. I have spoke it;
    2265How much the quantity, the weight as much,
    As I do love my father.
    Belarius
    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.
    Belarius [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.
    Arviragus
    Brother, farewell.
    Imogen
    I wish ye sport.
    Arviragus
    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.
    Guiderius [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.
    Belarius
    To th' field, to th' field. -- [To Imogen]
    We'll leave you for this time; go in and rest.
    Arviragus
    We'll not be long away.
    2300Belarius
    Pray be not sick,
    For you must be our housewife.
    Imogen
    Well or ill,
    I am bound to you.
    Exit [to the cave]
    Belarius
    And shalt be ever.
    2305This youth, howe'er distressed, appears he hath had
    Good ancestors.
    Arviragus
    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.
    Arviragus
    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.
    Guiderius
    I do note
    That grief and patience rooted in them both
    2320Mingle their spurs together.
    Arviragus
    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?
    2325Enter Clotten [without seeing them]
    Clotten [To himself]
    I cannot find those runagates; that villain
    Hath mocked me. I am faint.
    Belarius [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.
    [Exeunt Belarius and Arviragus]
    Clotten [Clotten notices them]
    Soft; what are you
    That fly me thus? Some villain mountaineers?
    I have heard of such. What slave art thou?
    Guiderius
    A thing
    2340More slavish did I ne'er than answering
    A slave without a knock.
    Clotten
    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.
    Clotten
    Thou villain base,
    2350Knowst me not by my clothes?
    Guiderius
    No, nor thy tailor, rascal,
    Who is thy grandfather. He made those clothes,
    Which, as it seems, make thee.
    Clotten
    Thou precious varlet,
    2355My tailor made them not.
    Guiderius
    Hence then, and thank
    The man that gave them thee. Thou art some fool;
    I am loath to beat thee.
    Clotten
    Thou injurious thief,
    2360Hear but my name and tremble.
    Guiderius
    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.
    Clotten
    To thy further fear,
    Nay, to thy mere confusion, thou shalt know
    I am son to th' Queen.
    Guiderius
    I am sorry for't, not seeming
    2370So worthy as thy birth.
    Clotten
    Art not afeard?
    Guiderius
    Those that I reverence, those I fear: the wise;
    At fools I laugh, not fear them.
    Clotten
    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.
    Arviragus
    In this place we left them.
    I wish my brother make good time with him
    You say he is so fell.
    2390Belarius
    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.
    Belarius
    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.
    Belarius
    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?
    Belarius
    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.
    Arviragus
    Let ord'nance
    Come as the gods fore-say it; howsoe'er,
    My brother hath done well.
    2435Belarius
    I had no mind
    To hunt this day; the boy Fidele's sickness
    Did make my way long forth.
    Guiderius
    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.
    Exit
    Belarius
    I fear 'twill be revenged.
    2445Would, Polydore, thou hadst not done't, though valor
    Becomes thee well enough.
    Arviragus
    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.
    Belarius
    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.
    Arviragus
    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.
    Exit
    Belarius
    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
    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.
    Solemn music
    Belarius
    My ingenious instrument:
    Hark, Polydore, it sounds; but what occasion
    2485Hath Cadwal now to give it motion? Hark!
    Guiderius
    Is he at home?
    Belarius
    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?
    2495Enter 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.
    2500Arviragus
    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.
    2505Guiderius
    O sweetest, fairest lily,
    My brother wears thee not the one half so well
    As when thou grewst thyself.
    Belarius
    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.
    Guiderius
    Where?
    2520Arviragus
    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.
    Guiderius
    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.
    Arviragus
    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 --
    2540Guiderius
    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.
    2545Arviragus
    Say, where shall's lay him?
    Guiderius
    By good Euriphile, our mother.
    Arviragus
    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."
    Guiderius
    Cadwal,
    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.
    Arviragus
    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.
    Guiderius
    Pray you, fetch him hither;
    Thersites' body is as good as Ajax'
    When neither are alive.
    Arviragus
    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.
    Arviragus
    'Tis true.
    Guiderius
    Come on, then, and remove him.
    2575Arviragus
    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.
    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;
    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.
    Exeunt
    [Imogen awakes]
    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
    2655Enter 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.
    2660Lucius
    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.
    Lucius
    When expect you them?
    Captain
    With the next benefit o'th' wind.
    Lucius
    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.
    Lucius
    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.
    Captain
    He's alive, my Lord.
    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?
    Imogen
    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.
