Speeches (Lines) for Posthumus Leonatus
in "Cymbeline"

Total: 77

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# Act, Scene, Line
(Click to see in context)
Speech text

1

I,1,94

Queen. No, be assured you shall not find me, daughter,
After the slander of most stepmothers,
Evil-eyed unto you: you're my prisoner, but
Your gaoler shall deliver you the keys
That lock up your restraint. For you, Posthumus,
So soon as I can win the offended king,
I will be known your advocate: marry, yet
The fire of rage is in him, and 'twere good
You lean'd unto his sentence with what patience
Your wisdom may inform you.

Posthumus Leonatus. Please your highness,
I will from hence to-day.


2

I,1,111

Imogen. O
Dissembling courtesy! How fine this tyrant
Can tickle where she wounds! My dearest husband,
I something fear my father's wrath; but nothing—
Always reserved my holy duty—what
His rage can do on me: you must be gone;
And I shall here abide the hourly shot
Of angry eyes, not comforted to live,
But that there is this jewel in the world
That I may see again.

Posthumus Leonatus. My queen! my mistress!
O lady, weep no more, lest I give cause
To be suspected of more tenderness
Than doth become a man. I will remain
The loyal'st husband that did e'er plight troth:
My residence in Rome at one Philario's,
Who to my father was a friend, to me
Known but by letter: thither write, my queen,
And with mine eyes I'll drink the words you send,
Though ink be made of gall.


3

I,1,131

(stage directions). [Exit]

Posthumus Leonatus. Should we be taking leave
As long a term as yet we have to live,
The loathness to depart would grow. Adieu!


4

I,1,140

Imogen. Nay, stay a little:
Were you but riding forth to air yourself,
Such parting were too petty. Look here, love;
This diamond was my mother's: take it, heart;
But keep it till you woo another wife,
When Imogen is dead.

Posthumus Leonatus. How, how! another?
You gentle gods, give me but this I have,
And sear up my embracements from a next
With bonds of death!
[Putting on the ring]
Remain, remain thou here
While sense can keep it on. And, sweetest, fairest,
As I my poor self did exchange for you,
To your so infinite loss, so in our trifles
I still win of you: for my sake wear this;
It is a manacle of love; I'll place it
Upon this fairest prisoner.


5

I,1,156

(stage directions). [Enter CYMBELINE and Lords]

Posthumus Leonatus. Alack, the king!


6

I,1,161

Cymbeline. Thou basest thing, avoid! hence, from my sight!
If after this command thou fraught the court
With thy unworthiness, thou diest: away!
Thou'rt poison to my blood.

Posthumus Leonatus. The gods protect you!
And bless the good remainders of the court! I am gone.


7

I,4,355

Frenchman. Sir, we have known together in Orleans.

Posthumus Leonatus. Since when I have been debtor to you for courtesies,
which I will be ever to pay and yet pay still.


8

I,4,362

Frenchman. Sir, you o'er-rate my poor kindness: I was glad I
did atone my countryman and you; it had been pity
you should have been put together with so mortal a
purpose as then each bore, upon importance of so
slight and trivial a nature.

Posthumus Leonatus. By your pardon, sir, I was then a young traveller;
rather shunned to go even with what I heard than in
my every action to be guided by others' experiences:
but upon my mended judgment—if I offend not to say
it is mended—my quarrel was not altogether slight.


9

I,4,382

Iachimo. That lady is not now living, or this gentleman's
opinion by this worn out.

Posthumus Leonatus. She holds her virtue still and I my mind.


10

I,4,384

Iachimo. You must not so far prefer her 'fore ours of Italy.

Posthumus Leonatus. Being so far provoked as I was in France, I would
abate her nothing, though I profess myself her
adorer, not her friend.


11

I,4,394

Iachimo. As fair and as good—a kind of hand-in-hand
comparison—had been something too fair and too good
for any lady in Britain. If she went before others
I have seen, as that diamond of yours outlustres
many I have beheld. I could not but believe she
excelled many: but I have not seen the most
precious diamond that is, nor you the lady.

