Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Jennifer Forsyth
Peer Reviewed

Cymbeline (Modern)

Enter Posthumus and Philario
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?
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.
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.
Enter Iachimo
See Iachimo.
The swiftest harts have posted you by land,
And winds of all the corners kissed your sails
1175To make your vessel nimble.
Welcome, sir.
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.
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.
Was Caius Lucius in the Britain court
When you were there?
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?
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?
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.
By Jupiter, I had it from her arm.
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?
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.
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.