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 Cymbeline, Queen, Clotten, Lucius, 1890and Lords
    Thus far, and so farewell.
    Thanks, royal sir.
    My emperor hath wrote, I must from hence,
    And am right sorry that I must report ye
    1895My master's enemy.
    Our subjects, sir,
    Will not endure his yoke, and for ourself
    To show less sovereignty than they must needs
    Appear unkinglike.
    So, sir. I desire of you
    A conduct over land to Milford Haven.
    Madam, all joy befall Your Grace -- and you.
    My Lords, you are appointed for that office;
    The due of honor in no point omit.
    1905So farewell, noble Lucius.
    Lucius [To Clotten]
    Your hand, my Lord.
    Receive it friendly, but from this time forth
    I wear it as your enemy.
    Sir, the event
    1910Is yet to name the winner. Fare you well.
    Leave not the worthy Lucius, good my lords,
    Till he have crossed the Severn. Happiness.
    [Exeunt] Lucius [and Lords]
    He goes hence frowning, but it honors us
    That we have given him cause.
    'Tis all the better;
    Your valiant Britons have their wishes in it.
    Lucius hath wrote already to the emperor
    How it goes here. It fits us therefore ripely
    Our chariots and our horsemen be in readiness:
    1920The powers that he already hath in Gallia
    Will soon be drawn to head, from whence he moves
    His war for Britain.
    'Tis not sleepy business
    But must be looked to speedily and strongly.
    Our expectation that it would be thus
    Hath made us forward. But, my gentle Queen,
    Where is our daughter? She hath not appeared
    Before the Roman, nor to us hath tendered
    The duty of the day. She looks us like
    1930A thing more made of malice than of duty;
    We have noted it. -- Call her before us, for
    We have been too slight in sufferance.
    [Exit a Messenger]
    Royal sir,
    Since the exile of Posthumus, most retired
    1935Hath her life been, the cure whereof, my Lord,
    'Tis time must do. Beseech Your Majesty,
    Forbear sharp speeches to her. She's a lady
    So tender of rebukes that words are strokes,
    And strokes death to her.
    1940Enter a Messenger
    Where is she, sir? How
    Can her contempt be answered?
    Please you, sir,
    Her chambers are all locked, and there's no answer
    1945That will be given to th' loud of noise we make.
    My Lord, when last I went to visit her,
    She prayed me to excuse her keeping close,
    Whereto constrained by her infirmity
    She should that duty leave unpaid to you
    1950Which daily she was bound to proffer. This
    She wished me to make known, but our great court
    Made me to blame in memory.
    Her doors locked?
    Not seen of late? Grant heavens, that which I
    1955Fear prove false.
    Son, I say, follow the King.
    That man of hers, Pisanio, her old servant,
    I have not seen these two days.
    Go, look after.
    Exit [Clotten]
    1960Pisanio, thou that standst so for
    He hath a drug of mine; I pray his absence
    Proceed by swallowing that, for he believes
    It is a thing most precious. But for her,
    Where is she gone? Haply despair hath seized her,
    1965Or, winged with fervor of her love, she's flown
    To her desired Posthumus. Gone she is,
    To death or to dishonor, and my end
    Can make good use of either. She being down,
    I have the placing of the British crown.
    1970Enter Clotten
    How now, my son?
    'Tis certain she is fled.
    Go in and cheer the King. He rages; none
    Dare come about him.
    All the better: may
    This night forestall him of the coming day.
    Exit Queen
    I love and hate her. For she's fair and royal
    And that she hath all courtly parts more exquisite
    Than lady, ladies, woman, from every one
    1980The best she hath, and she of all compounded
    Outsells them all, I love her therefore; but
    Disdaining me and throwing favors on
    The low Posthumus slanders so her judgment
    That what's else rare is choked, and in that point
    1985I will conclude to hate her; nay, indeed,
    To be revenged upon her, for when fools shall --
    Enter Pisanio
    Who is here? What, are you packing, sirrah?
    Come hither. Ah, you precious pander, villain,
    1990Where is thy lady? In a word, or else
    Thou art straightway with the fiends.
    Oh, good my Lord!
    Where is thy lady? Or, by Jupiter,
    I will not ask again. Close villain,
    1995I'll have this secret from thy heart or rip
    Thy heart to find it. Is she with Posthumus,
    From whose so many weights of baseness cannot
    A dram of worth be drawn?
    Alas, my Lord,
    2000How can she be with him? When was she missed?
    He is in Rome.
    Where is she, sir? Come nearer.
    No farther halting; satisfy me home,
    What is become of her?
    Oh, my all-worthy Lord!
    All-worthy villain,
    Discover where thy mistress is at once,
    At the next word. No more of "worthy Lord."
    Speak, or thy silence on the instant is
    2010Thy condemnation and thy death.
    Then, sir,
    This paper is the history of my knowledge
    Touching her flight.
    [Gives letter]
    Let's see't. I will pursue her
    2015Even to Augustus' throne.
    Pisanio [Aside]
    Or this or perish.
    She's far enough, and what he learns by this
    May prove his travel, not her danger.
    2020Pisanio [Aside]
    I'll write to my lord she's dead. O Imogen,
    Safe mayst thou wander, safe return again.
    Sirrah, is this letter true?
    Sir, as I think.
    It is Posthumus' hand; I know't. Sirrah, if thou 2025wouldst not be a villain but do me true service, undergo those employments wherein I should have cause to use thee with a serious industry -- that is, what villainy soe'er I bid thee do, to perform it directly and truly -- I would think thee an honest man. Thou shouldst neither want 2030my means for thy relief, nor my voice for thy preferment.
    Well, my good Lord.
    Wilt thou serve me? For since patiently and constantly thou hast stuck to the bare fortune of that 2035beggar Posthumus, thou canst not in the course of gratitude but be a diligent follower of mine. Wilt thou serve me?
    Sir, I will.
    Give me thy hand; here's my purse. Hast any 2040of thy late master's garments in thy possession?
    I have, my Lord, at my lodging the same suit he wore when he took leave of my lady and mistress.
    The first service thou dost me, fetch that suit 2045hither; let it be thy first service. Go.
    I shall, my Lord.
    Meet thee at Milford Haven -- I forgot to ask him one thing; I'll remember't anon -- even there, thou villain Posthumus, will I kill thee. I would these 2050garments were come. She said upon a time (the bitterness of it I now belch from my heart) that she held the very garment of Posthumus in more respect than my noble and natural person, together with the adornment of my qualities. With that suit upon my back will I 2055ravish her -- first kill him, and in her eyes; there shall she see my valor, which will then be a torment to her contempt. He on the ground, my speech of insultment ended on his dead body, and when my lust hath dined (which, as I say, to vex her, I will execute in the clothes that she so 2060praised), to the court I'll knock her back, foot her home again. She hath despised me rejoicingly, and I'll be merry in my revenge.
    Enter Pisanio [with a suit of Posthumus' clothes]
    Be those the garments?
    Aye, my noble Lord.
    How long is't since she went to Milford Haven?
    She can scarce be there yet.
    Bring this apparel to my chamber; that is the second thing that I have commanded thee. The third 2070is that thou wilt be a voluntary mute to my design. Be but duteous, and true preferment shall tender itself to thee. My revenge is now at Milford; would I had wings to follow it! Come, and be true.
    Thou bidst me to my loss, for true to thee
    2075Were to prove false, which I will never be
    To him that is most true. To Milford go,
    And find not her whom thou pursu'st. Flow, flow,
    You heavenly blessings, on her. This fool's speed
    Be crossed with slowness; labor be his meed.