Posthumus Leonatus. I praised her as I rated her: so do I my stone.


12

I,4,396

Iachimo. What do you esteem it at?

Posthumus Leonatus. More than the world enjoys.


13

I,4,399

Iachimo. Either your unparagoned mistress is dead, or she's
outprized by a trifle.

Posthumus Leonatus. You are mistaken: the one may be sold, or given, if
there were wealth enough for the purchase, or merit
for the gift: the other is not a thing for sale,
and only the gift of the gods.


14

I,4,404

Iachimo. Which the gods have given you?

Posthumus Leonatus. Which, by their graces, I will keep.


15

I,4,411

Iachimo. You may wear her in title yours: but, you know,
strange fowl light upon neighbouring ponds. Your
ring may be stolen too: so your brace of unprizable
estimations; the one is but frail and the other
casual; a cunning thief, or a that way accomplished
courtier, would hazard the winning both of first and last.

Posthumus Leonatus. Your Italy contains none so accomplished a courtier
to convince the honour of my mistress, if, in the
holding or loss of that, you term her frail. I do
nothing doubt you have store of thieves;
notwithstanding, I fear not my ring.


16

I,4,417

Philario. Let us leave here, gentlemen.

Posthumus Leonatus. Sir, with all my heart. This worthy signior, I
thank him, makes no stranger of me; we are familiar at first.


17

I,4,422

Iachimo. With five times so much conversation, I should get
ground of your fair mistress, make her go back, even
to the yielding, had I admittance and opportunity to friend.

Posthumus Leonatus. No, no.


18

I,4,429

Iachimo. I dare thereupon pawn the moiety of my estate to
your ring; which, in my opinion, o'ervalues it
something: but I make my wager rather against your
confidence than her reputation: and, to bar your
offence herein too, I durst attempt it against any
lady in the world.

Posthumus Leonatus. You are a great deal abused in too bold a
persuasion; and I doubt not you sustain what you're
worthy of by your attempt.


19

I,4,433

Iachimo. What's that?

Posthumus Leonatus. A repulse: though your attempt, as you call it,
deserve more; a punishment too.


20

I,4,440

Iachimo. Would I had put my estate and my neighbour's on the
approbation of what I have spoke!

Posthumus Leonatus. What lady would you choose to assail?


21

I,4,447

Iachimo. Yours; whom in constancy you think stands so safe.
I will lay you ten thousand ducats to your ring,
that, commend me to the court where your lady is,
with no more advantage than the opportunity of a
second conference, and I will bring from thence
that honour of hers which you imagine so reserved.

Posthumus Leonatus. I will wage against your gold, gold to it: my ring
I hold dear as my finger; 'tis part of it.


22

I,4,453

Iachimo. You are afraid, and therein the wiser. If you buy
ladies' flesh at a million a dram, you cannot
preserve it from tainting: but I see you have some
religion in you, that you fear.

Posthumus Leonatus. This is but a custom in your tongue; you bear a
graver purpose, I hope.


23

I,4,457

Iachimo. I am the master of my speeches, and would undergo
what's spoken, I swear.

Posthumus Leonatus. Will you? I shall but lend my diamond till your
return: let there be covenants drawn between's: my
mistress exceeds in goodness the hugeness of your
unworthy thinking: I dare you to this match: here's my ring.


24

I,4,470

Iachimo. By the gods, it is one. If I bring you no
sufficient testimony that I have enjoyed the dearest
bodily part of your mistress, my ten thousand ducats
are yours; so is your diamond too: if I come off,
and leave her in such honour as you have trust in,
she your jewel, this your jewel, and my gold are
yours: provided I have your commendation for my more
free entertainment.