    Lucius
    'Lack, good youth,
    2705Thou mov'st no less with thy complaining than
    Thy master in bleeding. Say his name, good friend.
    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?
    Imogen
    Fidele, sir.
    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.
    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.
    Lucius
    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.
    Exeunt
    [4.3]
    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.
    2750Pisanio
    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.
    2755Lord
    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.
    Cymbeline
    The time is troublesome:
    We'll slip you for a season, but our jealousy
    Does yet depend.
    Lord
    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.
    2770Lord
    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.
    2775Cymbeline
    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.
    Exit
    2790[4.4]
    Enter Belarius [as Morgan], Guiderius [as Polydore], and Arviragus [as Cadwal]
    Guiderius
    The noise is round about us.
    Belarius
    Let us from it.
    Arviragus
    What pleasure, sir, we find in life, to lock it
    2795From action and adventure?
    Guiderius
    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.
    Belarius
    Sons,
    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.
    Guiderius
    This is, sir, a doubt
    2810In such a time nothing becoming you
    Nor satisfying us.
    Arviragus
    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.
    Belarius
    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.
    Guiderius
    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.
    Arviragus
    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.
    Guiderius
    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.
    Arviragus
    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.
    Exeunt
    [5.1]
    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.
    Exit
    [5.2]
    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.
    Exit
    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!
    2915Enter 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.
    Iachimo
    'Tis their fresh supplies.
    Lucius
    It is a day turned strangely. Or betimes
    Let's reinforce or fly.
    Exeunt
    [5.3]
    2925Enter Posthumus and a Briton Lord
    Cam'st thou from where they made the stand?
    Posthumus
    I did,
    Though you it seems come from the fliers?
    Lord
    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.
    Lord
    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.
    2980Lord
    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.
    Posthumus
    '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.
    Lord
    Farewell; you're angry.
    Exit
    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.
    3015Enter 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?
    Posthumus
    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.
    3065Solemn 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.
    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?
    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.
    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.
    Ascends
    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.
    ALL
    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.]
    Vanish
    [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.
    3230Enter 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.
    Exeunt
    [5.4]
    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.
    Belarius
    I never saw
    Such noble fury in so poor a thing,
    Such precious deeds in one that promised nought
    3260But beggary and poor looks.
    Cymbeline
    No tidings of him?
    Pisanio
    He hath been searched among the dead and living,
    But no trace of him.
    Cymbeline [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.
    Belarius
    Sir,
    3270In Cambria are we born, and gentlemen;
    Further to boast were neither true nor modest,
    Unless I add we are honest.
    Cymbeline
    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.
    Cornelius
    Hail, great King.
    To sour your happiness, I must report
    The Queen is dead.
    Cymbeline
    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.
    Cymbeline
    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.
    Cymbeline
    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.
    Cymbeline
    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.
    Cymbeline
    Heard you all this, her women?
    We did, so please Your Highness.
    Cymbeline
    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.
    Cymbeline
    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.
    Imogen
    I humbly thank Your Highness.
    I do not bid thee beg my life, good lad,
    And yet I know thou wilt.
    [Imogen sees Iachimo wearing Posthumus' ring.]
    Imogen
    No, no, alack,
    3370There's other work in hand. I see a thing
    Bitter to me as death; your life, good master,
    Must shuffle for itself.
    Lucius [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?
    Cymbeline
    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?
    He is a Roman, no more kin to me
    Than I to Your Highness, who, being born your vassal,
    Am something nearer.
    Cymbeline
    Wherefore ey'st him so?
    I'll tell you, sir, in private, if you please
    To give me hearing.
    Cymbeline
    Aye, with all my heart,
    And lend my best attention. What's thy name?
    Fidele, sir.
    3390Cymbeline
    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]
    Belarius
    Is not this boy revived from death?
    Arviragus
    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.
    3400Guiderius
    But we see him dead.
    Belarius
    Be silent; let's see further.
    Pisanio [Aside]
    It is my mistress:
    Since she is living, let the time run on
    To good or bad.
    [Cymbeline and Imogen come forward]
    3405Cymbeline
    [To Imogen] Come, stand thou by our side;
    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.
    My boon is that this gentleman may render
    Of whom he had this ring.
    Posthumus [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.
    Cymbeline
    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?
    3425Cymbeline
    All that belongs to this.
    Iachimo
    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.
    Cymbeline
    I stand on fire.
    Come to the matter.
    Iachimo
    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.
    Cymbeline
    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.
