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 Imogen in her bed and a Lady [Helen]
    Who's there? My woman, Helen?
    Please you, madam.
    What hour is it?
    Almost midnight, madam.
    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.
    Iachimo from the trunk
    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]