Posthumus Leonatus. I embrace these conditions; let us have articles
betwixt us. Only, thus far you shall answer: if
you make your voyage upon her and give me directly
to understand you have prevailed, I am no further
your enemy; she is not worth our debate: if she
remain unseduced, you not making it appear
otherwise, for your ill opinion and the assault you
have made to her chastity you shall answer me with
your sword.


25

I,4,484

Iachimo. Your hand; a covenant: we will have these things set
down by lawful counsel, and straight away for
Britain, lest the bargain should catch cold and
starve: I will fetch my gold and have our two
wagers recorded.

Posthumus Leonatus. Agreed.


26

II,4,1171

(stage directions). [Enter POSTHUMUS and PHILARIO]

Posthumus Leonatus. Fear it not, sir: I would I were so sure
To win the king as I am bold her honour
Will remain hers.


27

II,4,1175

Philario. What means do you make to him?

Posthumus Leonatus. Not any, but abide the change of time,
Quake in the present winter's state and wish
That warmer days would come: in these sear'd hopes,
I barely gratify your love; they failing,
I must die much your debtor.


28

II,4,1187

Philario. Your very goodness and your company
O'erpays all I can do. By this, your king
Hath heard of great Augustus: Caius Lucius
Will do's commission throughly: and I think
He'll grant the tribute, send the arrearages,
Or look upon our Romans, whose remembrance
Is yet fresh in their grief.

Posthumus Leonatus. I do believe,
Statist though I am none, nor like to be,
That this will prove a war; and you shall hear
The legions now in Gallia sooner landed
In our not-fearing Britain than have tidings
Of any penny tribute paid. Our countrymen
Are men more order'd than when Julius Caesar
Smiled at their lack of skill, but found
their courage
Worthy his frowning at: their discipline,
Now mingled with their courages, will make known
To their approvers they are people such
That mend upon the world.


29

II,4,1202

Philario. See! Iachimo!

Posthumus Leonatus. The swiftest harts have posted you by land;
And winds of all the comers kiss'd your sails,
To make your vessel nimble.


30

II,4,1206

Philario. Welcome, sir.

Posthumus Leonatus. I hope the briefness of your answer made
The speediness of your return.


31

II,4,1210

Iachimo. Your lady
Is one of the fairest that I have look'd upon.

Posthumus Leonatus. And therewithal the best; or let her beauty
Look through a casement to allure false hearts
And be false with them.


32

II,4,1214

Iachimo. Here are letters for you.

Posthumus Leonatus. Their tenor good, I trust.


33

II,4,1220

Iachimo. He was expected then,
But not approach'd.

Posthumus Leonatus. All is well yet.
Sparkles this stone as it was wont? or is't not
Too dull for your good wearing?


34

II,4,1228

Iachimo. If I had lost it,
I should have lost the worth of it in gold.
I'll make a journey twice as far, to enjoy
A second night of such sweet shortness which
Was mine in Britain, for the ring is won.

Posthumus Leonatus. The stone's too hard to come by.


35

II,4,1231

Iachimo. Not a whit,
Your lady being so easy.

Posthumus Leonatus. Make not, sir,
Your loss your sport: I hope you know that we
Must not continue friends.


36

II,4,1242

Iachimo. Good sir, we must,
If you keep covenant. Had I not brought
The knowledge of your mistress home, I grant
We were to question further: but I now
Profess myself the winner of her honour,
Together with your ring; and not the wronger
Of her or you, having proceeded but
By both your wills.

Posthumus Leonatus. If you can make't apparent
That you have tasted her in bed, my hand
And ring is yours; if not, the foul opinion
You had of her pure honour gains or loses
Your sword or mine, or masterless leaves both
To who shall find them.


37

II,4,1254

Iachimo. Sir, my circumstances,
Being 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.

Posthumus Leonatus. Proceed.


38

II,4,1266

Iachimo. First, her bedchamber,—
Where, I confess, I slept not, but profess
Had that was well worth watching—it was hang'd
With tapesty of silk and silver; the story
Proud Cleopatra, when she met her Roman,
And Cydnus swell'd 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 wonder'd
Could be so rarely and exactly wrought,
Since the true life on't was—

Posthumus Leonatus. This is true;
And this you might have heard of here, by me,
Or by some other.