    Posthumus
    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
    Be villainy less than 'twas. O Imogen!
    My queen, my life, my wife; o Imogen,
    Imogen, Imogen.
    Peace, my lord; hear, hear.
    Posthumus
    Shall's have a play of this?
    Thou scornful page, there lie thy part.
    [Strikes or throws Imogen; she lies still]
    Pisanio
    O gentlemen, help,
    Mine and your mistress! Oh, my lord Posthumus,
    3515You ne'er killed Imogen till now. Help, help,
    Mine honored lady.
    Cymbeline
    Does the world go round?
    Posthumus
    How comes these staggers on me?
    Pisanio
    Wake, my mistress.
    3520Cymbeline
    If this be so, the gods do mean to strike me
    To death with mortal joy.
    Pisanio
    How fares my mistress?
    Oh, get thee from my sight.
    Thou gav'st me poison. Dangerous fellow, hence;
    3525Breathe not where princes are.
    Cymbeline
    The tune of Imogen.
    Pisanio
    Lady,
    The gods throw stones of sulfur on me if
    That box I gave you was not thought by me
    A precious thing. I had it from the Queen.
    3530Cymbeline
    New matter still.
    It poisoned me.
    Cornelius
    Oh, gods!
    I left out one thing which the Queen confessed,
    Which must approve thee honest. "If Pisanio
    3535Have," said she, "given his mistress that confection
    Which I gave him for cordial, she is served
    As I would serve a rat."
    Cymbeline
    What's this, Cornelius?
    Cornelius
    The Queen, sir, very oft importuned me
    3540To temper poisons for her, still pretending
    The satisfaction of her knowledge only
    In killing creatures vile, as cats and dogs
    Of no esteem. I, dreading that her purpose
    Was of more danger, did compound for her
    3545A certain stuff which, being ta'en, would cease
    The present power of life, but in short time,
    All offices of nature should again
    Do their due functions. -- Have you ta'en of it?
    Most like I did, for I was dead.
    3550Belarius [To Guiderius and Arviragus]
    My boys,
    There was our error.
    Guiderius [To Belarius and Arviragus]
    This is sure Fidele.
    Why did you throw your wedded lady from you?
    Think that you are upon a rock, and now
    Throw me again.
    3555Posthumus
    Hang there like fruit, my soul,
    Till the tree die.
    Cymbeline
    How now, my flesh, my child?
    What, mak'st thou me a dullard in this act?
    Wilt thou not speak to me?
    [Imogen (and possibly Posthumus) kneels]
    3560Imogen
    Your blessing, sir.
    Belarius [To Guiderius and Arviragus]
    Though you did love this youth, I blame ye not;
    You had a motive for't.
    Cymbeline
    My tears that fall
    Prove holy water on thee. Imogen,
    3565Thy mother's dead.
    Imogen
    I am sorry for't, my Lord.
    Cymbeline
    Oh, she was naught; and long of her it was
    That we meet here so strangely. But her son
    Is gone, we know not how nor where.
    3570Pisanio
    My lord,
    Now fear is from me, I'll speak troth. Lord Clotten,
    Upon my lady's missing, came to me
    With his sword drawn, foamed at the mouth, and swore
    If I discovered not which way she was gone,
    3575It was my instant death. By accident,
    I had a feignèd letter of my master's
    Then in my pocket, which directed him
    To seek her on the mountains near to Milford,
    Where in a frenzy, in my master's garments
    3580Which he inforced from me, away he posts
    With unchaste purpose and with oath to violate
    My lady's honor. What became of him,
    I further know not.
    Guiderius
    Let me end the story:
    I slew him there.
    3585Cymbeline
    Marry, the gods forfend.
    I would not thy good deeds should from my lips
    Pluck a hard sentence. Prithee, valiant youth,
    Deny't again.
    Guiderius
    I have spoke it, and I did it.
    3590Cymbeline
    He was a prince.
    Guiderius
    A most incivil one. The wrongs he did me
    Were nothing princelike, for he did provoke me
    With language that would make me spurn the sea
    If it could so roar to me. I cut off's head
    3595And am right glad he is not standing here
    To tell this tale of mine.
    Cymbeline
    I am sorrow for thee:
    By thine own tongue thou art condemned and must
    Endure our law: thou'rt dead.
    3600Imogen
    That headless man
    I thought had been my lord.
    Cymbeline [To Guards]
    Bind the offender
    And take him from our presence.
    Belarius
    Stay, sir King.
