Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • 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)


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