39

II,4,1271

Iachimo. More particulars
Must justify my knowledge.

Posthumus Leonatus. So they must,
Or do your honour injury.


40

II,4,1279

Iachimo. The chimney
Is 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.

Posthumus Leonatus. This is a thing
Which you might from relation likewise reap,
Being, as it is, much spoke of.


41

II,4,1287

Iachimo. The roof o' the chamber
With golden cherubins is fretted: her andirons—
I had forgot them—were two winking Cupids
Of silver, each on one foot standing, nicely
Depending on their brands.

Posthumus Leonatus. This is her honour!
Let it be granted you have seen all this—and praise
Be given to your remembrance—the description
Of what is in her chamber nothing saves
The wager you have laid.


42

II,4,1297

Iachimo. Then, if you can,
[Showing the bracelet]
Be pale: I beg but leave to air this jewel; see!
And now 'tis up again: it must be married
To that your diamond; I'll keep them.

Posthumus Leonatus. Jove!
Once more let me behold it: is it that
Which I left with her?


43

II,4,1305

Iachimo. Sir—I thank her—that:
She stripp'd it from her arm; I see her yet;
Her pretty action did outsell her gift,
And yet enrich'd it too: she gave it me, and said
She prized it once.

Posthumus Leonatus. May be she pluck'd it off
To send it me.


44

II,4,1308

Iachimo. She writes so to you, doth she?

Posthumus Leonatus. O, no, no, no! 'tis true. Here, take this too;
[Gives the ring]
It is a basilisk unto mine eye,
Kills me to look on't. Let there be no honour
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.
O, above measure false!


45

II,4,1322

Philario. Have patience, sir,
And take your ring again; 'tis not yet won:
It may be probable she lost it; or
Who knows if one of her women, being corrupted,
Hath stol'n it from her?

Posthumus Leonatus. Very true;
And so, I hope, he came by't. Back my ring:
Render to me some corporal sign about her,
More evident than this; for this was stolen.


46

II,4,1327

Iachimo. By Jupiter, I had it from her arm.

Posthumus Leonatus. 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 honourable:—they induced to steal it!
And 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!


47

II,4,1340

Philario. Sir, be patient:
This is not strong enough to be believed
Of one persuaded well of—

Posthumus Leonatus. Never talk on't;
She hath been colted by him.


48

II,4,1349

Iachimo. If you seek
For further satisfying, under her breast—
Worthy the pressing—lies a mole, right proud
Of that most delicate lodging: by my life,
I kiss'd it; and it gave me present hunger
To feed again, though full. You do remember
This stain upon her?

Posthumus Leonatus. Ay, and it doth confirm
Another stain, as big as hell can hold,
Were there no more but it.


49

II,4,1353

Iachimo. Will you hear more?

Posthumus Leonatus. Spare your arithmetic: never count the turns;
Once, and a million!


50

II,4,1356

Iachimo. I'll be sworn—

Posthumus Leonatus. No swearing.
If you will swear you have not done't, you lie;
And I will kill thee, if thou dost deny
Thou'st made me cuckold.


51

II,4,1361

Iachimo. I'll deny nothing.

Posthumus Leonatus. O, that I had her here, to tear her limb-meal!
I will go there and do't, i' the court, before
Her father. I'll do something—


52

II,5,1372

(stage directions). [Enter POSTHUMUS LEONATUS]