    This man is better than the man he slew,
    3605As well descended as thyself, and hath
    More of thee merited than a band of Clottens
    Had ever scar for. --
    [To Guards]
    Let his arms alone;
    They were not born for bondage.
    Cymbeline
    Why, old soldier,
    3610Wilt thou undo the worth thou art unpaid for
    By tasting of our wrath? How of descent
    As good as we?
    Arviragus
    In that he spake too far.
    Cymbeline
    And thou shalt die for't.
    3615Belarius
    We will die all three,
    But I will prove that two on's are as good
    As I have given out him. -- My sons, I must
    For mine own part unfold a dangerous speech,
    Though haply well for you.
    3620Arviragus [To Cymbeline]
    Your danger's ours.
    Guiderius
    And our good his.
    Belarius
    Have at it, then, by leave.
    Thou hadst, great King, a subject who
    Was called Belarius.
    3625Cymbeline
    What of him? He is
    A banished traitor.
    Belarius
    He it is that hath
    Assumed this age; indeed a banished man,
    I know not how a traitor.
    Cymbeline [To Guards]
    Take him hence.
    3630The whole world shall not save him.
    Belarius
    Not too hot;
    First pay me for the nursing of thy sons,
    And let it be confiscate all, so soon
    As I have received it.
    3635Cymbeline
    Nursing of my sons?
    Belarius
    I am too blunt and saucy; here's my knee.
    Ere I arise, I will prefer my sons,
    Then spare not the old father. Mighty sir,
    These two young gentlemen that call me Father
    3640And think they are my sons are none of mine;
    They are the issue of your loins, my liege,
    And blood of your begetting.
    Cymbeline
    How, my issue?
    Belarius
    So sure as you your father's. I, old Morgan,
    3645Am that Belarius whom you sometime banished.
    Your pleasure was my near offense, my punishment
    Itself; and all my treason that I suffered
    Was all the harm I did. These gentle princes,
    For such and so they are, these twenty years
    3650Have I trained up; those arts they have as I
    Could put into them. My breeding was, sir,
    As Your Highness knows; their nurse Euriphile,
    Whom for the theft I wedded, stole these children
    Upon my banishment. I moved her to't,
    3655Having received the punishment before
    For that which I did then: beaten for loyalty
    Excited me to treason. Their dear loss,
    The more of you 'twas felt, the more it shaped
    Unto my end of stealing them. But gracious sir,
    3660Here are your sons again, and I must lose
    Two of the sweet'st companions in the world.
    The benediction of these covering heavens
    Fall on their heads like dew, for they are worthy
    To inlay heaven with stars.
    3665Cymbeline
    Thou weepst and speakst.
    The service that you three have done is more
    Unlike than this thou tellst. I lost my children;
    If these be they, I know not how to wish
    A pair of worthier sons.
    3670Belarius
    Be pleased awhile:
    This gentleman whom I call Polydore,
    Most worthy prince, as yours is true Guiderius;
    This gentleman, my Cadwal, Arviragus.
    Your younger princely son, he, sir, was lapped
    3675In a most curious mantle, wrought by th' hand
    Of his queen mother, which for more probation
    I can with ease produce.
    Cymbeline
    Guiderius had
    Upon his neck a mole, a sanguine star;
    3680It was a mark of wonder.
    Belarius
    This is he
    Who hath upon him still that natural stamp;
    It was wise Nature's end in the donation
    To be his evidence now.
    3685Cymbeline
    Oh, what am I,
    A mother to the birth of three? Ne'er mother
    Rejoiced deliverance more. -- Blessed, pray you be,
    That after this strange starting from your orbs
    You may reign in them now. -- Oh, Imogen,
    3690Thou hast lost by this a kingdom.
    Imogen
    No, my Lord;
    I have got two worlds by't. -- O my gentle brothers,
    Have we thus met? Oh, never say hereafter
    But I am truest speaker. You called me brother
    3695When I was but your sister; I you, brothers,
    When we were so indeed.
    Cymbeline
    Did you ere meet?
    Arviragus
    Aye, my good Lord.
    Guiderius
    And at first meeting loved;
    3700Continued so, until we thought he died.
    Cornelius
    By the Queen's dram she swallowed.
    Cymbeline
    Oh, rare instinct!
    When shall I hear all through? This fierce abridgment
    Hath to it circumstantial branches which
    3705Distinction should be rich in. -- Where, how lived you?
    And when came you to serve our Roman captive?
    How parted with your brothers? How first met them?
