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 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.
    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?
    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.
    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.