Posthumus Leonatus. Is there no way for men to be but women
Must be half-workers? We are all bastards;
And that most venerable man which I
Did call my father, was I know not where
When I was stamp'd; some coiner with his tools
Made me a counterfeit: yet my mother seem'd
The Dian of that time so doth my wife
The nonpareil of this. O, vengeance, vengeance!
Me of my lawful pleasure she restrain'd
And pray'd me oft forbearance; did it with
A pudency so rosy the sweet view on't
Might well have warm'd old Saturn; that I thought her
As chaste as unsunn'd snow. O, all the devils!
This yellow Iachimo, in an hour,—wast not?—
Or less,—at first?—perchance he spoke not, but,
Like a full-acorn'd boar, a German one,
Cried 'O!' and mounted; found no opposition
But what he look'd for should oppose and she
Should from encounter guard. Could I find out
The woman's part in me! For there's no motion
That tends to vice in man, but I affirm
It is the woman's part: be it lying, note it,
The woman's; flattering, hers; deceiving, hers;
Lust and rank thoughts, hers, hers; revenges, hers;
Ambitions, covetings, change of prides, disdain,
Nice longing, slanders, mutability,
All faults that may be named, nay, that hell knows,
Why, hers, in part or all; but rather, all;
For even to vice
They are not constant but are changing still
One vice, but of a minute old, for one
Not half so old as that. I'll write against them,
Detest them, curse them: yet 'tis greater skill
In a true hate, to pray they have their will:
The very devils cannot plague them better.


53

V,1,2952

(stage directions). [Enter POSTHUMUS, with a bloody handkerchief]

Posthumus Leonatus. Yea, bloody cloth, I'll keep thee, for I wish'd
Thou shouldst be colour'd thus. You married ones,
If each of you should take this course, how many
Must murder wives much better than themselves
For wrying but a little! O Pisanio!
Every good servant does not all commands:
No bond but to do just ones. Gods! if you
Should have ta'en vengeance on my faults, I never
Had lived to put on this: so had you saved
The noble Imogen to repent, and struck
Me, wretch more worth your vengeance. But, alack,
You snatch some hence for little faults; that's love,
To have them fall no more: you some permit
To second ills with ills, each elder worse,
And make them dread it, to the doers' thrift.
But Imogen is your own: do your best wills,
And make me blest to obey! I am brought hither
Among the Italian gentry, and to fight
Against my lady's kingdom: 'tis enough
That, Britain, I have kill'd thy mistress; peace!
I'll give no wound to thee. Therefore, good heavens,
Hear patiently my purpose: I'll disrobe me
Of these Italian weeds and suit myself
As does a Briton peasant: so I'll fight
Against the part I come with; so I'll die
For thee, O Imogen, even for whom my life
Is every breath a death; and thus, unknown,
Pitied nor hated, to the face of peril
Myself I'll dedicate. Let me make men know
More valour in me than my habits show.
Gods, put the strength o' the Leonati in me!
To shame the guise o' the world, I will begin
The fashion, less without and more within.


54

V,3,3023

Lord. Camest thou from where they made the stand?

Posthumus Leonatus. I did.
Though you, it seems, come from the fliers.


55

V,3,3026

Lord. I did.

Posthumus Leonatus. No blame be to you, sir; for all was lost,
But that the heavens fought: the king himself
Of his wings destitute, the army broken,
And but the backs of Britons seen, all flying
Through a straight lane; the enemy full-hearted,
Lolling the tongue with slaughtering, having work
More plentiful than tools to do't, struck down
Some mortally, some slightly touch'd, some falling
Merely through fear; that the straight pass was damm'd
With dead men hurt behind, and cowards living
To die with lengthen'd shame.


56

V,3,3038

Lord. Where was this lane?

