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