    Why fled you from the court? And whither? -- These,
    And your three motives to the battle -- with
    3710I know not how much more should be demanded,
    And all the other by-dependances
    From chance to chance. But nor the time nor place
    Will serve our long interrogatories. See,
    Posthumus anchors upon Imogen,
    3715And she, like harmless lightning, throws her eye
    On him, her brothers, me, her master, hitting
    Each object with a joy; the counterchange
    Is severally in all. Let's quit this ground
    And smoke the temple with our sacrifices. --
    3720[To Belarius] Thou art my brother; so we'll hold thee ever.
    [To Belarius] You are my father, too, and did relieve me
    To see this gracious season.
    Cymbeline
    All o'erjoyed
    Save these in bonds; let them be joyful too,
    3725For they shall taste our comfort.
    Imogen
    My good master,
    I will yet do you service.
    Lucius
    Happy be you!
    Cymbeline
    The forlorn soldier that so nobly fought,
    He would have well becomed this place and graced
    3730The thankings of a king.
    Posthumus
    I am, sir,
    The soldier that did company these three
    In poor beseeming; 'twas a fitment for
    The purpose I then followed. -- That I was he,
    3735Speak, Iachimo; I had you down and might
    Have made you finish.
    [Iachimo kneels]
    Iachimo
    I am down again,
    But now my heavy conscience sinks my knee
    As then your force did. Take that life, beseech you,
    3740Which I so often owe, but your ring first,
    And here the bracelet of the truest princess
    That ever swore her faith.
    Posthumus
    Kneel not to me:
    The power that I have on you is to spare you;
    3745The malice towards you, to forgive you. Live,
    And deal with others better.
    Cymbeline
    Nobly doomed.
    We'll learn our freeness of a son-in-law:
    Pardon's the word to all.
    3750Arviragus
    You holp us, sir,
    As you did mean indeed to be our brother;
    Joyed are we that you are.
    Posthumus
    Your servant, princes. -- Good my Lord of Rome,
    Call forth your soothsayer. As I slept, methought
    3755Great Jupiter upon his eagle backed
    Appeared to me with other sprightly shows
    Of mine own kindred. When I waked, I found
    This label on my bosom, whose containing
    Is so from sense in hardness that I can
    3760Make no collection of it. Let him show
    His skill in the construction.
    Lucius
    Philarmonus.
    Soothsayer
    Here, my good Lord.
    Lucius
    Read, and declare the meaning.
    3765Soothsayer
    Reads
    Thou, Leonatus, art the lion's whelp;
    The fit and apt construction of thy name
    3775Being "Leo-natus" doth import so much --
    The piece of tender air, thy virtuous daughter,
    Which we call "mollis aer," and "mollis aer"
    We term it "mulier" -- which "mulier" I divine
    Is this most constant wife, who even now,
    3780Answering the letter of the oracle,
    Unknown to you, unsought, were clipped about
    With this most tender air.
    Cymbeline
    This hath some seeming.
    Soothsayer
    The lofty cedar, royal Cymbeline,
    3785Personates thee; and thy lopped branches point
    Thy two sons forth, who, by Belarius stolen,
    For many years thought dead, are now revived,
    To the majestic cedar joined; whose issue
    Promises Britain peace and plenty.
    3790Cymbeline
    Well,
    My peace we will begin, and, Caius Lucius,
    Although the victor, we submit to Caesar
    And to the Roman empire, promising
    To pay our wonted tribute, from the which
    3795We were dissuaded by our wicked Queen,
    Whom heavens in justice both on her and hers
    Have laid most heavy hand.
    Soothsayer
    The fingers of the powers above do tune
    The harmony of this peace. The vision
    3800Which I made known to Lucius ere the stroke
    Of this yet scarce-cold battle at this instant
    Is full accomplished, for the Roman eagle,
    From south to west on wing soaring aloft,
    Lessened herself, and in the beams o'th' sun
    3805So vanished; which foreshowed our princely eagle,
    Th'imperial Caesar, should again unite
    His favor with the radiant Cymbeline,
    Which shines here in the west.
    Cymbeline
    Laud we the gods,
    3810And let our crooked smokes climb to their nostrils
    From our blessed altars. Publish we this peace
    To all our subjects. Set we forward; let
    A Roman and a British ensign wave
    Friendly together, so through Luds-Town march;
    3815And in the temple of great Jupiter
    Our peace we'll ratify, seal it with feasts. --
    Set on there. -- Never was a war did cease
    Ere bloody hands were washed with such a peace.