Posthumus Leonatus. Close by the battle, ditch'd, and wall'd with turf;
Which gave advantage to an ancient soldier,
An honest one, I warrant; who deserved
So long a breeding as his white beard came to,
In doing this for's country: athwart the lane,
He, with two striplings-lads more like to run
The country base than to commit such slaughter
With faces fit for masks, or rather fairer
Than those for preservation cased, or shame—
Made good the passage; cried to those that fled,
'Our Britain s harts die flying, not our men:
To darkness fleet souls that fly backwards. Stand;
Or we are Romans and will give you that
Like beasts which you shun beastly, and may save,
But to look back in frown: stand, stand.'
These three,
Three thousand confident, in act as many—
For three performers are the file when all
The rest do nothing—with this word 'Stand, stand,'
Accommodated by the place, more charming
With their own nobleness, which could have turn'd
A distaff to a lance, gilded pale looks,
Part shame, part spirit renew'd; that some,
turn'd coward
But by example—O, a sin in war,
Damn'd in the first beginners!—gan to look
The way that they did, and to grin like lions
Upon the pikes o' the hunters. Then began
A stop i' the chaser, a retire, anon
A rout, confusion thick; forthwith they fly
Chickens, the way which they stoop'd eagles; slaves,
The strides they victors made: and now our cowards,
Like fragments in hard voyages, became
The life o' the need: having found the backdoor open
Of the unguarded hearts, heavens, how they wound!
Some slain before; some dying; some their friends
O'er borne i' the former wave: ten, chased by one,
Are now each one the slaughter-man of twenty:
Those that would die or ere resist are grown
The mortal bugs o' the field.


57

V,3,3080

Lord. This was strange chance
A narrow lane, an old man, and two boys.

Posthumus Leonatus. Nay, do not wonder at it: you are made
Rather to wonder at the things you hear
Than to work any. Will you rhyme upon't,
And vent it for a mockery? Here is one:
'Two boys, an old man twice a boy, a lane,
Preserved the Britons, was the Romans' bane.'


58

V,3,3087

Lord. Nay, be not angry, sir.

Posthumus Leonatus. 'Lack, to what end?
Who dares not stand his foe, I'll be his friend;
For if he'll do as he is made to do,
I know he'll quickly fly my friendship too.
You have put me into rhyme.


59

V,3,3093

Lord. Farewell; you're angry.

Posthumus Leonatus. Still going?
[Exit Lord]
This is a lord! O noble misery,
To be i' the field, and ask 'what news?' of me!
To-day how many would have given their honours
To have saved their carcasses! took heel to do't,
And yet died too! I, in mine own woe charm'd,
Could not find death where I did hear him groan,
Nor feel him where he struck: being an ugly monster,
'Tis strange he hides him in fresh cups, soft beds,
Sweet words; or hath more ministers than we
That draw his knives i' the war. Well, I will find him
For being now a favourer to the Briton,
No more a Briton, I have resumed again
The part I came in: fight I will no more,
But yield me to the veriest hind that shall
Once touch my shoulder. Great the slaughter is
Here made by the Roman; great the answer be
Britons must take. For me, my ransom's death;
On either side I come to spend my breath;
Which neither here I'll keep nor bear again,
But end it by some means for Imogen.


60

V,3,3122

First British Captain. So 'tis reported:
But none of 'em can be found. Stand! who's there?

Posthumus Leonatus. A Roman,
Who had not now been drooping here, if seconds
Had answer'd him.


61

V,4,3140

(stage directions). [Exeunt Gaolers]

Posthumus Leonatus. Most welcome, bondage! for thou art away,
think, to liberty: yet am I better
Than one that's sick o' the gout; since he had rather
Groan so in perpetuity than be cured
By the sure physician, death, who is the key
To unbar these locks. My conscience, thou art fetter'd
More than my shanks and wrists: you good gods, give me
The penitent instrument to pick that bolt,
Then, free for ever! Is't enough I am sorry?
So children temporal fathers do appease;
Gods are more full of mercy. Must I repent?
I cannot do it better than in gyves,
Desired more than constrain'd: to satisfy,
If of my freedom 'tis the main part, take
No stricter render of me than my all.
I know you are more clement than vile men,
Who of their broken debtors take a third,
A sixth, a tenth, letting them thrive again
On their abatement: that's not my desire:
For Imogen's dear life take mine; and though
'Tis not so dear, yet 'tis a life; you coin'd it:
'Tween man and man they weigh not every stamp;
Though light, take pieces for the figure's sake:
You rather mine, being yours: and so, great powers,
If you will take this audit, take this life,
And cancel these cold bonds. O Imogen!
I'll speak to thee in silence.
[Sleeps]
[Solemn music. Enter, as in an apparition,]
SICILIUS LEONATUS, father to Posthumus Leonatus,
an old man, attired like a warrior; leading in
his hand an ancient matron, his wife, and mother
to Posthumus Leonatus, with music before them:
then, after other music, follow the two young
Leonati, brothers to Posthumus Leonatus, with
wounds as they died in the wars. They circle
Posthumus Leonatus round, as he lies sleeping]


62

V,4,3276

(stage directions). [The Apparitions vanish]

Posthumus Leonatus. [Waking] Sleep, thou hast been a grandsire, and begot
A father to me; and thou hast created
A mother and two brothers: but, O scorn!
Gone! they went hence so soon as they were born:
And so I am awake. Poor wretches that depend
On greatness' favour dream as I have done,
Wake and find nothing. But, alas, I swerve:
Many dream not to find, neither deserve,
And yet are steep'd in favours: so am I,
That have this golden chance and know not why.
What fairies haunt this ground? A book? O rare one!
Be not, as is our fangled world, a garment
Nobler than that it covers: let thy effects
So follow, to be most unlike our courtiers,
As good as promise.
[Reads]
'When as a lion's whelp shall, to himself unknown,
without seeking find, and be embraced by a piece of
tender air; and when from a stately cedar shall be
lopped branches, which, being dead many years,
shall after revive, be jointed to the old stock and
freshly grow; then shall Posthumus end his miseries,
Britain be fortunate and flourish in peace and plenty.'
'Tis still a dream, or else such stuff as madmen
Tongue and brain not; either both or nothing;
Or senseless speaking or a speaking such
As sense cannot untie. Be what it is,
The action of my life is like it, which
I'll keep, if but for sympathy.


63

V,4,3307

First Gaoler. Come, sir, are you ready for death?

Posthumus Leonatus. Over-roasted rather; ready long ago.


64

V,4,3310

First Gaoler. Hanging is the word, sir: if
you be ready for that, you are well cooked.

Posthumus Leonatus. So, if I prove a good repast to the
spectators, the dish pays the shot.


65

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First Gaoler. A heavy reckoning for you, sir. But the comfort is,
you shall be called to no more payments, fear no
more tavern-bills; which are often the sadness of
parting, as the procuring of mirth: you come in
flint for want of meat, depart reeling with too
much drink; sorry that you have paid too much, and
sorry that you are paid too much; purse and brain
both empty; the brain the heavier for being too
light, the purse too light, being drawn of
heaviness: of this contradiction you shall now be
quit. O, the charity of a penny cord! It sums up
thousands in a trice: you have no true debitor and
creditor but it; of what's past, is, and to come,
the discharge: your neck, sir, is pen, book and
counters; so the acquittance follows.

Posthumus Leonatus. I am merrier to die than thou art to live.


66

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First Gaoler. Indeed, sir, he that sleeps feels not the
tooth-ache: but a man that were to sleep your
sleep, and a hangman to help him to bed, I think he
would change places with his officer; for, look you,
sir, you know not which way you shall go.

Posthumus Leonatus. Yes, indeed do I, fellow.


67

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First Gaoler. Your death has eyes in 's head then; I have not seen
him so pictured: you must either be directed by
some that take upon them to know, or do take upon
yourself that which I am sure you do not know, or
jump the after inquiry on your own peril: and how
you shall speed in your journey's end, I think you'll
never return to tell one.

Posthumus Leonatus. I tell thee, fellow, there are none want eyes to
direct them the way I am going, but such as wink and
will not use them.


68

V,4,3349

Messenger. Knock off his manacles; bring your prisoner to the king.

Posthumus Leonatus. Thou bring'st good news; I am called to be made free.


69

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First Gaoler. I'll be hang'd then.

Posthumus Leonatus. Thou shalt be then freer than a gaoler; no bolts for the dead.


70

V,5,3537

Imogen. My boon is, that this gentleman may render
Of whom he had this ring.

Posthumus Leonatus. [Aside] What's that to him?


71

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Iachimo. Your daughter's chastity—there it begins.
He spake of her, as Dian had hot dreams,
And she alone were cold: whereat I, wretch,
Made scruple of his praise; and wager'd with him
Pieces of gold 'gainst this which then he wore
Upon his honour'd finger, to attain
In suit the place of's bed and win this ring
By hers and mine adultery. He, true knight,
No lesser of her honour confident
Than I did truly find her, stakes this ring;
And would so, had it been a carbuncle
Of Phoebus' wheel, and might so safely, had it
Been all the worth of's car. Away to Britain
Post I in this design: well may you, sir,
Remember me at court; where I was taught
Of your chaste daughter the wide difference
'Twixt amorous and villanous. Being thus quench'd
Of hope, not longing, mine Italian brain
'Gan in your duller Britain operate
Most vilely; for my vantage, excellent:
And, to be brief, my practise so prevail'd,
That I return'd with simular proof enough
To make the noble Leonatus mad,
By wounding his belief in her renown
With tokens thus, and thus; averting notes
Of chamber-hanging, pictures, this her bracelet,—
O cunning, how I got it!—nay, some marks
Of secret on her person, that he could not
But think her bond of chastity quite crack'd,
I having ta'en the forfeit. Whereupon—
Methinks, I see him now—

Posthumus Leonatus. [Advancing] Ay, so thou dost,
Italian fiend! Ay me, most credulous fool,
Egregious murderer, thief, any thing
That's due to all the villains past, in being,
To come! O, give me cord, or knife, or poison,
Some upright justicer! Thou, king, send out
For torturers ingenious: it is I
That all the abhorred things o' the earth amend
By being worse than they. I am Posthumus,
That kill'd thy daughter:—villain-like, I lie—
That caused a lesser villain than myself,
A sacrilegious thief, to do't: the temple
Of virtue was she; yea, and she herself.
Spit, and throw stones, cast mire upon me, set
The dogs o' the street to bay me: every villain
Be call'd Posthumus Leonitus; and
Be villany less than 'twas! O Imogen!
My queen, my life, my wife! O Imogen,
Imogen, Imogen!


72

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Imogen. Peace, my lord; hear, hear—

Posthumus Leonatus. Shall's have a play of this? Thou scornful page,
There lie thy part.


73

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Cymbeline. Does the world go round?

Posthumus Leonatus. How come these staggers on me?


74

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(stage directions). [Embracing him]

Posthumus Leonatus. Hang there like a fruit, my soul,
Till the tree die!


75

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Cymbeline. The forlorn soldier, that so nobly fought,
He would have well becomed this place, and graced
The thankings of a king.

Posthumus Leonatus. I am, sir,
The soldier that did company these three
In poor beseeming; 'twas a fitment for
The purpose I then follow'd. That I was he,
Speak, Iachimo: I had you down and might
Have made you finish.


76

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Iachimo. [Kneeling] I am down again:
But now my heavy conscience sinks my knee,
As then your force did. Take that life, beseech you,
Which I so often owe: but your ring first;
And here the bracelet of the truest princess
That ever swore her faith.

Posthumus Leonatus. Kneel not to me:
The power that I have on you is, to spare you;
The malice towards you to forgive you: live,
And deal with others better.


77

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Arviragus. You holp us, sir,
As you did mean indeed to be our brother;
Joy'd are we that you are.

Posthumus Leonatus. Your servant, princes. Good my lord of Rome,
Call forth your soothsayer: as I slept, methought
Great Jupiter, upon his eagle back'd,
Appear'd to me, with other spritely shows
Of mine own kindred: when I waked, I found
This label on my bosom; whose containing
Is so from sense in hardness, that I can
Make no collection of it: let him show
His skill in the construction.


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